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Tag Archives: overcoming

Advice for the Journey

It’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

There are times that I’ve felt like giving up.  Problems started closing in and it seemed like there was no way out.  But what I came to find out is that God never took His hand off of my life.  He was with me through the problems and brought me through them victoriously.  Here are some things I learned along the way.  I hope they’ll be a blessing to you.

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.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:2-3

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 lying 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 2017

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2017 in Encouragement, Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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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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Born Again – Letting the Scripture Speak

BibleI’ve started a new series on what being Born Again means according to the Scripture. I want to show that how the Bible describes it is very different from our current vocabulary.

If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
1 John 2:29

The phrase does what is right is literally does righteousness in the Greek. John is not talking about doing good things. It’s more than that. He’s referring to living the life of righteousness as Jesus did.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
1 John 3:9

I’ve heard self-righteous people use this verse to prove that others in the body of Christ are not even saved. Usually they only apply it to the externally evident sins that others commit, and not the internal ones that they enjoy.

The original language of this verse says that those who have been born of God do not have the power to go on sinning. This is because God’s seed remains in him. That’s the important point – God’s seed. What many like to do, is to go in and out of God’s presence. We don’t let the seed remain in us for very long before we go off on our own.

This verse is easier to understand if we realize that being born of God is the act of putting on the new man – created to be like God. We must come to the understanding that you can be saved and on your way to Heaven, yet not be born again. The term born again means that your life has been changed.

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4

Are there believers who don’t overcome that are going to Heaven? Of course. The Bible clearly talks about people who are going to make it into Heaven by the skin of their teeth. (I Corinthians 3:14-15)

The problem of believers who don’t overcome the world is not that they aren’t saved. It’s that they have yet to put on the new man. We’ve missed this teaching in the modern church. As a result, we’re suffering from an epidemic of unproductive and defeated Christians.

The Apostle John understood this concept. He wrote about it in his Gospel.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
John 1:10-11

He came to the world that He made. Yet most of the world did not even recognize Him. The coming of Christ went largely unnoticed by the ancient people.

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
John 1:11

Of course there were those – a small group – who did recognize who He was. But even among them, there wasn’t total acceptance. Only a small percentage of them received Christ.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…
John 1:12

Now we get to the even smaller group of those who received Christ. Those who received Christ are described as those who believed in His name. That means that they were saved – they are now a part of the kingdom of God and on their way to Heaven.

This group of believers has been given something unique. Notice that they’re not automatically born again. On the contrary, they are merely given the right to become sons of God.

In my next post we’ll continue looking at this truth in more detail. Please hear my heart. I want to see the church of our generation arise to its potential in Christ Jesus.

Question: How do these verses differ from our current definition of being Born Again?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Overcoming Abraham’s Past

WeedsDo hurts from the past hinder you from serving God wholeheartedly? Do you think the pain will stop you from achieving God’s best? Your past can only defeat you if you let it. Abraham’s father found that out.

I’m taking a couple of posts to show how Abraham’s past was actually working against his faith. He had to overcome family history to serve God the way he did.

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.
Genesis 11:31

Here’s another ancestor of Abraham who heard the call to leave Ur and go to Canaan. Terah, Abraham’s father, did more than just talk about it. He actually packed up his family and left for the Promised Land. His plan was short-lived though.

What was it that short circuited Terah’s try at serving God? What was the significance of Haran. Haran was both the name of a person and a place that was named after him.

It turns out that Haran was Terah’s youngest son. Haran died at a young age, leaving his son Lot in the care of his grandfather.

When Terah decided to go to Canaan, he made a stop at Haran, his departed son’s old homestead. This was the place of his greatest pain. Because of this, Terah just couldn’t get past it – literally. He let the hurts of the past stop him from pursuing God’s best.

Don’t let this happen in your life. Christ can heal and restore. Draw on His strength to overcome your pain. Yes, you’ll remember it, but it will not control your destiny. Let God’s best be your compass.

Was it easy for Abraham to follow God’s call? NO! He came from a family that had ignored or put it off for generations. He had to go against everything he was brought up with.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
Genesis 12:1-2

In spite of everything his family did to put off the call of God, Abraham succeeded. Generations of procrastination was ended on that day.

Abraham had to rely on the strength of God. He stepped out into new territory. We need to trust God in that same way. Serving God will almost always go against our natural inclinations. We need to look ahead through the eyes of faith.

This is how destinies are forged. We hear a Word from God and walk in it. There may be temptations that we need to hold off or refuse. We may hesitate because of past hurts.

Just don’t let the enemy stop your progress. Determine to see the Lord’s perfect will accomplished in you. Never let go of the dream God has given you.

Question: What dreams are you striving for by the Spirit of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Living the Truth

 

ButterflyGod wants us to understand that living for Him is not just a single decision, but an ongoing walk. Sometimes I think that the modern church has lost sight of the spiritual life that the early church walked in. It’s a principle that many believers in former generations understood. We need to relearn some of the truths that we’ve let slip over time.

I like looking at church history. I read how those in the past lived for Christ. Sometimes the walk of these early Christians, and even my grandparents, amazes me. I see a walk of righteousness that we only dream about. It causes me to ask, why do we struggle with things that they overcame on a daily basis?

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ve lost something over time. In the above verse Paul said, “You were taught…” What was it that they were taught? I believe it was how to walk according to the Spirit.

It’s not something you just grow into. You don’t just wake up one day mature in the Lord. These are things that we need to be taught. More than that, we must accept, apply and perform them.

We sometimes get in trouble theologically because we rip things out of context. We apply things to our lives that are not for us or that we haven’t attained to yet. We need to know who this verse was written to.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus…
Ephesians 1:1

Scripture wasn’t written in a vacuum.   There were things surrounding what was written. The letter to the Ephesian church was sent to a group of mature, faithful believers who were walking in the truths Paul was writing about. They understood these things – and I’m convinced that many of us in the modern church don’t.

Here’s what happens. We read the words in chapter 4, above, and we think that it’s true about us. We think that Paul is writing these words to us. No, on the contrary, he’s writing to a people who are living it; as an example to us.

If the things Paul wrote in that verse were true of us, then we would be experiencing it in our daily walk. Why then are we still corrupted by our deceitful desires? Why do so many in the church still have the same attitudes as the world? Why, in the church today, do we still not live like Jesus, with the same love and works that He operated in?

I believe it’s because we’ve lost some of the truth that these other generations possessed. There are three things in the above verses that need to be done. Paul said that they put off their old man, renewed their minds and put on the new man.

I’m convinced that these milestones are worked on after our initial salvation. Paul makes it clear that these were things that they were taught. Teaching requires time, and I don’t think it was time spent being taught before they received Christ.

This has been on my heart for a while now. I’m burdened not only for myself but for the church as a whole to experience this renewal. Because of that, I may be posting about this subject for longer than I normally take for a series. But I really think that it’s needed and relevant to the church today.

Question: What would the church look like if we were “like God in true righteousness and holiness”?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Running Away – Part 1

Genesis 16:7-8
The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.  And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

Here Hagar finds herself in a no-win situation.  She has just become pregnant by Abram, the husband of her mistress, Sarai.  Originally it was at Sarai’s insistence.  But now Hagar is hated and mistreated for her obedience.  She felt no other choice but to run away from the situation.

Many people use outdoor activities as an escape from the problems of life.  I have met many long-distance hikers who are on the trail to “find themselves.”  Just like Hagar, they are trying to get away from their problems.

It’s okay to run away sometimes, as long as we know where we are running to.  When she was asked what she was doing, Hagar admitted her problem.  She told the angel that she was running away.

That’s the first step to healing.  You must admit to yourself and to God that you are trying to cope with something beyond your strength to deal with.

If this describes you, take the time to admit your condition.  Be honest with yourself and seek the wisdom of God to see you through this difficult season.  Let His arms of compassion surround you and begin the process that will lead you back to an abundant life.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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My Distress

Psalm 120:1
I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.

We can clearly see from this Scripture what David’s natural response to distress was.  “I call on the Lord.”  It is a simple statement of fact.

I think back to when I first started hiking.  Out of shape and 50 pounds overweight, I was in distress most of the time.  Some hikes were one long prayer for my deliverance!

We need to ask ourselves – “What do I do when I find myself in distress?”  Do we first try to do everything we can think of to help ourselves?  Do we ignore the problem and hope it will go away?  Do we only run to God after everything else has failed?

We need to learn from David’s example.  Our first choice in time of distress should be to call upon the name of the Lord.  He is the Rock of safety that is always close at hand.  He alone is always available to meet our needs.

It is only in Christ that we are assured to come out victoriously on the other side.  Let the Lord handle your problems.  You will find that you spend less time worrying.  Trust Him, it will make all the difference in the outcome of the problem.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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