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The Spiritual Battle – Pressing In

Do you know where you are in the history of the church?  This question isn’t about a place, but time.

I’m posting about the spiritual battle that’s going on around us.  It’s vital that we know the times we live 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

We need to know where we are on God’s timetable. I don’t like saying it, but the truth is that past generations of believers could “sleep” through their Christian walk. Not us. We live in dangerous times.

The Apostle Paul continues talking about this.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Romans 13:12-14

In this generation, we need to lay aside the things that are a part of the darkness. In their place, we must put on the armor of God.

We must live carefully and clothe ourselves with Christ. And as I focused on in my last post, we need to watch and pray. That’s how we keep alert spiritually.

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 6:18

This verse literally says that we must keep watch with all persistency. That word persistency means to be strong toward, to be diligent. We must be diligent in the battle zone.

When we say that we need to be strong toward something, it speaks about a goal, a direction. We sometimes use the term “press in.”

In battle, there are places that are hard to get to. There are houses you can’t enter until you bind the strong man. It isn’t easy to press into the miraculous. If it was – everyone, every church would have it.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
Acts 2:42-43

Was it any easier back then, in the early church? Did those believers have all the time in the world to do all these things? I don’t think they were any different from us. It was as hard for them as it is for this generation.

If we want God’s best, it takes diligence. It will cause us to leave our comfort zone. But the spiritual rewards will be worth it.

Question: What do you find to be the most difficult about pressing into God’s presence?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Prepared to Wait

As we continue our study of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is closing His End-Times teaching with His disciples.  These are His concluding statements.  They’re important for us to hear and understand.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard!  Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.”
Mark 13:32-34

He starts by saying that the exact day and hour will be a mystery.  Even Christ, when He took on our humanity, did not retain that knowledge of when that day would be.  Of course, now in His glorified state, Jesus knows when He will return.

His first command to the disciples and us is to watch.  The word literally means to be sleepless.  I don’t believe that the Lord means physical sleep in this verse.  It’s our spiritual eyes that we must keep open.

Too many of God’s people seem to be blind to what’s happening in the spirit.  They go to church for an hour or two a week and expect that this will provide them with everything they need to know.  I wish that were true.

We need intimacy with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.  That’s the only way to remain spiritually alert and vigilant in these Last Days.

 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back — whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
Mark 13:35-37

Jesus is explaining to us a little bit of His time frame here.  Even though He never tells us exactly when He’ll return, He gives us some hints to help us be ready.  He doesn’t want us to be taken by surprise.

Jesus tells us the most important hint as we wait for His return.  He says that He will come when you don’t expect it.  Please be careful when reading the words of Jesus here.  Many miss the whole point of what He says.

Notice that it will not be a surprise because He comes before you expect Him.  What’s going to throw people off is that He’ll arrive later than they thought it would be.  That’s what He’s emphasizing in this verse.  The Lord said that it could be as late as midnight, the early hours of the morning, or even dawn.

What if I said to you, “Can I come over to your house tonight?”?

“Sure,” you reply and you wait for me to show up.  7 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 9 o’clock go by.  At that point, you’ll probably shut the porch light off.  At 10 o’clock you might be in bed.  At 11 o’clock you’ll definitely be in bed.  If I then bang on your door at 3 o’clock in the morning, I’m sure you wouldn’t even get out of bed to answer the door, even though I told you I was coming.

That’s what Jesus is saying.  He’s telling us that He’s coming later than we think.  There will be a time when people think that Jesus should be here by now, but He’s not.  We could call that “prophetic midnight”.

If you’re one of the people who believe that He’s going to be here at this prophetic midnight, you might be disappointed.  We’ve got to be careful.  Most of Christianity is expecting Him to come before certain prophetic events occur.  Jesus said, “I’m going to come later than you think.”

As a matter of fact, what you’re going to find, is that whenever Christ warns us about being ready, He always qualifies it by saying that He’ll come later than we’re expecting.  Jesus said that if the servant knew when the owner was coming he’d be ready.  We need to be spiritually awake and alert no matter what the future holds.

Question: What do you do to remain spiritually alert?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Watching for the Signs

WorkI’m posting about supernatural signs. Specifically, we’re looking at the sign of the virgin birth of Christ.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

In my last post we saw that the Lord was dealing with an evil king of Judah named Ahaz. He refused to ask God for a sign when asked to by the prophet Isaiah.

Because of this act of disobedience, God Himself would choose the sign. This would be the sign that the Lord is victorious. You can do your own thing. But God will accomplish his will though you…or around you.

This sign was what God was going to accomplish. Basically what God said was, “You don’t want to know what I’m doing now so I’ll tell you something you’ll never see.”

Someday there will be a virgin. She will not be married and never had sex. Yet, miraculously, she will conceive and bear a son. His name – the designation of who He is – will be Immanuel. The Hebrew word Immanuel literally means with us is God.

Now let’s fast forward to the New Testament. A young woman named Mary is found to be with child. She’s a virgin. Her fiancé, Joseph, is confused. Then he’s visited by an angel with a message, exhorting him to marry her, because this is no ordinary child.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:22-23

Years of waiting were now fulfilled. The Messiah was soon to be born.

A supernatural sign brings hope to those trusting God. I’m waiting for a sign. The Bible says that when you see the sign of the Son of Man in the sky, stand to your feet and lift up your head for your redemption is here. That gives me hope.

I know that God is going to step into our world one day. Things aren’t going to go on like this forever.

There was a day when many were waiting expectantly for the Messiah. There were shepherds in the field watching their sheep. They heard the angelic announcement.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:14

These angels were giving glory to God in the highest place. On earth, they proclaimed peace, shalom to men of good-will. That literally means to those who have a will to do good. This message was to people who have God’s good (pleasing and perfect) will resting in them.

This is because; ultimately a supernatural sign brings glory to God. When I see the sign come to pass, I give God glory.

I want God’s will. He wants to show signs and wonders as He brings forth His will. Therefore, we need to work with Him. Expect God to speak. Expect Him to show up. Expect a miracle each day.

Question: What signs have you seen of the Lord working in and through you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2015 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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