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Tag Archives: overcomer

A Promise for the New Year

ReflectionThere’s a lot of unrest in the world today. Even in the United States there’s more apprehension over the new president than ever before. What should our attitude be, as believers?

Jesus made a statement to His disciples just before going to the cross. I believe that we need to take it to heart in these last days.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:1-3

There was a very good reason why the disciple’s hearts were troubled. If you read chapter 13 of the book of John, the chapter just before this passage, you’ll see Jesus warning them that He was going to be denied, betrayed, and killed.

At this point Jesus starts to sense their anxiety and tells them, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. You trust in God. Trust in Me.”

In verse two He tells them why they can be free from fear. The King James Version reads, in my Father’s house are many mansions. Well, is it a mansion or is it a room? That makes a big difference to me. I want to know whether I am getting a room or a mansion.

The Greek literally says, “In my Father’s house (or residence) are many places.” The word that Jesus uses is the Greek word for place.

Now, place could be a mansion. Place could be a room. Place could be a chair. There are many different kinds of places. But the one thing I’m sure about is that we’ll not be disappointed with the accommodations given us.

I’ve seen some good accommodations on earth, and I know God outdoes anything that we could have here. I don’t care what you call it. Whatever He gives me, I’m going to be thrilled with it. I am satisfied just knowing that He has a Place prepared for me.

He then tells the disciples in verse three that He’s going to get things ready. And if He goes through all the work needed to prepare a place, then they can rest assured that He will indeed return to take them to that place. That’s the promise that we can hold on to. He’s going to return. No matter what the world looks like. No matter how rotten things get.

We know the truth. The Church is going to come into fruition. But right along with that – as the wheat buds, the weeds are also going to come to fruition as well. The world is going to get worse and worse as it bears the fruit planted by the enemy.

But don’t worry, the Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world, and He’s going to come back at the right time, at the end of this present age, and receive us to Himself. With a promise like that to hold on to, there’s no need to worry.

What’s going to happen next week or next year? What will the economy do? What about the crime rate? These are all things we need to watch and be mindful of. But the bottom line is that because of Christ, these things shouldn’t trouble us.

We need to keep our eyes fixed upon Christ and His Word. That will take us victoriously through anything that comes our way in the future.

Question: How has God brought you through a big problem in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Spirit Overcomes Flesh

FlyingIn my last post we saw how the spiritual walk, specifically prayer in the spirit, will bring change from the inside out. This truth is also brought out in other parts of the Scripture.

No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.
Romans 2:29

This is another piece of that same puzzle. Our outside will never change unless we have a change of heart. The problem is that our heart itself is very deceptive. We can’t always trust what we’re feeling.

That’s why true change can never be imposed upon it from the outside, by the written code. It must come from the inside, by the power of the spirit. Isn’t it great to know that your spirit can change your heart?

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Galatians 5:16

Our new knowledge of the power of prayer in the spirit should give us a whole new insight into what this verse is actually saying. Many times, when people quote this verse, they’re using it as a weapon.

I’ve heard people say things like, “Look at how that person lives, and they call themselves a Christian. They’re walking in their flesh so they must not have the Holy Spirit in them. They can’t really be saved.”

This isn’t a verse that Paul gave us to test whether a person is saved or not. This is a passage of Scripture to tell us how to receive the power we need to walk in victory over the flesh. The only way you’ll have the power you need to not gratify the flesh, is to live your life in the spirit.

You cannot do it by exercising the will power of your soul, or even disciplining your body. This means that you spend time praying in the spirit, communing with God in the realm of the spirit. That’s where we access the power to overcome the desires of the flesh.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

This is one of the most popular passages with many Christians. Unfortunately many believers have no clue what this section is actually saying.

What is fruit? Fruit are those yummy balls of sweet goodness that hang from various kinds of trees. How do they get there? Does the tree have to sweat and fret and work hard to push them out? Does a tree try and fail and get frustrated and try again to do better?

Of course not! Fruit are a natural result of being an apple tree. They are produced simply because the tree is healthy, and has access to everything it needs (air, minerals, water, and sunshine).

This is something that most Christians miss. They think that producing the fruit of the spirit only comes by hard work and a lot of will-power. That’s not what God intended. The fruit mentioned here will not be produced by reading the Bible or going to church.

They will not even come by will power or guilt. These things are the fruit of the SPIRIT. Why would we then think they would be the product of our works, will power, or trial and error?

The fruit of the spirit are the natural product of a life lived in the realm of the spirit. As our spiritual relationship with the Lord grows, then so will the fruit. They will not be from our strength.

In my next post, I’ll give some examples of how this works.

Question: Why is it impossible for our flesh to discipline itself?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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In the Battle – Like it or Not

SwordIn many instances in the Scripture our spiritual walk is described as a battle. Light vs. darkness; Heaven vs. hell; good vs. evil. We need to know how to live with this truth.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:17-18

In this verse, Paul is talking about the authority and power of God. He wants to work these through us. There’s a battle raging on the earth right now. Unfortunately, many don’t even care about it. Do you?

The last sentence of this quote is very important. It literally says, attending to this with all persistency and petition around all the saints. The emphasis is that this is encompassing all the saints.

The battle is all around you whether you want it or not. That’s why the apostle uses such strong language in his exhortation.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13

Think about the church today. Picture the body of believers as an army standing before hell’s gates. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. The question is; are we that victorious church that the Lord was talking about?

We should be, and in some areas there are local churches that have the enemy on the run. But that’s not the case everywhere. Are all the believers in their spiritual armor? Are all believers even willing to fight this spiritual battle? I don’t think so.

What about the enemy’s kingdom? Are they ready? Absolutely. They understand what’s at stake and they’re in it for the long haul. They won’t give in without a fight.

Right now the arrows of the enemy are flying all around us. Arrows are the first strike weapon. The truth is that you don’t have to be in the fight to be hit by an arrow. That’s why believers are encouraged to take the spiritual armor seriously.

How do you take the stronghold from the enemy? First, you put on the armor and pick up your shield. Behind the gates are the prisoners that need to be set free.

Understand this, as you approach the gates the fight goes from general to personal. It gets to the point where it’s one on one.

Paul is not talking to all believers here, but to the faithful. That’s who I’m talking to as well. The believers who want to make a difference in the world around them. For the next few posts I want to talk about this spiritual battle that we face on a daily basis. I’ll use Christ as our example for how to live an overcoming lifestyle.

Question: How is your life affected by the spiritual battle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

 
 

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An Invitation to the Wedding

DinnerI’ve been posting about the Bride of Christ. Not all believers will be a part of the Bride. Understanding this truth is foundational to receiving all that Christ has for us.

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
Revelation 19:9

Listen carefully to the true words of God. There’s a blessing upon those who are invited to the wedding supper. Think about it. The Bride is not invited as a guest.

The Bride and the groom are the reason for the supper. My question is; who are these people that are not the Bride, yet are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb?

This thought should overshadow all others in our walk with the Lord. Am I a friend, or a part of the Bride? Am I overcoming, and producing the fruit of the Kingdom? Or am I content to watch others?

Please realize – this is the job of the wedding attendants – to watch, enjoy, and comment on what’s happening between the Bride and the Groom.

“Look at how they love one another.”

“They look great together.”

Or we could put it this way, “Look at how sold out to God they are.”

“Look at what they’re doing for the Kingdom. I couldn’t live like that. I’ve got too many other things to do.”

Are we watching the commitment of others and enjoying what they do for the Lord? That’s fine if it spurs us on to deepen our walk with Him. But if I decide that my goals and plans are more important, it shows that I just want to show up at the wedding.

So often we think that we don’t have to do anything for God. After all, we attend church most weekends. We give into the offering to support the work they’re doing. Actually, we’re merely giving a wedding gift to the Bride to help her get ready – more proof that we’re only attending.

I apologize if I sound harsh, but there’s a world full of people in desperate need to hear the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” It’s time for the sleeping church to rise to its feet and declare the Gospel of Christ. For too long we’ve believed the watered down message telling us that all believers get rewards, are a part of the Bride, and live in the New Jerusalem.

I want you to receive the full benefits of what Christ paid for you on the cross. That will only happen if God’s people take the Word of God seriously. We need to prepare ourselves the way the Spirit directs us and not through our own desires.

In spite of all this, being an attendant is not a bad thing. The Scripture above says that they’re blessed – supremely happy. They’ve made it, by the grace of the Lord, into His presence. They’re saved, joyful, and have received their resurrected bodies.

But the Scripture is clear that we’re to set our affections on things that are above. If your goals are high, you’ll have a higher walk. If your mind is on the earth, you won’t progress very far in the Kingdom of God.

Make it your goal to be a part of the Bride – to be an overcomer by the power of the Holy Spirit. Enter in to all God has for you.

Question: How focused are you on the God’s calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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I Give Up!

Dead EndIt’s so easy to give up when times are tough.  That’s the difference between surface Christians and overcomers.  Which kind are you?  Only you can make the choice to keep going forward.  This is what it takes to make it to your destiny in God.

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 6:9

Realize that God has a good plan for your life.  Whether we know it or not, God has us walking a good path.  He wants the best for us.  He knows what will fulfill us better than we do.  But we must continue to the end if we’re going to enter our destiny.

Know that everything worth having requires effort to obtain.  Sometimes the road we’re on seems rough and steep.  That shouldn’t stop us, however.  Struggles are a part of life.  If it were easy, everyone would be walking in the blessings of God.  It takes an attitude of perseverance to make it over the hills of life.

Keep your eyes on the finish line.  Don’t let your present hardship become the focus of your attention.  Keep your vision upon Christ and His plan for your life.  That’s what can sustain you during the difficulties that you encounter.  If you can see the goal, then you know that it’s not over yet.  God will have the final word in your life.

Keep moving forward, no matter what happens.  I love to go out hiking.  But it doesn’t always turn out well.  There have been times that I’ve been injured on a hike.  It would have been very easy for me to let weariness and despair take over.  I felt very much like laying down on the ground and giving up.  I had to keep telling myself, “Keep putting one foot in front of the other – you’ll eventually come to the end.”

Understand that moving slowly is better than standing still.  This is probably the best advice I could give you.  No matter how slow you think you’re going, don’t give up.  You will make it!  Never look at your life in terms of a sprint to the finish.  You need to see yourself as being in it for the long haul.  The victorious finish of your race depends on it.

Maybe you’re going through a seemingly impossible situation right now.  Give it over to God in prayer, if you haven’t already done so.  It could be that you’ve taken the responsibility for the problem back to yourself.  Let go of it and allow God give you the strength you need to see it through.

Questions: Have you ever felt like giving up?  How have you found the strength to continue on?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2014 in Encouragement, Power of God, Prayer

 

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