As I survey the social landscape of America today, I see something very different than what could be seen 40 years ago. I see something diametrically opposed to the views of only a couple decades ago. When the question is posed: Has the force of secular worldviews begin to dominate a society that was once reflected the unwavering values of the Christian faith? The answer must be: Unequivocally yes!

The massive impact of these worldviews can be felt in every aspect of our lives. We can see it in the unraveling of the moral fiber of this country. We can see in the economic stability that has confounded even the most astute economic strategist. It can be observed in the family nucleus; one of the great biblical institutions ordained by God for the building and sustaining of the kingdom has folded under the pernicious attack of Satan’s worldview system.

Secular paradigms have infiltrated and impacted the thinking of believers in a way that has left those of the faith defeated and ineffective as Christian soldiers. The power of God is an outward working force that flows from the indwelling Holy Spirit through the life of the believer out into the world. This power source has been stifled because we have both grieved (Eph. 4:30) and quenched (1 Thess. 5:19) the Holy Spirit. We have begun to move contrary to the will of God, and in doing so we have rendered the power of the Holy Spirit ineffective in our lives.

If we can agree that secular worldviews have began to dominate the thinking of believers in this contemporary culture, then we will began to understand and grasp the necessity to change our thinking.

”And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the (E)renewing of your mind, so that you may [d](F)prove what the will of God is, that which is good and[e]acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2 NASB)

If we are to move away from thinking worldview, what do we move toward? What type of thinking can be considered polarizing in relation to secular worldviews? What type of thinking has the power to create a paradigmatic shift in American culture? The answer is doctrinal thinking from a biblical perspective. We are called over and over in the Bible to use scripture as our guiding post; to allow it to set the standards by which we measure ourselves. Biblical doctrine is to be the single standard by which we live our lives. We are promised that when we allow the Word of God to settle within our hearts, when we speak the Word of God continuously, when we allow it to dominate our thoughts, it produces success and prosperity and fulfills its purpose in our lives. When we allow the Word of God to fulfill its purpose in our lives, we began to fulfill our purpose in the plan of God.

 

1AFTER THE death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ minister,(A)

2Moses My servant is dead. So now arise [take his place], go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, the Israelites.

3Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you, as I promised Moses.

4From the wilderness and this Lebanon to the great river Euphrates–all the land of the[a]Hittites [Canaan]–and to the Great [Mediterranean] Sea on the west shall be your territory.

5No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.

6Be strong (confident) and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

7Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

8This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good[b]success.

9Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Josh. 1:1-9 AMP)

 

God emphasizes the powerful impact of His Word on the life of those that are committed to the knowledge, understanding, and perpetuation of His Word. Allowing the Word of God to be the absolute influence in your life produces undeniable results.

20My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.

21Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.

22For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.

23Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. (Prov. 4:20-23)

Once again, we see written in no uncertain terms that Gods Word, when properly assimilated into the life of the believer carries an immensity of power to impact the life of that believer.

Lately, I have been giving serious consideration to all of the issues that seem to be plaguing the lives of believers. Things that careful study of the Word of God reveals are not the product of true Christian living. When I say Christian living, I am not speaking of the self-righteous holier-than-thou antics that is witnessed by so much of the world today. I am speaking of a lifestyle that is reflective of that we say we represent. From a biblical perspective, the life of a believer is not one of defeat and helplessness. The life of a true believer is not one of lack and hopelessness. The Bible does not, in any way, reveal that faith produces the lifestyles that we see the average believer living today. Its sort of ironic that the aforementioned statement uses the word “average” to identify the believer when the believer by very definition cannot be average.

If the believer, by relation, is great, why are there so many Christians meandering through the maze of mediocrity? Why are there so many believers that pondering at the pool of poverty? Why are there so many proclaimed believers that are hindered by dwarfed dreams and impotent visions? There is one scripture that can shed light on the ponderings of these questions and more:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you that you shall be no priest to Me; seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children. (Hosea 4:6 AMP)

There is no greater responsibility for the believer than the constant, daily, intake, absorption, digestion, and metabolism of bible doctrine. All other responsibilities are met by the proper execution of the first. When you are derelict in this responsibility it is reflected in every aspect of your life.

Ignorance, the lack of knowledge, is the most destructive force in the life of a believer because this ignorance is the orifice through which the enemy will enter in and bring about destruction. We are defeated because we are unaware of our position in Christ and our birth right of victorious living. We are weak because we are ignorant of the power that resides within us. We are poor because the enemy has capitalized on our ignorance of our inheritance. We are lost and indecisive because we lack the knowledge of spiritual enlightenment.

I sat down some weeks ago to examine what the Bible had to say about some of the enigmatic issues that are devastating the life of believers in this modern culture. I have often said that the answer is always within the Word of God. One issue that seemed most prevalent at that moment was the issue of poverty. The Church seems to be so divided as to where they stand on this that I wanted to revisit what God has to say on the matter. Is poverty a prerequisite of Christian living? Does the acquisition of wealth inhibit spiritual growth? Does the promise of material wealth in the Old Testament translate into the Church age (New Testament)?

I have delved into this topic on numerous occasions, but I wanted to look at it yet again. How does the promise of prosperity in the bible (especially in the Old Testament) impact the life of the Church age believer? Are these problems simply dispensational promises that apply to the nation of Israel only, or do they parlay into the life of the Christian? Although I was sure I had the answer, I needed to reconfirm my position. What I found was that it is not always what you know, but how you view it. Scripture without an understanding of how that scripture directly impacts your life has very little to offer in the way of advancement.

Almost immediately after beginning my study, something hit me like a ton of bricks. The thought came upon me and seized me in a manner that bolted me to the chair. The thought was simple: “Knowing what the scriptures promise carries no power without understanding how the promises are administered.” In other words, simply knowing the Bible without understanding the dynamics profits very little. This thought set in motion an entire process of thoughts that shook me to the very core; thoughts that I will share with you over the coming weeks. These thoughts, if you allow them, will liberate, empower, and direct you. These thoughts will present scripture to you in the manner it was meant to be received.

The answer to the question of why Christians lived a life of defeat and despair was simple. Their understanding of the Bible was lacking. I’m not speaking concerning theological intricacies or in-depth conceptual hypotheses. I’m not speaking of the anatomization of exegetical matter or the probing meticulousness of contextual criticism. I’m simply speaking of understanding how the teaching of Bible doctrine was meant to be administered and received.

The Bible is a compilation of 66 different books written by over forty different authors over the course of about 1500 years. Yet, with its divergence in the way of authorship and chronology, the Bible manages to be completely coherent and precise in its message and content. The theme of the Bible is central; it focuses on the Kingdom of God which introduces its King (Jesus Christ) in many ways throughout the history of man leading up to the incarnation and culminating in the second advent where Jesus will execute his millennial reign. In revealing His Kingdom, God reveals the essence of His existence (absolute perfect love). Everything that God would do for mankind would originate in His love for his creation.

The key here is not to simply understanding the theme, but to understand the dynamic through which God would interact with man. How God would express His love to His creation would be the sustaining force of God’s relationship with man.

The answer is by covenant. Everything that God will ever do for, to, or through man will be based on covenant. God’s relationship with man is through covenant. From Adam, Moses, Noah, Abraham, David and beyond, God’s relationship with man has been based on covenant. The covenant can be broken down into 5 principal parts:

Transcendence: God is transcendent; not in distance but in distinction. God is truly distinct and different than His creation. In the Old Testament, when God would deal with his prophets, he would begin his interaction with the statement, “I am the Lord” (the word translated Lord is the tetragrammaton, properly translated Yahweh or Jehovah). The Jews revered the name of God so much they would not even speak it. They in turn would say Adonai, translated “Lord”). In whatever way choose to use it, the word Lord established preeminence and distinction between the Creator and his creation. It is important to understand that contrary to pantheism, God is completely distinct from his creation while maintaining his immanence within his creation. Though God is distinct and transcendent to his creation, he does not leave his creation to fend for itself. God is 100% involved in the workings of His creation.

Hierarchy: Based on representation, God gave man dominion over the creation based on the terms of the covenant. The terms of the covenant set forth the guidelines by which man maintains the dominion which has been entrusted to him. The covenant also sets forth the manner in which dominion can be reclaimed when it has been relinquished by failure to adhere to the oath (discussed later)

Ethics: The terms of the covenant were given. Revealing what must be done to maintain the covenant as well as revealing the blessings for adherence and the sanctions for failure to adhere to the terms of the covenant.

Oath: A system of blessings and sanctions were implemented based on an oath. In a covenant an oath is a self-maledictory promise. Basically the one speaking the oath speaks a curse on himself should he fail to honor his portion of the covenant.

Succession: The (biblical) covenant implies and expresses continuity in something other than blood relationship. In other words it did not give credence to family status. It was available to all who were willing to commit to the terms set forth within it. The poor man has the rights to the same blessings and opportunity as the aristocrat. This covenantal revelation unveils a great truth: The oppression of any race or class from its God given right to financial, social, spiritual liberty is a manifestation of evil and is the predecessor to economic, social, and moral collapse.

As I delved deeper to into the power this immense truth has to impact the life of the believer it became apparent that I had a responsibility to impress this upon the people of God. What does this covenant thing mean to those who are struggling with their finances? How can an understanding of covenant bring hope in the valley of despair? What is it about this covenant that will cause a people to rise up and reassume its place as the distinctive and called people of God? How can something as seemingly simple as covenant agreement inspire, encourage, insure, and empower a people to live in victory.

This is how: God deals with His people through covenant. From the beginning of human history God has dealt with man through covenant. His relationship with Adam in the Garden of Eden was based on a covenant. His relationship with Noah was based on a Covenant. His relationship with Abraham was based on a covenant. Let’s take a look at Abraham for a quick moment.

1 After these things (A)the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying,

(B)Do not fear, Abram,
I am (C)a shield to you;
[a]Your (D)reward shall be very great.”

2 Abram said, “O Lord [b]GOD, what will You give me, since I [c]am childless, and the [d]heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “[e]Since You have given no [f]offspring to me, [g]one(E)born in my house is my heir.” 4Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; (F)but one who will come forth from your own[h]body, he shall be your heir.” 5And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and(G)count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “(H)So shall your [i]descendants be.” 6 (I)Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. 7 And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of (J)Ur of the Chaldeans, to (K)give you this land to[j]possess it.” 8 He said, “O Lord[k]GOD, (L)how may I know that I will [l]possess it?” 9 So He said to him, “[m]Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”10 Then he [n]brought all these to Him and (M)cut them [o]in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he (N)did not cut the birds. 11The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

12 Now when the sun was going down, (O)a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, [p]terror and great darkness fell upon him. 13God said to Abram, “Know for certain that (P)your [q]descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, [r]where (Q)they will be enslaved and oppressed (R)four hundred years. 14 But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out (S)with [s]many possessions. 15As for you, (T)you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. 16 Then in (U)the fourth generation they will return here, for (V)the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”

17 It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which(W)passed between these pieces. 18On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,

(X)To your [t]descendants I have given this land,
From (Y)the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:

19 (Z)the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite 20 and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim 21 and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.” (Gen. 15:1-21)

Here we are witness to a conversation between God and Abraham by which God assures Abraham (Abram at the time; God would change his name to Abraham [father of a multitude] to reiterate is promise and to acclimate Abram to his covenantal inheritance) that he will produce an heir through his own body through which the covenantal promise of a spiritual race would fulfilled.

Notice that in verse 7 God declares his transcendence; 7 And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of (J)Ur of the Chaldeans, to (K)give you this land to[j]possess it.”  God was guaranteeing his oath based on his existence as the only transcendent being. What is interesting is that Abram asked him for something to assure him that he would indeed receive the promise. Now we know this was not a request based on a lack of faith on Abram’s part because verse 6 tells us that Abram believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. What this means is that God judiciously imputed His righteousness to Abram based on his faith, not actions. At the moment of faith in God, God declared Abram righteous (justified). So if Abram believed why was he asking for something to give him assurance?

It was common in that time in history for men to supply an emblem of the covenant they were entering into. This emblem represented their oath to fulfill their portion of the covenant. Basically someone would make a promise and then give the recipient of the promise some physical representation of that promise. A wedding ring is the emblem of the marriage covenant. Whenever the recipient of the promise needed reassuring they would simply look at the emblem. On the other hand, if the person who made the promise needed reminding of their commitment, the recipient of the promise would simply show them the emblem and remind them. So staying with contemporary tradition, Abram asked for an emblem. God’s response was to solidify the covenant with a blood sacrifice which became the emblem. The emblem of any covenant with God will be the blood sacrifice which was a semantic symbolism of the only way to get out of a covenant; death. The breaking of the covenantal oath meant death.

This symbol of death was significant. God does not take any covenants lightly. Both parties involved in a covenant must be committed to the point of death. Remember now that covenants are successive; meaning that it does not stop with the one making the covenant but is passed down through generations. Why is knowledge of this important? It’s important for a number of reasons. One very important reason is that the covenant is to death. One must be committed to the point of death, but this is not limited to the one making the covenant. Here is your example. To test Abram’s commitment, God asked him to sacrifice the son it took him forever to sire (Isaac). Once Abram proved he was willing to make that sacrifice God spared Isaac’s life. The awesome part about this is that Abram was not the only party involved in this covenant; it takes two. God, centuries later would be called to prove his commitment in fulfilling the covenant, only this time there would not be a stay of execution. God would offer up His Son so that the covenant could be fulfilled.

Now here is the greatest part concerning this awesome revelation of covenants; in fulfilling his covenants in the Old Testament (which is also translated Old Covenant) God also administered a new and better covenant for his new spiritual race (the Church 1 Pet. 1:9). The very act that fulfilled the Old Covenant ushered in a new and better covenant (Heb. 8:6-13). Now remember Abram asked God for an emblem of the covenant to provide assurance in moments of uncertainty. So what is the Christian’s emblem? The emblem for the Christian is the Cross (God’s greatest sacrifice). When you need assurance that you have a guaranteed place in the Kingdom, look at the cross. When you need to be assured of your inheritance, look at the cross. When you need to be assured of your dominion, look at the cross. When the dark clouds of desperation are hovering over your head, look at the cross.

One more thing I would like to point out before we move to a close is found in the interaction between Abram and God in Genesis chapter 15. After Abram cut the sacrificial animals in half he had to wait on God to act. Obviously this took some time. Remember, we are never to become convinced that God functions on our timetable. Verse 11 tells us that while Abram waited, the birds of prey (vultures) came upon the carcasses and Abram drove them away. This will happen to you as you wait for your answer and ultimate deliverance. The vultures will come down and attempt to rob you of your vision and hope. You know what I’m talking about; the ones that will come to you and tell you that your dream of entrepreneurship is too lofty. You know the ones; those that come to you and tell you that your expectations are unrealistic. Then there are those that will come in and tell you that your position of defeat and hopelessness is where you belong, it adds to your spirituality. In each case, just as Abram, it is your responsibility to drive away the vultures.

As we move forward over the next 52 weeks I will be revealing a number spiritual truths to you, but it will not stop there. I will also present practical responses to the enigmatic issues that you face on a daily basis. God has promised us much in His covenant with us, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the covenant also calls for us to do our part. This is not a let God do it while I reap the benefits type of relationship. We have a responsibility to do our part. I will provide you with answers to the issues that are before you. For those dealing with family issues, there will be resources provided. For those that are facing financial difficulties there will be opportunities provided to rise up above the difficulty of the moment. For those that seem to lack fulfillment we will engage the Word of God to find the pathway to spiritual progression and ultimate fulfillment, which is the fulfillment of your design and the obtainment of your destiny.

I look forward to the year to come as we move forward.

 

Blessings to all,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Life Solutions 21

I invite you to visit my new facebook page Life Solutions 21 and my new blog www.rickwallace21.wordpress.com .