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The Supernatural Orchestra

In the last few posts, we’ve been looking at how the church should be built up through prophecy, and tongues and interpretation.  God wants to strengthen us by His power.

Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes?  Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?
1 Corinthians 14:7-8

In talking about the need for understanding, Paul uses the example of musical instruments.  When we gather together, God has a purpose for what’s being said.  If someone is speaking, then it should be useful to build others up in the faith.

In an orchestra, everyone doesn’t just arrive and start playing whatever they want on their instruments.  They all play the same song together.  Even if some play melody and some play harmony, together they make a cohesive whole.

When we gather together, we need to speak with purpose.  The Holy Spirit is the great Conductor.  He should be orchestrating the whole so that all who attend are touched by His presence.

So it is with you.  Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?  You will just be speaking into the air.  Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning.  If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.
1 Corinthians 14:9-11

I understand that the context of this passage is about the need for a message in tongues to be interpreted.  However, in our generation, there’s another point that needs to be made.

In the modern church, we’ve come up with our own particular culture and language.  I sometimes wonder what the unchurched think about when they hear what we say in church.

We question why they don’t respond when we call them to be “washed in the blood” or “come to the cross”.  Those phrases have great meaning to us as believers.  But to the world, they mean nothing.

I’m not saying, like some do, that we need to stop preaching the blood of Christ or His cross.  No, instead, we need to be explaining the significance of these words.  We can’t just assume that everybody knows what we mean by these church terms.

Since I’ve already started going there, let me make a few more people mad at me.  I think that this also applies to those who insist on only using the King James Version of the bible.  That’s a foreign language to most people today.

It’s perfectly fine to use the KJV if those you’re speaking to were raised hearing it.  But in my case, a great number of people that I minister to don’t have English as their first language.  They need to hear the Word of God in a way that they can grasp and apply to their lives.

We need to stop being self-centered in our view of church ministry.  It’s not about what I want.  It’s the Holy Spirit’s desire that should be central.

When we come together as believers, we need to be in prayer as to how the Lord wants His service to flow.  It’s not about the songs I want to sing or the sermon I want to preach.  Christ is the head of the church and He should set the direction for each meeting.

Only in that way will we be assured that everyone in attendance, who are expecting to receive something, will meet with God.

Question: How do we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our church gatherings?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on July 31, 2019 in Fellowship, Ministry, Revival, The Church

 

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Three Main Functions of the Mind (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to do some hiking and praying off in the woods.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles.  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.

I enjoy studying teachings about the subject of Creation vs. Evolution.  I believe there’s a very important issue involved that no one seems to talk about.

We’ll start by looking at a passage from the book of Hebrews.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:3

Actually, it all boils down to one key phrase – we understand.  What does it mean to understand?

The Bible talks about three basic concepts that deal with how the mind functions.

The first is knowledge.  Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and it’s the easiest to acquire.  We go to school or read books and get knowledge.

The next is wisdom, and that’s a little bit tougher to get.  Wisdom is the application of knowledge to solve problems.  The only way to get wisdom is through experience or time spent in God’s presence.

The third and most important function is understanding.   Understanding involves direction.  It looks for the eventual outcome of a line of thinking.  It tries to put together all the facts, and asks, “Where does the path I’m on take me?”  This process exercises the mind to its greatest potential.  It’s hard work and sometimes brings unexpected results.

Because of this, most people will not seek understanding.  Yet seeking is the only way to obtain it.  You must choose to understand.

Understanding, then, is exercising the mind to see the entire picture of life.  It looks at how everything fits together.  This is what our society desperately needs.

Unfortunately, most school systems teach us NOT to understand.  Everything is about the present.  Does it feel good right now?  Instead of understanding, they seek explanations – as long as these explanations fit into their worldviews.

There’s an unfortunate outcome to this kind of living.

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
Psalm 32:9

Our modern society displays the truth of this verse.  The less understanding you possess, the more you need to be controlled.

We frequently hear people complain, “There are so many new and complicated laws now.”  What does that tell you?  I believe that we’re training a generation how not to understand.

The ability to seek understanding is the basis for a clear direction in life.  It’s got to be the starting point.  Without direction, there’s no reason for self-control.

This is why the creation-evolution debate is so emotional.  It involves issues that affect the very core of who we are and how we view our existence.

Question: How is a lack of direction displayed by our present society?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2018 in Encouragement, Spiritual Walk

 

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Understanding – The Key to Unlocking Faith

In my last post, the Pharisees angered Jesus by asking Him for a sign.  They wanted the Lord to prove Himself as if what He had been doing so far was not enough.  He decided to leave the area, so He got into a boat with His disciples.

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat.  “Be careful,” Jesus warned them.  “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
Mark 8:14-16

The Pharisees wanted to be in control.  Herod wanted to see a miracle to be entertained.  Neither wanted to follow Christ as the Messiah.  Jesus was warning His disciples not to pick up these attitudes.

It’s clear that the disciples didn’t know what the Lord was talking about.  They discussed it.  In the course of their debate, it was decided that He was upset that they only had one loaf of bread between them.

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread?  Do you still not see or understand?  Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?  And don’t you remember?  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Mark 8:17-21

The word used to describe their discussion is dialogue.  Even today we like having dialogues about what it means to be a Christian.  It’s time to stop dialoguing and get back to what the Bible teaches.

Usually, a dialogue will lead us to the lowest common denominator.  More often than not, it’s a compromise with the flesh.  Some of the disciples were probably hungry, so they focused on not having enough bread for their satisfaction.

Jesus clearly rebukes them for discussing His words.  Instead, He tells them three things that they needed.  The important words are: See, remember, and understand.

The word, see, means to ponder or to think about.  Had they really thought about what Jesus said, they would have realized that the Pharisees and Herod had nothing to do with how much bread was in the boat.

The next thing is remembering.  They needed to remember what Christ had already done right in front of their eyes.  One loaf of bread was more than enough to feed them all.  There’s no lack when you’re walking with Jesus.

But the key is understanding.  That word literally means to put together.  You need to see what the Lord is saying right now and put that together with what you remember that He’s already accomplished in your life.  When we do this, we’re opening the door of faith.

Anybody can say, “Yes, I’m trusting Jesus.”  I’m sure the disciples would have said the same thing sitting in the boat talking about not having enough bread.

We need to take what we know from Scripture and apply it to our lives.  Then, remember what God has already done in and through us.  Now, putting it all together, we can move forward with the assurance that Christ has already supplied all we need for life and godliness.

Question: What are some things that Christ has already completed in you?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2018 in Faith, Spiritual Walk

 

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Private Time Insight

Over the last few posts, we have looked at some of the parables of Jesus.  That section of Mark is summarized in the next verses.

With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.  He did not say anything to them without using a parable.  But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
Mark 4:33-34

The understanding of this passage is actually very important to us as believers.  It holds the key to a greater depth of insight into the Lord’s work in our lives.

But first, we have to know what is meant by a parable.  According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary*, a parable is a “short, simple story designed to communicate a spiritual truth…in which truth is illustrated by a comparison or example drawn from everyday experiences.”

If we want to truly understand our walk with God, then we need to be able to draw spiritual truth from everyday experiences.  This is a big part of getting insight into the Word of God.

This was a big part of Jesus’ ministry to His disciples.  He spoke the parables to the crowds.  They observed the natural world examples.  But in private, the disciples were given the truths that these parables illustrated.

I’ve said it before; the ministry of Jesus to His disciples was equivalent to the ministry of the Holy Spirit to us today.  What Jesus did then, is what the Holy Spirit wants to do now, if we’re seeking and listening.  After all, most of the time the disciples asked the Lord to explain these parables to them.

We go through many different experiences in our lives.  How often do we ask the Lord to explain them to us?  Please understand, I’m not talking about the “Why me!” type of questions.  I’m talking about turning our daily walk into a learning time with the Holy Spirit.

Let me give you an example.  If you don’t already know it, I’m an avid hiker.  I love spending a week or more on the trail.  The fact is that walking is probably the most used illustration of spiritual truth in the Bible.

As I hike, I pray to, worship, and praise God.  I ask Him for wisdom and insight.  Along the way, the Lord has used my hiking experiences to give me tremendous insight into the Christian walk.  Many of the truths of Scripture directly coincide with walking long distances.

But probably the most important part of this whole discussion is the fact that this happened while Jesus was alone with His disciples.  The things that were in parable form were hidden from most people.  But the Lord wanted the disciples to understand them.

The word explained, in the above verse means to untie a knot.  It’s something that stays bound up unless you actively work at it.  In this case, it means spending time, in private, with the Holy Spirit.  It’s in those times that we can receive insight into our walk with God.

Do you seek to understand Scriptural truth from your daily activities?  Did you even know that this was available to you?  Spend quality time in God’s presence listening for His explanations of what you’ve been through.  It will open up your spiritual eyes.

Question: What spiritual insight have you gotten from your daily experiences?

*From Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2018 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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How to Miss God’s Best

As we continue through the Gospel of Mark, we now come to one of the more popular sections.  It’s when Jesus teaches the parable of the sower and the seed.  The parable itself is contained in Mark 4:1-9.  You may want to look it up and read it before going on with this post.

There are a lot of important truths in this section.  So I’m going to spend a number of posts on it.  Apparently, the disciples didn’t understand the meaning of the parable.  Later, when they were alone with Jesus, they asked Him about it.

When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.  He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.  But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'”
Mark 4:10-12

To understand what Jesus is saying here, we need to know His role in the lives of the disciples.  Christ was to the disciples, who the Holy Spirit is to the church.  He was the One leading, training, guiding and teaching them.  So how the Lord worked with the disciples is how the Holy Spirit works with us now.

The goal of Jesus with His disciples was to bring them into an understanding of the kingdom of God.  His words are spirit and life.  Jesus tells us that by not accepting His Word, there are three consequences.  Unfortunately, I see these very things at work in much of the church today.

Ever seeing but never perceiving.  The word used for seeing is the generic word, to look at.  The word, perceiving, means to know by seeing or to experience.  This is talking about those who see what God has done for them but never experience it.

There are many Christians who spend lots of time confessing their position in Christ.  But they never do what it takes to cross over into the manifestation of it.  It only comes about by hearing and obeying the Lord’s voice.

Ever hearing but never understanding.  Hearing simply means to listen with your ears.  That’s the easy part.  Plenty of people do that every week in church services.

Understanding is on a higher level.  The word literally means to put together.  That’s where we usually miss out.  I need to know how to apply what I’ve heard to the area of my life that needs it.

Again, that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in.  If I’m not listening to His instruction, then I’ll never see the changes take place that will move me forward in my Christian walk.

Otherwise, they might turn and be forgiven.  This is obviously the most important part.  But it’s totally dependent upon perceiving and understanding.  What exactly does this mean?

The word, turn, means to turn around and start walking in the opposite direction.  That’s good, but it’s the forgiven part that most of us miss the depth of.  Our understanding of forgiveness is very shallow compared to the Scriptural concept.

When we think of being forgiven, it means that we did something wrong and now it’s okay.  This is not what the Greek word indicates.

The word, forgive, in the Greek, means to pick up, remove, and throw away.  This brings a whole new view of what’s happening in this verse.

When we perceive, understand, and obey a word from God, it causes us to turn around.  Then, at that point, things start dropping off and being removed from our lives.  Things like habitual sins, sicknesses, lack, and depression.

Hopefully, as we continue looking at this parable, we’ll learn to walk in this truth and experience God’s best for us.  If you haven’t yet subscribed to this blog, take the opportunity now so that you won’t miss an installment.

Question: What is your current level of experiencing God’s best in your life?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Against the Current

As we continue to look at the Gospel of Mark, we see that Jesus’ ministry is increasing.  More and more crowds are being attracted to Him.  The healing and deliverance of the Lord are flowing in abundance.  You would think that everyone would be happy about it.

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.  When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
Mark 3:20-22

I can’t imagine what this was like.  Jesus is invited to someone’s house.  Immediately a crowd shows up.  They were people hungry to hear a Word from God.  There were sick and demonically oppressed people as well.

The Lord and His disciples began ministering to those who came.  As they lost track of time, those who were watching started to get concerned.

The first response came from those who were closest to Jesus.  His family didn’t understand the calling of God.  They felt the need to have an intervention.  Obviously, Jesus was out of his mind.  The notoriety that He was experiencing was too much for Him to handle.

It never even occurred to them that Jesus was operating according to the Father’s plan.  He spent a large amount of time in God’s presence, hearing what He was to do.  Then, Jesus would step out and accomplish the will of the Father.

Scripture is clear that those who don’t listen to the instruction of the Holy Spirit have no understanding of those who do.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14

The same was true with the teachers of the law.  Of course, they had different motivations.  They were teachers.  They saw Jesus as a rival.  After all, if the crowds are listening to Him, then they weren’t listening to the Pharisees.

Jealousy can blind you to the truth.  Instead of judging Christ based on His teaching and spiritual power, they looked at their own loss of esteem.  They decided that only way to feel good about themselves was to discredit Jesus.

These types of attitudes are always around when you’re trying to walk by the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit usually leads you against the current of “normal” opinion.  People tend to attack whatever they don’t understand.

We see this in the body of Christ right now.  There are well-known ministries that are bringing huge numbers of people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Yet in spite of this, they’re treated as if they’re false teachers or even demons in disguise.

Jealousy in the ministry is not very becoming.  I’ve learned that even if I have questions about how a ministry operates, I keep it to myself and praise God for those being won into the kingdom of God.

In my next post, we’ll see Jesus’ response to those who were putting down His ministry.

Question: How have you been questioned about something the Lord instructed you to do?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2018 in Ministry, Prayer, The Church

 

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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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