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Tag Archives: presence of God

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 Law of Freedom

MirrorIn my last post I talked about the need to hear a Word from God. We have to spend the time listening for his voice. But it doesn’t just end there.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:23-24

Once you’ve heard from the Holy Spirit you need to follow through on what He spoke to you. This goes beyond simply thanking Him for speaking. There has to be a fulfillment of the assignment.

I like the illustration that James gives us here. It’s important for us to understand just what he’s saying to the church.

In my last post I talked at length about the Word of God being more than just Scripture, but God speaking to us. As James continues on that theme, he starts to give us more detail. We can’t ignore the implications of what he’s teaching.

When I read the Bible, I know that it’s the same for everybody. The life of Jesus, the teachings of the Apostles, and the histories don’t change from generation to generation. The truths that we read are timeless, and apply to everyone for all time.

A mirror is a completely different piece of equipment. What I see in a mirror is not at all what you would see. As a matter of fact, what I see when I first wake up in the morning is nothing like what I see as I’m preparing to go to bed.

Every time I look into the mirror, it’s a unique experience. That’s another reason why this has to be about our time spent with the Holy Spirit – hearing His voice. Whenever we spend quality time in the presence of God it should be a one-of-a-kind encounter.

What I need to hear from God today, may be about something totally different than what He speaks to me tomorrow. The Lord wants to work in us and in the lives of those around us. For that to happen, I need to hear from Him on a consistent basis.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:25

Listen to what James calls this encounter. The perfect law that gives freedom. There’s absolutely no way he could be talking about the Old Testament here. Paul said almost the same thing in his letters.

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:15-17

It’s obvious that freedom can only come through the Holy Spirit. He wants to speak a word that’s tailor made to the situations we’re facing. I believe that hearing and doing what the Spirit speaks to us is the perfect law that gives freedom.

It’s through time spent in the Spirit that God writes His law on our hearts. That’s where we find the freedom to live for Him without hindrance.

Question: What was the last thing the Lord spoke to you about?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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Worship – The Place of Change

LightningI’ve been posting about the worship that takes place in the throne room of God. We enter that place as we pray in the spirit.

From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.
Revelation 4:5

Here is another picture of what happens before the throne of God. We need to understand that the term seven spirits of God could also be translated as the seven-fold spirit of God. I believe that’s referring to the Holy Spirit.

Also around the throne we see flashes of lightning. We see this happening throughout the Bible when God’s throne is mentioned. Lightning, loud noises, and thunder. But when you read Scripture there are only certain times when this happens.

We see this taking place when God changes something. In Revelation, chapter 8, we see the prayers of the saints offered like incense before God. Then, as they were being offered to God, the following takes place.

Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:5

What was taking place in Heaven started happening on earth. That’s because worship is a place of change. It’s in His presence that our lives are changed.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16

The Apostle Paul understood this. When he wrote this, Paul was talking about himself and his ministry team. He knew that in the place of worship there could be daily change happening.

Just think about it; we can come into God’s presence for daily renewal.

We try so hard to be good. We fail. Then we keep trying to be better. We need to learn the truth of that old chorus…

“I am changed in the presence of an awesome God.”

Enter into God’s throne room through prayer in the spirit. Everything we need is there. It’s in His awesome presence that we find unity, peace, and a changed life.

Question: How has your life been changed in God’s presence?

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© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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Are We Pursuing God – Really?

JogLast week I mentioned our pursuit of God. Many believers are convinced that they’re pursuing God. But is that what’s really happening?

I want to take a few posts to talk about the pursuit of God. Over and over again in the Scripture we see God saying to His people, “Seek Me, follow Me and come near Me.” One of the most important jobs of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into the Lord’s presence.

The fact is that God wants to be pursued – He wants to be sought after – and He wants to be found. The question I have is; are we pursuing God the way He wants to be pursued?

The Nation of Israel learned this lesson the hard way.

Here are two verses that don’t sound like they go together.

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.”
Isaiah 58:1-2

The first verse talks about showing the people their rebellion. In what way are they rebelling?

The next verse sounds like just the opposite. Day after day they seek out the Lord. They are eager to know His ways. They are asking for God to come near them.

This verse should actually cause us to stop and think. It sounds like much of the church in our generation. We are seeking, asking, studying, and desiring the presence of God to show up.

And yet, the Lord calls it rebellion. What was the problem? Actually, it was a very subtle one. The beginning of the next verse gives us the answer.

“‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”
Isaiah 58:3a

They’re error was that they weren’t really pursuing God. They were trying to use fasting, prayer, going to church, and studying the Bible as a way to get God’s attention. In actuality, they were trying to get God to pursue them.

I believe that many of us in the church today are falling into the same trap. We’re trying to get God to come after us.

This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.
“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Isaiah 66:1-2

In effect, God is saying, “What could you possibly offer that I would pursue you?” This verse literally says that the one God looks intently atthe one who gets His attention – is the one who humbles himself before God.

I want to take a couple of posts to look at this aspect of pursuing God.

Question: How do we show either pride or humility in our pursuit of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Cain – Repentance Breaks the Curse

CrossesI’m posting about Cain’s experience. He murdered his own brother because he thought that it would allow him to worship God on his own terms. It didn’t work.

He found himself away from his calling, and hidden from God’s presence. He even feared that he would be killed for his actions. But God did something surprising.

But the Lord said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
Genesis 4:15

God gave Cain the world’s first tattoo. It read, “Kill him and answer to Me – signed – GOD.”

Why would God do such a thing? Throughout His Word the Lord has said that murder is punishable by death. The answer is in His mercy.

Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.”
Genesis 4:25

This is a very strange statement for Eve to make. At this point she already had over 100 children. Why did she see the need to specifically replace Abel? The name Seth means to place in as a substitute.

Here’s where we see God’s mercy.

Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.
Genesis 4:26

What this verse tells us is that something happened when Seth was old enough to have children. The Bible literally says that calling on the name of the Lord was opened up. (The word men is not in the original Hebrew)

Why did God not allow Cain to be killed? The Lord wanted Cain to see the day when a new prophet would rise up. Seth could now offer the sin-offering for Cain’s forgiveness. I’d like to think that Cain took God’s offer of a second chance. I believe that we’ll see him in Heaven.

Remember – Cain’s curse was that he would be a restless wanderer.

Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.
Genesis 4:17

Do you hear that? Cain built a city. He’s not a wanderer anymore. It sounds like the curse was broken over his life. I believe it’s because he took God’s offer of forgiveness.

What can we learn from all of this – the way of Cain? I can’t worship God on my own terms. It’s an epidemic of our generation of believers.

Many people say that they’re pursuing God. The truth is that I can only pursue God the way God wants to be pursued. Anything else and I’m just a spiritual wanderer.

We must worship God the way He wants to be worshipped – in spirit and in truth. Anything else misses the mark.

Question: What curses has God broken from over your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Cain – Worship On My Terms

WomanI’ve been posting about the offerings of Cain and Abel. What we’ve seen is that Abel was God’s designated prophet. If Cain’s gift was to be accepted, he had to bring it to Abel. This would have required Cain to humble himself.

“You mean I have to go to my little brother for God to accept my offering?”

The truth is that there’s only one way to worship God acceptably – God’s way. Cain had a problem with that.

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Genesis 4:8

The result was that Cain killed Abel. Cain’s thinking was that God wanted him to worship through the prophet. But what if there was no prophet? Then God would have to accept an offering from Cain’s hand.

Cain wanted to worship God on his own terms. He thought that God would have to accept his offering regardless of how he brought it. But that wasn’t the case.

Cain became the world’s first murderer. He was cursed for this sin.

The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
Genesis 4:10-12

What was Cain’s response?

Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
Genesis 4:13-14

Cain said that his punishment would be unbearable. Why? Not only was he driven from the land, but he would be hidden from God’s presence.

Does that sound like an angry, hardened reprobate to you? I don’t see any of that as he stands before God.

He is starting to understand his situation. He can no longer fulfill his calling – being driven from the land. He can’t find forgiveness in the presence of God. The only advocate that he could have gone to – Abel – is dead. It even dawns on him that he deserves death.

His answer to God sounds sorrowful to me. He sounds more humble that Adam and Eve did when they sinned.

This shows the mercy of God. The conversation between Cain and God still sounds like the interactions of a father and a wayward son.

We serve a God who always desires restoration over judgment. The outcome of this event is no different. Cain was sorry for what he had done. God had a remedy.

In my next post you’ll see how the story ends. It’s probably different than you think.

Question: How has God’s forgiveness affected your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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