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Whose Temple are You?

TempleI’m taking a few posts to talk about the jealousy of the Holy Spirit. It’s clear from Scripture that we serve a jealous God. We need to understand that if we continue to ignore and reject His attempts to cultivate a relationship with us, we start to arouse this jealousy.

What does this look like?

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I am a temple to the Holy Spirit. Think about it like the ancient Greek temples. My temple says Holy Spirit on the front.

What would you expect if you came to that temple? What if you entered it and saw a Star Trek Convention going on inside? You may question the priest about it.

“It’s only for this week.”

What if for the next few weeks you visited this temple and saw a beauty pageant, a chili cook-off, and a real estate seminar.

You’d ask; is this a temple to the Holy Spirit or is it something else? With that thought in mind, consider what happened when Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple.

To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:16-17

Notice the righteous anger that Christ displayed. What was it that aroused such an attitude? The disciples realized that Jesus was consumed by a zeal for the house of God.

When Christ told His disciples about the Holy Spirit, He said that He was sending “another counsellor just like Me.” (John 14:26 – My paraphrase!) The difference is that the Holy Spirit lives in us. He lives permanently in His temple; our body.

The first verse we looked at in this series of posts said He was intensely jealous (James 4:5). Do we really get the point? We’re living in the Last Days. The Holy Spirit is starting to cleanse His temple. We need to submit to His program or face the loss.

Remember – the Holy Spirit will not hurt His temple. But He will start to ruin that which would try and steal our affection. In my experience, I’d rather willingly give up something, than have the Lord remove it from my life.

What do we do?

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:7-8

If you really want what the Holy Spirit’s desire, then sow to please the Spirit. He doesn’t say to summon up all your will power and live right. No! Simply submit to His plan and sow the Word and prayer. Spend time with the Spirit.

Question: What do you need to do to sow to please the Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Posted by on April 10, 2015 in Power of God, Prayer, Revival, The Church

 

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One More Week

TimingI’ve been posting about the fact that the Holy Spirit in us is jealous over us. He’s passionate about His love for us. Ignoring or rejecting His attempts to work in us gives the Holy Spirit emotional pain.

We talk a lot about faith. Without it we can’t receive anything from God. If we truly trust God, then we’ll delight in His plan to renew our lives.

Rejecting the Lord’s instruction is the opposite of faith. We can see this in the example of Moses.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Hebrews 11:24-26

I’ve heard different people teach about this verse and I think we’ve missed the real point. The writer isn’t saying that sin only gives you pleasure for a short time. Actually, if you spend enough money, you can sustain the pleasure of a sinful lifestyle for quite a long time before it catches up with you.

This verse literally says that Moses chose not to enjoy the pleasures of sin for this little time only. In other words, he didn’t say to God, “Let me have one more month as a royal Egyptian before I follow your plan for my life.”

“Pharaoh’s birthday is in two months. That kind of celebration will never happen again. I’ll attend it, then after that I’ll identify with Israel.”

The trap is that it will never be the right time to live for God. It will never be the right time to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit in us.

Scripture says that Moses was looking ahead to the reward. Do I look ahead to the reward that the Holy Spirit is holding out to me? The choice is – do I want to go where the world is leading me to or where the Holy Spirit wants to take me?

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
Galatians 5:16-18

That’s why we need the Holy Spirit’s leading. If we submit to His process then there’s no need for the law. It’s when our heart sides with the flesh that the conflict starts. My spirit wants to submit to Christ and my flesh wants to chase after the world.

I need make the choice to follow the Spirit’s leading. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today – while the Holy Spirit is seeking my attention. Don’t ignore His gentle voice calling for your fellowship.

Question: Is there something in your life that’s been hindering you from fully submitting to the Holy Spirit’s leadership?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Faith, Prayer, Revival, The Church

 

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Have You Met El Qanaa?

Lightning 3In my last post I showed the first thing the Holy Spirit wrote about Himself. This was found in James 4:4-5. It declared in no uncertain terms that the Holy Spirit is intensely jealous over us.

Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
James 4:5-6

But what really caught my attention was the phrase Scripture says. I started to ask myself where the Bible talks about this jealousy. So I searched the Old Testament.

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Exodus 34:14

In this section of Scripture God is giving Israel the Law through Moses. As I read it I was taken by surprise to find out that His name is Jealous.

Please understand, I’ve heard a lot of teachings about the names of God. He’s Jehovah-Rapha, the Healing God. He’s Jehovah-Tsidkinnu, God our Righteousness. These names don’t even scratch the surface.

But in all of these teachings that I’ve heard about the names of God I was never told about El Qanaa. The Jealous God. (Pronounced like El Kanaw)

We need to lay hold of this. For purposes of comparison I started counting. Jehovah Jireh, the God who Provides, is only used 1 time in Scripture. Abraham was inspired to use this name for God when He provided a ram for sacrifice in place of his son.

In contrast, God calls Himself El Qanaa 7 times in the Old Testament. I think that this is a part of God’s character that shouldn’t be ignored.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30

This verse literally says do not make the Holy Spirit sad, mournful. I think we lose sight of the fact that He’s a person with feelings. How many times do we make Him feel rejected or ignored?

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

This verse tells us that God did not call us to a life that’s not cleaned. That phrase could also mean not pruned. We think it’s okay to say, “I just don’t want to be cleaned up right now.”

The truth is that we’re called to a set apart life. This is accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit within us. So He starts the cleaning process when we’re saved.

When I reject the process – His instruction and guidance – I reject God, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to do a work that He’s proud of in us.

Then we tell Him, “Not now. Come back later.” That makes Him sad. He knows the destiny He’s leading us to. We need an increased sensitivity to the Holy Spirit working within us.

Question: What has the Holy Spirit been working in you lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Revival, The Church

 

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First Impressions of the Holy Spirit

DoveI believe that the church doesn’t acknowledge the Holy Spirit as it should. We don’t fully understand the blessing we’ve been given. We have the Spirit of the living God residing in us.

I wanted to delve deeper into understanding the Holy Spirit as a person. So I began to teach a series on the Holy Spirit in my Wednesday night Bible Study. As I began to study, the Lord started showing me things that I wasn’t prepared for.

What I found is going to be the subject of my next few posts. My hope is that it will lead you to a greater respect and understanding of the Spirit that lives within you.

As I said, I was studying what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. Who wrote the Bible? Obviously THE HOLY SPIRIT! He used individuals to write it down, but the Lord breathed His Word through them to bring us the Scripture.

In thinking about what was written, I asked myself a question. What’s the first thing that the Holy Spirit says about Himself? After all, first impressions are the most important.

In my studies I’ve come to believe that the book of James was the first of the New Testament to be written.

In that short book there’s only one direct reference to the Holy Spirit and it took me off guard.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
James 4:4-5

We know that God the Holy Spirit wants to be your friend. But it’s interesting to see that the first thing He reveals about Himself is that you can’t be both His friend and the world’s friend.

Understand – you can have friends in the world. But the Spirit of God doesn’t want you to be a friend of the world system. We can’t be chasing after the same things that the world does.

The Scripture above literally says that the Holy Spirit is intensely jealous. This is a destructive jealousy to the point where He actively seeks to destroy whatever would try to steal the heart of those He loves.

He knows that you love Him. He knows the plans He has for you. He wants to bring you prosperity and health. He has a hope and a future destiny for you.

But at the same time He sees someone trying to steal your heart. Someone who has plans to ruin your life. Someone with a desire to steal, kill, and destroy.

My question is; if that’s the first thing He says, how important is it to Him? An even greater question is; how important does this seem to the church today? Unfortunately, I believe that we’ve lost this sense of the Lord’s jealousy.

That’s what I intent to write about for the remainder of this series.

Question: How does the knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s jealousy affect your walk with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Power of God, Prayer, Revival

 

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Get Your Zeal On!

 

Fire DangerWe’ve all heard of the armor of God in Ephesians, chapter 6. Many people talk about the need to put on this holy armor. But do you know that there’s one more piece of clothing available to us that covers it all?

Paul the Apostle was a Bible scholar. He knew the Scripture better than most others of his day. What we fail to realize, is that he didn’t come up with the teaching of the armor of God on his own. It was actually from the book of Isaiah.

In Isaiah, chapter 59, we see God Himself putting on the armor – at least the helmet and breastplate. This is His personal armor – it was made to fit Him. That’s why I need to abide in Christ for it to fit me. But that’s another teaching…

I want to talk about something else that Isaiah saw as the Lord was preparing for the spiritual battle.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 59:17

The reason that Isaiah could only see the breastplate and helmet was because God put on some clothes over the suit of armor. Did you know that one of these is available to us today?

It’s not the garments of vengeance. We know from Scripture that vengeance is His alone.

I believe that part of our problems stem from the fact that we want the armor but still fail to fully clothe ourselves. It’s the zeal of the Lord that covers it all. That’s one of the things that the church is lacking in this generation. Paul puts it this way…

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Romans 12:11

When should we be seen without the cloak? NEVER!! But what is zeal?

Zeal itself is a very strong emotion. It’s when you desire to possess some quality or possession of the one you’re zealous for. It’s actually the same as jealousy – only the positive side of that quality.

But I’m talking about being zealous toward Christ. This is a passionate, consuming zeal that’s focused on the Lord. It drives us toward the accomplishment of His will and the maintaining of His honor.

All of this is done in the face of whatever is happening in the world around us. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in the middle of good or bad circumstances.

Christ must be the focus of our zeal. We need to get emotional about our God. We need to stir it up.

That’s what warriors do before a battle. They would hold council the night before they met the enemy. They’d tell stories of former victories, sing, chant victory slogans, and raise the war cry. All of this was to stir up the emotion of zeal.

In the spiritual struggles we face, there’s no difference in the way we achieve victory. God wants us to put on His zeal before we enter the heat of battle. We must take up this attitude: “I live for the honor of Christ!”

Question: How often do you get emotional about the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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