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Stand Your Ground

DifferentI’m continuing to post about the spiritual battle that we’re in. The Apostle Paul had a lot of insight in this area. Of course not everything he wrote sounds good to me.

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 6:13

This is one of those scriptures that I have to take note of whether I like it or not. I’m told under the authority of the Holy Spirit to always be prepared to stand my ground.

This is a great lesson that the church needs to hear. So many people give up when things get hard. Some of us are under the impression that working for God should be all hearts and flowers.

Why then does Paul use the analogy of a warrior, fully armed, and dressed for battle? The fact is that there are spiritual forces that don’t want us to succeed in our service to the Lord. The victory comes from knowing that it’s the Holy Spirit giving you strength, and not giving up.

We need to learn how to stand in the center of opposition. The ancient Romans knew how to do this. It was the secret to the success of their army. Each of the Roman soldiers was taught how to defend a 3-foot square of ground from an invading army.   Together, there was no way to break through their lines.

We need to get it into our heads that the only way to victory is to move forward in the Lord. Backing up WILL NOT get you out of the battle. It will only make you have to fight to regain that ground later.

Most of all, the thing about this verse that gives me the most trouble, is when Paul says when the day of evil comes. Not “if”, not “there might come a time when problems arise”. He tells us in a straight forward way that this day is coming whether you’re ready or not. So the best thing to do is prepare now.

The word that Paul uses for stand literally means to stand in opposition to. This word is used elsewhere in the Bible.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

The word resist in this verse is the same word as stand that Paul used. We need to stand our ground and resist the devil. We’re told that if we do this, in submission to the Lord, the enemy will flee. It’s the time frame between the resisting and the fleeing that gives us the most problem.

Why would the devil ever flee from us? After all, we’re not that strong compared to him. The answer is back in the verse from Ephesians.

The phrase after you have done everything actually translates after you have fully accomplished your work. When you have done everything you were assigned to do by the Lord, then it’s time for the Holy Spirit to take over. One thing I’m certain about. The enemy is no match for the God I serve!

So, being forewarned with the knowledge that the day of evil is coming, we need to be ready. We must be fully armed and prepared to stand our ground in Christ. Then we will see the victory of God manifest in our situation.

Question: What are you going through right now that will require you to stand your ground?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
 

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Give Me My Mountain #happynewyear

2014Welcome to 2014!!  There’s no going back – no do-overs.

As we look forward to what’s in store for us, we must keep our minds fixed on the road ahead.  We have a great destiny in the Lord.  Here’s a wonderful quote from an Old Testament saint.

“Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert.  So here I am today, eighty-five years old!  I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.  Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day.  You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”
Joshua 14:10-12

You would think some young soldier spoke these words.  Maybe someone fresh out of boot camp and ready for a battle.  The hill country of Israel is rough terrain, especially when in a war for the possession of it.

But Caleb, the man who spoke up, was 85 years old.  His attitude is remarkable.  He wasn’t content to let someone younger do the work.  He wasn’t one to say, “It’s time for me to sit back and relax.”

On the contrary, Caleb was ready to fight for what was promised to him.

I’m glad that there’s no age limit in the Kingdom of God.  We need to see that we will not be put out to pasture when we reach a certain age.  I want to serve God faithfully with every breath I have.

As someone in their 50’s, I see each new year as a blessing that must not be squandered.  That being said, if you’re younger, then time should be even more precious to you.

Caleb didn’t sit on the couch for 70 years then finally get up ready for a fight.  He was actively walking in the plan of God his whole life.  We need to cultivate the same attitude.

Obtaining the blessings and promises of God require faith, patience and consistency.  Knowing this, we must harden our faith now – so that when we reach our elder years, we’ll continue on spiritually stronger than when we started.

Take the time at the beginning of this new year, to establish the path of your life in the direction God has for you.  Commit your future to the Lord and purpose in your heart to finish the race strong.

We may not know what’s ahead of us in the coming year.  But we do know the God that we serve, and the exciting path He is sure to lead us on.

Have a blessed New Year!!!

Question: What are you trusting God for in this new year?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Encouragement, Faith

 

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How to Get Ready for the Lord’s Return #returnofchrist

Clouds ReturnIf you’re like me, then you can see by world events that the return of Christ is quickly approaching.  What does it take to be ready for that great day?  Some believers give the impression that it’s enough to simply sit back and wait for His coming.  It’s important to know what Jesus said about it.

At one point in His ministry, Jesus was invited to a Pharisee’s house for dinner.  He gave many important teachings there.  But for the purposes of this post I will only look at one of them.

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Luke 14:12-14

Sometime during this get together, the Lord turned to the Pharisee and talked about his motivation for throwing a party.  A party might be given to impress people and increase your standing in the community so that you’ll be invited to bigger and better parties later on.

According to Christ, if that’s your motivation, then you’ll have no future reward.  Jesus advises us to lay up treasure in Heaven.  We do so by showing kindness and inviting those who cannot repay us.

Jesus makes it clear that at the resurrection of the righteous there’s going to be rewards.  He’s just as clear that our rewards will be based upon our obedience.

Knowing this, we should be constantly aware of our calling.  Our desire should be to please the King and to be found faithful at His return.  Who are you trying to please?  Are you trying to impress the world with your greatness?  It’s time for us to wake up and become “God pleasers” instead of “man pleasers.”  This is how we prepare for the Lord’s return.

Being prepared doesn’t mean sitting around watching the sky and waiting.  It’s all about doing the Master’s business.  Is God’s call on our lives important enough for us to seek it out?  Once we do, are we faithful enough to complete our assignment?  These are the kinds of questions we must ask if we’re to be truly ready for the Lord’s return.

Be prepared.  Be faithful.  Be found working at your assignment when the Master arrives.  You’ll never regret it.

Question: How prepared for the Lord’s return is the church in general right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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Are You Ready for Christ’s Return – Really?

ClockJesus made some surprising statements about His return.  Don’t be one of those who are unprepared for what will happen before His return.

“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Luke 12:38-40

The Lord says that His return will come when you don’t expect it.  Notice that it will not be a surprise because He comes before you expect Him.  What is going to throw people off is that He will arrive later than they thought it would be.

The second watch of the night is from 9 o’clock to midnight.  The third watch is from midnight to 3 in the morning.

What if I said to you, “Can I come over your house tonight?”

“Sure,” you reply and you wait for me to show up.  7 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 9 o’clock go by.  At that point you’ll probably shut the porch light off.  At 11 o’clock you will probably be in bed.  If I then bang on your door at 3 o’clock in the morning, I’m sure you wouldn’t even get out of bed to answer the door, even though I told you I was coming.

That’s what Jesus is saying.  He’s telling us that He’s coming later than we think.  Most people would think that if you’re going to come for dinner you should arrive early.

Naturally, we think “suppertime.”  But Jesus is asking how long after the suppertime is past are we prepared to wait?  There will be a time when people start thinking that Jesus should be here by now, but He’s not.  It’s midnight.  A lot of people have these religious clocks that are set at five minutes to midnight.  They think that the Lord is coming soon – at midnight.

I’ve got news for you.  The Bible says He might come as late as 3 in the morning, spiritually speaking.  There are many Bible teachers who have taken certain future prophetic events and defined them as occurring “after midnight.”

Someday the “prophecy clock” will strike midnight.  If you’re one of the people who believe that He’s going to be here at this prophetic midnight, you might be disappointed.  We’ve got to be careful.  Most of Christianity is expecting Him to come at this midnight hour.

Jesus said, “I’m going to come later than you think.”  As a matter of fact, what you’re going to find as we go through these Scriptures, is that whenever Christ warns us about being ready, He always qualifies it by saying that He will come later than we’re expecting.

Question: How far are you prepared to go if Christ delays His second coming?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Faith, Return of Christ

 

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The Last-Days Mentality

ChristDo you believe that we’re living in the Last Days before the coming of the Lord?  Do you think that His return is close?  If so, then what should our mindset be like?

At one point in His ministry the Lord talked about the importance of being ready.  We’re not to be distracted by all the things the world has to offer.

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
Luke 12:35-36

In this verse Jesus shows us how to live in the last days.  He tells us to be dressed.  For us it means to have our spiritual armor on.  Don’t go around without your protection from the snares of the enemy.

Too many Christians are walking around spiritually naked.  Then they wonder why the enemy has such an easy time messing with them.  The time is now to prepare for the conflict ahead.

The Lord also said to keep your lamps burning.  We must be awake and alert.  The world is in the dark and we’re supposed to be in the light.  That’s the kind of constant preparedness our lives should be equipped with.

We are to be in an attitude of waiting and watching.  The meaning of the word that He uses for waiting is to give access to.

In other words, I’m not living for myself.  I’m at someone else’s disposal.  I’m supposed to be ready at a moment’s notice to do something for somebody else.

The Lord must have 24 hour a day access to our lives.  As soon as the Master knocks we should be at the door, opening it.  Our schedule should not even factor into it.  We live to please the Master.

Sometimes our attitude with the Lord sounds like this; “Oh, I’m sorry.  I was reading a book, and I wanted to finish the paragraph.”  Servants don’t have that luxury.  We live to please Christ.  We must be prepared to serve at a moment’s notice.

In order to fulfill this calling we must have the attitude of a waiting servant.  Christ is coming, and we want to be ready when He appears.  It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, what I’m reading, or what I’m eating – when He arrives on the scene, I’m there to meet Him.  “Lord, I’m ready for you.”  That’s the ready attitude to have.

It’s time for the church to stop living like our wants and desires are the most important thing.  Christ must be given the highest priority of our service.

Question: Does the church appear ready for the return of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Return of Christ, The Church

 

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