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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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The Truth about Spiritual Warfare

mhXQFuIWe’re in a battle. Not against people, but unseen spiritual forces. Do we really understand the nature of this conflict?

I’ve heard Christians use the term spiritual warfare in many different contexts. Does our teaching line up with Scripture? That’s what matters.

After watching many self-proclaimed spiritual warriors get flattened by the enemy, I have to ask myself what exactly is this about? We need to base what we’re doing in the Scripture if we want success.

The Bible is clear.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
2 Corinthians 10:1

Unfortunately, many take this verse too far out of context. Then the church ends up looking like an army of clowns going off to do battle. They’re unarmed and untrained in this spiritual battle. Then we wonder why the church is so devastated.

At one point the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and made a statement I found hard to accept. What I heard on the inside was, “Do you realize that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years?”

How can this be true? I hear people say they’re doing spiritual warfare all the time. We sing about it. We preach about it.

Eventually I was able to understand what the Spirit of God was trying to get across to me. The key word is warfare.

In the above verse, the phrase wage war literally means to serve in a military campaign. This is where our definition of spiritual warfare falls short. Our skirmishes are not warfare.

According to the Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary, war is “a contest between or among nations…carried on by force or with arms.” That’s where we miss it. War is between nations, not individuals.

For instance, what if I got upset about some things that Canada is doing (I’m not!). What if I then covered myself in weaponry, Rambo style, then walked to the border of Canada and declared that I was going to war against them. How long do you think that “war” would last?

As crazy as that sounds, that’s what many believers do in the spirit. Then they call what they’re doing spiritual warfare.

We need to realize that true spiritual warfare will not take place until the church wakes up from its sleep. Then, in the spirit, we must begin to pull down the strongholds of Satan. This is not just the job of one or two bold Christians. It’s something that the Lord is calling us all to take part in.

We can either spend our time complaining about our society, or do something that will make a difference. Time on our knees before God will bring great change on the earth. Prayer, fasting, intercession, and prayer in the spirit are what it will take to bring revival to our land.

Question: What’s your part in this spiritual battle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Revival’s Secret Assumption

FireI think we can all agree that America needs a spiritual revival. I’m not talking about simply a lot of people being saved – as wonderful as that would be. I’m speaking about a radical waking up of the church.

Knowing the need is not enough. There are some deeper questions that need to be asked. Do we truly want a revival to sweep through our nation? More importantly, are we willing to do whatever it takes to lay hold of revival?

In talking to the crowd at the Temple in Jerusalem, the Apostle Peter made an interesting statement.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you — even Jesus.
Acts 3:19-20

He talked about times of refreshing that come from the Lord. This is what we need in our generation. The refreshing wind of revival needs to blow through our cities.

That’s not what we have an issue with. It’s what the Apostle began with that we stumble over. He used that nasty little word that nobody seems to like these days – REPENT. It’s this repentance that ushers in the Spirit of revival.

Revival doesn’t just show up at regular intervals for no reason. As a matter of fact, God doesn’t even send revival because He knows we need it. It’s actually a response to the church beginning to move in the right direction.

Repentance is not very popular in mainline Christianity anymore. We like to think that we’re doing okay and only need a little tweak now and then. Repent sounds too drastic.

To repent means to change your mind, to turn around 180 degrees and head in a new direction. This means that you have to turn away from something.

But more than that, he said that they needed to turn to God. That’s the assumption that keeps us from experiencing the move of God that we really need.

If I say that the church in the USA needs revival, then what I really mean is that we need to turn back to God. That sounds good until you realize that to turn back to God assumes that we’re looking in the wrong direction to begin with. That’s the last thing that many believers would want to admit.

I hate to say this, but a majority of Christians are looking to the world for their fulfillment in this generation. They’ll do their obligatory hour or two in church, Sunday morning. But the rest of their time is spent on their own pursuits and interests.

It’s time for us as God’s people to turn around – to repent of leaving God out of our everyday lives. It’s time to head back in the direction of a radical walk before the Lord. That’s what a desire for revival assumes. It’s what America needs. It’s what the Holy Spirit is longing for us to enter into.

Question: How far are you willing to go to see revival sweep our nation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Why is Revival Delayed?

ClockIn my last post I started talking about America’s need for revival and why it seems to be delayed. I said that it’s a matter of knowing God’s timing and understanding how to work with it. We can’t afford to be like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who could predict the weather, but didn’t understand the times they lived in.

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11

In this verse Paul tells us that we should understand the times that we live in. That word understand means to know by seeing. If we’re watching what’s taking place in society around us, then it should be obvious what we need to do. It’s the hour for the church to WAKE UP!

I don’t want to be rebuked for the same thing that Israel got wrong. We must understand the times.

God is moving. He wants to bring about His will in our generation. Many people talk about it. “Revival is coming – it’s on God’s agenda.”

Why does it seem to be taking so long?

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
Habakkuk 2:3

There is a truth here that we’ve missed. The revelation of God is for an appointed time. When the verse says that it speaks of the end, it implies that God’s will is like a puff or gust of wind. It’s different than a steady wind.

It’s a gust that the Lord releases and it moves steadily to its intended end. Make no mistake; it will take place.

But here’s the important part. The next line literally says, “Look! It hesitates, it’s reluctant, it questions.” It’s all a matter of timing. The revealed will of God is asking, “Are you ready?”

Then we are told to do something. The original Hebrew of this verse says that if it hesitates, then attach yourself to it. This is not just a passive waiting. It means to nail yourself to God’s revealed will. Don’t let it go.

The final statement tells us that it will come and not loiter or hang around. God isn’t just hanging around doing nothing until His “revival timer” goes off. The fact of the matter is that we are not waiting for revival – revival is waiting for us. We must have the time available for the fulfillment of God’s will. We have to open the space up for revival.

In my next post I’ll show why this is the hardest part of the process. It will require a great sacrifice from this generation of believers.

Question: What will it take for us to lay hold of revival?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Do You Know You’re in Danger?

ClimberI’m taking a few posts to talk about understanding God’s timetable. Do we really understand the times we’re living in? In my last post I talk about Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees about not understanding their times. Are we guilty of the same problem?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1

Paul literally wrote to Timothy that he needed to know this truth. In the last days – that’s us – there will be dangerous times. What does that mean?

This word terrible comes from a root which means lowering down into a chasm. I have watched rock climbers going up the face of a sheer cliff. That’s what this verse is talking about.

Serving God in the last days is like repelling off the edge of a mile high cliff. We live in dangerous times.

No, they’re not physically dangerous – at least here in America. But they are spiritually perilous.

If we are going to live a victorious Christian life, then we need to know this and act accordingly. We need the spiritual discernment of the Holy Spirit.

You wouldn’t think of going off the edge of a cliff without training and the right equipment. Think in those terms about being a believer in this generation.

At this time, many are living for self. It’s as though they’re “flying by the seat of their pants” in their Christian walk.

This is not the generation to do that. In times past you could get by just attending church on Sundays and doing your own thing the rest of the week. At the present time we don’t have the luxury of “floating along in Christ.”

That brings me back to a verse I looked at in my last post.

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11

“WAKE UP!!!”

Rock climbers have to concentrate on every move. They can’t afford even a momentary lapse in judgment. Many have been severely injured or even killed because of a distraction during their climb.

This is not the time for God’s people to be distracted by the world. We need to turn our attention and focus back to Christ. We must seek His will, and what He wants accomplished in and through our lives.

Don’t become a victim of the dangerous times we’re living in.

Question: How is this present time spiritually dangerous?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 

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The American Church – In Our Prison Cell

JailA vast majority of American Christians seem to be ineffective at bringing change to our society. Why is that? Our legacy is that of a people who “turned the world upside-down” with the Gospel of Christ.

As I was meditating on Acts chapter 16, I was struck by a mental picture. Paul and Silas were bringing the Good News of Jesus to the town of Philippi. In the course of their time there, they were arrested.

After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Acts 16:23-24

As they were put into their cell, there’s no sign of a struggle. They quietly submitted to their imprisonment. This surprised me.

The next day, they enforced their rights as Roman citizens.

But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”
Acts 16:37

Where was this boldness the day before? Maybe they were too exhausted from their beatings. Maybe they were waiting for things to calm down. Whatever the reason, they quietly allowed themselves to be placed in prison, and chained up.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Acts 16:25

This is the picture I saw in my heart as I thought on this passage. I see the church, the jailer, and the prisoners. The jailer is totally unaware of anything out of the ordinary that’s going on.

The church – Paul and Silas – were in chains and in the dark. Yet they were having church, business as usual. They were praying, singing, and praising God.

All of the other prisoners were listening to them. That’s all. No one was being saved. No one convicted of their sin, or at least no visible evidence of it.

As I thought about it, I realized that this is the condition of much of the church these days. We’re going along as we always do. We have our services on Sundays. We sing, we pray, and we praise God. But where is our effectiveness in the world?

The Lord started speaking to me through this picture of the church. We need to wake up to our condition. Until we see and understand that we’re chained in the darkness, we’ll never break out into the freedom that has already been made available to us.

I want to take the next few posts to share what the Lord spoke to me concerning this issue. I want to explain how we got into this position as well as what’s needed for us to break free.

Remember, that it wasn’t until the chains fell off of the church – Paul and Silas – that the jailer fell on his face and cried out, “What must I do to be saved?”

Question: What do you see as the greatest factor in “locking up” the American church?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Are You Listening? #returnofChrist

ListenIn my last post I started talking about the end-time generation.  We looked at the Scripture which told us that if a man cleansed himself from wrong purposes, he would be ready and equipped for good works.

This is where we are in time.  I believe that this is the final generation before the return of Christ.  We are the “John the Baptist generation.”

He was one man sent to a nation.  Now there’s a small group sent to a sleeping church.  Either you’re the one calling, or the one needing to wake up.

We must respond to God’s call for equipping.  God is now equipping a people for the end-time ministry.

But there was another part to John’s ministry.

During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.  He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Luke 3:2-3

He heard and he went.  Our generation must hear a Word from God.  God is speaking the same message throughout the body of Christ today.

“Listen to Me!!!”

God is trying to get our attention.  He wants to speak to a church that is largely enamored with what the world has to offer.  We don’t want to take the time to hear from the Holy Spirit.

The enemy knows this.  Never have there been more distractions.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

We seem to have lost sight of this truth.  That verse literally says, “Faith comes out of hearing and hearing through the rhema of Christ.”  Rhema is the Greek word that speaks of the word we hear in our spirit.

That’s one of our biggest failings.  Not listening, and therefore not hearing God’s voice speaking to us.

We want to just go out and minister with the power of the spirit.  We want to go to work, watch TV, play basketball, and heal the sick.  We want formulas – quick, easy ways to walk in the spirit.

The spiritual authority that we’re looking for starts in hearing from God.  John went out into the desert and didn’t minister until he heard a word from God.  People actually flocked to him in the desert.  Today, we find it hard getting people to our meetings in the middle of a city.

What’s wrong?  I believe that the answer is clear – we have no word from God.  If we want to be the end-time church, prepared for Christ’s return, then we need to be listening to the Holy Spirit.

Question: Are you willing to take the time to hear a word from God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Prayer, Return of Christ, Revival

 

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