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Monthly Archives: January 2022

The Private Preparing the Public

The Private Preparing the Public

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we see how Christ’s ministry is an example to us. If we live according to His standards, we’ll see the same results. The problem is that, usually, we want some type of shortcut.

You may want to read Luke 6:12-19 before continuing with this post. In this section of Scripture, we see a lot of activity.

Jesus had many followers. But of those, He chose 12 that he called apostles. These were the ones that the Lord would train specifically to take over the ministry when He ascended into heaven.

They were an interesting bunch of characters from all walks of life. The fact that they could function together was a testimony to the work of Christ in their lives.

There were at least four fishermen. They were a rough group of working-class men. If you ever watched the show, Deadliest Catch, then you’ll have a good idea of what they were like.

Jesus also chose people who were very different from each other. One of them, Simon the Zealot, was literally an anti-Roman terrorist. While at the same time he had to live with Matthew, a man who actually collected taxes for the Romans. I can only imagine what their conversations were like!

Yet, in spite of their differences, the love of Christ brought them all together. They were able to form a ministry team that turned the world upside down after the departure of Christ.

But there’s more to the story than just the miracle of bringing people together. The Lord ministered to the crowds in a way nobody ever did before.

He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Luke 6:17-19

This passage literally says that power was flowing out of Him and everyone was healed. This should speak to us today.

So many people teach that you can only get healed “if it’s God’s will.” I’m here to tell you that, according to God’s unchangeable Word, it’s always His will.

Jesus healed all who came to Him. There’s never a time when He told someone, “I’m sorry, it just not my will for you to be healed.” There was never a person He told, “Stay sick, I’m trying to teach you something.”

Of course the next question I always get is; if it’s God’s will for me to be healed, than why am I still sick? I’m sorry to say that there’s an answer not many people want to hear. It has more to do with the maturity level of the church, than the faith of the individual needing healing.

I totally believe that if and when God’s people rise to the level they’ve been called to, we’ll see healings and miracles with the frequency we see in the pages of Scripture.

That brings me to my next point. If you’re observant, you noticed that I left out something that also happened in these verses. It’s actually the first and most important part.

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

Luke 6:12

Here’s where our ministry and that of Christ head in different directions. In many cases we want to operate in the power of Christ without following His lead in prayer.

Jesus told His disciples that He did nothing without first hearing it from the Father. That’s more than just a quick, “Oh Lord please bless my ministry today, amen.” It requires quality time in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Our public ministry will only rise to the level of our private time with the Father. That’s the example of Christ to us. If you want to flow in the same power of Christ, then you need to follow Him in the place of prayer.

Question: How many times have you spent the night praying to God?

2022 © Nick Zaccardi

 

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Jesus and the Sabbath

Jesus and the Sabbath

We’re now starting chapter 6 of the Gospel of Luke. You may want to read Luke 6:1-11 before continuing with this post.

Because they followed the Covenant of Moses, Judaism had many traditions. Of these, the keeping of the Sabbath stirred up the most controversy in the ministry of Jesus.

The law of the Sabbath was very simple. Exodus 20:8-11 plainly states that the seventh day of the week was to be set apart to the Lord. No work was to be done by any person or animal on that day.

You may think that the Scripture was clear enough for anyone to follow. But…religion likes to make things complicated. So religion asks the question; exactly what is work?

So, over time, the religious leaders of Israel took it upon themselves to define what work was. They drew up a lengthy list of what you could and couldn’t do on the Sabbath. It’s in these man-made Sabbath rules that we can see how foolish religion can get.

For instance: On the Sabbath, you could pick a chair up and carry it across the room. You could not drag the chair across your room, because by making a line in the dirt floor, you were “plowing”.

Normally, you were allowed to drink wine on the Sabbath…unless you had a toothache. Then you couldn’t, because the wine might hit your tooth, deaden the pain, and healing was forbidden on the Sabbath.

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Luke 6:1-2

The Lord and His disciples were really in trouble here. They broke three rules. Not only did they pick some grain (reaping), they rubbed them (winnowing), and ate them (grinding). Of course the only law they were breaking was the traditions passed down by the Rabbi’s.

Jesus explained to the Pharisees the foolishness of their traditions.

Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Luke 6:2

It’s important to note that Jesus called himself the Son of Man in this instance. He was emphasizing His humanity. The Sabbath was created by God for the good of mankind.

Our human bodies would break down if we had to work seven days a week. It’s not healthy. So God instituted the concept of Sabbath for our good. It was never meant to be a burden.

I’m amazed at how often we fail to realize how our religious traditions cause people to get the wrong view of God. By our speech and actions, the world sometimes gets the idea that we serve a vindictive, angry, and judgmental God. I’m sure it grieves His heart.

On another Sabbath, Jesus was in a synagogue. He saw a man whose right hand was unusable. He called the man forward. Of course, the Pharisees were upset, wondering what Jesus would do.

Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

Luke 6:9

Good question! The Lord gets to the heart of what the Sabbath was all about. Sabbath should be rest and restoration for the whole person.

He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Luke 6:10-11

This is proof that sometimes religion can be so illogical. They just witnessed a miracle, clearly performed by God, Himself. That means God approves of healing on the Sabbath. Yet, instead of re-examining their beliefs, they want to do away with Christ.

We need to learn to show people the love of God and not the traditions of religion.

Question: How have you seen religious traditions hurt people?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2022 in Encouragement, Legalism, The Gospel

 

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Jesus and Fasting

Jesus and Fasting

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. Today’s post will talk about Luke 5:27-38. You may want to read that passage before continuing with this article.

The Pharisees were starting to get annoyed by Jesus’ style of teaching. He was reaching out to the members of society that they felt were not worth their time. These self-righteous leaders didn’t want to associate with tax-collectors, prostitutes, or drunks.

Jesus, on the other hand, saw them as people who God loved and wanted to restore. In trying to find fault with this, the Pharisees questioned Jesus about fasting. They asked why the Lord’s disciples didn’t fast on the religious fasting days.

In His answer, Jesus basically told them that there was going to be a transition from Old Testament fasting to that which would take place in the New Testament. Jesus gives a description of the differences in parable form.

He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.”

Luke 5:36

First, the Lord talks about the outside – a garment. The old way was to take an old cloth and patch an old garment. Fasting in the Old Testament was only a patch. At that time, fasting was all about getting God to listen to me. I needed to patch things up between God and me.

If I try to patch the garment in the New Testament it only makes things worse. Then how do I get God to hear me? I DON’T!!! In Christ we now have access to God 24/7.

Now we are a new garment and we don’t need a patch. But a new garment (back then) would shrink with usage. Fasting under the New Covenant shrinks the outer garment. That’s what we look for – the flesh to decrease. We want the voice of the flesh to get quieter.

Fasting forcefully puts down the flesh. This is because now it’s about me hearing from God. God hears me in Christ. But I need to hear Him when He speaks. And that’s where fasting comes in. Fasting helps me drown out the noise of my flesh.

But Jesus gave another parable…

“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.”

Luke 5:37-38

In this parable the old wineskins stand for those who walk in legalism. Once wineskins were used, they became empty, used up, dry, and unyielding. That’s a good description of many of the Pharisees. They had nothing on the inside to give that would bless others.

In the natural, new wine is unfermented grape juice. As it becomes wine, it produces gasses that pressurize the skins. Old, dry and unyielding wineskins would burst under that internal pressure.

A New wineskin – one that’s unstretched, oiled, soft, and pliable – is ready to be used in this process.

As we get that new wine of the Holy Spirit in us, it starts to ferment. There’s a spiritual pressure that builds up. That’s what brings growth.

Now you’re hearing from God and something is being poured into you. The pressure is building. You have something to give and pour out into someone else.

Listen to Jesus’ next statement.

And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’”
Luke 5:39

Once you get a taste for legalism, you don’t want the new work of the Spirit. Why is that? Simply put, legalism is intoxicating and addictive.

Legalism strokes my ego. “Look at what I’m doing for God. I read my Bible and pray every day. I go to church every week. I’m better than most.”

This “intoxication” with self-righteousness will put us to sleep, spiritually speaking. We don’t feel the need to hear from God. We can live the way we want as we perform our minimal church obligations.

Basically, we can live for God without being changed by the Spirit. That’s the deception of legalism.

I want to be prepared to hear His voice. This requires that I allow the Holy Spirit to work His change in me – to sometimes shrink my flesh, and stretch my inner man at other times. It may feel uncomfortable, but it’s worth it to see the Lord working through me.

Question: How often, and for how, long do you fast?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2022 in Fasting, Legalism, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Sickness – A God’s Eye View

Sickness – A God’s Eye View

We’re studying through Luke’s Gospel. In today’s post, I’m looking at sickness and healing from God’s perspective. Some of the principles found in this section of Scripture are missing from most teaching in the church these days.

I suggest that you read Luke 5:12-22 before continuing with this post. In that way you’ll know the scriptural basis for what I’m saying.

Jesus heals two people in this passage. The first is a man covered in leprosy. This is a skin disease that most Jews considered as God’s judgment poured out on him.

When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

Luke 5:12b-13

There are ministers today who would handle this situation very differently. If someone were to state, “If God wills,” the preacher would send him back to his seat until he could “believe God for his healing”.

Sometimes we get the idea that the sick person has to have enough faith to be healed. That’s not always true.

In this case, Christ healed the man regardless of his small faith. What made the difference? Jesus had, by the Spirit, seen the Father accomplish it already (John 5:19).

That’s why we need to be intimate in prayer with the Holy Spirit. That’s where we receive the Word of healing. For more details on this, click here to read my Something’s Missing Series.

The next healing was prompted by some friends who lowered a sick man down through a hole in the roof. By the way, applying the above principle, Jesus healed this man based on the faith of his friends.

But, there’s another important principle that no one seems to talk about. That’s the fact that sickness is a part of the sin package Adam embraced when he fell from grace.

I covered this aspect in great detail in a series I posted called Healing 101. To read that series click here.

Sin means to miss the mark. Adam was created to never be sick. Sickness misses the mark of God’s desire for our health.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.

Luke 5:20-26

It’s important to note that the Greek word that we translate as forgive literally means to remove. Therefore, according to Jesus’ own testimony, in order to prove that He could remove sin – He removed sickness.

Jesus would not have made such an amazing statement unless it was true. This is one of the most important concepts we need to hear. When a person is healed, a manifestation of the sin nature is removed from their life.

In order to understand how healing works in the church, we must first come to grips with these two truths. God feels the same way about sickness that he feels about any other manifestation of sin – He wants it gone!

That’s good news. I don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s God’s will to heal me. It is. I just need to understand the guiding principles about how that healing is accomplished in me.

Question: How have you experienced God’s healing power?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Ministry, Prayer, What's Missing?

 

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Looking for Convenience?

Looking for Convenience?

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, today’s post finds us starting chapter 5. You may want to review Luke 5:1-11 before reading this post.

Jesus has now started His public ministry. He’s traveling around Israel, teaching as He goes. This section of Scripture finds Him at the Sea of Galilee.

As the Lord begins speaking, a large crowd forms around Him to listen to the Word of God. Seeing some fishermen nearby, Jesus asks them if they could take Him out on the water a little way. This is because the lake acts like a natural sound amplifier, so the people could hear Him better.

There’s some background that you need to understand about this encounter. This is not the first time Simon (Peter) has met with Jesus.

Andrew, Simon’s brother, was a disciple of John the Baptist. After hearing the testimony of John, Andrew met with Jesus. Realizing that He was the Messiah, Andrew took his brother, Simon, to meet with the Lord. It was at that meeting that Jesus began calling Simon by the name Peter. (John 1:35-41)

Now, getting back to the present events, we find Peter and his business partners washing their nets. They had just spent the whole night fishing, with no results. Peter were tired, frustrated, and probably not in the best mood when Jesus came to him with this request.

One more thing. Here’s a spiritual nugget for you. When you read the Gospels, you have to realize that Jesus had the same ministry to the disciples that the Holy Spirit has to the church right now. We can gain a lot of insight as we read it this way.

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit is instructing us to do something when we don’t feel like it. We need to learn to get over our attitudes and simply obey Him. We must think like Peter and agree with the Spirit.

I don’t know how long Jesus taught the people. The Scripture doesn’t say. However long it was, I’m sure Peter was anxious to get home to rest.

Finally, Jesus finishes His teaching to the crowds. Peter is ready to return home. But that doesn’t happen.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Luke 5:4

Jesus has another request. Isn’t that just like the Holy Spirit. There are times the Spirit wants you to do things when it seems most inconvenient.

There have been times I was tired, frustrated, or just in a bad mood. It seems like that’s the time the Lord picks for me to minister to someone to help meet their needs. I have to pick up Peter’s attitude in these instances.

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Luke 5:5

“Lord, I really don’t feel like helping anyone right now. But, because You say so…I’ll do it.”

The results of obedience are amazing. In Peter’s case, they got a haul of fishes beyond anything they could have imagined.

It cut Peter to the heart. He saw that Jesus was operating in the power of Almighty God. As he reflected on all of his bad attitudes and internal complaints, he fell to his knees. He realized his need for a life-change.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

Luke 5:10b

It always strikes me that true repentance brings a confirmation of God’s love. Peter was truly changed that day. And not just him, but his whole fishing company.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John all laid down their nets that day. They left all to follow Christ and obey His words. We need to walk that same road, and we’ll see the same results.

Question: How have you obeyed the Holy Spirit’s call when it was inconvenient?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Solitary Prayer

Solitary Prayer

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post, we saw how Jesus began His public ministry. People’s attitudes were an important part in how they received His ministry. It was a ministry of power by the Holy Spirit.

How was He able to operate on this level? Is it something that I can tap into?

I believe that Jesus is the example for how we should approach the ministry. We need to see how He prepared Himself for the days ahead of Him.

The Lord Jesus was God in the flesh; yes, but He limited Himself to operating as a man led by the Holy Spirit. Christ didn’t operate in a vacuum. He didn’t do anything that the Holy Spirit hadn’t shown Him. The next question that arises in my heart is this; how did He hear from the Spirit?

Obviously, the Lord didn’t just decide “on the fly” what He was going to do. He had to go to the Father first, and then see what was coming up in His ministry.

Only then was the Lord prepared for the work He was about to do that day or that week. If I can get a handle on this aspect of His ministry, then it can revolutionize mine. The fact is, the Scripture is clear as to how He saw the Holy Spirit working.

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Luke 4:42-44

Many times Jesus would leave a house to find a solitary place to pray. Most of the time, He would leave while it was still dark. I’m sure that He didn’t even tell anyone He was leaving. It must have been much later when the disciples and others started their search.

He was there alone in the presence of the Father – away from the crowds and the demands of the ministry. This is what Jesus felt He needed to do to clearly hear the voice of the Spirit.

How do I know this? It’s clear from the passage. When the searchers arrived, I’m sure that they were upset they had to go looking for Him.

They made it clear that they wanted the Lord to continue working in their area. People were being healed and set free from demonic oppression. They wanted to keep their revival going.

Notice that He ignored their statements. Instead, He simply said, in effect, “I know where we’re going next and what we’re going to do when we get there.”

How did He suddenly know this? How could He ignore the pressure placed upon Him to stay where He was? He had heard from the Spirit.

Jesus went on to accomplish incredible things throughout Israel. What made the difference? Jesus had, by the Spirit, seen the Father accomplish these things already.

Most people don’t understand the power of solitude. When you’re alone you can see the way ahead more clearly. Walking in the Spirit is a lot more efficient than the trial and error method most Christians use. “I’ll try going forward, if the door closes I’ll try another direction.” You usually only end up with a sore nose!

When you spend quality time with the Lord, seeking His will for your life, you don’t have to waste your time on all these dead-end paths that lead nowhere. Jesus knew where He was going before He was surrounded by the crowds of people. They couldn’t sway Him from His path by their persuasive arguments. It’s that level of guidance you should be seeking from God.

Do you need to know the next step in your life? If Jesus needed to seek God in this way, I assume the same has to be true for us. We desperately need a Word from the Father to complete our task.

Find that solitary place today. Go before the Lord in the stillness that surrounds you and open up your soul to Him. Spend some time just listening for His still, small voice to your heart. Then, answer the call in obedience to His will.

Question: Where is your solitary place?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2022 in Ministry, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Asking the Right Questions

Asking the Right Questions

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. The following will be taken from the Scriptural passage found in Luke 4:16-40. You’ll want to read that first to understand what I share in this post.

We live in an age of hero worship. It seems that people are more inclined to follow those with the most glitz and showmanship. In many areas, unfortunately, it’s carried over into the body of Christ.

How do you choose a church to attend or a ministry to follow? Some people look for the latest technology. They want great music with smoke and lights. But, is that always an indicator of a solid church in the Biblical sense?

When it comes to the teachings we accept, how do we decide who to listen to? We need to be asking the right questions. This was something that was clearly portrayed in the ministry of Christ.

In the section of Scripture I referenced above, Jesus preaches at two different synagogues. One was in His hometown of Nazareth, and the other in a nearby town called Capernaum. In both cases He preached the same message. Knowing that it was the Lord, I’m assuming that both messages had the same level of anointing.

In spite of these similarities, only one of the towns, Capernaum, received a blessing from the Lord’s visit. It’s clear to see from the narrative, that the reason was found in the questions that they asked themselves as Jesus was ministering.

This is important to us because, many times, we’re guilty of the same type of attitudes that these people had. I believe that we may have missed out on countless blessings because our attitudes got in the way. What makes the difference?

All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

Luke 4:22

This verse shows what they were focused on in Nazareth. It says that they spoke well of Him. They were amazed at the words from His lips. But, they asked, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

The problem was, they were concentrating on who was speaking – was He all that they were expecting? What was His background? Their focus was on the person.

Capernaum was a different case altogether.

They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority…

All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!”

Luke 4:32, 36

These verses make it clear that they were amazed at His teaching. It was about what the Lord said and did. They recognized that His Word had power and authority. Who He was and what He looked like didn’t figure into their acceptance of the Word.

As a result, revival fell in Capernaum that day. Demons were cast out and all the sick that lived in that area were healed (Verse 33-40).

We need to learn this lesson. Sometimes the biggest, most impressive looking show has the least anointing. On the other hand – there are times God wants to perform great miracles through His “unknown servants”.

I believe that in these last days before the return of Christ, God is going to be moving in “grass roots” ways. We will see Him working outside of the churches – in homes, schools, workplaces, and anywhere people look for Him.

We need to be asking, “What is the anointing, authority, and power upon this Word.” How big a following someone has shouldn’t figure into it. It’s all about the spirit behind the message, not the person God is using.

If we keep this in mind, then we’ll find the blessing of God in some of the most unlikely places. We’ll also open ourselves up to the miraculous.

Question: Have you ever received a blessing from God’s unknown servants?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Misunderstanding the Anointing

Misunderstanding the Anointing

Christ’s ability to walk in the power of God was brought about in three major events. These were His baptism, temptation, and His announcement of ministry. As we go through the Gospel of Luke, we’re about to see the Lord’s entrance into His ministry.

I believe that God is about to pour out a revival upon His church. Right now, we’re in the preparation stage. Our concern should be, with positioning ourselves to receive it.

Jesus is our example in ministry. If we see how He positioned Himself, then we can follow His lead.

He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

Luke 4:15-18

After reading the portion of Isaiah, the Lord announced that it was being fulfilled in their presence. I believe that this holds the key to positioning ourselves. It’s all about the anointing.

We’ve heard a lot of teaching on the anointing over the years. Unfortunately, some of it has been a little off base.

First, let’s look at where we were right. The anointing removes burdens and destroys yokes. That’s a true statement based upon Isaiah 10:27. That was Jesus’ whole ministry in a nutshell.

Another part is that the word Christ encompasses the Anointed One and His anointing. Since that’s true, it’s also the case that as Christians, we are little anointed ones. That’s the meaning of the name.

The final truth that we must embrace is that we all have an anointing from God. Scripture is clear on that point.

With all of this truth, then where are we off? My question is this; with this entire teaching being proclaimed, why are burdens NOT being removed and yokes NOT being destroyed in much of the church?

I’ve also heard it taught that the Holy Spirit is our anointing. That’s where we’ve misunderstood the Scripture. Look at the above passage carefully.

Jesus clearly said, “The Spirit…is on me BECAUSE he has anointed me.” What we’ve missed is that the Spirit follows the anointing.

This is a different work than salvation. Yes, the Holy Spirit lives in me when I receive Christ as Lord. But the anointing for the power of the Holy Spirit is a different thing. That’s why there are so many believers in the body of Christ that live powerless in this generation.

We need to understand exactly what the anointing is and how to receive it. Then, like Christ, we can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit that this anointing opens up.

What we need to understand is that, in Scripture, the anointing was something experienced by prophets, priests, and kings. When we look at how it works, we find an important fact. They were only anointed when they were prepared and chosen to fulfill their place of service.

We’ve missed that important point. We quote the phrase, many are called, few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). What we don’t realize is that though we’re all called to fulfill an anointing, we’re not all chosen to walk in it.

The anointing was mostly a Jewish experience. Paul, in writing to the Gentiles, used a different word for the same concept.

…we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.

1 Thessalonians 2:4b

He used the word, approved, to convey the same thought. You may want to do a word study of this in the New Testament to see it in detail. I think it will increase your understanding.

We’re all called to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. But, only as we spend time with the Holy Spirit, do we receive the approval – the anointing – to fulfill that calling. That’s how we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: How much of the power of God is evidenced in the church today?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2022 in Anointing, Ministry, Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Continuing in the Power of God

Continuing in the Power of God

I’ve been posting through the Gospel of Luke. In the last few posts, I’ve been talking about how Christ was tempted in the wilderness. He is the perfect example of victorious living.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, He overcame all the assaults of the enemy. But there’s more to the story than just the devil’s defeat.

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
Luke 4:13-14

The story goes on. After the devil had done everything he knew to do, he was finished. The enemy’s battery was totally drained. He had to leave for a while to recharge.

Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t miss a beat. He’d been fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. Then the Lord experienced a spiritual battle the likes of which we’ve never seen in our lives.

Was He drained? Did he have to recuperate? Absolutely not! Jesus Christ came out of the wilderness experience just as powerful as when He entered 40 days before.

We need to walk in this kind of power. But in order to do this we must let go of our reliance upon the promises and start acting like spiritual adults. We need to truly tap into the full potential of the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work within us.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
Ephesians 3:16

Without a doubt, this is the key – the Holy Spirit living within us. Being led by the Spirit is the earmark of a son or daughter of God. We must remain in Christ if we are to access this potential. Christ is our example.

I don’t know why we’ve turned it around and made it all about us. As if we have the power to change anything. We think that if we find the right promise or confess the right Scripture verse, then a miracle will happen. Maybe if we put together the correct formula of words in a prayer, the power will manifest.

What’s the secret of how Christ consistently walked in the power of the Spirit? It wasn’t confessions or formulas. It was the time He spend remaining in the Father’s presence. He prayed, He listened, and He obeyed.

So often we think that if we say the right words in the right order, we’ll see a miracle. That’s not how life in the kingdom of God works. The Scripture makes it abundantly clear.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

1 Corinthians 4:20

For too many of God’s people, It’s all talk and no power. They talk about faith, they mindlessly recite Bible verses, but they walk in defeat. The only way to break this cycle is to spend quality time listening for God’s voice.

It’s time for us to learn this lesson. We need to stop looking for an easy way to tap into the Spirit while continuing to live for ourselves. We need to submit to the Lord’s agenda for our lives. Time in the presence of God is the only thing that will bring about this transformation.

But, hearing from God is only half of the equation. Once I hear from the Holy Spirit, I need to obey what He’s told me. That’s the key to an abundant, victorious, life.

Question: What would have to change in order for you to spend more time in the Lord’s presence?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Testing God

Testing God

As we’ve been going through the Gospel of Luke, we’re now talking about the Lord’s time of testing in the wilderness. So far, Satan has tried to influence Him twice. He failed on both attempts.

But, the devil doesn’t give up easily. He tried one more time. Since Christ had used the Scripture to answer each attack, the enemy tried a new strategy. He used a quote from the Bible, itself.

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Luke 4:9-11

The enemy tried to use a promise to tempt the Lord. The devil quoted a Scripture that directly referred to the Messiah. Nothing at all could harm the Lord until He made it to the cross.

The enemy uses the same strategy with us. He uses just enough truth to get our minds going in his direction. Then, he hooks us with the final big lie.

Actually, there was more than one verse that the devil was trying to use against Christ. In jumping from the pinnacle of the temple, the Lord would appear suddenly in the temple courtyard. It would take everyone by surprise. This would seem to fulfill another prophecy from Malachi.

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

Malachi 3:1

The devil was hoping that all the weight of these Scriptures would convince Christ to follow his lead. He wanted Jesus to prove that God was protecting Him, by throwing Himself off the roof of the temple.

Then, by miraculously appearing in the temple, unharmed, the spiritual leaders would be convinced that the Christ had come. But, by doing this, Jesus would be operating in the power of His flesh to accomplish God’s will.

There are many times that the devil does the same thing with us, trying to get us to test the Lord. Of course, the results are usually different when we’re involved.

How do you respond when you’re tempted to test God? Do you trust Him or not? There’s no need to put God to the test. He’s already proven Himself in Christ. We need to follow the example of Jesus, who once again did not take the bait that the devil put before Him.

Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

Luke 4:12

This usually turns out very differently when the devil runs this scenario before us. We love to do foolish things, then “trust” God to get us out of the mess. We spend our money on movie tickets, new technology, video games, and new cars. Then, when we can’t pay the bills, we “trust God” for the money.

How foolish! Don’t you realize that the money you spent on your toys was the money God provided for your bills? But we just sit back in bitterness and say, “I tested God and He failed me.” As the people of God, we need to get our lifestyles back in line with the Word of God.

Along those same lines, we look at where the church is today. We wonder why there’s so little power evident in God’s people.

Actually, it’s a product of the sum total of each individual believer. As I get my life in line with God’s Word, the church is one step closer to where it should be. That should be the attitude of every Christian.

Let’s stop putting God to the test. Let’s operate in the faith that trusts the Lord’s Word, no matter what it looks like around us.

Questions: How do our faith and our actions work together? How do they oppose each other sometimes?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2022 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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