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The Mountaintop Experience

So many people are hungering to see a manifestation of the power of God.  That’s the Lord’s will for us as well.  It’s something that you have to seek and pursue.  Jesus told His disciples about it.

And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
Mark 9:1

Three of the disciples were about to witness the power and glory of the kingdom of God.  The Lord was taking them on a special trip.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone.  There he was transfigured before them.  His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.  And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Mark 9:2-4

Many times during His ministry, Jesus would go off by Himself to a remote location and pray.  He would spend time in the Father’s presence, hearing what His next assignment would be.

Now, the Lord takes His three closest disciples with Him up a mountain.  They are about to learn from a mountaintop experience.  It should speak to us as well.

The first key to a mountaintop experience is the fact that they were all alone.  There were no distractions.  They could concentrate on what was happening with Jesus.  We need to get to that place of an unhindered focus on the Lord and what He’s speaking to us.

It was in that place that they had a revelation of the glory which Christ possessed from eternity past.  That’s the defining characteristic of a mountaintop, at least in Scripture.  It’s all about clarity of vision.  You can suddenly see clearly what God wants you to see.

When you’re on top of a mountain, above the tree line, you have an unobstructed view in all directions.  You can see clearly both where you came from, and where you’re going to.  And even more than that, you get a fresh revelation of Christ.

In that place, you have a greater understanding of who Jesus is and what He wants to accomplish in you.  It’s a place of spiritual clarity.

The disciples didn’t know how to handle it.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
Mark 9:5-6

Here we see one of the biggest problems of our flesh in the Lord’s presence.  Why do we always think that we need to say or do something?  Why can’t we just stay quiet, listen for His voice, and drink in His Spirit?

We need to learn to just be still in the Holy Spirit’s presence.  It’s what the Father told the disciples.

Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love.  Listen to him!”
Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
Mark 9:7-8

If we will quiet our hearts before God, we could have this type of mountaintop experience.  Not with our physical eyes, but in the spirit.

The results are well worth it.  We will “no longer see anyone but Jesus.”  That’s the change that can only happen in the spirit.

Question: Have you ever had a mountaintop experience and what did you learn from it?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Place of Clarity

Many people ask how they can get direction and insight from God.  The fact is that God always wants to speak to us; we just need to be in the position of hearing Him.  As we continue in Mark’s Gospel, we’ll see how Jesus heard from the Father.

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Mark 6:45-46

As I read the Gospels, I find that Jesus loved the mountains.  He went there often to seek solitude and to pray.  I don’t think that the disciples ever realized the importance of this part of the Lord’s ministry until after the resurrection.

There were many times where the best thing for Him to do was to dismiss the crowds and to send away His disciples in order to be alone with the Father.  This was one of those times.  He had just ministered to thousands of people.  That can be very draining no matter who you are.

When the Lord took on flesh and blood, He chose to live as one of us.  Because of this, Jesus was bound by the same physical limitations that we are.  He learned that you can’t just keep giving out to others.  You must also take something in that can recharge your own spiritual batteries.

It was in these mountains of prayer that Jesus was able to renew His Spirit.  He would seek the Father’s face and by the Spirit, hear the plan for the road ahead.  In that way, He could fulfill the work He was called to do without burning Himself out doing it.

How do I know that the Lord would hear from God in this way?  Scripture makes it clear.

When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.  He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.
Mark 6:47-48a

I think that we miss the importance of this verse sometimes.  This was a direct communication between the Lord and the Father.

It had gotten dark.  The disciples were a couple of miles away, in a storm, and it was night time.  Yet the Bible clearly says that Jesus saw the disciples straining at the oars.  If it were daylight, He might have seen a tiny dot out on the lake.

This was obviously something shown to Him in the Spirit.  That’s what happens in the place of solitude and prayer in the spirit.

What most people don’t understand about this is that being alone in the presence of God is the mountain of clarity in the spirit.  As a matter of fact, if you read through Scripture, the defining characteristic of mountaintop experiences is clarity of vision.

Jesus had to climb to get there.  It involved work.  It’s the same for us.  It’s not easy setting aside a regular time to seek the Father.  But the rewards are a clear view of the Lord’s plan for our lives.

That needs to be a lesson for us.  If Jesus needed this time with the Father, how much more should we be seeking the presence of the Lord in our daily lives?  Take the time necessary today to renew and refresh yourself in the presence of the Lord.  You’ll be glad you did.

Question: What’s the last thing God showed you when you spent time in His presence?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Are You Comfortable?

HammockAre you comfortable where you are in life right now? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Too often we get comfortable and that turns into complacency. It’s never God’s plan for us remain at one level for very long.

We can see this illustrated in the lives of the Israelites. When they were on their way to the promised land, they stopped in the shade of a mountain as God directed. But not long after that, the Word of the Lord came to Moses.

The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.”
Deuteronomy 1:6

Mountaintops are great! It’s one of my favorite parts of hiking. To stand on a mountain or ridge top and survey the vast beauty all around me makes the entire climb worth it. I wish I could stay there forever just taking in the scene before me.

It’s like that in our Christian walk as well. When we’re going through challenging times, we want to be done with it quickly. We have no problem moving on to an easier time of life.

But when we arrive at a spiritual high, we’d like it to go on forever. It’s easy to just sit back and enjoy the blessings of God. We’d like to just put our lives on “auto-pilot” and cruise along undisturbed.

One of the reasons I like mountains in the natural, is that the mountaintop brings a kind of clarity. You can see where you came from and where you’re going. This view gives you an understanding of the area that is unobtainable any other way.

Unfortunately, no matter how good the view is, there comes a time when I have to move on. Life is the same. There are events that you never want to stop. They’re like being up on a mountaintop.

What we have to learn is that the valleys of life are just as important. That’s why we need to regularly take stock of our lives. You need to ask yourself if it’s time to be moving on in some area.

God desires to see growth in His people. The accompanying truth is that growth means change. I can’t move on to the new places God wants to bring me, if I don’t leave the comfortable place I’m in now.

Every so often the Holy Spirit gives us a nudge. “You’ve been here long enough. It’s time to move on.”

It’s on the mountaintops of life that God gives clear vision and renewed strength for the valleys. But we need to cultivate an attitude that desires all that God has planned for us. That helps us to be ready when the call to move on comes our way.

Spend some time taking inventory of your life. Receive what God has for you today – and move on with His Spirit.

Question: What is the spiritual movement that God is working in you right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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Remember the Sacred Mountain

MountainThe apostles Peter, James and John had a special relationship with Jesus. Because of this, they saw and heard things that the other disciples missed out on.

One time in particular they went up on a mountainside with the Lord. They witnesses some amazing events that day. They saw Christ take on the glory He had in Heaven.

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Matthew 17:2-3

That must have been an unforgettable experience for them. They had a new revelation of who Jesus was. This was a mountaintop that would forever change their lives.

Many years later, after the resurrection and ascension of the Lord, Peter still recalls that day. He recounts what happened in one of his letters to the church.

For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
2 Peter 1:17-18

Here Peter is remembering back to the time when he and the two other apostles received a special revelation up on a mountaintop. Jesus was transfigured before their very eyes. He became robed in the majesty that was His before the foundations of the world. Peter calls that place the sacred mountain.

The fact is, we all have these places of special significance in our spiritual walk. These times with the Lord shouldn’t be lost in the past. They need to be remembered and brought with us into our destiny.

Where are your sacred mountains? Where are those special places where God’s Word to you changed your life?

Of course, because I like to hike, some of my most significant times with God actually occurred on mountains. I remember powerful times with the Lord on Mt. Major in New Hampshire, Stratton Mt. in Vermont, and Easter Mt. in Connecticut.

The problem I have is that my memory is so short. It’s easy for me to forget these deep encounters with God. Unless I record them, I will eventually lose the impact of my meetings with Him. I need to take the time to record these life-changing moments in my journal.

That’s why it’s so important for you to make note of these awesome events in some kind of journal. You can use paper and pen or one of your electronic devices. It doesn’t matter, as long as you keep a record of your important meetings with the Lord.

We must find a way to remember these special times. Make sure you keep a journal and record your encounters with the Lord. Years later you’ll be grateful that you did.

Question: What was one of your most memorable moments in the Lord’s presence?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Flee to the Mountains!

Mark 13:14
“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Jesus was giving His disciples a prophetic word concerning what they would be facing in the years ahead.  He was explaining to them about the fall of Jerusalem and the desecration of the temple.  He told them that when they see these things occur it was time to head for the hills, as the city would not be safe any longer.

“Fee to the mountains” is still good advice today.  When sin and the “abominations” of life start to weaken you, you must find a refuge for rest and relief.  You have to find a place to be alone with God.  Your faith and strength need to be restored in His presence.

Throughout Scripture we are exhorted to enter the mountains of God.  We need to seek a mountaintop experience with the Lord.  This is quality time, not just rattling off a list of needs and wants.  It is spending a while just listening to Him.  That is probably the hardest thing for any Christian to accomplish – spending time in silence.  In some cases it may be just as hard as scaling a tall mountain.

It is in the quiet places that your spirit can be renewed and refreshed.  You can put the noise of society behind you and hear the voice of Christ calling you to a higher walk.  Spend that quality time before Him today.  In His presence is all you need for life and godliness.  If you will flee to His side, you will have all the strength you need to continue on and face your battles victoriously.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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