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Igniting the Fire

Fire DangerIn my last post I started talking about the followers of Christ in Luke 24. They were discouraged and double-minded concerning Jesus’ death. After encountering the risen Lord everything changed.

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32

They said that their hearts burned within them. In order to understand what happened we need to go back to that point. According to the men, it was when Jesus talked with them on the road. Let’s look at what He said to them.

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:25-27

As they were walking along the road Jesus explained the Scripture to them. What would you give to have an experience like that? It turns out that you can.

The word explained that’s used in this verse is very special. It’s the word that’s normally translated as interpretation; as in the spiritual gift of interpretation. This explanation that Jesus gave them was no boring lecture. It was an anointed Word straight from the Spirit of God.

That’s what will ignite the fire, not only in those early saints, but in us as well.

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
Jeremiah 23:29

God declares to us that His Word is like a fire. That’s the Word that Jesus proclaimed to these men on the road to Emmaus. As He spoke to them, the Lord lit a fire in their hearts.

We can have this same experience today. As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, we must have a listening ear. When we hear a Word from the Holy Spirit it will ignite a fire in our heart.

My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue…
Psalms 39:3

God’s Word to us starts the fire burning. But as we meditate on it, the flames increase until it is all consuming.

I’ve heard people pray for God to “send the fire.” It’s not a matter of Him sending it, but of us receiving it. We need to hear a Word from God to get it kindled in our heart. Then meditate on that Word in order to heat it up.

Question: What has the Lord spoken to you lately by His Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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The Truth about Mountaintops – The Grind

MountainHave you ever heard people say, “Some days you find yourself on the mountaintop, and other days you’re in the valley?” What they mean is that there are good days and bad days. It also shows that they don’t really understand what it means to be up on a mountaintop.

I’ve told you before that I’m a hiker. I love going out on the trail for days at a time. This summer I plan on doing a two-week section of the Appalachian Trail. It allows me to have a lot of uninterrupted prayer time.

I’ve learned a great deal about how hiking in the natural parallels our walk in the Spirit with Christ. In my hikes I’ve been to the tops of many mountains. These summits are interesting places. I want to share a few things that I found as I listened to the Holy Spirit relating to spiritual mountaintops.

The first thing I want to do is to dispel one of the biggest myths about spiritual mountaintops. In all my years of hiking – hundreds of miles and many nights on the trail – I have never once gone to sleep in a valley and woke up on a mountain. It just doesn’t happen that way, even though I wish it would.

There’s only one way to find yourself at the summit. You have to put one foot in front of the other and continue walking uphill. There’s a natural resistance to your efforts that’s called gravity.

But it’s more than that. You have to continue this repetitive motion, step after step, indefinitely until you reach the top. It can become a boring, monotonous grind even if you enjoy hiking.

To make matters worse, every so often you come to a false summit. Up ahead you see what you think is the top of the mountain. Then when you get there you find out that it’s only a place where the trail flattens out for a bit.

What does this have to do with the spiritual?

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. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:7-9

This is a great spiritual truth. If we want to see the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives, then we have to continue to do the things we know to do. This is true even when we don’t feel like it, or it’s not convenient.

It continues on day after day, week after week. Sometimes it feels like you’re not making any headway. Sometimes the resistance of our flesh has to be dealt with. But if we want to see the outcome God’s promised, we have to continue on.

I’d love to tell you that there’s an easier way. Just pray this simple prayer and you’ll wake up on the mountaintop. It doesn’t work that way.

Reading, confessing and meditating on the Word of God. Prayer in the Spirit and praying with your understanding. Fellowshipping and worshipping with other believers. These are a part of the sowing that is required for us to reap.

Step by step we approach the summit. Sometimes it doesn’t look like we going very far at all. Then, all of a sudden, there it is. We’re on top of the mountain. But we didn’t get there by magic. It took a determination to reach the top and a consistent walk with the Lord.

In my next post I’ll talk about what exactly it is to be on a spiritual mountaintop.

Question: What are the daily steps you’re taking to reach the summit God has for you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

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Scriptural Meditation – Unlocking Your Anointing

MoonThis is the final post on the three levels of godly meditation. It’s a missing ingredient in the church today.

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
Psalm 119:148

The Hebrew word for meditate in this verse is Siyach, which means to speak to oneself. This is the highest and most anointed form of meditation. This is where you actually start preaching (out loud) to yourself.

This type of meditation causes the insight and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to flow through you in an incredible way. I’ve gotten some of the most beautiful revelations of Scripture as I meditated (preached to myself) before God.

How does this work? The first thing you must do is find a quiet, out of the way place, where you can be by yourself. Then, out loud, begin to preach to yourself concerning the Scripture you’re meditating on. Just let it flow from your inner man. Don’t forget to bring paper and pen to write down the revelation you’ll receive.

You may think, “This is weird! It’s crazy to preach to myself.”   Actually, just the opposite is true. Psychiatrists tell us that the most well-balanced people are the ones who speak to themselves – and know that they’re speaking to themselves!

Most of the anointing to preach or teach is dependent upon the expectation level of the listeners. There were times in Jesus, ministry when He hardly did any miracles because the expectation of the people was so low.

During this type of meditation, the Holy Spirit’s anointing to teach is as strong as when you are before a crowd of expecting believers. This is because, if you’re expecting to hear from God, you’re drawing upon your own anointing. It’s a very awesome place to be in.

The Lord will then start to open up the Word to you prophetically.   When I meditate in this fashion, I usually have to keep stopping to take notes. You’ll find more of the Word opening up to you, the longer you meditate in the Lord’s presence.

This is such an incredible source of revelation from the Word of God that I’m convinced, like David, that you too will spend many nights awake upon your bed receiving insight and revelation from the Spirit of God. I know this happens to me from time to time. Rather than it being a burden, the study of the Word becomes exciting, because you never know what to expect or when to expect it.

Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.
Psalm 119:97-99

Once you enter into this level of meditation, you have a source of instruction that goes beyond what you learned from others. No longer do you need to rely on the next conference to get fresh revelation from the Lord. You’ll have a source of insight that you can tap into by yourself.

As for me, I’m not content just to repeat what everyone else is saying. I want a Word from the Lord. I want it fresh, vital, and relevant. I want it to speak to my situation and to the lives of those who are listening to me.

I need to draw on the supernatural revelation of God. This is what meditation on the Word is all about. My prayer for you is that you enter into the fullness of the Word that God has for you.

Question: What insights have you learned through the use of Scriptural meditation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

This series was adapted from my book, Breaking Free from the Pack – How to Develop a Spirit of Excellence.

 

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Is the Word of God Your Obsession?

Lion2I’ve been talking about the three levels of Scriptural meditation. It’s something that the body of Christ needs to once again focus on. In my last post I talked about the first level.

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
Psalm 63:6

The next step takes the thinking process deeper into your heart. In the above verse think of is the Hebrew word Hagah. This word is a strengthened form of the verb Hagag. It means to intensely think about.

Meditation at this level requires memorization of the Scripture. You have to become intimate with the Word of God.

At this level you begin to obsess on the Scripture. You dwell on it. You imagine the sights, the smells, and the textures. If it’s a teaching Scripture, then you imagine yourself obeying it. Get inside the Word. See it as written in you and about you. This starts to give you a deeper understanding of the application.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:8

We all want prosperity and success. But are we willing to do what it takes to achieve the level of excellence necessary to lay hold of them? In order to develop a spirit of excellence, it will require you to use at least this level of meditation.

This is what the LORD says to me: “As a lion growls, a great lion over his prey – and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against him, he is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor – so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.”
Isaiah 31:4

You may wonder what this verse has to do with meditating on the Word of God. Scripture describes it as a lion meditating on its prey. Hagah is the word growl in the above verse.

It doesn’t matter that a band of shepherds are trying to distract this lion. His focus remains fixed and unbroken. He has one thing in mind – lamb chops!

We need to obsess over the Word of the Lord the way a lion does over his prey. Don’t let the devil or the world distract you from your objective.

The question isn’t whether or not you have to do this. You can get by in your Christian walk without meditating on the Word of God. Even if you’re in the full-time ministry, there are enough books and tapes around to keep you in sermons and Bible studies for the rest of your life.

We should always desire something fresh from the Word. A major portion of what you’re preaching and teaching must come from your walk with the Lord. You can’t build a ministry of excellence if all you do is rehash what everyone else is saying.

When you allow the Holy Spirit to meet with you in the place of meditation, you’re in communication with the Author, Himself. In this way, you will gain insight you never thought possible.

This is something you must desire and go after. The choice is yours. You can stand before the people with a nice teaching; or you can come to them with a Word from God.

In my next post I’ll move on to the highest level of godly meditation.

Question: How often do you purpose to memorize Scripture?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

This series is adapted from my book, Breaking Free from the Pack – How to Develop a Spirit of Excellence.

 

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Meditate on the Word of God

 

Journal 2Godly meditation upon the Word of God is one of the lost arts of the body of Christ. It’s one of the most powerful tools you could ever use in your study of God’s Word.

The Bible is a spiritual book. You can’t expect to use natural study methods to receive the supernatural revelation and knowledge God desires you to have.

There are always those Scriptures that, when read, seem to “jump out” at me. Through my meditation on the Word of God, I’ve gained insight into many of these portions of Scripture. I’ve found that I can use the tool of meditation to take me into the deep places of the Word of God. By meditating on the Word anyone can find the deeper truths of Scripture, and you’ll also come across some hidden gems that you never knew were there.

There are basically three levels to meditation. Each level revolves around an Old Testament Hebrew word. In this post I want to talk about the first.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Meditation starts in our mind. The Hebrew word for this is Hagag. This word is used throughout the Old Testament and means to think about. That has got to be our starting point. We need to first think about the Word we’re studying. What does it mean? What did it mean to those to whom it was written? What does it mean to me?

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing.
Psalm 5:1

The word sighing, above, is the word Hagag. In both of the above verses David asks the Lord to consider his meditation. He wants the Lord to be pleased with what he thinks about. What a challenge!

One of the biggest battles we face is in our thought life. One of the side benefits to the discipline of meditation is that it starts to take our thoughts under control as we focus on God’s Word.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

We’re told that we’re to renew our minds. It’s through godly meditation that this is done. By thinking God’s thoughts, we’re “reprogramming our internal computers.” I believe this is what Paul meant when he wrote that we’re made clean by the washing with water through the Word.

This, then, is the first step, the starting point in our trip to supernatural revelation from Scripture. Before we can go any deeper, we must train our thoughts to focus upon the Word of God. We must begin to think about the Word. Only then are we ready for the next, deeper stage of meditation.

My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue.     
Psalm 39:3

As I have just stated, this form of meditation just gets the ball rolling. It’s merely the starting place. It ignites the fire that will bring you further into the Word. Now you’re ready for the second level. I will talk about that in my next post.

Question: How often do you simply think about the Word of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Ministry, Spirit of Excellence, Word of God

 

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Your Thought Life

Philippians 4:8-9
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.

This is one of the most important areas of your life.  It will either make or break you.  It’s always interesting to see what people do with their “down time”.  I’m talking about the time during the day that you’re not having to concentrate on what you are doing.

This is the time that you’re getting dressed, driving to work, or doing other things that don’t require a lot of thought.  These are times where you have nothing but your own thoughts to keep you company.  Using the time wisely can be very challenging.

Of course, with many people, this time is filled by their I-pod, radio, or cell phone.  The last thing this society wants is to think too deeply.  Like it or not, we need to take the time to think about important issues.

It has become abundantly clear to me through the Word of God and my own experience that what you meditate on during these times will ultimately shape your character.  If you are to achieve the maximum benefit from this, then you need to focus on what is spiritual – the Word of God, God’s calling on your life, and songs of praise and worship.

As these thoughts start to fill your mind, a change starts to take place in your heart.  You start to be drawn upward to God.  This idle time will now become a time of spiritual growth, renewal, and refreshing.

Take the opportunity today to turn off the external “noise”.  Begin to steer your thoughts toward the things of the Lord.  Discover the power you need for living as you fill your heart with the only thoughts that can bring lasting change to your life.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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The Word

Hebrews 4:12-13
For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

In this passage, the Word of God is compared to a double-edged sword.  The Word of God is sharp enough to cut through all your barriers to get to the real you.  It knows where you live.  It will find you and you cannot hide from it.  People try to run from the Word, but it catches up with them.

Once the Word of God is sown into your heart it’s inescapable.  As we walk through our everyday lives, we find that the world is alive with testimonies to God’s truth.  The Word of God opens your eyes to them all around you.  The Holy Spirit can speak sermons to you throughout the day.

Once activated in a person’s life, the Word cannot be stopped.  It will achieve that for which God empowered it.  Just think of the effect it will have if we yield to its power.  If I line my ways up with God’s ways, I will see a greater degree of transformation taking place in a shorter time.

Don’t fight it.  Let the Word of the Lord do its work in your life.  Don’t go a day without prayerfully reading a portion of Scripture.  After you’ve done that, then meditate on it throughout the day.  It is life-changing.  Apply it to your life, and see the difference it will make.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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