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Category Archives: Prayer in the Spirit

Transformed with Jesus

Transformed with Jesus

So many people are hungering to see a manifestation of the power of God. The Jewish people were looking for it in Jesus’ day. That’s the Lord’s will for us as well. It’s something that you have to seek and pursue.

In my last post from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus told His disciples that some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power (Luke 9:27). In today’s post, we’ll see the fulfillment of this.

Three of the disciples were about to witness the power and glory of the kingdom of God. The Lord was taking them on a special trip.

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.

Luke 9:28-31

Many times during His ministry, Jesus would go off by Himself to a remote location and pray. Once there, He would spend time in the Father’s presence, hearing what His next assignment would be.

Now, the Lord takes His three closest disciples with Him up a mountain. They’re going to learn first-hand about the kingdom of God in a mountaintop experience. It should speak to us as well.

The first key to a mountaintop experience is the fact that they were all alone. There were no distractions. They could concentrate on what was happening with Jesus. We need to get to that place of unhindered focus on the Lord and what He’s speaking to us.

It was in that place that they had a revelation of the glory which Christ possessed from eternity past. That’s the defining characteristic of a mountaintop, at least in Scripture. It’s all about clarity of vision. You can suddenly see clearly what God wants you to see.

When you’re on top of a mountain, above the tree line, you have an unobstructed view in all directions. You can see clearly both where you came from, and where you’re going to. And even more than that, you get a fresh revelation of Christ.

In that place you have a greater understanding of who Jesus is and what He wants to accomplish in you. It’s a place of spiritual clarity.

The disciples didn’t know how to handle it.

Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

Luke 9:32-33

Here we see some of the biggest problems of our flesh in the Lord’s presence. First, they become sleepy. Our flesh finds the presence of God boring.

Then, once they were awake, they had to come up with a “great idea” to help the Lord. Why do we always think that we need to say or do something? Why can’t we just stay quiet, listen for His voice, and drink in His Spirit?

We need to learn to just be still in the Holy Spirit’s presence. It’s what the Father told the disciples.

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

Luke 9:34-36

If we will quiet our hearts before God, we could have this type of mountaintop experience. Not with our physical eyes, but in the spirit. The results will be well worth it. We’ll find ourselves with Jesus alone. That’s the change that can only happen in the spirit.

Questions: Have you ever had a mountaintop experience and what did you learn from it?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Meeting Needs

Meeting Needs

What are the priorities of ministry? What can we learn from the way Jesus handled the day to day logistical challenges?

In my last post, we saw the disciples going out and ministering in the power of God. When they returned, the Lord wanted to take them away for a rest break.

When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

Luke 9:10-11

Jesus intended to get away for a time of refreshing away from the crowds. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The people followed Him to this remote location.

Instead of telling them to go away and let Him rest, Jesus ministered to their needs. This speaks volumes about the love of Christ.

Then, as it starts getting late, the disciples talk to Jesus.

Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

Luke 9:12-13a

The first thing that happens is that the disciples see and recognize the need. That’s the easy part. Ask anyone what’s wrong with the church and they’ll tell you what it needs.

But, they didn’t see it as their problem. The people needed to fix it. If they were hungry, then the crowd needed to go out and find something to eat.

That’s the attitude of many people today. “If they would do what they were supposed to do, the church would be better.”

Notice how Jesus turns that whole attitude around.That’s the response of a good leader. Turn the responsibility over to the ones who are sensitive to the need.

“Pastor, this church needs a Men’s Ministry.”

“I totally agree. When do you plan on starting it?”

I don’t think the disciples were prepared for that type of answer from the Lord. It caught them off guard.

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish — unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” (About five thousand men were there.)

Luke 9:13b-14a

Here’s where most ministries lose sight of the true vision. The disciples immediately make it a resource problem. Their first reaction was to throw money at it to make it go away.

But first – here’s an aside for those who think ministers of the Gospel should live in poverty. The disciples DID NOT say, “We don’t have the money to feed them.” They asked if Jesus wanted them to spend that much cash on the crowd.

In our economy, think about how much it would cost to buy 5000 fast food value meals. Jesus had that much money on Him at the time. But I digress.

According to Christ, it wasn’t a money problem, but a Word problem. How did the Father want this need met? Too often we ask for money before we seek the Holy Spirit to provide a miraculous solution.

Verses 14 through 17 of Luke, chapter 9, tell us of the way Jesus heard from heaven, and met the needs of over 5000 hungry people. This is how we should be ministering to those around us. We must spend time in the Spirit, and then walk out what we’ve heard from the Father.

Too many times I hear, “If we don’t get the donations, then we can’t do what God has called us to do.” Personally, I serve a God who’s bigger than the donations. He can make a way with or without the money.

We need to learn to be listening for His voice. That way we keep in step with not only what the Lord is leading us to do, but how exactly He wants it accomplished.

Questions: Has God ever worked His plans through you without money? How did He bring it about?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Word – Good News and Bad News

The Word – Good News and Bad News

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just finished looking at the Parable of the Sower. In that section of Scripture, we saw the different responses to the Word of God as we receive it. Now Jesus comments on the overall effects of the Word.

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”

Luke 8:16

The Lord is still talking about the results of God’s Word in a person’s life. The Word is like a light in a dark place. It illuminates large areas of our lives. We know this from other parts of Scripture as well.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105

As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit gives us insight into many things. He prepares us for the road ahead. He gives us instructions to carry out. He also warns us of sin and faults that we need to repent of and turn from.

The only reason for turning on a light is to see your surroundings better. Lighting a lamp, and then covering it up, is both illogical and foolish.

It’s the same with God’s Word to us. So many believers want to know God’s will for their lives. They ask how to hear His voice speaking to them. Then, once they hear from the Lord, many times they choose to ignore His Spirit.

The best approach is to commit to follow the Lord’s leading before you ever receive His Word. The only acceptable answer to Him is, “Yes, Lord!”

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

Luke 8:17

However, there’s both good news and bad news in hearing God’s voice. The good news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open. Of course, the bad news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open.

I don’t believe Jesus is talking about revealing your deepest secrets to the world. He’s talking about disclosing things to you about yourself that you’ve hidden away.

Many times, in God’s presence, I’ve learned things about myself that I had no clue about. In those times I had a choice. Either I deal with the issue, with God’s help, or ignore it and continue walking toward that spiritual cliff.

I’d love to tell you that I always made the right choice. However, that would be a lie. But, I am learning to obey the voice of the Spirit more and more as He sheds His light on my path.

Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Luke 8:18

As in most areas of life, attitude is everything. The Lord shows the result of either decision we make when His light shines on our lives.

In this verse, the word He uses is “holds”. Whoever holds on to it, will be given more. When I embrace God’s Word to me, I prepare myself for more to come.

In contrast to that, I can choose not to hold on to the Word I’ve heard. I can say, “I’m doing okay. I don’t need to change anything right now. Maybe in the future.” In that case, I actually begin to lose ground in the spirit.

We need to be spending quality time in the Spirit, listening for God’s voice. But, that comes with a warning. Once you’ve heard from Him, don’t ignore what you’ve heard. Obey the Lord’s instructions no matter how difficult you think they are.

Question: What’s the last thing you heard from the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Sowing Seeds in the Street

Sowing Seeds in the Street

In today’s post, I’m continuing to talk about the parable of the sower found in the Gospel of Luke. The disciples didn’t understand it when Jesus gave it to the crowds. So, when they were alone, they asked Him about it.

This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.”

Luke 8:11-12

In His explanation of the parable, Jesus makes it clear that He’s talking about ministry. Specifically; sowing the Word. The Word He’s talking about here is the Greek word, logos. Logos refers to the Word that is spoken in preaching or teaching. For a detailed post on this truth, click here.

The Lord is giving an in-depth look at what happens when the Word is ministered. There are various groups of people who hear the Word. The effect is different in each group.

The first group Jesus deals with is what He calls those along the path.

Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”

Luke 8:12

The question is; who are these people? The path is a ribbon of hard-packed earth. It has been trampled by generations of traffic. It’s dry, hard, and unyielding.

These are people who have absolutely no interest in hearing from God. They just happen to be in earshot of someone who’s speaking on God’s behalf. The message isn’t directed at them, but they happen to hear it.

Why is this the case? Simply put; there’s not a farmer on earth who would intentionally sow his seed on the road. That should be the case in the spiritual realm as well.

That’s why understanding the different types of people in this parable should be important to ministers of the Gospel. There should be some discernment that goes along with the ministry of the Word.

I know that there are those who feel they need to preach to everyone within earshot. But that’s just the opposite of what Jesus taught. The seed of the Word is precious. It shouldn’t be wasted on unproductive ground.

Listen to how the Lord explained it.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

Matthew 7:6

That being said, what CAN we do about people in this condition? I’m in no way saying that we should write them off as unreachable.

The fact is that a road can be turned into a fruitful field – but it requires a lot of work. The Bible teaches that something needs to happen before they can receive the Word.

This is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.”

Jeremiah 4:3

The hard packed soil of their hearts needs to be broken up. This calls for a powerful work in the spirit. That means much time spend in the presence of the Lord.

These people need to be prayed for. But I’m not talking about a simple, “God, please open their eyes. Amen.”

In order to make them ready and able to receive a Word that could save them, they require someone to intercede for them. This may include spiritual warfare to break up their hardened heart. Turning a path into good soil requires time and effort.

The church needs willing intercessors who can take on this responsibility. Are you one of them?

Questions: Who do you know that may be a person on the path? How can you pray for them?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Why We Receive a Blessing

Why We Receive a Blessing

In my last post, I introduced my study into the Gospel of Luke. I’m looking forward to what we’ll learn through this journey.

You may want to read Luke 1:5-14 before starting this post. That’s the passage of Scripture I’ll be dealing with today.

There were meetings that took place before the birth of Christ. They were between heaven and earth; between God and His people. We need to understand how and why God meets with His people. It’s through these divine appointments that we find God at work.

In the above passage, we see a priest, Zechariah, who has been praying for a child. It says that both he and his wife were blameless.

It was the custom of the priesthood to choose a priest for incense duty. It was Zechariah’s turn, it was nothing special. This was a normal prayer time.

The first thing we need to see is that God meets with us during normal times. This is why our prayer times are so important. We don’t know what God has planned for us.

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

Titus 1:3

We need to understand and work within God’s appointed seasons. We pray, not knowing the “when” of the answers. Sometimes we get tired of praying, we lose heart, and we get distracted. How many times have we lost out because we didn’t show up at the divine appointment?

But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.”

Luke 1:13

This is an interesting thing for the angel to say. “Your prayer has been heard.” As a priest, he was supposed to be interceding for Israel. But instead, he was praying about his personal desire for a child.

The fact is that God meets with us in spite of our selfishness. Studies show that for most Christians, most of what we pray for concerns ourselves. We pray for things that either directly or indirectly affect our comfort.

But, God knew that this child would be a blessing to this couple.

He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth…

Luke 1:14

The angel announced that he’s going to be all you ever wanted in a child. There will be joy and gladness. He could have said, “Zechariah, why have you been praying for yourself?”

The same is true for us. Praise God for the New Covenant!

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Romans 8:26

The truth is that we don’t know everything. We base our prayers on what we want. The book of James tells us we don’t receive answers because we ask incorrectly.

If that’s the case, then why would I neglect prayer in the spirit? I don’t want God’s answers to be in spite of my prayers. I want my prayers to line up with His will.

But notice what God did here. Not only will this child be a joy to you, but also to others. I love the fact that God makes our blessing overflow to others.

We pray for ourselves. But do we ever look at the whole plan of God? I heard a speaker, Ray Mcauley, once say, “God always blesses you with someone else in mind.” There are others who need the same blessing that you need.

We must learn to ask; why is God blessing me? Is there someone I need to overflow into? We must realize that there’s more that God wants to do than just the little we see.

Questions: What have you been trusting God for in prayer? How can it be a blessing to others?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Understanding the Times

Understanding the Times

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. Having talked about our debt to love one another, Paul now shows us its importance.

He causes us to ask an important question. Do we know where we are in the history of the church? It’s vital that we understand 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 think we can all agree that we live in a very treacherous times. There are many things happening that that are difficult to go through.

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 a dangerous generation.

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 show the love of Christ to all those around us. That’s how we keep alert spiritually and fulfill God’s plan.

This requires us to stay spiritually strong.

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 times we find ourselves in.

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 a 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 in to God’s presence?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

Don’t Ignore Your Sword

Don’t Ignore Your Sword

We’ve been looking at the concept of authority in the book of Romans. So far I’ve talked about the chains of authority as seen in our society. However, there’s a spiritual side to this as well.

Last time, we left of in this verse of Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He is talking about the person in the position of authority.

For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Romans 13:4

This verse contains a deep spiritual truth that we often miss because we usually apply this only in the natural. Think about what the apostle is saying here.

He’s talking about those who have been given authority by God. Have you been given authority from God? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!!!”

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Luke 10:19

Because of the work of Christ on the cross, we have authority over all of the enemy’s kingdom. We don’t have to fear them.

Another question to ask yourself is; are you God’s servant to do good to those around you? Again, the answer to that one should be a “yes.” We are all God’s servants, if we’re in Christ.

But, now we get to the important phrase; he does not bear the sword for nothing. Do you have a sword? That’s the big question.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:17

We definitely have access to a sword. However, are we using it? Why has God given us the ability to take up this weapon?

God has given us the sword of the spirit. It’s the rhema-word of God. That requires us to be listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit.

The fact is, if you’re in Christ, then you are God’s servant. You’re in a position of authority. You have not been given the sword of the spirit simply for show. There’s a divine purpose for it.

As God’s people we’ve been given the assignment to clean things up spiritually. It’s just like in the old western movies where the Texas Ranger arrives at a lawless frontier town. Everything gets put in order.

We’re supposed to be wreaking havoc on the enemies’ turf. Isn’t that what the Lord told His disciples?

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Matthew 16:18

The gates of hell should not be prevailing against us. Where are the gates of hell? They surround the enemy’s strongholds. This verse is a call for us to walk in the offensive power of the spirit.

Unfortunately, many Christians bear the sword for no reason. Actually, a large number of us don’t ever pick it up.

According to the verse in Romans, we’re literally called punishers. Our goal should be to bring down God’s wrath upon the enemy’s spiritual kingdom right now. We should be putting fear into the hearts of demonic forces around the world.

But, that will require us to spend quality time in the Holy Spirit’s presence. It’s all about prayer in the spirit, meditation on God’s Word, and obedience to His voice. The body of Christ, in our generation, needs to wake up to this truth.

Question: How do you view God’s authority operating through you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Wrapped in Zeal

Wrapped in Zeal

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Paul is showing us how to live our best life as part of Christ’s body.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Romans 12:11

In my last post we talked about having sincere love for others. But, right on the heels of that, Paul tells us that we need to be zealous for the Lord.

Zeal itself is a very strong emotion. It’s when you desire to possess some quality or possession of the one you’re zealous for. It’s actually the same as jealousy – only it’s the positive side of that quality.

But, I’m talking about being zealous toward Christ. This is a passionate, consuming zeal that’s focused on the Lord. It drives us toward the accomplishment of His will and the maintaining of His honor.

All of this is done in the face of whatever’s happening in the world around us. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in the middle of good or bad circumstances.

We’ve all heard of the armor of God in Ephesians, chapter 6. Many people talk about the need to put on this holy armor. But do you know that there’s one more piece of clothing available to us that covers it all?

Paul the Apostle was a Bible scholar. He knew the Scripture better than most others of his day. What we fail to realize, is that he didn’t come up with the teaching of the armor of God on his own. It was actually from the book of Isaiah.

In Isaiah, chapter 59, we see God Himself putting on the armor – at least the helmet and breastplate. This is His personal armor – it was made to fit Him. That’s why I need to abide in Christ for it to fit me. But that’s another teaching…

I want to talk about something else that Isaiah saw as the Lord was preparing for the spiritual battle.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 59:17

The reason that Isaiah could only see the breastplate and helmet was because God put on some clothes over the suit of armor. Did you know that one of these is available to us today?

It’s not the garments of vengeance. We know from Scripture that vengeance is His alone.

I believe that part of our problems stem from the fact that we want the armor but still fail to fully clothe ourselves. It’s the zeal of the Lord that covers it all. That’s one of the things that the church is lacking in this generation.

That’s why zeal is one of the first things that Paul talks about for the mature believer. It’s the cloak that should cover all that we do for Christ. He answers the question; when should we be seen without the cloak? NEVER!!

Zeal is actually our passion for the Lord on display for all to see. Of course, Christ must be the focus of our zeal. We need to get emotional about our God. We need to stir it up.

That’s what warriors do before a battle. They would hold council the night before they met the enemy. They’d tell stories of former victories, sing, chant victory slogans, and raise the war cry. All of this was to stir up the emotion of zeal.

In the spiritual struggles we face, there’s no difference in the way we achieve victory. God wants us to put on His zeal before we enter the heat of battle. We must take up this attitude: “I live for the honor of Christ!”

That’s why we should be running daily into the Lord’s presence. As we sing, worship, read and confess the Scripture, and pray in the spirit, we’re stirring ourselves up. There’s no better preparation for the battles ahead.

Question: How often do you get emotional about the Lord?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Finding God’s Will

Finding God’s Will

As we continue through the book of Romans, Paul is reviewing the walk of the spirit. In my last post, I talked about establishing God’s pattern in our lives. That involves prayer in the spirit – standing beside the burnt offering and becoming a living sacrifice before God.

As I spend time with the Holy Spirit, I begin to hear His voice. My mind is being renewed as God’s Word enters my heart. The next question is; now that I’m hearing God’s Word in my spirit – what do I do with it?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

There’s still a choice to be made. This is where, according to Christ, the thorns and thistles of distractions could choke it. We need to be careful about what our heart dwells on.

This verse literally says; don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. Instead, let the Word renew (renovate) your mind.

If you want a life that’s well-pleasing to God, it will require a renewed mind. It’s the renewed mind that will transform your walk. That word transform is the Greek word metamorph. It’s how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.

It’s only when we’re allowing the Word to renew our mind that we’re able, have the power, to test and approve God’s well pleasing will.

Many people have asked me, “Pastor, how do I know God’s will?” The truth is that you will never know God’s will before you do it. It’s by faith.

I get my faith approved. Then I stand beside body praying in spirit to hear God. I allow God’s Word to renew mind.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

Through prayer in the spirit, we have access to the mind of Christ – that’s the renovation process that we need. It causes us to think His thoughts. Then, because His mind is working in us, we can test and approve God’s will.

As I live out my faith, opportunities arise. I feel a stirring on the inside of me, “I believe God wants me to do this.”

I now have the power to test and approve God’s will for my life. I step out. By faith, I expect either a miracle to confirm what I’m doing or the intervention of the Holy Spirit to stop me from doing it.

Paul understood this and tells us the bottom line.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Romans 14:17-18

To be well pleasing to God, it’s not about the rules you place on yourself. It’s a life lived in the spirit. That’s what God finds well pleasing. Because the flesh can never fulfill God’s perfect will.

Simply put, a well-pleasing life requires a spiritual walk.

Question: What do you believe is the next step in God’s plan for you right now?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Living Sacrifice

The Living Sacrifice

As we go through the book of Romans, we’re beginning chapter 12. This is where Paul starts his concluding remarks.

What we have to realize is that you can’t understand this section properly, without a grasp of what he taught in chapters 4-8. We need to walk by the spirit to receive the power to fulfill what he’s about to bring to us.

The last chapters of Romans can never be accomplished in our own strength. But, first, Paul summarizes what he’s talked about so far.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

This is one of those verses that we wished wasn’t in the Bible. But it is, so we have to follow it. It says that there’s something we can do that’s holy and well pleasing to God.

The word offer means to stand beside your body. Paul is talking about something that can only be done in the spirit.

In the spirit I can stand next to myself and look at my flesh as the enemy – my greatest weakness. Only then can I offer it to God on His altar.

The original Greek says that it’s a burnt offering, living, holy, and to God – well pleasing. Wait a minute; we are to be a living burnt offering? Yes! There’s really no other way to say it.

Pleasing God requires sacrifice. But what exactly does that mean to us? Most people use the word sacrifice to mean they’ll try harder. They think it tells them to fast on holidays, eat according to the Old Testament food laws, dress like the 1940’s, and talk King James English.

That’s not what God is looking for. If you read the epistle to the Romans, you find that Paul writes about the walk of the spirit. If that’s in place, then you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. But how do we get there?

We need the fire of God to consume the sacrifice. In the book of Acts we see tongues of fire on the heads of those praying in the upper room. We’re also told (I Thessalonians 5:19) not to quench the Holy Spirit’s fire. Paul told his spiritual son, Timothy, to fan into flame the gift that was within him (II Timothy 1:6).

Paul was a man who had a rich experience of prayer in the spirit. He assumed that those he was writing to also knew how to pray in the spirit. When you pray in the spirit, you’re standing beside your body as a burnt offering.

The last part of the verse in Romans could be modernized as, logically – this is what you signed up for. We’re living out a spiritual walk. You can try harder, stumbling around in the flesh without Christ. But if I’m to be well pleasing, it will require a spiritual work.

In the first part of Romans, Paul showed us that righteousness could only be achieved by a walk in the spirit. That’s accomplished through a rich prayer life of praying in the spirit. As I pray in the spirit, I stand beside the burnt offering.

Remember, I’m not talking about whether or not you’re saved, or even acceptable to God. You’re all those things, and more, in Christ. I’m talking about going beyond acceptable and into the realm of well-pleasing to God.

This should be our desire if we want to see a move of God in our lifetime.

Question: Why do some believers find this sacrifice so difficult?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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