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Tag Archives: spiritual preparation

What Are You Preparing For?

What Are You Preparing For?

As we continue our journey through the Gospel of Luke, we’ve just witnessed the death of Christ on the cross. He was buried and laid in the tomb for three days. Now we’ll see the best part of the story.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 24:1-3 NIV

Recently, I noticed this gem in the Scripture for the first time. I was reading my Bible and the words seemed to jump out at me. The women who had followed Jesus’ ministry were very faithful to Him. They worked to support the ministry while He was alive.

When Jesus went to the cross, they were devastated. But they continued to serve Him the best that they could. This verse says that they prepared spices for His body.

Because Jesus’ crucifixion took place so close to the Sabbath, they were not able to go through the normal embalming process when He was placed in the tomb. It was only after the Sabbath was over that they could proceed with it.

This was quite a bit of work on the part of these women. It involved grinding the spices to a fine powder. Then they had to crush a resin in a mortar and pestle. Only after this was done and the spices mixed, could they go to the tomb.

The problem was – all that work was for nothing. Jesus Christ had risen from the dead! Embalming spices were not necessary. The Holy Spirit started to speak to me about our walk with God.

How often do we give up on something – a plan, dream, or ministry – because it doesn’t seem to be working. We just want to put it out of its misery. So we go through all the work of preparing for its demise. Then, to our surprise, God supernaturally brings life to it again.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'” Then they remembered his words.

Luke 24:4-8 NIV

We have to heed the words of the angels to the women. “Remember how He told you…” That was the key for them, as well as us.

We need to remember the things that God has spoken to us. That’s why we should have a prayer journal of some sort. We should always be able to go back and remind ourselves of the interactions we’ve had with the Lord.

Sometimes it looks like the things we heard will never happen. Circumstances, situations, and setbacks can rob us of our vision. But thankfully, God is not bound by circumstances.

We need to remember that we serve a God who can raise the dead. Never give up on a God-given dream. It may go through a “death cycle.” But God is not bound to how things appear on the surface.

Don’t waste your time preparing for defeat, when the Lord’s plan is for your victory. Let Him have the final say in your situation.

Question: What are some God-given dreams that you’ve laid aside?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Flee and Pursue

Flee and Pursue

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. In my last post, we saw Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His trial. Now, He’s about to be arrested. You may want to read Luke 22:47-53 before continuing with the rest of this article.

The Lord knew that His captors were approaching. He woke up His disciples and went to meet the officials. It’s interesting to see how the disciples reacted.

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

Luke 22:49-50 NIV

We know from the other Gospels that this verse is referring to Peter. A fisherman wielding a sword. I’m surprised that he didn’t hurt himself! The best he could do was to cut the ear off of an unarmed servant.

When the other disciples saw the futility of resisting, they all ran away. One of them, when he was grabbed, left without any clothing (Mark 14:51-52). It was the normal, human, fight or flight reaction.

The Lord knew where He was headed. He was looking forward to the victory He was going to accomplish on the cross. So, instead, I want to talk about what was happening with the disciples.

What they did was the normal reaction that’s built into all of us. When we see trouble coming, our entire being begins to prepare to either fight or run away. God placed that in our DNA in order for us to protect ourselves in emergency situations.

The problem is that there’s a spiritual side that many of us fail to grasp. In the spiritual battles that we face, there are times that we need to apply the lessons of “fight or flight”.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:13 NIV

I think Scripture is clear that the first choice is to stand your ground. We need to prepare ourselves spiritually, so that we don’t fall back into our old ways. If you’re strong in the Lord, and understand your place in Christ, then stand and fight that spiritual battle.

If you remember from my last post, Jesus gave this warning to the disciples. Two times He told them to pray in order that they wouldn’t fall to temptation. The time to prepare is before the spiritual struggle.

But, what about those who aren’t in that position? They’ve tried to fight the enemy and merely “cut off a servant’s ear”. They haven’t put on their holy armor.

Many believers find themselves in spiritual battles with no hope of victory. They’ve resigned themselves to falling backwards for the rest of their lives. There is another choice.

Look at what Paul advised a young pastor who he was mentoring.

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:22 NIV

Some of the worst problems we face are when the old man tries to reassert itself. The sins that we thought were long gone are suddenly calling to us again.

This is especially true of addictive sins. Sexual, drug, and alcohol addictions are a few areas that never seem to let up on their assaults. What do you do if your spiritual strength is not enough to overcome? Should you just give in? Absolutely not!

There is a time to flee. Get out of the situation that’s causing the temptation. You must leave the environment that weakens your defenses. There’s nothing shameful about a strategic retreat. It gives you the ability to strengthen your position for the next battle.

However, that’s not the end of the story. There’s a place you need to run into. Along with “fleeing”, we need to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. There must be both fleeing and pursuing if we want a life of victory over evil in our lives.

Question: When have you needed to flee from an overpowering situation?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2023 in Power of God, Prayer, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Get Packed Up!

Get Packed Up!

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. At this point, Jesus and His disciples are about to leave the upper room where the Last Supper was held.

The Lord gives these men some final instructions.

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That is enough,” he replied.

Luke 22:35-38 NIV

The Lord tells His disciples how to prepare for what’s ahead. As I look at this, I can see some spiritual parallels to what He’s saying. It’s how we should be prepared for our walk with the Lord.

Take a purse. That’s a money holder. In some of his parables, Jesus talked about money. A rich man gave money to his servants, for them to increase it while he was away (Matthew 25:14-30).

That speaks to me of calling. We’re called to be fruitful and profitable in the Lord’s kingdom. This means that we’ve sought God’s will for our lives. More than that, now we seek to please God by fulfilling that purpose.

Take a bag. The Greek word used, speaks specifically about a food bag. We need to have something to sustain our inner man.

In the natural, they would probably pack some bread. We have something more nourishing in the spirit.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Matthew 4:4 NIV

We must spend time in the Lord’s presence. We need to be regularly hearing from the Holy Spirit. After all, He’s the one leading and guiding us to our calling and destiny.

Sell your cloak. We need to stop hiding. Many of us are very comfortable in our “spiritual cloaks”. We like blending in with the society around us.

Many times, I hear believers say that they’re trying to be relevant. I’m sick of hearing that. We were never called to be “relevant” to the point of compromise.

If the world can’t see a difference between us and them, then there’s something wrong with our lifestyle. Jesus makes it clear that how we live is going to make the world uncomfortable (John 15:18-19). There’s no way around it.

Take a sword. I don’t think this should take much to explain. We need God’s Word as a weapon. It’s a component of the whole armor of God.

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

Ephesians 6:17 NIV

I talked about the Word when I looked at the food bag. That was a Word for our nourishment and growth. This is a Word to defeat the enemy.

That’s why intimacy with the Holy Spirit is so important. Hearing from God is a vital part of our entire walk with the Lord. It’s what we need in every area.

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 NIV

The Lord wanted His disciples to be prepared. Spiritually speaking, we need preparation as well. Don’t be found lacking in the things of God. Walk in the fullness of what He has for you.

Question: What will it take for you to be spiritually prepared?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Prepared in the Spirit

Prepared in the Spirit

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, it’s now the day of the Last Supper. The disciples have no idea what’s about to take place during this feast. All they know is that the Passover needs to be celebrated.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

“Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

Luke 22:7-12 NIV

To understand the importance of this passage, you must first understand the relationship between Christ and His disciples. At that time, the role of Jesus to His disciples was the same as the Holy Spirit is to us today.

Remember that Jesus told His followers that He would send another Counselor to lead and guide them. The Holy Spirit wants to lead us in the same way that the Lord led His disciples. That’s why it’s so important for us to develop sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit.

It’s sad that so many Christians think that God no longer works in this way. I personally believe that the Holy Spirit still desires to operate through the church. It’s the manifestation of the Gifts of the Spirit that will draw unbelievers to a saving knowledge of Christ.

In this instance, Jesus is functioning in the gifts of Prophecy and the Word of Knowledge. Notice how specific His instructions are. I believe that the Holy Spirit will be just that detailed with us, if we’ll place ourselves in a position to hear Him.

What was the response of the disciples to this astounding instruction?

They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

Luke 22:24 NIV

This simple statement shows the trust that had developed between Christ and His followers. There was no question or hesitation. They just went and did exactly as they were told.

So often we find two different extremes in the body of Christ these days. The first is that some Christians come up with elaborate stories of what the Holy Spirit “told” them. Then, a few days later the “spirit” tells them something that sounds just the opposite.

On the other hand, I’ve heard people who feel impressed to do or say something. They don’t follow through on it. Then, when it’s too late, they realize that they’d heard from the Holy Spirit and missed the opportunity for a blessing. (I’ve been guilty of this more than once.)

We need to spend quality time in the spirit. That’s where trust and sensitivity are developed. I believe that’s why the disciples had an easier time hearing from the Spirit once Christ had ascended. They simply transferred their focus to the voice of the Spirit.

Spend the time necessary to learn to hear and obey the Spirit. I believe that’s where the Lord is leading His church in this generation. It’s through hearing and obeying that we’ll see the end-time harvest of souls before the return of Christ.

Question: What can you do to develop a listening ear in the spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Last Days Preparation

Last Days Preparation

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re looking at the teaching of Jesus concerning the events in the last days. It will become more important for us to be spiritually prepared as His day approaches.

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Luke 21:25-28 NIV

Jesus makes it very clear. In the last days before His return the world will be in anguish and perplexity. People will faint from terror; apprehensive at what they think is coming. If that’s you, then STOP IT! You’re not of the world.

The fact is that there will be different signs in the natural world. Pre-pandemic we went through a sequence of “Blood Moons” that had many believers in panic mode.

What is a blood moon? Most people – even preachers – don’t know what it is. Simply put, a blood moon is a lunar eclipse. Then why call it a blood moon? For effect – it sounds more exciting and ominous that way; and it sells more books.

Please forgive me if I sound a little critical about this. I really do love my brothers and sisters in the Lord who major on current events and try to fit them into end-time Scriptures.

Like I said in a previous post; I’ve studied the Second Coming since the 70’s. That means that I’ve seen a lot of these predictions over the years. All of them had a bunch of Scripture backing them up. It’s a very dangerous thing to try and take the predictions of the Bible and definitively link them to current events.

I remember one prominent preacher who said, based upon Scripture and current events, that the Communist flag would be raised in Washington, DC on July 4, 1976. Then there was the comet Kohoutek and the lining up of the planets. Both of which launched a number of predictions and books proclaiming that Christ would return at that time.

Of course, 40 years after the return of Israel to their homeland in 1948 we read the book 88 Reasons why Jesus is Returning in 1988. Soon to be followed by 89 reasons…

Many of you may remember the posters that were everywhere proclaiming that the rapture would occur in 1990. Then, there was Harold Camping’s prediction that it would happen in 1994. After that, there was Y2K and Saddam Hussein supposedly rebuilding Babylon.

Then Harold Camping was back claiming the rapture would occur in 2011. After that, even Hollywood picked up on the Mayan and Hebrew calendars ending in 2012. Then, we heard about all the blood moons that took place through September of 2015.

Now that we’ve gone through a world-wide pandemic, things seem to be ramping up. Instead of local problems, things are happening on a global stage. Remember, Jesus Christ told us that all these things had to happen before His return.

What bothers me about all this is that there are people in the body of Christ running scared. They’re spending their money buying survival supplies; fearful and confused about the future. That’s not what we should be doing.

As a believer, you will not survive because you prepared, materially, for the apocalypse. You’ll survive because God promised, “I will supply all of your need according to My riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

If you keep focused on Jesus, you won’t need to fear what’s coming on the earth. The Holy Spirit will impart the grace you need, when and where it’s needed.

Spend time in His presence. That’s the prep-work that you need for the coming uncertainty. We need to be strong in the Lord.

Question: How have you been affected by predictions of future events?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Prepared?

Prepared?

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. Jesus now tells the crowds about the rich man and Lazarus. You may want to read Luke 16:19-31 before going further in the post.

The Lord has been talking about the difference between living under the Law of Moses and entering the kingdom of God. It’s the difference between following rules and cultivating a relationship with God.

Christ said that those who enter the kingdom have to put forth an effort. It requires conviction and zeal to find that “narrow gate” which leads to the life in the spirit.

He concludes this teaching by talking about the rich man and Lazarus. There are many who believe that this is not a parable. They think it’s an actual event Jesus is talking about. They believe this because Jesus doesn’t give anyone an actual name in His parables.

Whatever the case, we need to hear what the Lord is saying to us. It’s not simply about being saved.

The Lord starts with the two main characters. The first is a rich man, who according to Christ, radiated rejoicing every day.

Then there was a poor beggar who was thrown down at the rich man’s gate every day. He watched the house and wished that he could eat the crumbs that the rich man threw away. This beggar was covered in sores that he allowed the dogs to lick in order to keep them clean.

The Lord then describes what happened after they both died. We need to remember that this description is about death before the resurrection of Christ. At that time everyone went to a “holding area”, waiting for the salvation that Christ would purchase.

In this holding area, there were two sections. One for those who were lost, and one for those were looking forward in faith to the Messiah.

It’s very interesting the way the story unfolds. One thing I see, is that attitudes and perceptions don’t change, even after death. Look at the request that the rich man asked of Abraham.

So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’”

Luke 16:24 NIV

Do you hear the attitude? The rich man still sees himself as superior to Lazarus. He expects Lazarus to tend to his needs. Abraham explains that this will never happen.

When he sees that his condition will not be improved, the rich man begins to think about his family. He asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to tell his brothers about this place.

Abraham tells the rich man that his family already knows about this. They have the Scripture warning them about the afterlife.

The rich man says that they need a miracle to convince them. They need to see someone rise from the dead.

Abraham counters with a very important statement.

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Luke 16:31 NIV

That raises an important question we need to ask ourselves. What will it take for us to wholeheartedly follow God’s Word? We all need to come to grips with this.

In this story, I see so many parallels with the generation we’re living in. Yes, I know that we’re now living under grace and not under the Law. I know that in Christ, our sins are covered, and we stand in the righteousness of God.

However, there are still things that please and displease the Lord. There is still going to be a final judgment where we receive, or don’t receive, rewards for our service to Christ.

Many believers live in luxury, with no thought to those who are dying around them. Many powerful ministries are starving for the resources that could multiply their ability to reach the lost. What side of the kingdom are you sitting on?

This story should force us to think about our eternal future. Set aside spiritual riches for the kingdom. Prepare now for your future with Christ.

Question: How prepared are you for your eternal life in the kingdom?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Eternal Perspective

Eternal Perspective

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. Jesus has been talking to the crowds about entering and remaining in the kingdom of God. We’re now starting chapter 16, where the Lord begins teaching His disciples.

The first principle He illustrates is found in the Parable of the Shrewd Manager. This is Luke 16:1-12. You may want to read that passage before continuing with this post.

The parable is about a manager – more like an accountant – who was accused of wasting his rich employer’s goods. This manager obviously had power of attorney over his master’s property.

This manager knew that he was about to be fired, and all of his privileges revoked.

The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg – I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’”

Luke 16:3-4 NIV

This manager saw trouble coming and wanted to plan accordingly. He started calling in all of his masters clients. Each of them had a sizable debt.

As this manager met with each one, he lowered what they owed by 20 to 50%. That was a huge financial boon to these people. They owed the manager, and he was going to use this influence when he was fired.

The master, of course, found out what was happening. In the end, the employer was impressed with how this manager thought ahead.

The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly.”

Luke 16:8a NIV

Jesus used this story to illustrate a spiritual truth. Some people erroneously think that Jesus is commending the bad way these accounts were handled. That’s not the case. Jesus clearly labels this manager as dishonest.

The Lord wants us to see that even though this man was evil and dishonest, he knew that he had to think ahead. Jesus then contrasts this with the foolishness that He sees in the religious people around Him.

For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”

Luke 16:8b-9 NIV

Jesus explains exactly what He’s talking about. It’s a very sad commentary on the state of the Jewish nation of His day. Worse than that, it’s a serious rebuke to us in the modern church.

The Lord is explaining that, in the natural, when it comes to their comfort, the world takes thought of their future. They plan and work things out so that they will have what they desire.

Then, there’s God’s people. We’re the children of the light. We have the light of Christ and the Scriptures. We know what’s ahead. We know that we’re eternal beings with a future that goes on with no end.

The problem is, we live like the only importance is the here and now. We go after the temporary with the same fervency as the world.

We should be living now, with eternity in view. We should be asking; what rewards am I laying up for myself in the future kingdom?

I’ve said it many times and my hope is that believers will take it to heart. There’s coming a day when the things we thought were of highest importance, will suddenly become worthless. Then, the things we put on the shelf to do later, will suddenly become vitally important. But it will be too late.

We need to live with an eternal perspective. We’re going to live forever somewhere. What’s going to be important to you one million years from today? Focus on that.

Live for today, with eternity in mind.

Question: How do you live with an eternal perspective?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2022 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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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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Hearing and Speaking

Hearing and Speaking

As we go through Luke, chapter 12, we come to one of the greatest parts. Jesus is talking to His disciples about their identification with Him. It’s a blessing because the Holy Spirit is involved.

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

Luke 12:11-12 NIV

The Holy Spirit should be allowed to take an active role in all that we do. Being aware of His presence is a major part of a powerful ministry.

There are times the Lord wants us to speak on His behalf. Jesus gives us three different venues where this can take place. We need to be prepared for any and all of these.

The synagogue was the meeting place for those who professed to serve God. That should be the most receptive group to hear a Word from God. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always turn out that way.

The Lord also mentions rulers – the highest position in any situation. But, there are also authorities. These people are simply over a group of others.

Jesus makes it clear that there will be times when we have to speak up in these places. It’s especially during these times that our reliance on the Holy Spirit is free and clear.

I think that the key in all of this is the phrase, do not worry. This is a Greek word that means to take no thought. It comes with the implication that you don’t allow your thoughts to run wild in all directions.

I know from experience that this is easy to say. In practice, it’s a lot harder to walk out. Disciplining our mind is not an easy task.

However, that’s one of the results of time spent cultivating our relationship with the Holy Spirit. We’re able to increase our ability to place our mind at rest and hear His voice. That’s the preparation needed to be a true witness before others.

But wait a minute! Some might ask, “Shouldn’t I memorize certain Scriptures and prepare a ‘Witness Testimony’?”

Memorizing Scripture is always good. It gives the Holy Spirit something to work with in your thoughts. But, a prepared speech rarely ever touches the hearts of those listening. What truly transforms people is a Word from the Holy Spirit.

As Jesus says, our desire is usually to defend ourselves or our actions. We want just the right words to say that will get us out of trouble. We want to say something that we think the listener wants to hear and will agree with us about.

That’s not the Lord’s goal in most situations. His agenda is truth expressed in love. That’s what the Holy Spirit will bring through us if we allow Him to.

The Lord says this in a very interesting way. He tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us right at that moment. Think about that.

Teaching usually requires time to get a point across. It means that we learn to think about something in a new way. It’s about changing our thought patterns to a new conclusion.

The fact that the Holy Spirit can do this in a short amount of time is truly a miracle. This means that two things are required of us.

First, we must have a willingness to trust Him and wait for His teaching BEFORE we start talking and giving our own opinions. Then, we must also be willing to speak out whatever the Lord gives us, no matter how contrary it runs to our own thoughts.

I believe that this is a major part of what the Lord is doing in His church right now. God’s current agenda is to train up a people who are willing to take the time to listen to His voice. Then, once they hear from Him, they immediately go out and do what He has spoken.

That’s the foundation for the coming move of God!

Question: How do you cultivate your time with the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God, Prayer, The Gospel

 

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