Category: Spiritual


Spiritual Thirst

Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth 
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days”(Psalm 90:14, NIV).

Friend to Friend 
A friend of mine is hypoglycemic. Before he was diagnosed, he had one compelling symptom. He was constantly thirsty. Now the crazy thing was, the more water he drank, the thirstier he became. It defies logic. As you live out your faith, you will have a similar insatiable thirst and hunger for God. The more you ask for His daily help, the more you will want it. But know this, friend, you will not be fully satisfied or quenched until you are in His presence.

In his book, Come Thirsty, Max Lucado writes:

            You’re acquainted with physical thirst. Stop drinking and see what happens. Coherent thoughts vanish, skin grows clammy, and vital organs shut down. Deprive your body of necessary fluid, and it will tell you.

            Deprive your soul of spiritual water, and it will tell you. Dehydrated hearts send desperate messages. Snarling tempers. Waves of worry. Growing guilt and fear. Hopelessness. Resentment. Loneliness. Insecurity.

            But you don’t have to live with a dehydrated heart. God invites you to treat your thirsty soul as you would treat your physical thirst. Just visit the WELL and drink deeply.

Here on earth, hunger and thirst never end. Just because you ate breakfast this morning doesn’t mean you won’t have a grumbly tummy at lunchtime. And when you eat lunch, that doesn’t cover you for the next three days. You need to eat again and again.

The spiritual parallels here are as rich as a piece of Ghirardelli cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. (Great restaurant, by the way!) A three-course meal of worship, prayer, and a sermon on Sunday morning doesn’t nourish your body with the spiritual calories you need for an entire week. Not by a long stretch. We were designed in the image of God, for God. We were made to worship. To respond to the glory of God. To know Him. Continually. Daily. Without ceasing.

I don’t know about you, but hunger affects my judgment. If I dare go to the grocery store while I’m hungry, my cart will usually contain extra food items I wouldn’t normally purchase. Are you smellin’ what I’m cookin’ here? If I’m hungry when I arrive at a dinner party, I’ll more than likely eat the mother lode of appetizers (especially if there is dip involved).

When we are spiritually hungry, the same truth applies. We have a tendency to compromise our judgment and set aside our convictions. We grumble and complain about our lives. We look to other people and other stuff to meet our needs. Yadda, yadda…

BEING SPIRITUALLY THIN IS SO NOT IN!

Look around! Spiritually hungry people are everywhere. Just turn on your television, pick up a magazine, or go to an online chat-room. People are desperately trying to fill their hunger hole…trying to find happiness and satisfaction in things, status, and people.

Now, if you dare, look even closer to home. Look at your PTA meetings, boardrooms, Little League fields, and malls. And, if you’re really brave, look in the mirror. Each one of us sees a hungry woman staring us in the face.

It is really important to turn to the Bread of Life at the first inkling of hunger pains. Go to Him with your needs and give Him your burdens. Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He wants to meet you at the point of your need.

God gave you an open invitation to come to Him when He said through the prophet Isaiah,

“Come, all who are thirsty,
come to the waters;

and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!”
(Isaiah 55:1a, NIV).

Each time we connect with God throughout the day, our souls are nourished. Sometimes we just need a small spiritual meal. Sometimes our needs are greater. In those moments, we are invited by our compassionate God to sit down to a great big dinner.  How are you handling your constant cravings?

I have not been shy in my assessment of the average believer’s deficiency as it pertains to scripture. One does not have to look far at all to see the source of a great deal of Christian struggles. The Bible is replete with scriptures that point to the requirement to learn doctrine. We are to engage the Word of God on a daily basis. The first and greatest responsibility of every believer is the constant daily intake, digestion, metabolism and inculcation of Bile doctrine. Irregardless to your calling, your mission, your gifts, no other responsibility can be properly executed without mastering the first.

Although this principle of learning doctrine is taught throughout the Bible, We will center our focus in the New Testament because it addresses the Christian believer in specific. This means that these scriptural passages cannot be explained away through dispensational or covenantal theories. These scriptures directly address Church age believers. (Of Course I will have to toss in a couple of OT classics for good measure)

Let us take a look at the first scripture that we will examine in this study:

I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. (2 John 4 NASB)

2 John is an epistle or letter sent to Lady Nympha (Cyria), a noble woman who opened her home in Laodicea to one of six of John’s nonresident congregations (Col. 4:15-16; Rev. 2-3). It seems that Nympha was committed to learning and teaching doctrine and had applied what she new in rearing her children, several of which had moved to Ephesus and were part of John’s congregation there. John recognized by observing Nympha’s children that she was to be commended and supported for her work in Laodicea. Nympha would read John’s written sermons to the congregation in her home.

John explains that this divine command to walk in and live in truth is only accomplished by knowing truth (Bible Doctrine).

5And now I beg you, lady (Cyria), not as if I were issuing a new charge (injunction or command), but [simply recalling to your mind] the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

6And what this love consists in is this: that we live and walk in accordance with and guided by His commandments (His orders, ordinances, precepts, teaching). This is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you continue to walk in love [guided by it and following it]. (2 John 5-6 AMP)

The divine mandate to learn and appropriately apply Bible doctrine is also implied in Paul’s dissertation on the pastor’s professional objectives.

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-13 NIV)

Spiritual momentum is developed as we progress toward spiritual maturity and spiritual maturity is accomplished by the consistent learning and application of Bible Doctrine. In doing this we take on the mind of Christ which allows us emulate the character, integrity and capacity for the complete Christian life He acquired while fulfilling His earthly mission. Full “knowledge” as is connoted here is translated from the Greek word

ἐπίγνωσις

epignōsis

ip-ig’-no-sis

From G1921; recognition, that is, (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement: – (ac-) knowledge (-ing, -ment).

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries G1922

Epignosis in contrast to “gnosis” is full knowledge that a Christian understands and believes. Because this knowledge is learned it is resident in the soul and is readily available for accurate application to life.

Paul continued his treatise on Pastors and their responsibility to study and teach (accurately disseminate) Bible doctrine while under the power of the Holy Spirit.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Eph. 4:14-15 NIV)

Paul brings to life this same truth while addressing the Thessalonians. He iterates with clarity the divine mandate to learn and apply doctrine in order to achieve the capacity to live the Christian life as it is meant to be lived based on the Divine Plan of God.

12Now also we beseech you, brethren, get to know those who labor among you [recognize them for what they are, acknowledge and appreciate and respect them all]–your leaders who are over you in the Lord and those who warn and kindly reprove and exhort you.

13And hold them in very high and most affectionate esteem in [intelligent and sympathetic] appreciation of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 AMP).

Paul is making the point that a pastor should be respected and appreciated for his accurate knowledge of the Word of God accompanied by his effective teaching of this same knowledge. A committed pastor labors hours in the Word each day to be in a place to effectively and accurately disseminate Bible doctrine to his congregation and he is to be respected and held in high regard for this. Why; because sound Biblical doctrine is the foundation for the advancement of the Christian way of life. When bible doctrine is not sufficiently appropriated into the life of the believer he suffers from a spiritual deficiency and fails to advance toward spiritual maturity. It is imperative that each believer be committed to a daily regimen of studying the Word of God. The lack of this commitment leads to failure in purpose and a destructive lifestyle.

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

You cannot neglect this great responsibility and advance in the Christian life. You cannot properly and adequately engage the issues of life without emerging yourself in scripture. You will not develop the fortitude to persevere which is a requirement for blessing and attainment without full knowledge of scriputure. Your success is directly tied to accurate apprehension and appropriate application of scripture.

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

8This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good[b]success. (Josh. 1:7-8 AMP)

Your ability to live this life victoriously is inextricably bound to your knowledge and application of Bible doctrine. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to the enemy through ignorance, pick up that Word and get to it.

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

Fill Your Space

 

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

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

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

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

I want you to really think about that.

God bless you ~ Bishop Rick Wallace

 

Foundation Scriptures: Hebrews 3,4:1-8; Isa. 26:3,4

Key Verses Is. 26:3

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you.” (Isa. 26:3)

 

I have read and believe that a true state of happiness is the most difficult state for a Christian to achieve.  In order to apprehend the veracity in this statement, one must be willing to be honest with themselves; next they must have the ability to detach themselves from the euphoric world in which they have become engrossed.  Allow me to paraphrase: Wake up and smell the coffee! Please understand that I am not saying that it is impossible, I am simply pointing to all that comes against us to rob us of our contentment and joy. We will find out shortly that in Christ all things are possible.

 

Through experiential progression, I have come to the conclusion that no matter how determinedly and agonizingly we strive to escape the pain, heartache and despair that life so opportunistically places at our feet, we will inevitably endure asperity and anguish.  Christians don’t like hearing that.  We want to be told that post salvation life will be a metaphorical cakewalk.  The truth is, we have been promised that there will be a great deal of trials and tribulation.

 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world.”

(John 16:33)

 

The Greek word used for tribulation here is “thlipsis” which means: pressure, oppression, stress, anguish, tribulation, adversity, affliction, crushing, squashing, squeezing, distress.  This word carries the connotation of taking something that is free and unfettered and compressing it with the objective of producing something better.  The same word is used of crushing grapes and olives in a press.  “Thlipsis” is, in essence, spiritual bench pressing, making a stronger and more formidable Christian soldier.  So, our struggles are quite a necessary part of our spiritual progression.

 

This does not mean that inevitable trials and distresses will be easy but they should not produce fear, anxiety, or bitterness.  At the same time Jesus promised tribulation, he also promised peace.  How is this so?

 

“Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone.  And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:32)

 

At the time of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion, the disciples would all in some way forsake Him and flee to the safety of their homes.  Though they would leave Him, He would not be alone, because the father would be with Him.  We have the same promise.

 

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ “ (Heb. 13:5)

“For He Himself is our peace.” (Eph. 2:14)

 

Therefore, our peace is not in the absence of trials, but in the perpetual presence of our Lord and Savior.  As believers, we tend to paint illusions of grandeur; we have all the right responses to the struggles and vicissitudes we face.  Painting over the realities of this harsh world, we give the appearance that life is all peaches and cream; when in fact, the pressures against those who believe in Christ are a thousand times greater than those of the unbeliever.

 

At first glance, the aforementioned statements present a gloomy and dark picture and may be somewhat discouraging to those who are new in the faith; However, I believe that it is of vital importance that all Christians face the facts.

 

Fact One: We reside as aliens in a world that is under the rule and Lordship of Satan.  We are considered aliens because although we reside here, our citizenship is in heaven. (Phil. 3:20)

 

Fact Two: The world by its very nature is hostile toward Christians.  Christ declared that since the world hated him, it would hate us also.

 

Fact Three: We are dead centered in the midst of a spiritual warfare, the angelic conflict.  We are both, participants and spoils of this war.  There are spiritual forces that are constantly moving against us.

 

In summary, the Christian is constantly facing tremendous, powerful, insidious pressures, and often, the greater your capacity for service, the greater the believer can be used by God, the greater the pressure on every side — the world, the flesh, and the devil.

 

In the beginning, I stated my belief that a true state of happiness is the most difficult state for the Christian to achieve.  I did not say it was unattainable, for it is very much within the grasp of every believer.  Then why is it so difficult to achieve? It is difficult because believers have taken on the worldly view of ephemeral elation, happiness of the moment.  The celerity at which happiness enters and exits the lives of believers is astounding.  To most, happiness is circumstantial, depending on situational occurrences.  This produces instability and ineffectiveness.  God, through His infallible Word, has promised perpetual joy.  This joy is irrespective in nature; it is not dependent upon external circumstances; it does not dwarf in the face of adversity and it burgeons in response to the development of our relationship with Christ.  This joy is closely related to the peace God has promised.  They are always found in close proximity to each other.  Our joy and peace are produced through constant abiding in Jesus Christ.  So allow me to reiterate this truth: Joy and peace are not produced through the circumvention of life’s storms, but are perpetually present despite them.

 

When your mind is fixed on Jesus; when your heart is settled in love, there is no storm, no disappointment; no heartache that can rob you of your joy and peace, even in the midst of the storm.  We are forever coalesced to the Prince of Peace.  “For He Himself is our peace.(Eph 2:14)  The Greek “eirene” (eye-ray-nay) carries the meaning of state of rest, quietness, calmness, an absence of strife, and tranquility.  It also carries a connotation of “being united with” as well as “to bring an end to hostility”.  So in essence, the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7) is the culmination of “being united with Christ” whereas he “brings an end to hostility”, thereby creating a “state of rest” in which there is “an absence of strife” and a sense of “calmness” and “tranquility”.

 

 

This union with Christ is birthed through the channel of faith.  God wants to provide a place of rest, but it has to be obtained through the promises of His Word, received by faith.  Let us take a look at Hebrew 4:1,2:

 

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it, For indeed the Gospel was preached to us a well as to them; but the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”

 

 

The first thing we notice here is the conjunctive adverb “therefore”.  This word indicates that there is a preceding clause as well as a subsequent clause.  The subsequent clause is easily identified as it immediately follows the conjunctive adverb, but where is the preceding clause?  The answer is: In the previous chapter.  The original text of the Bible was not separated into chapters or numbered in verse.  This was done later as a means of reference.  So we will have to look beyond the confines of these numbered boundaries.  The preceding clause that completes this statement is found in Chapter 3, verse 19, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

 

In Chapter 3, the writer of Hebrews reminds us that the first generation of recently freed Israelites failed to reach the peace, tranquility, and abundance of the promise land.  The writer quotes a passage from Ps. 95:7-11 that reinforces the cause of this failure to reach the promised place of rest.

 

In Chapter 4 he jumps from the past to the present and exhorts or admonishes the readers not to fall short of the promised rest.

 

“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as them; the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with “faith” in those who heard it.” (Heb. 4:2)

 

Here lies the very thing that separates those who are able to attain true peace and happiness and those who are not —faith!  They received the promise just as we have, but it did not profit them.  They had the promise, but did not stand on it.  We have thousands upon thousands of promises in the Bible.  It has been estimated that there are in excess of 33,000 promises and of these, over 7,000 promises that God will have a direct and positive impact on those who will trust and believe in Him.

 

The problem with the Israelites in the wilderness was the spiritual ineptitude, the inability to see past their circumstances and trust God to perform that which he had promised.  They received the promise, but it was not encapsulated by faith.  Faith not only empowers, but it protects the promise.  Faith guards against anxiety, doubt, despair, impatience, and fear.

 

We have to face the fact that as Christians, we are going to be tested; we are going to endure trials and tribulations; we will be battered by the storms of the suffering and compounded by the vicissitudes of life; however; God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  God is saying, “You believed enough to trust Me with salvation, trust Me to provide you with that peace that transcends all understanding.  Trust Me to provide you with that happiness that is inexpressible.  Trust Me to anoint you with the power to fulfill your destiny.”  He is standing before you telling you that His grace is sufficient for you.

 

God has bequeathed us His infallible Word, we only need to take hold of the promises that are before us.

 

When we are able to grasp the understanding that the absence of trials and storms in our lives is not indicative of the potential for joy, peace, and fullness, but rather, our joy, peace and happiness is afforded and sustained despite the presence of life’s trials, we are then able to enter that rest.  We will be able to “count it all joy”.  We will be able to enter into our divine purpose with an unbridled pertinacity, overcoming every trial by faith.

 

As the burdens of this tedious life press us down and drain us of our strength, we can rest in the calm assurance that God’s grace is sufficient for us and His strength is made perfect in weakness.  We will be able to withstand the nefarious attacks of Satan while resting under the shadow of the almighty.

 

The Israelites in the wilderness could not enter the rest of the Promised Land because they did not receive the promises of God with faith.  So then faith is a prerequisite for peace, and we know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17)

 

It is time to uncover the secrets of God’s Word.  It is time to uncover the secret that says: “If I delight myself in the Lord, he will give me the desires of my heart.”

It is time to uncover the secret that says: “I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread.”

It is time to uncover that secret that says: “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.”

That secret that says: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

That secret that says: If I “wait on the Lord and be of good coverage, He will strengthen my heart.”

I’m talking about joy inducing secrets.

The secret that says: “He who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.”

That secret that says: “When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take care of me.”

That secret that says: “No weapon formed against me, shall prosper.”

I’m talking about shackle loosing secrets.

The secret that says: “My defense is of God who saves the upright in heart.”

The secret that says: “Fear not for I am with you.”

The secret that says: “At my first defense, no one stood with me, but God stood with me, and strengthened me.”

The secret that says: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds.”

I invite you to do as I do.  When darkness falls on my life, I call out the name of the Lord.  I can call Him any time of the day.  I will call Him in my moments of weakness.  I will call Him and tell Him about my troubles.  When I call Him, I can say, “Father, I stretch my hands to thee, no other help I know, if thou withdraw thine self from me, where else shall I go.”  I can say, “Precious Lord take my hand lead me on and let me stand.”  I can say, “Guide me over Great Jehovah, a pilgrim through this barren land.  I am weak but thou art mighty hold me with though powerful hand.”  I can say as the Psalmist, “Restore in me the joy of your salvation.

 

I can call Him down in the midst of the storm.  When I call Him, I say, “Lord, I need healing” or can simply speak those two worded prayers: hold me; keep me; protect me; bless me; shelter me; guide me.  No matter what happens I know when I call Him, He answers.  I invite you to join me in this place of rest.

 

May God bless, keep, and prosper you, even as your soul prospers!

 

Sincerely,

Bishop Rick Wallace

 

 

 

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

 

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

G4286                                                                                                     

πρόθεσις

prothesis

proth’-es-is

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

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries

 

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

Purpose and its underlying elements have been pondered through the ages. The Great Greek philosophers of ancient times have grappled with purpose and the significance of human life and their modern counterparts have faced the same enigmatic issues that plagued them centuries ago. Freud, Nietzsche, and Foucault have no better settled the quandaries of life than did the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Secular paradigms and cosmic speculations have infiltrated the faith of Christianity and have brought about paradigmatic shifts in the thinking of believers.

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Welcome to your purpose; welcome to your destiny!

 

 

Best regards,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Founder & President

Rick Wallace Ministries

100 Men of Purpose

Life Solutions 21

The Invisible Father

 

 


 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; (rom. 8:26 NASB)

Paul says that the Spirit helps our weakness. The word translated “helps” is the Greek word:

G4878

συναντιλαμβάνομαι

sunantilambanomai

soon-an-tee-lam-ban’-om-ahee

From G4862 and G482; to take hold of opposite together, that is, co-operate (assist): – help.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries

I know it’s a huge word and it carries an equally huge meaning. This word paints the image of someone who comes alongside another to assist them in bearing out a particular task. In essence, the Holy Spirit comes alongside you and yokes up with you to assist in completing the task at hand. In this instance, Paul is speaking of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of intercession. This is where is becomes a part of your prayer life in order insure its efficacy.

It is important to understand that the help that the Holy Spirit provides is not limited to prayer. He is your power source. That’s right I said He. So often we neglect the personage of the Holy Spirit. We often refer to Him as it. We don’t recognize Him as part of the Trinitarian existence of God. Here lies a great deal of the problem of living in weakness and defeat. We have invested too much energy into sacramental rituals and too little into understanding the rite we practice. We will go around putting “anointing oil” on everyone and everything, but we seem to have very little understanding of what it represents. Oil, like water, wind, etc. is a semantic symbol of the Holy Spirit. Oil, represents the Holy Spirit’s anointing power. To anoint means to give power for the fulfillment of a particular task.

Pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit reveals an immensity of information about the Third Person of the Trinity. In fact this one chapter (Romans 8) reveals quite a bit about the Holy Spirit. Let take a look at a few:

  1. Verse 2 – The Holy Spirit sets us free from Sin (It was Christ’s death at Calvary that provided the atonement, but it was the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through Him that made it possible). It is the Holy Spirit that works through the redemption of Christ to make you free from and cancel the penalty of sin, which is death.
  2. Verse 4-5 – The Holy Spirit fulfills righteousness.
  3. Verse 9-11 – The Holy Spirit indwells believers.
  4. Verse 10 – The Holy Spirit gives life. (Spiritual life is in view here. We are born spiritually dead; dichotomous beings, only having a body and soul, but at the moment of faith in Christ the Holy Spirit quickens or brings to life our spirit within us).
  5. Verse 11 – The Holy Spirit also quickens our mortal bodies which are dead because of sin. “The Spirit is both the instrumental cause of the resurrection-act and the permanent substratum of the resurrection-life.” Gerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology, p. 169.
  6. Verse 13 – The Holy Spirit mortifies sinful members.
  7. Verse 14 – The Holy Spirit leads the children of God.
  8. Verse 15 – The Holy Spirit adopts into the family of God. It is through the Holy Spirit that you are adopted and grafted into the Royal Family of God.
  9. Verse 16 – The Holy Spirit bears witness to the fact that we are children of God and if we are children of God then we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.
  10. Verse 26 – The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.
  11. Verse 26 – The Holy Spirit makes intercession to God the Father on our behalf.

It, by no means, ends here. Galatians 5:22 tells us that the Holy Spirit produces positive life bearing fruit in the life of the believer. Let’s take a look at one more powerful scriptural passage before we move forward.

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] (Eph. 3:20 AMP)

God is able to do things that are impossible for the mind to fathom by the power that works within us. This power is the Holy Spirit. You have not been left alone. In fact, you have been left with an inexhaustible power source. Was it not Christ that promised that he would not leave us as orphans, but would send a comforter?

16And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever–

17The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you.

18I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you.

26But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. (John 14:16-18, 26 AMP)

But 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)

7However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. (John 16:7 AMP)

How amazing, Jesus, the great and powerful savior of the world indicates, with perfect lucidity, that He must leave to make way for the coming of the Holy Spirit who will produce powerful results in the lives of believers.

Here’s and interesting point: Theology reveals to us the existence of the Hypostatic Union (Jesus Christ being 100% man and 100% God joined together without mergence). It is important that we understand that it was Jesus the man that paid the price for us on Calvary. Only the death of a perfect man could atone for the sins of fallen man. This is what Paul meant when he called Jesus the new Adam. It would do us well to take notice that Jesus, the man, did not perform one miracle until the Spirit descended upon Him at His baptism. It was the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through Christ that gave him the power to raise the dead, heal the sick, and calm raging seas. If fact, Christ actually means the anointed one; remember the anointing comes through the Holy Spirit.

So Jesus was basically saying that the very power that I used to sustain me in my earthly walk has been made available to you. You are not alone; you are filled with the Spirit of God.

When the resurrected Savior appeared to the disciples, he told them that not many days afterward something awesome would take place in their lives.

1 The first account I [a]composed,(A)Theophilus, about all that Jesus(B)began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He (C)was taken up to heaven, after He (D)had [b]by the Holy Spirit given orders to (E)the apostles whom He had (F)chosen. 3To [c]these (G)He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of (H)the things concerning the kingdom of God. 4[d]Gathering them together, He commanded them (I)not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for [e](J)what the Father had promised, “Which,”He said, “you heard of from Me; 5for (K)John baptized with water, but you will be baptized [f]with the Holy Spirit [g](L)not many days from now.”

6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, (M)is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which (N)the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power (O)when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be (P)My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and(Q)Samaria, and even to (R)the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:1-8 NASB)

Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit gave the disciples His parting orders. So, even then he was being led by the Spirit. He told them that you will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you. Fifty days later on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples, who out of fear had been hiding in the upper room with the door locked. Once the Holy Spirit fell upon them they were transformed into spiritual powerhouses. Those once cowardice men that denied Christ spoke boldly of Him openly. They would go on to accomplish marvelous feats.

I am here to tell you that the same Spirit that filled Peter is in you. The same Spirit that filled Paul is in you. The same Spirit that filled John is in you. Yes, the same Spirit that filled our Lord Jesus is in you. You are not alone. You are filled with power from on high. You have God resident in you. You have His power at your disposal. God has not left you alone. You may not see anyone standing in your corner, but God is with you. You may have spent 2011 in a place of perceived loneliness, but God is with you. The enemy may be whispering the sweet nothings of negativity in your ear, but God is with you.

You are not alone. The Holy Spirit has come alongside you and He is saying to you: “You don’t have to bear this burden on your own. I have yoked up with you and I will help you bear the burden. I will not take it completely away from you, but if you will simply believe it, will it, and walk in it, I will bring you through.

This is a time of power and elevation for you. You simply have to receive it. Stop listening to the naysayers that think they have your destiny figured out. You are a born again child of the King. Walk in your destiny of power and greatness. Walk in your designed purpose. Live in the massive blessings that God has for you. Shake of those feelings of despair. Break free of those shackles of addiction. Power out of the shadows of dwarfed goals and colorless dreams. God is calling you to rise up and live the life of a true believer. No, you are not alone.

May you be richly blessed,

Bishop Rick Wallace

Life Solutions 21

Scripture Reference: Exodus 3:7-9The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.8  “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.9  “Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. (NASB)

 

 

In this ethereal journey we will traverse many trials and afflictions. We will engage many challenges and undergo multitudinous transformations as we progress towards spiritual maturity. The enemy will, in these instances, attempt to convince us that we are alone. He would have us believe that God has, in some way, forsaken us. However, in this scriptural passage, we find that God had not forgotten Israel. He had not become aloof or indifferent to their plight.

 

By the time that God speaks to Moses in this passage, the Israelites had been in bondage in Egypt for 400 years. They had fallen from a position of prosperity and reverence among the Egyptians to one of oppression and servitude. They had come to a point in which it seemed to them that the hand of God no longer acted on their behalf. They spent many a hot day in the desert heat, under the fear of the task master’s whip, only to see the sun go down without even an inkling of deliverance. It is in this atmosphere of perceived hopelessness that God began the process of deliverance. It is when all except those who knew Him personally had written off the Israelites as nothing more than a slave race did God show Himself mighty on their behalf.

 

It is in this moment of despair that God inserts Himself. Some might say that God had left them to fend for themselves for four centuries. Some might postulate that they had traveled this journey alone. Yet if we study the Character of God, if we investigate His commitment to His covenantal promises, we will find that he is a constant help in the time of trouble (Ps. 46:1) It is through the power of God that the Israelites maintained the power to endure this perpetual and egregious struggle. They had not been left alone, but were a part of God’s plan. God had been there through every beating, through every heat scorched day, through every misdeed that they had suffered. He was completely cognizant of their pain and suffering and now He was about to move in a way that would be unmistakably God.

 

“I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings (verse 7).”

 

 

 

 

 

God is telling Moses, “I have certainly seen every misdeed. I have witnessed every lash from the taskmaster’s whip. I have seen every tear fall from their eyes. I have not been unaware of their struggles. I hear their cries and I have come because of their cries. Let my people know that their prayers have been heard. Let my people know that delay was not an indication of desertion. I have been working even their pain for their good. From this group of slaves, I will raise a mighty people. From this group of slaves shall descend kings. From this group of slaves shall ascend the messiah, the one who will save the world. In their suffering I have created a testimony of my power.”

 

The God that moved on behalf of the Israelites then is the same God now. I know that there of those of you that are struggling in your own world of enslavement. Some of you are in abusive relationships that you can’t seem to escape. Some of you have been battling the pain of abandonment by parents and loved ones. Some of you have found yourselves encapsulated by the fear of uncertainty. Some of you have become engrossed in the cares of this life and have found peace to be quite allusive. I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to apprehend the fact that you belong to a purpose greater than yourself. It is imperative that you understand that God is a God of deliverance and power. The enemy is trying to convince you that you are defeated, but you are more than a conqueror. The enemy is telling you that you have met your demise, but you are at your moment of elevation. God is speaking into your situation, “Be still and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).” God is saying that I hear your cries, and I have come because of your cries.

 

Listen to what David had to say on the matter:

 

“I waited patiently on the Lord; And he inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay. And he set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth… (Ps. 40:1-3).”

 

Praise God, for He is about to reach into your situation and give you a new song. Oh what a blessing it is to have a new song; a song that says “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus”; a song that says “There’s Healing in His Wings”; a song that says “I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me”; a song that says “My Soul Looks Back in Wonder of How I Got Over”. He is about to pull you out of the pit of destruction and place your feet firmly on a rock of stability. He is about to rescue you from that dysfunctional relationship. He is about to speak peace into the tumultuous existence in which you now reside. He is about to calm the billows of your stormy seas. Shake free of the feelings of despair for God is about to bust a move in your life. The Bible says that David encouraged himself in the Lord. So begin to speak the promises of God into your situation. Stand on your faith and trust God to honor his Word.

 

May you be blessed in the Lord.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

Life Solutions 21

 

 

You are What You Think

 

Life Solutions has embarked on a 52 week campaign of power and liberation Entitled UPWARD MOBILITY. I would like to invite you to join me and others as we move toward power, elevation and liberation. I will be chronicling all of my contributions at my blog site: https://rickwallace21.wordpress.com/ as well as on my facebook page; Life Solutions 21 where over the next 52 weeks I will be addressing the enigmatic problems that are plaguing Christian believers. We will be addressing poverty and financial stewardship through my series “Abiding in Abundance”. We will address problems in marriage and dating through my series “When Your House is Not a Home” We will be addressing the power of faith and the position of confidence in God through my series “Covered by Covenant”. We will be addressing the power of thought in my series “Battle for the Mind”. I will be presenting opportunities for those that want to advance in spiritual maturity, entrepreneurship, filial connections and more. This will be done through resources that have been a blessing to me. I ask that you invite others to join you on this journey as it will be one of power and liberation. Come with an open mind and a willingness to learn and I promise you will not be the same.

Every week I will introduce you to certain principles that will help you to reach your goals in each of these areas as well as some other areas that are not mentioned, but happen to overlap into the lessons that are being presented. Without question, the most recurring of all themes will be “You are What You Think”; not only are you what you think, you get what you think. Most of you will find out that, as Joyce Meyers puts it, you are victims of your own “Stinkin Thinkin”.

No matter how well you plan your goals, irregardless to the energy and effort applied, despite your inexorable drive; if you do not change your way of thinking, you will never fully actualize your God given potential. You might find some level of success in one area or another, but you will never truly fulfill your design. You may be thinking that there is a certain level that you will be satisfied with that may be short of your full potential; that, in itself, is “Stinkin Thinkin”. As a believer, you have a responsibility to live to your full potential. Contrary to a great deal of teachings today, you do not have the luxury of a complacent thought process. But Bishop, didn’t Paul say that he was content in whatever state he was in? Yes, in Philippians 4:11 Paul states that he has learned to be content in whatever circumstance he was in. It is extremely important to understand the hermeneutic principles of Bible Study. Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible. In an academic sense the discipline of Biblical hermeneutics is quite extensive; however there are three principles that must be adhered to in even the most basic bible study.

Isagogics means studying the Bible in terms of the historical context in which each book was written, including both the human writer, the audience, the times in which they lived, etc.

Categories refer to a topical categorization of doctrine, so that one can approach the Bible on a step-by-step basis and cross-reference scriptures effectively.

Exegesis is a word-by-word, verse-by-verse, etymological, syntactical and grammatical study of scripture in its original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) in order to gain an accurate interpretation of the scripture without the influence of an intermediate chain of language translations which may obscure or lose meanings.

You may be saying that is too much work, but what does the scripture say? Well, let’s see.

Study 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)

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16 NIV)

This is a letter Paul addressed to Timothy, who was an overseer of the church; however when you give careful study of the context from which these scriptures were extracted, you will find that the responsibility of  proper study and mastery of scripture falls on the shoulder of every believer. One of the greatest strategic victories of Satan was to convince believers that the daily engagement of God’s Word is not a necessity. When we are not inculcating Bible doctrine into our minds our minds are being inculcated with something else. Here is a comment I posted on a related blog earlier today:

“I agree. We are inundated with erroneous and fallacious doctrines daily. These doctrines are dangerous because they infiltrate our thought processes and create secular paradigms that are diametrically opposed to the Christian Worldview, pulling us into the ever evolving web of secular worldviews. The number one priority of every believer is the constant, daily, intake, digestion, metabolism and inculcation of Bible Doctrine. The effective fulfillment of all other responsibilities is dependent upon the proper execution of the first.”

We have become lazy and unpurposed in our studies. This creates an orifice through which the enemy enters through fallacious doctrines that lead us off course. (Stinkin Thinkin)

Now, let us evaluate Paul’s statement concerning situational contentment in the light of the proper principles of Bible study. Paul is speaking to the Philippian Church and he is speaking to them concerning their desire to give financial support which they had wished to do before then, but couldn’t. Paul was letting them know that he has seen abundance and lack and has learned how to live in both in a state of contentment (contentment in the way that his joy is not shaken). This is not a complacent contentment, but a contentment that produces the fortitude to persevere until the change comes. Remember, it is in this same chapter that Paul instructs the Philippian believers to practice the things they have seen and heard of him. This is also the same chapter where Paul exhorts them to manage their thoughts. The final proof is in the pudding so to speak; Paul wrote the majority of the New Testament, almost single handedly evangelized two continents and provided us with the clearest portrait of grace in the Bible. I would say that Paul was anything but mediocre. There is no evidence of complacency in Paul’s legacy.

You are What You Think:

7For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Prov. 23:7)

God designed us to be indoctrinated; in other words, he created us to be responsive to intellectual stimuli. We are designed to advance based on the knowledge we receive and our response to that knowledge. Any knowledge that we are exposed to, if accepted as truth, impacts our thought processes and ultimately dictates our actions. If you want to change your path, change your thinking.

 

You are Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

1I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.

2Do 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]. (Rom. 12:1-2 AMP)

22Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;

23And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],

24And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:22-24 AMP)

16Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day. (2 Cor. 4:16 AMP).

When we examine these scriptures we find that we are called to renew our minds, we are to transform ourselves into the likeness of our creator (in Holiness and Greatness) and this is done through our thinking. When we begin to see what the Word says about us; who the Bible says we are; and grasp the inheritance that God has established for us before we were ever born, we will be able to stand up in power and walk boldly into our calling. We will be able to engage the vicissitudes of life with confidence that our God will bring us through. We will be able to fix our gait in a certainty of direction because we understand that God is ordering and establishing our footsteps.

 

We Have the Mind of Christ

For (AE)WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But (AF)we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:16 NASB)

“To summarize his thought, Paul again cited Isaiah (Isa. 40:13; cf. Rom. 11:34). That prophet marveled at the mind of God. Who can fully understand what God understands? Certainly no one can. On the other hand, mature believers can understand to a much greater degree than unbelievers because they have the Spirit of God in them and He controls them. Consequently the mature Christian has the mind of Christ. That is, he or she views life to some extent as Jesus did because that person understands things from God’s perspective, at least partially.  In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul urged his readers to adopt the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5). Even though we have the mind of Christ we need to adopt it, that is, to use it to view life as He did. One evidence of Christian maturity is the believer’s consistent employment of Christ’s attitude and viewpoint in all of life.” (Expository Notes: Dr. Thomas L. Noble)

We are commanded to take on the mind of Christ. Because we have the Spirit of Christ we also have access to the mind of Christ (in the Word of God).

 

Our Relationship with God Gives Us a Sound Mind

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (2 Tim. 1:7 AMP)

This is an extremely powerful verse in a time where so many believers have adapted a mental attitude of fear, anxiety, and extreme stress. The Spirit of God resident within us provides a position of power, a disposition of love, and a mental attitude of stability and self-discipline. Let me explain something to you. Whenever the enemy can attack your thinking and in some way convince you to become shaken, he has you at a disadvantage. Dysfunctional believers are bread in the vacuum of mental instability. You must train your thinking and guard your thoughts with all diligence.

 

In Obedience, Your Thoughts are Established by the Lord

The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked,
but gracious words are pure in his sight. (Prov. 15:26 NIV)

3Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed. (Prov. 16:3 AMP)

This is another scriptural powerhouse; the thoughts of the wicked (those that think opposite the will of God) are an abomination to the Lord. Literally, thoughts which are contrary to God’s way, which is revealed in His Word, are truly detestable to Him. When we are under the influence of “Stinkin Thinkin” we remove ourselves from under the divine favor of God and out of the shadows of His covenantal protection.

Yet, when we trust him and establish our thoughts upon His Word, He becomes the guarantor of our desires and plans (Ps. 37:4). Make no mistake about it, our success is dependent upon proper thinking and proper thinking is measured by its correspondence with the Word of God.

 

We Must Conquer Every Wayward Thought

3For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.

4For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,

5[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), (2 Cor. 10:3-5 AMP)

Make no mistake about it; our most powerful weapon in this spiritual warfare is the mastering of our thoughts. We are instructed to bring every thought into captivity. No thought is inconsequential in this battle. There is a battle being waged for your mind. God desires to fill your mind with His thinking, providing you with power and stability to accomplish all that you set out to do. The scripture promises success and prosperity to the one that keeps his mind focused on the Word and will of God. On the other hand, Satan desires to inundate you with philosophies, theories, and doctrines that are contrary to the way of God. He knows that if he attacks your thinking he cripples your power. We must bring ourselves to a place pure thought. We must come to recognize that anything that is not in accordance to biblical teachings is of the devil.

 

Summation

We are what we think. We will never transcend our thought processes; we will always be limited by them. As a believer, we have at our disposal a most powerful and efficacious weapon; the mind of Christ. When we take on the proper mental attitude the dynamic force of the Holy Spirit will began to guide and empower us for elevation. When we change our thinking we will be able to rise above the forces of evil that have imprisoned us for so long. When we grasp the enormous impact our thinking has on our position, we will begin to live in power and purpose. When we refuse to accept the views of this world we will shake the foundation of this world with our power. In proper thinking is the power to free ourselves from relational dysfunctionality. In the mastering of our thoughts lies the power to break free of the bondage of perpetual poverty. In the conquering of erroneous thinking is the power to move beyond the maze of mediocrity.

Right thinking brings victory in every aspect. Are you tired of wish living? You know what I mean. I wish had a better life; I wish I could travel more; I wish there was something I could do for those I love; and the list goes on. Throw the wish list away, change your thinking and live in the fullness of your inheritance. Wish lists are for non-believers.

 

Be blessed,

Bishop Rick Wallace

Life Solutions 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

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