11/05/12 – “HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT”

Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart  And do not lean on your own understanding.
Prov. 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,  And He will make your paths straight.

I am sure you have heard the old saying, “The quickest path between two points is a straight line”. God wants us to get where we need to go in life. Whether that is building a godly marriage, raising godly kids, growing up spiritually, or obtaining what God has for us, the Lord wants to get us there. Just like any trip you take the quickest way to get to your destination is to find the most direct path from point A to point B. So it is with our life as well. A crooked path is one filled with twist and turns that if we are not careful can cause us to end up in a ditch. If that should happen I am glad that God is there to help pull us out if we are ready to turn things back around. But the best route is to stay in the middle of the road and therefore on course with God.

Prov. 4:27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.

In our foundation text this week of Proverbs 3:5-6, we have some very powerful insights on how to get the Lord involved in straightening out our path. Don’t forget this old saying as well, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”. We are living amongst the trees of life, things that continually work to distract our view from what is really known. God has a great vantage point over our life as one that is all knowing, and if we will get God involved in straightening out our path we are going to reach our destination in the things of God much quicker. Realize as He straightens out your path that does not mean it will always go the way you thought it would. As a matter of fact, God usually takes you through life on a route you have never been before. But that is what walking by faith is all about.

As the Lord straightens out our path, one of the benefits is that He helps to keep us from being led astray into that which is evil. Realize that includes being deceived or seduced by the enemy, not just us by ourselves getting into sin. Something that I will address next week is what it means to sin according to God’s Word and how we can address that in our lives. To sin means to miss the mark, and just like a sharp shooters goal is to hit the center of a target, when he does not do so he misses the mark. If his desire is to hit the center of the target and that is his goal, when he misses he will make adjustments until he hits the mark, or his target. When we sin we miss the mark, but more on that subject next week.

One powerful thing about God helping straighten out our path is that He truly is the one who will help empower us to keep our foot from evil. This of course will only result in good things for us. Evil is lurking all around us in these last days, but thank the Lord He is there for us to help direct our path straight to where we need to go keeping us from the land minds that liter the world around us.

So the first key in having God direct your steps begins with the first part of verse 5 in Proverbs 3. We are told to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”. This is where it all begins. Many people I have met over the years say they are “trusting God” for different things in their life. But yet when you talk to them further you find out this is not so. The word “trust” here in the Hebrew language means to be without a care. This is an indicator of how much we are actually trusting in the Lord. The less care, worry, anxiety, etc, that one has, the more they are trusting God with all their heart.

The use of the word for “heart” here does not actually refer to our spirit man. It refers to our mind, will, and emotions, or what scripture reveals as the soul. We are not a soul, we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Just remember you are going to get a new glorified body one day, hallelujah! But our soul is made up of our mind (what we think), our will (what we want or desire), and our emotions (how we feel). We are to trust in the Lord with all, not some, but all of our mind, will, and emotions. How do you do that? Well it begins with a very important truth that will completely change how you think, change what you want, and change how you feel.

Is. 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!

This is how one learns to trust in the Lord with all their mind, will, and emotions. When you fix your thoughts up the Lord you are going to see yourself through Him. You are going to find your worth and value in Him as you learn who you are in Christ Jesus. When we lack understanding of who we are in Christ we are going to see life through the same view as fallen man. We don’t see ourselves as more than conquerors, we only see ourselves as a human with only human ability. But the Word of God reveals that we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Scripture declares in Galatians 2:20 that for those like Paul who are born again, we have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer we who live. Christ now lives in us, and the life we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God who loves us and gave Himself for us.

One of the biggest weaknesses in the body of Christ is not knowing who we are in Christ. When we lack such understanding this will cause us to continue receiving our identity in life through other things or people rather than Jesus Christ. In doing so we are only seeing things from a human perspective when God is trying to get us to see what He sees and knows. Every believer should take time to go through the New Testament and make note of every verse of scripture that reveals who they are in Christ Jesus. This is getting our mind (our thoughts) fixed on Him, not on us. God will be able to keep those people in perfect peace because they have their trust in Him; they are not living in worry or anxiety about anything.

This leads us to the second thing found in Proverbs 3:5, which is not leaning on our own understanding. When you only look at life through what you think about it, or what you see in the natural, you are not seeing the whole picture. We have been given a Helper from God whom we need to lean on for understanding and wisdom, which will help us to look beyond what is seen in the natural.

John 14:26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:27Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

We have a great Helper whom we have been given to lean on for understanding who is here to teach us all things, guide us in the ways of truth (God’s ways), and will therefore help us to walk with the peace of God in our life everyday, not care, not worry, nor anxiety. Our hearts will not be troubled nor afraid when we follow the leading of this great Helper the Holy Spirit. For that to happen we need to develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit.

I hear a lot about relationship with God and rightly so. I hear a lot about relationship with Jesus and that to is rightly so, but what happened to our relationship with the Holy Spirit. He is the One, who will take what Jesus has declared, which He received from the Father, and He will make it known to us. If we are walking in close fellowship with the Holy Spirit it is certain we are on the right road to having our path being straight. The Holy Spirit is always going to lead us in the direction God has for our life, which results in those straight paths.

Unfortunately in many churches and in many believers’ lives He is not allowed to manifest which results in us missing out on much of what God has for our life. If Jesus and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to be our Helper wouldn’t it stand to reason that we should get to know Him in an intimate way? Through Him we will get to know the Father and Jesus even better for it is He who is living within the heart of every believer. Romans 8:14 reveals that those who are led by the Spirit, these are those who are being fathered by God (sons of God). So to not lean on our own understanding means we should never just reason things out in our minds only, we should subject everything in our life to the leading of the Holy Spirit as well.

Last but not least in all our ways we are to acknowledge God. The word acknowledge here simply means to know or understand. Simply put the final key to this puzzle is we should also look to God’s Word for insight on how God does things. To acknowledge God in all our ways means we should learn in everything we do in this life to line up how we do things with God and His ways. God’s ways are perfect, and His Word is proven. You won’t find anyone with a better track record than God.

So to have God make straight paths for your feet in whatever you do take time to learn who you are in Christ. Get completely focused on Him and who He has made you to be. Continue to develop an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, and look to God’s Word to walk in His ways in all you do. You will be on the right path, the straight path God has for you.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

10/29/12 – “LOVING LIFE AND SEEING GOOD DAYS”

1 Pet. 3:10 For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.
1 Pet. 3:11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.

If you are looking for the “good life” I have your answer on where to find it and how to experience good days. God desires for us to enjoy the life we have been given, and He desires for us to have good days. If this were not so then we would not have such a promise as this in 1 Peter found in the Bible. We all know that life presents its challenges because of the fall of Adam, but that does not mean we can’t experience a life filled with the goodness of God and enjoy what God has for us. The keys are found right here in these two verses of scriptures. We will examine these keys this week as we learn what these scriptures reveal as to what we can do to enjoy good days here on earth.

1. Refrain your tongue from evil.

Prov. 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

I just addressed this issue last week in my Weekly Wisdom article. There are many verses on the tongue and the importance of our words. Here in Proverbs 15:4 we see another verse about our words that talks about speaking wholesome words, not words that are perverse or evil. Wholesome words are a tree of life. This is a reference to a tree that has fruit, which provides life and health through the nutrients that come from its fruit. That is what our tongues are like. When we say things that are godly, filled with the life of God, that is what we feed off of for we hear those words. Our words are either feeding us life or death as scripture reveals life and death are in the power of the tongue.

But when we speak perverse words, words that go contrary to what God’s Word says, then we are speaking that which is evil. Doing so does not build up our spirit man, but in fact breaks us down. Think of any situation where what you or someone else said instantly changed the atmosphere around you. How does one refrain their tongue from evil? James 1:19-20 tells us one of the things we need to do in keeping our tongue from evil. Be swift to hear, slow to speak, and therefore slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

We so often just immediately speak without thinking first of what we are saying and how we are saying it. Doing so often results in saying something that we will then later regret. You must purpose to listen first before you speak, even when you are by yourself. We hear ourselves speak more than anyone else. Speaking things that are contrary to God’s Word does not strengthen our faith; in fact it weakens our faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. If we learn to deal with and get control over our words then we are well on the way to a good life. Your words will build you up, or they will tear you down.

Mark 4:24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.

Jesus also teaches us that we must take heed to “what” we are hearing. Whatever the measure is of what you are hearing, that determines what will be measured to you. If you are listening to a lot of things that are not godly, worldly television shows, worldly media, etc., then that is what you are going to speaking. I don’t think Christians often realize how much of what they hear is in fact impacting what they say. You must stop speaking evil with your tongue. To do that you must train yourself to become good at being quick to hear, slow to speak, and pay attention to what you are listening to (feeding on), for what you feed on will come out of your mouth and produce like fruit.

2. Refrain your lips from speaking deceit.

It should be obvious why this would keep us from seeing good days. To speak words of deceit is to say things in which you are trying to mislead people. There are a couple of reasons why this will come back to rob you of a good life. First and foremost you are going to reap what you sow. If you are sowing words that are misleading people, then you are going to reap the same. Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). Often people think that what they do to others they can get away with, but there is coming a payday and when that happens you won’t be happy.

The other reason you need to refrain from speaking deceit to see good days is because this would be an act of sin. Scripture reveals that your sin will find you out. There will be a time when people will begin to recognize your misleading speech. That will not only hurt your reputation with them, but will do so with others as well. You will become someone who is labeled as being untrustworthy. People will know they cannot trust what you say. This will certainly not lead to good days. So you must be careful of what you say. If you are someone who speaks misleading things continually you need to get before God and deal with yourself and your heart. If you heart is not right then your words will not be right either.

3. Turn from evil and do good.

Eph. 4:27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].

In this life we will face enough temptations to do evil without even trying, so one thing we should definitely not do is be pursuing evil on purpose. Whenever we do not choose to turn from that which is evil we are giving the devil an opportunity in our life to do harm. Realize that he cannot just waltz into your life and do whatever he wants. He looks for ways to infiltrate our life through weaknesses he can exploit. So to turn away from evil we must also have an understanding of what our weaknesses are. If you obviously have a heart to follow after God then you are not someone who wants to live in willful sin.

One of the most important keys to turning from evil and doing good has to do with who your friends are. Scripture reveals that the righteous choose their friends carefully for even the wicked lead them astray. You see this all the time where wrong associations with the wrong kind of people have a bad effect on the believer. Sinners don’t see the type of “good days” the believer has available to them, for they don’t know God. Knowing God and walking close to Him will certainly have a major impact on how you see your days in this life. When we get to know God we come to know that which is good, God Himself. This begins to influence how we look upon life. It is hard to get close with God and not begin to experience the good life God has for you.

Rom. 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Another key to turning from evil and doing good comes from continually renewing of our minds. James tells us the mind (our soul) is not saved. A mind renewed is a mind subdued. If you keep your mind renewed to the Word of God as Paul states here in Romans 12 then you will prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. You will not turn from evil as you should if you do not take the time to consistently renew your mind. As a man thinks, so is he. A renewed mind brings good days for you get a completely different picture on life through the Word.

4. Seek peace and pursue it.

Is. 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Last but not least to see good days we need to seek peace both for ourselves and with others as well. Isaiah reveals a powerful truth about seeking peace for yourself. Keep your mind stayed on God and He will keep you in perfect peace. When you have the peace of God that comes from within manifested in your life good days will be seen. Peace with God is without a doubt one of the most powerful things we have as a believer.

When we seek peace with one another we are not trying to stir up strife or division. The Bible teaches us that where there is strife and division the first thing that comes is confusion, and then every evil work. Clearly this type of lifestyle will not be a good one. When confusion is present the enemy moves in and there will be no resolve, just more turmoil. We must as scripture teaches choose to walk in love, treating others the way we want to be treated, no matter how they have treated us. Just remember Jesus did not deserve to die, for He had done nothing wrong. When it comes to issues that don’t involve our spiritual outcome in life we need to learn to give up the right to be right. Trying to prove your point will only lead to more strife and division.

So learn to follow these four simple yet powerful truths and you too will love life and see good days. We have a God who desires this for you. Sure life will still present it’s challenges, but when you know God you have all you need to be victorious in this life and see the good days God has for you!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

10/22/12 – “DON’T SIN WITH YOUR MOUTH”

James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

James 3:2 We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way. NLT

One of the most important factors that affects our lives is our words. There is no doubt as scripture is quite clear that what we say will have an impact on the direction our life goes. James chapter three addresses this issue revealing that the tongue is like a rudder on a ship. That rudder is going to determine the direction that ship goes. He also relates it to a bridle in a horse’s mouth that determines the direction that horse goes as well.

If we want our lives to go the direction that God has for us, we must learn to speak words of faith. Faith of course is totally based on God’s Word. What many may not know is that when we don’t speak words of faith but instead speak words that oppose God’s Word, we are in fact sinning with our mouths. To better explain this, just realize what sin is defined as.

Sin is missing the mark with God. Think for example of a marksman who has a goal of hitting the bull’s eye on a target. If the goal is to hit the bull’s eye but he misses it, he has missed his mark. If a sailor sets sail from one country and the goal or mark of where he wanted to wind up was in another specific country or port but he winds up somewhere else, he has missed the mark. So it is with sin. The goal God has for us in walking by faith is to hit the mark, which is not just doing what His Word says, but experiencing the kind of life He has for us. But a key factor for that to happen is based on what we are saying.

Prov. 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Clearly we see the impact of our words on our life. Death and life are the result of what we are saying. Death could include physical and of course eternal death, but one of the key meanings to death refers to not walking in the God-kind of life, which is what life is really all about. True life means we are not walking separated from God, nor from what God desires for us. This is why our words are so important. There are some who think you are exaggerating the issue when talking about the importance of what we say, but scripture is clear about this subject and if we want to experience life we must stop sinning with our mouth.

Rom. 14:23b Anything that is not done in faith is sin.

Here is why I refer to not sinning with your mouth. Notice here in Romans 14:23b that this clearly states anything that is not done in faith is therefore sin. Remember sin is missing the mark. Does God have a mark He wants us to hit in this life? Absolutely. Does God have goals He wants us to reach? No doubt He does. If we don’t hit that mark or reach those goals that is sin, or missing the mark. The more we hit the mark the more successful we will become as believers.

How do we hit the mark with our words? By declaring the Word of God which Proverbs four tells us is full of the life of God. How do we miss the mark with our words? By speaking things over our life that do not line up with what God’s Word says. The more we do we are turning that rudder the wrong direction, which is going to lead us off course and put us somewhere we don’t want to be. There are several key factors to discuss here about this. The first is the fact that one who walks by faith does not deny the existence of a problem.

Rom. 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

Look carefully at this statement that is made in the latter part of this verse of scripture. God calls those things which do not exist as though they did. This is in reference to God changing Abrams name to Abraham. God told Abraham at the age of 90 that he and Sarah would have a child. She had been barren and therefore unable to have children. God did not deny this fact, but God gave Abraham a word to change this. It was a fact that Abraham was rather old to be having children, and it was a fact that Sarah had been barren and unable to have children, but the truth spoke. There is a difference between a fact and the truth.

Not sinning with you mouth does not mean you don’t ever say what your situation is now. Faith does not deny the existence of a problem, but faith denies it’s right to stay that way when that situation is contrary to what God said is so. Faith therefore is not like Christian Science saying for example that neither sickness nor disease exist, faith simply states a truth from the Word of God that can change that fact. But when you speak in faith you don’t continue to emphasize the problem, you begin to emphasize the truth through your words.

This is what God did with Abraham. When God came to Abraham his name was Abram, God changed his name. When God changed his name to Abraham He did so for a very important reason. Abraham means a father of a multitude. This is exactly what God had said that He (God) would make Abraham. To do so God had to get Abraham speaking forth what God had promised, which is life. Once He got Abraham declaring what God promised, God was then able to work in and through Abraham to bring it to pass. We must first speak God’s Word before God can fulfill it in our life.

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

This is another very important truth that has to do with speaking words of faith and not sinning with our mouth. First I want to draw your attention to the last part of the verse. Notice that it says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So when we refer to not sinning with our mouth realize that there are still going to be times when we may in a difficult moment say something we should not say. Because we still have a fleshly nature this is going to happen. The key here in not sinning with our mouth is in what are we saying the most. What is consistently coming out of our mouth? If it is not God’s Word we are not speaking in faith.

It is what we consistently say that is going to have a long-term effect on our life. Someone who in a moment of pain or turmoil says something they should not say this does not mean now your course in life is going to be changed to go that direction. We should never use our flesh to make excuses for areas in our life that we have not done our part to bring that under control. The apostle Paul stated that he died daily. But at the same time a word spoken out of a fleshly moment does not mean that we will not reach our goal of where God wants to take us. If we do get in the flesh for a moment then we simply need to repent and get back on track. If we have carnal fleshly issues to overcome then we need to get into the Word and prayer and overcome them.

James 3:8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

So what then is the key to keep from sinning with our mouths? James tells us here in chapter three that no man can tame the tongue. This means we are not going to change what we are saying by only using our minds to try and control what comes out of our mouth. That would be us trying to correct our words by natural means only. The key comes back to something that Jesus said in Luke 6:45.

Notice He talks about a man having either a good treasure or a bad treasure in his heart. Treasure is referring to what you are storing up. You are not going to change your words to line up with God’s Word just through your mind alone. If you are going to change your words you must change what you are storing up in your heart. If you are going to feed on nothing but the things of this world through the different forms of media and through wrong friends, you are treasuring up that which is evil. But if you spend time in the Word of God, God’s house, and around godly friends then you are going to store up that which brings forth faith, God’s Word.

This is why in Proverbs four where scripture reveals that we are to guard our hearts because that is where the source of life comes from it is referring to what we are listening to and meditating on. What goes in your heart Jesus said will come out of your mouth. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak. If we are treasuring up the ways of the world and feeding on what the world says that will bring forth evil. We are going to hurt our life by sinning with our mouth. If we treasure up God’s Word in our hearts that will become evident for we will then begin to speak in line with God’s Word in our circumstances and daily life. This will lead to life, as our words are no longer missing the mark. So watch what you feed on. Get God’s Word stored up in your heart and keep doing so. It will cause you to speak in faith and not sin with your mouth.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

10/15/12 – “GETTING FED AND REFRESHED IN GOD’S HOUSE”

Psa. 23:2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.

The house of God is such a wonderful part of what the Lord has provided for us as a place where we can come and get fed, refreshed, built up, refocused, and blessed by God so we can go forth into the world each day fulfilling what God has for us. The house of God was totally God’s idea and is seen throughout scripture. Last week I talked about getting planted in the house of God, this week I want to cover how to come and get fed and refreshed when you come to God’s house.

In Psalm 23 I want to focus in on verse two revealing clearly that Jesus as our Shepherd wants us to come and lie down in green pastures, being fed the Word of God so that we can grow in our relationship with Him; and He wants us to be refreshed in His presence. These are two very important elements in coming to God’s house that we don’t want to miss out on, especially in these last days. We need to keep hearing the Word of God to grow our faith and get refocused on what is important for our life, and we need to experience the presence of the Lord, His anointing, so that we can continually keep the burdens of life lifted off of us and the yokes of bondage destroyed.

Jer. 3:15 And I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart [in the final time], who will feed you with knowledge and understanding and judgment.

I wanted to share this prophetic verse about the final time, which is the church age we are living in now in which the Lord declares through the prophet Jeremiah that He would give to us spiritual shepherds after His own heart who will feed us with knowledge and understanding and judgment. Realize to be properly fed and refreshed you need to be in a church where the Pastor has been called by God to shepherd His people, for if he has, then he has God’s heart for the church. He is going to feed you the Word of God and not just tickle people’s itching ears. He will, as Paul told Timothy, preach the whole counsel of God’s Word, ready in season and out, convincing, rebuking, exhorting, with all longsuffering and teaching (2 Tim. 4:2). This is what a God-given shepherd does.

1 Th. 5:12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
1 Th. 5:13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

Realize just coming to church does not mean you are feeding on God’s Word, nor getting refreshed in His presence. There are some key factors that are involved. Here in these two verses we are going to see some very important keys to how we get fed and refreshed. The first is to recognize those who are over you in the Lord and teach you. That would be your Pastor, and would include the leadership in your church. To recognize them means you acknowledge them as a gift from the Lord just as Ephesians 4:8, 11 tell us.

Any shepherd who has been given by the Lord to the body has a gift on their life to pastor you. If we do not receive the gift on that person to pastor us we are not going to get fed. Satan works continually to get you to reject the gift Christ has given to you. He will work to get you upset about something he has said or done. You may disagree with a decision he has made, or something he has preached on, but if your Pastor is from the Lord and therefore teaching the Word of God to you, then you need to receive them if you are going to be fed by them.

No believer should think that they are always going to agree with their Pastor. Pastors are people too and they grow just like the rest of the body of Christ should grow. As long as they are not getting off into heresy, teaching doctrines completely contrary to Christ, then you must realize that you won’t always agree with your Pastor. There are times you will come to realize later on that things you may not have agreed with as you grow you will. Remember we are not fully-grown yet spiritually, and that means at times we are going to get challenged from the Word of God. For us to get in the flesh and upset with our Pastor is going to hinder our ability to grow up.

We are also to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake. The body that the shepherd is pasturing is his works sake. Simply put, if you esteem your Pastor highly in love for helping you, then you are not going to make it difficult for your Pastor to shepherd you. You are going to receive God’s Word with gladness, and continue to respect, love, and honor the gift on your Pastors life to shepherd you. Now notice also in the last part of verse 13 above it tells us to be at peace among ourselves. This is another key to being fed every time you come to church.

If you come to God’s house and you are always focused on and upset about what someone else may have said to you, or what someone else may have done to you, you are not going to be attentive to what God is trying to say. Realize that everyone in the body is still growing and dealing with things in their life. It is easy to get judgmental about others when you are not seeing things from their perspective. You have not walked in their shoes, so you don’t even know what they are dealing with.

The devil works continually to get us upset either with our Pastor, or with others in the church. He does so to rob from us. Remember he only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He is out to rob you of the green pastures the Lord has awaiting you when you come to church. What you don’t want to do to allow him in robbing you of your feeding time is to get you walking out of love toward others, or being the one who is trying to muddy up the waters at church. If you are coming to the house of the Lord and your conversations with others have to do with what you don’t like, agree with, or talking about other people in the church in a negative way, you are going to not only hinder your ability to be blessed, but you can hinder someone else from getting blessed as well.

1 Cor. 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
1 Cor. 3:2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;
1 Cor. 3:3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

To receive the feeding God has for you in His house you need to be able to receive solid food, and not just the milk of the Word. To receive solid food you must not be carnal, or in others words controlled by your flesh. Notice Paul declares here that the Corinthians were not ready for solid food because they were still walking in envy, strife, and divisions. This is still a problem for believers today. Notice he tells them those who do so are behaving like mere men. Once born again we are to grow in God and become more spiritual, no longer dominated by our carnal nature and thus living like mere men.

Realize to come to God’s house and to spend your time talking about someone else stirring up strive and division among church family members over things you don’t like about them, or things they may have done that offended you, this is only going to hinder your ability to be feed the meat of God’s Word. Not only is this going to have a negative effect on you receiving personally, this is also going to have a negative effect on those you get into that same conversation with. Such type of behavior never produces anything good and it is simply a work of the enemy to rob from us what God is trying to feed us with to grow us up.

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,…

One of the most important elements to God’s house is the opportunity we also have to come and get refreshed in the presence of the Lord. Once we are born again this is a part of what we can experience through the presence of the Holy Spirit working in our midst. There are several factors that are key to us coming and getting this refreshing from the still waters in the house of God. One key factor is our drawing near to Him. James said if we draw near to Him, He would draw near to us. The best way to see this is from what Jesus taught us in John chapter 4. He declared the true worshippers would worship God in spirit and in truth. Simply put they worship God from their hearts not their head, and they do so with sincerity desiring more of God.

A second key factor is we need to honor and respect the presence of the Lord. We need to learn to show God the reverence that is due Him so that we do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Remember God’s presence is what scripture calls the anointing. That anointing is what removes burdens from off of our life and destroys the yokes of bondage. We need to come to God’s house with a heart to seek Him, and not grieve the Holy Spirit.

So go to God’s house and get the feeding and refreshing God has for you. Learn to walk in love toward all people, have a heart to hear what God is saying to you through your shepherd. Press in to know God and honor His presence and you will be fed and refreshed every time you go to the house of the Lord!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

10/8/12 – “PLANTED IN GOD’S HOUSE”

Psa. 92:13 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God.  

There is no doubt that God’s desire for us is that we flourish as children of God. To flourish means that we are blossoming, bringing forth godly fruit in and through our lives. One of the most important things in a believer’s life to see that happen is to get planted in the house of the Lord that God has for you. This is why satan has worked at getting people out of God’s house. The last thing that the devil wants is for believer’s to flourish and grow spiritually. So this week I want to talk about what it means to be planted in God’s house, and why this is so important to our spiritual growth.

I realize in addressing this issue you will always have those who will say they don’t need to go to church in order to develop spiritually, but that is not what the Word of God says. People can make up their own beliefs, but that does not change what God’s Word says. Whenever we begin to develop our own belief system that does not go along with the Word of God we are falling into idolatry. We are making a god to fit us. We may still think we are serving God, but as I have heard my Pastor, Dr. Barclay say many times, you can’t serve God the way you want to, you must serve God the way He said to if you are going to serve God.

1 Tim. 3:14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly;
1 Tim. 3:15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The first thing I want to establish is the fact that scripture does speak of the house of God as a place where believers come together. There are also references to the fact that we as individual believers are also God’s house because He lives in us by way of the Holy Spirit, but as the above scriptures reveal we are also suppose to be a part of a local body of believer’s in the “house of God”, which is where we the church come together to build our lives on the truth of God’s Word.  Scripture again is clear that we are to be in God’s house with other believers. Paul was writing to a young pastor, Timothy, who was not only one of Paul’s spiritual sons, but also the pastor of the church of Ephesus. He was addressing the order that should take place within the house of God among the church, God’s people.

Eph. 4:11 He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.

The first key thing I want to address in how we get planted then in the house of God that the Lord has for us is what we are actually looking for. We are not to look for a church, we are to look for a pastor, a shepherd whom the Lord has anointed with the gift of a pastor to shepherd us and help us in our walk with God. They are not there to take the place of God in our life, nor should we build our faith in them, but they are there to help us look to God and have our faith built in Him.

Clearly in Ephesians 4 Paul points out here the gifts that Jesus gave to the church. Of these five gifts the pastor of course is the one who we are going to have as a shepherd over our life. The word pastor is defined as a shepherd. This is one reason why many are not planted in God’s house because they are looking only at what a church has to offer them. Their focus becomes the kids church, worship, facilities, or programs, instead of looking to the shepherd to find out if that is whom Jesus has gifted to help them. I have done teachings before on how to find your shepherd so I won’t go into that in this teaching, but it is important to know what you are looking for.

Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
Acts 20:30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

Here we have the apostle Paul talking to the leaders of the churches at Ephesus and giving them a stern warning that Paul himself had told them about for three years, warning them with tears. Paul here is clearly referring to the shepherds of these churches as he tells them in verse 28 to shepherd the church, which the Lord had purchased. In this final exhortation that Paul gave them, for he knew this would be the last time they would see him, he tells them to watch; for after his departure two things would happen. The first thing that they would see are wolves coming in among them not concerned at all about the welfare of the church, but they would come in to destroy the church and tear it apart getting people to turn from their leadership and depart from the faith.

The second thing Paul warns them about is that there would be people from among themselves who will rise up and speak perverse things to draw people away with them. This is referring to those who would be led astray by their flesh, or deceiving and seducing spirits to come against the leadership and church that they first knew God had called them too. These people when they leave the church and the shepherd God called them to will in turn try to convince others to go with them.

A key phrase that is used here is the words “rise up”. There are two ways to leave a church. There are those who “rise up” and there are those who are “raised up”. Those who rise up are those who know they were called to the shepherd when they came. They know there is a connection between them and this shepherd, but if they don’t get planted satan is going to work at getting them to rise up and go out. That is not the work of God. There are those in churches who are raised up by the church and then sent out to become connected with another shepherd whom God has called them too, or they after a short season they realize the shepherd they are with is not their shepherd.

No pastor serving God is going to try and keep people that are called to go and get connected with the shepherd God has for them, but there is a problem when people do this over and over again. They need to examine their heart in such a decision and stop listening to their flesh, which scripture clearly reveals is opposed to God. Most people that leave churches don’t do so because they have been raised up and sent out, nor because they have truly found the pastor God has for their life. Most leave churches because they get in the flesh, listen to their flesh, or what others who leave say to them, and they rise up and go out. This is a work of satan to keep people from being planted in God’s house.

Those who rise up and go out either compromise to go somewhere else because someone got in the flesh and then convinced them to go along to a church God did not call them too; or they rise up and go to another church for a while, then another, then another, and some eventually quit going all together. Just remember those who are planted in God’s house will flourish. So if you are going to stay planted in the house of God where He has called you, then you better make the decision to stop listening to man, following after your flesh, and instead choose to fully obey the Word of God. It will always be in your best interest to do so. It is not always easy because the flesh does not want to submit to the will of God.

Eph. 4:14 Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.
Eph. 4:15 Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
Eph. 4:16 Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

In verse 14 and 15 above we find more results of being planted in God’s house. We are no longer being tossed around by all the different teachings that are going on. We become stable as a believer. We hold to the truth and become more like Christ, who is the head of the church. Then in verse 16 we see another key to getting planted. Every part of the body should do its share of the work. Church is like a family. Every family member should be involved in helping to do the work that it takes to make a church family function. This helps us get planted by being connected with the body not just coming and receiving, but giving of ourselves as well.

So recognize what we are looking for is a shepherd the Lord has for us. When you find that shepherd your heart is united with you need to make sure you are aware of those inside the body who may leave and those outside as well who will try to draw you away. You need to make sure you are not following the ways of the flesh, and you need to get connected as a part of the body God has for you. Those who stay planted will flourish and grow more and more like Christ Jesus!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

10/01/12 – “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH”

Matt. 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Matt. 16:17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.
Matt. 16:18 Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

I think this passage of scripture is often overlooked when you talk about why Jesus came to the earth. Most often we refer to the fact that He came to take upon Himself man’s sin, and man’s punishment, providing the way of relationship back to the Father. Thank the Lord He did all of that and more at Calvary, but I can’t help but look to these verses of scripture where Jesus is asking His disciples who man said that He, the Son of God was. They gave the answers of those of His day, but then He asked them who they said He was. I often wondered how many believers would have a similar answer as Peter’s?

Peter responds declaring that Jesus was the Messiah, which Jesus notes Peter got that by revelation from the Father. Jesus then makes this very important and powerful statement, “Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church”. Is Jesus building His church? The answer would be “yes” because He said He would. That is where I believe we have missed a major revelation in the body of Christ, including in my own walk with God for years. We don’t make ourselves the church, it is Jesus who builds the church and it is done by revelation of who He is. I will get back to that in a moment.

First of all let me address what the “church” really is according to the scriptures. Most believers have been taught that the word for church here in the original Greek language means “The called out ones”. Stop and think about that definition for just a minute. If Jesus is building His church, and the church refers to the called out ones, then would it not be obvious that what He is doing in the lives of the church is calling them out from the world? Anyone who knows scripture would have to say yes because the Bible teaches us that we are in the world but not to be of the world.

There are several reasons why this is true. Once we are born again our lives are to begin a transformation process that is continually being changed from one degree of the glory of God to the next degree of God’s glory. Why would Jesus build a church that would look like, sound like, act like, and continue to walk in the same results as those who are bound by the things of this world? To be a part of the “church” that Jesus is building is to be someone who is in fact becoming more Christ-like and less world-like. When you start talking like this many today claim you are trying to put them into some sort of religious bondage, but if that were true then the picture of the church that Jesus is building would obviously not look like Him. But that is, as we will see that is what scripture teaches us, what we can become.

Part of the problem is the fact that many have not actually like Peter had a true encounter with God, and they have only met the church. They have never truly had a life changing born-again conversion experience. I realize this is not true for everyone, but it is a major problem in what is being called the church today. Far too many don’t realize they have heard stories about Jesus, just as others of Jesus’ day did, but have never had a revelation in their hearts of who He is. This is what Jesus said would be the rock, the foundation stone upon which His church would be built, and in fact that for those who are a part of this church the powers of hell would not prevail against this true church.

Yet if you look at many today who do attend or at least claim to be a part of the church of Jesus Christ, why are there so many lives being ransacked by the devil and his demonic powers? As a Pastor it is difficult to watch people go through such pain that comes as a result of a lifestyle patterned after the world, sinful and destructive. Some get upset when you preach about sin, but the reason we still deal with this subject is because the wages of sin have not changed. There are more reasons as to why there are those who are born again still live in sin than I can address in this one teaching, but what I want to focus in on is the key to Jesus building His church.

John 4:25 The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us everything.” (Messiah is the one called Christ.)

The term for “Christ” is translated in our foundation text as “Messiah”. This was used in speaking of Jesus as the Anointed One who would deliver us from our sins. In this account found in the gospel of John, this is where Jesus appears to the woman at the well. He actually confronted her living in sin with a man to whom she was not married too. She did not say He was trying to put some form of religious bondage on her, but in fact she declared that she knew the One who would come and deliver her from such a lifestyle was the Messiah. She did not know until after this statement that He was standing right in front of her. In the next verse Jesus revealed Himself to her and said that it was He.

So those who knew the writings of the Old Testament knew that when the Messiah would come He would tell them everything. In this woman’s life that included how to get free from this lifestyle of sin she was in bondage too. So here we find a vital key to how Jesus would build His church through the revelation of who He is. They would listen to everything He had to say. This is where many are not making the connection with the One who came, not to endorse their worldly lifestyle and ways, for He did not, and not to introduce them to the church for He did not, but to make them the church by way of revelation of Him. To get this revelation of all He has for our life, including how to live a life set apart from the destructive, painful, sin-filled, stress filled, and bondage filled way of the world, WE MUST HEAR HIM!

Luke 9:35 Then there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, My Chosen One or My Beloved; listen to and yield to and obey Him! AMP

Jesus upon the mount of transfiguration had with Him Peter, James, and John. In the midst of this encounter with Moses and Elijah the heavenly Father speaks and declares to the disciples that they were to recognize Jesus as the Chosen One (Messiah), and they were to listen to and yield to and obey Him! To have revelation from the Word of God that is life changing one must come to the Word and to God’s house with a heart to hear from the Lord Jesus what He is saying to us, and be willing to apply what you hear. If we do not come to the Lord with a yielded heart and a willing vessel then we are not going to walk in the light of who He is.

The “church” that Jesus is building that will not be overcome by the powers of the devil, but will in fact keep satan under their feet where he belongs, are those who want to hear what Jesus has to say to them. They want to not only hear Him, but have a heart yielded to the Lord so that He can reveal more of Himself to them, and then they will continually see their lives transformed through the power of His anointing that brings about a deliverance in our life from the world and it’s destructive ways. The more Jesus works on His church, the more we begin to sound like Him, act like Him, be consumed by Him, and do what He Himself did for we will then begin to learn who we truly are. This is what changed the lives of the early church.

Mark 4:24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.

So we see that Jesus Himself is going to build the church, the called out ones from the ways and bondages of the world, by way of revelation. This revelation of His Word will come to those who, as the Father stated, will listen too, yield too, and obey what His Son has to say. So how important is it then as to what we are listening too? Jesus tells us here in the gospel of Mark we are to take heed to what we hear. The measure of what we are hearing will determine what will be measured to us. If we don’t pay attention to what we are hearing this will affect our outcome in life. I have heard my Pastor, Dr. Mark Barclay say many times, “Whoever has your ear, has your heart.”

It is in our hearts that revelation comes, which in turn will bring about transformation of our lives. Why are so many not seeing this transforming effect of Jesus, the Word of God, building their life? Because if we are giving our ears to that which is not of Jesus what do we expect to receive? As the old saying goes, “Trash in, trash out.” No matter how much you may say you love Jesus, if you don’t pay attention to what you are listening to it won’t be long before you begin to allow things in your life that are not good. What we listen to effects what we believe. Revelation of who Christ is and who He made you to be comes from the heart. One must believe in their heart to walk in the transforming power of the Anointed One.

So make sure it is Jesus who is the builder of your life. Take time to pay attention to who has your ear. What are you listening too? Are you making sure it is a godly influence and not a worldly one? You can’t say it better than our heavenly Father Himself did. “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

9/24/12 – “NO TURNING BACK”

Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

I can remember years ago, some 20 plus years ago when we started our church at one time I was not just the Pastor, I was the worship leader, janitor, fix it man, etc., you name it, I did it. There was a very simple song we used to sing that said, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.” As simple as that song was, it is exactly what every believer who has ever received the wonderful gift of eternal life should do. They should make the decision to follow Jesus, walk after Him, and chase after Him, choosing to turn from the world and it’s ways.

I know that scripture reveals in the last days there are going to be those whose love for the Lord will grow cold. The problem is they won’t think so, but in fact it will happen. Even though I know this to be true, it is still difficult for me to watch as a Pastor. They continue to chase the dreams of the world, and don’t realize that once they turn from the plow of God, they are going to harden their hearts toward God.

I want to address this issue from the scriptures to hopefully do two things. I hope to keep those whose hand is still on the plow chasing after their God, and those who may have turned loose or may have never had a hold on the plow firmly to begin with, to help them take hold of what God has for their life and let go of the things of this world that are keeping them from God. I just don’t think many believers realize what lies ahead, and scripture reveals to us that when we see the things we are now seeing in the world, our focus is to be looking upward toward our God who will keep us close to Him.

Luke 9:59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
Luke 9:60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”

Jesus in these verses leading up to our foundation verse in Luke 9:62 was talking about the cost of discipleship. There is a misunderstanding when it comes to what Jesus’ desire is for everyone. He never told His disciples to just go out and get people born again, but to go and make disciples. That is the goal of what Jesus came to accomplish in peoples lives. To become a disciple is more than just praying a prayer to become born again. Jesus is speaking of this here in these verses above.

Notice He tells a man to follow Him. My first question is why would we not want to follow Him? Notice when Jesus tells him this his response was, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Some may have gotten quite offended at what Jesus said, but He tells the man to let the dead bury their own dead, but he was to go and proclaim the kingdom of God. This is not being disrespectful, but revealing to follow Jesus one must be focused on building the kingdom of God.

Another said He would follow Him, but he must first go and bid them farewell at his house. This is where Jesus responded that he who has put his hands to the plow and then looking back is not fit for the kingdom. The word “fit” here means to be well placed, to be useful. One who is well placed is one who is focused on their life going forward into God, and not going back to the way of the world in which they came from. Before Christ I know my focus in life was totally about what I could get from the world in which I lived. I thought the only way I could be happy is getting out of this world all that I wanted. But I found out that was not going to bring fulfillment in my life.

When I accepted Christ I wanted to know Him and to be a part of what He is doing in the earth. I was amazed that I could even know God, and that through Jesus I could have a relationship with Him. The focus from day one for me was the fact that I could have a relationship with God. I wonder how many people come to God not for the relationship, but what they can get out of knowing God. I just wanted to know Him. This has been my pursuit since the day I got born again. So I do believe that if that is not our focus, we are going to look back because we were not focused on the right thing to start with.

Phil. 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead,
Phil. 3:14 with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The apostle Paul was one of those in the New Testament who once receiving Christ did not turn back, but went fully after God. Paul was one who was focused on living a life of man-made religion. After Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus, he turned completely away from the ways of man, and focused fully on God. In these verses above Paul teaches a very important truth if you want to rise up into the upward call of God that is in Christ Jesus. That upward call is not walking in the fear, stress, worry, and defeat of the world; but walking in the peace, joy, and love that God has for us. A life free from care and worry.

Now many Christians hear that but don’t think it’s possible, but in fact as a believer in Christ you are in the world, but not to be of it. Scripture clearly teaches us that we are to live life free from the cares and burdens that life tries to bring. It is obtainable or Jesus would not have told us in Matthew 6:34 that we are not to worry about tomorrow. Often believers that I talk to or hear speaking to others are constantly being affected by what other people do to them, or what the storms of life do to them, and allowing pressure and stress to affect their life is because they are still looking back.

They may have accepted Christ into their life, but they are unfortunately still looking to the way they have always lived their life and trying to fit God into that picture. What they don’t realize is that they need to learn not to fit God into their life, but they need to learn that God is what the focus becomes, and that the rest of our life fits into Him. This is what Paul knew. As he states in verse 13 above he had learned to forget what was behind. Without forgetting what is behind, you will never go forward to what God has ahead. Forgetting what is behind is far more than just forgetting what someone may have done to you, or something you may have done, that is included; but more importantly forgetting the ways of the past and going into a new way of life with God.

Paul gives us a very important key in this verse as to how one does this. Notice he became single minded. That is the most important key to going forward with what God has for your life. A life filled with God, filled with all He is, and with all He desires for your life. Yet far too many believers are still stressed, fearful, frustrated, lacking true peace and contentment in their life. They just don’t seem to realize that this is the way they lived life before Christ when they were focused on other things. To continue to focus on anything other than Christ as the main focus in life will keep us from the upward call of God. What was that single focus in Paul’s life? Take a look at a preceding verse of scripture in which he reveals this single focus.

Phil. 3:10 My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death,…

Paul’s single-minded focus was first and foremost to know Jesus. Paul did not want to just know about Him, Paul wanted to know Jesus intimately. For example when I saw my beautiful bride for the first time, I want to get to know her. From the first day I met her I began to think about her everyday, and I began to focus a lot of what I did with my time around her. So it is in our walk with Christ, and getting to know Him intimately will help us in our relationship with others.

My concern is that many who have prayed to receive Christ as their Savior have yet to get their single-minded focus on a relationship with Christ. If this is not our focus then we are going to look back to continue in the ways we have always lived in the world. Doing so is why there are far too many believers still living below the calling God has for their life. Relationship with God is what this is all about, but much of modern day Christianity is about self-improvement, and not relationship with Christ. It is through our relationship with Christ that our lives will be greatly improved, but the focus must be on knowing Him.

To know Him means we will also then get to know the power of His resurrection. The power He experienced in His life was the anointing the Father had anointed Him with. We can walk in that same anointing, which comes from relationship with God. This is what will change the lives of others around us and it only comes by getting close to God.

Child of God make sure you are not looking back. If we are not single-minded with a heart to know Christ, we are going to keep looking back to a life of the world that will keep us from the higher calling of life God has waiting for us. Don’t look back, get focused on Christ and keep plowing for Him and you will break up that old hardened ground and experience a heart touched and changed by God. No turning back, no turning back!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

9/17/12 – “RECEIVING GOD’S LOVE”

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

It is one thing to be given a gift from someone; it is another thing entirely to receive that gift. A gift received is a gift retrieved. Simply put, it does not lie dormant, but has an impact on your life. God Himself is love and in receiving God’s love we are receiving God. It is more that just accepting Christ as your Savior. There are those who have acknowledge the love God has shown to them by calling on the name of the Lord and becoming born again. But more than that once we are saved God desires for us to receive His love in our life as well.

As the scripture above states the love of God is not a love that is shown or given based on us first loving Him. God’s love was given before we ever even knew God personally. That love was personified in Christ Jesus on the cross. Many still see love as a feeling or emotion, but true love, God’s love, is not a feeling or emotion. Again, God is love and God is not a feeling or emotion. God can change your feelings or emotions.

Jesus on the cross revealed the love God has for us. God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. A big word which simply means that Jesus bore the punishment we deserved because of our sin. Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sin. The work of propitiation was that atoning work. If you have ever doubted God’s love for you then you have not received a revelation of what Jesus did for you on that cross. For Him to take not only our sin but also the punishment our sin deserved, is an incredible expression of how much God loves us.

2 Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
2 Cor. 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

The apostle Paul not only knew of the love God had shown to him, he had received that love. It was this love God had for him that compelled him to live his life for God. So many today are teaching that we shouldn’t address the issue of how a believer should live their life, but the apostle Paul did. Realizing that Christ died for us, we should no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us. When you talk to people about what the New Testament teaches in relationship to what God says about how we should live our life, often they think you are putting them in bondage. But I have found out over the years they think this because they have not received the love that God has for them.

1 John 2:15 Don’t love the world and what it offers. Those who love the world don’t have the Father’s love in them.

To receive that love you must first and foremost look to Him as the source of all you need in life. If you are still in love with the world or the things of this world then the love of the Father is not in you because it has not been received by you. If you are focused on and chasing after what the world has to offer to find happiness in your life, then you have not received the love that the Father has for you. You can’t do both. Loving the world and what it offers will continue to lead to a life of discontent and frustration. You will never be satisfied because those things cannot complete you, only God can. 1 John is written by the way to believers. So you could be born again and yet in love with the world.

So when people say don’t focus on how you live your life, just realize that God loves you that statement has some truth to it, but what is missing is the fact that you may have not received the love God has for you and this is why your life has not changed as God does desire for us to be transformed. We are in the world but not to be of the world. God does love us no matter what we do that is a fact, but that does not mean you have received that love.

If you are in love with the world or what it offers you have your affections set on those things and not the things of God, and therefore God Himself, and you have not received His love. It is there for you, but won’t make a difference in your life. Receiving Christ is a willful choice in which we turn not just from what we have done in the past, but a choice to begin to walk with Christ and let Him change our future. You won’t have the love of the Father in you if you are still in love with the world.

Heb. 12:5 You have forgotten the encouraging words that God speaks to you as his children: “My child, pay attention when the Lord disciplines you. Don’t give up when he corrects you.
Heb. 12:6 The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child.”

Unfortunately today much of what is being taught is leaving out verses like these in Hebrews. Many have begun to leave out the teachings that the Lord disciplines those He loves. I want to explain how He does this in a moment because there are some teachings that do talk about this, but are not in line with the Word. But what most ministers teach on about the love of God has nothing to do with the fact that because God loves you He will in fact correct you and discipline you.

The reason this is happening is because most ministers are focused on one thing. They want everyone to like them. Who doesn’t want to be liked, but the calling to preach the gospel is not the calling to make everyone like you. In fact Paul was not a very popular preacher in his day and yet he himself said that he had not shunned too declare the “whole” truth of God. Too many ministers are only preaching what people want to hear, not what they need to hear.

If you as a parent truly love your children you are going to discipline them for their benefit. You will do so because you want them to grow up and mature, and you want to keep them from doing things that will harm their life. Today we are seeing the results of a society that in many cases no longer discipline their children as scriptures teach we should. God knows how to raise children and His Word teaches that if you discipline your children you will drive hell far from them. If you discipline your children biblically you are not going harm your child, but they will know what they have done is wrong. You don’t punish your children, you correct them through discipline.

So for us to receive God’s love we must not be in love with the world and what it offers, and we must be willing to receive His correction and discipline for our lives. If we are unwilling to do so we are not partaking of the love He has for us that will help us and protect us from wrong. We will not experience the loving protection of a Father who is trying to grow us up and keep us from doing things that will hurt our life. So how does God correct us?

There are several ways which I will not have time to go into in detail but can be seen clearly in scripture as to how God corrects us. First and foremost realize that God does not correct us through anything that has to do with stealing, killing, or destroying. As I have heard Charles Capps say many times, John 10:10 is the dividing line of the Bible. The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; Jesus came to give us life and that more abundantly. So realize God does not cause accidents, sickness, disease, etc., to come into peoples lives to correct them or teach them something.

There are four primary ways God corrects us according to the New Testament and you can look them up for yourself. First and foremost God corrects us through His Word. When we come to the Word or hear the Word preached and see things that it says we are to do as a believer and we are not doing so, then we should receive that as a correction from God, not bondage or as some would say, “preaching condemnation”. God is trying to keep you from hurting your life. It is that simple. Those who say obeying the Bible is bondage don’t understand the love God has for them.

A second way God corrects us is through His Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to show us all things. All things would include when we do wrong. As our Helper He will not only help us in dealing with challenges we face in life, He will also help us to point out things we need to fix and change with His help. He is our teacher and can show us how to have our lives changed as He reveals God’s Word to us.

A third way God corrects us is through our conscience, the voice of our spirit. When our conscience feels guilty that is not a bad thing; that is our spirit revealing something we need to change. And a fourth way God corrects us is through godly leadership who have been given to help grow us up as well. They do so by teaching us the Word of God, all of what His Word says.

So receive the love God has for you by not loving the world, nor the things in the world, and by receiving His correction for your life. God loves you and wants you to experience the power of His love. That love will transform your life and will then in turn help transform the lives of others. It is a wonderful gift that should not lie dormant in our life. Remember a gift received is a gift retrieved!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

9/10/12 – “PSALM 23”

Psa. 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psa. 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

This week I want to share some powerful truths from one of my favorite Psalms. Many of the Psalms are prophetic, and speak of events to come. Psalm 22 was a prophetic Psalm speaking of the days in which Jesus walked on the earth. Psalm 23 is prophetic of the time we live in now, and therefore a great Psalm to study as we live out the last days of the church age. Psalm 24 speaks of what is to come as Jesus returns for His church. I will go through Psalm 23 a few verses at a time this week as we find out more about how it applies to us now.

Here in verse one we have the statement that the Lord is our Shepherd, and because He is we shall not want. When you learn about how Christ is the One who makes you complete in this life you will understand this statement. Unfortunately many who know the Lord are still living a life of want. They are focused on and chasing after what this life has to offer instead of relationship with Christ. When you come to the place where you are fully submitted to Jesus as the Lord of your life, you will both find true contentment, and you will see Him provide and care for your needs.

Matt. 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

When you seek first the kingdom of God, you are seeking above all else in life the King of that kingdom. When you do, the things you have need of Jesus said would be added unto you. Think about how easy it is to get sidetracked in life and be seeking first things above the Lord. This will lead to you being discontent. Things cannot make you complete; it is only Jesus who makes us complete. As a child of God you must keep things in perspective, and above all else make sure you keep Jesus as the shepherd of your life. That doesn’t happen just because you are born again. This comes as a result of wanting to be a sheep and follow after Him.

When we have Jesus as the One who is shepherding our life, leading us through this life, it is then that we will lie down in green pastures, and be led beside the still waters. This is a place of rest. Sheep were led by their shepherds to places where there was more than enough grass for them to feast on, and water to refresh them. This is a place where you know you are at rest in life because you know Jesus is determining your steps as you hear His voice, and you will live a life of rest and be taken care of by your Shepherd.

Psa. 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

People often think when scripture speaks of our soul it is referring to our spirit man, but the soul is usually referring to our mind, will, and emotions. The book of James tells us that our soul is not saved. When you get born again your spirit man is the real you, and it is your spirit that has been saved. The soul must be continually renewed if you want to walk in what God has for you here on earth. This is what David is referring to that you and I have the ability to do. Jesus is the Word of God as John chapter one tells us, and it is through the Word of God that our souls are renewed, or continually being restored.

The reason it is so important to have our souls continually renewed is because this is how we learn to walk in the paths of righteousness. There are many paths one can take in life, but there is only one path that leads to what God has for your life. The many other paths that people choose all end up in the same destination, which is taking you farther away from what God wants for your life. If you are not on the path of doing that which is right in the sight of God, then you are being led farther away from Him, not closer to Him.

There are those who walk a path of man-made religion and just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, that does not bring you closer to God. But that does not change the fact that there is a path of righteousness, which leads us to God and what God has designed for our life. If someone is going down the path of idolatry for example, this means they have made a god to fit them. This would include believers who know what scripture teaches us, yet they choose to follow their own path. Doing things that God speaks about clearly in the New Testament that will hurt your life, and you know it’s wrong but choose to do so anyway is idolatry. Doing so one has made a god to fit them, instead of chasing after God and experiencing the life He desires for you.

Psa. 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

This is powerful when you understand this is a time again that applies to us right now. Even though we are going through what is currently a valley of the shadow of death, remember we have been redeemed from spiritual death. There is death all around us. I am not talking about people physically dying. Death signifies separation from God, and therefore also represents darkness. Even though we are going through this valley where many are walking separated from God, the believer is not! We have no reason to fear any evil around us for God will not leave us nor forsake us.

His rod and staff comfort us in the midst of this valley of death. The staff refers to the hook shaped staff the shepherd had and is used for several things. He would use this to fight off predators who would come after the sheep. He also would use that staff to hook the sheep when they would get caught in a thicket and would pull them out. Jesus is the One who fights for us when we know who we are in Christ, and He is the One who pulls us out of that which tries to ensnare us. The rod represents the Word of God. It was something the shepherd leaned on for support. We can lean on God’s Word to support us and thus bring comfort to us no matter what we face.

Psa. 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Jesus has also prepared a banqueting table for us right in the midst of this darkness and our enemies all around. On that table is everything we need that pertains to life and godliness. Everything we have as a part of the redeeming work is sitting on that table. To become a partaker of what is on that table you must stop turning your back to the table and looking at your enemies. Instead you need to turn your back on your enemies and look to the table, and by faith jump into the feast of all that Jesus has for you. As scripture reveals for example healing is a part of the children’s bread. That bread is sitting on that table, not in heaven, but right here in the midst of our enemies.

Jesus also has anointed us to walk in the power and presence of the Lord for our lives so that we can receive revelation through the Word, walk in that anointing on our lives, and therefore fulfill His work here on earth. Every believer has been anointed by God to accomplish His work that He Himself did. Jesus said if you believe in Him, the works He did you would do also. How did Jesus do those works? God anointed Him and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. When you start yielding to and walking in this anointing seeing the captives set free, your cup will run over. You will experience the fullness of His joy and His goodness in your life.

Psa. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Last but not least because of who Jesus made us to be, God’s goodness and His love will follow us all the days of our life. Often people believe that God must not love them anymore, or that God will not show forth His goodness to them because of something they have done.  Not true! God’s goodness and mercy will always follow us, all we have to do is believe in His goodness and His love for us.

Notice what this prophetic Psalm of our day finishes with. Often the last words spoken are the most important in any conversation because it is what you remember the most. We are to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Simply put, during this church age we are not to abandon the house of God. Many have and don’t realize they are only hurting their lives. Scripture clearly reveals that Sunday is the “Lord’s Day”. This is not to become a bondage to us. God’s house is a place where we get to be blessed by spending time in His presence, which helps us to get refreshed, and is where we grow through the Word of God in our walk with Him. If you don’t want to dwell in His house as the Lord instructed me earlier this year about this, the question is, “Why don’t you want to be in My house?” God designed His house as a place of blessing for our life. If you do church right and are where God called you to be, you will be blessed.

So take time to meditate on this powerful Psalm as this is referring to the church age you and I live in right now. What a wonderful God we serve, and what a blessing to know Him, experience who He is and what He has for our life, and help others do so as well.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

9/3/12 – “GROW YOUR GARDEN”

1 Pet. 1:23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

Could you imagine a farmer who wanted to harvest crops so that he could have what was needed to sustain his family, both by what he grows to put on his own table, and through the harvest he would sell to provide the funds to take care of the rest of their needs, yet never plants any seed? He goes to a feed store or supply house and picks up that seed then brings it home and puts it in his barn, but never takes the time to go and plant it. The obvious reason there would be no harvest is because there is no seed in the ground.

Yet often believer’s who are born again who have a desire to harvest the kind of life that Jesus has died and paid for and made available for them, don’t realize that their seed is sitting in their barn. If they want to experience the harvest of all God has for them they need to get the seed out of the barn and in the ground for it to grow up in them. You must first go to the supply store and get the seed. As our foundation verse reveals that seed is the Word of God. It is called an incorruptible (imperishable) seed. That means it cannot decay. As scripture reveals God’s Word does not return void. It never loses its power.

The store where we get this seed is the Bible. Going to scripture is how we go to the feed store where that seed is awaiting us to be brought home and placed in our barns while we get the ground prepared for that seed. When you go to God’s Word it is primarily first head knowledge. Just as our foundation verse reveals it is through this seed that we became born again. Most people don’t respond to the gospel the very first time they hear it. It becomes head knowledge to them, but it must become revelation in their hearts for it to produce new life.

The minute someone gets revelation of the Son of God and then turns their life over to Him they become born again. I know in my life I had several different encounters with the gospel over a couple of years before I finally got it. When I got the revelation of what Christ had done for me, it was then I had the faith to act upon that Word and receive this new birth experience. But it all started with a seed. The key then for us to continue in our walk with God and experience growing our garden and bringing forth what He desires for our life, is getting the seed from the Word, the supply store if you will, then taking it from our barn, which is head knowledge, and planting it in our hearts.

One of the most important parts of taking that seed from knowledge form and now getting revelation of that Word in our hearts comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. Once God’s Word becomes revelation to you, the seed is planted now in your heart and can bring forth a harvest of God’s truth in your life. This is where people often miss it with God’s Word, and thus one of the primary reasons they are not seeing the kind of harvest the Word promises.

Prov. 29:18 Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; …

In the natural if man did not plant his seed, grow that crop, and then harvest it, without food he would perish. The people of God who do not plant the Word of God and harvest it will perish or lack the harvest of what God has for them as well. Without revelation of the Word of God there is no seed yet planted. It may be in your barn (head knowledge), but you need to get it in soil to grow (your heart by way of revelation). I am not trying to belabor this point, but it is imperative if you want to grow the things of God in your garden.

Eph. 3:3 The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above.

The Word of God scripture reveals is full of mysteries, which simply means hidden truths. They are not hidden from us but for us. This does not mean that God is keeping them from us, for He declares in His Word that there is nothing secret in His Word that will not be revealed. But the Bible also teaches us that the fleshly man, or one ruled by their carnal nature, is blind to these truths. They just don’t get it. They can read the Bible and get head knowledge, but it does not become revelation to them.

What is the difference between head knowledge and revelation? Head knowledge is nothing more than knowing the facts of what scripture teaches. Revelation of the Word is when it comes alive in your heart as revealed by the Spirit of God. You will know when this happens for there will be an absolute knowing within it is so. How then do we get this seed from the barn (head knowledge) into the ground (revelation in our hearts)?

1 Cor. 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
1 Cor. 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

The Holy Spirit is the One who knows all the things of God, and no one can know the things of God except by the Holy Spirit. We have received Him so that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. The word “know” here means to have understanding. In this same context in verse 14 we find out that the things of God are spiritually discerned or understood. When one has understanding of the Word in their hearts as given by the Holy Spirit, they have revelation of God’s Word.

So here is a key. What if I am living a life of willful sin, choosing to quench, resist, or then even grieve the Holy Spirit? I am negating His ability to reveal God’s Word to me. This is why so many churches who have now removed the work of the Holy Spirit from their church or never allowed Him to work in the first place are filling people with head knowledge, but are not getting revelation of God’s Word. If the church where they go does not welcome the third part of the Trinity and those who attend like it that way, they certainly don’t welcome Him working in their life when they leave church.

I had someone awhile back tell me that one of the things that they were concerned about had to do with the church they attended. They did not understand why people came to church and acted one way, then left and were no different than worldly people. If the Word of God does not become revelation in you heart it is not going to change your life. Unless it becomes a seed planted there will be no harvest. There is of course one other very important part here to grow our garden. That is the condition of the soil in which the seed is planted.

Mark 4:14The sower sows the word.
Mark 4:15And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Mark 4:16These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mark 4:17and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.
Mark 4:18Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
Mark 4:19and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Mark 4:20But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Jesus in this parable teaches us how the seed of God’s Word when planted in good ground will produce a harvest of the Word in our lives. There are four types of soil He refers to. The first is wayside soil, which being hardened, the seed falls upon the heart but satan comes immediately and snatches it away. To keep our hearts from being wayside soil we must remain yielded and open to the Holy Spirit. One’s heart becomes hardened when they no longer respond to the work of the Holy Spirit in their life.

The second type of soil is stony ground. This refers to people who are not rooted in Christ; they are to caught up in other things, which would include man-made religion. The third type of soil are those who allow the cares of life, deceitfulness of riches, or desire for other things to become their focus and they choke out the Word of God. But those who are good ground are going to produce a harvest, and that harvest will become more productive as they grow in God.

So grow your garden in God! Take time to go to the supply store to get seed, get it into your barn, prepare your ground for the seed, and then get that seed planted. This will produce a godly harvest of God’s goodness in your life.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker