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A Spiritual Storm

Imagine if you were a general at war with another country.  What if you could control the weather?  What if you could hit their country with a category 5 hurricane the day before your attack?  Do you think it would increase your chances of victory?  Believe it or not, we can operate in this scenario in the spirit.

In my last post, I talked about the cumulative effect that takes place when believers pray in the spirit corporately.  There’s an exponential increase as we come together and pray.

Think about it.  When Jesus walked the earth with His disciples, He limited Himself to the power of one man yielded to the Spirit.  When He prayed, He prayed as a man empowered by the Holy Spirit.  The result of the Lord’s ministry was tremendous.  Yet, when He ascended into heaven there were only between 100 and 200 believers.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
Acts 2:1

After Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Gift of the Spirit.  Nobody knew what He was talking about.  Not the disciples, and certainly not the devil or his dark kingdom.

On the day of Pentecost, there were 120 people in the upper room praying expectantly.  I’m not going to show you the math, because that’s boring.  Suffice it to say, that if you calculate it out like the wind equivalent, this small group of believers had about 10,000 times the prayer power of Jesus by Himself.  Why do you think the Bible records the following?

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Acts 2:2

Something happened that had never happened in the history of the universe.  Satan didn’t see it coming; he had no advance warning.  120 believers aligned their spirits with the Holy Spirit all at the same time.

They generated a “spiritual wind” with a force like never before experienced.  I can just imagine demons blowing in all directions out of Jerusalem!  This is why there was such a great effect on the Day of Pentecost.

Jesus Christ had an incredible effect upon Israel.  Those who heard Him said, “no one ever spoke like this man.  We have never heard this much authority.”  Yet, after 3 years of ministry, only 120 still obeyed His instructions.

This is because, during His life, Jesus had to fight the spiritual battle single-handed.  This can still be done.  Even today Christians are finding themselves fighting hand to hand with the kingdom of the enemy.

But, when the demonic influence is blown away first, how much easier the battle becomes.  This is illustrated beautifully in the outcome of the day of Pentecost as recorded in the book of Acts.

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Acts 2:41

Think about the implications of this for us today.  If we have 3000 people show up for an event and 120 are saved, we shout victory.  How about 120 people showing up for the meeting and 3000 being saved?!!!  This is the potential if we as a body of believers send a spiritual attack against the kingdom of the enemy before we do something in the natural.

Please understand this.  That first day of Pentecost took Satan totally by surprise.  Now he’s ready when believers gather for prayer in the spirit.  He instructs his minions to hang on to something while they’re praying.

I ask you then, what’s the devil’s greatest fear?  It’s simply that the church would come together and pray in unity in the spirit.

Question: Why do so few churches have intentional, corporate, prayer in the spirit?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Unity and the Fight of Faith

In my last post, I showed how when I pray in the spirit, I align my spirit with the Holy Spirit.  I used the illustration of a fan in a field.

I’ll now continue with a deeper truth.  It all begins when you come along into this illustration.  Let’s say that we’re together.  I’m praying in the spirit and then you begin to pray in the spirit.  We’re now together praying in the spirit.

At that point, I’m one with the Holy Spirit, and you’re one with that same Holy Spirit.  Our two separate spiritual “winds” are now consumed by the wind of the Holy Spirit.

So as we all come together to pray in the spirit, we create a spirit (or “wind”) of unity.  This is the unity of the spirit.  The incredible truth is that as we pray in the spirit together we align with the Spirit of God AND with each other.

Think about some of the great spiritual movements of recent history.  Moves like what happened at Azuza Street in California.  According to the reports, rich and poor, black and white, it made no difference, as people from all backgrounds came together into unity.  This was not achieved by willpower or a decision to agree – but by the Spirit.

More recently, think about the Charismatic renewal.  Denominations that never spoke to each other came together in unity as they prayed together in the spirit.  This could only have been accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I believe that both of these moves of God were orchestrated by Him to bring His church into unity for the end-time harvest.  I also believe that the Lord is going to do it again in the near future, only this time with a church that understands the importance.

There is, however, an even deeper work that the Lord wants to do through corporate prayer in the spirit.  I was led to this truth while I was studying for a series of messages on Spiritual Warfare.  It all began while I was studying the standard warfare section of Ephesians chapter 6.

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 6:18

Most of us know this section of Scripture pretty well.  It’s in the passage that deals with the Armor of God.  This section literally says to pray in the spirit, “sleeplessly watching, and persevere at it.”  I always thought that this was an interesting verse, especially since it concluded the section on spiritual warfare.  Keep this in mind.

Now we will go to the book of Jude.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…
Jude 20 (NKJV)

Jude is telling us to strengthen our inner man by praying in the spirit.  Here’s where it starts to get interesting.  To find the reason for Jude’s writing of this short letter we must go to verse 3.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 1:3

According to Jude’s own words, he started out just wanting to write a light letter of encouragement.  It would have been a short word about the salvation that we all share.  But the Holy Spirit had other plans.

The Spirit of God moved upon Jude to change the course of his writing.  He says that he felt like he had to write about CONTENDINGfighting, struggling, wrestling – for the faith.  It so happens, that Jude uses the same Greek word here that Paul used when he said that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12).

There are also some differences between the two writers.  Paul was writing about contending against spiritual forces.  Jude, on the other hand, was dealing with the struggle against false teachers.  But it’s the similarities that caught me off guard.

Here we see two very different writers talking about the fight of faith.  In both cases, they conclude with PRAY IN THE SPIRIT.  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see that there’s a connection.  Somehow our spiritual struggle requires prayer in the spirit.

Question: Why do we need unity for the fight of faith?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Bodyguard

HandsThis will be my last post in a series about spiritual warfare as seen through the eyes of David’s mighty men. In my last article I talked about Abishai, who was a giant killer, just like David. Now we’ll learn a little more about him.

He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
2 Samuel 23:23

He wasn’t the same type of fighter as The Three. He probably didn’t hang out with them. They liked a good battle with uneven odds. He liked to go one on one with a giant. The good news is that we don’t have to all be the same.

When David saw his ability, he put Abishai over his bodyguards. And that’s the last big point I want to make. The mighty in spirit protect their leaders.

In the body of Christ, it seems like we’ve picked up the world’s spirit. Many times we treat church leaders the way we treat government officials. We gossip and joke about them. Sometimes we out rightly ignore them.

I believe it’s because we don’t understand the body of Christ. In reality, a pastor or church leader is not a commander, a president, or a king.

Personally speaking, when I hear from God, usually it’s when I’m minding my own business. I never wanted to enter the ministry when I was young. But when I wasn’t expecting it, the Lord spoke to my heart.

“Son, I’ve given you a gift of being able to take my Word and explain it with simplicity. You make My Word accessible to a lot of people. So I’m going to wrap you up as a gift to My church to help them attain to my calling on their lives.”

It wasn’t my plan. It’s actually all about your call and abilities. God has called me to encourage you, through the Word, to fulfill God’s calling. That’s all I’m able to do. That’s all any church leader is able to do.

What you do with me is totally up to you. You can choose to listen, ignore, blame, or talk about me. Of course you could also choose to receive my counsel and to pray for me. My prayer is that you decide on the second route.

That’s because those who lead are under greater attack from the enemy. People in church leadership need intercessors to go to war for them. It’s vital that there are those who are committed to protect their leaders daily in prayer.

We need spiritual bodyguards. It’s time to get some back at their posts in this generation. Are you a mighty bodyguard? Do you pray regularly and consistently for those over you in the body of Christ?

Where do you fit in as a mighty one? After all, you’re all called to be one. Are you content to simply be a part of the 600? Or do you aspire for more – to be part of the 30, the three, or the one?

Question: How often do you pray for church leadership?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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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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Be Wise

EmeraldI’m posting about how David’s mighty men are an example to us of spiritual warfare. I’ve been talking about The Three. Today I’ll move on to a man named Abishai.

Abishai the brother of Joab was chief of the Three. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three. He was doubly honored above the Three and became their commander, even though he was not included among them.
1 Chronicles 11:20-21

Abishai did the same things that the three did. What made him so different that they decided to put him in the lead? I believe that it was the wisdom that they saw in him.

In talking about wisdom and understanding, Solomon said…

Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
Proverbs 4:8

He had ability in the area of understanding that they recognized. He was probably someone they went to for counsel and advice. In any case, because what they saw in him, they were willing to follow him.

That shows me that the mighty are people of wisdom and understanding.

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
1 Timothy 5:17

This sounds the same as what we see in the life of Abishai. Double honor is even found in the body of Christ. That’s why we must spend time in the Lord’s presence to seek wisdom and understanding. That’s the only place it can be found.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5

Without God’s wisdom we’re flying blind. Many times in ministry we come to important decisions. That’s when we must seek the Lord. Very often we find that the most logical choice is not what God wills.

It turns out that human wisdom and the mind of Christ can be worlds apart. The question is; do we want man’s best, or God’s best? I would much rather God get the glory for an outcome that I could never have accomplished on my own.

To be mighty in spirit is to operate in wisdom and understanding. We need to let the Holy Spirit work His plan in us.

Question: How has God’s wisdom helped you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2017 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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But I Wasn’t Asked

Question MarkI’ve been posting about David’s mighty men. They have a lot they can teach us about spiritual warfare.

I shared about the greatest of this group. They were simply known as “The Three”. Men named Josheb, Eleazar, and Shammah. But with these three, it wasn’t just about boldness. It was their heart that made the difference.

Here they are at a place called Adullam, with David. David’s home town, Bethlehem, was under Philistine control. Israel’s enemy actually had a military post there. Soldiers were housed there.

At one point, David starts to get homesick.

David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!”
2 Samuel 23:15

He was simply musing about his home. But it didn’t end there.

So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD.
“Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.
2 Samuel 23:16-17

Do you hear the heartbeat of these men? They weren’t ordered to do this. No one asked them to do it. There was no memo – “If anyone has some free time…”

David didn’t need this water. He was just talking – “You know what I miss, the water of Bethlehem.”

I can picture the looks on the faces of The Three. They probably didn’t have to say a word to each other as they quietly slipped away during the night.

How many things need to be done in the kingdom of God these days? When asked, some reply, “I just don’t feel called.”

Other times you ask why something went undone. You hear things like, “Nobody asked”; or, “I don’t like the way I was asked.”

I think that it’s funny sometimes when we look at incredible international ministries and successes. Many times we find that they’re being done by people who started small, just meeting a little need that they came across.

“I could have done that.”

But you didn’t.

“I didn’t know it would grow that big.”

They didn’t either. Do you think these mighty men said, “If we bring David this water, we’re definitely getting our names in the Bible.”?

It’s clear from the Scripture that the mighty take the initiative. They don’t need to be asked, begged, or coerced.

Too many good people were clueless in Israel. Others were content to be in the 600. But to be one of the mighty requires more. Is that your goal?

Spend time in the presence of the Lord – then do what He impresses upon your heart. That’s the start of greatness.

Question: What is God prompting you to do for Him?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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Don’t Let Go

SwordI’ve been sharing about David’s mighty men from the Old Testament. They’re an example to us of the warrior spirit that we need in order to fight our spiritual battle.

The next person I want to talk about is a man named Eleazar.

Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated, but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.
2 Samuel 23:9-10

Apparently there was a time when David’s army started making fun of the Philistines. Israel decided that it wasn’t a good idea to provoke them and they took off. David and his men stayed. In the course of the battle, Eleazar’s hand froze to his sword.

Think about what happens in the body of Christ today. It’s easy to taunt the enemy while we’re safe in church with other believers. What about in the middle of the attack when we’re on our own?

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

We’ve been given the most powerful spiritual weapon anyone can use – the Word of God. It’s the sword we need to defeat the enemy. Does your hand freeze to the sword in the spiritual struggle?

Remember the early church. At one point they were commanded not to speak in Jesus’ name anymore. What did they do? Run and hide? Did they compromise to as not to offend?

They had a prayer meeting, praying in the spirit.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:31

The middle of the battle is when you cling more tightly to the sword. Only then can the victory be assured.

You need to realize that I’m not just talking about reading the Bible. Even though that’s important to our spiritual growth, it’s the Word we hear from God in our prayer time that makes the difference. Even David understood this.

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
Psalms 138:3

There’s a boldness that only comes when we’ve heard God’s voice speaking to us. Then we know that there’s no weapon that can defeat us. It’s time for the church to press in and hear from Heaven. Then we must walk in obedience to the Lord’s will.

Question: When have you been made bold as a result of being in prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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