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Tag Archives: unbelief

I Can’t Believe It!

Why do we find it so hard to believe God’s Word sometimes?  We trust Him for our salvation.  But what about other things like healing, provision, and protection?  Why do some obstacles look bigger than others?

When Jesus rose from the dead, we find that the disciples struggled with the same issues that we do.  You may want to read Mark 16:1-14 before continuing with this post.

The morning that Jesus rose from the dead, some women went to the tomb to finish the embalming process.  When they arrived, they found that the stone was rolled away from the entrance.  Even more astounding was the angel that was sitting inside the tomb, apparently waiting for them.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said.  “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'”
Mark 16:6-7

They received one of the most glorious messages in history.  But instead of the joy it should have brought them, it only made them afraid.  As a matter of fact, the next 6 verses tell of the most doubt-filled, unbelieving time in the lives of the Lord’s followers.

The women, themselves, were too afraid to tell anybody about what the angels had told them.  Mary Magdalene actually saw and talked to the risen Lord.  Yet no one would believe her.  Others saw and spoke to the risen Christ, but nobody believed them either.

Why is it so hard to believe that God can do the impossible?  It’s probably because we look at things through the eyes of our experiences.  That’s why we find it easy to believe God to heal our headache, but cancer seems too big an issue.

The Lord had something to say about it to the disciples.

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
Mark 16:14

Jesus rebuked them for two things.  The first was unbelief.  That’s normal for us as humans.  There will always be a level of unbelief that resides in our flesh – even when we’re trusting God.

The key is in the next word that Jesus used.  The phrase, stubborn refusal is literally hard-hearted in the Greek.  They had closed their hearts to the truth.

We know that faith comes by hearing God’s Word.  The problem was that when they heard the Word of testimony from those who saw Christ, they refused to let that truth enter their heart.  If they had, it would have produced the faith that could overcome their unbelief.

We need to learn this lesson.  Open your heart to God’s Word.  Even if it sounds impossible.  Even if your experience tells you that there’s no way for God to accomplish it.  Put that Word into your heart and let it grow and produce the fruit of faith in your life.

Our God can do the impossible – we simply have to trust Him for it.

Question: What have you seen God do for you that you originally thought was impossible?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2018 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Prayer and Fasting – A Foundation for Faith

Did you know that waiting for a problem to arise before you strengthen your faith is a bad idea?  Too many people only press into God and His Word when their back is against the wall.  Jesus teaches that the time to prepare is well before you need a breakthrough.

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 9 and verses 14-29, we see what happened as Jesus and His three closest disciples were coming down from the mountain of transfiguration.  You may want to read that passage in the Bible before continuing in this post.

It seems that they walked into a storm of controversy.  A crowd had formed around the other disciples.  Bedlam had broken out.

There was a demon possessed boy whose father had brought him to them for deliverance.  They tried everything they knew, yet the demon would not leave.  Jesus’ response to all of this is important for us to see.

“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you?  How long shall I put up with you?  Bring the boy to me.”
Mark 9:19

The implication of what the Lord is saying here is, “How long will I have to be in this nation trying to turn you around?”  It sounds like Jesus is swimming against the flow, in a river of humanity.

The only way for Israel to get back on track is to trust in the Messiah.  Unfortunately, they want to continue in their unbelief.  Their “faith” is based on what they think is possible.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered.  “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.  But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Mark 9:21-24

Mark makes it clear that the main issue is about faith and unbelief.  It’s not about spiritual authority or how loud you can yell at the demon.  How deeply you trust the Lord is at the heart of the matter.

The Gospel writer wants us to see, through this event in the life of Christ, how to grow in our faith.  The point of this story is to understand how to overcome my unbelief.  That’s where the disciples are headed as the Lord continues His work with them.

Immediately, the Lord rebukes the demon and commands it to leave the boy.  The young man was delivered and set free from the demon from that day forward.  It seemed to be no problem for Jesus.

But the disciples still had some questions.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.”
Mark 9:28-29

Please understand that the demon doesn’t care whether or not you fast and pray.  Also, notice that Jesus didn’t tell the man, “Bring the boy to me in a week.  I need to fast and pray before I can deliver him.”

Jesus is answering the question of unbelief.  Fasting and prayer should be the lifestyle of a mature believer.  Fasting and prayer are what drives out the unbelief of our fleshly nature.  It opens us up to the manifestation of God’s supernatural power.

Follow the example of Jesus.  Walk before God by regularly setting times of fasting and prayer.  Then you’ll see your unbelief start to fade and a greater capacity for the miraculous.

Question: How have you seen the effects of fasting and prayer in your spiritual life?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Unbelief is Transferable

Are you careful about whom you spend a lot of time with?  Who are your close friends?  Are they enhancing or hindering your spiritual walk?  Jesus makes it clear that those around you affect your ability to receive from God.

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.  He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.  When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
Mark 8:22-23

This is a very important Scripture, yet many read it without ever seeing the key issues.  The townspeople wanted to see this blind man healed, so they brought him to Jesus.  Look at Jesus’ response.

The Lord took his hand and brought him outside the city before He would minister healing.  Why would He do something like that?  By this simple act, the Lord was testifying against their refusal to trust Him as their Messiah.

How do I know this?  By Jesus’ own testimony.  At one point He denounced some of the cities that He visited.

“Woe to you, Korazin!  Woe to you, Bethsaida!  If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
Matthew 11:21

They were looking for the Lord to heal this man.  What they didn’t want was for Christ to change their lives.  They didn’t want to accept Him as their Lord and Savior.

This attitude even had an effect on the blind man’s ability to receive his healing.  Jesus laid His hands on the man then asked if he could see.

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes.  Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.  Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t go into the village.”
Mark 8:24-26

The first time Jesus touched him, the man only received a partial healing.  It took another touch for him to be completely healed.  Then, once healed, the man was told not to go back into the village.  He didn’t need to be around that kind of unbelief.  It would only hinder his future trust in Christ.

We need to take this to heart.  If that’s how it worked under Jesus’ ministry, then it’s the same today.  Who you spend most of your time with determines who you’re going to become like.  It’s very easy to pick up attitudes, whether good or bad.

Just like with the blind man, you can still receive from the Lord if you pick up the unbelief of others.  It just takes longer for the Holy Spirit to get you to the point where you’re in a position to receive.

If you want to progress spiritually, then spend more time with those who are walking in the truth of the Word.

Question: How have you experienced the attitudes of others affecting you?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2018 in Faith, Fellowship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Abraham’s Heritage of Unbelief

Dry2How do you compare to Abraham? We read about men like Abraham, Noah, and Moses and think they were somehow different from us. Kind of like a higher breed of human – much more godly than we could ever be.

We look at our lives, where we came from, the baggage we carry with us, and we think that we can never be like them.

“If only we were more like them, then we could accomplish great things for God.”

That kind of thinking only serves to make you ineffective as a child of God.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
Genesis 12:1-2

Many people think that God called Abraham out of the blue – without any warning. They think that the calling of God isn’t based upon any past history. This is simply not the case.

Actually, we’re more like the faithful men and women of the Bible than we think. I want to take a couple of posts to show what Abraham’s family history was like. He had to go against his upbringing in order to follow God. Like us, it would have been easier for him to just ignore God and go on business as usual.

Do we have a double standard when it comes to our children? We want the best for them. What about where faith is concerned? Abraham’s family had to wrestle with this.

When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber.
Genesis 11:14

Shelah was an ancestor of Abraham – 7 generations before he was born. He was given a name which meant the spear of attack. Interesting name…his parents must have seen great things in his future. Actually, we know that Shelah had a deep relationship with the Lord. God spoke to him just like He called out to many in this family line.

Long before Abraham was called, Shelah was given the same orders as Abraham. He was told to leave his home to follow God’s leading. The difference is that he never left everything to follow God’s voice.

How do I know this? Instead of leaving his home, he named his son Eber – which means the land across the river. He must have reasoned, “I can’t go, but I’ll have my son obey God’s call.” It turns out that Eber didn’t leave home either.

Procrastination can keep you from God’s best. The fact is that this incident happened before the Tower of Babel. That means that it was before the giants moved into the Promised Land. God’s people could have had it free and clear with no wars or struggles – if they had obeyed God immediately.

We need to learn this lesson. The quicker we obey God, the easier it is to see the outcome He’s planned for us. If there’s something you were meaning to do for God, but were putting it off – now is the time. Don’t wait any longer. Obey God’s call; you’ll be glad you did.

Question: How have you experienced the blessing that come from obeying God quickly?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, Word of God

 

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Is Your Heart Burning?

FireWhen Christ rose from the dead, He began showing Himself to groups of His followers in various places. At one point two of them were walking from Jerusalem to a town called Emmaus. They had an encounter with the risen Lord.

At first they didn’t recognize Him. Later, once they knew who they’d been with, they discussed it.

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32

Recently, as I was reading this passage, I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to study this more deeply. I want to take a couple of posts to talk about what I learned as I meditated on these “burning hearts”. I believe that it will help you in your walk with the Lord.

Let’s start at the beginning. If this is about their hearts, then how did they begin the process? This is an important question.

As I said before, they didn’t know at first that they were talking to Jesus. He asked them why they looked so sad. They were amazed that there was a person who they thought had no idea of what had just taken place in Jerusalem.

“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.”
Luke 24:19-21

This is one of the most amazing confessions of faith AND unbelief that I’ve ever seen! On the one hand they saw in Christ the power of the Word of God. They were inspired to place their hope in Him as the Redeemer of Israel.

Yet at the same time they were walking in defeat, believing that there was nothing more to hope for. It was over. The chief priests and rulers destroyed the dream.

In this condition, they were what James called double-minded.

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
James 1:6-8

Being double-minded doesn’t mean that you doubt everything. You’re trusting God for some things, while doubting others. You may trust God to save your soul, yet not believe that He wants to provide for your needs.

That’s the place that many Christians find themselves in today. They know what God’s Word says, yet they have no idea how to apply it to their lives. They’re hoping that God will do something in them, while at the same time they expect nothing to happen.

This is where the burning hearts come in. In my next post we’ll see the Lord’s remedy for this double-minded dilemma.

Question: When have you found yourself both trusting and doubting God at the same time?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Faith, Revival

 

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Our Problem – The Flesh #spiritualfast

Give UpI’ve been posting about the New Testament fast.  There’s an event in Jesus’ ministry that sheds some light on it.

As Jesus was returning to the city form the mount of transfiguration, He was met by a crowd of people.  While He was away, the disciples tried to cast a demon out of a young man, but were unable to.  This is important, because they had been personally trained by the Lord and should have had an easy time with it.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered.   “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.  But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus.  “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Mark 9:21-24

Knowing the three parts of our being helps us to understand the man’s statement in Mark 9:21-24.  He didn’t understand how he could both believe and not believe at the same time.  It’s important for us to see that both faith and unbelief or “unfaith” can exist at the same time in the same person.

My spirit is always full of faith.  My flesh is always full of doubt and unbelief.  It was this realization that caused the man to cry out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  This is the key issue involved in our desire for the miraculous to be evident in our ministries.

Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
Matthew 17:18-19

Everyone who wants a walk of excellence needs to know the answer to this.  We all read the Word of God.  We know that it’s God’s will to heal and deliver.  Why is it so hard, sometimes, to see the manifestation of the Spirit of the Lord?  Listen very intently to Jesus’ answer.  It will help us to move up into the excellence of ministry that He has for us.

Obviously, the disciples didn’t ask in public in case the answer was in the form of a rebuke.  They would rather take it in private.  But their question was valid.  Why couldn’t they do what Jesus did, even though they had the faith to try it?

They had been trained by Jesus Himself to go out two by two.  They had prayed for the sick and saw them healed.  They had rebuked demons and saw them bow to the Name of Jesus.  Why, all of a sudden, did it seem to stop working?

We need to open our heart to what Jesus says.  This could explain our lack of results.  We have faith.  We step out.  But many times we experience nothing.  Why?

In my next post we’ll see how the Lord answered this question.

Question: How has your flesh hindered your walk with the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Fasting, Spirit of Excellence

 

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The Foundation for Fasting #spiritualfast

BibleI am posting about the New Testament fast.  I believe that it can revolutionize your walk with the Lord.

Did you ever feel like your spiritual breakthrough was right there?  You could almost taste it.  You have the faith, but you just couldn’t cross over to the promise before you.

Hopefully, that will no longer be the case.  No, you don’t have to fast to be saved.  However, if your desire is to walk in the fullness of the salvation that the Lord has provided for you, then fasting is one of the tools available to propel you forward.

Fasting is something that should be a normal part of your walk with the Lord.  As a matter of fact, no one should even be aware of your doing it.

When the Lord spoke of washing your face and putting oil on your head he was referring to the normal grooming that most people of His culture did each day.  In other words, go through your day in the normal routine, only without eating.  That is the impact of what Jesus was teaching in the verses we looked at in my last post (Matthew 6:16-18).

On the other hand, I have seen people get religious about this point.  They lock themselves in their room for the day.  It’s not a sin for people to know that you’re fasting.

My regular fasting day is Tuesday.  It would be impossible for me to hide this from my wife and children.  What I’m not to do is use fasting as a way to make myself look good in the eyes of others.  I simply go through the day normally – only without eating.

The big question is – why does the Lord want us to fast?

To understand fasting, we must look at an incident that occurred in Jesus’ ministry.  This happened immediately after the Lord’s transfiguration on the mountain.  I will look at it in detail in my next post.  By understanding this event, we will see why the supernatural is so difficult to enter into in the United States.

The first thing I need to understand is who I am as a person.  I’m a multi-part being.  I exist as body (flesh), soul (mind), and spirit.

My spirit is the part of my being that communes with God.  My spirit believes everything in the Word of God.  It agrees, without reservation, to every word spoken by the Lord.

My flesh, on the other hand, is the part that I inherited from my ancestor, Adam.  It rejects and doubts whatever God says.  The tension between the flesh and the spirit has created a war that’s constantly waging within me.

The third aspect, my mind, is the part of me that’s in control and has to sort it all out.  This will be the case until we receive our resurrected body from the Lord.  So we better know the scriptural way to handle it.

In my next post we’ll see what Jesus says the problem is.

Questions: Have you been trust God for a spiritual breakthrough?  How close is it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Fasting, Spirit of Excellence

 

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