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Tag Archives: presence of God

Are You Ungodly? – 5 Warning Signs

Ungodly.  The word usually makes us think of the unsaved.  The problem is that there are many ungodly Christians who are totally unaware of their condition.  Are you one of them?  Check out what the Bible says about it.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6

Paul tells us that we’re to examine our lives.  This word literally means to scrutinize how we live.

There are times that we need to test our walk with the Lord.  To do that it is best to be alone and quiet.  In this age of smartphones, it’s hard to have any quiet time at all.  I even feel that many people – without Christ – “plug-in” for the purpose of not hearing their own heart.

Many are afraid to examine their inner man.  It’s probably because they’re afraid of what they’ll find.  Please realize that it’s a healthy thing to take a long hard look at yourself.  You need to see how you measure up to Christ, His calling, how far you’ve come, and the direction in which you’re headed.

Do you know that Christ is in you?  Most Christians understand this concept.  They realize that Christ is in them.  When they asked Him to be the Lord of their lives, Christ made their heart His home.  Most believers will pass this test.

Does it matter to you?  This is where the test starts to get tough.  It’s surprising that many who belong to Christ really don’t give Him a second thought.  They go throughout the day without ever acknowledging Him.

It seems that they’re oblivious to the fact that Jesus is accompanying them wherever they go.  He’s a silent listener of every conversation.  If this was a reality to us, we would probably behave much differently.

Do you want to know God’s will?  Not only is Christ with us at all times, but He has a plan for our lives.  The question really comes down to; whose will is more important – mine or the Lord’s?  Many don’t want to know God’s will for their lives because they’re afraid it will interfere with their plans.

Do you want to accomplish God’s will?  Knowing God’s will is not the end of it.  What we really need to do is accomplish it.  Not only is Christ with us wherever we go, He expects us to represent Him and His kingdom to the world.  What many don’t realize is that unless we answer “yes” to this question, God will not reveal His will to us.

Are you seeking God’s approval?  This is the final and greatest test of godliness.  Who are we seeking to please?  Are we after our own pleasure?  That of our friends or family?  The Bible is clear that unless we’re “God-pleasers” our lives will be worthless – there will be no reward at the end.

How do these questions play out in your life?  A “no” to any of the highlighted questions should be a warning that you’re in danger of ungodliness.  If so, then repent of it and move on with the Lord.

It’s time for God’s people to live like they truly understand the Lord’s presence in their lives.

Question: What signs of godliness do you see in your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2020 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Plugged Into the Power

I’ve been posting from 2 Corinthians about how to walk in righteousness and the power of God.  It should be obvious by now that we must rest, remain, and abide in the presence of God.  That’s the place we receive His power.  Once we have the power we need, we’re able to live righteously.

When I’m saved, I’m made righteous by an impartation from God.  He does this so that I can receive His power by the Holy Spirit who now resides in me.

By drawing upon that power I can now live righteously before Him.  Without the power of the Spirit, I have no hope of ever pleasing the Lord with a walk of righteousness.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18

I can’t make myself walk in righteousness.  My flesh will never be able to fix itself.  My only hope is in the power of the Spirit.

I want to sum up the truths that we’ve learned with an illustration the Lord gave me.  Think about a living room with a TV and a lamp.  There’s also an extension cord with a power strip on it plugged into an electrical outlet.

The extension cord will represent our relationship with Christ.  If the plug is attached to the outlet, we’re remaining in Christ, if not then we’re on our own.

The TV is the miraculous – healings, provision, etc.  The lamp is our righteousness – living rightly before God.  Both of these items must be powered by our relationship with the Lord.  They are both plugged into the power strip.

We’ve noticed that if the lamp works, then the TV works as well.  A life that has the miraculous in operation is also becoming more and more like Jesus.

We’ve also noticed that if the TV isn’t working, then the lamp doesn’t work either.  The TV and the lamp always work together, so we assume that it’s the lamp that’s running the TV.

This is why so many Christians assume that it’s the walk of righteousness that brings the power for the miraculous.  The fact is that both are powered by the same plug – our relationship with Christ.

So, do we try to increase our intimacy with Christ?  No.  Instead, we try to artificially power the lamp through obeying a set of rules.  We preach that people need to live right to see the miraculous.  We tell them that it’s because we’re not living up to the rules that the church has no power.

By doing this, we actually get the lamp to appear to be lit.  What we don’t realize is that it’s not the power of the Spirit that’s working, but our own self-righteousness powered by the law.

Since the power chord of our relationship is not plugged into Christ, the manifestation of God’s power through healing and miracles does not exist.  That’s when all of our excuses start as to why there’s no healings, signs, or wonders in the church anymore.

In order for the power of God to flow into your life, you must be intimate in your relationship with Christ.  The flow of power does not depend upon how good you act.  It’s your intimacy with Christ that will bring about both the miraculous and the walk of righteousness that the Savior has called you to manifest.

Question: How intimate is your relationship with Christ?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Mountaintop Experience

So many people are hungering to see a manifestation of the power of God.  That’s the Lord’s will for us as well.  It’s something that you have to seek and pursue.  Jesus told His disciples about it.

And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
Mark 9:1

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.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone.  There he was transfigured before them.  His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.  And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Mark 9:2-4

Many times during His ministry, Jesus would go off by Himself to a remote location and pray.  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 are about to learn from 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 an 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 said to Jesus, “Rabbi, 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 to say, they were so frightened.)
Mark 9:5-6

Here we see one of the biggest problems of our flesh in the Lord’s presence.  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.

Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love.  Listen to him!”
Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
Mark 9:7-8

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 are well worth it.  We will “no longer see anyone but Jesus.”  That’s the change that can only happen in the spirit.

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

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Law of Freedom

MirrorIn my last post I talked about the need to hear a Word from God. We have to spend the time listening for his voice. But it doesn’t just end there.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:23-24

Once you’ve heard from the Holy Spirit you need to follow through on what He spoke to you. This goes beyond simply thanking Him for speaking. There has to be a fulfillment of the assignment.

I like the illustration that James gives us here. It’s important for us to understand just what he’s saying to the church.

In my last post I talked at length about the Word of God being more than just Scripture, but God speaking to us. As James continues on that theme, he starts to give us more detail. We can’t ignore the implications of what he’s teaching.

When I read the Bible, I know that it’s the same for everybody. The life of Jesus, the teachings of the Apostles, and the histories don’t change from generation to generation. The truths that we read are timeless, and apply to everyone for all time.

A mirror is a completely different piece of equipment. What I see in a mirror is not at all what you would see. As a matter of fact, what I see when I first wake up in the morning is nothing like what I see as I’m preparing to go to bed.

Every time I look into the mirror, it’s a unique experience. That’s another reason why this has to be about our time spent with the Holy Spirit – hearing His voice. Whenever we spend quality time in the presence of God it should be a one-of-a-kind encounter.

What I need to hear from God today, may be about something totally different than what He speaks to me tomorrow. The Lord wants to work in us and in the lives of those around us. For that to happen, I need to hear from Him on a consistent basis.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:25

Listen to what James calls this encounter. The perfect law that gives freedom. There’s absolutely no way he could be talking about the Old Testament here. Paul said almost the same thing in his letters.

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:15-17

It’s obvious that freedom can only come through the Holy Spirit. He wants to speak a word that’s tailor made to the situations we’re facing. I believe that hearing and doing what the Spirit speaks to us is the perfect law that gives freedom.

It’s through time spent in the Spirit that God writes His law on our hearts. That’s where we find the freedom to live for Him without hindrance.

Question: What was the last thing the Lord spoke to you about?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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Worship – The Place of Change

LightningI’ve been posting about the worship that takes place in the throne room of God. We enter that place as we pray in the spirit.

From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.
Revelation 4:5

Here is another picture of what happens before the throne of God. We need to understand that the term seven spirits of God could also be translated as the seven-fold spirit of God. I believe that’s referring to the Holy Spirit.

Also around the throne we see flashes of lightning. We see this happening throughout the Bible when God’s throne is mentioned. Lightning, loud noises, and thunder. But when you read Scripture there are only certain times when this happens.

We see this taking place when God changes something. In Revelation, chapter 8, we see the prayers of the saints offered like incense before God. Then, as they were being offered to God, the following takes place.

Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:5

What was taking place in Heaven started happening on earth. That’s because worship is a place of change. It’s in His presence that our lives are changed.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16

The Apostle Paul understood this. When he wrote this, Paul was talking about himself and his ministry team. He knew that in the place of worship there could be daily change happening.

Just think about it; we can come into God’s presence for daily renewal.

We try so hard to be good. We fail. Then we keep trying to be better. We need to learn the truth of that old chorus…

“I am changed in the presence of an awesome God.”

Enter into God’s throne room through prayer in the spirit. Everything we need is there. It’s in His awesome presence that we find unity, peace, and a changed life.

Question: How has your life been changed in God’s presence?

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© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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Are We Pursuing God – Really?

JogLast week I mentioned our pursuit of God. Many believers are convinced that they’re pursuing God. But is that what’s really happening?

I want to take a few posts to talk about the pursuit of God. Over and over again in the Scripture we see God saying to His people, “Seek Me, follow Me and come near Me.” One of the most important jobs of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into the Lord’s presence.

The fact is that God wants to be pursued – He wants to be sought after – and He wants to be found. The question I have is; are we pursuing God the way He wants to be pursued?

The Nation of Israel learned this lesson the hard way.

Here are two verses that don’t sound like they go together.

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.”
Isaiah 58:1-2

The first verse talks about showing the people their rebellion. In what way are they rebelling?

The next verse sounds like just the opposite. Day after day they seek out the Lord. They are eager to know His ways. They are asking for God to come near them.

This verse should actually cause us to stop and think. It sounds like much of the church in our generation. We are seeking, asking, studying, and desiring the presence of God to show up.

And yet, the Lord calls it rebellion. What was the problem? Actually, it was a very subtle one. The beginning of the next verse gives us the answer.

“‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”
Isaiah 58:3a

They’re error was that they weren’t really pursuing God. They were trying to use fasting, prayer, going to church, and studying the Bible as a way to get God’s attention. In actuality, they were trying to get God to pursue them.

I believe that many of us in the church today are falling into the same trap. We’re trying to get God to come after us.

This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.
“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Isaiah 66:1-2

In effect, God is saying, “What could you possibly offer that I would pursue you?” This verse literally says that the one God looks intently atthe one who gets His attention – is the one who humbles himself before God.

I want to take a couple of posts to look at this aspect of pursuing God.

Question: How do we show either pride or humility in our pursuit of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Cain – Repentance Breaks the Curse

CrossesI’m posting about Cain’s experience. He murdered his own brother because he thought that it would allow him to worship God on his own terms. It didn’t work.

He found himself away from his calling, and hidden from God’s presence. He even feared that he would be killed for his actions. But God did something surprising.

But the Lord said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
Genesis 4:15

God gave Cain the world’s first tattoo. It read, “Kill him and answer to Me – signed – GOD.”

Why would God do such a thing? Throughout His Word the Lord has said that murder is punishable by death. The answer is in His mercy.

Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.”
Genesis 4:25

This is a very strange statement for Eve to make. At this point she already had over 100 children. Why did she see the need to specifically replace Abel? The name Seth means to place in as a substitute.

Here’s where we see God’s mercy.

Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.
Genesis 4:26

What this verse tells us is that something happened when Seth was old enough to have children. The Bible literally says that calling on the name of the Lord was opened up. (The word men is not in the original Hebrew)

Why did God not allow Cain to be killed? The Lord wanted Cain to see the day when a new prophet would rise up. Seth could now offer the sin-offering for Cain’s forgiveness. I’d like to think that Cain took God’s offer of a second chance. I believe that we’ll see him in Heaven.

Remember – Cain’s curse was that he would be a restless wanderer.

Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.
Genesis 4:17

Do you hear that? Cain built a city. He’s not a wanderer anymore. It sounds like the curse was broken over his life. I believe it’s because he took God’s offer of forgiveness.

What can we learn from all of this – the way of Cain? I can’t worship God on my own terms. It’s an epidemic of our generation of believers.

Many people say that they’re pursuing God. The truth is that I can only pursue God the way God wants to be pursued. Anything else and I’m just a spiritual wanderer.

We must worship God the way He wants to be worshipped – in spirit and in truth. Anything else misses the mark.

Question: What curses has God broken from over your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Cain – Worship On My Terms

WomanI’ve been posting about the offerings of Cain and Abel. What we’ve seen is that Abel was God’s designated prophet. If Cain’s gift was to be accepted, he had to bring it to Abel. This would have required Cain to humble himself.

“You mean I have to go to my little brother for God to accept my offering?”

The truth is that there’s only one way to worship God acceptably – God’s way. Cain had a problem with that.

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Genesis 4:8

The result was that Cain killed Abel. Cain’s thinking was that God wanted him to worship through the prophet. But what if there was no prophet? Then God would have to accept an offering from Cain’s hand.

Cain wanted to worship God on his own terms. He thought that God would have to accept his offering regardless of how he brought it. But that wasn’t the case.

Cain became the world’s first murderer. He was cursed for this sin.

The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
Genesis 4:10-12

What was Cain’s response?

Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
Genesis 4:13-14

Cain said that his punishment would be unbearable. Why? Not only was he driven from the land, but he would be hidden from God’s presence.

Does that sound like an angry, hardened reprobate to you? I don’t see any of that as he stands before God.

He is starting to understand his situation. He can no longer fulfill his calling – being driven from the land. He can’t find forgiveness in the presence of God. The only advocate that he could have gone to – Abel – is dead. It even dawns on him that he deserves death.

His answer to God sounds sorrowful to me. He sounds more humble that Adam and Eve did when they sinned.

This shows the mercy of God. The conversation between Cain and God still sounds like the interactions of a father and a wayward son.

We serve a God who always desires restoration over judgment. The outcome of this event is no different. Cain was sorry for what he had done. God had a remedy.

In my next post you’ll see how the story ends. It’s probably different than you think.

Question: How has God’s forgiveness affected your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Change is the Constant

TrailGoing through changes in our life is never easy. I wish it were. If you want to lay hold of your destiny, then you need to accept change.

Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have another son.” As she breathed her last – for she was dying – she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
Genesis 35:16-18

Sometimes going through change is like we’re dying to ourselves. Psychologists say that when change takes place there’s a grieving process that we must walk out.

The fact is that we can’t stop change from happening. The only thing we have control over is our attitude. It’s how we deal with change that makes all the difference.

In this Scripture, Jacob and his family were “on the road” when his wife Rachel died in childbirth. If anyone could have had a reason for bitterness, he did. But he didn’t wallow in self-pity. She named the child Ben-Oni, which means, the son of my trouble. The hurt of that day would have followed the child for his entire life.

Instead, Jacob immediately changed the boy’s name to Benjamin, the son of my right hand. He released the pain into God’s hand. I don’t know what you’re going through right now. But if there’s a great change you’re grieving over – give it to God.

Only the Lord can bring you through. As you spend time in His presence you’re allowing Him to turn your Ben-Oni into a Benjamin.

So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.
Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder.
Genesis 35:19-21

There are many changes that are hard to deal with. That’s why it’s so important to work on our attitudes during those times.

When God speaks to our hearts as we’re quiet before Him, He may require us to make a great change in our lives. Sometimes the change is so big, that it may seem that our old way of life has died and we’ve been reborn to a new way of living. It’s like our life is going through a huge makeover.

It’s essential that we learn to bury the “old man” and then move on. Unless we leave the past behind, we can never enter His future.

One of the ways Jacob moved on was in the setting up of a pillar – a memorial – to remind him of what happened. You could set up a “memorial stone” as well, by commenting in your journal or placing a sticky note in your Bible. It could be a kind of tombstone for your old way of living.

God wants to bring you from glory to glory but you’ll have to leave your old self behind. Change is really the only constant in life. Either you’re going through it right now or you will in the near future.

Make the choice now to rely on God’s grace in times of change. Be willing and ready to accept His leading, whatever form it may take. Only then will change do its work and make you a better, stronger person.

Question: What are the changes God is leading you through right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, Prayer, Worship

 

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