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Last Days Prayer

Last Days Prayer

Continuing in Luke, Jesus is teaching about the Last Days. He used Noah and Lot as examples of what these times will be like. I also believe that the Lord is commenting on the fact that there will be “Noah Christians” and “Lot Christians” in the Last Days.

In order to encourage believers to be prepared, like Noah was, Jesus gives a parable about prayer.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

Luke 18:1 NIV

The Lord wants us to see that, especially in these final days before His return, we need to be a people of prayer. His desire is that we continue to pray regularly, and not grow weary in this work.

He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’”

Luke 18:2-3 NIV

In His parable, the Lord starts by introducing all of the characters. We are shown a local judge, who has no fear of God and shows no respect for anyone.

We then have a widow and someone who has done wrong against her. The word used, indicates that this wrong is self-evident. It’s something that anyone would consider to be an evil action.

She keeps coming to the judge for a decision against this adversary. But, the judge keeps putting her off. Undeterred, she keeps bringing her case before him.

Eventually, the judge becomes annoyed by this.

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'”

Luke 18:4-5 NIV

In the parable, this widow won the case because of her persistence. Literally, this says that the judge felt like he was getting beat up by the widow. Now, Jesus tells us the main point of what He’s teaching.

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Luke 18:6-8 NIV

Look at the facts. The judge didn’t care about God or people. God is extremely watchful over His Word and His character. God has a high regard for His chosen ones. God’s attitude is nothing like this earthly judge.

Yet, even this unjust judge decided in favor of the widow out of annoyance. How much more does God delight in doing good in the lives of His people.

However, it’s the final question that seals it for me. Will the Lord find faith at His return? How do we receive faith? Faith comes as we hear God’s voice – His rhema Word (Romans 10:17).

Because of this, I believe that Jesus is talking about our spiritual battle here. Not between us and the devil. But between our spirit and our flesh.

The widow is an Illustration of our spirit crying out to God for victory over the flesh. The flesh is our adversary against everything God wants to do in our lives. As we cry out to God, it’s His voice that silences the flesh and puts it to death.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Romans 8:13-14 NIV

I believe that the parable of Jesus is a picture of this principle being taught in the book of Romans. As we consistently remain in prayer, we will see victory over our adversary – the flesh.

Question: How consistent is your prayer life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

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

 

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Last Days – The Day of Christ

Last Days – The Day of Christ

I’ve been posting about how Christ will reveal Himself at His return. We’ve talked about Jesus’ teaching in Luke, chapter 17, on the days of Noah and Lot.

Remember that He already said in verse 24 that when He’s revealed on that day, every eye will see Him. It will not be a private return. He’s coming in all of His glory.

“On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.”
Luke 17:31-36 NIV

Many interpret this verse to mean that the one taken is taken into heaven and the one left is the one that’s going to be judged. How can this be? In both of His examples, the stories of Noah and Lot, the Lord clearly states that the unrighteous are taken in judgment and the righteous ones are left.

The disciples wanted Jesus to clarify what He was teaching them. They asked the obvious question: Where was it that they were taken to?

“Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”
Luke 17:37 NIV

Jesus makes it clear that those taken are dead bodies. The Greek word for carcass is what the NIV translates as dead body. Also, the word Jesus used for vulture is a generic term that could be used for any carrion bird that feeds on dead bodies.

So in answer to the question “Where are they taken?” Jesus said, “Do you want to know where the carcasses are taken? Then look for the vultures.” Personally, I don’t want to be taken like that. I want to be one of the ones who are left.

What, then, have we learned in this portion of Scripture? First of all, I see a time of warning leading up to the time when Christ is revealed. We then come to a day – a literal, twenty-four-hour day – during which He will reveal Himself.

Christ uses two examples, Noah and Lot, to explain His point. In both cases the day starts out with some saints. They are then somehow supernaturally protected during the events of that day. In Noah’s case he was put in the ark and in Lot’s case he was taken out of the city.

On the day that they were protected, salvation was then closed, and judgment fell. After judgment had fallen, at the end of the day, the saints were left. That’s the way I read it and that’s the way I believe Christ meant it to be read.

Questions: Are you prepared for that day? How have you prepared?

If you want a more detailed teaching on the Second Coming of Christ, click here to check out my book: The Third Watch – It’s Later Than You Think.

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2022 in Return of Christ, The Gospel

 

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Last Days – The Days of Lot

Last Days – The Days of Lot

I’m posting about Christ’s teaching on the Last Days in Luke, chapter 17. After talking about the days of Noah, the Lord goes on to describe the days of Abraham’s nephew, Lot.

“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

Luke 17:28-29 NIV

This event is recorded in Genesis 19. You can read through that chapter to get the whole story.

Two angels arrived in Sodom to visit Lot. Lot invited them into his home, knowing who they were.

When the men of the city heard that travelers were in Lot’s house, they demanded that Lot turn them over to the crowd. According to the Bible, they wanted to rape these angels. Lot then tried to reason with the men of the city but they wouldn’t listen.

You probably know what happens in the city of Sodom. The two guests, who happen to be angels, come to Lot’s defense. They bar the way into Lot’s house and bring blindness upon all the men of the city who are trying to get in.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Genesis 19:15-17 NIV

With the coming of the dawn – THE DAY – judgment came upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Once Lot and his family were out of sight of the city it was all over. The day that Lot left the city was the day that judgment fell. Now bear in mind that the inhabitants of those cities had some warning. Lot spent the whole day before trying to convince them.

The angels told Lot that if he had any loved ones in the city he should go and warn them. The Bible says that he went to his sons-in-law and they laughed at him. The city was warned. But because Lot wasn’t as in tune to the Lord as Noah, they didn’t have as much time to prepare. In both Noah’s day and in Lot’s the people ignored the warning.

Now I’ll ask the same questions I asked in my last post. When it was all said and done, who was left? According to Scripture it was Lot. Who was taken? Again, according to Scripture, it was the inhabitants of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Twice in the verses from Genesis 19:15-17 the angels said that the inhabitants would be “swept away.” That concept is very important.

We need to understand what will happen when Christ reveals Himself at His return. In my next post we’ll look at how Christ summarized His teaching on this future event.

Question: How does this knowledge affect how we live for Christ?

If you want a more detailed teaching on the Second Coming of Christ, click here to check out my book: The Third Watch – It’s Later Than You Think.

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2022 in Return of Christ, Spiritual Walk

 

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Last Days – The Days of Noah

Last Days – The Days of Noah

We’re going through the Gospel of Luke. At this point, I’ve been posting about the Lord’s teaching on the last days. Last time, we saw the warning He gave to His disciples that He would not return in their lifetime.

Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.”
Luke 17:22-24 NIV

He had to tell them the truth. They weren’t going to see the days of the Son of Man. Now that’s a term we need to understand. He had never yet used that term with His disciples before that day.

Let’s look carefully at the words of the Lord as He explains it to His disciples. He talked about the days of the Son of Man culminating in His day. Notice that He says in verse 24, “For the Son of Man in his day…”singular.

The word day means one literal twenty-four hour day. So what we see are “the days of the Son of Man” leading up to “the day of the Son of Man.” Thankfully He’s not finished with His explanation.

“But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”
Luke 17:25 NIV

Here Jesus explains to them what He’s going to do. He still hadn’t died yet and the disciples needed to prepare themselves for the shock of seeing their Messiah hung upon a cross. Unfortunately, the disciples never really heard what Jesus said, and ultimately were taken by surprise by the death of the Lord.

We’re now going to look at verse 26. Please read it carefully because a lot of people use these comparisons out of context and twist them all around to mean something other than what’s written.

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”
Luke 17:26-27 NIV

Notice that Jesus again uses the phrase “the days of the Son of Man.” It will be just like in “the days of Noah.” Notice “the days of the Son of Man” culminates in “the day of the Son of Man.” Compare that to “the days of Noah” culminating in “the day Noah entered the ark.” It was on that day that the flood came and destroyed them all.

At that point, when all were safe inside, God shut the door. That was it, there was no turning back. No one could leave, and no one else could enter the ark of salvation. This is an important point in the principle Jesus is trying to get across to His disciples.

When all these things had taken place, the judgment of God fell upon that ancient world.

Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
Genesis 7:22-23 NIV

Now it’s important for me to ask you another question. According to the Scripture above, who was left? The answer is simple yet ignored. It clearly states that Noah and everybody in the ark were left. Who was wiped away from off the face of the earth? Every person and animal not in the ark.

It’s so clearly stated that you might ask why I’m emphasizing this issue. There’s a very important reason. Most of the people, who interpret this section of Scripture, rip it from its context, reverse it, and say that Noah was taken and the rest were left. We’re not going to do that today. I believe this verse as written and refuse to do any scriptural gymnastics to try and make it say something that it doesn’t. Here’s a parallel passage of Scripture.

and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Matthew 24:39 NIV

Even in His comments concerning the flood Jesus makes it abundantly clear that it was the sinners that were taken and Noah who was left. This is a very important concept to grasp. It goes against most of the teaching in the church today. Yet it’s vital that we agree with what Christ says no matter what anybody else teaches.

Question: Does this challenge or confirm your beliefs about the Second Coming of the Lord? How?

If you want a more detailed teaching on the Second Coming of Christ, click here to check out my book: The Third Watch – It’s Later Than You Think.

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2022 in Return of Christ, The Gospel

 

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Discerning This Time

Discerning This Time

Continuing through Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus speaking to His disciples with the crowds listening. Now He directly addresses the people following.

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

Luke 12:54-56 NIV

It’s interesting to see Jesus talking about the weather. In a society where most of the activity took place outdoors, everyone could predict the weather. Most people could look at the sky, feel the direction of the wind, and could guess pretty accurately what was coming.

We like to know the weather as well. There are whole cable channels dedicated to forecasting the weather.

In this verse, the Lord rebukes the people because they can tell the weather by looking at the signs. On the other hand, they could see everything happening around them in Israel, and not discern that Messiah had come.

They should have been looking to Him as the leader of a new movement. They should have been changing their lifestyles to conform to His Word.

Instead, they treated Christ as if He were a religious entertainer. He was someone they were excited to see come to their town. But when He left, it was back to business as usual.

But that begs the question, are we able to discern the times we’re living in? Do we know what’s coming and how we should prepare ourselves?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV

This is one of many verses that gives us the “weather report” for the last days. I don’t think you need a seminary degree to understand what it’s saying. I also think that you would have to have your head buried in the sand to not see it as a description of the society we live in, at least in the USA.

Over the last few posts, I’ve been going through Luke, chapter 12. Jesus has been teaching about what it means to have a last day’s mindset. We need to be preparing our hearts and minds for the days ahead.

I don’t know everything that’s ahead of us, but I do know this…Jesus said we need to be spiritually awake and alert. We must have our spiritual lamps burning. We should be building our faith in God’s Word. Along with that, we must be fulfilling our calling in Christ.

That being said, I look around me in the body of Christ. In many areas I see business as usual. I see believers on social media with the same attitudes as the world. I see Christians afraid of the same things the world is afraid of.

I just want to yell out, “Hey people, read God’s weather report! The storm is coming. We need to be building on the rock. It’s time to stop building on the sand.”

A few days ago, in my post, The Last Days Mindset 3, I talked about the need to beware of dissipation, spiritual drunkenness, and anxieties. That’s the trap the world is falling into. We have no business falling victim to the loss these things bring.

We need to be watching and prepared for the Lord’s return. If needed, wake up, turn around, and get back on track with the Lord. Spend time in the Holy Spirit, strengthening your life for the days ahead.

Question: How prepared are you for the living in the Last Days?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Rewards From God

Rewards From God

In my last few posts, I’ve been looking at a teaching that Jesus gave His disciples about a Last Days mindset. He finishes, by talking about rewards and punishments. Our best bet is to live in such a way as to receive rewards.

Did you know that your eternal rewards are based upon how well you live up to the Lord’s teaching? The Bible does speak over and over again about the different levels of rewards based upon the work we perform throughout our lives.

“That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Luke 12:47-48 NIV

The fact is that we’re responsible for what we’ve received. A young Christian is not responsible for the truths that have not yet been made real to him. Someone who’s been walking with the Lord for years, and ignoring the Lord’s call, will receive less in the kingdom.

It’s clear from Scripture that we’re going to be responsible for the grace that we’ve been given. With a greater anointing and calling comes greater responsibility.

I’ve found that many believers, ministers especially, want the miracles and the big churches without the character it takes to walk uprightly before God in that kind of work. The Lord wants us to grow from the inside out. An increase in power, without a corresponding increase in character, will destroy our spiritual walk.

As a matter of fact, it’s probably too late for you now. You’ve read too much. If you’ve been reading my blogs regularly, then God is going to require excellence from you and your ministry. Now that you know He’s a God of excellence, and that He requires excellence in His followers, you must begin to walk in it. Read on!

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

The Lord talked to His disciples about the narrow road. We like to interpret this verse as if it’s merely talking about the road of salvation. Salvation is indeed the first step. When we choose to follow Christ, we choose a better path than that of the world.

I believe, however, that this Scripture has a broader meaning in application to the body of Christ. Very few find the walk of excellence to which we’ve been called. “The few;” that sounds like the definition of excellence to me – “that which goes beyond the expected or the normal.”

The Lord expects us to find the narrow gate of excellence. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. That’s why we need to be living up to the revelation we’ve received.

This is especially true as we live out the last few years before the Lord’s return. The world is not going to get any better. The challenges of society will continue to grow. Our only response should be to deepen our walk with God, if we want to live victoriously.

I know there are those who get upset when I talk about striving to receive a reward from the Lord. They say that we should serve God without any thought of rewards.

That is partly true. If I received nothing from the Lord except for this great salvation, it would be worth it all. I would serve Christ wholeheartedly no matter what.

However, God knows how human beings think. He makes it clear to us that He has rewards in store for those who overcome in life. If the Lord didn’t want this knowledge to motivate us, then He should never have told us about it.

So, since He places the hope of rewards before me, I’ll strive to receive everything that God has prepared for me and wants me to have. I hope you have that same desire.

Question: How well are you living up to your knowledge of God’s Word?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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A Last Days Mindset 3

A Last Days Mindset 3

We’re continuing to look at Jesus as He teaches His disciples about the End Times. He’s telling them what He’ll be looking for at His return. The Lord will be rewarding those who are found faithfully fulfilling their calling.

However, Christ knows that there will be another group of leaders in the church. He gives this as a warning not to be a part of this.

But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.”

Luke 12:45-46 NIV

The Lord talks about leaders who are only thinking about themselves. They act like the purpose of the church is to fulfill their every want and desire. They have no thought to what will happen at the return of Christ.

Church leaders – shepherds of the flock – should be feeding, guiding, and protecting their people. That’s what their calling is about. There’s no place in the body of Christ for self-serving ministers.

Jesus says that these leaders eat, drink, and get drunk. This reminds me of another End Time teaching that the Lord gave to His disciples. It’s near the end of Luke’s Gospel, so we haven’t looked at it yet. Here’s a preview.

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”

Luke 21:34 NIV

Jesus warns that the Last Days will be marked by these three things. It’s an exact description of our society without Christ.

Dissipation is using up all of our resources – time, money, talent and strength – on things that have no eternal value. Spiritual drunkenness is becoming intoxicated with the things of the world. Anxiety is focusing on all the fearful things around us rather than looking to Christ and His Word.

It’s unfortunate, but there’s a segment of church leadership that falls into this category. They need to heed the Lord’s warning before it’s too late. If not, they run the risk of losing out on their rewards.

The NIV translation, above, makes it seem like they’re unsaved. That’s actually not the case.

The phrase, cut him to pieces, means severely scourged in the Greek. That’s being lashed with a whip with pieces of glass or metal at the ends. It brings deep lacerations. The above verse could also be read that he was assigned a place with the unfaithful.

This goes along with what Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He explained about the works we do for God.

…his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NIV

These self-serving leaders will seem to be living large now, but they’ll have no future rewards. We should be building now, for eternity. We have to be careful that we don’t make our ministry all about us.

I believe that the scourging Jesus talks about, is watching all of our works go up in smoke. They’ll still be saved, but with nothing to show for it.

I want to have an eternal reward to look forward to. That means I need to be faithful to the Lord’s calling right now. Yes, it’s hard sometimes, when I look at what others are doing. But I’m not out to please them or compete with them.

Our calling is to seek God’s face and fulfill His calling in us.

Question: What is God calling you to do in His kingdom?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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A Last Days Mindset 2

A Last Days Mindset 2

In my last post, I started looking at how Jesus told us to be ready for His return. We need to be always awake and alert in the spirit. This is important because we have no idea when this return will take place.

But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Luke 12:39-40 NIV

Jesus uses the illustration of a thief breaking into a house. The Lord makes it clear that no amount of experience or calculation can pinpoint the day and hour of a break-in. The only thing you can do is to make preparations for that possibility.

In the same way, Jesus will return at an unknown day and hour. It will be when a majority of people don’t expect Him. The Greek word for expect means to be of the opinion or to suppose.

As I said in my last post, there are many believers who are of the opinion that Jesus is going to come sooner than He says He will. The Lord doesn’t operate according to popular opinion. It’s all about His Word and His will.

There are some who think it’s the world that Christ is talking about here. They suppose it’s the world who won’t expect Jesus to return at the proper time. The Scripture has an answer for this.

Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”

Luke 12:41-44 NIV

Thank you, Peter, for asking that question. The answer is very important to our discussion. The Lord makes it clear that He’s not only talking to believers, but especially to the leadership of the church. If the spiritual leaders are ignorant of the truth, then what chance do the young believers have?

Jesus is talking to the teachers. He wants those who feed the Word of God to the flock to know the truth. After all, those who teach and preach will be judged more strictly.

Because of this, the Lord is directing His comments to the faithful and wise leaders. He’s addressing those who have a great desire to accomplish God’s will.

That word, faithful, means someone who you can fully trust. The word, wise, literally means thoughtful and implies a cautious character.

What does this mean to us? When it comes to the return of the Lord, there are many who teach what they’ve heard others teach. They only echo the voice of others with no thought of seeking the truth for themselves.

We live in the last days. The time is getting shorter. We don’t have the luxury of teaching something because it sounds exciting. By our preaching, believers are either being set-up for heartache and failure or faith and victory.

We need to be prepared to wait for the Lord’s return, no matter how long it takes. I’ve done an in-depth study of the Lord’s teaching on this and put it in a book. It’s called The Third Watch – It’s Later than You Think. For more information about this book, click here.

We need to be a people who are preparing ourselves for the Lord’s coming. That means spending time in the Word and in the Spirit. We need to be praying, hearing from God, and then doing what He speaks.

Then, no matter what the future holds, we’ll be found as faithful and wise servants at His return.

Question: How do you cultivate faithfulness to Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2022 in Faith, Leadership, Return of Christ

 

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A Last Days Mindset

A Last Days Mindset

Do you believe that we’re living in the Last Days before the coming of the Lord? Do you think that His return is close? If so, then what should our mindset be like?

We’re looking at the Gospel of Luke, and we’re now in chapter 12. At this point in His ministry the Lord is talking about the importance of being ready. We’re not to be distracted by all the things the world has to offer.

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
Luke 12:35-36 NIV

In this verse Jesus shows us how to live in the last days. He tells us to be dressed. For us it means to have our spiritual armor on. Don’t go around without your protection from the snares of the enemy.

Too many Christians are walking around spiritually naked. Then they wonder why the enemy has such an easy time messing with them. The time is now to prepare for the spiritual conflict ahead.

The Lord also said to keep your lamps burning. We must be awake and alert. The world is in the dark and we’re supposed to be in the light. That’s the kind of constant preparedness our lives should be equipped with.

We are to be in an attitude of waiting and watching. The meaning of the word that He uses for waiting is to give access to. In other words, I’m not living for myself. I’m at someone else’s disposal. I’m supposed to be ready at a moment’s notice to do something for somebody else.

The Lord must have 24 hour a day access to our lives. As soon as the Master knocks, we should be at the door, opening it. Our schedule should not even factor into it. We live to please the Master.

Sometimes our attitude with the Lord sounds like this; “Oh, I’m sorry. I was reading a book, and I wanted to finish the paragraph.” Servants don’t have that luxury. We live to please Christ. We must be prepared to serve at a moment’s notice.

In order to fulfill this calling, we must have the attitude of a waiting servant. Christ is coming, and we want to be ready when He appears. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, what I’m reading, or what I’m eating – when He arrives on the scene, I’m there to meet Him. “Lord, I’m ready for you.” That’s the ready attitude to have.

It’s time for the church to stop living like our wants and desires are the most important thing. Christ must be given the highest priority of our service. If we live like this, we have a blessing waiting for us.

It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.

Luke 12:37-38 NIV

According to the Lord, if we work now, at His return it will be our time to rest. That’s something to look forward to.

However, Jesus made some surprising statements about His return. Don’t be one of those who are unprepared for what will happen before His coming.

The Lord says that His return will come when you don’t expect it. Notice that it will not be a surprise because He comes before you expect Him. What is going to throw people off is that He will arrive later than they thought it would be.

The second watch of the night is from 9 o’clock to midnight. The third watch is from midnight to 3 in the morning.

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

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

That’s what Jesus is saying. He’s telling us that He’s coming later than we think. Most people would think that if you’re going to come for dinner, you should arrive early.

Naturally, we think “suppertime.” But Jesus is asking how long past suppertime are we prepared to wait? There will be a time when people start thinking that Jesus should be here by now, but He’s not. It’s midnight. A lot of people have these religious clocks that are set at five minutes to midnight. They think that the Lord is coming soon – at midnight.

I’ve got news for you. The Bible says He might come as late as 3 in the morning, spiritually speaking. There are many Bible teachers who have taken certain future prophetic events and defined them as occurring “after midnight.”

Someday the “prophecy clock” will strike midnight. If you’re one of the people who believe that He’s going to be here at this prophetic midnight, you might be disappointed. We’ve got to be careful. Most of Christianity is expecting Him to come at this midnight hour.

Jesus said, “I’m going to come later than you think.” As a matter of fact, what you’re going to find as we go through the Scriptures, is that whenever Christ warns us about being ready, He always qualifies it by saying that He will come later than we’re expecting.

Question: How far are you prepared to go if Christ delays His Second Coming?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2022 in Faith, Return of Christ, Spiritual Walk

 

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Preparing the Way

Preparing the Way

As we continue going through the Gospel of Luke, I’ll go on talking about us as being the “John the Baptist Generation”. We should be calling God’s people to wake up and prepare for the second coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ.

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 3:3

The first thing we have to realize is that our message is a little bit different than his was. We have to remember that John the Baptist preached before the cross of Christ.

Therefore, in order to be forgiven, there had to be true repentance. That word means a total reversal of direction. I had to stop doing wrong before I could be forgiven. My forgiveness was based upon my ability to obey God.

Praise the Lord! We live after the cross. It’s no longer “turn around and be forgiven”. But now, by grace, it’s confess your sin to God and be forgiven.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

God knows that I have no ability to change my life. I cry out to Him in my weakness. I confess how I’ve missed the mark of His perfection. Then, I allow the Holy Spirit to do the purifying work in me.

I think that we miss this sometimes. Too many believers are living in the Old Covenant. They think that they have to change themselves in order to please God. That will never work.

When I come to God, He is faithful to forgive – remove – my sin. Then, it’s only by His power that I can truly change my lifestyle to conform to His image.

But, there’s another part of John’s message that we need to lay hold of. Remember, John was calling Israel, God’s people, to prepare for Messiah’s coming. That same message is needed today in the church.

As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him…’”

Luke 3:4

I hate the fact that I have to be the one who says this. But, compared to the early church, we live in a spiritual wilderness. We’re no longer excited about who God is. (I’m speaking overall, not about the few who are awake)

What seems to really get our attention is what God can do for us. We ignore what God wants to do through us. We no longer think in terms of bringing people to the knowledge of salvation. We want to fit into society.

We concern ourselves with so many side issues that it crowds out our devotion to Christ. Our fear of the social problems around us keeps us from worshiping together.

So many churches are places where we come together to hear great inspirational singing. We listen to a motivational talk. But, we leave unchanged and continue on our way oblivious to God’s plan for us.

It’s truly time for us to seek God’s presence. We must want Him to show up at our services. That’s what making straight paths for Him is all about.

The problem is that many churches don’t want the Holy Spirit to show up at their services. It would mess things up. He would really throw off their schedules. And He’d make them late for dinner.

In this generation, we truly need a manifestation of the presence of God in our meetings.

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

1 Corinthians 14:24-25

This is what we should be preparing ourselves for. This will bring in a harvest of souls. It’s what the world needs to see.

Question: What will it take for us to start truly seeking the presence of God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2021 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Revival, The Gospel

 

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