Category: Power


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.

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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?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Remember your breakthrough comes through obedience

 

May you be blessed in all that you do.

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

http://rickwallaceministries.com

April 2

Grow in His Strength

“As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him” (Deut. 32:11, 12).

Our Almighty Parent delights to conduct the tender nestlings of His care to the very edge of the precipice, and even to thrust them off into the steeps of air, that they may learn their possession of unrealized power of flight, to be forever a luxury; and if, in the attempt, they be exposed to unwonted peril, He is prepared to swoop beneath them, and to bear them upward on His mighty pinions. When God brings any of His children into a position of unparalleled difficulty, they may always count upon Him to deliver them.

–The Song of Victory

***
“When God puts a burden upon you He puts His own arm underneath.”

Rick Wallace Ministries
http://rickwallaceministries.bbnow.org

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

Enlarge Your Vision

The Potency of Prayer (Revised)

by Rick Wallace original written on Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 1:01pm Revised on Monday, March 21, 2011

The Potency of Prayer

 

Foundation Scripture: Mark 11:22-24; James 4:2-3

 

And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly].

23Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

24For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. (Mark 11:22-24 AMP)

 

You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.

3[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. (James 4:2-3 AMP)

 

As we embark on today’s journey into the infallible Word of God, it is my earnest and heartfelt desire that God will reveal Himself in a powerful and succinct way.

 

It is now that I pray that God illuminate and elucidate His Word that we may be able to grasp in depth its true meaning; that it may touch our hearts in a manner that draws us ever closer to Him. I pray also that God decrease me in every way and increase Himself within me, that the message

is that of God and not of me. I further pray that the hearts of those that receive this message will be anointed with a spirit of lucidity, that they might receive the message in a manner that they are able to apply it to their daily lives, Thereby becoming more powerful and effective in their walk with Christ. This is my prayer. Amen

 

Today’s text focuses on the subject of prayer; not just prayer in the broad sense of the word, but more specifically, the effectiveness of true prayer.  We are concerned here today with prayer that is efficacious as well as perpetual in its efficacy.

 

It is my opinion that though prayer is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal, it is the most misused, underused, and misunderstood as well. I will endeavor to bring some lucidity to the function of prayer and its benefits.

 

What is prayer? Well, before we address this question, let discuss what prayer is not. Prayer is not a method of getting God’s attention, for God is perfectly cognizant of every detail in your life. Through His Divine attribute of omniscience, he knows all there is to know and does not need you to bring any of it to His attention. Prayer is not attempting to convince God to do something on your behalf, for God has already done all that is needed. Hebrews 4:3 tells us that the works were finished before the foundations of the World. This means that all that will ever be needed to function, progress, and prosper in the ethereal journey we call Christianity has already been completed by God in eternity past. Let’s look at this passage of scripture a little closer because there is a wealth of power in the apprehension of this passage.

 

3For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, ]in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world.)

4For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.

5And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest.

We see in verse 3 that the works had most definitely been completed before hand (before the foundations of the world0, but we also see that just because God has provided the inheritance, does not guarantee that all will receive them. There are some requirements that precede the obtainment of the inheritance. In this particular passage of scripture the inheritance in question is “REST”. The writer in Hebrews in comparing the Nation of Israel in the wilderness and the contemporary believer, both having the Gospel preached to them. The Israelites had failed to enter into their rest (the promised land of Canaan) because of unbelief and the disobedience associated with the unbelief.

 

2For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with [c]the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it;[d]neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe). (Heb. 4:2 AMP)

 

6Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience, Heb. (4:6 AMP)

So it is quite important that we understand that although the inheritance has been prepared for us, it is not automatic. We have to execute our faith, and we do that through by exercising our faith which produces obedience. One more thing to take notice of here is that the writer makes mention of the fact that God rested on the seventh day. This does not have any religious or sacramental implication, but what it speaks of here is the fact that God rested after His work was completed, and this transfers to us in that we shall receive the prepared inheritance after we have completed the work. The work for the Israelites in the wilderness was to believe and trust God,

which would have led to their obedience and their moving into the rest of the promised land. The same applies to the contemporary believer; we must execute faith and move in obedience to receive the inheritance.

 

Okay then, we have, at least a minimal understanding of what prayer is not, but then what is prayer? How does it work? Why do so many fail in their prayer lives? These are the questions I will endeavor to answer for you today. Unfortunately, too many believers are struggling in the area of prayer, mainly because they don’t have an understanding of its function. It is extremely difficult to operate in any area without some type of understanding of the dynamic process of what you are doing.

 

In defining prayer, we can say prayer is that function that allows immediate access to the throne room of God. It is open fellowship between the believer and his creator. It involves both, talking and listening; reaching out to God with fervency and passion. It is sharing our concerns and desires. Prayer is the believer’s most effective tool in developing a more intimate and active relationship with God and it opens the portal to power.

 

Prayer is a communication system designed by God, which in essence, opens up the portal to unlimited resources that through salvation have been placed at our disposal. It would be remiss to take a lethargical approach to our prayer life. Look at what God says concerning prayer in the book of Isaiah:

 

“It will come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. (Isa. 65:24 NASB)

 

God, in eternity past, knew through His omniscience every prayer that every believer would offer up to him. God’s omnipotence gives him the absolute power to provide in advance the answer to everyone of these prayers. Let’s look even deeper into the Word concerning prayer:

 

I love the LORD because He has heard    my appeal for mercy. (A)

2 Because He has turned His ear to me,    I will call [out to Him] as long as I live. (Psalm 116:1-2 HCSB)

 

“I will call on Him as long I live.” What a powerful statement. David is saying that he will never cease to call on the Lord. We are told to pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. With the power and effectiveness linked to prayer, why would anyone be satisfied with a perfunctory and stagnant prayer life? I believe one of the issues with prayer is that most of us for one reason are another, don’t have the productivity we desire from prayer.

 

In fact, the ineffectiveness of the Christian prayer life has become an ever increasing concern of mine. In analyzing the multitudinous conversations I’ve shared with some of you, I have noticed a lack of fervor, a lack of desire, and a lack of anticipation when it comes to prayer. James 5:16 tells us that the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much. What this means is that the heartfelt, expectant prayers have potency.

 

Unfortunately, too many of us have ascribed a sense of mundanity to our prayers. I might even dare to say that some view prayer as a necessary task or duty instead of an expectant privilege. Prayer has become ritualistic; we have confused religion with relationship. Christianity is not religion; it is a relationship that culminates in becoming one with Christ. It is a lived lifestyle, not a sacramental obligation! Religion has crippled us and made us mechanical and unresponsive the voice and promptings of God. We can’t hear God when he speaks because our movements are not properly motivated. We move out of ritualistic habit instead of through the motive love, adoration, and gratitude.

 

There is no wonder that there is so much concern when it comes to the effectiveness of our prayers. We have not grasped with certainty the true nature of prayer. Prayer has become something we have to do instead of something we yearn to do. True prayer has power. True prayer is never mandated by religious rite or sacrament. True prayer is extended through the free volition of the believer with earnest expectation, because prayer rests on the foundation of the believer’s faith. Prayer is to be enjoyed and passionately pursued instead of conscience driven.

 

C.H. Spurgeon, the prominent nineteenth century theologian and pastor, once said that when studying the Word of God, we must do three things: look at the text, look at ourselves, and then look above ourselves. With this in mind, let us first look at the text.

 

Therefore, I say unto you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24 NKJV)

As we began to anatomize this text, it is to our benefit to consider the admonishment of Paul to Timothy:

15Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP)

 

With this scriptural admonishment in mind, let us now examine the text that is before us.

The first thing that we must take note of here is that our prayers require specificity. Christ says, “Whatever things you ask.” There must be something definite and specific for which you are praying. All too often we send up prayers that are nebulous and ambiguous, even to ourselves. These vague prayers lack concentration of specificity; meaning that there is no clear indicator of what we are seeking. We know we are in need of something, but are unclear as to what it is or we are unable to adequately express it. Without the focus of something specific and real for which we are praying, our prayers become empty and fruitless; perfunctory in nature! When praying we speak specifically and clearly what we are seeking. There has to be something clear on which our faith and hope rests.

 

Next, your prayers must be encapsulated by faith. Christ says, “Believe that you will receive”. A prayer insulated by faith is a prayer of expectation and hope. True faith demands that we see beyond the visible circumstance before us. True faith requisites spiritual insight; this insight comes through the Word of God; and is confirmed by the Holy Spirit. Faith does not consider the facts, because faith, by its very definition transcends fact. Stop looking at the outward circumstances and start believing that the God you serve is bigger than any circumstance you will encounter.

 

Why are we not walking in power? Why are pinned in by the enemy? Why are we lacking in so many areas? James 4:2-3 sheds light on this question:

 

‘…You do not have, because you do not ask.

3[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.” (AMP)

We have failed either to ask our father for what we need or want or we are asking amiss. Asking amiss is simply asking for something with the wrong motive and intentions. So many of us make our wish list out for God with no reverence or consideration given to his will. Knowing and understanding the will of God is of utmost importance.

 

“So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 5:17 NASB)

 

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” (Romans 12:2 AMP)

 

Our prayers have to be in line with the perfect will of God for our lives. No matter how passionate our prayer; not matter how intensely we profess; if we are opposite God’s will, we are praying in vain. Prayer is not a tool used to circumvent the sovereign will of God, but to perpetuate it. We are called in Romans 12:2 not only to know the will of God, but to move away from the thinking and ways of the world. One of the effective weapons of Satan has been his ability to infiltrate the Christian faith with worldly philosophies. I call this a comingling of the Word and the World and it is totally in direct opposition to God’s will.

 

This carries us into the next phase of our study, “Looking at ourselves”. When our prayer life is unproductive, it calls for introspection, a looking within, and a veracious assessment of where we are and what we are doing. We must search ourselves to find where we have fallen short.

 

In your personal prayer life, are you praying specific and direct prayers, or are your prayers traditional, rehearsed or repetitive, with no true passion? Are your prayers unaccompanied by faith and anticipation; just left in the air to linger? Have you taken the time to align yourself with the perfect will of God or are you still living by your own rules and standards? Are you living on

your own terms, yet arrogantly expecting God to honor your request? The audacity we display when we place our petitions and supplications at the altar after having shaken our fist in the face of God declaring: “This is my life.”

 

You may reply by proclaiming that you’ve done no such thing; however, each time you choose to move opposite to His will, any time you choose through your own volition to sin, any time you choose your way in neglect of God’s way you have said to God, “I will live my life as I please.” As a free willed creature, this course of action is of course, your prerogative; however, you must be prepared for the consequences, one of which is a stagnant and ineffective prayer life.

We must first align ourselves with the will of God before we approach His throne. When we examine ourselves, are we in line with God’s Word? Can we say with certainty that we are in unison with today’s scriptural text?

 

Lastly, let us look above! Let us first look to God and repent, for God has given us a powerful and mighty weapon in prayer and we have allowed it lie dormant and rust away from nonuse. How can we consider ourselves to be soldiers of the cross, when God has given us this matchless and unparalleled power, yet that power lies still, dormant, and untapped?

 

How Satan must emote with joy knowing that so many of us have failed to utilize this most awesome weapon at our disposal. In reviewing history it is said that the Roman Emperor Constantine saw that on the coins of other emperors before him that their image was struck in an erect posture of triumph. Instead of following suit, he ordered that his image be struck kneeling in prayer, for he said, “This is the way that I have triumphed.” Constantine had an erudite understanding that there is no victory without prayer.

We too, must come to this reality. We cannot prosper without prayer; there is no victory aside of prayer.

When we begin to see our prayer life as a privilege instead of a tedious task, it will open a pathway to victory. When we see prayer as a direct line to our power source, we will be able to face the vicissitudes of life without fear and anxiety. When we see the right to approach the throne of grace as an honor and not a burden, we will unleash the power of God into our lives and circumstances.

 

Many of us have been awaiting the movement of God in our situations. We have been searching for peace in the midst of the storm. We have been looking for something in which we can anchor our hopes. 2 Chronicles 7:14 lays out the powerful force of prayer as God speaks to Solomon concerning the temple:

 

“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (AMP)

 

Let us turn away from the selfishness of our self-centeredness toward God. Let us humble ourselves in His presence; let us seek his face with an anticipation of what’s to come. Let us know that when we seek Him at the point of His perfect and definite will, He will move mightily on our behalf. We will be able to gain ground in this spiritual walk. We will be able to claim the precious promises of God. We will be able to face the struggles of this life with a newfound hope; with renewed purpose and vigor. Through our prayer life, we will be able to embrace the truth that troubles don’t last always. In prayer we will find that we can do all things through Christ. Through prayer we will find that God’s grace is sufficient for every struggle. In prayer we will find that no weapon formed against us will prosper. Though prayer will find the Lord is mighty to save. Through prayer will find that our weapons are not carnal, but mighty in God to the pulling down of strongholds.

 

God is waiting to be gracious to you; He desires to do a new thing. He is prepared to touch every situation, every circumstance, every heartache, and every disappointment. God is ready to reach out and bring healing to every aspect of your life.

 

To those that are suffering in the horrible pit of relational dysfunctionality, God has an answer to your prayer.

 

To those that are burdened with financial strain, God has an answer to your prayer.

 

To those that have been struggling with addiction, God has an answer to your prayer.

 

I invite you to try him. Step out on faith and watch God as he moves through the show up process. We all know what God does when he shows up; He shows out!

 

Claim your blessing! Walk in triumph! Live in victory! Speak with power! Pray!

 

May you be richly blessed,

 

Rick Wallace

http://rickwallaceministries.com

 

 

 

 

12“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.

 

In a culture in which people are so inclined to extract verses of scripture from their context without consideration of the contextual influence, it is no wonder why the Word of God has lost its influence in the way of power in the way of the Christian faith. To truly grasp and understand the gravity and veracity of the aforementioned verse of scripture, you must examine it within its context.

There are few things more debilitating to the advancement of the Christian life than the misunderstanding and misapplication of scripture. Failure to accurately analyze scripture is the culprit and it will render its victim virtuously helpless.

15Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (2 Tim. 2:15 AMP)

It is important that we not allow traditional presuppositions to enter in and cloud our focus.

John 14:12 is, without question, an extremely powerful statement; in its implication and in its designation.  What is it that Jesus was saying and how does it apply to the contemporary Christian? In order to truly understand this we need to examine the scripture within its contextual influence.

There several things in view here. First through the preceding verses, Christ is establishing his relationship with God the Father and His identity as the Messiah. He is also reiterating, as He does throughout the book of John, the efficacy of prayer. Most importantly at this point, He is also introducing a new element into the equation. We shall examine this most closely very shortly.

There are several elements of verse 12 that are tantamount to understanding the power within it:

  1. “he who believes in Me” – both in verse 12 and 14 He reveals that there is efficacy in prayer through faith.
  2. “the works I do” and “greater works” – Christ reveals that through genuine faith in Him there comes infinite power and results. (However, the third element is an absolute necessity.)
  3. ‘because I go to the Father” – It is not obvious to the superficial reader, but this is the most powerful and revelatory portion of the verse (The Third Element). This is the part I want to center this short study on.

What does “because I go to the Father” mean in this context? We begin to gain a more lucid understanding when we reach verse 16:

“16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—“

Jesus has now entered into the shadow of the cross and has begun to prepare the disciples for what lies ahead. Over the next several chapters he begins to reveal the fact that he must leave in order to fulfill the ultimate plan of the Father, but in his leaving there will be another; the comforter, the helper, the advocate – The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will be a revelator, the initiator and designator of anointed purpose and so much more. Basically, the message was simple: “I have come as a part of the plan of the Father, but my work here is almost done and for the plan to be fully perpetuated, I must leave to make room for another. This is the Holy Spirit and through Him your will do marvelous works; where you lack courage now, you find courage to live within your destiny. Where you are deficient in power, you will find an unlimited source in the way of anointing to fulfill your designed purpose.

Let’s just take a brief look at some of the scriptures that open up this doctrinal truth for a minute.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you.18 I will not leave you as orphans…26 But the (AR)Helper, the Holy Spirit,(AS)whom the Father will send in My name,(AT)He will teach you all things, and (AU)bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  (John 14:16-17, 26 NIV)

26But when the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who comes (proceeds) from the Father, He [Himself] will testify regarding Me. (John 15:26 AMP)

12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13But when He, (R)the Spirit of truth, comes, He will(S)guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.14 He will (T)glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15(U)All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. (John 16:12-15 NASB)

8But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. (Acts 1:8 AMP)

As you can see Christ has switch the emphasis from the present to the future. He has pointed to the source of power for every believer; the Holy Spirit. If you have taken notice of scripture you will have noticed that in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, there were no miracles performed before the Spirit descended upon Him at His baptism. His power to perform these miracles was a direct result of the transference of power by the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the man, was just as limited in human power and physical strength as we are. Except for the absence of the sin nature, Jesus was human in every aspect. Now as a whole he was the God-man; 100 percent man and 100 percent God joined in hypostatic union forever (without mergence in either essence or identity between the two). Yet, in his earthly ministry, Jesus was 100 percent human and no miracles were accomplished without the power of the Holy Spirit.

What Jesus was doing in chapters 14-16 was informing his followers that He was bequeathing to them the very sphere of power that allowed Him to do all that He had done in His earthly ministry. We can see the massive impact of this in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. In chapter 1 we see Jesus reveal to them that they will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon them. We know through consistent Bible Study, that the Apostles accomplished a few things before The Day of Pentecost (that point at which the Holy Spirit came upon them and took up permanent residence within them), but the book of acts reveals how cowards who were hiding behind a locked door and had abandoned Jesus to His enemies weeks before, boldly stepped out with unparalleled power to live out their destinies.

Now there are some that teach that John 14:12 only applies to the original Apostles that were with Christ. First of all, from the measurement of the greatest accomplishments in the way of ministry, the greatest of the Apostles (Paul) was not present to hear this; in fact, he had not yet been converted. Even more revealing in this subject is Christ’s prayer to the Father in Chapter 17.

 

20Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching… (John 17:20, AMP)

This lucidly expresses that this power and oneness that Christ speaks of with the Godhead applies to all that believe. Faith in God and the power of the Holy Spirit is not a respecter of persons. Faith functions for the Prince as well as the Pauper.

So, in summation, the central focus of what Christ is revealing in John 14:12 is that the very power that assisted Him in His earthly ministry was going to be made permanently available to all that would believe in Him as the Messiah.

This power is now available to you who truly believe. The question is: Are you ready to walk in power?

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

 

 

 

The revelatory influence of God’s Word never ceases to amaze me. No matter how much time I spend in the Word, no matter how well I believe I have anatomized a particular subject, God always seems to take me a little further each time I visit Him in His Word. When it comes to the power and sufficiency of His grace there is no exception.

As Christian believers, we will inevitably come to a place of trouble in our lives. Christ promised that there would be tribulations. He said that the world would hate us because it hated Him. Yet, He said that we should be of good cheer because he had already overcame the world (John 16:33). This means that the victory has already been one. The strategic victory has been established (Christ magnanimous work done at Calvary), and now the tactical victory must be executed (the believer’s victorious walk made available by the victory achieved by Christ at Calvary).

It is important to understand the multitudinous assets we have at our disposal. Because of our position in Christ we have the power to overcome any obstacle and conquer any enemy. God has designed each of us with a specific purpose in mind and He has empowered (anointed) us to fulfill our destinies. As Christians it is not our aim to circumvent life’s struggles because we understand that it is in the struggles that the power of God moves mightily on our behalf. It is in the weakness of pain that the power of God’s love restores us. So, any attempt at circumventing the vicissitudes of life is futile and reveals a level of spiritual immaturity. There are numerous text within the Bible that reveal this truth; none quite as powerfully and distinctly as 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

7And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn ([a]a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. [Job. 2:6.]

8Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me;

9But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may[c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

10So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[d]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [e]in divine strength). (2 Corinthians 122:7-10, AMP)

Here Paul informs the Corinthians about the “thorn” in his “flesh”. What exactly this thorn is has been the topic of much great debate among theologians for centuries. I will not endeavor to state my case on the matter because it does not have true bearing on the message. If it did, Paul would not have been as ambiguous in revealing it. What is important is Paul’s request for God to remove the thorn and God’s response.

One thing to take notice of here is the fact that Paul lists the reason that he has the thorn. Paul had received an abundance of revelation and with the natural exaltation that comes with a gift like that it would have been easy for Paul to get big-headed, so God allowed this thorn to exist to keep Paul grounded and dependent upon Him.

Paul says that he prayed three times. This is significant for two reasons. First, the multiple supplications reveals Paul’s intense desire to have the thorn removed; it was not simply a nuisance, but it was painful and a burdensome. Second, as powerful of a faith warrior as Paul was his will could not override the will of God. God is sovereign and his will is the final standard.

Paul, as we often do, sensed the intensity of the moment and immediately sought extraction from the pain, discomfort, and toil involved with his affliction. He wanted to be taken back to a place of comfort, but God’s response was both, powerful and succinct. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Let’s slow down for a moment so that we can take a good look at what is happening here. God is revealing the fact that there is not an autonomy, as for as man is concerned, outside of God. Man functions optimally under the power of God. God is saying to Paul, I will not take you out of the trial, but I will bring you through it. God is opening and bearing up the truth concerning His grace. We all see grace as simply the function through which God forgives our sins, but it is so much more. Grace represents everything that God is able to do on our behalf based on Christ’s magnanimous gift on Calvary. This includes the power he provides to live this Christian life in victory.

“My grace is sufficient” is one of the most powerful statements in the Bible. Some of you may feel that I am being melodramatic, but allow me a moment to point out a couple of things that validate my point. We know that this is a powerful statement first of all because God uses it as a “settle all” for Paul’s incessant prayers concerning his thorn. God did not go into a long doctrinal treatise to give Paul an explanation; He simply said, “My grace is sufficient….” In other words, the buck stops with grace. One of the most impactful words of this entire passage is one that almost always goes unnoticed; “IS”. “IS” is the 3rd person singular present indicative of “be”.  The key grammatical designator is “present indicative”. Present means now and indicative indicates what. In simple God’s grace “is” sufficient, not shall be sufficient, but “is” sufficient. This means right now, you have all that is necessary to overcome everything that you encounter. Right now; not tomorrow, but you have the power to stand right now.

Let’s look at the word “sufficient” for a moment. The Greek word translated “sufficient” is

ἀρκέω

arkeō

ar-keh’-o

Apparently a primary verb (but probably akin to G142 through the idea of raising a barrier); properly to ward off, that is, (by implication) to avail (figuratively be satisfactory): – be content, be enough, suffice, be sufficient.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries  G714

 

Sufficient means that everything that is required is supplied. There is nothing lacking in the grace of God. Allow me to state it this way; God does not supply your spiritual assets in installments; he has given you all the assets that are required and then some, but you must possess the faith to access them.

God supplements His declaration to Paul with a final declaration of power. “For my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul, in his ingenious elliptical writing style has boldly explained our pain in two verses of scripture. In verse 7 we find that our pain and afflictions stabilize us and prevent us from becoming haughty. In verse 9 we find that this same pain (weakness) allows the power of God to work mighty on our behalf; meaning that we can accomplish more in our state of acknowledged weakness through God’s power than we can at full strength in our own human strength. So, the very thing that humbles us also makes us strong. All I can say to that is “only God”.

What is Paul’s Conclusion to all of this?

 

“…Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may[c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

10So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[d]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [e]in divine strength).” (2 Cor. 12:9-10 AMP)

Paul is not saying that his pleasure is in the actual infirmities, but that there is pleasure and encouragement in what these infirmities and afflictions will produce. Paul understood that his greatest achievements would be accomplished under the pressure of affliction. He came to the knowledge that his pain activated God’s power. He understood that his weakness opened the door for something great to come in.

God wants you to know that there is nothing going on in our life that he is not aware of. He desires that you apprehend the fact that the very things that are hurting you right now will facilitate your greatness. Your weakness and inability to resolve the issue on your own opens the door for God to step in and perform all that he has promised. Know that all that you are dealing with at this moment is not beyond you because God has you in His care. Your pain and struggles may be bigger than you, but they are never too big for God. So when you traveling through the vicissitudes of life and it seems that things are simply getting worse, lift up your hands in praise because God’s grace is sufficient.

 

God bless,

Bishop 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

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