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2017 Weekly Prevailing Word #40

AMERICA MUST HAVE A PARADIGM SHIFT

“… although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools.”   Rom 1:21-22

Again, the word paradigm is defined as, “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, practices that reveal a way of seeing reality for the community that shares them-specially in an intellectual discipline.”  Or, “People act on what they believe to be truth!”  And personal truth comes to us from the way we have been raised – home, school, church – and particularly the environment of the world in which we live.  For example, if you believe separation of church and state is in the Constitution’s 1st Amendment then you’ll condemn anything Christian in secular matters.  But if you have a Biblical paradigm, you will fight to maintain IT’S Revelation in our society.

Last week I offered a little of my own paradigm shift; and how I began to follow the paradigm of the Word of God.  I thank the Lord daily for His infallible Word.  Today I submit that America must shift to a Biblical paradigm, especially when you consider…

1 – We’ve become a country of thieves:  Some Americans steal from the IRS, steal from their employers, steal from the church, and steal from God.  Even many of our Christian youth are downloading their favorite music from the internet without paying for it.  A recent Barna survey says, that only 10 per cent of Christian teens consider music piracy to be morally wrong.  And 64 per cent of those admit they have engaged in downloading anyway.  Isn’t “Thou shalt not steal” still in the Bible?

2 – We’ve become a country of murderers:  The great indictment of America began in 1973 when Abortion on Demand was declared the law of the land.  Since then millions of babies have been murdered in their mother’s wombs.  The worldly paradigm is that life begins at birth – not at conception as the Bible says.  Amazing how medical science can perform major life-saving surgeries on unborn babies; yet the worldly belief system says it’s not a life.  Hmm…, I believe “Thou shalt not kill” is still in Exodus 20:13.

3 – We’ve become a country of profanity:  I can remember when people actually spoke without cursing.  Not so today!  Four letter words are peppered into 99% of all worldly conversations and communications.  I really wonder if we have fallen to such an intellectual sewer that we can’t talk without using expletives?  Have Americans so small a grasp on the English language they can’t make a paragraph without using phrases of the gutter?  And you never hear anyone say, “Devil Damn you!”  No, they always try to put that off on God.  Listen, God’s the Bless-or and not the damn-er!  “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;” remains the foundation to speak and to live by.

4 – We’ve become a country of immorality:  Folks, perversion is not just in the prisons of Iraq.  No, perversion is in the streets of South Texas. In adult bookstores, in HEB checkouts, on billboards, and in the establishments of strong drink.  Perversion flows like a sewer into many homes every night.  And I’m not talking about some X or R-rated movie; but in advertisements, prime time network sitcoms, and many news-talk shows.

And I recall one of our recent Presidents had an extra-marital affair in the Oval Office.  And to add insult to injury the law-makers who represented us didn’t completely oust him in shame.  But my friends, Ex 20:14 “Thou shalt not commit adultery” continues in force!

Of course, why wouldn’t America perform such Scriptural atrocities?  After all, didn’t she agree with the removal of the 10 commandments from a judicial building in Alabama (2001)?  And isn’t she on the verge of removing “Under God” from her pledge?  

Go get-em church!  Evangelize with vigor.  The 1st century church was worse off than we are – and they turned their world’s paradigm “upside down”.   (Acts 17:6)

2017 Weekly Prevailing Word #39

PARADIGM SHIFT

 “… hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)…” Heb 10:23

Consider this definition of the word ‘paradigm.’  “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that reveal a way of seeing reality for the community that shares them-especially in an intellectual discipline.”   Or said another way for us down-home South Texans; “The popular way of viewing things that produces actions based on that view.”  Can I make it yet clearer?  How about, “We act on what we believe to be true.”  For example, if we have a republican, or democrat, or independent paradigm, then we will follow that belief system in the voting booth.

In Spiritual matters it’s the same.  Depending on our denominational paradigm, we will subscribe to whatever we have learned to believe about the Scripture.

As a denominational boy growing up, I attended church on a regular basis; i.e., every time the doors were open.  It wasn’t a matter if I wanted to go because mom said we were going.  We went to church because she knew it was the Scriptural thing and therefore the right thing to do.  (I thank God for my mom’s paradigm.)  I was born again at a young age and I believed the Bible to be true.  However, after straying away from my early training, something happened to me in 1979 that caused my paradigm to change.  And that shift has proved to be the greatest thing that ever happened in my life.  For at that time my paradigm about the Bible shifted.  Suddenly it wasn’t just a book of good stories taking up space on the coffee table; now it became “The Word” of God!  My view became if God said it, then what He said had to be true and therefore could not fail.

My wife and I began to hang out with a group of couples our age that not only read the Word, but also talked the Word, indeed, fellowshipped around the Word.  I distinctly remember sitting at an IHOP in San Antonio and one of the brothers shared how he had been having trouble sleeping.  Tension from owning his own struggling business had caused some financial concerns to overtake his waking hours.  Immediately I recalled a Scripture from “The Word” in Psalms 127:2, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”  As we talked of this verse, and how God cannot lie, and how it was just as true now, as it was when the Psalmist penned it; this brother began to believe it and his sleep returned to him.

Folks, do you see that faith in this Word caused worry to leave and sleep to return to him?  So how did this paradigm shift work?  It was faith in the Word that caused the shift to peace and rest!  Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”   Now consider this: there are two Greek words translated “word” in the New Testament we need to know.  One is ‘logos’ or the written word; and the other is ‘rhema,’ or the alive word/revelation of the mind of God.  In Rom 10:17, it is, “and hearing by the ‘rhema’ of God.”  Example: let’s say you were reading a novel and the author said, “They went to a baseball game” you would have a ‘logos.’  We would all recognize what was meant.  But, if the author said it this way; “They went to the 7th game of the World Series and the Astros beat the Yankees on a suicide squeeze bunt in the last of the ninth inning.”  That would be a ‘rhema;’ for you tap into the mind of the manager and his strategy to win the game.  God has a strategy, a ‘rhema’ for you to win in life!

Changing our paradigm requires we get the ‘rhema’ of God.  Today’s Prevailing Word instructs us to “hold fast the confession…”  If we will “Continue in the word…”  (Jn 8:31), indeed we will eventually become those who are “hearing the” ‘rhema of God.   I encourage you to read, talk, and fellowship with people who believe the Bible is the Word.  You too can gain the paradigm shift to a ‘rhema’ faith that will never fail

2017 Weekly Prevailing Word #38

EARNESTLY CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”   Jude 1:3

“And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”   Acts 3:16

“Fight the good fight of faith, …”   1 Timothy 6:12

I am absolutely thrilled every time I think about how the Lord has worked in the past through his great men and women of faith.  My heart is stirred with the Psalmist of old when he said in Ps 63:2 “To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.”  I too, long to see God’s glory in the sanctuaries of the 21st century.  I still believe “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.”   (Heb 13:8). 

Now, I’m not a complete novice with this desire, neither am I the only one who is stirring with a true longing for a Heaven-sent, sin-obliterating Revival in our land.  However, I do have some experience with seeing God’s power flow in my own life. 

Earlier this month ( 9-3-17), I told you of a terminal report I received on June 28, 1985 concerning my physical body.  Dr. Stephen Cohen, a nationally known oncologist, had just examined me.  I had suffered two strokes and was paralyzed from the neck down.  The Hodgkin’s disease had come “roaring back” and as Dr Cohen said, “Mr. Beams is quickly approaching the end of the line.”  After looking down at me, he turned to my wife to declare, “He has only 30 days to live.”  But as Paul Harvey says, “Now you are going to hear the rest of the story.”  I shuffled out of that hospital some time later, barely able to take 6-inch steps.  But friends, within thirty days of June 28, I was running the bases on the softball diamond.         

So, what happened?  What was it that so changed this terrible situation and turned it around.  Why am I still here after more than twenty years?  Folks, I learned how to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints.  That is, I learned about the intense combat with a battle opponent in order to prevail; a life or death struggle. 

I want to share with you –  how you can grow your faith also.  We talked last week that to earnestly contend we must first know who has faith.  Essentially, every born-again person has God’s faith, we received it when we got saved (Eph 2:8).  Consider today another thing we must know on how to fight for God’s faith:

Know how much Faith you received when you were born again – Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  Please notice here that “God has dealt to every man…” what the Bible here describes as “…the measure of faith.”  Since we know God cannot show partiality for He is “…no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10:34); then God will not give more faith to one than to another.  So the measure he gives to the preacher, he must also give that same measure to the doctor, lawyer, and Indian chief.  Billy Graham didn’t get more faith than anyone else.  Those great ministers on TV didn’t receive more of the measure than you or me.

Hey, Pastor Beams….  So, how much faith is the measure of faith?  I don’t know!  But I do know what ever the measure of faith is, it is enough!  It’s enough to move the mountains of life; get you through the terminal reports you receive.