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Tag Archives: victory

Caution – Evil Days Ahead

Are you protected enough to face each new day?  In my last post, I began looking at Paul’s letter to the Galatian church.  In this article, we’ll see that the answer to this question was the very reason that this book was written.

I want to see a revival in the church.  It’s obvious from what’s happening around us that we need it.  The real question is; do we want it?  And more than that; are we willing to do what it takes to lay hold of it?

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.
Galatians 1:3-5

I used to teach that inanimate things couldn’t be evil or good.  After spending some time studying this verse, I realized that I was wrong.  Things like days and money can be evil.  It’s actually talked about throughout the New Testament.

Maybe you might think that not all days are evil.  After all, there was intense persecution of the church back then.  That was Paul’s day he was talking about.

Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

One of the reasons that Christ went to the cross was to rescue us from this present evil age.  That’s the time we live in.   The age he’s talking about stretched from Paul’s day to the time when Christ returns to establish His Kingdom.  If the age is evil, then all the days of that age are evil.

The word, rescue, in the verse from Galatians, means to choose or select one person out of a group of people.  God is choosing us for Himself out of the world system.  But we need to understand the times.

We live in evil days.  Paul also talked about this in regard to the armor of God.

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 6:13

We need to be constantly walking in the spiritual armor.  This is our protection from the evil age.  This is not an option or something that only needs to be done once in a while.

Jesus went to the cross to provide us with more than just a one-time salvation.  His work is ongoing in our lives.  He provided us with the armor we need to rescue us from this present evil age.  We don’t need to be affected by it.

When will the evil day come?  Every time you wake up in the morning.  That’s why God’s armor is so important.  The evil day is not on its way, it’s here.

As God’s people, we should be prepared for what’s ahead.  We’re the ones who should be walking in victory over the challenges that face the world around us.

We need to spend time in the presence of the Lord.  That’s where our strength is.  In Him and in the power of the Holy Spirit, I have everything I need to face the evil days ahead of me.

How else could I walk in victory?  If every day is evil, then in Christ every day is a victory through Him who gives me strength.

Question: How does this evil age manifest itself in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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Is Your Faith Known?

In my last post, I talked about the need for a faith-coach. In sports, coaches are needed to overcome the challenges that an athlete faces during their competition. I believe it’s the same in our Christian walk. It’s how we’ve been coached that gets us through our challenges.

Paul tells the Thessalonian church the reason he was sending Timothy to coach them…

…so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.
1 Thessalonians 3:3-5

First of all, let me say that I’m not particularly thrilled with this passage. Paul makes it clear that it’s an undeniable fact of life that we will certainly face trials. Both of the words he uses – trials and persecution – mean pressure, narrow spaces, and challenges.

The Good News is not that we have an easy life with Christ. Instead, the Lord strengthens us to overcome in all of our trials.

This is why Paul wants them to be coached. In our trials, we should never be unsettled. That word literally means to wag – like a dog wags his tail.

Too often we, as Christians, end up simply reacting to our trials. We don’t expect them. Worse than that, we don’t know how to correctly operate in faith to walk through them. God has a better way for us. Listen to what He said to Israel when He taught them the law.

The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
Deuteronomy 28:13

The Lord never wants us to be wagged – to simply react – to the challenges of life. We have been given the Holy Spirit so that we can be ready for anything that comes our way. By watching others overcome, we can be equipped for the same victories.

Unfortunately, many refuse God’s mentoring system. They end up learning to overcome by trial and error. Personally, I want to know the strategy before I enter the heat of battle.

Back in the verse from Thessalonians, Paul said that he wanted to find out about their faith – literally he wanted to know their faith. The fact is, that true faith can be seen and known by those around you.

Trials and challenges – the pressures of life – serve an important purpose. They come so that the faith that you have on the inside can become evident on the outside.

Listen to how Peter describes the result of trials in our lives.

These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7

Do what needs to be done in order to prepare your faith. Then when the trials come, as you know they will, Christ will be revealed in you.

Question: How has watching other believers prepared you for your trials?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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Resistance is not Futile

I’m continuing to post from the book of James. He’s been telling us about how to humble ourselves before the Lord. This is important, especially when confronted by the enemy.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

Causing the devil to run away sounds great. But I’ve had people come to me and tell me, “I tried resisting and the enemy kept pestering me. This verse doesn’t work.”

Things like that happen because we take things out of context. The enemy doesn’t flee simply because you resist. There’s more going on in this verse that you need to apply.

The first thing James says is for us to submit ourselves to God. That word, submit, means to place under. Its usage is like what happens in the military when a soldier takes his orders from a superior officer.

When we find our place in the kingdom of God, under submission to Christ – our Commander in Chief – we can then resist effectively. The devil flees because heaven is backing me up, not because I’m resisting on my own.

The Apostle Paul tells us pretty much the same thing.

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 6:13

The word stand in this verse is the same word as resist that James used. We need to stand our ground and resist the devil. We’re told that if we do this, in submission to the Lord, the enemy will flee. But I’ve found that it’s the time frame between the resisting and the fleeing that gives us the most problem.

Why would the devil ever flee from us? After all, we’re not that strong compared to him.

This is a great lesson that the church needs to hear. So many people give up when things get hard. Some of us are under the impression that working for God should be all hearts and flowers.

Why then does Paul use the analogy of a warrior, fully armed, and dressed for battle? The fact is that there are spiritual forces that don’t want us to succeed in our service to the Lord. The victory comes from knowing that it’s the Holy Spirit giving you strength, and not giving up.

We need to learn how to stand in the center of opposition. The ancient Romans knew how to do this. It was the secret to the success of their army. Each of the Roman soldiers was taught how to defend a 3-foot square of ground from an invading army. When they fought together, there was no way to break through their lines.

We need to get it into our heads that the only way to victory is to move forward in the Lord. Backing up WILL NOT get you out of the battle. It will only make you have to fight to regain that ground later.

But the thing about this verse that gives me the most trouble is when Paul says, “when the day of evil comes.” Not “if”, not “there might come a time when problems arise”. He tells us in a straight forward way that this day is coming whether you’re ready or not. So the best thing to do is prepare now.

The word that both James and Paul used for stand literally means to stand in opposition to. We must be prepared for the enemy to oppose us.

The phrase after you have done everything actually translates after you have fully accomplished your work. When you have done everything you were assigned to do by the Lord, then it’s time for the Holy Spirit to take over. One thing I’m certain about. The enemy is no match for the God I serve!

So, being forewarned with the knowledge that the day of evil is coming, we need to be ready. We must be fully armed and prepared to stand our ground in Christ. Then we will see the victory of God manifest in our situation.

Question: What are you going through right now that will require you to stand your ground?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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Short-Lived Champions

TrophyI live in the Boston area. I have to admit that I was excited when the New England Patriots won the Superbowl. That probably doesn’t sound very spiritual.

A couple of days ago the Patriots celebrated their victory with a parade in Boston. Everybody seems to be feeling good about it.

Actually there’s a truth here that we need to understand. It hurts me to tell you this, but now that the Superbowl is over, both the Patriots and the Falcons are tied for last place. (Along with every other team.)

When you look at the world of sports, the game gets reset every year. What you did last year doesn’t mean anything during the next season.

From this point on it’s all about winning next year. In our society, championships are a temporary thing. You can be a world champion today and scraping the bottom the next season.

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.
1 Peter 3:18

I’m glad Jesus wasn’t this kind of champion. The victory that He won was once and for all. There will be no rematch, no do overs, and no replays. It is finished.

Under the Old Covenant it was much different. The death of a bull or goat today had no power to help you a year later. The sacrifices had to be repeated over and over again.

The work that Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross will never lose its effectiveness. It will never fade or wear out. The Lord is eternally victorious.

But there’s more to the story. Christ has passed this victory on to all who will trust in Him.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

As I said before – I’m glad the Patriots won. The problem is that their victory didn’t do anything for me. After the Superbowl, my health, finances, and attitudes were the same as they were before. They got the glory, and I got to watch.

Christ, on the other hand, allowed me to share in His victory. Even though there was nothing I could to do to help, I benefit from all that He did. All I had to do was to trust in Him as my Lord and Savior.

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4

In one decisive act, Jesus Christ accomplished freedom, salvation, healing, and restoration for all. We just need to get in on it by faith in Him.

Spend some time with the Lord today. Let His victory spill over into your life. Don’t walk around as if you’re defeated, hoping to win the next round. You can walk in his freedom right now.

Question: How has the victory of Christ been effective in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2017 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Warfare, The Gospel

 

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A Promise for the New Year

ReflectionThere’s a lot of unrest in the world today. Even in the United States there’s more apprehension over the new president than ever before. What should our attitude be, as believers?

Jesus made a statement to His disciples just before going to the cross. I believe that we need to take it to heart in these last days.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:1-3

There was a very good reason why the disciple’s hearts were troubled. If you read chapter 13 of the book of John, the chapter just before this passage, you’ll see Jesus warning them that He was going to be denied, betrayed, and killed.

At this point Jesus starts to sense their anxiety and tells them, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. You trust in God. Trust in Me.”

In verse two He tells them why they can be free from fear. The King James Version reads, in my Father’s house are many mansions. Well, is it a mansion or is it a room? That makes a big difference to me. I want to know whether I am getting a room or a mansion.

The Greek literally says, “In my Father’s house (or residence) are many places.” The word that Jesus uses is the Greek word for place.

Now, place could be a mansion. Place could be a room. Place could be a chair. There are many different kinds of places. But the one thing I’m sure about is that we’ll not be disappointed with the accommodations given us.

I’ve seen some good accommodations on earth, and I know God outdoes anything that we could have here. I don’t care what you call it. Whatever He gives me, I’m going to be thrilled with it. I am satisfied just knowing that He has a Place prepared for me.

He then tells the disciples in verse three that He’s going to get things ready. And if He goes through all the work needed to prepare a place, then they can rest assured that He will indeed return to take them to that place. That’s the promise that we can hold on to. He’s going to return. No matter what the world looks like. No matter how rotten things get.

We know the truth. The Church is going to come into fruition. But right along with that – as the wheat buds, the weeds are also going to come to fruition as well. The world is going to get worse and worse as it bears the fruit planted by the enemy.

But don’t worry, the Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world, and He’s going to come back at the right time, at the end of this present age, and receive us to Himself. With a promise like that to hold on to, there’s no need to worry.

What’s going to happen next week or next year? What will the economy do? What about the crime rate? These are all things we need to watch and be mindful of. But the bottom line is that because of Christ, these things shouldn’t trouble us.

We need to keep our eyes fixed upon Christ and His Word. That will take us victoriously through anything that comes our way in the future.

Question: How has God brought you through a big problem in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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Calling the Pressured

PressureI’m posting about how God gathered the mighty men around King David in the Old Testament. There are many parallels to what God is doing in the church today. In my last article I talked about getting over the hurts of the past and moving forward in Christ.

In the book of Acts, chapter 6, we’re told of a daily food distribution to widows. The Greek speaking widows were being left out. What was the result? Did they get offended and leave the church?

No, it became the start of a new ministry. An offence is simply a ministry that someone isn’t doing. In our generation, it seems that we find it easier to leave, than work things out. It’s time to get over your offence and decide to SERVE CHRIST.

Who were the people who showed up to help David?

All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.
1 Samuel 22:2

There are others – Christians all around us who are not living up to their potential in Christ. We should be calling them back to fruitfulness. They’re not going anywhere and not accomplishing anything for the Lord.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Who are these people that God brought to David? The first thing that the Scripture says about them is that they were in distress. That literally means that they were in a narrow place, pressured.

There are Christians under pressure right now. It’s keeping them from going to church. It’s time to be bold. We must go to these believers.

“God wants you strong in spirit.”

“It’s time to hear a Word from heaven.”

We need an influx of spiritual warriors – this is where it starts. God is calling believers who are under pressure. There’s no better time than now to find them.

Why do we want them in ministry?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The word trouble in this passage is actually the Greek word for pressure. Pressure qualifies us for ministry. When we can endure pressure, we can help others who are undergoing the same things.

We must call them in. God can and will restore them.

Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.
Psalm 119:143

David knew the secret to victory in times of pressure. We need to stay in the Word. That’s where we get the strength to overcome.

Question: What are some pressures that God gave you the victory over?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2016 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Victory vs. Our Abilities

TrophyI’ve been posting about giving yourself as a gift to God. That means that we give up all personal rights over to His will. Paul understood what this meant.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58

The context of this verse is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul goes into great detail explaining the importance of His rising from the grave.

Paul concludes this section by talking about our victory in Christ. The resurrection is the foundation for our victory in this life. We know that the victory is ours in Christ, no matter what the situation may look like right at the present moment.

So in this passage, Paul uses the word therefore. It’s because we know that Christ is victorious – past, present, and future – that we can give ourselves fully to God. We already know the outcome, so we can give ourselves willingly.

The problem is that willingly and fully are two very different things. I can willingly serve God with only part of my life, time, and resources. The real victory comes when I willingly give all to Christ.

Jesus Christ is returning soon. The clock is ticking. God wants to do great things in our generation. The question is; do I want to be a part of it, or simply watch what happens in the lives of others?

Please understand that this has nothing to do with your abilities. It has everything to do with your willingness to fully commit your life to God. The Macedonian churches are a great example of this in the Scripture.

For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.
2 Corinthians 8:3-5

This is one of the most miraculous verses in the Bible. How can you ever give beyond your ability? I don’t know; but that’s Paul’s testimony of what they did.

I believe that the key to all this is found in verse 5. Paul said that they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us.

Your first calling is not to a church or a ministry. It’s to God Himself.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t commit yourself to a church. What I am saying is that committing yourself to a church without first giving yourself to God is counter-productive.

It’s only when you first give yourself to God, that you can accomplish something beyond your ability. That’s when people notice that it’s God working in you. Only then will God get the glory from your life, and people will be attracted to the Gospel.

Question: How fully committed is your life to God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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