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Tricky, Tricky

We’re continuing our look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.  The church had broken into factions over following their favorite teachers.  In dealing with this, Paul is showing them that the wisdom of God is far superior to human wisdom.

Do not deceive yourselves.  If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.
1 Corinthians 3:18

This is actually a very scary verse of Scripture.  It troubles me to think that I could possibly trick myself into believing a lie.

Of course, we know that it’s a very easy thing to do.  On more than one occasion I’ve used the arguments that I heard in society around me.  I then convinced myself that I could do something completely opposite to what I knew to be correct.

As Christians, we need to understand that what the world calls wisdom, is not always the truth.  It may seem to work for a season, but eventually, it will produce death in us.

My goal should be to operate in the wisdom of God; that which I receive from the Spirit.  Then I know that I’m headed in the direction of Life.  Unfortunately, in the eyes of the world, this sometimes appears to be foolishness.

Paul goes on to explain the differences.

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.  As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”
1 Corinthians 3:19-20

When we reject God’s wisdom in favor of the world’s, we’ve chosen the path of deception.  We’re now opening up our lives for the problems that come from foolish decisions.

The phrase, catches the wise in their craftiness, is very descriptive in the Greek.  The word, catch, means to entrap like when a snake hypnotizes its prey by rocking back and forth.

The word picture shows us that we become fascinated by our own trickery.  We deceive ourselves to believe the world’s way of doing things and then we become obsessed with it.

I’ve seen it happen many times.  A believer does something totally out of character for a follower of Christ.  You then hear them explaining it over and over to everyone they meet.

“I deserved to do that.  It’s my turn now.  I have the right to be happy.  I have to think about myself; no one else will.”

We become obsessed and fascinated by our self-deception.  In the end, it will ruin us if we continue in it.

Paul’s second quote is just as important.  The word, thoughts, literally means an internal dialogue.

Have you ever had these discussions taking place within yourself?  You know the right thing to do, but you keep repeating the world’s wisdom to convince yourself to go another way.

The verse says that God knows these internal discussions are empty and profitless.  It could also mean that it will get to the point of idolatry.

Not that you’ll worship a statue of wood or metal.  It’s more deceptive than that.  We actually place the wisdom of this age as the ruler of our lives.  We give the world our attention instead of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t fall into the trap of self-deception.  Take stock of whose wisdom you listen to.  Seek time in the Lord’s presence to hear His voice.  Then follow it over and above anything that the world will try and convince you of.

Question: Why is the world’s wisdom so attractive to us?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spirit Words

I’m posting about the tremendous amount of power we have access to while praying in the spirit.  It’s all about how our spirit and the Holy Spirit work together to bring about God’s will in our lives.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1 Corinthians 2:11-12

God does not desire to hold anything back from His children.  Verse 12 tells us, literally, that we can know by seeing what God has freely given us.

As I’ve recently posted, this is not known to us by reading the Bible.  It’s not revealed by hearing great sermons or prophetic words.  It’s only known in that intimate place when my spirit and the Holy Spirit communicate in the language of heaven.  This is reinforced by the next verse.

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:13

What is it that the Spirit of God teaches us?  He teaches us the wisdom of God.  But He can’t put it into human words.  They’re not adequate for the task.  The Spirit must use spiritual words.

What is a spiritual word?  If you ask some people, they’ll tell you that King James English is speaking in spiritual words!  Please understand that using “thee” and “thou” does not mean you’re speaking in spiritual words.

Spiritual words can only be words spoken in the spiritual realm by your spirit and the Holy Spirit.  It’s the language they use to communicate on that higher level.

Look at it this way.  If I had a friend in Italy, and wanted to send him a message, I could type it up and send it Airmail.  He would then receive it in about a week or so.  This is how humans have conversed long distance for thousands of years.

Now, with my computer, I can type up the letter using E-mail.  When I hit the “send” button, the entire letter is converted into digital words and sent into the internet.  My friend can then receive it instantaneously.  But in order to use this marvelous technique, my computer must be interfaced with the internet so that this letter can travel through cyberspace.

But it’s much more than that.  It’s not only English words that can be converted into digital words.  I can convert pictures into digital words and send them just as fast.  More than that, I can also convert songs and videos into digital words and send them instantly across the planet, simply because of the power of the internet.  I can’t do that with human words.

This is the truth that Paul is trying to convey to us about the language of the spirit.  It was something that he had an intimate knowledge about, but we’ve all but lost in our modern age.  He’s trying to tell us that there are deep principles that God wants us to learn.  The problem is that if the Lord has to use the English language it will take Him 20 years to get it across to us.

Yes, God has many means at His disposal.  He could use the Bible, pastors, teachers, situations and a host of other things.  But if He could communicate to us by the Spirit, using spirit words, He could get the whole message across to us in one instant.  The language of the spirit is the single most efficient way of communicating with the Father.  Every believer should be using this gift that has been bestowed upon the church.

Question: What have you learned from the Holy Spirit while praying in the spirit?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Hearing God’s Wisdom

I’ve been posting about how the Wisdom of God can bring your life to a whole new level.  It was destined, by God, to bring glory to the church.  We now need to see how we can lay hold of this wisdom.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

The power of the Spirit takes us beyond our own human understanding.  No eye has seen – You can read the Bible from cover to cover and not see everything God has prepared for your life.

No ear has heard – You can listen to every sermon, prophet, and apostle and yet still not hear all God has for you.

No mind has conceived – You can’t brainstorm, imagine, or even dream up everything that’s your portion in the will of God.  BUT…God has revealed it by His SPIRIT.

Paul then goes on to explain that the spirit can investigate everything, even the deep things of God. I believe that Paul is talking about your own human spirit. Your spirit can search out all things.

You may think Google is good. The Bible tells you that your spirit is the greatest search engine ever created.

I know that Paul was given an enormous amount of revelation.  He wrote most of the New Testament under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  How did he receive all of that?  By spending time in the spirit.

Here Paul tells us the secret of this supernatural revelation.  It can only be received in the spirit.  He makes it clear that your flesh (eyes and ears) cannot grasp it.  Neither can your soul (mind) come up with it.  It has to be a work of your spirit.

If this is true, then you must know how to use your spirit in order to access this information.  It only comes to a person who knows how to interact on the spiritual level.  This means that you must know how to pray in the spirit in order to receive the revelation that’s referenced by this verse.

Your body and soul can never search out the deeper things of God; it will only be accomplished by your spirit working in conjunction with the Holy Spirit.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1 Corinthians 2:11-12

We have to understand how our human spirit functions.  Most people have no idea what it does.  Other than knowing that we have a spirit, most people don’t even give it a second thought.

Our spirit it the most important part of our being.  It has abilities and functions that are indispensable to our Christian walk.  One of its functions is to search out what we’re thinking about.  Your spirit knows what you want as well as all of your hopes and dreams.  The fact is that your spirit knows you intimately.

In the same way that your spirit knows your thoughts, God’s Spirit knows His thoughts intimately.  Now for the question that can unlock the power of God in your life.  What if these two spirits get together and compare notes?  Your spirit knows your needs, thoughts, desires, and questions.  God’s Spirit knows all the answers to these things.

When they get together, the result is a release of the power of God over your life and ministry.  It’s through prayer in the spirit that this will happen.  That’s how to lay hold of the wisdom of God.  It can only be done in the realm of the spirit.

Question: How does prayer in the spirit affect your life?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Higher Wisdom

We’ve been looking at the message preached by the Apostle Paul.  It was a Gospel of power.  It could totally change the lives of those who heard it.

This message was all based upon the wisdom of God.  He explains it further.

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.  No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.  None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1 Corinthians 2:6-8

The first thing I see is that the message of God’s wisdom is for the mature.  It’s not a basic instruction.  There are things that you need to be taught when you’re first saved.  These foundational teachings will give you the ability to understand the greater wisdom of God.

That’s because we’ve spent our whole lives before salvation learning and operating in the “wisdom of this age”.  God’s wisdom is on a whole other level.  So much so, that those versed in the world’s wisdom can’t even understand it.

According to Scripture, the greatest wisdom of this age will only bring you to uselessness.  That’s what the phrase means that’s translated coming to nothing.

On the other hand, I like the results of God’s wisdom.  God destined His wisdom for our glory.  That word means that you have respect – that what you say and do has weight and value.

I think that much of this glory is missing from the church these days.  Could it be that we’re trying to use the world’s wisdom instead of God’s?  It’s the difference between uselessness and glory.

Paul uses the crucifixion of Christ as an illustration.  It was a part of God’s wisdom.  The world can’t fathom it…dying on a cross as the road to victory.

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:17-18

When I watch a movie for the first time, I don’t know what’s going to happen.  I’m in suspense when something bad happens to the hero.  Sometimes they’ll do something I don’t understand.

Then, I wonder how the hero could possibly survive.  But as the movie progresses, I find out that everything he did was part of a plan to bring down the villain.

If I liked the movie, I may watch it again.  But this time I know what’s going to happen.  I’m not in suspense.  I’m actually happy when I see the hero going into danger because I know how it’s going to turn out.

That’s what knowing the wisdom of God should do for us.  We’ve seen the movie before.  What Jesus did on the cross was a carefully planned, strategic attack on the enemy.  He wasn’t taken by surprise.

In that one move, Jesus Christ took down the entire kingdom of sin that was holding us captive. We’re now free to serve God without fear or condemnation.  All because of what happened through the wisdom of God.

So when I look back at the events of 2000 or so years ago, I’m not sad.  As a matter of fact, I have a sly smile.  Because I know that even though it looked bad, three days later it all turned around.  And that’s something to rejoice about!

God wants to do that same thing in us.  But first, we must grasp the wisdom of God.  The big question is; how?  In my next post, we’ll see how Paul begins to explain that to us.

Question: What would it look like if the whole church walked in the wisdom of God?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2018 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Ignoring the Cross

As I continue my series through First Corinthians, we’re looking at the wisdom of God manifest in the cross.  It’s something that God expects His church to understand.  It’s been revealed to us in His Word.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.  Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:21-24

This is a problem we face even in our society today.  There’s a pressure on the church to cater our message to those we’re trying to win.

Religious people want to hear one thing, while the educational community wants to hear something else.  Many times we fall into the trap of trying to please our listeners with the message we think they want to hear.

Paul strips away all of these elements by boiling the message down to its vital component.  He preaches the same essential message to all who will listen.  That message is the Word of the cross – Christ crucified.

The reason is clear.  There’s a supernatural call in that Word.  It contains the power of God to draw men and women to the place of repentance.

We need to see this.  When we water down or ignore the Word of the cross, we lose the bulk of the power needed to win the lost.  Beyond that, those who do come to the Lord with little knowledge of the cross, have no desire to become radical disciples of Christ.

This is what the world desperately needs to see in the church.  It’s also what the church needs in order to be transformed into the victorious kingdom that was set forth by Christ.  We must hunger and thirst for the Word of the cross.

We’ve tried a whole host of other strategies only to be met with little or no results.  Isn’t it time to proclaim Christ the way they did it when the world was “turned upside-down” by the Gospel?  We need to renew our knowledge of what happened in and through the cross of Christ.  This is a message that the Lord can’t wait to reveal to us if we’ll just stop and listen.

This is one of the things that we’re missing in our churches these days.

No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
1 Corinthians 2:7

Paul explains to us that this message was destined for our glory.  That’s why it’s such a mystery.  From the outside, the cross looks like a place of pain, suffering, and weakness.   But in reality, it will bring glory to all who live by it.

It was the same for Christ.  The demonic kingdom had no idea what would be unleashed on the cross.  When the “Lord of Glory” was crucified, there was an explosion of power that rocked the universe.  It’s clear that Satan would never have allowed this to happen if he had known what the results would be.

It’s time for God’s people to once again unleash this power in the world.  We need to walk in the power of the cross.  The message of the cross is vital for our last-days testimony.

Question: What would change if we incorporated the teaching of the cross into our message?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2018 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Two Kinds of Wisdom

Did you know that your life shows where your wisdom comes from? It either comes from Heaven, or the world and the devil. Do you know the difference?

The book of James explains it to us.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
James 3:13-16

We all want a good life. But do we want to do what it takes to receive the wisdom for it? And more than that; do we want to walk in the wisdom from heaven?

A good life shows that you’ve learned how to tap into Heaven’s resources. That means you’re spending time with the Lord. Then, you’re listening to and obeying the instructions of the Holy Spirit.

That’s what James means by the humility that comes from wisdom. You’ve humbled yourself before God, knowing that His plan for your life is better than yours. His destiny for you is worth whatever it takes to get there.

The wisdom of the devil – which is usually what the world operates in – is all about self-promotion. It sounds good in a logical way, but the focus is too narrow. It’s all about me; what’s best for me, what will make me happy, and how I can accumulate the most toys.

When we live a life that’s self-absorbed, we end up in disorder and doing things that we never thought we would – evil things. The word disorder literally means confusion. When I spend my life going after the things I want, I eventually learn that I didn’t really want what I thought I wanted. Now that’s confusing!

If we want a life that we’re pleased with – a good life – then we need to walk in the wisdom of God.

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
1 Corinthians 2:6-7

Here’s the problem. The wisdom of Heaven is hidden. You can’t find it by careful thought and study. It’s only found in God’s presence. Quality time with Him, listening to His voice, will impart it to us. Then, as we walk in what we’ve heard from God, things around us will start to change. It will become evident that we walk in God’s wisdom.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:17-18

These are the marks of a life walked out in God’s wisdom. To walk in God’s wisdom is to walk in peace. You can even walk into a situation where there’s all kinds of confusion and problems, and by the wisdom of the Lord, bring peace. That’s what it means by the word peacemaker.

Heaven’s wisdom changes the atmosphere around you. That’s a good life. Walking in wisdom and making peace wherever you go.

Question: How has God’s wisdom brought peace into your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Spiritual Words

WifiI’m posting about the tremendous amount of power we have access to while praying in the spirit. It’s all about how our spirit and the Holy Spirit work together to bring about God’s will in our lives.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1 Corinthians 2:11-12

God does not desire to hold anything back from His children. Verse 12 tells us, literally, that we can know by seeing what God has freely given us. This is not known to us by reading the Bible. It’s not revealed by hearing great sermons or prophetic words. It’s only known in that intimate place when my spirit and the Holy Spirit communicate in the language of heaven. This is reinforced by the next verse.

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:13

What is it that the Spirit of God teaches us? He teaches us the wisdom of God. But He can’t put it into human words. They’re not adequate for the task. The Spirit must use spiritual words.

What is a spiritual word? If you ask some people, they’ll tell you that King James English is speaking in spiritual words! Using “thee” and “thou” does not mean you’re speaking in spiritual words.

Spiritual words can only be words spoken in the spiritual realm by your spirit and the Holy Spirit. It’s the language they use to communicate on that higher level.

Look at it this way. If I had a friend in Italy, and wanted to send him a message, I could type it up and send it Airmail. They would then receive it in about a week or so. This is how humans have conversed long distance for thousands of years.

Now, with my computer, I can type up the letter using E-mail. When I hit the “send” button, the entire letter is converted into digital words and sent into the internet. My friend can then receive it instantaneously. But in order to use this marvelous technique, my computer must be interfaced with the internet so that this letter can travel through cyberspace.

But it’s much more than that. It’s not only English words that can be converted into digital words. I can convert pictures into digital words and send them just as fast. More than that, I can also convert songs and videos into digital words and send them instantly across the planet, simply because of the power of the internet. I can’t do that with human words.

This is the truth that Paul is trying to convey to us about the language of the spirit. It was something that he had an intimate knowledge about, but we’ve all but lost in our modern age. He’s trying to tell us that there are deep principles that God wants us to learn. The problem is that if the Lord has to use the English language it will take Him 20 years to get it across to us.

Yes, God has many means at His disposal. He could use the Bible, pastors, teachers, situations and a host of other things. But if He could communicate to us by the Spirit, using spirit words, He could get the whole message across to us in one instant. The language of the spirit is the single most efficient way of communicating with the Father. Every believer should be using this gift that has been bestowed upon the church.

Question: What have you learned from the Holy Spirit while praying in the spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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