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Spiritual Battles – A New Direction

Now that I’ve finished going through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, I feel a change is coming.  At least for a while, I’m going to interrupt my walk through the New Testament.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is leading me to deal with some issues that the church of our generation needs to hear.  God is leading His people into a new level of ministry.  We need to prepare ourselves.  But if we don’t know what’s coming, how can we be ready?

God is also doing some new things in me, personally.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of these.  Hopefully, as you stick with me, this blog will continue to be a blessing to you.

The first topic I want to tackle is that of the spiritual battle that we find ourselves in.  I don’t think that we fully understand the scope of this struggle.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  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 6:12-13

We’re told in Scripture, that we’re in a spiritual battle.  The struggle is real.  Yet many believers choose to ignore this warning.

All too often we wait until the enemy knocks us down before we try and activate our spiritual weapons.  By that time it’s usually too late.  Then we fall to our knees, crying out to God, to save us from the situation we find ourselves in.

It’s time we realize that the kingdom of the enemy doesn’t take a holiday.  The devil doesn’t look at you and say, “Oh.  You’re on vacation.  I guess I’ll leave you alone this week.”

We need to be constantly aware of our spiritual life.  Serving God is a 24/7 activity.  Paul describes it perfectly to Timothy, his son in the ministry.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs — he wants to please his commanding officer.
2 Timothy 2:3-4

How often do we view our walk with the Lord in these terms?  When I bowed my knee to Christ, at that point, I was no longer a “civilian.”  I was now a part of a kingdom that is structured much like the military – only on a spiritual level.

Chasing after the world is the same as getting involved in civilian affairs.  It takes our focus off the marching orders that the Lord has given us.  We need to be under the command of the Holy Spirit.  That’s where our allegiance should attach itself to.

I believe that understanding the spiritual war we’re in is an important aspect of being a Christian.  Beginning with my next post, I’ll be talking about this subject.  I’m going to speak about this in great detail.  I’ll even deal with the history of this struggle from Adam to the church.

My desire is that you’ll be prepared for any attack that the enemy might bring against you.  Our victory is found in Jesus Christ alone.  Never forget that the battle has been won before you even step foot on the field.

Question: What spiritual battles have you faced in the past?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Know When to Give Up

SunriseIn my last post I talked about the times we find ourselves wrestling against God’s plan for us. We’re looking at Jacob as an example of this.

Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Genesis 32:26

No, God wasn’t getting tired. No, God wasn’t going to turn into a pumpkin when the sun came up. Why then did He impose a time limit? Purely and simply out of His love for Jacob. God knew that having fought all night, Jacob was getting to the end of his strength.

The Bible teaches elsewhere that God will not allow our struggles to go beyond our ability to endure. This is how God worked with Jacob. He made Jacob fight to the end of His strength. Up to this point, Jacob always found the easy way out of his troubles.

The scheme, the bribe, the fixed fight, whatever it took to win without breaking a sweat – that’s who Jacob was. God, however, knew he was better than that. He was created to father a nation. Through this experience God taught Jacob that he was able to overcome by his inner strength and determination alone, without all the scheming.

God wants to do that with us as well. He’ll allow us to get to the end of our strength so that we’ll cry out to Him. Don’t drop out of your fight too quickly. Make the determination to lay hold of the prize God has called you to obtain.

The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
Genesis 32:27-29

You would think that because he wrestled with God, Jacob would get in trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth. God doesn’t care if you struggle with Him as long as you learn the lesson He’s trying to teach you.

Up to this point in his life, Jacob had been trying to buy, fight, and steal his way to the blessing of God. Now he was to learn that the only way to obtain it is by freely receiving it from the Lord’s own hand.

He spent his life fighting God and man. Now God tells him that he has overcome. Overcome what? He has finally overcome himself. He now has the control to take his life and lay it at the feet of the Lord.

How do we know this? God gives him a new name – Israel – that means, “conquered by God.”

Perhaps you’ve been struggling in your walk with the Lord. Maybe there is an area in your life you’ve been refusing to turn over to God.

It’s time for you to give up and receive the blessing God’s been waiting to give you. Today, allow yourself to be overcome by God.

Questions: Are there areas, right now, where you’re struggling against God? What will it take for you to give up?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Power of God, Prayer

 

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Are You Wrestling with God?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe all face hardships in our lives. Sometimes it’s our own doing. There are even times that our goals are in direct opposition to what God is trying to accomplish in us.

Many Christians come up with their own plan for their lives. Then they pray about it simply to have God bless it. Unfortunately, if it’s not God’s plan, there will be no blessing no matter how hard you pray. You’ll simply find yourself struggling against God’s purpose in your walk with Him.

The Patriarch, Jacob, found himself in just such a position.

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.
Genesis 32:24

We know from the context of Scripture that God came down to Jacob this night and wrestled with him. He was alone. His family couldn’t save him. His possessions couldn’t save him. He found himself totally alone with God.

This is the power of time alone with the Lord. If God wants your undivided attention, He knows just how to get it. We need to take the time to hear His voice speaking to us. It would save us a lot of grief in the long run.

When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
Genesis 32:25

This portion of Scripture always bothered me. How could Jacob, a man, beat God in a fight? There was something not right about it.

Then it occurred to me – if it was God’s intent to beat Jacob in a fight, the Lord could have squashed him like a bug. God could have done it with a word, never even laying a finger on him. As it turns out, the fight was not for God’s benefit. The Lord didn’t need to prove He could win. It was all about getting Jacob’s attention.

This shows me the love of God. When we find ourselves struggling against His will, He lowers Himself so as to fight at your level of ability. Like a father wrestling on the floor with his child, the goal is not to win, but to instruct.

I find that it’s easier to have these wrestling times with the Lord in private. In public you have to act like everything’s okay. When you’re alone, you can take your time and struggle through some issues without the usual distractions.

Don’t be afraid to tackle some big issues with the Lord. Remember that He’s not out to hurt you, but to make your life better than you could ever do it on your own. Give Him the chance to help you fight through your struggles.

Questions: Have you ever found yourself struggling against God’s plan? What were the issues? How did it turn out?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Prayer

 

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Crossing Over

Luke 8:22-25
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.”  So they got into a boat and set out.  As they sailed, he fell asleep.  A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this?  He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Being out in the open water in a storm is very risky.  Even with all the modern equipment that boaters have today, it is no easy thing to navigate in a raging storm.

In this passage, the disciples are crossing a lake and a huge squall engulfs them.  The wind is against them and the waves are filling the boat.  Imagine their terror when they realize they’re not going to make it.

Yet all the while, Jesus was with them.  That was a factor that, apparently, none of them considered to be important.  When they woke Him, Jesus showed Himself to be in control of the forces of nature.

Never forget that truth in your times of struggle.  The Lord is in control of the winds and the waves.  We have got to remember that, even when the road ahead seems hopeless.  I can rest assured that nothing will touch my life, except that which will help me.  I need never fear for the future.

Remember to place yourself in His care each and every day.  The Lord has already walked the road ahead and is well able to bring you through.  Trust His wisdom and grace to handle each situation that arises.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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