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How Did We Get Here?

How Did We Get Here?

We’re continuing to look at Paul’s view of Christless society in the book of Romans.  He’s talking about those who have refused the knowledge of God.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.

Romans 1:28

This is an interesting verse.  It literally says that these people did not approve of God in their knowledge.  They know what God would require of them, so they would just rather not think about Him.

Because of this, God yielded to their wishes and allowed them to operate with a worthless way of thinking.  This is the cause of what we see in our society right now.

Simply put, the knowledge of God is not politically correct.  As soon as we start talking about God’s way of doing things, those who have rejected God try to shut us down.  It seems like we can tolerate any belief system except Christianity.

What we get as a result, is a society that looks just like what Paul describes here.

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Romans 1:29-32

I don’t think I need to describe each of these things individually.  You get the point.  But I do want to talk about a couple of them that I think are very applicable to our generation.

The first is envy.  We live in a very envious society.  That’s the basis of our advertising industry.  They show us what others have and what we should want.  Then we spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need.

Another area is deceit.  This is rampant in our day.  Now that I’m a senior, I get many annoying phone calls.  People call, who claim to be the IRS, police, or other government agencies, who are scammers just trying to get me to give them cash.

Another big issue is God-haters.  In my experience, there are very few true atheists.  I, personally, have never met a true atheist.  What do I mean by that?

I think a true atheist is someone who put all the facts together and came to a conclusion that there’s no God.  Instead, what we see are people who look at the hurt that they or others have gone through.  Then, as a result, conclude that they can’t believe in a God who would allow that to happen.

I’ve even talked with a nationally known atheist.  But it was clear from the conversation that she was a God-hater rather than a true atheist.  There are many in that condition, who simply like the label of “atheist”.

In all of this, I think it’s the last phrase that says it all.  Those who do things that are obviously wrong are approved and applauded.  That’s the basis of much of our entertainment industry.

Just look at the TV shows and movies we watch, the music we listen to, and the gaming scenarios we participate in.  Many of them promote, or allow, a celebration of evil actions.  Murder, hatred, and the occult are the themes in much of our cultural activities.

As Christians, we need to be careful to continually guard our spirits.  Spending time in the presence of the Holy Spirit is needed to keep ourselves clean from the sin that’s all around us.  We must be the light of Christ shining in our darkened society.

Question: How do you keep yourself set apart to God in this culture?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2020 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Shining for Christ

In my last post, I talked about the light of the Gospel.  It shines through us if we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.  But we also saw that it’s possible for the devil to blind the spiritual eyes of unbelievers if they stubbornly refuse to hear the message.

We must always remember that the message is the most important part.  Methods may change, but the Gospel remains the same.

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:5-6

The message is Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  That’s where the power resides.  That’s where we find salvation, healing, provision, protection, and fulfillment.  There’s no other light that can pierce the darkness of this world.

Our light needs to radiate all around us.  Only in that way will people see their need for the Lord and come to the foot of the cross.  The light of the Gospel is all that matters.

But we always have to remember, it’s not our light but His. Peter talked about having the Word in you and allowing it to grow and produce fruit in your life. In speaking about this fruitfulness, he says the following…

But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
2 Peter 1:9

Peter calls unfruitful Christians blind and nearsighted. He says that you’ve forgotten about your past being cleansed by the blood of Christ.

That’s because this person is blind to what God is doing. They’re also nearsighted; they can only see what’s right in front of them. They major on the temporary things of this world.

We need 20/20 vision in the spirit.

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.
Romans 13:12

It’s interesting to see the contrast here between deeds of darkness vs. armor of light. That’s because the armor is all about action.

Truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith – all of these things must be visible. It’s up to us to make the light accessible to the world.

We’re the ones looking into the light. We should be walking in it, letting it change us.

…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…
Philippians 2:15-16

How do we shine like stars? As we hold out the Word. The Word is the light. We hold it out. Not everybody wants it, but some people are touched and changed by it. We need to live in such a way that the light is seen.

Question: How have people seen the light of Christ in your life lately?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Blinders

I’m continuing my series through the book of 2 Corinthians.  Paul is talking about his ministry.  It’s a ministry of power because the Holy Spirit is working through him.

It’s the power of the Holy Spirit that gets the attention of the world around us.  That’s how we become a “light in the darkness”.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4

We as believers should be reflecting the light of Christ to the dark world around us. The Bible says that those in darkness hate the light. What does that mean?  Sometimes if they see the light of Christ clearly in us, it may make them uncomfortable.

Those who have been reading this blog for any length of time know that I’m an avid hiker. During some seasons, I’ll go out for a week at a time.

The first time I went on a solo hike, sleeping alone in the woods, it was a different experience. I set up my tent and when the sun went down I went to sleep. I had no clue that this would be one of the strangest nights of my life.

Around two o’clock in the morning, I woke up startled. It was as if I was in the center of a huge spotlight. The full moon was directly over me. I could see right through my thin, nylon tent as if it wasn’t even there.

I could see the trees, rocks, and everything around me as clear as day. I felt exposed and uncomfortable as I looked around. I’m very glad that there were no large animals near the tent!

This is the same effect as what happens in the spiritual realm when we reflect Christ. When you’re used to living in spiritual darkness, the light makes you uncomfortable. It exposes things that you’d rather not see. It shows you your true condition.

Satan makes full use of this effect.  He uses this discomfort with the light, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, to get unbelievers to close their eyes to the truth.

Please take note of the fact that the enemy is called the god of this age. That means that there’s a time limit on his ability to act.

This verse tells us that unbelievers are given blinders if they want them. The Scripture says that if they persist in their unbelief, the enemy will give them blinders so that the light will not beam out to them.

This light is coming from the Good News of Christ – the Anointed One. The light is the glory of His presence within us.

Unbelievers are blinded to the light if they choose to believe the lies of the enemy. That’s why it’s now our job is to get them to take the blinders off. That’s a big assignment. It can only be accomplished in the power of the Spirit.

That’s why our ministry can’t be done in our own strength.  Time in the presence of the Lord is what will empower me to cut through the blinders of the enemy.  Only then will they see the glory of the Gospel of Christ.

Question: How have you experienced unbelievers becoming uncomfortable in the presence of the truth?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2020 in Ministry, Power of God, Revival, The Gospel

 

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Living as Light

I’ve been posting about Paul’s view of the Second Coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians. We understand that the Resurrection Day is the great hope of the church. At this point in history, we can see it approaching very quickly. But our understanding of Christ’s return is not just about the future.

But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-7

The word night speaks of a segment of time – but we’re eternal. Because we live in the eternal realm, we are of the day.

Darkness speaks of a place – but we’re seated with Christ in heavenly places; that’s the kingdom of light. So the night and the darkness is not our time and place.

Paul also tells us the attitude we need in the last days. He says that we’re to be alert and self-controlled. The literal meaning of these words are awake and sober. We can’t be in a spiritual stupor and be victorious as we approach the end of the age.

We need to be what we’re called to be. It’s not our destiny to blend in and become part of the whole. It’s our calling to show that there’s a different way to live.

John the Baptist is an example to us of how to minister to the world while living in the Kingdom of God.

I believe that because of our end-time ministry, we are the “John the Baptist Generation”. There were some interesting prophecies recorded in Scripture about John that I believe can be applied to us.

“…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Luke 1:78-79

Our generation must be a light in the darkness. There has never been a darker time in the modern world. Unless you’re living with your head in the sand, this is an undeniable truth.

We need to understand what being the light entails. It’s obvious that light gets the attention in the dark. There’s no getting around that. We’re not called to just blend into the background.

This is because a light stands in direct opposition to the darkness. There cannot be any two kingdoms that are more opposite than the Kingdom of God and the world.

We are not a part of this society. We live here, work here, and have to interact with those around us. We need to be loving, productive, and contributing to the welfare of our community. But the fact is we don’t BELONG here.

It’s time for us to live up to this calling. The world is desperate to hear the message that’s been entrusted to us. We need to stop chasing their dreams and live for Christ with an urgency that reflects the times we live in.

This generation of the church needs to grow up so that we can function as we must at this time in history. Be equipped with the spiritual weaponry. Be listening and hearing a Word from God. Then continue to walk in that word.

Finally, if we do these things we will be the light that will draw people to Christ. We are the John the Baptist Generation.

Questions: How much light is the church producing right now? How can that light be increased?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2017 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Revival

 

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Shining Like Stars

GalaxyI’m posting about how we show the light of Christ to the world around us. The enemy would try to blind their spiritual eyes to the truth. But he can’t stop the power of God.

That’s because the light takes many forms. The prophet Malachi foresaw this day.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Malachi 4:2

He saw righteousness rising like the sun. Have you ever seen sunbeams breaking through the clouds? In the ancient Hebrew culture, they called them the “wings” of the sun. So Malachi saw healing beaming out from righteousness.

That’s a part of the light that we shine. That’s why we pray for the sick, especially for an unsaved person. When God brings healing, that’s the light of Christ breaking through to them.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

But we always have to remember, it’s not our light but His. Peter talked about having the Word in you and allowing it to grow and produce fruit in your life. In speaking about this fruitfulness…

But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
2 Peter 1:9

Peter calls unfruitful Christians blind and nearsighted. He says that you’ve forgotten about your past being cleansed by the blood of Christ.

That’s because this person is blind to what God is doing. They’re also nearsighted; they can only see what’s right in front of them. They major on the temporary things of this world.

We need 20/20 vision in the spirit.

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.
Romans 13:12

It’s interesting to see the contrast here between deeds of darkness vs. armor of light. That’s because the armor is all about action.

Truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith – all of these things must be visible. It’s up to us to make the light accessible to the world.

We’re the ones looking into the light. We should be walking in it, letting it change us.

…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…
Philippians 2:15-16

How do we shine like stars? As we hold out the Word. The Word is the light. We hold it out. Not everybody wants it; but some people are touched and changed by it. We need to live in such a way that the light is seen.

Question: How have people seen the light of Christ in your life lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2016 in Healing, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Fear of the Light

BeamI’m talking about how we, as believers should be reflecting the light of Christ to the dark world around us. The Bible says that those in darkness hate the light. What does that mean?

Sometimes if they see the life of Christ clearly in us, it may make them uncomfortable.

Those who have been reading this blog for any length of time know that I’m an avid hiker. I’ll go out for a week at a time.

The first time I went on a solo hike, sleeping alone in the woods, it was a different experience. I set up my tent and when the sun went down I went to sleep. I had no clue that this would be one of the strangest nights of my life.

Around two o’clock in the morning I woke up startled. It was as if I was in the center of a huge spotlight. The full moon was directly over me. I could see right through my thin, nylon tent as if it wasn’t even there.

I could see the trees, rocks, and everything around me as clear as day. I felt exposed and uncomfortable as I looked around. I’m very glad that there were no large animals near the tent!

This is the same effect as what happens in the spiritual when we reflect Christ. When you’re used to living in spiritual darkness, the light makes you uncomfortable. It exposes things that you’d rather not see. It shows you your true condition.

Of course, Satan has a plan as well.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4

Please take note of the fact that the enemy is called the god of this age. That means that there’s a time limit on his ability to act.

This verse tells us that unbelievers are given blinders if they want them. The Scripture says that if they persist in their unbelief, the enemy will give them blinders so that the light will not beam out to them.

This light is coming from the Good News of Christ – the Anointed One. The light is the glory of His presence within us.

Unbelievers are blinded to the light if they choose to believe the lies of the enemy. That’s why it’s now our job is to get them to take the blinders off. That’s a big assignment. It can only be accomplished in the power of the Spirit.

In my next post I’ll show how the Word says that this takes place.

Question: How have you experienced unbelievers becoming uncomfortable in the presence of the truth?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Being the Light

MoonThe New Testament speaks a lot about our spiritual light. But do we ever stop to consider the implications of this? I want to take a few posts to talk about it.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

The bottom line is that Jesus Christ is the Light. The world is in darkness. Christ – the Light – came into the world.

We know from history and experience that the world, for the most part, hated the light that He brought. That’s because people who live in darkness, are afraid of the light. It makes them uncomfortable. Many times it reveals things they don’t want to see.

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
Hebrews 10:32

We’ve learned that salvation comes through embracing that light. Of course, those of us who desire to live in this light have learned that there’s some discomfort to it. But we have to make the decision that I’m going to live in this light, whatever that means.

The Bible says an interesting thing about John the Baptist. It can be applied to us as well.

He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
John 1:7-8

He wasn’t THE light, but merely a witness to the light. In the same way, we are witnesses to the light. But we have to understand what that means.

Jesus testified to the work that took place through John the Baptist.

“John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.”
John 5:35

In His ministry, Jesus said that John was a light that the people enjoyed for a while. It’s the same with us. We are called the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). How can we be the light, yet not be the light?

It’s all a matter of perspective. Like John, we are a witness to the light.

In Psalm 89:37, the Bible says that the moon is the great witness in the sky. The sun is light. The moon is not light, just a big rock. However, it is a witness to the light of the sun.

From the perspective of people on earth the moon is a light. In the same way, we are not the Light, only a witness to it. But from the perspective of people living in darkness we are the light of the world.

This is our job, just like the moon, to faithfully reflect the light of Christ into the world. That’s why it’s so important that we be positioned properly. It’s also why there are “new moon, half-moon, and full moon” type Christians.

Our goal should be to reflect as much of the life of Christ as we possibly can.

Question: How well are you at reflecting Christ to the world?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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