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The Importance of the Unseen

Over the last few posts, we can see that the disciples following Jesus seemed to be pretty slow in their trust of the Lord.  They have a hard time applying what He did in the past, to their present challenges.  Of course, that’s our problem sometimes as well.

I’ve found that the questions Jesus asks are just as important as His teachings.  It draws out what’s really going on inside of us.  He wants to activate the faith that may be lying dormant within us.

For this reason, He asks the disciples some questions.

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi.  On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
Mark 8:27-28

This is an interesting conversation between the Lord and His followers.  Jesus asks them who the crowds think He is.  In reading the original Greek, it sounds like their initial answer is, “John the Baptist.”  Then they added that some say Elijah or another lesser known prophet.

That’s funny when you think about it because Jesus was baptized by John.  They were seen together on a few occasions.

This actually shows us how society works.  When someone becomes famous, and people start to recognize their name, it’s as if they had never existed before that moment.

When Jesus was baptized by John, He probably stood in line like everyone else.  Even though John recognized who the Lord was, to the casual observer, Jesus was simply one of many being baptized that day.

They didn’t see Jesus studying and meditating on the Scripture for His first 30 years.  They didn’t see the hours of fasting and prayer over His future ministry to Israel.  They never knew about the 40 days He spent in the wilderness being tested.

The foundation of the house is the most important part, yet it’s the part rarely seen in the completed structure.  That’s why there can be no shortcuts in the preparation seasons of our ministry.  It’s frustrating to realize it, but most will never know the hard work that went into what people eventually see in public.

The disciples knew the reality.

“But what about you?” he asked.  “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”
Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Mark 8:29-30

They were finally able to voice what they had been thinking inside.  It was no longer a question; could this be the Messiah?  Now it was a definitive statement.

We need to follow the example of Christ.  Are you believing for God to accomplish something extraordinary through you?  Then don’t look for the shortcuts.

Don’t become so frustrated that you drop out during your season of preparation.  Continue to do what you know to do.  Allow the Lord to bring you to the place you need to be in Him.  Then, at the appointed time, you’ll see the manifestation of God’s Word to you.

Question: What are you believing God to bring about in your life?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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The Helmet and the Sword

HelmetI believe that it’s time for the church to take its stand against the unseen forces of evil in our land. For too long we’ve sat back and allowed the enemy to take more and more ground. I’m not talking about arguing or protesting in the physical realm, but a return to spiritual warfare.

Unfortunately, very few in the body of Christ understand the true meaning of this phrase. Many only think about the weird excesses that bring ridicule to the church and produce no lasting effect.

I want to take a few posts to talk about one aspect of this issue.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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 6:17-18

This is an incredible passage. But we miss out on the truth sometimes because we don’t realize that this is all one sentence. The following is how the sentence is laid out in the original language.

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the rhema of God, through the channel of all prayer and petition, praying in all times in the spirit and attending to this with all persistency and petition around all the saints.”

In this series I want to focus on taking the helmet and the sword. In our preaching and teaching we usually separate them. The more I read and meditate upon this verse, the more I understand that they’re linked together.

I think one of the problems in our teaching these days is compartmentalizing. What I mean by that is because of the length of most sermons, we can’t show the relationship between spiritual concepts. Each one – the sword, helmet, etc. – is given its own little “bubble” of teaching. What we need to see is how they all work together.

Take the helmet, for example. It was not only used for protection. It’s the most prominent piece of armor. In the Roman army the top of the helmet was decorated with many materials and colors. In this way the helmet displayed not only the rank of the wearer, but what division he was in.

You could see it above the battle. Because of this, the general, usually watching from a hilltop, could see where all his men were. The helmet was a sign of whose authority they were under.

According to the above verse, the helmet and sword go together. All of the other pieces of armor are picked up separately, but not the sword and helmet.

This is because the helmet and sword are the believer’s authority and power. It’s just like the badge and the gun for police. They both go together. The badge shows his or her authority to act and the gun gives them the power to act.

Authority and power go together. One without the other is useless. The modern church needs to learn this. Authority, by itself only produces frustration. Power, alone, causes big problems. You must operate in both together in order to fulfill God’s plan for your life.

Question: How do power and authority complement each other in the life of a believer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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What are we Fighting For?

JailI’m posting about the spiritual battle we’re in. I think that the church gets in trouble when it loses sight of this. If we don’t understand the battle, then we’ll never walk in victory.

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.
Ephesians 6:12

The Scripture is clear. The battle takes place in the unseen world. My fight is not against people or even the issues that I can see with my eyes.

The people around me are the casualties – prisoners of war held captive in unseen detention centers. Sometimes they don’t even want to be set free because the deception feels so good at the moment. My job is not to try and convince them to join with me.

The role of the church is to fight the unseen enemy. Tear down the invisible walls. Then turn the light on in the prison cells so that the captives can see the truth of their situation. Only then will they run to Christ the Savior.

But this seems to be the hardest thing to get believers to understand. Our struggle is not in the physical world, but the spiritual. It’s not us vs. the world. I’m not trying to get them to change sides. That will never bring about the desired results.

I want the same mindset that Jesus had when He walked the earth.

…The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8b

We need to know that there’s a spiritual world, and that’s where our battle is being fought right now. But how many of us really understand what that means? While many believers can quote 2 Cor. 2:4 – the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world – we don’t get the whole picture.

We don’t use physical weapons, but does that mean that the war itself is any different than a natural war? The enemy’s kingdom is very organized. The verse I started with talks about many levels of authority in their ranks. It’s time that the church gets organized for battle as well.

Do you realize that Satan has never personally attacked you? He has probably never even planned anything to come against you. We only face the lower levels of the dark forces; the rulers and authorities.

That’s why when you step up in ministry there’s a shift to a more intense battle. You find yourself moving up the ranks and facing tougher opponents in the spirit.

This is also why I started this series. In the first post – The Truth About Spiritual Warfare – I said that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years. Here’s what I meant. In all that time there’s been no organized attack by the church on the territory of the enemy, especially in the USA.

It’s time for the church to wake up. Not just a few local congregations here and there who are making a little headway.

We need a revival.

Question: What needs to take place for the church as a whole to wake up?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 

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Building for the Unseen

FoundationThis is the final post in a series about the faith of Noah. He’s one of the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews, chapter 11. It says of him that he was warned about the unseen, and built for the future by faith. This is the same thing that each of us is called to do.

If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15

How we build our lives will be shown for what it really is. After the final tally, some will have no building. The work of others will be burned up. I want to be of the company of those who have a work that lasts.

For this to happen, I must take care how I build, knowing that it’s for eternity. Remember what was said about Noah.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Hebrews 11:7

Look at his results. The choice that he made was far-reaching. In most cases, our choices affect so many others.

First of all we see that it saved his family. He had to take care in how he built. In the midst of the storm they were walking on floorboards that might have been laid down 50 years before. His work had to last.

I might think that when I tithe it only affects me. But that’s not entirely true. It will have an effect upon my children and grandchildren.

The last part of the verse literally says that he condemned the world (system). Every day that we live by God’s standards proves that the world system is wrong. Because of this, I don’t fear what they fear. I don’t have to worry about how the economy is going to affect me or what kind of germs I’m being exposed to.

Just like Noah, we are heirs of righteousness. Please understand that righteousness is the complete package of grace that Christ purchased for us. This includes our healing, prosperity, joy, peace, goodness, and so much more.

By taking care how I build, I put myself in a position to receive from God. There may be things in my life that are not seen yet, but I’m getting into position. We need to make the choice to build for the unseen.

Questions: What are you trusting God for that you haven’t seen yet? How are you building for it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Faith, Word of God

 

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The Unseen Battle

Ephesians 6:12 – 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.
(NIV)

It would be so much easier if I could see my enemy.  The fact is that there is no group that you can point to and say, “They are the enemy.”  People and organizations are not the enemy.

We want to blame someone.  “It’s their fault.”  That’s not the attitude we should have.  It is clear from Scripture that the enemy is unseen.  There is a whole spiritual world that is just out of reach to our five senses.  It cannot be felt or touched, yet it is just as real.

We also need to realize that this unseen world is organized.  Actually it is more organized than the church.  The enemy knows that the battle for souls goes on 24/7.  We like to take breaks and holidays from the struggle.  We think that because we did something special for God today, we can take the next few days off – “let our hair down” for a while.  I believe that’s why the church in America seems to be so ineffective for the most part.

It is time for God’s people to take this unseen battle seriously.  We need to begin living our faith the way God intended us to.  We need to lift up the Word of God as an offensive weapon against the darkness of this age.  It is time for the light of Christ to shine through us to set the captives free.

Be a part of God’s victorious church.  Arm yourself for the unseen battle through prayer and the Word.  It is time to strike fear into the heart of the true enemy – the unseen kingdom of darkness.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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