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Ears to Hear

We’re looking at some of the parable of Jesus that Mark’s Gospel records for us.  We should have the insight to understand what the Lord was speaking about.  These particular parables have to do with our handling of God’s Word to us.

“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Mark 4:23

God has placed His Holy Spirit within us.  It’s because of His ministry that we can hear God’s voice.  If we draw on His power, we’ll understand and walk in the Word.  Because of this, we must be careful as to our handling of that Word.

“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you — and even more.  Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”
Mark 4:24-25

This is one of those sections of Scripture that we sometimes misapply.  Because it sounds like others verses that talk about money, we miss the connection to the Word of God.  This directly applies to hearing God’s Word.

The word, consider, means to look carefully into something.  We need to be discerning listeners.  When we think that God is speaking to us, we need to consider it very carefully.  We don’t want to lose anything that He has for us.

This is important because the measure – the container – that we use will determine how much we receive.  This verse is using the illustration of holders.  If I use a 1-liter bottle, then the most I can take with me is one liter.

If God wants to give me a gallon of understanding, but I’m only prepared to receive a quart, then I’m going to miss out on some of the things He wants to accomplish in me.  I must be ready and willing to receive God’s whole message; not just the parts I like.

Too often we like the blessings that He promises to send our way.  But the things that He’s calling us to change seem to go right over our heads.  We need to retain and carefully consider the Lord’s whole message to us.

When we receive what God gives us, then He’ll be faithful to send even more.  The final statement above literally says that he who holds on to it will be given more.  Consequently, he who doesn’t hold on to it will lose what he had been given previously.

This goes right along with a warning Christ gives us in the book of the Revelation.

“I am coming soon.  Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”
Revelation 3:11

We need to be careful listeners of God’s Word.  We should be cultivating our ability to hear the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us.  Then we won’t find ourselves learning the same lessons again and again.

Be prepared to accept the whole message that God speaks to you.  Then, carefully retain it, meditate on it, and protect it until it is fulfilled in you.  That’s the kind of disciples the Lord is actively seeking.

Question: What’s the last message that you’re sure the Lord spoke to you?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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The Missing Ingredient – A Word from God

Different AnointingI’m posting about what’s missing in the church of our generation. Why do we not see the power manifest in the early church? I believe that it’s because we’re not hearing from God the way we should be.

It’s the same thing that Jesus manifested as He ministered throughout Israel. He was very clear about how He walked in this divine power.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
John 5:19

Jesus heard from the Father. That’s the secret to how He could minister the way that He did. It’s the reason why He could heal the sick or walk on water.

It’s also the reason why Peter could boldly say, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk.” He had heard from the Father. He had already seen this crippled man walking with his spirit.

This experience is what the church of Jesus Christ desperately needs today. We must hear from God. The world needs us to hear from God.

Only then will they see the ministry of Jesus exemplified in us. Only then will they be drawn to the preaching of the cross for salvation. It’s imperative that we once again bring our walk with God to this level.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:7-8

In this passage Jesus is plainly talking about hearing a Word from God. In the original it says that if you are at home in Me [Jesus] and My words have a home in you, you can ask whatever you wish.

To many Christians this means, “If you memorize the Bible, I’ll give you whatever you want.” How did we ever get so far away from God’s intent?

If Christ was referencing the Bible in this section, it would have been impossible for the disciples to obey it. There were no Bibles for the first generation of believers. They had to rely upon hearing from the Father just as Jesus had done.

As much as I love the written Word of God, I think that we’ve used it to insulate ourselves from the Author. Why spend time seeking to hear God’s voice through the Spirit, when I can open up the Bible and read it for ten minutes?

Yes, we need to read, study, memorize and confess the Scripture. But it’s just as important to hear the Holy Spirit’s spoken Word to us. That’s where the power for the miraculous comes from.

It’s time for the church to once again depend upon a Word from God in order to walk in His power. I believe that this is the next great move of God in His people. He wants to restore to us the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. That’s what will bring about the end-time harvest of souls.

I’m about to say something that will probably make you mad at me, but it’s true none the less. The world doesn’t need any more Scripture. They’re sick of hearing Scripture. What they desperately need is a Word from God.

Who will bring it to them, if not the church? We need a Word from heaven. The first few drops of rain are falling. Will you get yourself into position to receive this anointing? The time is now to prepare.

Question: What does your spirit speak to you about this truth?

© 2016 Nicolas Zaccardi

 

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God Confirming His Word

LightningThis is the third of six reposts. It was originally from 2013. It was a part of a series on the Word of God and its relation to Scripture.

To view the original series click here.

In that series I showed that the power of the early church was based upon their hearing from God. God spoke to them, they obeyed, and God confirmed His Word.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

Scripture says that the Lord confirms His Word with the signs – healings and miracles – that accompanied it. What’s our problem? Do we serve a different God? Of course not. Is He still on the throne? That’s a dumb question.

We serve a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Then what’s the problem? It should be clear to us. We’re trying to get God to confirm the Bible verses that we’re preaching, when all along He wants to confirm the Word that He speaks to us.

He never told us to go out and read the Scripture to people for them to be saved – He tells us to proclaim His Word. I submit to you that our society has heard enough Scripture – it’s everywhere.

They’re sick of hearing Scripture. Many unbelievers can quote as much of the Bible as some Christians. What the world is desperate for is a Word from God. That’s what’s going to change their lives. They can argue with the Scripture, but a Word from God will cut straight to their heart.

In our exuberance over the enormous availability of Scripture, we have taken it too far. It doesn’t seem to matter what anyone says. As long as there’s a Scripture verse attached to it, we call it the Word of God.

It doesn’t take much listening to Christian radio or cable channels to see that many preachers are using Scripture to support their own teachings and philosophies. Hear me well. They may be preaching Scripture, but they are NOT proclaiming the Word of God.

In these cases, God is under no obligation to confirm what they’re preaching. God doesn’t have to confirm a quote from the Scripture; He only endorses His Word – what He wants said at that particular time and place.

Please don’t think, based upon what I said, that I have no respect for the Scripture. I cannot live without it. Daily, I read, memorize, study, and meditate on the Scripture. I use it prayerfully. I expect and seek God to speak to me through the pages of my Bible.

The difference is that now I’m also listening for God to use other means as well. I want to hear God’s voice – however He wants to speak to me. I believe that this was the basis for the power in the life of Christ and in the early church. One of my goals in this blog is to share how this works in a practical way.

Question: Is it your desire to hear a Word from God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

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Praising God in the Storm #praiseHiminthestorm

StormThen the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm…
Job 40:6

From time to time I try to get away to the wilderness and get alone with God.  A couple of weeks ago I felt a prompting of the Spirit, so I spent three days hiking on the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire.  I’m glad that I did.

The presence of the Lord was very real during that trip.  I had some great prayer times with Him.  But there is one thing that happened that I want to share in this post.

My plan was to start out early and park my car at the ending point of the hike.  I had made arrangements with a taxi company to meet me there and take me to where I was to start.  As I sat in my car, waiting for the cab to arrive, it started to lightly drizzle.

According to the weather, it was only a 20% chance of rain first thing in the morning, then clear skies later.  Since there was no cell phone reception to call off the taxi, and I figured it would clear up soon, I decided to go forward with my hiking plans.

I put on my rain gear and took the taxi to the start of my hike.  It started off fine.  Under the cover of the forest, the slight rain didn’t even make it down to where I was walking.

However, the further I hiked up the mountain, the less cover there was.  Then it happened – the sky opened up and I found myself in a torrential downpour.  I had to scramble across slippery rocks, on the edge of a cliff, in the rain.

At one point the trees cleared for a bit giving me an incredible view.  (That’s the picture I took at the top of this post.)  It was at that moment that the Spirit of the Lord became wonderfully real to me.  I had no choice but to stop, right where I was and worship God.

As I looked around, standing on the rocks on the side of a mountain, dripping wet in a rainstorm, I had the funniest thought.  I told the Lord, “God, You even make rainstorms magnificent!”

It was an experience to remember.  The sound of the rain and wind in the mountains.  The sight of the clouds racing past me as I stood level with them.  The expanse of the mountains and trees around me.

It all combined to inspire awe toward my Creator.  I realized in that moment that I was experiencing something that few people ever will.  Actually, few people would ever choose to be there!

In our Christian walk, if you desire to do great things for God then you will go through a spiritual storm.  But in the middle of that challenge, know that the Holy Spirit is with you.  If you turn the downpour into a chance to praise God, you’ll know the wonder of His presence with you.

Questions: Are you going through a spiritual battle at this time?  Will you choose to give God praise during the tough times?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 

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The Importance of a Word from God

ChristIn my last post I talked about how Jesus rebuked the Pharisees (and us) for using the Scripture superstitiously.  In effect, Jesus told them, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess healing.  Yet you refuse to come to Me, the Healer.”

The Lord could say the same thing to us, these days.  “You think that by Scripture you will possess prosperity, yet you refuse to come to Me, the Provider.”

Please understand what I’m saying.  The Holy Spirit can speak a Word of healing to me through the Scripture, but He’s not limited to this avenue.  All that I need for life and godliness is found in Christ.

I will never obtain God’s blessing through my works – not even through intensive study and memorizing of the Bible.  Healing will come by the Word of God – no matter how God chooses to send it to me.

We need to hear a Word from God.  That Word will only come from time spent in His presence.  When I study the Bible instead of cultivating intimacy with the Lord, I’m going to lose out.  That’s the very problem that the Pharisees had.

…and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior…
Titus 1:3

In this passage, Paul tells Titus that the Word of God is made visible by the command of God.  It is God’s Word made manifest in God’s time.  That’s why time spent with the Lord is so important.  I need to be quiet and listening to hear His voice.  Hearing from God is actually the greatest theme of the New Testament.  It’s the foundation for everything we need in our walk with God.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16

This is one of the greatest misunderstandings that we have in looking back to the early church.  We think that they were just like us.  On the contrary, they knew the importance of seeking a Word from God.  They spent time in His presence listening for His voice.

What I’m saying is this – the study of Scripture and hearing from God are not replacements for each other.  We need both, in order to have an abundant life in the Lord.  In our generation, the study of Scripture has been elevated out of proportion to listening for God’s voice.  That’s why my message is so strong for the church to spend time listening to God.

Question: Have you ever been guilty of seeking blessings from Scripture rather than Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Revival, Word of God

 

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Growing Up in the Word of God

BinkiesI believe that in this generation God is trying to get His children to listen to His voice.  He wants them to hear from Him on a daily basis.  God is maturing His church.  I believe that we are very close to a revival.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11

God is bringing us from adolescence to adulthood in the Spirit.  In order to attain to this place in Christ we need to “put childish ways behind us.”

By referring to childish ways, I don’t mean these things are bad or wrong.  They’re simply things that we needed to progress in our childhood, but no longer need in adulthood.  For instance, I needed to ask permission to use the car as a teenager when I lived at home.  Now I have my own car, and I can use it whenever I want.  There was nothing wrong with asking permission, but that phase of my life is now over.

The church is progressing through the training levels God has for us.  As this happens, there are some things that worked for a season, but are not needed in our maturity.  I want to take a few posts to talk about this maturing process.  As I go through the teaching of Scripture, we will see some of these temporary principles.

What I’m afraid of, is that there are some who are so attached to the things of our childhood, that they will not want to release them and embrace adulthood in the Lord.  With that in mind, please read with an open mind and an open heart.  Receive those things that are Scriptural and of the Spirit.  And, if there are any things that I have put in from the flesh – with no Scriptural foundation – then you have my permission to lay them aside.

God is bringing His church back to a deeper walk in the Spirit.  At this point in history it seems that we do so much by the flesh.  The winds of change are blowing.  It’s time for us to start operating in the new move of the Spirit.  The foundation for this is the Word of God.

Paul told Timothy that we need to “correctly handle the word of truth.”  (II Timothy 2:15)  In order to correctly handle something, you need to know what it really is.  In the next few posts we will look at what the Word of God is and what it isn’t.

I think some of the words of Christ will surprise you.  In reality, the church has been guilty of using things that are not the Word of God as if they were.  It’s time for us to get back on track.

Question: Do you think the church is ready for revival?  Are you ready?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Revival, The Church, Word of God

 

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