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Dissipation, Drunkenness, Anxiety – Signs of the Times (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to be involved in some ministry events.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost some of my most read articles that I feel are important.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

“Be careful or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you will be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Luke 21:34-36

Jesus tells us that because of our knowledge of future events, our lives should be different from the world. We have a mission before us that’s time-sensitive. Those things that hinder us from effectively sharing the Gospel of Christ must be put away.

The Lord spoke of dissipation. The Greek word literally means tossing-head. It was the common term for a hangover. We associate this term with drinking, but Jesus wasn’t limiting it to the use of alcohol.

Whenever we leave our calling to chase after the world, there’s a wasted period of time while we get back on track again. This is the period of our spiritual “hangover”. Too many Christians are living most of their lives in dissipation.

They’re either giving in to the desire for the things of the world or they’re trying to regain what they’ve lost. Don’t waste most of your life in dissipation.

Drunkenness, then, is the actual pursuit of worldly pleasures. You can become intoxicated on more than just alcohol. Power, money, sports, and a host of other distractions can rob you of your effectiveness in God.

Does that mean that all these things are sins? Absolutely not! But if you find yourself more involved in these temporary things than in your walk with God, then your priorities are messed up.

The third warning the Lord gives us is to beware of the anxieties of life. We’re not to be so overwhelmed by our cares that it hinders our walk with God.

When we spend most of our time worrying about finances, health, and relationships, we lose our desire to serve God faithfully. Jesus said that if you seek His kingdom and His righteousness first, then your needs would be taken care of.

Jesus said that the temptation to fall into these traps would come on all people – no exceptions. There will be no free rides. He’s warning us about the future so that we’ll be ready.

That’s why He said that if you’re watchful, awake, and alert, you could pray to escape some of these things. Literally, it means to run away from. I believe that if we seek God’s wisdom, we’ll be protected from much of the pain that will come to the earth. Of course, that means we need to listen for God’s voice of instruction, and then obey Him when He speaks.

I believe that the last days of this age are going to be the most exciting time period that any Christian could be a part of.

Question: What emotions does the thought of Christ’s return stir up in you?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on September 13, 2019 in Return of Christ, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Final Judgment Fun

After my last post, you may not think that the words “judgment” and “fun” go together.  Trust me.  There is one point in the final judgment that I am absolutely looking forward to.

Do you not know that we will judge angels?  How much more the things of this life!
1 Corinthians 6:3

This one question that Paul asks is the basis for a lot of joy in my life.  Whenever a question starts with, do you not know, it means that you have to ask yourself whether you know it or not.

There are many believers who have no idea that we’ll be seated with Christ on His judgment seat.  (For more details on that, read my last post.)  During this time it’s not just humans who’ll be judged.  Angels will be coming before us as well.

It stands to reason that if an angel served God faithfully, then there would be no reason for them to be judged.  This is only referring to those angels who chose to side with Satan in his rebellion.  So we’re talking here about the judgment of the demonic kingdom.

Why does this make me happy?  Simply put, it’s the ultimate payback.

I can just picture that day.  A big old demon comes before the judge’s seat.  His list of offenses is read.  At that point, a realization dawns on me.

“So you’re the one who gave me that flat tire at the worst possible moment.  It was you who tried to hinder the answer to my prayer that God was sending my way.  And it was you who incited my co-worker to lie about me to my boss.”

I can imagine my joy as I shout out, “Guilty!  Take him away.”

There are times that we look back on our lives.  When we do, it usually centers around people and events that gave us tough challenges.  We don’t typically think of it in terms of a military campaign that’s being played out.

That’s why it’s so important to know the truth about this final judgment.  There will be a military tribunal where all the facts will come out.  We’ll see all the war crimes that have been committed against us and the perpetrators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We know that there will be days when the enemy is giving us a hard time.  Take the opportunity to remind him about the judgment that’s coming.  The annoyances of the enemy will be paid for.

You may even find that a little smile will start to spread across your face.  You might even start praising God in the middle of the struggle.

We need to realize that the enemy’s kingdom is already defeated.  We’re not waiting for the victory.  The war has already been won; we’re simply in the clean-up phase, freeing the prisoners, right before the war trials.

Remember, at this point, the enemy is not trying to defeat you.  He simply wants to annoy or distract you to keep you from completing your mission in Christ.  Don’t let that happen.

Don’t let the problems and challenges of this life rob you of your joy in Christ.  Look to the eternal not the temporary.  Our future with the Lord is something to look forward to with great anticipation.  Keep your eyes on what the Lord has already accomplished in you.

Question: How have you seen the victory of Christ at work in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Christmas Eve Excitement

The countdown started well before Thanksgiving, and with each passing day, the excitement and preparations for its arrival have been accelerating.  Lights and decorations have been put up, stores are full, and music is filling the air.

A lot of people, especially children, are eagerly anticipating a very special event that will take place tonight.  Truly, it’s a very busy time of the year!

And it’s all in preparation for what?  Well, any child can tell you – “A visit from Santa Claus, of course!”

And remember, “He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! You better not pout, you better not cry – you better watch out, I’m telling you why – Santa Claus is coming to town!”

Maybe some, but not me.

The One I’m waiting for won’t be coming from the North Pole and riding in a sleigh.  Instead, He’s coming from Heaven, and arriving on the clouds of the sky!  Millions all over the world are waiting for His arrival.

He will also be bringing gifts with Him.  The good news is that His gifts are not based on how good I’ve been, but by His grace.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Take the time today to consider Jesus…to get excited about His coming.

I think that it’s fun to watch the excitement grow on the faces of our children as Christmas approaches.  With each passing day the grins grow, the adrenaline level rises, and the expectation almost bursts from every pore.

We should be even more excited!  Children are excited about the coming of a round man in a red suit with toys tucked under his arm.  You and I can be excited about the coming of Jesus Christ, dressed in all His radiance and riding the clouds of heaven.

“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Matthew 24:30-31

Every eye will see Him!  Not just a private return.  But when?  We know when the Christmas deadline is.  We like to be ready.

But with Christ, we only know that He’s coming, not when.  Actually – He told us that He’d arrive when we aren’t expecting Him.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited that Jesus is coming to town.  I don’t know the hour or the day.  I don’t know much, but there’s one thing I do know – He’s coming to town!

He’s coming back for those who’ve received Him as King and Lord of their life.  When He comes back there’ll be no mistaking Him.  He won’t be riding on a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer.  He’ll be riding the clouds of Heaven and His radiance will flood the universe.

Where’s your excitement level this Christmas?  Are you overburdened by your list of things “to do” which seems twice as long as your children’s “wish list?”

Are you excited about seeing what you’ll find under the tree on Christmas morning?  Are you excited to see family and friends that you haven’t been with for some time?

Or…are you excited because the Lord is coming to town?

Have a blessed Christmas holiday!

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2018 in Encouragement, Return of Christ

 

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The Truth or a Lie

In my last post, I talked about the rise of satanic activity in the Last Days before the return of Christ.  The enemy’s kingdom will perform many impressive miracles – counterfeits of the true miracles of God.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

That’s what’s happening when people go to witch doctors, shamans, or psychic healers.  It’s the same when people go to “faith healers” that don’t use the name of Jesus.

They’ll say that it’s the power of love that’s going to heal you.  No, it’s the power of Satan.  No matter what they call themselves, whether it’s healer, shaman, or witch doctor; without Christ, they rely upon the power of the devil.

Satan also knows what’s going on.  His servants are watching pretty much everyone.  He knows that your boss just got done interviewing a blonde for the secretarial position.  Then you go to a psychic on Friday.

“I need a relationship in my life.  Do you know if I’m going to meet anyone soon?”

The psychic then consults with her “spirit guides.”  (demons)

“The spirits tell me that you’re going to meet a blonde on Monday.  A lovely blonde is coming into your life.”

So you walk into work on Monday.

“Look at that.  They were right.  They really can predict the future.”

No, they just have a good communication system.  It has nothing to do with predicting the future.  Only God knows the future.  He knows it ahead of Satan.

If Satan had known the future the way that God does, he wouldn’t have crucified Jesus.  He would have seen that one coming a mile away.  The fact is, he’s very limited, but he plays really good tricks and mind games.  Paul does his best to warn us so we can be ready for them.

Along with the miracles of Satan, there will be every sort of evil that deceives those that are perishing.  At first glance, we might feel sorry for them.  If they’re being deceived then they don’t know what they’re doing.  How can they be held accountable?

But the Scripture goes on to say that they perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  That’s why God allows the miraculous, powerful delusion of Satan.  They’ve already chosen not to believe the truth of God’s Word.  The reason why they were deceived is that they didn’t want the truth.

So God said if you don’t want the truth, let Me give you something to believe in.  I’ll allow you to believe this lie if you’d rather.  Never get the idea that they’re perishing because they didn’t know.  They’re perishing because they refused to believe the truth.  And when the lie came along, they found it so much more comfortable.

I don’t know why people would rather embrace the lie.  I’ve seen and read about some of the crazy things that people do as they try to get healing, fame, and money.  Why don’t they just trust Jesus?  They probably stumble over it because it’s too easy.

They’d rather fly around the world and go see a doctor in Hong Kong who has them take special herbs that cost $500,000, but they won’t trust Jesus.  I don’t understand it.  They get a lie instead, and that’s what kills them.

As believers, we need to stand our ground in trusting the truth of God’s Word.  That’s what will see us through in these perilous times.

Question: How far have you seen people go in order to refuse the truth?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2018 in Power of God, Return of Christ, Spiritual Warfare

 

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False Signs and Wonders in the Last Days

We’re continuing to look at the Apostle Paul’s insight into life in the Last Days before the return of Christ.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
II Thessalonians 2:9-12

Paul goes on to tell us that these times will end in a Day of Judgment.  Of course, that’s what Jesus taught as well.

According to this passage, Satan will be very active.  There will be all kinds of unholy signs, wonders, and miracles.  There’s going to be a display of Satan’s power like never before.

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:8

I like what Paul says here because it tells us the triumph that Christ will have over the lawless.  But there’s more to look forward to.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

Paul says that there are going to be counterfeit miracles.  That gives me hope, because if there’s going to be counterfeit miracles, then there’s going to be the real thing, as well.

Remember what Jesus said.  The wheat and the weeds are going to grow together, blossom together, and mature together.  That means that if Satan is doing his worse, then God will be doing His best.

Some people ask, “How can Satan do miracles?  What kind of miracles does he do?”   The same things God does.  Satan can perform healings as well as other powerful signs and wonders.  Even today we’re seeing a rise in these things.  There are psychic “hotlines” throughout many different media outlets that attract thousands of people.

Maybe you thought that Satan could only do bad things.  Let me explain it to you.

Pretend that I came to your house tonight under cover of darkness.  While you were asleep, I broke into your house.  I then proceeded to empty your wallet, your cash box, and other valuables.  Let’s say that I stole a thousand dollars from your house.

You wake up in the morning and you’re horrified.  You see the window broken into and all your money is gone.  Later on that day, we run into each other.  You exclaim, “You don’t know what happened to me last night!  I was robbed.  A thousand dollars was taken.  Somebody broke in and stole my money.”

What if I then tell you how awful I feel about your loss?  I tell you that I just feel like blessing you.  I then reach in my wallet, and I take out the thousand dollars I stole from you and say, “Here, you take this with my blessing.”

You’ll then walk away thinking that I’m the most wonderful person in the world.  You never realized that I was the one who took your money to begin with.  I stole it from you, and then I gave it back.

In the same way, if Satan stole your health, he can give it back if it suits his purposes.  Don’t be deceived by the traps laid out by the enemy in these Last Days.  Only Jesus Christ is The Healer.  He’s the only One worthy of putting our trust in.

Question: How have you witnessed a rise in demonic activity in our generation?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2018 in Healing, Return of Christ, Spiritual Warfare

 

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The Rise of Lawlessness

In our study of Second Thessalonians, we’ve been talking about the lawlessness of mankind being uncovered in the Last Days.

Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?  And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.  For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.
II Thessalonians 2:5-7

It’s clear from this section that Paul’s merely reminding them of the things he taught when he was with them.  He apparently told them what was holding back the lawlessness.

It’s also clear that the secret power of lawlessness was already at work 2,000 years ago.  What Paul literally says is that the secret power of lawlessness was already energized.

I’m reminded of a parable of Jesus (Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43).  He said that the church and the world were going to grow up together.  These two kingdoms would grow in power and mature side by side throughout history.  The seeds that were planted by the enemy already had lawlessness working in them.

According to Paul, there’s something holding back the full force of this lawlessness.  Most of the modern translations add a lot of preconceived ideas to the text.  What Paul literally said in verse 7 is the restraining will continue until it is removed from the midst.

I believe he’s talking about the laws that govern us.  Back then; they had a system of government where if you disobeyed the law, you paid the penalty for your actions.  But more and more, around the world, it now seems that laws don’t mean anything.  The lawmakers tell us that it’s how you interpret that law that matters.

My wife, Cheryl, was called for jury duty a number of years ago.  She was selected to hear a drunk driving case.  It was clear from the testimony that the man was drunk, and he was driving.  He could have very easily killed somebody.  Thank God, he was caught before he did any damage to himself or others.

As they were discussing the case in the jury room, an interesting thing started to happen.  All of these jurors started seeing themselves on the stand.

“Well, I drink sometimes, and I’d hate to have a policeman take away my license because I got caught.”

“Maybe we should let this guy go because nothing happened and nobody was hurt.  After all, there was no accident and no damage.”

Those who know Cheryl understand that she has a very prophetic ministry.  If you can imagine how Elijah would’ve responded to all this, you’d be pretty close to what actually happened.

Cheryl’s response was that the question is not what we would do.  It’s not even about what we would want to happen if we were caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

The question is; was he drunk?   Was he driving?  If so, then he’s guilty, whether or not you do it as well.

They did find him guilty.  But please understand that if there wasn’t a Christian on the jury, then the outcome might have been very different.

Lawless man says, “I know what the law is, but I wouldn’t like that law if I were the one driving.”  What we will find is that this what it’s going to be like more and more in the last days.

Yes, there might be laws, but they’re going to be followed less and less.  Paul is saying that lawless man is going to be uncovered for what he really is.  In the last days, we’re going to see an increase in lawlessness the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

That’s why, more than ever, we need to trust the Lord for our safety, protection, and provision.

Question: How have you seen a rise in lawlessness over your lifetime?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2018 in Faith, Return of Christ

 

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Have You Set Yourself Up as a God?

In my last post, I talked about lawless mankind setting himself up as a god in the church.  This is to happen in the Last Days, which I believe we are currently in.

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
II Thessalonians 2:4

I mentioned that some believe this verse is talking about the Temple in Jerusalem.

Let me ask you a question.  What if you heard on the radio that the Jew’s just finished a secret reconstruction of the temple?  Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that they took over the whole Temple mount and expelled all of the Moslems who are now in control.

My question is this – would that be God’s Temple?  The answer is simple.  No, that would be the Jew’s Temple.  They could begin offering up sacrifices, but it would mean nothing to God.

No fire would fall from heaven to consume the sacrifice.  As far as God is concerned, it would be just another building.  It wouldn’t be God’s Temple.

What Paul is talking about here is that lawless man, who sets himself up against God, will even get into the Church.  I’m going to say something now that’s going to get some people mad at me.

Think about it, man setting himself up against God.  There are Churches across the country today who decide what to do as a Church by having a vote.

Did they pray about it to see what God wants them to do?  Do they say, “Let’s have fasting and prayer for wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit?”

No!!  What do they do?  “Let’s vote on it, and then we’ll submit it to the finance committee, and then the finance committee will vote on it.”

“Do you think we should have an evangelistic outreach in our neighborhood?”

“Well, I don’t know.  This church building could sure use another coat of paint on it.  Maybe we should do that first and then in a couple of years we’ll see about reaching our community.”

“Why don’t we pray about this?”

“No way!  I put my money into this building, and I’m going to decide what will happen to it.”

Sad to say, this is how many churches around the country are operating.  This is not what I read in Scripture as a Christ-centered church.  God wants a praying church where our goal is to hear God’s will.

It’s a church where the leadership has the freedom to seek God.  Then, as godly men and women (who are actually doing the work of the ministry) bind their hearts together seeking God, they’ll see the Spirit of the Lord leading and directing their steps.

That’s the way it should be, but there are churches over which man has become the head.  Mankind has set himself above God in God’s Holy Temple.  That’s a scary thought.

I don’t want to find myself in the position of telling God that I can run His Church better than He can.  I believe this is what Paul was talking about in the last days.  People are going to be running their church, the way they want to, giving no thought to what God says.

They have set themselves up in God’s Temple, effectively proclaiming themselves to be God.  I believe that many church people in the USA have placed themselves in a very dangerous position.

Question: How have you experienced man running the church in place of the Holy Spirit?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2018 in Ministry, Prayer, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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