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Gathered or Scattered

Gathered or Scattered

I’m continuing through Luke’s Gospel. We’re at the point where the Pharisees are starting to get intimidated by Jesus’ ministry.

In my last post, we saw the Lord cast a demon out of a young man’s life. As a result, he could now hear and speak. The crowd watching was touched by this miracle.

The religious leaders, on the other hand, used self-promotion to try and look like they had authority over Jesus. They accused Him of being demon possessed. They said that He cast out demons by the power of Satan.

I showed how Jesus revealed the foolishness of their argument. But, these leaders had placed themselves in a very dangerous spiritual position. They assigned what was clearly an act of God, to the satanic kingdom.

Now Jesus warns them of the possible consequences.

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.”

Luke 11:20 NIV

It was clear to the crowd and the Pharisees that the hand of God drove out this demon. If that’s the case, then the only conclusion is that the kingdom of God has showed up. Remember, the kingdom of God is the manifestation of God’s authority. This is over and above the authority of the religious leaders.

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.”

Luke 11:21-22 NIV

What most people don’t realize is that this is a warning to the Pharisees. They felt like they were “strong men”. They were guarding their house – the religious power base of Israel. They had convinced themselves that they were fully in control.

Now Jesus comes on the scene. He proves to be someone with real authority. He obviously walks in the authority and power of God Himself. They are starting to feel threatened. Their hypocrisy was being exposed publicly.

The Lord is warning them that if they continue down this path, they’ll lose everything. Actually, we know from history and the record of Scripture, this is exactly what happened.

We know that Jesus not only did this with the Pharisees, but with the kingdom of Satan as well.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Colossians 2:15 NIV

It’s always unfortunate when people try to fight against God’s will. It’s always a losing battle. That’s why we need to seek to know His will through time spent with the Holy Spirit. In that way we won’t find ourselves fighting against God.

Jesus said it clearly…

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.”

Luke 11:23 NIV

Here’s another verse we usually misunderstand. The first part is pretty straight forward. If you’re not on the same path as He is, then your against His plan for you.

The second part is more important. The word, gather, does not mean that we are collecting something. It’s talking about a gathering together of people.

If we’re not a part of the crowd that’s gathered around Jesus, then we’re going to find ourselves scattered everywhere in life. We’ll have no purpose or destiny. It’s like what happened at the tower of Babel when the people were scattered across the earth.

Do your best to find God’s plan for your life. Don’t find yourself scattered, heading against God’s will. Spend time listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Question: What’s the next step in God’s plan for you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Our Father in Heaven

Our Father in Heaven

We’re now beginning Luke, chapter 11. Jesus and His disciples are in a private setting.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Luke 11:1 NIV

The disciples were finally trying to actively grow in maturity. They were seeing what others were learning, and wanted to follow the same path.

They understood that the power of Christ was based upon His prayer life. They wanted to learn how to walk in that kind of intimacy with God. So, they came to Jesus for His word on the matter.

Of course, the Lord was willing to give them what they needed.

He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’”

Luke 11:2 NIV

The Lord was more than willing to show the disciples the starting point for a rich relationship with God. Yes, I said starting point. The so called Lord’s Prayer is not the ultimate prayer we can offer. It’s the first baby step that Christ gave to His followers so that they might walk the path of prayer.

This short glimpse into the realm of prayer is the foundation for all of the things we converse with God about. It’s so rich in truth that I’ll have a few posts dedicated to this teaching of Christ. But for now, I want to talk about the focus of this prayer – the One to whom it’s addressed.

Our Father.

These are some of the most amazing words in Scripture. Jesus didn’t say, “My Father.” He called God “Our Father.” This is something that the people of God need a fresh revelation of. The God of Heaven, Creator of the universe, Savior of all mankind, allows me to call Him “Father.”

There’s a lot of blessing tied up in that name. He’s not a god far off and unconcerned with our needs. Our Father cares about us, no matter how great or small the matter we bring before Him. He’s not a god looking for a reason to destroy us for any little fault. Our Father loves us and wants the best for us – leading us with His hand of mercy and grace.

In Heaven.

This is the acknowledgment that His ways are higher than ours. I think there are times we get too familiar with the Lord. Yes, He’s our friend. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that He is also the supreme ruler of the universe.

I need to come to the Lord with the humility and reverence that He deserves. It’s not up to me to tell Him what He needs to do. All I can do is to agree with what He says about me in His Word. Then, I trust that my Heavenly Father will do what He said He would do in response to my faith in Him.

Hallowed be Your Name.

When we say this, we’re literally saying that we set apart His name as holy. That’s an important truth. The name of Jesus Christ is far removed from any other name. No other name holds the power, authority, or importance that’s contained in that name.

There’s no other name that saves, heals, or restores. It’s important that we pray with the knowledge of this always before us.

Like I said, this is merely the starting point. In our prayer times we need to know the focus of our worship. The more we spend time in the Lord’s presence, the deeper our understanding will become.

After all, that’s what we should be majoring on. Prayer should not be about the list of things I want God to give me. The importance should be about getting to know Him on a more intimate level. That’s the key to a productive and fulfilling prayer life.

Over the next few posts, we’ll be going through more important truths contained in this prayer. Hopefully, it will add an increased blessing to your times with the Lord.

Spend some quality time getting to know our Father today. Meditate upon these all encompassing truths. Let them reshape your prayer life so that it’s something you look forward to each day.

Question: How often and for how long do you spend quality time with the Father?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2022 in Faith, Prayer, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Don’t Take it Personally

Don’t Take it Personally

We’re continuing to go through Luke’s Gospel. For the last couple of posts we’ve seen Jesus sending out the 72 disciples. They were to prepare the way as the Lord traveled throughout Israel.

There was more they were called to do than just the logistics. They were to minister as well.

When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’”

Luke 10:8-9 NIV

They were told to preach the kingdom of God. They were preparing the towns for the message that Christ would bring.

However, there’s something greater that I think we miss here. Jesus commanded them to heal the sick. The Lord didn’t simply say to pray over them. They were to bring healing.

That’s important. This command would have been impossible unless the power and authority to heal were given with it.

I believe that this should be a vital part of our ministry today. The power of God to heal and deliver should be present in God’s people. This is what would drive the Gospel message forward.

Unfortunately, much of today’s evangelism consists of trying to convince people to change their thinking. We hope that our words will cause people to turn to Christ.

We need a revival of the power of God in our witnessing.

But, some people are not even moved when they witness the miraculous.

But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”

Luke 10:10-12 NIV

Jesus warns these disciples that not everyone will receive the Good News. There are some that will reject Christ, no matter what they learn about Him. Even miracles will not convince them to follow the Lord.

That’s because the message of Christ involves giving up control. You have to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are many who will totally refuse to hand over the reigns of their lives to Christ.

Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.”

Luke 10:13-15 NIV

Please understand what the Lord is saying here. He’s not telling these cities that their punishment will be greater. Theirs will be less tolerable because they didn’t just reject the words of a prophet.

These cities actually saw the Messiah in person. They heard the very words that he spoke. They saw the miracles done from His hands. Yet, in spite of all that, they rejected the Hope of Israel. This knowledge will continually haunt them throughout eternity.

Then the Lord turns to His disciples. He gives them an important piece of knowledge that we need to hold on to as well.

“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Luke 10:16 NIV

No matter what happens through our ministry, don’t take it personally. If someone accepts Christ as their Savior and Lord, it’s not about us, but the Holy Spirit working in them.

If they reject the message of Christ, they’re not rejecting us. They’re rejecting the One who sent us. Ultimately, they’re rejecting the work of God in their lives.

Our goal should be to walk in such a way before God, that the world sees His power and is drawn to Him. Then we can be a faithful witness to what Christ has done in us. However, the final choice is theirs – for or against Christ. We are simply the messengers.

Question: How do you witness for the Lord?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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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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Commitment

Commitment

In my last post, I started talking about when Jesus sent His disciples out to preach. This required a great amount of trust on their part.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:1-2

When I think about the way this worked, it amazes me. The verse simply says that He gave them power and authority. I’m sure there was no flash of light or fireworks of any kind.

Jesus spoke a Word to them, and they trusted that it was so. Without any visible confirmation, they believed that they could walk in the same power of the Lord. But, it didn’t end there. Jesus gave more instructions that required faith and obedience.

He told them: “Take nothing for the journey — no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.”

Luke 9:3

The Lord’s command seems very counter-intuitive. They’re being told to go out on a preaching mission, yet they’re exhorted to take nothing with them.

Then, Jesus lists the things they were not to bring with them. As someone who likes to travel, this sounds to me like a list of essential items you would make a point of taking with you. Yet Christ wanted them to trust that they would not be needed on this journey.

They had to simply believe that everything they needed would be supplied along the way. That’s a big ask – to trust God to work through the people they would meet along their journey.

Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.”

Luke 9:4-5

Of course, staying in people’s homes was the normal thing to do in those days. There were no hotels or motels. When you were traveling away from home, you would ask around in a town and find out who was willing to let you stay with them for the night.

That’s how traveling worked in the ancient world. However, the hosts would expect a payment of some kind to let you stay with them for the night. Jesus expected the disciples to trust that they would find people who would allow them to stay in their homes and feed them for free.

Like I said, I like to travel. But I’ve never found a free bed and breakfast anywhere. Yet the disciples followed the Lord’s instructions and saw the hand of God at work in them.

So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.

Luke 9:6-9

Because of their obedience, the power of God was manifest in a wonderful way through the disciples. It was so great, that word of these things reached the ears of the king.

Herod, who had beheaded John the Baptist, was hearing all these reports. He heard about the miracles and healings being done. It wasn’t accomplished through long dead prophets who came back to life. It was normal people who submitted themselves to Christ.

In our generation, there’s not many believers who are called to the level of commitment these disciples had to follow. But each of us has to follow the commands of Christ in our own way. When we do this in obedience, we’ll see the same outcome. People will want what we have and be attracted to the Gospel of Jesus.

Question: What is God calling you to do at this point?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God, The Gospel

 

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Control

Control

As we continue to study the Gospel of Luke, we’re now starting chapter 9 today. Some of the same issues are talked about here.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:1-2

In my last post I talked about how Christ ministered on a different level than the Pharisees. The power of God flowed out of Him. As in the case of the woman with the issue of blood, it was even without the Lord’s knowledge at times.

Now that’s a definite problem for us in modern day Christianity. We want control. We want to be able to turn it on and off. We want people to know who the power came from.

It seems to me that God wants us to be a hose, and we want to be a faucet. This brings my mind back to a post I wrote a few years ago. It was about II Timothy 3:5.

This was the verse in which Paul warned us that in the last days there would be those who had a form of godliness but denied the power. If you remember, the Greek word for deny was a-rheonot flowing.

So many people want to control instead of flow. We cannot have that kind of attitude and be greatly used by God. We must see ourselves as a channel of the Lord’s power, and not a container.

That brings us to the verse we’re looking at in Luke today. Jesus called His disciples to Himself. Then, as they were all together, He gave them the power and authority they needed to do the same things that the Lord Himself was doing.

This is the next logical step in this line of thinking. Because the power of God flows, it can be given and received. Jesus was able to give the disciples power because it flowed through Him. This is good news for us also, because we have the same Holy Spirit living in us that Jesus had within Him.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

What a great verse! Power is given by the Holy Spirit and we can receive it. This seems a little too simple for our liking. We try to make it so complicated. So we have come up with all kinds of laws, disciplines, steps, and rituals that we say are necessary in order to walk in this power.

We have placed tithing, confession, and a whole host of other requirements in people’s path. But the truth of the matter is that I must abide in Christ. Then the power will flow through the Holy Spirit to me if I’m in a position to receive it. It’s actually all about positioning ourselves correctly. That’s what a majority of my blog is about.

I’m trying to get the church to reposition itself for revival. That’s where we need to be. In a position to receive the power of the Holy Spirit the same way that Christ did. Then, the world will see the difference and be drawn to the Lord. After all, it’s all about Him, not us.

That’s why I like the way the Lord positioned His disciples. He didn’t just give them power and authority, and then release them. He gave them a mandate. They were to preach the kingdom of God.

It wasn’t all about the power. The message was the most important part. The healings and miracles were simply the signs pointing to the truth of the message.

That’s a lesson we need to learn. We can’t just seek the power of God simply to satisfy our need to feel important. There’s a higher purpose that needs to be fulfilled.

As believers, the power of God is available to us all. Spending time in the spirit changes us to become more like Christ. That’s how we position ourselves to receive it. Then the world will be drawn to the message of hope through Jesus Christ.

Question: How would our church look different if we ministered like Jesus?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Touching Christ

Touching Christ

Why is it so important that I become intimate with Christ? Many believers spend their whole lives and never seek His presence. Everything I need is found in Christ. So, if I can get close to Him, I’ll be equipped to get into the flow of the Lord’s anointing.

As we continue looking at Luke’s Gospel, we see a woman who figured this out before any of Jesus’ disciples did. She had a sickness in her body that none of the doctors of her day could heal.

One day she heard that Jesus was coming to her town. When she heard this, the Holy Spirit quickened faith on the inside of her. She soon had a plan to see Him because she knew that if she could just touch the Lord, she would be healed.

She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Luke 8:44-45

That’s an interesting question, especially considering that the woman only touched the edge of the Lord’s clothing. There’s no way He could have even felt it in this crowd of people.

Mark’s Gospel gives us the answer to this question. It’s important for us to understand what was happening there.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

Mark 5:30

As soon as the woman touched Him, Jesus realized that power had flowed out from Him. That’s a great revelation. As it is in nature, so also in the spirit. Power has a flow associated with it. It can travel from one person to another.

This is an astounding truth to grasp onto. True power flows from Christ to those who touch Him. This means that it’s available to me. If I can just touch Him – make contact with Him – then I can receive His power in my life. That would change everything.

Think about it. What would this mean to you?

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3

Everything means everything!!! This verse explains that God’s power touches all that pertains to this life – finances, healing, etc. But just as important it also includes my spiritual life – godliness.

The fact of the matter is that true power changes everything that it touches. The question this creates is; do we want everything to change? Do we want our world to turn upside-down?

This is what trips us up most of the time. We only want certain changes, not all of them. We want our finances to change for the better. We want our body to be healed. But…then again, do I really want to watch less TV and have a deeper prayer life? This power affects it all. That’s why we hesitate to go for it.

This woman was at the point in her life when she was willing to give all for her healing. However, I believe that more than just her health changed as a result of the power that flowed to her.

In order to walk in the manifestation of God’s power, I have to be open for everything to change. It’s an all or nothing proposition. I have to come to God with the expectation that my whole life will change when He touches me.

Question: How much change are you willing to go through for God’s power to be manifest in your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Freedom Fighters

Freedom Fighters

In my last post, we saw how the disciples exhibited a lack of faith when a huge storm came up while they were crossing the lake. Now, it would seem to them, like they went from the frying pan into the fire.

When they reach the shore, they arrive at a burial ground. Almost immediately a demon possessed man who lived in the tombs came running towards them. Because of the length of the passage, I can’t show it all here. I suggest that you read Luke 8:26-39 before proceeding.

In this section of Scripture, we see a man tormented by the enemy. He had no house of his own but lived in the tombs. On top of that, he wore no clothing.

According to Luke, many times the authorities would try to arrest him. They even bound him with chains. But, because of the strength of the demons, the chains would break in his struggling. At that point, the demon would drive the man away from town.

Listen to what Luke says.

Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Luke 8:29b

The word, driven, means to be pushed along like wind driving a sailboat forward. He could probably resist a little, but it eventually got the better of him.

It’s interesting to see where the enemy led him. He was driven into places of loneliness and death. He was all by himself, surrounded by the tombs. That’s not a great place to live.

When Jesus began to minister to him, he cried out…

When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man.

Luke 8:28-29a

The enemy was afraid of being tortured. They know that Jesus is going to be their final Judge. But, what the demon sees as torture, this man would see as freedom.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

The goal of the enemy is to destroy lives. Unfortunately, there are many people who think that it’s better than what the Lord offers. They think that God is out to torture them and take away all of their fun. They don’t understand that what Christ is really offering is perfect freedom.

That’s where we come into the picture. We must let them see by our lives, the blessing of serving God. Too often it looks like we want what the world has. That’s not how it should be.

We need to walk as Jesus did. The Lord understood how to handle the work of the devil.

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

1 John 3:8b

Our goal should be the same as that of Christ. We should live to set the captives free. All the while we must watch ourselves so that we’re not captivated by the world.

The power of God did more than just tame the demon possessed man. He was set free and his life was totally renewed by the power of God. That’s the type of victory we should be seeking in our generation.

But it will require us to spend time in the Father’s presence just as Jesus did.

Question: What are some areas that you see the need for Christ to set people free?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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John the Baptist – The Draw Factor

John the Baptist – The Draw Factor

In my last post, we saw John the Baptist going through a dark time. He sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He really was the Messiah. The Lord told them to watch what He was doing and report back to John.

After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?

Luke 7:24

When John’s disciples left, He began to ask the crowd some questions. They’re important for us to hear today. They make a point about what draws people to the cross in all generations.

The first thing the Lord asks is, what did you go to see in the desert?

He asks them if they went out to see a reed swayed by the wind? Many people are like that. They go in any direction the wind is blowing. They think it’s important to be “trendy”.

In the spiritual realm, going along with the crowd is actually a sign of immaturity.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

Ephesians 4:14

The fact is that people are not drawn to compromise. Maturity in Christ means that you’re not tossed back and forth by everything you hear.

“Whatever you believe is right for you.” “I don’t want to offend.”

It seems to me that John the Baptist probably offended half the people who were drawn to see him. That’s because he didn’t back down from what he believed.

The people came out because they wanted to hear an authoritative message. Most people want to hear from someone who knows what they believe. It’s time for us to start living and speaking like people who know the truth.

Then, Jesus asked the crowd another question.

If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces.

Luke 7:25

Did you go out to hear him because he appeared to have “made it” in the world system? Did he wear the right clothes, have good music, the latest technology, etc.? No, John wore what was available. And, he ate what was available. His calling was to let people know, “Jesus is coming.” Everything else was secondary.

People are not drawn if you only look good outwardly. There needs to be an inner strength. We, as God’s people, are different – or at least we should be. We should have different priorities.

We get into problems when we chase after the things of the world. The phrase, indulge in luxury, in the above verse literally means to become feeble because of indulgence. Chasing after the world makes us soft. You lose your edge, intoxicated by the world system.

But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Luke 7:26-28

We need to be strong in the Lord. That’s because people are drawn to the prophetic. We are to be a prophetic people. That means spending time with the Holy Spirit and listening to His voice.

I’m not talking about something flaky. Prophecy is merely speaking on behalf of God. To be prophetic means that our focus is on the eternal. Too many are focused on the temporary.

The power of God to change a life is what matters. This is something that affects the eternal course of a life. Eternally minded believers draw others to Christ.

This is what Jesus was trying to get across to that crowd…and us.

Question: In what ways are you eternally minded?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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