Category: lifestyle


October l5, 2012

I’d Be Happy If…
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers (and sisters). Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:16, 17 NIV)

Friend to Friend
Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world. All their needs were cared for. They had perfect communion with God and each other. They were “naked and unashamed.” The only restriction placed on them was that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil located in the middle of the Garden. God warned them, “If you eat of it, you will surely die.”

As they basked in the light of God’s love, darkness slithered into the Garden with his plan to kill, steal and destroy the image bearers. And how did he do it? He did it with the most powerful weapon of all…lies.

“Now the serpent…” The great deceiver clothed himself as a serpent and slithered up to Eve with a game plan to destroy God’s prized possession. He didn’t come with a sword, or a gun, or even a knife for his attack. He simply wielded lies.

The serpent knew Adam and Eve would not buy into a radical flamboyant denial of God, so he slithered into the garden with a twist and a turn of the truth. He began by causing Eve to doubt… “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1).

Satan knew exactly what God had said. He was simply trying to confuse Eve. Perhaps he was evaluating just how well she knew the truth. He found out.

“We may eat fruit from the tress in the garden,” Eve replied, “but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die” (Genesis 3:3).

Bingo. She didn’t know the truth that well after all. God never mentioned not touching the fruit. That seems like a pretty good idea, but it was not what God said.

Second he denied God and lied about the consequences of disobedience. Satan said, “You will not surely die.” (3:4). He didn’t even try to disguise the deception. He told a flat-out lie.

And finally, he told her she could be like God: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). In other words, “God doesn’t know what He’s talking about. He’s holding out on you. You don’t need Him. You can be your own god.”

Eve rejected the truth and believed the lie. She believed that she could be like god…in control of her own life. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her.”

And as she sunk her teeth into the forbidden fruit of deception and the lie slid down her delicate throat, the temptation settled in her soul and fermented into shame and condemnation. Her husband, who chose the woman over God, also felt the sickening rot of sin settle in his very soul. Suddenly shame and fear entered the world, and Adam and Eve hid from God like wayward children.

All temptation is an attempt to get us to live our lives independent of God. Satan is not very creative, but he is very affective. And he has been lying to us ever since. Why? Because it works.

Every one of his lies springs from the idea that happiness is just a decision away. Satan wants you to believe God is holding out on you. You can be like God. You can be your own god.

Rather than being thankful for what we do have, he points out what we don’t have. Think about it. Eve had at her disposal every tree in the garden except one. Every one! That is a smorgasbord of goodness! But rather than being thankful, she bought the lie that the one thing she couldn’t have was the one thing that would make her happy. I would be happy if… Is any of this sounding familiar to you? It should. Satan uses the same tactics with us that he used with Eve. Ingratitude is the infection of Eden, and it is cured with praise.

Eve believed the enemy’s lie over God’s truth. His plan worked. But what the serpent did not know was that God’s amazing plan of forgiveness and grace was about to unfold. Satan did not win the battle for man’s soul in the garden. Jesus Christ won the war on Calvary’s Cross. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” and then breathed his last, He made a way for all mankind to regain all that Adam and Eve had lost.

The Guestbook

July 3, 2012
The Guestbook
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody,” – (2 Corinthians 3:2 NIV).

Friend to Friend
Just before leaving our rented condominium after a week of sun, sand, and surf, at Hilton Head Island, SC, we found a treasure tucked under some old magazines on the coffee table. It was a 6 X 8 inch white guest book, signed by previous vacationers who had also shared a relaxing week away from home.

Feeling somewhat like a “peeping Tom” craning to peer into someone’s window, we cracked open the book and stole a glimpse into the personalities of our fellow travelers. With each entry, we visualized what the guests looked like, decided if we would like to invite them over for dinner, and surmised whether they had an enjoyable vacation together.

Have a look for yourself and decide with whom you would like to share a cup of coffee or would like to have as your neighbor:

· “Thank you very much for the use of your condo. We thoroughly enjoyed our first, but not last visit to S.C.”

· “Had a great time. Enjoyed your villa very much! However, you need to have the springs in the couch repaired. Very uncomfortable to sit on. Thank you.”

· “We have decided that this is where we’d love to live. It’s a golfer’s dream. Your courses are beautiful. The girls loved the beach, parasailing, bike rides, horseback riding, shopping! I love my tan. We will be back to visit! If you are ever in Arkansas, come to Stuttgart. We are 50 miles east of Little Rock. Stuttgart hosts the World Championship Duck Calling Contest every year during Thanksgiving weekend. We are known as the “Rice and Duck Capital of the World.” Riceland Rice comes from our little town and the ducks feed off of the rice fields during the winter after harvest. It is some of the best duck hunting anywhere. Thank you for the use of your condo. We’ve had a great week here.”

· “We really enjoyed your villa, but we won’t be staying here again. We just booked another villa at Colonnade for next year a couple of doors down for almost $300 less.”

· “Hello. My name is Amanda and I got here yesterday. So far we are having a good time. I’m eleven-years-old and I came here with my mother, grandmother, and my Aunt Loretta. She got here at the same time we did, but she is leaving tomorrow. We came all the way from Lake Wylie, S. C. I love it here and might be back next year.

· “It has been a fabulous time. This villa is bigger than our home! My niece is sure she saw a whale at the Old Oyster Factory, but we are sure she saw a buoy. Greg and Dad played golf together and we all played mini-golf. We went bike riding and “gator chasing.” The ocean is breathtaking. I’ve never seen it before, so I’m still in awe!

”When we first came, the keys wouldn’t fit, you forgot to give us a pass, and we almost ran over a biker. Get better service! Two grandmas were with us! Sixth time here – never happened before.”

The Bible tells us that we are simply visitors here on earth (1 Chronicles 29:15). The words we speak are also our entries in the Guestbook of Life.

What entries am I writing with my attitudes, actions and words for the world to see? Will they think that I was a crabby old lady who wanted better service? Will they think I savored each day here with my wonderful family? Will they think that I would have preferred another life just a few doors down? Or will they think that I so enjoyed my time here that I wanted to share it with anyone and everyone who was passing through?

Do you want to know what we wrote in the Guestbook before we left?

“Thank you for the use of your beach home. July fourth is a time to celebrate our great country with its many freedoms. Our hope for all who follow us here is that you will know the freedom which comes from knowing the Truth that sets us all free (John 8:32).” Steve, Sharon and Steven Jaynes

Matthews, NC

This went out to the Facebook open group “The Believers Initiative”. Anyone that wants to better themselves in every aspect of life is willing to join.

 

Anyone that knows me knows that I am intent on being informed about past and current issues. I was contemplating the objective of this Group Forum
: To help advance believers in every aspect of their lives. So I took the 21 principles of Christian Living as revealed to me by the Holy Spirit and I wanted to address the 5 that are lacking the most.

21 Principles of Christian Living

1. God above all else ( When God is placed first the process of power begins)
2. Always know that God is in control (This is the essence of faith)
3. Constantly renew your mind and your thinking (transformation begins here)
4. Daily intake, digestion, metabolism & inculcation of Bible doctrine
5. Always look to give more than you receive (Fill your space)
6. Wholeness of Life (let no area be in lack)
7. Living in true abundance (finance is only a small portion of true abundance)
8. Guard Your Tongue & Understand its power. (Life & Death lie here)
9. Maintain the Temple (our bodies; health, fitness & nutrition)
10. Teach others as you learn (Of whom much is given, much is required)
11. Build up rather than tear down (Christians have become good at the latter)
12. Forgive (Forgiveness is one of the greatest ways to reclaim stolen power)
13. Live in your purpose (Your Purpose defines your pain)
14. Honor God in your Walk (This is your greatest testimony
15. Allow Praise to become a daily practice (Praise confounds the enemy)
16. Work in harmony with all believers (stop being a busy body & complainer)
17. Accept Correction (Only a fool despises it)
18. Maintain a heart of gratitude (take notice of the simple things)
19. Develop a sense of order (Without order chaos rules and little is accomplished)
20. Expand your vision & God will enlarge your territory (We have been trained to
think
small, criticized when we open up to the possibilities (God is not a god of
mediocrity)
21. No surrender; No retreat (God takes not pleasure in those that draw back)

When we follow these principles victory is inevitable. When I began to delve into the things that were troubling believers most, I found the following 5 things to be most prevalent.

1. Financial Struggles (falls under principle #3)
2. Fitness and Nutrition (falls under principle #9)
3. Relationship Issues (falls under principles #11 and 17)
4. Poor Vision or Dwarfed Goals (falls under principle 20)
5. lack of Knowledge (falls under principle #3)

Each of this issues are due to lack. The issue is always lack.

25 “This is the inscription that was written:

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN

26 “Here is what these words mean:

Mene[e]: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27 Tekel[f]: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28 Peres[g]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

This is the famous passage in Daniel dealing with the writing on the wall. Belshazzar was weighed in the balances or searched by God and found to be lacking. Any area of perpetual personal struggle is always due to a lack of the virtue that provides foundation and strength in that area of your life. This is why we are to have an abundance in every area of our life, not just focusing on wealth.

We are going to address these issues head on. The first thing that I want each of you to do is determine which of these areas of struggle apply to you. Determine what the exact need is. Second you are to determine which of thse areas you are strongest in and decide the best way to use your strengths to help others with weaknesses in the area of your strengths. If you know of courses, products, people and other resources, prepare to share them with the rest of the group beginning Monday. If you have something you want to share before then thats fine too. I need all of you Entrepreneurs, Life Coaches, Motivational Speakers, Spiritual Leaders to step to the forefront. I will provide support on several fronts. I will provide insight from my years of experience as a business owner; Health, fitness, health, and holistic living from my expertise in the fitness arena; and scriptural foundation in order to build the foundation on which we will build up each of these areas of weakness.

Let every one you know that is in need of help to come. Tell all the heavy hitters that this is a chance to give back as well as generate business within the guidelines of the program.

Together we will make a difference, not only in the lives of the people within this group, but the people we come in contact with outside this group.

Okay, lets do this.

Bishop Rick Wallace
http://rickwallaceministries.com
http://funnychurchclips.blogspot.com
P.S. Pastors, I have some special resources to share with you. Those of you in the Dallas and Houston area should contact me directly. This includes Author and Publisher Andrea Taylor of Third Chapter Press

What Hinders Christians From Being Successful?

By 

Expert Author Larry B Morrison

“Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Some would say the opposite of faith is apathy. Practical application and these words from Jesus would indicate more strongly that fear is the opposite. Fear is really perverted, twisted faith- faith that something you don’t want is going to happen. No faith at all belongs to the realm of apathy- no fear of bad, no faith for good- just flatline, also known as dead. Few of us actually live in this la-la land. Fear is an element that we all face from time to time. Actually, we live with it more than we even realize because it becomes so much second nature we are accustomed to it. So let me ask you again, “Why are you so fearful and how is it that you have no faith?”

Many of those in the role of being teachers of success principles speak often of fear, particularly, fear of failure. Yet, through the years, common everyday people, many of whom are not Christian, have found a way to conquer their fears and accomplish great things. How much more should we, children of the King, conquer our fears, given that He is our source, He is our rock, He loves and looks after us. If God be for you, who can be against you? And with Him watching your back, what have you to fear? You should be free to just go knock the stops out- yet something else hinders so many Christians; another kind of fear.

We have so much engrained religion in us. Religion in the bad sense of the word. When I think ‘religion’ I think ‘tradition.’ Traditions that invalidate the word of God, that make it of no effect. Tradition like that of which Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” What are some of these traditions?

There are varying degrees, depending on who you listen to, of ideas that are spoken as, “Let go, and let God,” “Die to your self,” and, “As a servant, you should have no thought other than how you may better serve God.” This is the lake of truth and ounce of poison formula – enough scriptural background to make it sound right, enough poison to kill you. Traditions, the words of men, trying often to explain experiences with just a hint of scripture. These ideas of belittlement of the Christian soul are like a slow death.

That being said, consider how Moses, when he had come down from the mountain, had the glory of God shining on his face. We’re afraid of getting too close to God in what we say, think, and do that we will incur God’s wrath as satan did when he said, I will be like the Most High God.” So many Christians are actually fearful that if they allow themselves to go out and be their very best, they will somehow diminish God, steal some of His glory, step on His toes, or offend Him by their accomplishment. As a result, they run so far from the fire of Glory that they end up freezing to death. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: On your best day, when you have outdone every other human on the planet, you’ve made more money, loved more people, shown more kindness, helped more, given more, encouraged more, uplifted more than anyone else- when you are shining brightly, you are no threat to God whatsoever. He is not elevated by your being small and He is not diminished by your being big. He is. Nothing changes that. You’ll never outshine Him. Our success doesn’t give Him displeasure. Just have the integrity to realize, as the centurion, you are under authority, and you have those in under your authority.

We seek so hard after God, yet this religious spirit so hinders us and we perish (physically, but more so in our soul- our mind, will and emotions) for a lack of knowledge. Our misconceptions (what we make up on our own) and misrepresentations (what we get from other people) – these religious ideas, not truths, give us an illegitimate picture of God’s nature. This divides us within ourselves and makes us hesitant to trust- unsure if God has our best interest at heart. We find ourselves fearful of Him. We choose to be small in life lest we become too much and thus offend God and risk His anger.

You read this and say, no, not me, but if you have escaped the effects of modern religion, you are rare indeed or have spent your life on a deserted island.

So what would you do with your life is knew you could not fail? It’s not an original question. Now give it a twist- what would you do with your life if you knew you could not fall out of favor with God? Go ahead, be the best you can be. Do all those things we mentioned- making money, giving, loving, helping, etc. And if you wake up one day and find the whole world is looking at you and wanting your gracious words of wisdom, just turn and point to Jesus and say, “Now that I have your attention, let me introduce you to the man who made this all possible.”

How you can use your calling, combined with your talents, abilities, and your rich covenant blessing of prosperity, to have an abundance for every good work.

Larry Morrison

http://www.abundanceforeverygoodwork.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Larry_B_Morrison

http://funnychurchclips.blogspot.com 

http://rickwallaceministries.com

On a light note, here is something that is quite funny. Never underestimate the power of laughter. Watch all five and pass it on to those that you wish lift through laughter.

 

http://funnychurchclips.blogspot.com

History dictates revival; God’s plan mandates it. If we were to journey through the annals of history, whether secular of biblical, we would find the unequivocal signs of revival. The development of the Jewish nation through the seed of Abraham was revival. The delivery out of slavery and oppression at the hands of the Egyptians was revival. The release of the Jews from Babylonian captivity and the empowerment to rebuild the Temple was a revival. Make no mistake about it, the day of Pentecost and its subsequent events was a revival. Martin Luther’s protestant reformation was a revival. John Wesley’s Methodist movement was a revival. The civil rights movement of the 20th Century was a revival.

The time in which we now live cries out and yearns for a revival. The inner-city ghettos, the hollowed and damp cells of our prisons, the single parent homes, and the street gangs of this nation are screaming “we need a revival”. There are fatherless young children in need of assurance that there is a brighter tomorrow on the horizon. It is impossible to view this world of ours through a clear lens and not see and feel the undercurrent of despair. We are in need of hope, but where do we find this hope we so desperately and frenetically seek? The answer is Christ. The revival is initiated in Christ.

Who will be the vessels through whom God showers down his awesome favor through revival? God has revealed to me that he will use the downcast and rejected. The impoverished of the inner-city, the denigrated and forgotten man behind bars, the socially rejected; these are the men and women  God is going to use to reveal His love to a world that is struggling to find its identity and purpose. Be sure of this, we are about to witness the greatest revival known to man.

“Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘ Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off! Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold O My people, I will open up your graves and cause you to come up from your graves…Then you shall know that I am the Lord… I will put my spirit in you and you shall live… (Ezek. 37:11-14)

God is once again saying, “preach to my people; tell them, “No More Dry Bones!” Tell them I can and I will deliver. Tell them I am about to open up the graves of their circumstances and breathe the life of a brighter tomorrow into their circumstances.

For this reason, I founded 100 Men of Purpose. John Wesley once said, “Give me 100 men who fear nothing but God and hate nothing but sin and we will change the world.” Wesley and his men went on to do just that, they ignited the Methodist movement. I’m searching for 100 men as dedicated as Wesley; men that understand the meaning of no surrender; no retreat. I also founded Life Solutions 21, an organization dedicated to addressing the enigmatic issues that confront believers on a daily basis. Life Solutions 21 is based on 21 principles of Christian Living:

  1. God Above All Else
  2. God is in Control (understanding that you are never out of God reach and sovereignty)
  3. Constant renewal of the mind and thought process
  4. Daily intake, digestion, metabolism, and inculcation of Bible doctrine
  5. Always look to give more than you receive
  6. Wholeness of life (not being satisfied with a deficiency in any area)
  7. Living in true abundance (closely related to and is the by-product of #6)
  8. Guard your tongue and understand its power (Speak life into your circumstance and others)
  9. Maintain a heart of gratitude (opens the gateway to God’s favor and abundance)
  10. Maintaining the Temple (our bodies must be respected and properly maintained)
  11. Teach others as your learn (everyone has the responsibility to lift those around them.
  12. Build up rather than tear down (The responsibility of the believer is the edification of fellow believers. The root of the Greek word translated “edify” means to build up in the manner that you would build a house.)
  13. Forgive (Forgiveness is one of the greatest ways to reclaim stolen power)
  14. Live in your purpose
  15. Honor God in your walk
  16. Allow Praise to become a daily practice
  17. Work in harmony with other believers
  18. Accept Correction
  19. Take notice of the simple things you once took for granted
  20. Develop a sense of order (through the power of the Holy Spirit take control of your life)
  21. No surrender; no retreat (God finds not pleasure in those that draw back… Heb. 10:38)

 

Through Life Solutions 21 I launched Master Fitness 21 to help believers focus on proper maintenance of the temple. It is still in the developmental stages but you can take advantage of it by clicking Master Fitness 21. In the works is Financial Fitness 21, which will focus on helping believers gain control over their financial situations which is a part of Kingdom responsibilities.

 

“For I know the thoughts I have toward you, says the Lord, thought of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)

 

God wants to reach into your personal situation and transform your existence. He is waiting to be gracious to you (Isa. 30:18). All of the enigmatic issues that have you bogged down in the midst of your journey will be addressed through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is time to live within the sphere of power that has been afforded to every believer. To those that are ready to rise above your circumstances, welcome aboard.

 

God bless,

 

Rick Wallace

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”

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

When Your House Is Not a Home

By Bishop Rick Wallace

 

I want to be very lucid in presenting the fact that I do not write, teach, or preach from a platform of perfection.  As a man I have made mistakes, and those mistakes have at times come at the expense of others.  I have tasted the bitter waters of divorce and staggered through the storm of relational dysfunctionality.  I know what it feels like to have children who are trapped between their love for their parents and the fact that mom and dad are no longer seeing things eye to eye.  No, I don’t write to you this day from the lonely island of perfection, but from the transformed heart of a man of God.  This being the most preeminent of truths: That only through complete surrender to God’s “will” for your life can you find true joy, contentment, and stability in marriage.

 

As we move forward, we will explore God’s will for marriage, marriage’s function as an institution, God’s role in the home, and lastly, what happens when your house is not a home.  A great deal of what will be addressed will be directed toward men because it is my belief that too many men have fallen away from their God ordained duties, creating a void and an imbalance in the function of the home and many other areas of society.  It is now that the clarion is sounding.  God is calling men to resume their positions as leaders, providers, protectors, and enablers.

 

This does not, by any means, excuse our Christian women from walking into their callings and ambling into their destinies.  I know that you have been hurt; I know that you have been disappointed; I know that you have been left with the burden of being a single parent.  Your trust and faithfulness has been repaid with disloyalty, malevolence, and abandonment; however, there is still reason to press on.  God is still in control, I know its been strenuous and arduous, yet, on behalf of every man that deemed it acceptable to procreate and then abandon his progeny, for every man that assumed it satisfactory behavior to be physically or emotionally abusive, for every man that thought it to be the proper course of action to tread upon your dreams, I personally apologize.  Yes, you have been hurt, but now its time to let go and move forward.  It is time to rise up and be all that you were created to be.

 

Men of Power I have not forgotten you. Yes, there are some of you out there that stand strong in your filial responsibilities. There are some of you that refuse to leave your family behind. There are some of you that walk in their God ordained destinies. For those of you that fall into this category, we need your example to shine vividly in this world of diminishing Christian influence.

 

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  (Col 1:17)

 

“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  (Joh 17:5)

 

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Heb 1:3)

 

 

 

These scriptural passages reveal the fact that Christ has existed eternally and that all things consist in Him.  This means that all things are sustained and held together by Christ; this includes the institutions of marriage and family, as well as the home in general.  Knowledge of this truth is of massive importance.  First, it establishes the foundation on which marriages and families are built and sustained; Without Christ in the forefront it is impossible to initiate, cultivate, and sustain any relationship.  Secondly, in time of distance, indifference separation, and even abandonment, the knowledge of Christ’s sustaining power carries you through.  So, again I stress that the points made here must be examined in the light of Christianity (as outlined in the Bible) and the acknowledgement of a sovereign God.  Outside of this prospective, one tends to lean toward human viewpoint and logical resolutions to spiritual issues.  No matter how a problem manifests itself in the physical realm of reality, its source is always of a spiritual nature.

 

For as Paul injects this truth, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).” In 2 Cor. 10:3, he iterates, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.”  The enemy has wreaked immeasurable havoc on the Christian name simply because we did not sense his presence.

 

God’s Way or Yours

 

Contrary to secular paradigms, there are only two ways of approaching life; God’s way or mans way.  There are no middle grounds, no place of compromise, or situational exceptions. When I say this, I am not speaking of religious of legalistic rigidity, but a yield to the will of God through love, honor, and reverence.

 

God establishes through the prophet Isaiah that his ways and thoughts are above ours.

 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isa 55:8,9)

 

This does not mean that we are to continue to live in the darkness of our finite perspicacity, but we are to draw closer to God and His way as each day passes.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded (James 4:8).”  I have been and I will continue to emphasize the profound gravity your thinking has on the success of your Christian journey. The first dictum here is to draw near to God.  This calls for a form of self-abnegation of one’s personal views and values in exchange for the perfect and sovereign will of God.  We are also exhorted to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. We do this by forsaking sin, confession of those sins we do commit, and a purification of our thoughts.  In addition, for the second time in his letter, James addresses the state of being double-minded.  Being double-minded is attempting to think and live in two separate ways.  Double-minded is literally translated “two souls”.  If one part of your being is set on the way of God and the other is set on the way of the world, there will be a constant conflict from within with an outward manifestation of perpetual disarray.  This is what Paul says, “16But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

17For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.” (Galatians 5:16-17)

When a person is perpetually functioning between the two states I call this state of mind spiritual schizophrenia (a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements).  A spiritual schizophrenic is capricious in his thoughts and vacillating in his actions and beliefs, in fact, the Word tells us that he is unstable in all his ways.

 

Every relationship, including marriage, must be entered with the understanding of God’s will.  One of the greatest destructive forces known to marriage or any other relationship, for that matter, is self-determination.  So many of us have entered into relationships that God has not ordained, but we are determined to have nonetheless.  All the signs are there, but we choose to ignore the obvious.  If he or she is married, it is probably a good sign that he or she is not the one God has for you.  If he or she is involved in illicit behavior, there’s probably a good chance that they are not the one.  The list of tells is extensive, but the result is the same — Operating outside of the will of God means operating outside the blessings of God.  Allow me to make myself painfully clear, you cannot operate outside God’s will and have the audacity to expect God to bless and prosper your willful disobedience.  You can’t take something that does not belong to you and ask God to bless it. If fact, you can expect to incur a curse for your disobedience (This is addressed in my treatise Covered by Covenant).

 

With that being said, I must for the sake of doctrinal accuracy, point to the fact that there is no sin that Christ’s magnanimous work on Calvary did not expiate. 1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. What this means is that when we repent of our sins and confess them before God, He will forgive and cleanse us of the guilt and stain of that sin. There are those that will ask why mention this provision. They will postulate that it promotes sin. I would answer, “Doctrine must be taught in accuracy and balance. We weight our teachings in correspondence to our personal views on certain issues, leaving those we teach with distorted views and inadequately equipped to live the Christian life. This is a disservice to those we teach and a dereliction of duty on our part. Every provision of God’s plan of grace has a purpose and should not be overlooked or denied. So even when one enters into a relationship that has not been ordained by God, God himself, when sincerely approached through repentance and confession, will sanctify that relationship.

 

The Proper Connection

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14)

 

 

Though this exhortation extends beyond the institution of marriage, it most definitely applies.  We are not to enter into binding or covenant relationships with those who perpetuate ungodly behavior.  We are the dwelling place of our most holy God and must live a life that honors and glorifies Him.  In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he advises that a saved spouse can sanctify an unsaved spouse;  “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through [h]her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are (L)holy (1 Cor. 7:14 NASB).

 

 

However, here he is speaking of a spouse who became saved during the marriage, not before. Contrary to popular belief, marriage is not the place for a fixer up mentality. What I mean by this is we have a proclivity to think that we can reach out and bring someone into our lives and fix their fallibilities in a manner that suits our desires and needs. Listen very closely to what I am about to tell you. We can only enhance the potential of someone else; we can never create it. Transformation is a human prerogative; it takes the exercise of one’s volition to exact change. Too often we enter into relationships thinking that we can impose our will on our mates and recreate who they are. We see those attributes we are looking for in a mate and totally ignore those characteristics that autonomously express doom.

 

The point I am making here is that it is of immense importance the manner in which one enters marriage and with whom.  This is not to limit God’s ability to sanctify, but to bring to light the fact that God will not abandon His will to appease yours.  So in this instance, if your house is not a home, it was not meant to be.  Remember, God’s will is sovereign.

 

 

 

The Laws of Divine Establishment

 

To truly comprehend the institution of marriage as well as other divine institutions ordained by God, one must first grasp the necessity for each.  We must first understand that God’s plan is eternal.  Because God is omniscient, He is never taken by surprise as it pertains to our actions; He is never surprised by our transgressions.  God, in eternity past, designed a plan by which he would reconcile fallen man to Himself.

 

Matthew 25:34 says, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

 

For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,

(C)AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,”

although His works were finished(D)from the foundation of the world. (Heb. 4:3 NASB)

 

 

We are told that certain things were kept secret from the foundation of the world.  The notion is that because of His omniscience, coupled with His omnipotence, God does not have to wait for us to slip into the pit of despair in order to plan our escape. He has always known that we would fall and has already prepared a way of escape. This, of course should provide a sense of solace, it should establish a foundation of hope.  It should also alert your senses to the truth that there is nothing inconsequential when it comes to a purpose in mind, as we will see.  God is neither frivolous nor capricious in his actions; there is always a purpose —no wasted motions.

 

Understanding the purpose will assist you in functioning optimally within this system designed by God.

 

The laws of Divine Establishment are ensconced within the comprehensive expression of the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law is found specifically in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Law is divided into three major division called codices:

 

Codex 1 is the moral code known as the commandments. This set of rules consists of more than 120 commandments including the Decalogue (also known as the Ten Commandments Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21). Codex 1 establishes and clarifies the moral codes that ultimately proved man is a sinner in need of salvation.

 

18 For (AD)if the inheritance is[aa]based on law, it is no longer[ab]based on a promise; but (AE)God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

19 (AF)Why the Law then? It was added [ac]because of transgressions, having been(AG)ordained through angels (AH)by the [ad]agency of a mediator, until(AI)the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20Now (AJ)a mediator is not [ae]for oneparty only; whereas God is onlyone. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? (AK)May it never be! For (AL)if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness [af]would indeed have been [ag]based on law. 22 But the Scripture has (AM)shut up[ah]everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law,(AN)being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24Therefore the Law has become our(AO)tutor to lead us to Christ, so that (AP)we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a[ai](AQ)tutor. (Galatians 3:18-25 NASB)

 

 

Codex 1 Also provides the foundation for the laws of divine establishment.

 

Codex 2 establishes the spiritual ordinances which are shadows and types of Christ as the savior of the world. The ordinances produce the shadows of Christology and soteriology.

 

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. (Heb. 10:1 NASB)

 

Codex 2 is inclusive of the Levitical Offerings, Holy Days, Tabernacle and its functions, dress and modus operandi of the Levitical Priesthood, and liturgy of worship of Israel.

 

Codex 3 establishes the social code and reveals and presents the laws of divine establishment which are designed to protect freedom and privacy for the entire whole of mankind, believers and non-believers alike. This section of the law delineates the perfect standard for the function of the national entity as well as dietary laws, laws of sanitation, quarantine, soil conservation, taxation, military service, marriage, divorce and more. We find that to insure the proper execution of the laws of divine establishment, God designed four institutions through which the laws of divine establishment would be perpetuated: the individual, the marriage, the family, and the nation.

 

How do the laws of divine establishment affect and apply to the divine institutions?  “God, in His omniscience has always known that man would choose to sin and consequently acquire a sin nature, giving him the unlimited potential to destroy himself and negatively impact those around him.  In order to conserve, protect, and perpetuate the existence of the human race throughout the history of this spiritual warfare some have dubbed the angelic conflict, God instituted the laws of divine establishment.  The laws of divine establishment are principles and precepts that apply to both believers and nonbelievers alike.  The laws of this nation are based upon the laws of divine establishment.  The laws of divine establishment protect life, stability, freedom, possessions, and provide blessings.  The laws give greater weight to certain human possessions, such as, life and freedom.  An adherence to these laws ensures prosperity in so many aspects of our lives.” (R.B. Thieme Jr. Freedom Through Military Victory)

 

This system of control functions under the umbrella of legitimate authority.  Legitimate authority is authority ordained and delegated by God in which certain people have responsibility and a particular scope or range of jurisdiction over other members of society.  Authority exists both, in the temporal and spiritual realms, but the laws of divine establishment only apply to the temporal realm.  The Laws of divine establishment can be reviewed in the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy.

 

The Divine Institutions

 

 

In His infinite wisdom God ordained four divine institutions through which the laws of divine establishment function:  the individual, the marriage, the family, and the national entity.  The ordination, existence, and perpetuation of these institutions are lucidly delineated and symmetrically confirmed by scripture.  God has delegated a primary authority to function within each institution to insure its optimal function: volition for the individual, the husband for marriage, parents for the family, and government for the national entity.  Each of these institutions were a part of God’s plan before the beginning of time, but were revealed at different points in History.  The individual was ordained with the creation of Adam in Geneses 1:26; marriage with the creation of the woman in Genesis 2:23; family with the birth of the first child in Genesis 4:1; the national entity with the formations of nations in Genesis 10:5.  These four institutions encompass the entire human race irrespective to race, religion, gender, social statutes, and all other considerable factors.

 

The Individual

 

Though we, at some point, will discuss each of the divine institutions, our primary focus here, is marriage.  However, before we can apprehensively navigate through the many corridors of marriage, we must first gain an understanding of the function and responsibility of the institution of the individual; the reason being that a functional marriage is the production of two whole individuals uniting and becoming one.  One of the multitudinous quandaries of marriage is the individual who attempts to enter marriage as a means of becoming whole, as a solution to their brokenness, and as a substitute for the emptiness within.  Before entering into the institution of marriage, one must be confident in their identity in Christ.  They must be functional, efficient, and effective in their responsibility as an individual before stepping into the massive responsibility and commitment of marriage.  Marriage is not a cure all for those problematic issues in your life, it is not the place to flee to in search of healing for past hurts, it is a graduation of sorts for the person who has come to a knowledge of self and can enter the bond of matrimony as an asset, not a liability.  Remember, we enter into marriage as a contributor.

 

So, let us take a look at the function and responsibility of the individual.  The individual is the initiator, the foundation on which the other institutions are built. So, it can be said that the strength of any institution can only be as strong as the individual functioning parts.  You can’t take a dysfunctional individual and plug him into a marriage and presume that he will become functional even if the other partner is highly functional.  The marriage, for all it’s worth, may seem to be highly productive; the problem is one person is shouldering the burden.  At some point, the lack of balance and symmetry will cause a breakdown or collapse in some area.  This is not to say that in marriage, one partner at some point or another will not carry a disproportionate share of the burden, however, this should not be characteristic of the relationship.

 

The first individual, Adam, was created by God, perfect, a trichotomous being, existing of body, soul, and spirit.  When he chose, through his own volition, to disobey God and sin, he became dichotomous —existing of only body and soul, having become spiritually dead.  Adam became spiritually dead, his spirit being replaced with a sin nature, the genetic predisposition to sin. As we are his progeny, seminally present at the fall, the sin nature has been genetically passed on to each of us through male procreation, meaning we are all born spiritually dead.

 

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (through Adam). (Rom. 5:12 emphasis added)

 

Only through regeneration, which comes through faith in Christ, can man be rendered trichotomous, spiritually alive.  Notice, regeneration comes through a volitional act of faith.  The primary authority for the individual is volition.  Volition provides the capacity for man to choose, and is a function of the human will, which is controlled by the human soul.  When the human volition is functioning optimally, it functions under the rationale of the soul, not instinct or emotion.

 

Understanding the Power of Volition

 

God’s Biblical mandates are always directed toward volition, making volition a significant and influential force in this spiritual warfare.  The power of choice can never be over estimated or overvalued.  The proper regulation of volition is paramount in the perpetuation of the Christian lifestyle.  We are commanded over and over to choose.  Choose to believe in Christ, choose life or death, and choose to walk in the Spirit.  Make no mistake, the choices you make carry consequence.

 

So, what, ultimately is the function and responsibility of the individual?  The individual is to display self-discipline, in consistently choosing to do what is required of him by God.  He is to live his life in the awesome power of the Holy Spirit.  He is to walk in the confidence of his identity in Christ.  The individual carries the greatest impact on society, for he is not only the foundation for the other institutions, he is also the only institution that directly impacts all others.

 

Confederate General, John Brown Gordon once said, “I am reminded of the commonplace but important truth that the aggregate character of a people of any country depends upon the personal character of its individual citizens; and the individual, personal character of it’s people, than it does upon any constitution that could be adopted or statutes that could be enacted.  What would safe guards be worth if the character of the people did not sustain and enforce them?”

 

So, it’s safe to say that what any individual takes into the bond of matrimony in the form of character, integrity, fortitude, and potential has a monumental and enduring impression upon that marriage. Being somewhat nebulous, a marriage is only capable of producing to the limits and boundaries of its potential; that potential is determined by the individual potential of those that enter this bond of marriage.

 

The Marriage

 

As stated earlier, marriage is not a hiding place for a troubled soul.  It is not an arrangement of convenience through which economic struggles may be confronted.  It is not an expedient arrangement by which the human race is propagated.  No, marriage is a divine institution ordained by God.  It is meant to represent Christ’s love for the church.  When people look into the Christian marriage they should see the reflection of God’s love —no relationship bears more importance to social culture and the church than marriage.

 

Listen to what Biblical scholar R.B. Thieme Jr. has to say about the institution of marriage: “Marriage provides the structure for stability in society, the foundation of civilization.  God’s plan for husband and wife prohibits fornication, adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality, communal living, polygamy, and frivolous divorce.  When the divine design for marriage is spurned by enough people, degeneracy permeates society and the nation declines.” (Freedom Through Military Victory, R.B. Thieme Jr. 2003)

 

Lucidly speaking, as the respect for the sanctity of God ordained marriage wanes, the moral fiber of our social culture begins to unravel.  This explains why things considered unacceptable by the masses a mere twenty years ago are now commonplace.

 

As volition is the delegated authority in the individual, the husband is the authority delegated by God in the marriage.  Now, this fact has become quite controversial in today’s social environment.  This Biblical truth has been misconstrued to indicate or express the superiority of the man over the women.  Some have taken it as an attempt by man to oppress and dominate women.  There are those that will insist that the principle of male authority in the home is archaic and no longer functions in contemporary culture; however, scripture does not support this point of view.  The truth is that all of these misconceptions do not align with Biblical mandate.

 

God, in His infinite wisdom, understands the vast importance of maintaining order, and subsequently designed a system through which order may be sustained, as long as man is obedient to the mandates of the plan.

 

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church, and He is the Savior of the body.”(Eph 5:22)

 

“IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives,” (1 Peter 3:1 AMP)

 

These are two very expressive and revealing scriptural passages. One has to have at least a minimal understanding of categorical bible study. Ephesians 5.22 is Paul’s command to wives to submit and in itself bears clarity to a much misunderstood piece of scripture. In Genesis 3:16, God addresses Eve after the fall. He tells her that her pain in childbirth will be multiplied, but he does not stop there. He concludes with the following statement:

 

“…Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And (R)he will rule over you.” (Gen. 3:16 NASB)

 

There are several popular interpretations for the part of the passage, but the proper one is establish and supported by Paul’s exhortation to wives in Ephesians 5:22.

 

This is what Dr. Thomas Constable has to say about this passage of scripture:

 

“The ‘curse’ here describes the beginning of the battle of the sexes. After the Fall, the husband no longer rules easily; he must fight for his headship. The woman’s desire is to control her husband (to usurp his divinely appointed headship), and he must master her, if he can. Sin had corrupted both the willing submission of the wife and the loving headship of the husband. And so the rule of love founded in paradise is replaced by struggle, tyranny, domination, and manipulation.” (Thomas Constable, Commentary of the Bible)

 

If you want to obtain a more detailed explanation of this passage I would suggest you read the article “What is the Women’s Desire” by Susan T. Foh. She gives a very disciplined description in this article. If you would wish, you may email me at rpw@rickwallaceministries.com and I will provide an in-depth anatomization of this scriptural text.

 

Basically, this conflict in the home is what prompted Paul to address both, husband and wife in Ephesians Chapter five.

 

Marriage is a relationship that involves mutual submission, and though all Christians are called and exhorted to live in submission to one another, submission is applied in a unique manner to the marriage relationship.  The wife is commanded not simply to submit, but to submit to her husband as to the Lord.  The Greek word used here is (“Hypotasso”) — to put in subjection, subject, subordinate; in the passive, to submit, be subject to.  According to the terminology in scripture, she is to hold him in the highest esteem and regard.

 

Every well-ordered society rests upon the pillars of authority and submission.  Where there is no submission to authority, anarchy and chaos run rampant.  Submission never implies inferiority; authority doesn’t establish superiority.  Christ was submissive to God the Father, but at no time was he ever inferior, they are both equally God.  Neither is the woman inferior to man or the wife inferior to the husband.  In fact, there are many areas in which the wife may transcend her husband.

 

I am perfectly cognizant of the fact that the Biblical view is not a popular one, nevertheless, we are not to be conformed to the world but we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  We should not allow the world to influence the stances we take and the way we live our lives.  We are to be the light, the focal point, and the influence that induces a sort of transculturation.

 

Now if the wife is to submit to the husband, what is the husband required to do?  Luke 12:48 tells us that he who has been entrusted with much, of him much will be required.  Before we progress, allow me to bring elucidation to the principle of partial submission.  When a wife submits to her husband, she is not submitting to the man; she is submitting to the God ordained authority given to the man by the creator.  This delegated authority is revocable and is only active when the husband is operating under the will of God.  Whenever a husband chooses to move opposite the will of God, his wife is not obligated to follow his lead, she is to remain in line with the Word.  This insures the authority of headship delegated by God is not abused or used to Lord over the wife.  The wife is not a slave, but a partner.  I digress.  Shall we continue?

 

The husband, in a manner of reciprocation or even excessiveness, is called to love his wife, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her.  He is to put aside his own interest in order to enhance hers.  Beyond God, she is to be placed first; her life above his; her needs before his.  His role is to nourish (Greek ekotrphō —to support her growth toward her personal maturity), and to cherish (Greek thalpō —to warmly care for and attend to).  When in the perfect harmony God intended, each partner in marriage proactively and interactively brings the other to his or her full potential in life.

 

When a marriage is lived out in a mutually loving, supportive, and loyal environment, it mirrors the love of Christ for the church and the love the church is called to have toward Him.

 

Again, at the risk of being redundant, I reiterate, the submissive woman of the Bible is far from weak.  She is the epitome of strength and spiritual fortitude.  She is the heart line of the home.  She is the source of favor and blessing for her husband.  Proverbs 18:22 says, “he that finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”  A Godly wife is the greatest gift a man may obtain from the Lord beyond salvation.

 

Thus far, we have ingested quite a bit of information, let’s take a moment to allow our souls to digest it.  What can we ascertain from what has been taken in thus far?  First and foremost, marriage is a vehicle through which God reveals his love to a world in desperate need of a Savior.  It is not a place for one to fulfill their selfish desires.  It is a place of giving, caring, loving and so much more.  It is the opportunity to wake up each day and glance over into the eyes of God’s most vivid portrait of His love for you.  It is the opportunity to experience God’s divine favor as it is showered upon your home via deitious promise and divine providence.

 

The question then arises: If God has established such a lofty status for marriage, why are there so many houses and so few homes?  Why is the divorce rate in excess of 50% of all marriage in the U.S.?  The answer in its simplest form is we are not living our lives in the power of the spirit.  We have not allowed the power of the blood to permeate through every fissure and orifice of our marriage.  We have chosen to position ourselves in the philosophical pool of popularity.  We have engaged ourselves with cosmic philosophies that promote and entice narcissistic behavior.

 

Please believe me when I tell you that there is no greater, no more of a powerful magnet of God’s blessings and favor than the union of marriage, yet if you are in a marriage functioning outside of the will of God, it can be the most miserable of places.

 

Though women are not beyond reproach, it is my position that a vast majority of the social and spiritual issues we are confronted with today are due to a falling away of the Christian man.  Don’t get me wrong, I could probably write volumes as to the state of the Christian woman in today’s society, but honestly if it were not for a nucleus of Christian women who have stood firm in the faith despite the antinomianistic environments in which they reside, I’m afraid to think of where we would be in this country.

 

I want to take time to say that when I speak of Christian living, it is not of lethargic, luke warm Christianity.  I speak of spirit filled men and women who desire nothing more than to please the Father, to walk into their purpose, and fulfill their destinies, I do not speak of fence straddlers, those who live their lives as they please and yet arrogantly expect God to service their needs and desires, with no consequence to their mutinous behavior.  No, I speak of the believer who understands that he/she is the salt of the earth and that low living is not their calling.

 

Are You The Man You Think You Are?

 

We, as a nation, as a Christian people, have found ourselves in a very precarious position.  Single parent households are at an all time high.  To exacerbate matters, the men that have fled these homes have defaulted on their promissory oaths and paternal obligations.  Men have, in some way, found it both, easy and acceptable to procreate and then abandon their progeny.  The very foundation of our moral integrity and manly honor has been shaken to the very core.  It would be a foolish assessment to attribute every social issue and all of the enigmatic predicaments that confront us to men, yet, as men; we must face the fact that our leadership is in many ways, faulty.  We have fallen short in the function of our God ordained duties as the head.  We adamantly declare our kingship, but fail to sustain its requisites.  We have too easily become transculturated by the precepts, philosophies and principles of the world around us.  The standard by which we are to be measured and appraised should always be the Word of God.

 

“But if anyone does not provide for his own and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”(1 Tim 5:8)

 

These are strong words by the Apostle Paul.  He says failure to take care of your paternal or filial obligations equates to a denial of the faith.  He goes one step further by declaring failure in this area places the believer in a position worse than that of an unbeliever.  This is for the simple reason that there are unbelievers that grasp and embrace the concept of relational responsibilities.  It is easy to see that the Christian man who fails in his responsibilities to his family, not only places his family in a position of suffering; it brings reproach to the faith.

 

When Things Go Wrong

 

Please understand that though I cannot condone frivolous divorce, there are times when divorce is the best and maybe even the only option.  I’m sure that there are those that will be critical of the aforementioned statement, however, the fact remains that there are times when we place ourselves in situations that are outside the scope of God’s will for our lives.  But Bishop, Christ emphatically, unequivocally, and explicitly says that divorce is not allowed except for infidelity.  Well, first of all, He did not say infidelity; He said sexual immorality, which extends far beyond infidelity.  Yet, this is not the issue.  If we desire to use the Word to set up loop holes in which we can operate within our own will, we are out of line, but just as dangerous is the one who attempts to use the letter of the law to establish, contrive, or even rebut the righteousness of himself or others.  To do so is to discount God’s grace.  The issue here is the depth of God’s Word and the ability through the Holy Spirit to grasp or apprehend its meaning.

 

Make no mistake about it; divorce was in no way God’s intention for marriage.  It is and has always been God’s ideal that one man and one woman remain married until the matrimonial bond is broken by death (Rom. 7:2,3).

 

We find in Malachi 2:16 that God hates divorce.

 

So then, why did God allow for divorce?  Christ tells us that God, through Moses, gave an allowance for divorce because of the hardness of man’s heart.  Moses‘ law of divorce is in essence, a concession to man’s weaknesses, and was not given to make the act of divorce easier, on the contrary, it was given to constrain the ease in which a divorce is obtained, in actuality, giving the wife a protection she had not enjoyed to that point.  Before the law was constituted, the wife had very few rights of protection; the husband could simply decide he no longer wanted his wife, with little or no provocation and then force her out of the home.

 

Earlier, I made the statement that there are times divorce becomes necessary.  We know by literal translation that sexual immorality may be used as scriptural grounds for divorce, yet, scripture does not “mandate” divorce in the instance of sexual immortality.  Even in the area of infidelity, if it is possible to save the marriage, it is your responsibility to do so.  The question then arises: are there any other legitimate reasons for divorcing a life partner?  Depending on what Bible scholar you confer with, the answer may vary.  Even when it comes to the stated exception for divorce (sexual immorality), scholars are not in absolute agreement.  Some believe this exception applies to premarital sexual immorality, some postnuptial transgressions.  Most scholars, based on 1 Cor. 7:12-16, believe that divorce is acceptable when a believing spouse is deserted by an unbelieving spouse.  This writer concurs; in fact, I would like to take this particular passage of scripture to make an important and extremely essential point as it pertains to the study of scripture.

 

In several passages of scripture, however, Paul explicitly says that a believer can be released from the bond of marriage if their unbelieving spouse chooses to leave.

 

Does this mean that either passage (Christ’s or Paul’s directive’s for divorce. Christ said only sexual immorality and Paul said dessertion) is fallacious or that scripture is contradicting scripture? Certainly not.  It simply points to the truth that the Bible is not comprehensive in scenerio; it does not address every possible scenario on every possible issue, it addresses life in principle.  The Bible points us toward the heart of God, it reveals God and His plan for our lives and addresses issues in principle (e.g. Matt 18:21-22).  In this example, Peter approaches Christ concerning the act of forgiveness; should a man forgive his brother as many as seven times for personal transgressions?  Jesus‘ answer was succinct, yet immensely profound:  “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”(v.22) Was Christ setting the bar at 490? Of course not, He was establishing the perpetual necessity of forgiveness. Jesus is not applying a mathematical formula; he is implying limitless forgiveness.

 

It becomes obvious through scriptural comparison that divorce is allowed in other situations other than sexual immorality.  So then, why does Jesus only mention one?  Since God is not the author of confusion, we may safely postulate that Christ is not attempting to use omission in an attempt to leave you in a comatic state of ambivalence.  Christ is, in essence, uses sexual immorality, due to its devastating force on all of those it touches, and its significance in biblical times to establish a level of inclemency, volatility, and ephemerality at which the institution of marriage becomes soluble or irreconcilable.

 

So, what are the other instances in which divorce may be acceptable to God?  There is no way to present an exhaustive list in this matter, but some of the obvious cases would be situations in which there is physical or emotional abuse, where the long term effect could be spiritual deficiency, emotional instability, physical injury or even death.  Any situation in which one partner is being manipulated, dominated or oppressed in a manner that impedes their growth, spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually.  Abandonment, in the sense of emotional or physical separation may be another situation in which divorce is warranted. A situation in which it is determined that a spouse may be dangerous toward the children in the home is an instance that requisites divorce.  Because of God’s matchless and enduring love for His chosen, it is never His will that we languish in any situation that is destructive toward our spiritual growth and continuous progression toward Him and eternity.

 

Because we once walked in complete carnality and even now stumble into its arena, it is possible to enter into unions that are not conducive to Christian growth nor do they meet God’s approval.  Are we to remain in these non-efficacious alliances?  That is the question.  Keep in mind that when Jesus addresses the Pharisees concerning divorce, He is as in other instances, such as adherence to the Sabbath, addressing the rigidity in which they interpret the law.

 

Please do not take away from this that I uphold spontaneous or capricious actions that lead to avoidable and unnecessary divorce.  Nevertheless, it is my stand that there are times in which divorce is the proper course of action.  At the end of the day, one must search within and be able to reconcile their actions with God’s will for their life.

 

This intermittent treatise on divorce and Christianity is not and was not meant to be discursive, but is meant to bring illumination to some very real situations that many are facing today.  What I can say as we prepare to press on is, “God’s grace is sufficient.”  God’s grace is powerful enough to lift the burden of guilt brought on by stumbling or falling in His will so that you may continue in this ethereal journey called Christianity.  Grace is not to be perceived as a crutch that supports unbridled sin, but the force that rescues us from the grave of inevitable failure.  It is grace that reveals the affinity or propinquity of God‘s love for his chosen.

 

Turning Your House Into A Home

 

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.”(Taken from: Beautiful Christian Sister By Maya Angelou)

 

The preceding statement points to what I believe to be the most influential force in determining the outcome of any marriage, the nature of its conception.  I believe the principle injected in this quote applies to men as well as women.  Let’s think about it for a moment: A person’s heart should be so enamored and occupied with Christ that any potential mate must first seek Him to find them.  Abiding in Christ, or as Maya so powerfully stated, being hidden in Him, protects us not only from others, but also from ourselves.  When we walk outside of Christ our judgment, cogitative instincts, and overall rationale becomes nebulous.  We simply function below par.  When it comes to making the most important decision of your life outside of where you will spend eternity; whom you will spend the rest of your life with here on earth, you must be in a state of lucidity.  You must be in a place of clarity that can only be found in Christ.  Furthermore, your options should be reduced to those as occupied with Christ as you.

 

What is a home and how is one built?  A home is that place in which you find solace from the struggles of the day.  A home is that place where you are able to be you and yet remain secure in your identity.  A home is a place that covers and protects you from the many forces that tend to drain you of your energy and strength.  It is the one place that should always be a safe refuge.  So, how do we build this place of refuge?  Let’s start by inviting Christ to perpetually reside in this place of dwelling.  His presence is paramount.

 

The Word of God clearly declares that we are to edify one another.

 

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thes. 5:11)

 

It is interestingly ironic that the word translated “edify” is made up of two Greek words: “oikos” translated “a home” and “dimeo”, which means, “to build”.  Literally speaking, edify means to “build a home”.  So, one of the most potent forces in building and maintaining a home is mutual edification, the positive development of your mate’s self-esteem.

 

Whether its self-esteem, self-image, or self-concept, either term is used to describe how a person sees himself, how he feels about himself and the worth or value he places on himself.  To comprehensively address the issue of self-image or self-esteem would require volumes, but I would like to introduce you to its importance in turning a house into a home.

 

Earlier on, I made the point that marriage is not a cure all for the emotional deficiencies and painful voids one has incurred.  It is still my belief that one should be as complete as possible before entering into marriage.  The responsibilities that accompany marriage are so massive that one must be at full strength to engage them.  With that being said, no matter how well someone seems to be put together, there are kinks in the armor, areas in which they struggle.

 

Where does a person’s self-image come from? It comes from a combination of a cluster of numerous memories, the perception or interpretation of those memories, and the weight and value given to those memories.  How was this person treated by their parents and primary label givers, especially during those impressionable years from self-awareness to adolescence?  A label giver is any person in a position to have a powerful enough impact to influence how you perceive yourself.  In the light of this definition, parents are the most powerful label givers.  Maybe your father was absent, planting a seed that you were not worthy enough in some way, to require his presence.  There are many other ways parents influence the self-image of their children, both, positively and negatively.

 

How well did this person navigate through the middle school and high school years?  This is a time when one’s peers possess an immensely powerful influence on their lives.  Were you liked or ostracized by your peers?  How are you perceived in the work place and how do you perceive the way you are perceived?  All these situations and more influence a person’s self-esteem.

 

From a very early age we begin to develop portraits, concepts, and attitudes about ourselves as well as others.  These attitudes form the lens through which we see ourselves.  This is the process in which we are either positively or negatively influenced.  Thus, we are able to see the need for spousal edification.

 

Founder of “Focus on The Family, Dr. James Dobson emphasizes the importance of building the self esteem of your spouse.  Listen to what he says:

 

“The most successful marriages are those where both husband and wife seek to build the self-esteem of the other.  Ego needs can be met within the bonds of marriage, and nothing contributes more to closeness and stability than to convey for the personhood of the spouse.” (Focus On The Family, 1985)

 

Why is it so important to build your mates self-esteem?  One very important reason is the home is the place that the majority of us are most vulnerable. The things like work, sports, and other activities we use to mask our deficiencies are not present in the home.  In the home, one’s ability to perform in the work place, or on the field or court does not come into play.  It is in the home that we are forced to face our feelings of inadequacy and areas of self-doubt.

 

One of the most powerful gifts we have is our ability to encourage and empower others.  Every person needs at least one person to stand alongside them to build them up. You are that person for your spouse.

 

We have all heard the saying: Behind every great man is a great woman.”  It may be his mother, or a schoolteacher, but most likely, his wife.  Why is he great?  He is great because she is great.  Why is she great?  She is great because she knows his weaknesses, but instead of exploiting them, she strives to help him strengthen them.  She lifts him up with encouraging words and emphasizes his strengths and capabilities.  She assures him that he is necessary and that he has a place.  He functions with confidence because he no longer feels threatened.  She assures him that she loves him for who he is and accepts him along with his imperfections.  He, in turn, can function in the productive arena of confidence.  I can personally attest to the negative impact of having had a mate that did not believe in me.

 

Just as a woman plays a major role in the over all success of her husband, the same applies in the reverse.  A woman reaches her full potential in whatever capacity she functions when her husband fulfills his responsibility to support, protect, and empower her. He provides the secure environment she yearns in the deepest recesses of her being. He provides the covering of protection, enhancement, and empowerment necessary for her to function optimally. He provides her with the confidence she needs to fulfill her full potential and reach her destiny.

 

The awesome rewards of building your mates self-esteem extend beyond the confines of the marriage.  A couple with positive self-images is better equipped to rear children and contribute to society in general.

 

So, I invite you to endeavor to edify your spouse.  As you, each day build layer upon layer of your mate’s confidence, you are also building the foundation to transform your house into a home, and as you march forward, always remember that it begins and ends with Jesus Christ.

 

May you be richly blessed?

 

Sincerely,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Founder and President

Rick Wallace Ministries

100 Men of Purpose

Life Solutions 21

The Invisible Father

Christian Impact

 

%d bloggers like this: