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What’s the Point?

In my last post, I talked about the importance of a Word from God in the church.  When we gather together, there should be an expectancy that we will receive an impartation from the Lord.

In First Corinthians, chapter 14, Paul continues with this thought.

Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?
1 Corinthians 14:6

Having already told the church that he desires everyone to pray in the spirit, the apostle now talks about his own ministry.  He, personally, has a rich spiritual prayer life.  And he will continue it when he comes to the Corinthian church.

When Paul prays in the spirit, he’s speaking to God.  When he comes to the gathering of believers, he wants to speak to them.  That’s how the church will be built up.

This statement is not an either/or proposition.  Paul prays in tongues so that he will be built up.  Then, when he comes to the church, he’ll have something to impart from the spirit.

He says there are four things that you can expect from his ministry.  They’re the same four things that should be the earmark of a healthy church, even in our generation.

Revelation.  The word, revelation, means an uncovering.  There are times when the preaching of the Word will uncover things that have been hidden.

We’re told to be the light of the world.  There are times when people don’t want to come into the light because it exposes the things that they’re hiding.

Anointed preaching has a way of opening people’s mail.  That’s a step in setting them free from their sin nature.

Knowledge.  Knowledge is simply the understanding of facts.  It’s learning something that you didn’t know before hearing it.

Godly preaching will expose you to facts about the people and places in the Bible that you hadn’t heard about before.  The more knowledge we receive, the stronger our faith in God will become.

This is a very important aspect of preaching.  Unfortunately, there are churches where knowledge is just about the only thing you get from their ministry.

Prophecy.  I’ve talked about this one before.  Prophecy is speaking a message that God wants to be delivered.  It doesn’t always deal with the future.

I believe that all preaching should be prophetic.  Personally, I don’t want to stand before a congregation unless I know that I’m saying what God wants them to hear.

But it’s not just preaching.  It could be a word of encouragement that the Lord wants you to share with a friend at work.  It doesn’t always have to be spoken before the whole church.

Word of Instruction.  This is specifically teaching that applies to your life.  It’s an instruction on how to live for Christ.

We have lived in the world, according to its rules, for our whole life until coming to Jesus.  Now, we’re a new creation, in a new kingdom, with a new destination, and therefore have a new lifestyle.  We need to be instructed on how this new life works.

When I come to a church gathering, there’s an expectation that one or more of these four aspects will impart God’s power to me.  Prayer in the spirit equips those in ministry to walk in this anointing.  It also prepares me to receive what the Lord has for me.

Question: How would the body of Christ look if this were in place in all church meetings?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Knowledge vs. Love

In my last post, I concluded the section of First Corinthians that dealt with romantic relationships.  Now the Apostle Paul is starting a new subject.

The Corinthian church had sent him a letter asking whether or not they could eat meat that had been sacrificed at a pagan temple.  You may think that this doesn’t apply to us, but I assure you, it does.  You’ll find out why as we go through chapter 8 of Paul’s letter.

In his society, the people of his day would look for any advantage they could get.  They would seek the blessing of an idol so they would bring an animal for sacrifice to the pagan temple.  Usually, they would bring their very best for this purpose.

The pagan priests who ran the temples would then take this meat from the sacrificed animals and sell it in the market to raise money for their support.  Because of its source, it was usually the best meat available.  So the question of whether a Christian could purchase this meat was a valid one.

How would this apply to us?  The problem of Paul’s day was that there was no Old Testament Scripture that directly talked about this issue.  So there were some believers who said it was a sin while others thought it was perfectly fine.

There are issues that we deal with in the church today that are like that.  Things that the Bible doesn’t mention, yet we have opinions about.  We ask are they sin or not.  I’m talking about things like dancing, drinking alcohol, going to a casino, getting a tattoo, or playing the lottery.

We need to hear Paul’s answer if we’re to walk correctly before God.  He starts by laying down some important principles.

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.  The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.  But the man who loves God is known by God.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3

It all starts with our knowledge and love.  In all cases love trumps knowledge.  That’s because with knowledge comes pride.  We think that we’re somehow better than others because we possess more knowledge than them.

That’s not the case.  Knowledge is like air.  You can blow up a balloon, but there’s no substance to it.  In our society, people will spend years of their lives accumulating knowledge in universities.  They think that somehow they’re more valuable because of it.  In reality, the more love you possess, the better a person you become.

This is especially true when you think that you know something completely.  Paul is trying to get across to us that you can never know everything about a particular subject – especially when it deals with your walk with God.

Paul says that the man who loves God is known by God.  That phrase literally says that the one who loves God is known under God.  That tells me that the more you love God, the more you submit yourself under His control.

The more you love the Lord, the more people begin to see your submission to Him.  Then, your love for others will begin to increase.  The more you love, the more valuable you are to God and His kingdom.  It has no relationship to how much knowledge you possess.

Make it your goal to live a life of love, then you’ll be able to use your knowledge for the benefit of others.

Question: How have you seen the effect of knowledge bringing pride with it?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2019 in Fellowship, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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Three Main Functions of the Mind (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to do some hiking and praying off in the woods.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

I enjoy studying teachings about the subject of Creation vs. Evolution.  I believe there’s a very important issue involved that no one seems to talk about.

We’ll start by looking at a passage from the book of Hebrews.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:3

Actually, it all boils down to one key phrase – we understand.  What does it mean to understand?

The Bible talks about three basic concepts that deal with how the mind functions.

The first is knowledge.  Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and it’s the easiest to acquire.  We go to school or read books and get knowledge.

The next is wisdom, and that’s a little bit tougher to get.  Wisdom is the application of knowledge to solve problems.  The only way to get wisdom is through experience or time spent in God’s presence.

The third and most important function is understanding.   Understanding involves direction.  It looks for the eventual outcome of a line of thinking.  It tries to put together all the facts, and asks, “Where does the path I’m on take me?”  This process exercises the mind to its greatest potential.  It’s hard work and sometimes brings unexpected results.

Because of this, most people will not seek understanding.  Yet seeking is the only way to obtain it.  You must choose to understand.

Understanding, then, is exercising the mind to see the entire picture of life.  It looks at how everything fits together.  This is what our society desperately needs.

Unfortunately, most school systems teach us NOT to understand.  Everything is about the present.  Does it feel good right now?  Instead of understanding, they seek explanations – as long as these explanations fit into their worldviews.

There’s an unfortunate outcome to this kind of living.

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
Psalm 32:9

Our modern society displays the truth of this verse.  The less understanding you possess, the more you need to be controlled.

We frequently hear people complain, “There are so many new and complicated laws now.”  What does that tell you?  I believe that we’re training a generation how not to understand.

The ability to seek understanding is the basis for a clear direction in life.  It’s got to be the starting point.  Without direction, there’s no reason for self-control.

This is why the creation-evolution debate is so emotional.  It involves issues that affect the very core of who we are and how we view our existence.

Question: How is a lack of direction displayed by our present society?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2018 in Encouragement, Spiritual Walk

 

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What You Need to Know

BibleWe live in an age where all the information we could ever want is right at our finger tips. We can fill our time searching for what we want to know, but never find what we really need to know. As believers, there’s only one thing that’s vitally important to know.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:17

This is the key to a successful Christian walk. Unfortunately, we don’t always grasp what this means. People say that they want to know Christ better, but how does that translate into our lives?

Sometimes we need to start by knowing what this does NOT mean. The Apostle Paul describes it to us.

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking…Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
Ephesians 4:17-20

According to Scripture, there is right thinking and futile thinking. We can’t afford to think like the world. The world thinks that success is measured by money, power, and influence. Or sometimes, how many toys you accumulate.

This kind of thinking will never satisfy – you’ll never have enough. We do not know Christ like that, yet many try.

The truth is that Jesus Christ is not just one more way to fulfill the desires of your flesh. The Lord is not always after the same thing you’re chasing. We must find His destiny for our lives.

That’s why we’re taught over and over in the Word…

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
Ephesians 4:22

We’re not told to get rid of everything – just our former way of doing things. We’re living a new life now. Things don’t work the same in Christ that they do in the world.

The old self needs to go. That’s the part of me that keeps falling victim to my deceitful desires. These are the things in life that sound so good to me, but rob me of my effectiveness for Christ. They distract me from following after what I really need.

The fact is, if I’m not walking in the joy of the Lord before I make a lot of money, I won’t be joyful after I do. If I can’t serve God to my fullest now, I’ll never be able to when I’m a “success”.

That’s the importance of knowing Christ. I want to take a few posts to talk about what it means to truly know Him. We must know the lord to the point where it effects how we live.

Question: What’s the difference between know Christ and knowing about Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Clarity – The Result of Worship

ReflectionThis is my final post about the atmosphere of worship surrounding the throne of God in Revelation, chapter 4. I’ve been looking at the gemstones mentioned there.

Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
Revelation 4:6a

This one is a little different than the other gems we looked at. The first three conditions were what brought us to the place of worship. This atmosphere comes from, is created by, our time of worship.

When the word crystal is used we need to understand that it’s a catch-all term for any clear stones. Crystals can be anything from quartz to diamonds. They do have something in common – they’re all clear stones.

Worship brings about an atmosphere of clarity. There’s something about worship that helps you to see clearly.

The reason why is pretty simple. It’s because of who’s there with you in that place.

Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.
Revelation 4:5b

The original language of this verse says that this is the seven-fold Spirit of God. That’s who you’re spending time with as you worship. Why is the Holy Spirit referred to as the Seven-fold Spirit? I believe that Isaiah was given the answer to this question.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord
Isaiah 11:2

It’s clear that these are the seven aspects of the Holy Spirit’s work in the church. This is how He reveals Himself. Getting to know the Holy Spirit in this light is what worship is all about.

When we spend quality time with the Holy Spirit, we’re with the Author of wisdom, understanding, counsel, and knowledge. Things become clear in His presence. The clouds lift and we start to see our lives and the world around us through the Lord’s eyes.

The problem is that if we don’t maintain this relationship, we start to forget what we’ve seen through Him. Our spiritual vision starts to get hazy.

This is probably why there’s not a lot of deep, intimate worship happening these days. Like any relationship it requires time and commitment. You have to press in to it. The good news is that the rewards are worth the investment.

Over the last few posts we’ve seen that the atmosphere around true worship consists of praise, ownership, holiness, and spiritual clarity. We get into trouble when we only want to cultivate a couple of them. We need them all operating in and through us.

Don’t miss the blessings of God’s Holy Spirit working through you. Create the atmosphere for true worship. Let the presence of God permeate your life.

Question: How has the worship of God changed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Prayer, Revival, Worship

 

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The Three Main Functions of the Mind

DonkeyIn my last post I started talking about the subject of Creation vs. Evolution.  I believe there’s a very important issue involved that no one seems to talk about.

We started by looking at a passage from the book of Hebrews.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:3

Actually, it all boils down to one key phrase – we understand.  What does it mean to understand?

The Bible talks about three basic concepts that deal with how the mind functions.

The first is knowledge.  Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and it’s the easiest to acquire.  We go to school or read books and get knowledge.

The next is wisdom, and that’s a little bit tougher to get.  Wisdom is the application of knowledge to solve problems.  The only way to get wisdom is through experience, or time spent in God’s presence.

The third and most important function is understanding.   Understanding involves direction.  It looks for the eventual outcome of a line of thinking.  It tries to put together all the facts, and asks, “Where does the path I’m on take me?”  This process exercises the mind to its greatest potential.  It’s hard work, and sometimes brings unexpected results.

Because of this, most people will not seek understanding.  Yet seeking is the only way to obtain it.  You must choose to understand.

Understanding, then, is exercising the mind to see the entire picture of life.  It looks at how everything fits together.  This is what our society desperately needs.

Unfortunately, most school systems teach us NOT to understand.  Everything is about the present.  Does it feel good right now?  Instead of understanding, they seek explanations – as long as these explanations fit into their world views.

There is an unfortunate outcome to this kind of living.

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
Psalm 32:9

Our modern society displays the truth of this verse.  The less understanding you possess, the more you need to be controlled.

We frequently hear people complain, “There are so many new and complicated laws now.”  What does that tell you?  I believe that we’re training a generation how not to understand.

The ability to seek understanding is the basis for a clear direction in life.  It’s got to be the starting point.  Without direction, there’s no reason for self-control.

This is why the creation-evolution debate is so emotional.  It involves issues that affect the very core of who we are and how we view our existence.

Question: Do you see a lack of direction and self-control in our society?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Creation, Faith

 

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Discipline, Knowledge, & Correction

Proverbs 12:1
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.

Discipline is one of those words that we don’t want to hear about too often.  It brings up all kinds bad memories.  But, like it or not, we all need discipline.  In this verse, Solomon tells us that discipline and knowledge go hand in hand.  Unfortunately it is something that this society seems to know very little about.

There is an attitude that says that I deserve to have what I want right now – no matter what.  In many cases people will have their own way no matter what it does to their future.  So often we are more than willing to place our future earnings, our relationships, and our health all on the altar of instant, momentary pleasure.  Only discipline can keep our destiny safe.

The fact is that knowledge, without discipline, is almost worthless.  Discipline is the ability to restrain my actions now and do what I need to do, so that I can have a greater enjoyment in the future.  This goes against the “feel good now” attitude of our generation.  Too often we are willing to sell our future for gratification in the present.  That’s what Solomon is speaking to here.

Correction is when you are willing to listen to critical advice from someone who has been there.  The word translated stupid in this version, simply means that they are destroying themselves.  If you are not willing to take correction, and show the discipline it takes to change your direction, then you will slowly lose your future benefits.

How many times do we look back and say, “I wish I’d have done that differently.”  The time is now to heed the voice of godly correction and allow discipline to shape your future.  Don’t lose out on the destiny that God wants you to have.  Don’t trade your future blessings for the instant gratification.  Let discipline, knowledge, and correction bring you to a life worth living in Christ.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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