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The Name is the Target

We’re continuing in the Gospel of Mark.  We’ve been looking at Jesus’ discussion of the Last Days with His disciples.  The Lord begins explaining to them how the world will turn against them.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child.  Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.  All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Mark 13:12-13

What a commentary on life in the end-times.  There will be a total breakdown of the family.  In most of history, the family bond was sacred.  The members of a family would do whatever it took to keep each other safe.

Here we see the exact opposite.  Family members turning on one another.  Even to the point of seeing them put to death.

It’s unfortunate that we’re beginning to see the decay of the family taking place right now.  Relatively few families ever eat meals together.  Many times, when they are together, each one is on their devices, lost in their own world of virtual friends.

But it’s the Lord’s last statement that we really need to take to heart.  The first part of that sentence literally reads; all will hate you because of My Name.

The name of Jesus Christ is becoming more and more hated throughout society.  You can talk about anything else, but not the Lord.

We need to come to the realization that it’s not us that the hatred is aimed at.  It’s the name of Jesus that’s the target.  We just happen to be the bearers of that precious name.

There’s a reason why this is the case.  The ruler of this present age hates that name.  He knows that his time is short and that soon the King will come to take His rightful place.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11

This is the reason that society hates that name.  They may not know why this is so.  There’s just an underlying move to do away with its impact on the lives of individuals.  This even includes using this name as a swear word to try and water down its power.

The good news is that the name of Jesus Christ will never be defeated.  It is the name that’s above all other names.  For us, it’s all that we need.

The second part of Jesus statement to His disciples was for us to stand firm to the end.  That’s the result of staying true to the name of Jesus.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10

The same name that’s so hated in society is our greatest victory.  If we will hold fast to that name, we’ll have the power we need to stand strong in the faith.

I don’t have to fear what’s ahead.  The future may be uncertain, but I know the One who has already been there.  If I put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, then I have nothing to fear, and everything to gain.

Question: How has the name of Jesus changed your life?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on June 27, 2018 in Power of God, Return of Christ

 

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Which Denomination is the Best?

In my last post, I talked about the path to leadership in the kingdom of God.  It requires a servant’s heart.  Today, Jesus will continue teaching along those lines with His disciples.

He took a little child and had him stand among them.  Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Mark 9:36-37

We need to understand what the Lord is talking about in this passage.  In the past, I’ve heard it misapplied all over the place.

Jesus is talking to His disciples.  These are the people He has set apart for the leadership of the church.  They were also specifically chosen to minister to Israel – God’s covenant people (Matthew 10:5-6).  So the Lord is talking about receiving a covenant child in His name.

As the disciples are listening to Him, they have an “Aha! moment”.  They realize that Jesus is not just talking about physical children.  They’re beginning to understand His teaching style.  They apply what He says to an incident that recently happened to them.

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
Mark 9:38

They remember telling someone to stop driving out demons in the name of Jesus.  But their reasoning is important to us.  The Greek verse literally says that the disciples told him to stop because he did not follow us.

Notice that it wasn’t because he didn’t follow Christ, but that he didn’t follow the disciples.  We know from the last post that they had a high opinion of themselves.  After all, they gave up everything to follow Christ.  This man, who was driving out demons, didn’t.

On the other hand, even though he didn’t give up everything to follow Jesus, he had the evidence of the power of God operating in his ministry.  He also must have understood a lot of the Lord’s teachings.  People were being delivered as he preached Christ.

This is where we are at our point in history.  Many Christian denominations are a part of the spiritual landscape before us.  What did the Lord say about this?

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said.  “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.  I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”
Mark 9:39-41

By saying this, Jesus has settled the matter of denominations.  Do all of them follow Christ to the same degree?  Obviously not.  But that’s not the issue.  The question is; are they operating in the name of Jesus?

Jesus is telling His disciples that you don’t have to be a super-apostle, trained by Jesus Christ, Himself, in order to get a reward.  If you’ve trusted Christ for your salvation, and your calling is as simple as giving water to someone, you’ll have a reward for fulfilling that calling.

We may not all be in the same denomination, but we must all receive each other in the name of Jesus Christ.

Question: How have you learned to respect other believers who don’t worship as you do?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2018 in Fellowship, Leadership, Ministry, The Church

 

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Giant Killers

stonesI’m posting about spiritual warfare and using David’s mighty men as our examples. Today I want to talk about someone named Benaiah.

Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.
2 Samuel 23:20

Benaiah was special. He wasn’t like the others. He was at his best when the fight was one on one.

But when I read about his encounter with the lion, I don’t think that was planned. I think that it was simply a snowy day. He hit a patch of slippery ground and slid into the pit.

Did you ever have a day like that? It’s snowy, it’s cold, and just when you think it couldn’t get any worse you slide into pit. Then you look around only to find a mad lion at the bottom. It’s a day that just keeps going from bad to worse.

In our situation we know that the enemy roams around like a roaring lion. You need to understand what that means. When a pride of lions are hunting their prey, they have a system. The young, strong ones silently circle around in front of the intended victim.

But it’s the oldest one – not as strong and maybe missing some teeth – who stays in the rear. There’s one thing he can do, and that’s to let out a huge roar. That scares the prey so that they run straight to the waiting pack.

In Abishai’s case, if he had tried to run away he would have been dead. The only course open to him was to fight the lion.

In our struggles, it’s the same thing. Never run scared from the enemy’s roar. The name of Jesus is more than enough to bring about the victory.

This is how we’re to behave. The mighty never run from the enemy. They go on the offensive in a battle.

And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.
2 Samuel 23:21

Abishai was a giant killer just like David. We need to pick up that same spirit. One of the enemy’s most frequently used tactics is to make the problem look overwhelmingly large.

We look at the challenge ahead and compare it to our abilities and resources. We start to fear and get anxious over how we’re going to get through. That’s a certain recipe for disaster.

We have to come to the realization that Jesus Christ is bigger that any situation we’ll ever face. We must keep our eyes fixed on Him, knowing that all the resources of Heaven are there to back Him up.

Question: What are some giants that the Lord has helped you overcome?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Blessed to be a Blessing

Come to JesusWhat does it mean to be a blessing? We use the word a lot, but do we really understand it? I want to take a couple of posts to talk about our ability to bless others.

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
Hebrews 11:20

Mature believers don’t just seek to be blessed, but to be a blessing. It’s a choice that has to be made. It’s by faith that we choose to be a blessing to others.

We use the word bless very loosely in the body of Christ.

“God blessed me with a parking space.”

We seem to think that anything good that happens is a blessing. That’s the modern church definition. But when you read the Bible, that thought will hide the truth about the blessing.

There are two opposites in Scripture, and we need to understand both of them. I’m talking about blessing and cursing.

Let’s start with blessing. What exactly does the word bless mean. In the Old Testament it’s the Hebrew word Barak. It means to kneel, which emphasizes the receiving aspect. In the New Testament, the Greek word Eulogeo is used. It means a well spoken word; and relates to the giving of a blessing.

One thing that we have to realize is that the blessing is always spoken. The actual word, bless, means to endue with power for success. That’s a tall order – to be a blessing to someone. How can I do that?

In Scripture we’re told to do everything in the Name of Jesus. It’s in His powerful name that we have what we need to bless others.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.
Psalm 118:26

If you have the name of the Lord, then you’re already blessed. It’s an event that has taken place when you made Christ the Lord of your life.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3

The good news is that I’m not looking for God’s blessing. According this verse, He has already blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heaven in Christ.

We know Scripture tells us that we can do all things through Christ. We have to remember this. We’ll never get that done on our own. We are blessed in order that we might be a blessing to others.

Getting back to what I said above. Now that we know what a blessing is, we can understand it better. A good parking space is not a blessing – it’s actually the result of the blessing that’s upon our lives.

This is the basis for blessing others. I can only bless those around me if I know that I am truly blessed. It takes blessed people to bless people.

Question: How has the blessing of God been evident in your life lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Ministry, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Healing Principles – Authority

KeyI’m taking a few posts to talk about the guiding principles that surround God’s provision of healing for His people. In my last article I showed that sickness is a part of the sin nature. It misses the best that the Lord wants for us.

Now I want to talk about our authority in Christ Jesus. We’ve been given that name that’s above all other names.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11

The Lord expects us to walk in and use His name in all of our activities. That means I need to strive to live the way He lived. That’s the only way I can adequately represent Christ to the world. It also means that I have a responsibility to seek the Lord’s way of ministry.

How did Jesus heal the sick? He’s our example for how it’s to be accomplished.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Mark 10:51-52

This is one of the many healings that are recorded in Scripture. One thing that strikes me right away is the boldness that Jesus had. We see the same thing in the ministry of the Apostles after the resurrection. Look at what happened in the Temple courts when Peter met a crippled man.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
Acts 3:6-8

In both cases Jesus and the Apostles were acting under the authority of God. What we need to understand is that the prayer for healing is a prayer of authority. That means that you don’t have to ask God to do it. It is a command that the healing be manifest.

It’s the same as when demons are cast out of an individual. I’ve had the privilege of delivering someone from the bondage of demonic possession. I didn’t ask God to do it. I took authority over the demon in the name of Jesus Christ.

I commanded it to leave based upon the clear teaching of Scripture that we’ve been given authority over all the power of the enemy. Sickness is the same way. The Word shows us that God hates sickness. It’s a blight on His perfect creation. We have His authority to command it to be healed.

The church needs to once again walk in the authority we’ve been given. Of course, as I’ve said before, this carries a responsibility to live as Christ lived. I think this might be the biggest hindrance to us living it out.

One more thing about our authority in Christ. Some people think that this is the only issue and run off to try it and fall on their face – spiritually speaking. In my next post I’m going to deal with another major principle that needs to be in place for us to see more healings taking place in the church.

Question: How have you used the authority of the name of Jesus recently?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2015 in Healing, Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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8 Keys to Receiving Answers from God (Part 2) #answeredprayer

PhoneThis is the second of two posts about how to receive answered prayers.  The Scriptures say that we can ask anything from God.  But few people know the requirements to these passages.

In my last post I talked about the first 4 requirements.

5. Your asking must be in the name of Jesus.

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 14:13-14

Too often we think of this in terms of a spiritual formula.  We pray whatever we want, then say “In Jesus’ name” at the end.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  We’re representatives of Christ.  This means that we’re asking on behalf of Christ.  We are praying what He would be praying in the same situation.

6. You must remain in Christ.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
John 15:7

This one is all about relationship.  Many want to know how to get all their prayers answered while living for themselves.  That will never happen.  The closer my relationship with Christ is, the more I pray according to His will.  Then I see the answers because they’re in His will.

7. You must be bearing spiritual fruit.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
John 15:16

Spiritual fruit are a sign of maturity.  The more of the Word of God we plant in our life, the greater the harvest.  It’s the same in the natural.  I don’t know any children who get everything they ask for.  Maturity breeds answered prayer.

8. Your asking must be with a clear conscience.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
1 John 3:21-22

Too often we know what God is calling us to do, but we ignore it.  When our conscience is not clear before God, we are open to the enemy’s accusations.  It’s hard to trust God when we are under the cloud of a guilty conscience.  That’s why a repentant life is so important.

When we operate in the calling of God it’s His good pleasure to supply what is needed to complete our destiny.  That’s the true secret to seeing our prayers answered.

Question: What’s the relationship between the will of God and answered prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Prayer

 

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Revival – Overcoming Evil with Good #prayforrevival

WaveI’ve been talking about the connection between revival, repentance, and forgiveness.  I believe that’s what’s necessary to usher in a revival in our nation.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21

Is this verse true?  Can evil be overcome with good?  The answer is a resounding YES!  The principles of forgiveness bring victory over evil.  Look at the example of Scripture.

In the early church of Jerusalem thousands of people a month were being saved.  Jesus was being preached.  Also during this time the apostles were arrested and brought before the religious leaders for questioning.

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Acts 4:18

This was the outcome of their meeting.  Does it sound familiar to you?  It should.  This is the attitude of society in the United States today.  They tell us that we can do whatever we want – just don’t mention Jesus.

What was the response of the church in Jerusalem to this kind of attitude?  Did they go out and preach some more?  Hold a Jesus concert?  Put a referendum on the ballot?  Absolutely not.

They called a prayer meeting.  This is what they brought before the Lord at that time.

“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:29-30

Considering that they were told not to use the name of Jesus, here’s their request.  First, they asked for boldness.  Then they asked for healings, miraculous signs and wonders.  But the important point was that they wanted them accomplished in the name of Jesus.

They didn’t just want to preach in His name, they wanted the world to see the power of the name of Jesus.  This is the forgiveness principle at work – it’s the power to arrest and destroy sin.  It’s all done by the power of the Spirit.

That brings me back to the verse I first started with at the beginning of this series.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Do we want our land healed?  Then sin must be forgiven – removed – arrested and destroyed.  The only way this will happen is for the church to get on our knees.  There needs to be intercession made for our nation.

Not praying for a better president or leaders.  Not praying for new laws.  We must cry out God to give us the boldness to speak His Word.  We must intercede for the Lord to send miracles, healings, signs and wonders.  All of this so that the name of Jesus can break sin.

After all, it’s so much easier to win the lost if the battle is won first in the heavens.

Questions: Why is it so hard to get people to intercede for our nation?  Are you willing to pay the price for revival?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
 

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