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Shining Like Stars

GalaxyI’m posting about how we show the light of Christ to the world around us. The enemy would try to blind their spiritual eyes to the truth. But he can’t stop the power of God.

That’s because the light takes many forms. The prophet Malachi foresaw this day.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Malachi 4:2

He saw righteousness rising like the sun. Have you ever seen sunbeams breaking through the clouds? In the ancient Hebrew culture, they called them the “wings” of the sun. So Malachi saw healing beaming out from righteousness.

That’s a part of the light that we shine. That’s why we pray for the sick, especially for an unsaved person. When God brings healing, that’s the light of Christ breaking through to them.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

But we always have to remember, it’s not our light but His. Peter talked about having the Word in you and allowing it to grow and produce fruit in your life. In speaking about this fruitfulness…

But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
2 Peter 1:9

Peter calls unfruitful Christians blind and nearsighted. He says that you’ve forgotten about your past being cleansed by the blood of Christ.

That’s because this person is blind to what God is doing. They’re also nearsighted; they can only see what’s right in front of them. They major on the temporary things of this world.

We need 20/20 vision in the spirit.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Romans 13:12

It’s interesting to see the contrast here between deeds of darkness vs. armor of light. That’s because the armor is all about action.

Truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith – all of these things must be visible. It’s up to us to make the light accessible to the world.

We’re the ones looking into the light. We should be walking in it, letting it change us.

…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…
Philippians 2:15-16

How do we shine like stars? As we hold out the Word. The Word is the light. We hold it out. Not everybody wants it; but some people are touched and changed by it. We need to live in such a way that the light is seen.

Question: How have people seen the light of Christ in your life lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2016 in Healing, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Fear of the Light

BeamI’m talking about how we, as believers should be reflecting the light of Christ to the dark world around us. The Bible says that those in darkness hate the light. What does that mean?

Sometimes if they see the life of Christ clearly in us, it may make them uncomfortable.

Those who have been reading this blog for any length of time know that I’m an avid hiker. I’ll go out for a week at a time.

The first time I went on a solo hike, sleeping alone in the woods, it was a different experience. I set up my tent and when the sun went down I went to sleep. I had no clue that this would be one of the strangest nights of my life.

Around two o’clock in the morning I woke up startled. It was as if I was in the center of a huge spotlight. The full moon was directly over me. I could see right through my thin, nylon tent as if it wasn’t even there.

I could see the trees, rocks, and everything around me as clear as day. I felt exposed and uncomfortable as I looked around. I’m very glad that there were no large animals near the tent!

This is the same effect as what happens in the spiritual when we reflect Christ. When you’re used to living in spiritual darkness, the light makes you uncomfortable. It exposes things that you’d rather not see. It shows you your true condition.

Of course, Satan has a plan as well.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4

Please take note of the fact that the enemy is called the god of this age. That means that there’s a time limit on his ability to act.

This verse tells us that unbelievers are given blinders if they want them. The Scripture says that if they persist in their unbelief, the enemy will give them blinders so that the light will not beam out to them.

This light is coming from the Good News of Christ – the Anointed One. The light is the glory of His presence within us.

Unbelievers are blinded to the light if they choose to believe the lies of the enemy. That’s why it’s now our job is to get them to take the blinders off. That’s a big assignment. It can only be accomplished in the power of the Spirit.

In my next post I’ll show how the Word says that this takes place.

Question: How have you experienced unbelievers becoming uncomfortable in the presence of the truth?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Worship in Spirit and Truth

DoveIn this post I’m continuing to talk about the encounter between the woman at the well and Jesus. He told her that He could give her living water. She replied that she wanted it so that she wouldn’t have to keep coming back to this well.

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
John 4:16-18

We usually miss what’s happening here because we live in a different culture. To us, having five husbands means that you must have low morals. In that culture it probably meant that she couldn’t bear children.

When each new husband realized that she couldn’t produce an heir, she was sent away. She was also under the stigma that if you can’t bear children, then you’re under a curse from God.

Jesus was showing her that God knew everything about her, and he loved her anyway. She was still a candidate for a blessing.

The woman was floored by that thought. It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to bless you”, if you don’t know me. But to know everything about me and still love me enough to bless me; that’s overwhelming…let’s change the subject.

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:19-24

This is the key to what John wants to teach us by this encounter. The highest relationship with God is accomplished only in the spirit. The Lord is talking about being baptized in the spirit and continuing the relationship by praying in the spirit.

The natural is alright – but the highest and best is accomplished in the spirit. You can’t worship in spirit and truth simply using your flesh and your soul. As a matter of fact, you can sing, clap and dance without even thinking about it – it’s automatic sometimes. There are other times that I can think deeply about what I’m praying for. Those things are good and acceptable.

But the truth is that God desires a relationship with your spirit.

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
John 4:25-26

Christ then reveals Himself to her. In this discussion we see God’s heart for us. He wants us to relate to Himself on a level that’s deeper than our minds can fathom. He wants us to communicate in the spirit. That’s why prayer in the spirit is so important. Don’t neglect this great gift.

Question: How often do you spend time praying in the spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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Healing Principles – Truth

MirrorFor the past couple of posts I’ve been talking about God’s divine healing that was provided by Christ on the cross. So far we’ve seen that sickness is a part of the sin nature and our healing is based in the authority of God.

Today I want to talk about a problem I see in the lives of some believers who erroneously believe that denial is the path to their healing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But first, I need to make it clear that I wholeheartedly believe in the confession of the Word of God. We need to speak out our faith. The words of our mouth must line up with God’s view of life as found in the Scriptures.

That being said, there are those who take this too far. If the doctor gives them some bad news, especially when it’s something like cancer, they start to deny it. When they’re with other believers they’ll act as if there’s nothing wrong. You ask them how they’re doing and they say, “I’m healed and whole.”

It actually all comes down to fear. They’re afraid that if somehow they slip up in their “faith confession”, God will never heal them.

The fact is that because sickness is a part of the sin package, it’s to be treated the same way that any other kind of sin is taken care of.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
I John 1:8

Because sickness is a part of this package, you can replace the word sin with sickness. The principle is that claiming you’re not sick, when you are, means that you’ve deceived yourself. We cannot sweep sickness under the carpet and expect to be healed. Denial is never God’s method for anything that needs to be removed from our lives.

God’s way is just the opposite.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9

Never deny your sickness. Denial is based in fear and it causes us to leave the path of truth. What we must do with sickness is to confess it so that He can remove it. We do this to let Christ purify us – body and soul.

This agrees with the Word in other parts of Scripture.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
James 5:13-14

This verse tells us some good advice. If you’re going through troubled times, then pray. If you’re cheerful, sing. If you’re sick in some way, call elders in Christ.

Please realize that depending on the church this may or may not be the official elder board. This verse is talking about those who know God’s Word concerning healing.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
James 5:15

This is God’s divine order for the sin package. Confession of the problem and removal by the prayer of authority based upon faith in God’s Word. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical sickness or a sinful activity.

Question: How have you experienced confession and removal in your Christian walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, Prayer

 

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The Truth about Spiritual Warfare

mhXQFuIWe’re in a battle. Not against people, but unseen spiritual forces. Do we really understand the nature of this conflict?

I’ve heard Christians use the term spiritual warfare in many different contexts. Does our teaching line up with Scripture? That’s what matters.

After watching many self-proclaimed spiritual warriors get flattened by the enemy, I have to ask myself what exactly is this about? We need to base what we’re doing in the Scripture if we want success.

The Bible is clear.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
2 Corinthians 10:1

Unfortunately, many take this verse too far out of context. Then the church ends up looking like an army of clowns going off to do battle. They’re unarmed and untrained in this spiritual battle. Then we wonder why the church is so devastated.

At one point the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and made a statement I found hard to accept. What I heard on the inside was, “Do you realize that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years?”

How can this be true? I hear people say they’re doing spiritual warfare all the time. We sing about it. We preach about it.

Eventually I was able to understand what the Spirit of God was trying to get across to me. The key word is warfare.

In the above verse, the phrase wage war literally means to serve in a military campaign. This is where our definition of spiritual warfare falls short. Our skirmishes are not warfare.

According to the Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary, war is “a contest between or among nations…carried on by force or with arms.” That’s where we miss it. War is between nations, not individuals.

For instance, what if I got upset about some things that Canada is doing (I’m not!). What if I then covered myself in weaponry, Rambo style, then walked to the border of Canada and declared that I was going to war against them. How long do you think that “war” would last?

As crazy as that sounds, that’s what many believers do in the spirit. Then they call what they’re doing spiritual warfare.

We need to realize that true spiritual warfare will not take place until the church wakes up from its sleep. Then, in the spirit, we must begin to pull down the strongholds of Satan. This is not just the job of one or two bold Christians. It’s something that the Lord is calling us all to take part in.

We can either spend our time complaining about our society, or do something that will make a difference. Time on our knees before God will bring great change on the earth. Prayer, fasting, intercession, and prayer in the spirit are what it will take to bring revival to our land.

Question: What’s your part in this spiritual battle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Our Culture of Darkness

SunriseA little over a year ago I posted a series about Christianity as a counter-culture. I want to pick up that theme again for a few more posts. Too many believers want to keep their feet in both the church and the world. That’s going to become increasingly difficult as we approach the Lord’s return.

The world hates Christ and His people. Please understand what I mean by this. I’m talking about the world system and not the individual people themselves. It’s the system – the way our culture has established itself – that’s against the knowledge of Christ.

The Lord spoke about it.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19

We live in a society that hates the light – the knowledge of truth. This is because truth is an agent of change. When I begin to know and understand the truth, I’m responsible to do something with it.

Because of this, the default response of the world is, “I don’t want to know the truth.” They have found that ignorance is bliss – at least in the short term.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:17-18

Here’s what many people don’t understand. Christ didn’t come to condemn the world. And it’s definitely not our job either. We are not here to rebuke sinners for doing what is natural to them.

The problem arises when the light of truth becomes evident. Even though we may not directly condemn anyone, by rejecting the truth they stand condemned. In effect, they’ve condemned themselves.

When you know that there’s a right path, yet you knowingly chose the wrong way, you become self-condemned. At that point the only solution is to cram your life with so many distractions that you never think about this truth.

That’s where our society finds itself today. We have more opportunities to amuse ourselves than ever before. I chose that word on purpose. A-muse – it literally means to not-think.

On the other side of the coin, we as believers should be the ones who don’t fear the truth. We should delight in the presence of the Lord and His Word. We should be welcoming the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We can’t afford to pick up the attitude of the world. Don’t fall victim to the distractions of this age which will short-circuit your destiny in Christ. Spend time in the light of Christ and His truth.

Question: How does walking in the light differ from walking in the darkness?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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The First Move of Restoration #Revivals past

Bible1In my last post, I talked about the church’s descent into the Dark Ages.  It was a horrible time in history.  Many people ask, “How could all this have happened?”  What about all that the Bible teaches?

The bottom line is, that at that time, the Church was the ultimate authority in the life of the believer.  Their teaching was viewed as infallible.  The clergy would not allow the common people own a Bible.

“We’ll explain to you the truth you need to know.”

Around 1300 A.D., it seems that God finally said, “Enough – I’ve got to prepare my bride for my coming.”  The Lord had to rearm his church.  As I look at the flow of history, I see that God was restoring the armor of Ephesians 6.  The bride had to be dressed and ready for the Lord.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
Ephesians 6:14a

First thing that was needed to be restored was the Belt of Truth.  This is what the church desperately hungered for at that time.  We need a foundation of truth.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

I would never have known truth without Scripture.  I need to be taught the principles of God.

It seems that the church was without hope at this time.  The door to heaven was locked and the priests had the only key.

I think that it’s no coincidence that the printing press was invented during this period.  I also believe that it was a direct result of the move of God.  The first book printed with this new technology was the Bible.

The above verse tells me that sometimes I need to be rebuked, to be told when I’m wrong.  It’s how I react that tells whom I serve.  Am I willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and change, or am I hard-hearted and rebellious?

Thus, some of the greatest persecution of God’s people began.  Unfortunately it was not from unbelievers, but from the organized church, itself.

God started moving in the lives of His servants.  It was small at first.  Believers who wanted to read and study the Bible for themselves.

It’s hard for us in the United States to fathom this.  Most Christians have more than one Bible in their home.  We have access in stores and online.  We’re free to read Scripture whenever and wherever we want.

Throughout history this has not always been the case.  In my next post I’ll wrap up this series by recounting some of the precious saints of God who laid down their lives for us to have the abundance of Scripture that we now enjoy.

Question: How much do you appreciate your access to Scripture?  How do you show it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Revival, The Church

 

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