Category: patience


“One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.” ~ Napoleon Hill

When Love Trumps Anger

October 26, 20l2
When Love Trumps Anger
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth
“My dear brothers, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” – James 1:19-20 (NIV).

Friend To Friend
“I’m a terrible mom!”

Do you ever say these words? I do. I did that day. The day I was working in my office, minding my own business, when my oldest son threw a paper airplane at the back of my head.  Not one to normally welcome an air attack, I gave him the stern “mom voice,” and asked him to stop messing around. I told him to give me some private time so I could get some work done. He agreed, and turned to leave. Surprisingly, he then jumped around and threw it at me again!  Well, let me tell you, my grace-o-meter was reading pretty low at this point!  I barked like an angry dog.  “What in the world do you think you are doing?  I just told you that I needed to be left alone so I can get some work done!  Stop it!”

“But Mom, there’s a message on the plane,” he tenderly replied. “Read it.”

As I unfolded the airplane made of orange construction paper, I saw this message written in pink marker:  “Mom, I Love You.” His affectionate declaration was followed by a few X’s and O’s. You know: hug, hug, kiss, kiss. Pure precious. Big fail.

“Nice!” I said to myself. “Loser-mom strikes again.”  I had scolded my son and reacted out of frustration with an unkind tone. All the while, my son was trying to communicate love to me.

I felt horrible. Time seemed to stand still as I started to beat myself up.

Shame began to fill my heart, but as it did the Spirit of God within me gently nudged – reminding me that condemnation is not from Him … that His conviction was purposed to spur me on toward choosing a godly response.  So I chose love – God’s love alive in me.  As I chose God’s better way, the grace way, His love trumped my anger.  It’s weightier.  Praise God!

I called my son back into my office, and apologized for my behavior.  I welcomed this tall, lanky teen to sit on my lap and told him that – while I’m not particularly fond of airplane attacks, especially while I’m working, I am fond of love attacks.  We held each other and had a very sweet moment.

As Preston and I hugged, God reminded me of this principle: When we allow His love to trump our anger, we are able to experience restoration in relationships.

My dear brothers, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (James 1:19-20 NIV).

The Bible tells us that we are to be slow to anger.  It is a lesson that I am still learning.  Now, that doesn’t mean we should never be angry.  Jesus exhibited righteous anger in the Jerusalem temple when he drove out the merchants that were buying and selling there.  Righteous anger is permissible.  We should be angry about sin and injustice.  But when we respond to others in anger, it becomes our sin.

Got any relationships that are in need of restoration?  Is there any anger, unforgiveness, or bitterness in your heart that might be gaining a stronghold in your life and keeping you from God’s best?  The benefits of allowing the love of God to trump the anger in your heart are tremendous, but the application can be very challenging.  We can’t overcome our natural, sinful tendencies to react, and overreact, in anger alone.  We need God’s help.  His strength will meet us at our need when we call on Him.  The Holy Spirit will help us to respond in God’s strength, not our own.

Call on His strength today.

Let’s Pray
Holy Father, Thank you for leading me in Your way of grace today. I need Your help!  I confess my anger/bitterness/unforgiveness right now with _______________.  Please forgive me.  Please bring restoration to the relationships that have been affected by my anger.  Help me recognize when I over-react or when I respond in anger that is ungodly.  Give me the strength to respond in love – to be slow to speak and quick to listen – so that You can be glorified through my behavior.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

October 16, 2012

Master Designer
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10, New English).

Friend to Friend
Our son was born to be a builder. From the time he could hold a plastic red hammer in his toddler-sized hands, Jered began hammering imaginary nails into the coffee table, fixing everything that was broken in our house, and drawing crayon blueprints of various objects he planned to build. No wooden surface in our home was safe from Jered’s scrutiny or design.

Since my husband enjoyed woodworking as a hobby, he decided to build Jered a miniature workbench beside his own in the garage. Several nights each week, Dan and Jered headed out to the garage to pound and hammer and do what they called “man stuff.” I thought it was cute – a philosophy that would drastically change in the years to come.

I knew we had a true builder on our hands when Jered built a clubhouse inside our garage. And what a clubhouse it was – complete with four walls, a roof, windows and a door, carpeted flooring and a window air conditioning unit – all of which he scrounged from neighbors, dumpsters and piles of discarded wood at construction sites. He built a jewelry box for my birthday and a toy box that held his prized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If we needed storage cabinets in our garage, Jered drew up blueprints and built them. When we moved to a house with small bedrooms, Jered designed and built a queen-sized bunk bed over a built-in desk and book shelves to conserve space in his room. We no longer bought furniture. Jered simply built it. Looking back, I did not realize that those crayon blueprints and plastic tools would pave the way for our son’s career. Today, he owns his own construction business and is a master carpenter and builder.

Jered reminds me of another young man who was destined to become a builder – Jesus. Jesus’s earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter by trade and taught Jesus everything he knew about being a master carpenter. It was not uncommon for the son to carry on his father’s business in those days. I often wonder if Jesus didn’t have a little workbench beside Joseph’s. I am sure Jesus must have followed His daddy around, hammering alongside His father’s true blows. I imagine Joseph had to remove a few stray nails driven by Jesus and even repair a few of his Son’s “jobs.” Did Jesus make a jewelry box for His mother or did He build a piece of furniture that Mary treasured like I treasure everything Jered has ever built for our home? Jesus was and is the ultimate Architect and Builder.

Yes, God is the Master Creator, but His greatest creations are not made of wood or stone. Jesus was and is the creator of eternal masterpieces like you and me. His blueprint for our lives is second to none. His plan is the Word of God and is without flaw or error as it molds us into the image of God – a process that is sometimes painful.

I once promised myself that I would never buy a house that could be described as a “fixer-upper.” I don’t like fixing things. I want everything to be fixed before I move in. But there I was, buying a town house that needed so much work even the realtor couldn’t believe my husband and I wanted to buy it. Why didn’t someone stop me? No one did, so the sale was made, and we went to work. Actually, my son and husband went to work while I went crazy.
I had no idea how horrible the process of remodeling could be. Layer after layer of dirt, grime, stains and ugliness was stripped away. Rotten kitchen cabinets were torn from the walls, and rusty appliances were replaced. We basically gutted the whole place and rebuilt it – while living in it. I was not happy!

I will never forget the day I woke up to see a toilet sitting at the foot of our bed. It was at that moment I resolved to never set foot in another house that required so much work. I am so thankful God does not feel that way about me.

Honestly, I used to wonder why God didn’t just demolish the old me and build a new one. Then He did just that – through a two-year battle with clinical depression. While sitting at the bottom of that deep, dark and slimy pit, the Father lovingly stripped away old fears and insecurities. From the walls of my heart, He tore the rotten attitudes, undisciplined thoughts and unholy desires that had walked me to the edge of my pit – then pushed me in. He replaced rusty old dreams with new ones and basically, gutted my life to build a new one, a better one, and a stronger one.

I know there are days when the plan of God seems completely wrong and we simply do not understand. Every moment is pregnant with darkness, and our hearts are numb, paralyzed by fear and doubt. We are treading water in the storm-tossed sea of life, desperately longing to see Him walking on the treacherous waves toward us, rescue in His hand. It is in those shadowed moments that we must choose to trust the Plan Maker, the Master Designer, even though our faith is small, and we cannot understand the plan. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And one day, every one of our question marks will be yanked into exclamation points as we see that high plan as He sees it – perfect.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

Today, girlfriend, set aside your meager agenda. Lay down your limited life arrangement and look for God to meet you at the point of surrender, power and victory in His hands. Now that is a great plan.

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.

“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Heb. 6:15).

Abraham was long tried, but he was richly rewarded. The Lord tried him by delaying to fulfill His promise. Satan tried him by temptation; men tried him by jealousy, distrust, and opposition; Sarah tried him by her peevishness. But he patiently endured. He did not question God’s veracity, nor limit His power, nor doubt His faithfulness, nor grieve His love; but he bowed to Divine Sovereignty, submitted to Infinite Wisdom, and was silent under delays, waiting the Lord’s time. And so, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

God’s promises cannot fail of their accomplishment. Patient waiters cannot be disappointed. Believing expectation shall be realized.

Beloved, Abraham’s conduct condemns a hasty spirit, reproves a murmuring one, commends a patient one, and encourages quiet submission to God’s will and way. Remember, Abraham was tried; he patiently waited; he received the promise, and was satisfied. Imitate his example, and you will share the same blessing. -—Selected

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There is something sacred about waiting, but not simply waiting; waiting patiently. It was David that said, “I waited patiently on the Lord and He inclined to me….(Psalm 40:1). There is something about the one that has settled within their hearts that they are going to wait patiently on the Lord.

Waiting on the Lord patiently does not imply that the waiting lacks the tension of anticipation and expectation, no it is implicit of a heart that is so settled that delay does not deter it. Waiting patiently means that time is not a factor in measuring your faith. Waiting patiently is the product of trusting God beyond the boundaries of time and believing that what he has promised He is able to perform.

Abraham waited 25 years for the fulfillment of the promise that produced Isaac. Joseph waited patiently through slavery and imprisonment for more than thirteen years before the vision was fulfilled.

The God we serve is faithful, so do not grow weary in waiting and trusting. That which He has promised, He will deliver. This is why the writer of Hebrews tells us to hold fast to the confession of our faith. Because time and delay have a way of testing and stretching our faith. The sweet nothings of negativity whispered by others tend to shorten our faith line. The incessant cloud cover tends seize the longevity of our faith. Know that God responds to the intrepid and inexorable force of timeless faith. “…though it tarry, wait for it, for it will surely come…and it will not tarry (Hab. 2:3). Though it seems that the promise is lingering, God is never tardy in honoring His Word. When you wait, you win! ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

“…and He (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes…(Rev. 21:4).

This particular verse is referencing what will take place in the New Heaven and the New Earth, but is reveals a spiritual principle that can be applied today; God responds to the cries of His people. God told Moses, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people…and have given heed to their cry…the cry of the sons of Israel has come to me…therefore I will send you…(Ex. 3:7-9; NASB).

No matter what you are going through right now, God sees; God hears; and God knows. Your tears are momentary and they are calling God into action on your behalf. He has not forgotten about you. He is a true and faithful God that will honor His word to “never leave nor forsake you”. It may be dark now; the tempest may be raging in your life. You may be looking for true and genuine friends, but finding out that they are few. You may being feeling the sting of abandonment and betrayal. Maybe you have lost a loved one and the pain seems unbearable. Well, I want you to understand that the God we serve is the God of “the rescue”. He will show up and He will deliver.

Sometimes it is hard to smile, but hold on, your change is coming.

When I am in a situation and it seems that the darkness will never end, I am reminded of Job as he dealt with the heavy darkness that rested over his life. Job declared in the middle of all that he was dealing with “…All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes (Job 14:14, NASB). This is the mindset of the believer. There are times when I can’t see any way that I could possibly come out of the current situation favorably. There are times that I can’t see any sign of the end, but I am reminded that I do not walk by sight, but by faith in God to perform what he has promised. Like Job, I have decided that no matter how long it takes, I will wait until my change comes.

If I have to wait alone, I will wait. If I am ridiculed for being foolish and unrealistic, I will wait. When the enemy paints illusionistic portraits of negativity, I will wait. When the tears are rolling down in an unstoppable stream and my pillow becomes drenched, I will wait.

Though you can’t see it right now, your change is coming. Although the pain is larger than you right now, your change is coming. Although you can’t see any resemblance of what is expected, your change is coming.

God has sent his Word and it will perform all that it was sent to accomplish in you, through you, and for you! So, go ahead, cry if you must, your tears a temporary! ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

 

Worth Saving

No one believed in people more than Jesus did. He saw something in Peter worth developing, in the adulterous woman worth forgiving, and in John worth harnessing.

He saw something in the thief on the cross, and what he saw was worth saving. And in the life of a wild-eyed, bloodthirsty extremist, He saw the apostle of grace. He believed in Saul.

Don’t give up on your Saul. When others write him off, give him another chance. Stay strong. Call him brother. Call her sister. It’s too soon to throw in the towel. Talk to your Saul about Jesus, and pray.

God is at work behind the scenes. And remember this: God never sends you where he hasn’t already been. By the time you reach your Saul, who knows what you’ll find.

God used Saul, who became Paul, to touch the world.

Has God given you a Saul?

From Cast of Characters
Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com

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I love reading the work of other men of God and Max Lucado is one of my favorites. His ability to simplify the most powerful of truths is extraordinary. His installment today is no different. Max points to the fact that Jesus sees the potential in the wretched and reaches out to touch that wretchedness with a transforming love that produces the exceptional.

Max appeals to his readers to not give up on their “Saul”. When Christ met Saul on the Damascus road he was the enemy of the church. He was the one who consented to the stoning of Stephen. He was inexorable in persecuting Christians and on his way to do more damage. Christ looked through the wretchedness and validated the potential. Saul (Hebrew name) became Paul (Greek name) and he became one of the greatest champions of the Church.

There are those in your life that have yet to actualize their potential in the Kingdom; don’t cast them away. They need your love. They need your support. They need your encouragement, and they need your prayers. I know that it can be frustrating as you attempt to help birth the new man within your Saul, but when you are tempted to give up, remember that Christ did not give up on you and sent Christian soldiers to usher you into your anointing.

Remember in the book of acts after Paul’s encounter with Christ, the Spirit compelled Ananias to go visit Paul and pray for him. Ananias remembered what Saul had done and wanted no part of it, but the Spirit assured him that there was purpose in Saul and he needed to go pray for him. There is also purpose in the Saul in your life. There is a Paul within them that is struggling to come forth. Don’t write them off. Don’t give up on them. Don’t look down on them. Christ believes they are worth it; who are you to think different. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

July 19, 2012
Whose Report are You Going to Believe?
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” – (Numbers 13:30 NIV).

Friend to Friend
All through the Bible, God gives us great and wonderful promises about who we are in Christ, what we have in Christ, and where we are in Christ. Let me remind you of just a few.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)
God…has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3).
For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:5)
The Bible is packed full of many promises just like those. However, the enemy, Satan, tells us that we are worthless losers with little to no power to live in victory. He tells us we are but “grasshoppers” in the face of our difficulties and struggles. So, who’s reports are we going to believe?

The Israelites faced the same situation. They had been freed from Egyptian slavery and then headed into the desert. Then God signaled it was time to enter the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. He said, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan which I am giving the Israelites.”

At God’s command, Moses sent in twelve men to spy out the land. Ten came back with this report:

We went into the land which you sent us and it does flow with milk and honey! But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large (Numbers 13:27,28). The men went on to say they were like grasshoppers compared to the giants who lived in Canaan.

However, two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, believed God. This was their report: We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it (13:30).

Guess who the people believed? They believed the ten who said, “we can’t,” rather than the two who said, “God already has.” Why? Lack of faith and an abundance of fear. I have an acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. They saw only the giants, but failed to see Almighty God. God had already given them the land, the people simply needed to walk in and take possession of it. But instead of moving into the Promised Land, they wandered in the desert for forty years because of their unbelief. The entire generation, except for Caleb and Joshua, died in their unbelief. Caleb and Joshua marched in and took possession of what God had already promised and provided.

Oswald Chambers notes, “Human frailty is another thing that gets between God’s words of assurance and our own words and thoughts. When we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems to be non-existent. But remember God’s assurance to us – “I will never…forsake you.” Have we learned to sing after hearing God’s keynote? Are we continually filled with enough courage to say, ‘The Lord is my Helper,’ or are we yielding to fear?”

I don’t want to be like those Israelites who didn’t believe God told the truth. Do you? Let me ask you a few questions: Are you going to move into the land flowing with milk and honey – take the promises found in the Bible and make them yours? Or, are you going to believe the evil report and continue wandering around in the desert – free from slavery, but missing the Promised Land? Who’s report are you going to believe?

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but[b]divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…7 [c] You are looking at [d]things as they are outwardly.  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 7, NASB)

In the above scriptural passage we have an extremely powerful revelation given to us by God through the Apostle Paul. In it we find not only one of the major reasons why many believers live perpetually in a state of defeat, we also find the means of overcoming our defeatist state of mind.

It is of immense importance to the Christian believer to understand the manner in which he must engage his struggles. Too often the believer attempts to engage spiritual matters through natural means and finds himself in a place of intense darkness. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 10 Paul produces a state of lucidity for the Corinthian believers who were in a state of carnality that was close to tearing the local church apart.

In verse 3, Paul immediately introduces a truth that when apprehended brings with it victory and power. Paul tells the Corinthian believers that although they walk in the natural realm, they do not wage war through natural means.

I cannot stress enough the gravity of this truth. So many believers find themselves in situations and they immediately employ natural methods of engagement to spiritual issues. Allow me to elucidate; no matter what situation you may be in, no matter how pragmatic or empirical the evidence of your circumstances may be, the issue is always spiritual. What you are seeing is simply the physical manifestation of an issue that has a spiritual origin.

Paul made this very clear when he told the Ephesians that “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood…’ but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12).” The problem may have manifested itself in some physical form and yes that physical issue must be addressed, but the issue must be engaged from the place of spiritual warfare.

I have noticed as I read the tweets, posts and rants of believers that know how to speak about breakthrough, but very few of them understand the true dynamics of obtaining their breakthrough. Understand that the enemy preys on our ignorance. It was the Prophet Hosea that gave us the revelation that God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. The enemy knows that the vast majority of believers are lacking in foundational indoctrination; this means that believers don’t fully understand their basic rights and the assets that are available to them as a part of the royal family of God.

What the enemy does is attack believers and then convinces them that there is nothing that they can do about it. The enemy has successfully directed the focus of believers to their circumstances and away from God. Many of you reading this short treatise are convinced that your breakthrough is tied to the improvement of your circumstances. Let me make something lucidly clear to you; the Christian life is not circumstantial; it is not situational; it is solidified in your position in Christ and validated through your faith.

What does Paul say on the matter? He says that we walk in the flesh, but we do not wage war according to the flesh. What he is saying is that we may be of this world, but we are not bound by it. Our spiritual assets are powerful and mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds. For those of you that did not get it, the pulling down of strongholds constitutes a breakthrough; however, the breakthrough is not initiated in the physical realm. This is where so many believers lose the battle. The breakthrough is initiated in your thought processes. It is in understanding your identity in Christ; it is in being cognizant of the divine assets that you have at your disposal; it is in understanding the dynamics of spiritual warfare.

So many of you are waiting on your circumstances to change to validate your breakthrough, but your circumstances are actually waiting on you to move into the spiritual realm and assert your spiritual prowess through faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s be clear about this, this is not mystical, but it is spiritual. This is about gaining an understanding that your circumstances to do not dictate who you are and what you can and will accomplish. Listen to what I am about to say very carefully: Your victory is not in the changing of your circumstances, but in the manner that you engage them. Your breakthrough is not in alleviating the struggle, but realizing that you are victorious despite them. As a faith wielding believer, you are built to advance in adversity. Adversity is the fertile soil in which faith is cultivated and grown.

It was Paul that said that tribulation produces patience, and patience hope, and hope does not disappoint. So, you see that your breakthrough begins with your state of mind. You are victorious even in the midst of the struggle. You are still royalty, even in the midst of the struggle. You are still a joint heir with Christ, even in the midst of the struggle. You are still men or valor and women of virtue, even in the midst of the struggle.

Paul tells us that our weapons are mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds. The physical manifestation of your breakthrough comes when you exercise the dynamics of faith through a mindset that says I am who God says that I am and I will not be shaken or swayed by my circumstances. Genuine breakthrough manifests itself in the physical when authentic believers refused to back down to their circumstances. The believer simply decides that they will not receive the negative report of the enemy. Although the circumstance is real, the believer’s spirit simply disagrees with the circumstance.

What I mean when I say that a believer’s spirit disagrees with their circumstances is that they see that the circumstance is real, but they understand that they have the power to step into the spiritual realm and override the circumstance and render it inconsequential in negative impact. The believer that has learned how to wage spiritual warfare knows how to use their negative situations to their benefit.

In the book of Isaiah, Chapter 40 we are told that those that wait upon the Lord are renewed in strength and shall mount up with wings as eagles. I have taken many looks at this passage over the years and it carries massive implications. First we must understand that the word “wait” here is not in the passive sense, but requires progressive endurance merged with a patience that understands that in God’s timing he is going to move and His movement will be immensely powerful and unmistakably God. Next is the empowerment that is analogous to the soaring of the majestic eagle.

I studied a little about the eagle and what I have learned is there is no other creature who can soar at the heights of the eagle. What I found most interesting is the fact that when a storm is approaching and the winds begin to pick up, the eagle literally flies toward the storm and uses the force of its tumultuous winds to fly above it. This is what the faith filled believer does; he uses the adversity in his life to propel him into the next level. He soars above his struggles.

One important note: Paul says that we are to cast down imaginations or arguments of all that is exalted against the knowledge of God. I will not delve too deep into this at this moment, but th,is points once again to the enemy attacking our thoughts. The word rendered “imaginations’ or “arguments” is actually “systems of thought” and points to the attempt of the enemy to confuse the thinking, mindset, and belief systems of the believer. We are to speak against and move against all things that are contrary to the knowledge of God. In order to do this one must have knowledge of God.

In closing, I want each of you to understand that breakthrough is a process that begins with your mindset. When you become aware of who you are in Christ and the powerful assets that are available to you through your relationship with Christ, you will be able to accomplish great feats and overcome all obstacles. You will understand that your physical breakthrough is simply the manifestation of your faith which says that you have already overcome.

You conquer your moments through faith.

God bless,

Bishop Rick Wallace

http://rickwallaceministries.com 

 

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

 

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