Category: Distinction


November 9, 2012
It’s Time to Do Something!
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another – (1 John 4:11, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I could not tear my eyes away from the television screen as the 33 miners began to emerge from the depths of what could have been their mass grave. The men had been trapped for more than two months in the collapsed Chilean copper mines nearly half a mile underground. Everything I have read or heard about the tragedy is extraordinary.

The miners survived the early days by rationing food and working together as a team. Each man was assigned a job, one of which was to maintain peace and harmony until they were rescued. The selfless mining supervisor who insisted on being the last to leave his underground prison showed the world what it really means to put others first. I was amazed at the selflessness of the rescue worker who became the initial guinea pig for the rescue capsule and then chose to stay behind – alone – while the world celebrated above.

I wonder how long it will take us to forget. How long will we remember that the world came together to save a group of strangers? Will the powerful lessons of their rescue make any difference in the way we treat each other?

We all know what it is like to be trapped in a pit of some kind. It is probably not a collapsed mine, but pits are all basically the same.

Our world has collapsed under the weight of fear and pain.
No one seems to care. In fact, a lot of people have written us off as a lost cause.
People are too busy to recognize or understand our hopelessness.
Darkness prevails and rescue seems impossible.
We are wounded, sick and tired.
Civil war rages in our soul as we struggle to obey God instead of giving in to sin.

I truly believe that every day is filled with divine appointments – opportunities to rescue people who are trapped in some kind of pit. We miss the emptiness reflected in the eyes of the sales clerk or we simply choose to ignore the homeless man begging for money so he can buy food. After all, we are in a hurry and have more important things to do. The sales clerk would probably be embarrassed if I said anything and that homeless man would probably just use the money I gave him for drugs or alcohol.

The ringing phone is someone in need, but we don’t care enough to answer. Our neighbor does not know God, but her life is a mess and we really don’t want to get involved. Instead of taking action and doing what we know God wants us to do, we decide it is enough to pray for that neighbor and leave the messy part of God’s work to someone else.

I am so guilty of walking away from someone in need instead of running to their rescue. I am in pain, too, and my pain is more important than theirs. I may not actually say those words, but I don’t have to. My actions are blatant illustrations of my own egotism and self-absorption.

I do not want to be like the priest who nonchalantly strolled by the wounded and bleeding man lying on the road. I want to be like the Good Samaritan who stopped and saved the wounded man’s life. I want to be “God with skin on.”

A tired father came home from work, grabbed his newspaper, and settled into his favorite chair with a sigh of relief. All he wanted was a little peace and quiet. All that his young son wanted was his daddy. The little boy raced into the room and asked, “Dad, can I get you something to drink?” The man lowered his newspaper, smiled and replied, “No, thanks. I’m not thirsty. I just want to read the paper.” He then raised his newspaper and resumed reading. The little boy thought for a moment and then said a little louder, “Dad, can I get you something to eat?” The slightly exasperated father lowered his paper and said, “No, Son. I just want to read the paper!” As the father resumed his reading, the little boy tried again. “Dad, can I get you … “, but before the little boy could finish his question, the now irritated father lowered his paper and demanded, “What is it that you want, Son?” The little boy sighed and gazed into his father’s eyes as he explained, “I don’t want anything, Dad. I just love you so much that I have to do something about it.”

One day, just as rescue workers descended into that Chilean mine, Jesus Christ will descend into this broken world and rescue us from the pit of human frailty. Until then, let’s be His hands and feet. Let’s love Him so much that we just have to do something about it.

Let’s Pray
Father, I come to You today with a heart of praise for the way You meet every need in my life and for how You constantly rescue me from the darkness. I want Your heart, Lord. I want to be Your hands and feet to the people You place in my path. Give me eyes to see their need and the courage to do something about it. Please guard my heart against pride and selfishness. I want to please and honor You alone. In Jesus’s

 

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November 1, 2012
Raising Your Expectations
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” (John 10:10 NIV).

Friend to Friend
When I was in my early twenties, I did not have great expectations for what my marriage would be like, if I ever walked the aisle at all. My parents had a tumultuous relationship from my earliest remembrance. Cycles of heated arguments and physical violence followed by silence and passive aggression were as predictable as the seasons. The atmosphere in our home was tense. It was as if I lived on an earthquake fault line, never knowing when the “big one” was going to hit. There were many “big ones.”

I became a Christian when I was fourteen and resolved that if I ever got married, it would be to a man who loved Jesus with all his heart. Through the years, I dated many Christian young men. In my young mind, most of them were not very much fun.

So I had a conversation with God that went something like this: “OK God, if I ever get married, it will be to a Christian man. I’m committed to that. I won’t give a guy a second glance unless he is a man who loves You with all his heart. It is not enough for him to say that he is a Christian. I want to see it in the way he lives his life, the way he uses his words, and the way he relates to other people. I’m going to pay attention to what he laughs at, what he watches on television, and how he handles anger. I know what I’m asking here. I know what I’m getting into. I realize that I most likely won’t feel very passionate about this guy. I know that my life will probably be rather dull, boring, and lackluster. But that’s OK. I’m holding out for a Christian man, no matter how humdrum and ho-hum he may be. If I like him pretty well, that’s enough for me.”

Oh my goodness! Talk about low expectations! I’m sure God got a big kick out of my request.

Here’s what happened several years after that “prayer.”  When I was twenty-two, I returned to college to further my education. A young man from my hometown had a Bible study at his apartment and invited me to attend.  When I walked in, I saw a young dental student sitting cross-legged on the floor and leaning up against the wall. His dark chocolate eyes looked up at me as he said, “Hi.” I melted in a puddle.

After a few weeks, Steve finally asked me out on a date. But the venue of our rendezvous confirmed what I had expected all along.

“There is a missionary from Jackson, Mississippi speaking over at Murphy Hall,” he explained. “I’d like to go hear him. Would you like to go with me?”

Well that certainly lined up with my expectations! Steve was handsome; no doubt about that. He was a Christian, that was for sure. But going to hear a missionary on our first date? He was going to be boring after all. But hey, what did I expect? (Now remember, I was young. I love missionaries! I am one! Just keeping it real.)

When he came to pick me up for our date, I wasn’t quite ready. My apartment mate welcomed him and directed him to the sofa to wait. While he perused the scattered magazines on the coffee table, some of my favorite music played on the stereo. In the South, we call it beach music. It’s a type of 60s R&B Motown music.

When I finally emerged from my primping, Steve looked up and asked, “Do you like that kind of music?”

“Sure do,” I replied. (I must say I said it with an attitude of “and you gotta problem with that?”)

“I do too,” Steve said. “I have an entire collection. Do you know how to Shag (a traditional Southern dance similar to a slow version of the Swing)?

I think I heard God laugh.

“I’ve been dancing the Shag since I was in the fifth grade,” I said.

“Let’s see if we do it the same way,” he said as he grabbed my hand.

For twenty minutes, we separated and came together as if we had been dancing together all our lives. He held my hand up and I spun under. He pulled me in and then rolled me out like a scroll. His shuffle kick mirrored my own.

You know what? We did go and hear the missionary on that crisp fall night in 1979. And afterwards, we went to a favorite college hangout on the Campus of UNC the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and danced until the doors closed. We had fun, and we haven’t stopped having fun yet. We have grown in God’s grace, and we’ve graced the dance floor. Steve is the mostfunnest guy I have ever known, and he loves the Lord with all his heart. And to think I actually was ready to settle for a just a nice Christian guy. God exceeded my expectations beyond all I ever could have asked or imagined.

But this isn’t just about my love story with Steve. It is about my love story with Jesus. It is about yours too. And like my silly twenty-something prayer for a mediocre-but-nice husband, I fear we have lowered our expectations in our relationship with God. He longs for an intimacy with us that ushers in a deep abiding joy, but I’m afraid we’ve settled for simply nice.

Are you ready to raise your expectations in your relationship with Jesus? Oh sister, He got so much to show you, to tell you, to share with you. Don’t settle for “just nice.” Jesus is much more exciting than that!

Let’s Pray
Dear Jesus, forgive me for having such low expectations in our relationship. I know that You came to give me abundant life, not a so-so life. Today, I’m raising my expectations of life to line up with Your word. I’m expecting the abundant life that  You came to give!
In Your Name,
Amen

The phrase “Full Time Ministry” is in some ways implicit that there is part-time service within the body. I know what it is supposed to mean, but I believe the implications that it presents are dangerous in forming the proper paradigms through which believers live their lives. There is no such thing as a part-time Christian.

Christ did not sacrifice all that He was on a part-time Cross. He did not provide part-time salvation. There is no such reality as part-time justification. Christ definitely does not encompass us with a part-time love. Wherein is the right to offer up part-time service?

It is extremely important to understand that the Christian life cannot be compartmentalized. Everything we do we do unto the Lord and we present ourselves as living sacrifices to the service of the Kingdom. This means that there is no moment of our lives that belong to us.

You may not be on staff at the Church and preaching may not be your vocation, but trust me, you are in full time ministry. The question is: Are you living your life in a manner in which Christ’s reflection is seen in everything that you do?

You expect full-time engagement from God and He is expecting the same from you. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

26 For [r]consider your(BD)calling, brethren, that there were (BE)not many wise according to [s]the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but(BF)God has chosen the foolish things of(BG)the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of (BH)the world to shame the things which are strong, 28and the base things of(BI)the world and the despised God has chosen, (BJ)the things that are not, so that He may (BK)nullify the things that are, 29 so that (BL)no [t]man may boast before God. 30But [u]by His doing you are in (BM)Christ Jesus, who became to us (BN)wisdom from God, [v]and(BO)righteousness and(BP)sanctification, and(BQ)redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “(BR)LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

 

Paul reveals that God uses those that are lowly, debased, and downtrodden to manifest His power through. He takes those that the world sees as worthless and useless and unleashes his power in a manner that confounds the wise and powerful of the world.

 

God does this so that there can be no mistake of the source of the great works that come forth. God has revealed to me that we are in the midst of a time in which he will use men and women that have very little value by the standards of this wayward world in ways that are unimaginable. We are rapidly approaching a massive international revival the likes that have not been seen since Wesley’s Methodist movement.

 

Men of God are being called to stand on their faith and walk in their divine purpose; they are being empowered to reassume their God-ordained roles. Women are being inundated with a more lucid sense of worth and destiny. Children are being given dreams and visions of a future filled with God’s blessings and direction.

 

Make no mistake about it; this is a time for advancement of theKingdomofGod. This is a time for reclaiming what the enemy has taken from us. It is a time to walk boldly in our callings. This is not a time to meander through the maze of mediocrity or to ponder at the pool of popularity. This is not a place to dwindle into the destitute valley of diminished dreams and dwarfed goals. No, this is a time that the kingdom is to rise up and live in all of its Heavenly Splendor.

 

For far too long we have been giving ground to the enemy as we retreat into the comfort of our temples and church sanctuaries. We have been content with preaching to the choir while neglecting the greater command to go out in the community and share the Gospel of God’s love. We have relegated ourselves to temple ministry and failed the mission. Those days are over. It is time to rise up and live out the true meaning of the Christian Creed.

 

There are many of you that for your entire life have been told that you don’t matter. You have been convinced that the best you will ever be is average. You have struggled with your self-esteem as others have mishandled and mistreated you. You have shed an abundance of tears while wondering what meaning your life could possibly have in this world that seems to be so hostile towards you. I want you to understand that this is your moment. God wants to use you. Where others have doubted you, God believes in you because he designed you with this very moment in mind. I encourage you to come forth. I implore you to stand in the power of the Holy Spirit as God thrusts you into your destiny. You are a part of the Royal Family of God and an aristocratic resident of theKingdomofHeaven; walk in your purpose and achieve your destiny.

 

This is the moment where we as a people stand up and declare our faith through our actions. This is where we step from behind our words and execute the actions that that validate our words.

 

I want every man and woman that reads this to contact me via email, tweet, or Facebook inbox so that we may organize and mobilize in our communities, at our jobs, and in our homes.

 

Remember your breakthrough comes through obedience

 

May you be blessed in all that you do.

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

http://rickwallaceministries.com

Cornelius

 

Cornelius

Cornelius was an officer in the Roman army. Both Gentile and bad guy. He ate the wrong food, hung with the wrong crowd, and swore allegiance to Caesar. He didn’t quote the Torah or descend from Abraham. Uncircumcised, unkosher, unclean. Look at him.

Yet look at him again. Closely. He helped needy people and sympathized with Jewish ethics. He was kind and devout. “One who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2 NKJV). Cornelius was even on a first-name basis with an angel. The angel told him to get in touch with Peter, who was staying at a friend’s house thirty miles away in the seaside town of Joppa. Cornelius sent three men to find him.

Peter, meanwhile, was doing his best to pray with a growling stomach. He saw a vision of a sheet that contained enough unkosher food to uncurl the payos of any Hasidic Jew. Peter absolutely and resolutely refused. “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean” (v. 14 NKJV).

But God wasn’t kidding about this. He three-peated the vision, leaving poor Peter in a quandary. Peter was pondering the pigs in the blanket when he heard a knock at the door. At the sound of the knock, he heard the call of God’s Spirit in his heart. “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them” (vv. 19–20 NKJV).

“Doubting nothing” can also be translated “make no distinction” or “indulge in no prejudice” or “discard all partiality.” This was a huge moment for Peter.

Much to his credit, Peter invited the messengers to spend the night and headed out the next morning to meet Cornelius. When Peter arrived, he confessed how difficult this decision had been. “You know that we Jews are not allowed to have anything to do with other people. But God has shown me that he doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit” (v. 28 CEV). Peter told Cornelius about Jesus and the gospel, and before Peter could issue an invitation, the presence of the Spirit was among them, and they were replicating Pentecost—speaking in tongues and glorifying God.

And us? We are still pondering verse 28: “God has shown me that he doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit.”

In our lifetimes you and I are going to come across some discarded people. Tossed out. Sometimes tossed out by a church. And we get to choose. Neglect or rescue? Label them or love them? We know Jesus’ choice. Just look at what he did with us.

~ Max Lucado

http://dreamstreetstudios.chipin.com/the-battle-to-alleviate-homelessness

It would probably surprise some to find the source of scriptural text that produced the inspiration for the above title. It was while immersed in a study of this related text it came upon me and overtook me. We are consistently pressing along a constant continuum of spiritual progression. This progression is toward spiritual maturity and ultimately leads to meeting God’s grand design for our lives. There are times we make great strides and there are times that we seem to regress, however, I find that our ability to move consistently along this progression is directly connected to two separate scriptural passages. I will introduce you to the first of the two on today and I will follow up with the next on tomorrow.

No matter where you are in your “walk” (and this term will be explained within this brief treatise), if you enter this study with an open mind, trusting the Holy Spirit, via His revelatory ministry, to illuminate God’s truth within, you will be empowered through knowledge and direction. You will find that the ground work for your success has been laid well before you were conceived. God has designed a plan specifically for your life that coincides with His divine plan for the entire universe. You may have been struggling to make headway in your incessant desire to be a better Christian, but find yourself always falling short. You have probably begun to accept the worldly view that your humanity bounds you to a life of sinful failure and “thank God for grace” has become your mantra. I want you to know that God has not called you to do anything that He has not given you the power to do.

You do not have to matriculate to any great theological seminary to apprehend the truths that will be presented here today. You simply have to be committed to become submitted to the Holy Spirit and the serious study of the text. I have said this on more than one occasion and I will venture to say it yet once again: The first and greatest responsibility of any believer is the constant, daily, intake, digestion, metabolism and inculcation of Bible Doctrine. Every other responsibility and calling is predicated on mastering the first. When you neglect the Word, you become spiritually emaciated and functionally impotent as a Christian Soldier.

I invite you to take this journey through the word of God and the mind of the Apostle Paul as we uncover this powerful truth that the enemy has successfully hidden from so many through a method I call “Delusional Fixation”. Satan has used the ignorance of believers as it pertains to the Word of God to infiltrate their thinking with false doctrines that are being disseminated from within and outside of the faith. Everywhere you turn there are messages “you are simply human” when the Word clearly states that you are more than a conqueror. It is time that the believer begins to live in the power of the Holy Spirit and shake the limitation of ignorance and fallacious doctrines.

So, let us move into the related text.

16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5:16-24 NASB)

Your ability to grasp the truth residing within the composition of the aforementioned words is tantamount to walking in complete victory as you travel this ethereal journey of Christian faith. God has not left you clueless in this journey. He has not called you to greatness and then left you on your own to figure it out. God has ingenuously left you a blueprint to greatness and mission fulfillment. God designed you to be responsive to intellectual stimuli; the infusion of knowledge into your psychological gateways. He then provided that stimuli through his infallible Word to literally lift you into greatness.

Before we can fully understand this particular passage, we must build the context to insure that we do not erroneously apply it.

Beginning with Galatians 5:1 Paul moves from an emphasis on theology towards a focus on ethics, basically taking the Galatian believers from doctrine (the teaching) to practice (the living out of what has been taught.). Up to this point Paul had devoted his Epistle to debunking the theoretical teachings of some teachers that had convinced a great deal of the Galatian Church that they had to follow the tenets of the Mosaic Law in order to be received by God, so Paul immediately engages the Galatians concerning the ease at which they were deceive to move away from what they had been taught concerning grace.

6I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! … 1You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? (Gal. 1:6-9; 3:1 NASB)

Paul is addressing the interpolation of legalism into the Gospel of Grace. Jewish teachers had convinced the Galatians that they needed to be circumcised in order to be accepted by God. Anytime legalism is introduced into the plan of grace as it functions within the dispensation of the Church, we encounter massive problems (this is not the focus of our study today, so I will refrain from addressing this at the present moment, but understand that legalism is an extremely destructive force). Paul understood this and immediately moved into the correct the problem.

Paul spent a considerable amount of time and effort explaining the polarity of the Masaic Law and Grace. He cleverly disseminates the doctrine of grace so that the ground work of the Christian walk has once again been laid. Without this ground work being properly laid out it is impossible to adequately advance in this spiritual walk. Paul had effectively ruled out the Law as a regulatory standard in the age of the Church; in other words, the law had no power to advance the Christian way of life. In essence, the law had no regulatory value; in this sense it was useless. This does not mean that we should discard the Old Testament, which would be extremely foolish. What the Law lacks in regulatory value in compensates for in revelatory value. The Old Testament reveals the essence of God, the function of God, the veracity of God, the loyalty of God, the power of God,. Etc.

As Paul moves from developing the theological perimeters of Christian functionality through Grace into the access of grace’s provision of power to live out the Christian life, he interjects a statement that is all in one; a summation of what has come before and a transition into what was to follow.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)”Before plunging into this third section of his letter, Paul interjects a verse that is at once a summary of all that has gone before and a transition to what follows. It is, in fact, the key verse of the entire Epistle. Because of the nature of the true gospel and of the work of Christ on his behalf, the believer is now to turn away from anything that smacks of legalism and instead rest in Christ’s triumphant work for him and live in the power of Christ’s Spirit. . . . The appeal is for an obstinate perseverance in freedom as the only proper response to an attempt to bring Christians once more under legalism.” (Boice, p. 486.)

You must understand that to lean on legalistic tenets and sacraments is to discount grace. It is to say that the magnanimous gift that Christ provided on Calvary was not sufficient that and that we must in some way, add something to it. Grace, by its very definition is a non-meritorious conduit through which God blesses us on the basis on Christ’s saving work at Calvary. The erroneously disseminated doctrines of grace being taught now simply focus on God’s ability to forgive and a cast off the debt of sin for the believer, and though that part of grace has massive implications in the Christian walk, it is only a fraction of the complete function of grace. Graces greatest functions are unity with Christ and all believers, right standing with God (justification), and the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit (which supplies the power not to sin and to fulfill ones purpose).

Paul did not want the Galatians to get the idea that because they were no longer under the law they could cast off restraint and move into unbridled antinomianism. He wanted them to understand that grace actually brought with it more responsibility. You may ask how; grace inherently provides exceptionally more power in the Church age, and with more power comes more responsibility.

“Christian freedom is not license [sic] to sin for the simple but tremendous reason that the Christian is not the man who has become free to sin, but the man, who, by the grace of Gdo, has become free not to sin. (J. Dwight Pentecost, “The Purpose of the Law; Bibliotheca Sacra 128:511 (July – September 1971) 227-33.

Paul understands that he must now explain how the Galatians will be able to resist the natural inclination to sin (due to an inherent sin nature that resides in all humans since the fall of Adam with the exception of one; [through the virgin birth, Jesus was the only human born without a sin nature] all are inclined to sin.) Paul is about to introduce a truth that when fully apprehended brings full liberation from sin. As a matter of fact, this truth, when put into practice, immediately and automatically eliminates sin. It is only when the believer fails to live within this truth is he even able to sin.

Paul goes on to explain that there is a constant conflict taking place within the believer.

16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (Gal. 5:16:18 NASB)

He then begins to set out the disparity in what each warring force produces.

19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5:19-24 NASB)

It is extremely important that we give this passage quite a bit more attention than we normally do and it is equally important to assign to it an enormous gravity. This passage is not simply assigning deeds and attributes to a particular source. It is providing the format for understanding the status of believers and none believers. It is most importantly, revealing the source through which the Christian lifestyle and walk is accomplished.

We are told first that the “flesh’ strives against the “Spirit” and the “Spirit” against the flesh. That inherent nature within all of us desires to pull us in ways that are contrary to the will of God. It is important to understand that as long as we live we will have to contend with the sin nature residing in us. The sin nature does not leave the believer at any stage of their walk; however, it can be brought into submission and controlled through complete acquiescence to the Holy Spirit. It has been said that this can be analogous to having two dogs that are constantly warring with each other for prominence and position; the one that will ultimately win is the one that you feed the most. Obviously the Holy Spirit is nothing like a dog, but the analogy comes in the fact that whatever you feed grows stronger and whatever you starve grows weaker.

Paul tells the Galatians that if they walk by the Spirit they shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Walking by or being led by the Spirit is living moment by moment in a place of submission to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Anytime that you are not walking in this state of submission you become subject to the yearnings of the flesh. In this case, “walking” is a metaphorical expression used in scripture to express spiritual progression. The modes of transportation in Bible days were definitely not as fast or as efficient as they are today, but walking was still the slowest way to get from one place to the next. As slow as the process of walking may have been, one knew that if he continued to put one foot in front of another he would cover the necessary ground and would eventually reach the desired destination. So, the Christian walk is the progression toward becoming what you were designed and created to be.

Since we have two warring factions within us, Paul wanted to give us an honest way to assess which side is winning. Each of these two warring entities within us produces certain byproducts. In understanding what these products are, we can know where we are in our walk and whether or not we are truly being submissive to the Holy Spirit.

First, Paul reveals the deeds of the flesh. They can be broken down into five basic categories:

Sexual Sins (verse 19) – Immorality, fornication (Greek “porneia”, all types of forbidden sexual relationships from a physical perspective). Impurity, uncleaness (Greek “akatharsia, all moral uncleanness in thought, word and deed). Sensuality, licentiousness, indecency, debauchery, lasciviousness (Greek “aselgeia” the open, shameless display of these sins)

Religious Sins (verse 20) – Idolatry (Greek “eidololatria”, worship of anything other than God and the practices and sacramental rituals involved). Sorcery, witchcraft (Greek “pharmakeia”, attempts to aid the powers of evil and the practices associated with that).

Social Sins – (verses 20-21) – Enmities, quarrels, hatred (Greek “echthrai”, hostilities). Strife, discord, variance (Greek eris, antagonism). Jealousy, envy, emulation (Greek zelos, self-centered animosity). Outburst of anger, fits of rage, wrath (Greek “thymoi”, temper eruptions). Disputes, strife, factions, selfishness, selfish ambition (Greek “eritheiai”, putting others to get ahead). Dissensions, divisions, seditions (Greek “dichostasiai, disputes over issues or personalities). Factions, heresies, party spirit (Greek “haireseis”, divisions over issues or personalities. Envyings, jealousies (Greek “phthonoi”, wrong desires to have another’s possessions). When you examine the force of these deeds and what they will ultimately produce you will come up with one word that sums it all up; chaos.

Intemperate Sins (verse 21) – Drunkenness, drinking bouts (Greek “methai, excessive use of intoxicants). Carousing, reveling, orgies (Greek “ komoi”, parties involving excessive eating and drinking).

Other Sins – Things like these listed (similar violations of God’s moral will).

“The common feature in this catalogue of vices seems to reside not in the precise ways in which these fifteen items manifest themselves but in the self-centeredness or egocentricity that underlies all of them.” (Thomas Constable, Commentaries of the Bible)

Not only do these deeds serve as indicators of a walk on the side of carnality, they also wreak immeasurable havoc on the life of the person perpetrating them.

Then Paul moves to the other side of this polarity transitioning through the use of the conjunction

δέ

de

deh

A primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.: – also, and, but, moreover, now [often unexpressed in English].

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries G1161

 

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5:22-24 NASB)

 

 

Notice that the “flesh” produces “deeds” and the “Spirit” produces “fruit”, in the Greek

καρπός

karpos

kar-pos’

Probably from the base of G726; fruit (as plucked), literally or figuratively: – fruit.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries G2590

 

“Fruit is singular signifying a unified Christ-like character; an aggregate affect of walking in the spirit. Let’s take a look at the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in those that are surrendered to His leadership. There are nine that fit into three basic categories.

 

Mental or God-ward Qualities (verse 22) – Love (Greek “agape”, self-sacrificing affection for others). Joy (Greek “chara”, deep-seated happiness regardless of circumstances). Peace (Greek “eirene”, inner quietness and repose regardless of circumstances).

Interpersonal or Other-ward Qualities (verse 22) -  Patience (Greek “makrothymia”, forbearance even under provocation). Kindness (Greek “chrestotes”, benevolence and graciousness). Goodness (Greek “agathosyne, constructive action reaching out to others).

General or Self-ward Qualities (verses 22-23) – Faithfulness (Greek “pistis”, reliability, trustworthiness). Gentleness (Greek “praytes”, acquiescence to authority and consideration of others). Self-control (Greek “enkrateia”, ability to master oneself.

 

Paul has ingeniously provided the blueprint for effective and powerful Christian living. When we walk in submission to the Holy Spirit he not only guides us, but also reciprocates by allowing you to access His power to, not only walk the Christian way, but to fulfill your particular purpose. There are multitudinous individuals struggling through this ethereal journey of Christianity feeling as if there is no possible way to rise up and live the life that they should be living. Many have been taught secular world views such as “once an addict always an addict”, but we find that surrender to the Holy Spirit produces the power to master oneself. There is complete healing available for every illness.

Paul masterfully extracts the built in excuse of humanity from the equation and interjects “grace’s” greatest hidden secret; power. When Paul prayed for the removal of the thorn in his flesh God’s reply was simply, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Wait a minute; what does grace have to do with power? Everything, in its comprehensive definition, grace is all that God is able to do for every Christian based on the work of Christ at the cross. So grace appropriates justification at the moment of salvation. Grace facilitates the purifying and preparative act of sanctification, and grace allows for the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer providing so much in the way of power, revelation, and direction.

You have the power to walk triumphantly and live effectively as a victorious warrior. I urge you to surrender to the Holy Spirit; allow Him to empower and direct you. If you do so, no demon in hell, including the devil himself can stop you from completing the course and fulfilling your destiny.

 

God bless,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

For the past month I have been talking to you about the power of the mind. I have iterated on multitudinous occasions that in order to change your current state you must first change your current state of mind.

Educational psychology states that a learned person is one with a vision of unified knowledge. He does not like being restricted to seeing things from one dimension. He prefers seeing things from multiple dimensions and combines them into an integrated perspective. His thoughts, visions and projections are unified and in harmony with his direction.

In the arena of Business Administration many companies are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the old model no longer works. These companies are now recruiting executives that are emerging from the new school of innovative thinking. Yes, they are looking for thinkers. Social evolution requires the ability to shift the model. It takes a person that is able to consistently exercise thought in several realms or dimensions to insure that the current model is effective. In this arena there are three major thought processes:

  1. The first is “reflective thinking”; this is a place where you allow your mind to flow freely and think freely without being confined to organized system. If you are putting in energy and effort into this realm of thought then it is not truly reflective. This type of thinking opens up the possibility for creative thought. It creates the capability to function in the second realm of thinking.
  2. The second realm of thought is “lateral thinking”. Lateral thinking, also known as thinking outside of the box, is a thought process in which preconceived boundaries are removed and alternative ideas are entertained. Lateral thinking is the reason that a young entrepreneur who has been told that his passion will not translate into a viable business in the present economy still flourishes. He has learned how to think outside of the built-in boundaries of his niche.
  3. The third realm of thought is “critical thinking”. This is the thought process by which you analyze, anatomize, re-examine, and recalculate your processes. This is the analytical realm that when properly navigated reduces errors and maximizes opportunity.

 

Example: Reflective thinking will provide the idea of how to build your loved one a beautiful gift from wood. Lateral thinking will give you the idea that cutting the traditional way as explained in the instructions will give you a generic product, whereas as simple change in tools and angles will offer something that will be truly unique. Critical thinking will cause you to examine the cutting angles and tools used with precise thought and consideration given to each detail. What this does is reduce the chance of error and the loss of a valuable piece of wood.

All of this has been stated in order to stress the power of thought. Listen to what the creator of Mind Reality; who happens to be a Christian by the way, says.

The secret of wealth is consciousness of wealth. In order to
experience abundance, you have to be abundant. Abundance is your
true nature, and when you think, act and live according to it, you
will manifest abundance. The rich in mentality get richer while the
poor in mentality get poorer. The accumulation of material wealth
begins with wealth consciousness. Pursuing spiritual development
before working on wealth creation is the key to attaining both
inner and outer riches. The outer is reflection of inner.

The secret of health is consciousness of health. Disease is a lack
of ease psychologically and physically. Conflicting thoughts and
feelings in your consciousness is what causes this state of
distress. When you notice yourself becoming sick, watch for
conflicting thoughts that have arisen within your consciousness and
resolve them. Either push them all one way or the other, or find a
way to hold them in a harmonious way. External remedies only cure
symptoms but dealing with consciousness cures at root. (see Bishop Rick Wallace for a more detailed explanation on sickness and healing)

The secret of secrets is the consciousness of secrets. All the
truths about life are not secrets, but they are hidden from us due
to our ignorance. By thinking about the discovery of truths as a
search for the secrets, we motivate our subconscious mind to go on
a treasure hunt. The greatest treasure in this world is wisdom, and
life is to be played as a treasure hunting game. Treasures are
meant to be appreciated and so when you think of truths as secrets,
your appreciative mindset will draw them all to you.

Written by Enoch Tan – Creator of Mind Reality

 

Can you at least begin to grasp what is written here? Everything he says here has strong biblical foundation.

“As a man thinks in his heart so is he…” (Prov. 23:7)

When I first decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur years ago, I was blessed to have an awesome mentor who spent the majority of his time, not giving me different business models that were certain to work, but teaching me that poverty is a mentality and so is wealth. This is what Enoch was speaking of when he said, “Abundance is your true nature, and when you think, act and live according to it, you will manifest abundance. The rich in mentality get richer while the poor in mentality get poorer. The accumulation of material wealth begins with wealth consciousness.” When you find yourself in any kind of pit or grounded in any area of your life it can be traced back to your thinking. We all fall into places where we fall victim to what Christian Author, Joyce Meyers calls “stinkin thinkin”. Our way of thinking sends us down a path of destruction and delay. The Christian should have a thought process that is inundated with Christian doctrine. The Christian should not have a mindset of lack because the God we serve is a God of abundance.

Proper and accurate knowledge that is put into action is the execution of wisdom. There must first be the apprehension of knowledge:

“My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge.” (Hos. 4:6)

The knowledge that is apprehended must be put into action and its progression facilitated by faith. This means that you believe that what God has promised you as an inheritance is already yours as long as you align with his will.

Remember what Enoch said, “The rich in mentality get richer while the poor in mentality get poorer.” What this means is what separates the wealthy from the poor is not socioeconomic boundaries; it’s not geographical impediments, it’s not racial discrimination; those are simply built in excuses for failure. What separates the wealthy from the poor is the mentality of each. Understand this: In order to truly become wealthy, you must become wealthy in your mentality. Money is simply one of the manifestations of your wealth and is the conduit through which external expression of that wealth is most easily witnessed. When you gain this understanding you will never be imprisoned by money again. When you grasp this truth you will never experience poverty again, even if your bank account is empty. You may be asking how that can be so. This means that you have not grasped it just yet. Money is simply a medium produced through the power of the mind impressed upon life. As long as you understand wealth and you think in abundance you will always recover.

When I say think in abundance, I am not speaking of daydreaming. There is a place and time for that; it falls under the reflective thought process I spoke of earlier. In this instance, thinking in abundance means careful and intent consideration of what is before you and the power you have been given by God to obtain it.

“But you shall remember the LORD your God, for (S)it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deut. 8:18 NASB)

As we press forward in this journey of elevation this year, I will continue to present new truths that will allow you to adjust your thinking. There are opportunities out there right now that will produce cash in abundance, but I tell you that until your thinking has change you will not be successful or like most lottery winners, you will have fleeting riches. It is not the opportunity, but the mindset. The mindset will automatically uncover opportunities. I will eventually present opportunities, but I want to establish the need for proper thinking or it will be a waste and a source of frustration.

I pray that this short treatise has in some way blessed you. If it has I encourage you to pass the link on to others so that together we can raise the status of believers everywhere.

Bishop Rick Wallace

 

” Throughout the past centuries, mankind has been looking to the outside for improving the quality of our lives. Technology has developed and advanced to a level where we can do many things we couldn’t possibly do before. It’s amazing how far the genius that God has put in us has turn out to be. Now at the turn of the millennia, mankind is beginning to turn from looking outside to looking inside to exploring and developing the vastly untapped potential that lies within each and every one of us all along.” ~ Enoch Tan”

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

 

Recently I put together an exegesis on Romans 8:28. That analysis of Romans 8:28 brought lucidity to the subject of knowing for whom God works all things for the good. What I aim to do here briefly is give insight to the last word in this passage; purpose.

G4286                                                                                                     

πρόθεσις

prothesis

proth’-es-is

From G4388; a setting forth, that is, (figuratively) proposal (intention); specifically the show bread (in the Temple) as exposed before God: – purpose, shew [-bread].

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries

 

The Greek word “prothesis” translated purpose in English connotes something being set forth and placed in view (with the underlying meaning being that it has been set forth with the understanding  and clarity of the reason for which it was set forth). Simply put, purpose means something that has been set forth with clear understanding of its reason. Clear understanding does not constitute easy access, but clarity in the sense of understanding what has been revealed.

Purpose and its underlying elements have been pondered through the ages. The Great Greek philosophers of ancient times have grappled with purpose and the significance of human life and their modern counterparts have faced the same enigmatic issues that plagued them centuries ago. Freud, Nietzsche, and Foucault have no better settled the quandaries of life than did the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Secular paradigms and cosmic speculations have infiltrated the faith of Christianity and have brought about paradigmatic shifts in the thinking of believers. When I survey the Christian landscape I find that the cosmic thinking of secular worldviews such as Nihilism, Secular Humanism, Religious Pluralism, Relativism, etc. have infiltrated the thought processes of the Christian believer. This helps to explain how so many things that were socially unacceptable just a few decades ago is now common place. When these worldviews impress their tenets of moral ambiguity and their nebulous approach to purpose and destiny, they undermine the power of God and they open the door to antinomianism and even legalism.

Understanding purpose carries with it a wealth of benefits in the sense of perseverance through the trials of this life. Purpose steadies us when we begin to waver under the pernicious attacks of the enemy. Purpose sets the resolve necessary to penetrate the darkness of doubt. Purpose makes visible the plan that is unique to each individual’s life. Purpose says that I am here for a reason, and in knowing this purpose I can comprehend the challenges that accompany this life in the sense that they will work toward the fulfilling of that purpose. My purpose explains my pain.

There is an inherent desire for significance within each of us. There is a yearning to belong; there is a yearning to matter; there is a yearning to have something for which you can base your life; purpose is the substance that satisfies this yearning. Purpose identifies and validates your direction. There are many secular systems that have created paradigms that suggest there is no true meaning to life and that our existence is simply the result chance mutation. There are those that speculate because of the size of our planet in relation to the rest of the universe that we have no true significance. It is easy for the finite perspicacity of man to erroneously hypothesize concerning such issues because without knowledge of God there is no true revelation. Without God things just don’t make sense. Until we unite with our purpose as set forth by God, we will wonder aimless, and strive ineffectively throughout our lives.

To really understand the power in purpose we must understand the following verse of scripture in the Romans 8 passage:

“For those whom he foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (rom. 8:29-30)

“For those whom he foreknew”, introduces the doctrine of foreknowledge which can be defined as the subcategory of God’s omniscience in which he personally knew each believer in eternity past and thereby knew that they would repent and receive The Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. With this knowledge in mind, he set forth an individual plan for the life of each of these believers. Within this plan lies the purpose and destiny of each believer. The setting out of this plan by God is known as predestination (To predetermine or foreordain; to appoint or ordain beforehand by an unchangeable purpose).  In other words, by divine decree, a purpose has been placed upon your life and the emptiness that is within many of you will never be satiated until you began to walk in that purpose. When you begin to walk in your purpose a peace will settle upon you. When you engage your purpose you will find exceptional power to live in that purpose. When you put on the jacket of purpose you will defend yourself from storms of doubt that have filled your life.

 

Purpose girds your thoughts when the enemy attempts to infiltrate your mind. Purpose provides the focus that propels you into your destiny with a passion that is undeterred by trials. Purpose is the inexorable force that speaks to doubt and reminds you that God is behind the scenes holding the plan together.  Purpose reminds you that your destiny has been decreed and that only your dedication to remaining on the path is required. Purpose exposes you to the unlimited assets that God has placed at your disposal. Purpose provides the answer to the question: After salvation, then what?

 

We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). The Greek word [ κατεργάζομαι , katergazomai] which is rendered “work out” means “to continually work to bring something to fulfillment or completion. This is sometimes misapplied to teach salvation by works which would call for us to disregard scriptures such as Romans 3:21-24 and Ephesians 2:8-9). What Paul is teaching is that there is more to salvation than eternal life. Salvation comes with purpose or after salvation we would be immediately taken away to live in eternity. We have been left behind in this hostile world because we have a purpose in it. Salvation is not earned by works, but it is confirmed by them.

 

I urge each of you to search out your purpose and take hold of it; walk in it. Stand in your purpose. Do not relinquish the vision that has been placed inside of you for the vision is inundated with purpose. Do not forsake the constant study of the Word of God, for the Word is saturated with purpose. Do not forgo prayer, for prayer settles you in purpose. Do not forsake the assembly as some do because fellowship exposes the interconnectivity of individual purpose with the universal purpose of the body of Christ.

 

Welcome to your purpose; welcome to your destiny!

 

 

Best regards,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Founder & President

Rick Wallace Ministries

100 Men of Purpose

Life Solutions 21

The Invisible Father

Fill Your Space

 

I have one thing to say to you: Fill your space. Let me explain. Last year was, by far, the worst year of my life. Not because of anybody else but because of me. This is why: I was not truly successful at anything in particular. I had some decent moments, but nothing great and nothing lasting. For a person that was used to succeeding at everything they attempted this was a struggle. In the month of December the frustration I had been fighting for the entire year was beginning to weigh me down. So, I decided to follow my own advice and take an introspective look at myself.

What I found was that I had not been filling my space. What I mean by filling my space is bringing more to any situation than I took from it. A person that adequately fills their space brings value to every situation they enter into; no matter how large or small the situation. I had always been successful at anything that I set my mind to do, but somewhere I lost sight of why. I just kept waiting for success. I kept doing what I have told people not to do for years, wait on fortune to find me.

Even when I was not completely in the will of God I always filled my space. If I walked in a room I filled my space because I brought a value to that room greater that what I was taking away from it. I could help those in the room elevate themselves emotionally, financially, in self-esteem and so much more. Even when someone paid me for a service, I always gave them more than cash value. They called it a great deal; I called it filling my space. It was a principle at work. I decided in December that it was time to fill my space and that will be my goal from this point forward.

So, I encourage you to fill your space. In fact, do all you can to more than fill your space. This is what I will be striving for in 2012. Filling your space will bring you success. When put out more than you get, when your presence brings about a blessing and worth to anything, that is filling your space. When the lives you come in contact with are better for it, you are filling your space. Greatness comes by filling your space.

I want you to really think about that.

God bless you ~ Bishop Rick Wallace

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