RSS

Tag Archives: listening to God

Are We Listening?

This is my last post which will look at the first of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians.  In his conclusion, the apostle encourages them in their spiritual walk.  He gives a few exhortations that are just as applicable today.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-20

These verses literally say don’t quench, put out, the Spirit and don’t act like prophecy doesn’t exist.  I believe that this sentence gets at the heart of one of the biggest problems in the church today.  A large segment of the modern church totally ignores the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

When we bow our knee to Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us.  But that’s not just for show.  He lives in us in order to lead and guide us into the Lord’s plan for our lives.

The Biblical term for ignoring the Holy Spirit’s work is godlessness.  To be godless doesn’t mean that you’re an atheist, or even unsaved.  Godlessness is living as if there’s no God, or as if God’s plan doesn’t really matter to you.

It’s so unfortunate that many believers try to figure out on their own how they want to live.  They come up with the plan of what they’ll do for God and what they’ll do for themselves.  They act as if God doesn’t speak to His people anymore.

Personally, I don’t know how anyone could live for Christ without spending time in His presence.  That’s where we truly learn to live life to the fullest.

Test everything.  Hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil.  May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
Brothers, pray for us.  Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.  I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-28

When you’re walking with the Holy Spirit, you can test, or literally approve, everything that comes your way.  Some things are for you to get involved in – the good, and others are not for you – the evil.

We get into trouble because of our skewed concept of good and evil.  We think that just because something isn’t intrinsically evil, then it’s okay for us to get involved in it.  I’ve had so many people ask me, “What’s wrong with…?”

The point isn’t whether something is right or wrong.  It’s all about whether or not it’s a part of God’s plan for your life.  That’s why time in the Lord’s presence, listening to His Spirit is so important.  There may be something that looks good, that God doesn’t want me to waste my time on.

On the other hand, just because something is not for me, doesn’t mean that it’s not in God’s plan for your life.  I can’t make you walk within the boundaries that God has set for my life.

Now please realize that in all this discussion I’m not talking about those things that the Bible calls sin.  Sin is sin, and it’s never God’s will for us to fall into it.

I’m talking about the normal day to day decisions of life.  God wants to be involved in all of our planning.  That includes our time, money, career, family and educational choices.  When we ignore God’s voice in these matters, we’re quenching the Spirit and treating prophecy with contempt.

The important thing to see is that Paul wanted this read to everyone, not just the leadership.  We all need to be listening to the Holy Spirit’s voice and following His leading.

Question: What’s the last instruction you’ve heard from the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 12, 2017 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Let Yourself be Stretched

BandsI’ve been posting about the place of fasting in the believer’s life. In my last article we saw that there was a difference between fasting under the Old and New Covenants. The New Covenant fast is so that you put down your flesh to better hear from God.

We don’t seem to hear the voice of the Lord as well as they did in the early church. I don’t think it’s as much God not speaking, as me not listening. Fasting helps me drown out the noise of my flesh.

But Jesus gave another parable…

“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Matthew 9:17

The Old Testament fast is likened to old wineskins; empty, used up, dry, and unyielding. They have nothing of value on the inside.

In that culture, new wine was unfermented grape juice. The fermentation process produces gasses that pressurize the skins. Old, dry and unyielding bags would burst. You can’t live for God like that.

A new wineskin was made of unstretched leather. Then it was oiled to make it soft and pliable. That’s the job of the Holy Spirit in us – to prepare us to receive God’s Word.

Then we get that new wine in us. It starts to ferment, the pressure builds up and the wineskin stretches.

That’s another reason why fasting is so important to us. Fasting increases the inner man. When you fast, there’s a spiritual pressure that builds up.

You’re hearing from God and something is being poured into you. The pressure is building. Now you have something to give.

You’re now able to pour out into someone else. Then the pressure is released – for a little while anyway.

By fasting you have something on the inside that stretches the outside. I don’t know what God wants to do this year, but I want to be prepared to hear His voice.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Matthew 4:1-2

Just before Jesus started His public ministry He went on an extended fast. He knew that He was going to be tempted and tested. In order to prepare Himself, He fasted.

Do you think you’ll be tested this year? What are you going to do? How will you enter the test? Prepared? Or not? How will you answer the enemy?

The truth is that fasting prepares us for the battle ahead. I don’t know what’s coming. But I know this; the enemy is good at predicting it based upon what he sees lining up in the spirit world.

We don’t see it. We have to rely upon what we hear from God. Are we going to have a Word from God for our generation? That’s what’s needed.

I want to be prepared to face 2016 and all it holds. The blessings, callings, testings – everything. So I fast to hear from God. Enter into the blessing that fasting brings.

Question: How will you incorporate fasting into the New Year?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Fasting, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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

Our Legacy of Giving Out Bread

agricultureI’ve been posting about hearing God’s Word, and using it to bless others. There are plenty of examples in Scripture. One of them was a man named Philip. He was just a normal believer who wanted to serve God.

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
Acts 8:26

The Bible says that an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. The word angel is the Greek word messenger. It was the angel’s job to communicate God’s plan to Philip. How did he do it? We’re not told.

Did the angel physically appear to Philip? Did he speak in an audible voice? Or was it just an impression that Philip got, that he needed to walk down the southern road? There’s no way of knowing.

What we do know is that Philip obeyed the instruction of the angel. Because he did what the Word of the Lord told him to do, salvation was brought to a high official of Ethiopia.

We can also look at the life of the Apostle Peter. One day he was minding his own business, praying on the roof of the house he was staying at. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he receives a vision from God.

A blanket is let down from Heaven with all kinds of unclean animals in it. He hears a voice that tells him to take them and eat them. He replies that he would never do that because they’re unclean. Then the voice tells him not to call unclean, what God has made clean. This happened three times while he was on the roof.

At that point he had no idea what God was trying to say to him. Why take this time to explain that unclean animals had become clean? Personally, I’m happy about this because I enjoy BBQ ribs. But God’s intent was not to simply increase our menu. There was a deeper issue He was trying to prepare Peter for.

While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
Acts 10:19-20

Peter’s attitude about Gentiles was not where it should have been before the revelation of the unclean animals. God had to prepare Peter’s heart in order to get the Good News to the Gentiles.

Sometimes we need to be prepared to hear the Word of God to us. That’s why it’s so important to remain in the presence of God. This Gentile family needed to receive the Bread from Heaven. There was nowhere else for them to get it, except from the Apostle Peter.

God had to give the Word of truth to Peter so that he could then pass it on to these Gentiles. Because of Peter’s faithfulness to the Word, many were saved and salvation was opened up to all nations and people groups.

Right now, God is looking for a people who are willing to spend time with Him to hear His voice. Then, once we’ve heard from Him, we go out into the world and accomplish His objectives for His glory. This is the ministry that we should be performing as a continuation of what Christ did when He walked the earth.

Question: What have you heard from God that could be a blessing to others?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 31, 2014 in Ministry, Prayer, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

There’s no Excuse for Lack of Vision #Vision

BlurThe following is adapted from my book, Breaking Free from the Pack – Developing a Spirit of Excellence.

And he uttered his oracle: “The oracle of Balaam, son of Beor, the oracle of one whose eye sees clearly, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:”
Numbers 24:3-4

Even though he was a spiritist and an idolater, Balaam understood something about vision.  Vision is the ability to see and perceive the way ahead through the eyes of your inner man.

We need spiritual eyes that see clearly.  In verse 4, when Balaam says that he hears the words of God, a Hebrew word is used which means to hear intelligently, to give attention to.

In your walk with the Lord, you can only go as far as you can see.  We get into trouble when we’re not seeing what God is showing.  We need to stop assuming that we know it all.  The attention and focus must be upon what God is saying to us.

For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll.  And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say to him, “Read this, please,” he will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.”  Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” he will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.
Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
Isaiah 29:11-14

I’ve found that many people have excuses as to why they don’t know God’s vision for their life and ministry.  To some it’s a mystical thing, words sealed on a spiritual scroll that they can’t open.

They say, “I’m waiting for God to reveal it to me.”  All the while, they’ll sit back and do nothing until the sky opens up and they see angels ascending and descending.

Others think so little of themselves that they believe God can’t possibly give them vision.  They believe that they could never read the spiritual climate they’re in.  They feel that they’re not worthy, not strong enough spiritually, or not mature enough in the Lord.

God is simply looking for a person who’s willing to listen to Him.  He wants to open up His heart.  He wants to show us His vision for our life and ministry so that we can use it to chart the course we will follow.  The Lord doesn’t care if you’re just starting out or if you’ve walked with Him forty years already.

Human nature would rather talk about serving God than actually doing it.  If I’m content to worship God with my lips, then I will not go to God personally to hear His voice. Instead, I want the pastor to hear from God and tell me what I need to do.

Some prefer rules taught by men rather than the discipline that it takes to seek God for themselves.  I can never enter into the fullness of God’s blessing with that attitude.  It’s up to me to spend time in His presence and receive spiritual vision.

Question: What’s the God-given vision for your life at this point?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Ministry, Spirit of Excellence

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Are You Listening? #returnofChrist

ListenIn my last post I started talking about the end-time generation.  We looked at the Scripture which told us that if a man cleansed himself from wrong purposes, he would be ready and equipped for good works.

This is where we are in time.  I believe that this is the final generation before the return of Christ.  We are the “John the Baptist generation.”

He was one man sent to a nation.  Now there’s a small group sent to a sleeping church.  Either you’re the one calling, or the one needing to wake up.

We must respond to God’s call for equipping.  God is now equipping a people for the end-time ministry.

But there was another part to John’s ministry.

During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.  He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Luke 3:2-3

He heard and he went.  Our generation must hear a Word from God.  God is speaking the same message throughout the body of Christ today.

“Listen to Me!!!”

God is trying to get our attention.  He wants to speak to a church that is largely enamored with what the world has to offer.  We don’t want to take the time to hear from the Holy Spirit.

The enemy knows this.  Never have there been more distractions.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

We seem to have lost sight of this truth.  That verse literally says, “Faith comes out of hearing and hearing through the rhema of Christ.”  Rhema is the Greek word that speaks of the word we hear in our spirit.

That’s one of our biggest failings.  Not listening, and therefore not hearing God’s voice speaking to us.

We want to just go out and minister with the power of the spirit.  We want to go to work, watch TV, play basketball, and heal the sick.  We want formulas – quick, easy ways to walk in the spirit.

The spiritual authority that we’re looking for starts in hearing from God.  John went out into the desert and didn’t minister until he heard a word from God.  People actually flocked to him in the desert.  Today, we find it hard getting people to our meetings in the middle of a city.

What’s wrong?  I believe that the answer is clear – we have no word from God.  If we want to be the end-time church, prepared for Christ’s return, then we need to be listening to the Holy Spirit.

Question: Are you willing to take the time to hear a word from God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Prayer, Return of Christ, Revival

 

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