RSS

Tag Archives: intimacy

Power Walking

JogIt seems that I talk a lot about the power of God in these posts. I believe that God is restoring His church to a walk of power in our generation. Here’s something to consider in talking about this power.

First of all, let me remind you what true power is all about. Power is the ability to produce change. If there’s no change, then there’s no power. There’s no way around it. If the power of God is manifest, then lives are changed.

As I begin to walk in this power, something new begins to happen. As my life begins to change, I start to get the world’s attention. They begin seeing something working in my life that’s beyond my ability.

It’s this very change that will attract people to Christ. At that point I will not need to convince them how awesome the Lord is – they’ll see it for themselves.

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…
Colossians 1:10-11

This is a very interesting section of Scripture. It tells us to walk worthy of the Lord. That should be the desire of every Christian. How does Paul describe this worthy way of life?

The first two indicators are pretty much self-evident and are the ones that are always emphasized. They are bearing fruit and growing in our knowledge of God.

But what about the next line? One of the ways we’re to live a worthy life is to be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might. To live worthy of the Lord is to walk in power.

We’re not to just talk about power. We must demonstrate the power of the living God. In order to do this I must know Him in His power. So I must be in an intimate relationship with Him. Only then will I experience His power flowing through me.

That’s where we miss it sometimes. We want the easy way.

“Just give me a prayer formula that always works.”

It’s not a formula, but intimacy with the Holy Spirit. That’s how we access the power of God in our lives. We have to take the time to build a relationship with Him.

This is what the world needs to see in us. Not a bunch of people who merely talk about how good God is. They need to see His goodness, power, and love in action. That’s what will draw people to Christ in these last days.

Paul summarizes this concept.

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:29

That was Paul’s priority, to know Christ in the riches of His power. This leaves me with a choice. Now that I know what true power is…do I want it? If I do, then I need to plug into the source – Christ Himself.

Question: Am I willing to do whatever it takes to walk in God’s power?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 8, 2016 in Power of God, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Do You Understand God’s Mercy

ThroneLet us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

This verse speaks about that place of intimacy that’s available to us in Christ Jesus. We have access to boldly enter the throne room of God. It’s a place of rest and peace in the Lord. According to this passage we can confidently approach the throne of grace for two things. The first is to find grace. The second, according to the literal Greek, is to take, lay hold of mercy.

This is one of the greatest yet unused blessings that God bestows upon His people. Unfortunately, we have no idea what God means by mercy in this modern generation.

When we use the word mercy it’s usually when we’ve done something wrong. We want to be shown leniency, so we say, “Please have mercy on me.” This is not the Biblical concept of mercy. The mercy of God is so much higher than that. I want to show you a glimpse of the power of mercy.

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied.
Matthew 9:27-28

This is a very interesting encounter in the life of Christ. It’s unlike any other which is recorded in the Word of God. While it’s true that many people asked Him to have mercy on them, and many blind people came to Him, Jesus never ministered like this any other time.

He waited until they were in a private place. Then the Lord asked them if they believed that He could do this. Believed that He could do what? Since there was no other request, Jesus was asking if they believed that he could give mercy.

I believe that Jesus looked into their heart and saw that they understood the concept of mercy and wanted them to confirm it with their lips. Why is this so important to us?

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.”
Matthew 9:29-30

Again we see something out of the ordinary in the ministry of Jesus. He never asked them specifically what they wanted. He simply said that what they believed for was theirs. Apparently, they were trusting God to restore their sight because that was the result.

But the mystery doesn’t end there. Jesus warns them not to tell anyone what happened. Why would He do this? Everyone knew that Jesus gave sight to the blind. Why would He possibly say not to tell anyone about it?

I don’t believe that it was the healing that Christ was referring to. As you’ll see in the next few posts, only God can give mercy. This encounter was proof to the Jews of Jesus’ divinity. Whenever He did a miracle on that level, like raising the dead, He usually instructed the witnesses not to tell anyone about it.

I believe that there’s more to mercy than we could have ever imagined. That’s what I want to share with you in this series of articles.

Question: What’s your definition of the mercy of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

5 Warning Signs of Legalism (Repost)

WarningThis is the fifth of six reposts of my most read articles. It was from 2012.

Many Christians are bound by legalism. Are you one of them? The trouble is that legalism can be very deceptive. You can be caught up in it and never know it – unless you see the warning signs. I hope this will be both a challenge and a blessing to you.

Elevating works over position. Do you worry about what you can do to please God? The correct answer is – nothing!! It’s the blood of Christ that makes me acceptable to God. Nothing I do can make Him love me any more or any less. While works can affect my rewards and blessings, they’ll never change God’s love and acceptance of me if I’m in Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 Seeing yourself more of a slave than a son. Yes, we do serve God and are expected to obey Him in all things. But the way we obey is as mature sons and daughters. As spiritual children we learn servanthood. It’s the training ground for our growth in Christ. The purpose of servanthood is so that we can walk in maturity. The Lord desires sons and daughters to represent Him to the world. (Galatians 4:1-7)

Relying more on your confession than God’s grace. I believe in the confession of Scripture. Rehearsing and memorizing it is an important part of the believer’s life. Just as important is the reason we do it. The purpose of confessing God’s Word is to increase our faith in Him. But ultimately, it’s not my confession, but the power of God that will bring about the changes that I need. (II Peter 1:3)

Giving more time to studying Scripture than to intimacy with Christ. Scripture study is very important – it’s one of my passions. I couldn’t live without it. But, spending quality time with the Lord is even more so. Jesus rebuked the Scribes and the Pharisees for diligently studying the Scriptures, yet not going to the Messiah that they pointed to. It’s not enough just to know about Christ. I need to have an intimate, personal knowledge of Him that only comes from time spent in His presence. (John 5:39-40)

Being more confident in your comparison with others than abiding in Christ. Comparison is a deadly trap. The problem is that I can always find someone less committed than me. It gives me a false sense of security because I’m no worse than anyone else. On the other hand, I can spend my days feeling worthless, because I look at others who are farther along than me in the faith. I can’t base my self-evaluation on someone else’s life. My goal is not to be better than you, but to be like Christ. (II Corinthians 10:12)

Questions: Have you battled with legalism? How have you overcome it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Encouragement, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Intimacy and Deserving

 

MeditationI’ve been posting about the concept of being worthy of God’s power. In my last article I started talking about the Greek word axios, which is translated as worthy in Scripture. It literally means deserving.

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
Matthew 10:37-38

Jesus doesn’t pull any punches with His teachings. Our problem is that we’ve become divided in our loyalties.

When break it down to its simplest elements, love is a matter of participating in a positive way in someone’s life. Hate, on the other hand, is a refusal to participate positively in someone’s life.

So Christ is saying that if you want to participate with anyone more than Him, you’re not deserving of Him. If you want to be around others more than Christ, you’ll never share in the fullness of His power. The truth is that you’re not deserving of this power, if you refuse intimacy with the Lord.

The problem is that we will not see the miraculous if we’re not intimate with Christ. But it’s a problem that’s easily fixed. It’s not a hard thing to repent and begin a walk of intimacy with God. In my experience, however, our problem is not that we can’t repent or don’t have time. This fact is illustrated in one of the parables of Christ.

He told a story about a king who was preparing a wedding banquet for his son. The king sent out invitations and everyone replied that they would be there. They all wanted to be a part of the celebration. But when the day of the wedding arrived none of these guests showed up. They all had excuses. Listen to what the king said about them.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come.’”
Matthew 22:8

What caused the king to have such an attitude? It was all about their excuses. They had all gotten busy doing other things. That’s the biggest problem we have in the body of Christ today. We’re all so busy doing the things that the world offers.

I’m not talking about evil, sinful things. It’s the huge availability of time filling stuff that’s all around us in this society. Sports, entertainment, internet, TV, radio, educational and recreational opportunities all abound in our generation. We haven’t yet learned in the church that we can’t do it all.

Choices have to be made over which things are the most important to us. If going to movies and playing basketball is more important to us than the power of God then it will be evident in our lives. Let me put it another way, it IS evident in our churches today that we lack the move of God’s power that was manifest in times past.

It’s abundantly clear that giving excuses why we can’t repent or be intimate with God will rob us of power. Maturity takes responsibility for the situation that it find itself in. It may be hard to break this pattern of ignoring God at first. But our part is to repent and spend time with God. His part is to keep us clean and bestow His power upon the church.

Power is all about relationship, not works. Power is about attitude – I want to be with God more than with anyone else on this earth. Not about the law, whether I have to do this or that. If you are saved, then repent and spend more time with the Lord. Then you can rest assured that YOU ARE WORTHY – deserving in Christ.

Question: What hinders you from having an intimate walk with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 27, 2015 in Power of God, Prayer, Revival, Sonship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Look at Me when I’m Speaking to You

BeamI live in the Boston area. Maybe you’ve heard what our weather’s been like lately. Last week we had two feet of snow and now they’re calling for another foot this week.

Needless to say, I’m ready for spring. I love to go out into the woods to hike and pray. It’s a great way to meet with the Lord.

Did you know that this was a large part of Jesus’ ministry?

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Luke 4:42-44

Very frequently Jesus went off alone into the wilderness. Usually He would go to pray and to meditate on the Word while seeking the Father’s will for the days ahead. Many times He wouldn’t even tell anyone where He was going. This caused the people and especially His disciples to become annoyed on more than one occasion.

Most people don’t understand the power of solitude with the Lord. When you’re alone in God’s presence, you can see the way ahead more clearly. This is because there are less distractions around you.

I’ve been driving in the car with friends and talked with them the whole way to where we were going. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that those conversations aren’t very deep. I can talk and keep my eyes on the road if I don’t have to think very hard.

Intimate conversation, on the other hand, is very different. If what I’m saying is important, then I want you to make eye contact with me. I want to know that you’re giving me your full attention.

It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. We can pray and praise the Lord no matter what we’re doing throughout the day. That’s fine and it keeps our minds focused on Him.

But there comes a time when we need to enter a more intimate time with Christ – worship. This requires an undistracted heart. I’ve found that the outdoors provides just such an experience. It allows me to “make eye contact” with the Lord.

From the example of Christ, we see that walking in the Spirit is a lot more efficient than the trial and error method many Christians use.

“I’ll try going forward; if the door closes I’ll try another direction.”

When you spend quality time with the Lord seeking His will for your life, you don’t have to waste your time on all these dead end paths that lead nowhere. Jesus knew where He was going before He was surrounded by the crowd. Then they couldn’t sway Him from His path by their persuasive arguments. It’s that level of guidance you should be seeking from God.

If you’ve never tried it, spend some time with the Holy Spirit in the outdoors. Of course, you may have to wait until the weather breaks. Unless you’re like me and can’t wait. (I have a good pair of snowshoes!)

Find a nice solitary place that you can come undistracted into the Lord’s presence. You won’t be disappointed.

Question: Where do you go to seek God with no distractions?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Prayer, Times in the Wilderness, Worship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Worship and Spirit

PowerlessI’m posting a series about true worship. It’s amazing to me how many things we call “worship” that really don’t qualify.

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
Revelation 4:2

This verse shows us an aspect of worship that few teachers ever emphasize. Worship is a function of the spirit. This is an import truth that God’s people need to understand.

We label a lot of things as worship. When we go to church on Sunday morning, we call it a worship service. Then when it’s time to sing we call it praise and worship. Somehow we’ve redefined it in such a way that the fast songs are praise and the slower ones are worship.

Actually they are simply fast and slow praise songs. When you understand true worship from Scripture, you see that all the functions of our flesh and our mind are a part of our praise to God.

When Jesus talked with the woman at the well, He explained it to her this way…

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24

That’s the underlying truth – God is spirit. This word, worship, speaks of intimate relationship. How do you have intimacy with a spirit? There’s only one level of interaction, and that’s in the spirit.

That’s why daily prayer in the spirit is so important. It’s the vehicle by which we have intimacy with the Father.

For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh
Philippians 3:3

Do we really put no confidence in our flesh? Especially when it comes to our relationship with God, many believers are driven by their flesh. We’re proud of our trained voices and our professional sound. We want to be moved emotionally by our corporate experiences.

Please understand me. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things – if you’re talking about praise. But this post is about true, scriptural worship.

In worship, we put no confidence in our praise, our singing, how long we practiced or even our obedience. The only confidence we have is in Him. That’s why most of what we do in church is actually praise.

Praise can be done loudly and in a group. As a matter of fact, the bigger the group, the more stirring the praise – usually.

Worship is different. It’s intimate. It’s personal – one on one, just me and God. Even if I’m with a crowd of believers, I have to zone them all out and just focus in on the Lord.

The easiest way to do this is to begin praying in the spirit. That’s how our relationship with God is built, spirit to Spirit. It’s time for God’s people to stir up the spirit of worship within them. Let’s stop calling everything we do in church “worship”. It’s time to simply bask in the presence of a holy God and spend some quality, intimate time with Him.

Question: How often do you worship God in the spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Prayer in the Spirit, Worship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Way to Worship

TowerIn my last post I talked about being intimate with God in the place of worship.

Of course that brings us to the next logical question.  What’s the best way to worship God?  That was a very controversial subject in Jesus’ day.  As you’ll see it’s just as controversial today – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Worship was especially divisive between the Jews and the Samaritans.  This was brought out in the discourse between Jesus and the woman at the well.  The Lord was trying to get her to talk about spiritual things by explaining to her about His ability to give her living water.

Instead, to change the subject, the woman brought up the controversy about where true worship was to take place.  Was it in Jerusalem, as the Jews believed, or the mountain where the Samaritans went.

Jesus told her that true worship is not about place.  You see, they had the same misconception that we do.  We refer to the “worship service” and we call our buildings “houses of worship”.  The fact is that very little worship, if any, goes on in these places.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:23-24

This is one of the most powerful, yet ignored verses in the Bible.  This should be the foundation of everything we understand about true worship.  Christ uses “worship” 5 times in these two verses.  His emphasis is clear, yet we never plumb the depths of what He’s saying.

He’s talking about the true worshippers of the Father.  Are we those who truly desire to lean forward and kiss the Father?  If so, then we must kiss Him in spirit.  This is not a function of our flesh.  I cannot do anything with my body that will bring forth the intimacy that God desires to have with us.

Make no mistake about it, this is one of the greatest desires of the heart of God.  The above Scripture says that the Father is actively seeking these people.  God desperately wants intimacy with His people.  Are you that person that God is searching for?  Are you a worshipper of the Father in spirit and in truth?

There’s something interesting that I noticed in this verse when I studied it in the original Greek language.  I found that some of the English words are not in the original text.  They were added by the translators to make it more readable.

I believe that a more accurate translation would be; God’s Spirit and those who want to lean forward to kiss Him must lean forward to kiss in spirit and truth.  The emphasis that Christ is bringing clearly teaches that God is seeking intimacy.

As we all know, intimacy can never be a “one way street.”  For it to truly be intimate, as I lean forward to kiss Him, God must also lean forward to kiss me.  It’s almost too good to be true.  The God of the universe wants a close, intimate relationship with me. (and you!)

Question: How intimate of a relationship do you want with God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Prayer, Prayer in the Spirit

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,