11/25/13 – “WALKING IN GRATITUDE”

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1Th. 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

There is a saying I have heard my pastor Dr. Barclay say many times that is so true and very powerful. All of life hinges on gratitude. If for example you walked up to a very large door, and the will of God awaited you on the other side of that door, all you have to do is open it. What if that door had no hinges and it was so heavy you could not personally move it? You would not be able to enter into what God desires for your life.

So it is when it comes to gratitude. As Paul states here in 1 Thessalonians, in everything we go through in life, we are to give thanks. He did not say give thanks for everything, but in everything. God does not bring bad things into our lives to “teach us” things, but in the midst of whatever you face or even when things are going good if you want to experience God’s will you must walk in gratitude. That is why Paul states in this verse that giving thanks in everything is the will of God for you.

This week of Thanksgiving I want to share with you three powerful things that we are to be walking in, making a part of our daily lifestyle. As you will see in doing so it is through these three things that we can and will live a life of gratitude toward God. For all Christ has done for us we certainly have a reason to walk in gratitude everyday, no matter what we may or may not be going through. So let’s take a look at these three things we are to be “walking” in.

Eph. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
Eph. 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Paul reveals in the start of this fifth chapter with a very powerful statement that will make the point of how these three things that later follow in this chapter have to do with our gratitude toward God. We are to be imitators of God as His dear children, or in other words those who are walking as grateful kids. The greatest way you can show your gratitude toward God is in imitating Him.

Number one: Walk in love. We are to walk in the same love that Christ walked in toward us. That simply means the God-kind of love, which is unconditional, sacrificial, and continual. When you take a look at what walking in love is all about, it really comes down to understanding who you now are in Christ, and how you can in fact daily choose to “put on Christ” just as you choose to put on certain clothes each day when you go to your wardrobe to select what you will wear.

To walk in love you must do as Christ has done according to Ephesians 5:2, He gave Himself as an offering and a sacrifice to God. For us to walk in love we to must give ourselves as an offering and sacrifice unto God. Not doing so will keep us from learning who we are in Christ. The word offering means to give yourself as a gift to God. In doing this we recognize that it is by our own free will that we choose to follow after Christ and walk as a child of God. For us to not give ourselves as a gift to God, but to feel we “have” to do what Christ did, that will only lead to a form of bondage. God wants us to want to follow Him, not feel like we have to.

We also need to give ourselves as a sacrifice to God for Paul Himself stated this in Romans 12:1. We are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. The reason this is important is because of the very next thing Paul then states in Romans 12:2. We are not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Those who are of the world are not going to walk in the God-kind of love. They don’t have that kind of love in them, but the believer does. The problem for many Christians is they don’t know who they really are.

All who are born again have become a new creation, recreated in the image and likeness of God. Stop and think about this for a minute. Romans 5:5 states that when you are born again the love of God has been poured out into your heart by the Holy Spirit. In 1 John 4:8 we are told that God is love, and we know that God is a Spirit. You are a spirit and once born again if you have been made in the image and likeness of God, which you have, then you are love, the God-kind of love. That is exactly what Romans 5:5 is saying. That love was poured out into your spirit, the real you. You are love. Most believers just don’t know who they are.

Now to walk in love you must also begin then to not only renew your mind to the Word of God to who you are, you must choose as scripture says to go into your spiritual closet, the person who you really are on the inside, and put on Christ. Doing so you choose to put on love. It really is that simple. You make the choice to treat others the way you would want them to treat you. That is what Jesus has done for us.

Eph. 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
Eph. 5:9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
Eph. 5:10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
Eph. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Number two: Walk in the light. We are to walk as children of the light, not children of the darkness. We also come to the Word of God and find out what is acceptable to the Lord. The things that are not acceptable to Him we do not walk in. Paul states here we are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. This means we do not become partakers in the things that sinners do, instead we let our light shine so that they can see a way out of the darkness. Walking in darkness does not show our Father that we are grateful for what He has done. Choosing to walk in light will for we are revealing our love for Him in setting us free from the darkness.

Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

As followers of Christ we are to do “good works” not “evil works” so that we are letting our light shine to those who are looking for a way out of the darkness. The honest truth of anyone who is a sinner and looking for a way out of their destructive sinful lifestyle is that they are not looking for someone living like them. They already have plenty of people like that, and they know such people are no different then they are. They are looking for someone who is genuine and real who in fact is living free from the things that they are bound by. They want to get free, not further bound. Those who are sick Jesus said have need of a physician. We know the physician.

As believers in Christ we are still going to have times we may get in the flesh, but it should not be our lifestyle. Jesus came to set the captives free, not to get them to pray a prayer and continue to live a life of bondage to sin and the pain sin brings. A vital key to us walking in this liberty is found in Galatians 5:16. If we will walk in the spirit, we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is once again referring to us learning who we are in Christ as a recreated spirit being. Walking in the spirit means we are walking after the true you, the spirit man on the inside, not the fleshly man on the outside.

Eph. 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
Eph. 5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Number three: Walk as wise. To walk as one who is wise means to not go the way of fools. Scripture has a lot to say about this but one of the most revealing areas in scripture that deals with a comparison of those who are wise and those who are foolish is found in a parable Jesus taught about the 10 virgins as revealed in Matthew’s gospel chapter 25. Jesus gives a comparison of 10 virgins, five who were wise and ready for the Lord’s return, and five who were foolish and not ready.

The key to this parable is that they all had oil in their lamps, representing that they were all born again, but the wise also had oil stored up in additional vessels, but the foolish did not. When Jesus came and the wise were ready and went with Him, the foolish had gone out to get more of this oil but were now to late. The oil represents the glory of God, or His presence. The wise Christian is going to stay full of the glory of God by staying close to Him. One of the places you stay full of God is in God’s house. The foolish virgins today are out playing around doing their own thing, but the wise are working for the Lord and staying full of Him.

We can cultivate a lifestyle of gratitude toward God by walking in love, walking in the light, and walking as wise. Living such a life means we are imitating our Father in heaven, which will open the door to His will for our life. Remember gratitude is the hinge upon which all of life swings. May God richly bless you and your family this Thanksgiving as we honor our God for all He has done for us!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

11/17/18 – “GODLY MOTIVATION”

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2 Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died;
2 Cor. 5:15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.

Motivation – That which incites to action; that which determines the choice, or moves the will. How powerful is motivation in a person’s life? When you look at the definition it is quite obvious that motivation is a key component in our lives that leads to action and determining our choices. The proper motivation in a believer’s life can make all the difference in obtaining all God desires for you.

Have you ever seen what an Olympic athlete goes through to prepare for the Olympics? Many of course begin at a very early age. They dedicate years of their life, thousand of hours, money, and sacrifice all for the opportunity to go and represent their country with the hope of winning an Olympic medal. One of the first things they address is a major change in their daily routine to prepare and train in whatever event or events they hope to compete. Not only does this routine involve physical training, it also involves a complete change of lifestyle.

These athletes change their diet to a strict regiment designed to help them obtain optimum physical conditioning. Not only do they change their diet, the hours upon hours of training, pushing themselves beyond what their bodies seem capable of doing is one of the toughest challenges they face. Many in America have parents who spend thousands of dollars to get them with a personal coach who will be able to help them become the best they can be. They put up with these trainers pushing them day after day to become better at what they do. After years of training, workouts, and sacrifice it all comes down to the goal of getting that medal. Some succeed, yet many fail.

I have heard many of these athletes talk about what their motive was that caused them to push themselves so hard for so many years to obtain this prize. The motivation for many is the hope of standing on that medal stand in front of all the world and being recognized for that moment as the best athlete in their field. There are others who have actually acknowledge that their motives may have been for a family member, or just to have the opportunity to make it in the Olympic games. One thing is for sure, if Christians get the right motivation in their lives in dedicating themselves in their walk with God like these athletes in attempting to win a medal, we are going to see some incredible results.

1 Cor. 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
1 Cor. 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Here we have the apostle Paul referring to this very analogy in us running our race of Christianity here on earth in such a way that we may obtain the prize. He refers to the natural athlete in verse 25 as one who is temperate in all things. They do this to obtain a perishable crown, but we are doing it to obtain an imperishable crown. The reward we will receive will be an eternal reward. Just like the athlete competing for a natural crown, we can find the right type of motivation that will energize us in walking with our God. It will inspire us and even push us beyond what the flesh desires so that we can walk out what is God’s will for our life here on earth.

In our foundation text of 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, we get a picture of this very motivation that was at work in Paul’s life. Notice in verse 14 he tells us that the love of Christ controlled, urged, and impelled them. What did in control them to do? In verse 15 he reveals that the love of Christ was the controlling factor that caused him each day to no longer live for himself, but instead for Jesus who had died for him. When Paul refers to living for himself he is referring to living for his own will and not for the will of Christ. This love that was now controlling Paul’s choices was seen in what is the greatest motivation the believer has to look to each and every day – the cross.

Notice that he begins by saying this love was revealed in the death that Christ died for us, for if this One man died for all, then it was clear to him that all had died. This death he is referring to of course is spiritual death, or separation from God. Paul had revelation in his heart of the power of this love revealed to all of mankind through what Christ did for us on the cross. Jesus on the cross was the greatest demonstration of God’s love to the whole world. Notice what Paul goes on to say a little farther down into 2 Corinthians 5.

2 Cor. 5:21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

When Jesus hung on that cross, He was made to be sin. What this means is He was made to be everything we were. He became a murderer, prostitute, thief, a liar, fornicator, adulterer, and on and on. Jesus became what we were so that we could become what He is, righteous. Righteousness is a free gift from God, which means to have right standing with God. You can only get right standing with God by being born again. When this happens you are no longer spiritually dead, separated from God, but now filled with new life, the very life of God. I don’t think most believers really have revelation of the new creation they have become, and the fact that the Spirit of God Himself is now dwelling within their spirit. How awesome is that!

Is. 53:4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins!

Jesus did something more than just become sin; Jesus also took the punishment our sin deserved. Isaiah here looking prophetically into the future and referring to Christ on the cross reveals that those who would look at Jesus on the cross would think that God was punishing him for His own sins. But He had not sinned. The Father was in fact punishing Jesus, for if He had not taken upon Himself our punishment then justice had not been served and man could not be forgiven. The punishment Jesus was taking is what all of us deserved. Jesus took God’s wrath for our sin. He was being punished in our place.

Imagine if someone had committed a murder and was proven to be guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, then sentenced to death by the judge according to the law, yet at the time of the execution someone stepped in and declared they would take their place so that they could be set free. If it was possible for one to do so imagine what that person who was guilty of the crime would think about the person who did not deserve death, for they had done nothing wrong, yet because of their compassion for this person they chose to do so. That is exactly what Jesus did when He died in our place. He was punished by God on the cross, and then was completely separated from His presence, which He had never experienced before, and then went into hell itself where we deserved to go. How can we not be like Paul and recognize if He became sin, bore my punishment, and went into hell itself, how could I not choose to now live everyday for His will and no longer for my own?

John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

Jesus as our very example stated that He had not come to seek out His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him. Think about what He said here. Jesus had His own will He could have fulfilled, but He chose to fulfill the Father’s will instead of His own. All through the gospels we see Jesus referring to this fact. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus had cried out to the Father asking Him if there was any other way to accomplish what needed to be done, but then declared not His will but the Father’s will be done. We can walk in the footsteps of our Savior.

Matt. 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].

Jesus declares to us that if there is anyone who wants to be His disciple, losing sight of self and one’s own interests, and conform wholly to His example of living, they must deny self (their own will), take up their cross, and follow Him. Taking up our cross is taking up the motivation set before us to live for Him. Jesus Christ on that cross is the greatest motivator any believer has to daily walk away from what your will is, and chose instead to follow in the Father’s will. When we walk in the Father’s will we choose to walk in the footsteps of our Savior. We make choices that line up with what He reveals to us through His Word, and the example He set for us. So just as an athlete can push beyond what they thought was impossible, so can we push beyond our flesh and our fleshly limitations. Godly motivation will help you accomplish that goal.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

11/11/13 – “BEWARE OF HERESY”

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2 Pet. 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
2 Pet. 2:2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

There are parts of scripture that don’t get much attention in the body of Christ because they are messages that don’t make people shout, but they are just as much inspired by the Holy Spirit. Why would God give us warnings in scripture if He didn’t need us to hear them? Warnings are for our benefit so that we don’t fall prey to things that can hurt our life. One such warning in scripture has to do with heresy.

Much of our culture is now influencing what many preachers are saying instead of the preachers and God’s Word influencing culture. You don’t change the truths of God’s Word to become what many modern day ministers claim as being “relevant”. The Word of God is the truth that sets us free, and it is just as relevant and just as anointed as the day it was inspired and brought forth by the Holy Spirit. When people begin to teach what they stand behind as their belief based on their opinion, this will often lead to heresy. Heresy is defined as one’s opinion based on their personal preference, which goes contrary to scripture and the teachings of Christ.

As Peter warns in our foundation text of scripture there were false prophets among God’s people in years past, just as there will be false teachers among us today who will secretly (subtly) bring in these destructive heresies. Take note first of all that Peter warns these heresies, opinions based on personal preference, will be destructive. The problem is this will be done subtly, right under people’s noses without them even realizing that what they are being taught is only going to bring destruction, not deliverance and healing. How will they do this?

People will listen to such teachings and think they are correct because of how famous, charismatic, or likable the person may be. Today we even have ministers who are calling what scripture reveals as evil good, and good evil. It is the culture of the day that is a determining factor in what people believe, and because of this there are modern day preachers who are changing what scripture teaches to line up with the culture. But for example if you had a glass of water that was 3/4 good water but the other 1/4 was poison would you drink it? Yet many today accept the false teachings of ministers because of their status because they like the rest of what they say.

Is. 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah declared that it will not turn out good for those who call what is evil good, and what is good as evil, who substitute light for darkness and darkness for light, or bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Yet today all to often in churches and among Christians what was once recognized as immoral, unholy, and sinful based on the Word of God is no longer considered an issue in the life of one who is born again. We hear constantly that we are no longer “under the law”. No one who studies scripture believes that we are born again through any merit of our own. The free gift of salvation is based on what Christ has done for us and it can only be received by faith in Him. But as scripture teaches to walk by faith without corresponding action is not only powerless, but won’t work.

James 2:21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was declared right with God because of what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
James 2:22 You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to do. His faith was made complete by what he did—by his actions.
James 2:23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous.” He was even called “the friend of God.”
James 2:24 So you see, we are made right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

When you look to the whole of scripture and stay true to the Word of God, not formulating heresy based on personal opinion of the Bible, you must include scriptures such as these when talking about becoming right with God, or receiving right standing with Him. All through chapter 2 James deals with the difference between those who say they believe in God, or say they have faith in Him, but there is no corresponding actions that reveal this is true. Here James even tells us that Abraham’s faith in God was not complete until he acted in line with his faith and he was therefore declared righteous in the eyes of God. Look at verse 24 in conclusion of this example of Abraham. James states that we are made right with God by what we do, and not by faith alone.

Let me clarify just so people don’t misunderstand what James is saying here. There is nothing of personal effort on our part that will make us right with God. James is not saying that once we prove our worth to God we can become righteous, because as Jesus said there is none good but One, God. But once we put our faith in God if we truly believe in Him then we also believe in what He has said, all of what His Word says. So we don’t just believe, we act upon what we believe. We put our faith in what Christ has done at the cross for our sins, and we then begin a change of lifestyle as a follower of Christ, no longer following after the world. As Billy Graham has stated the cross does not suggest a change of lifestyle, it demands a change of lifestyle. Jesus did not die so you and I could just pray a prayer and go on living life our way, but in fact we are now to come into what Jesus said is the narrow gate.

Matt. 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
Matt. 7:14 But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

It is sad to say that even today there are ministers who have said they preach the wide gate, that there are many ways to come into the Kingdom of God but that is not what Jesus taught. These scriptures are just as true as the rest of the Bible. Jesus clearly tells us that the wide gate is the way that leads people to destruction. Remember Peter warned that there would be ministers who would teach heresies that lead to destruction, and these ministers would even deny Jesus Christ. Denying Christ does not mean they wouldn’t believe in Him, but would begin to deny His teachings such as these scriptures here in Matthew.

Jesus tells us in verse 14 that it is by the narrow gate one comes into true life and this gate is difficult. The word difficult here means a confined way. One of the truths about God that scripture is very clear about is the fact that God does not change. Even though there are those who want to change God, or how they view Him and His Word, He never changes. One of the greatest dangers of heresy is the fact that it tries to make God become something He is not, all by trying to convince people of something that is contrary to the Word of God. It is clear that this is a major work of satan in the last days because if he can get people to believe things that are not true he has accomplished what is his primary work in the lives of people, deception. The danger of deception is that you don’t know you are deceived. It is only through someone speaking truth into your life that your eyes can be opened to deception.

Jude 3  Dearly loved friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the truth of the Good News. God gave this unchanging truth once for all time to his holy people.
Jude 4 I say this because some godless people have wormed their way in among you, saying that God’s forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives. The fate of such people was determined long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Heresy is not something new. Jude in writing to the church wanted to talk about the salvation experience that all believers share, but had to instead turn his attention to a problem in his day that had begun to have a destructive impact on the believers and is one that is still happening today. Notice that Jude states the need to defend the true gospel, or truth of the Good News. What was it about this good news that Jude felt so compelled to write about and to warn the church of his day? He gives us the answer in verse 4.

Notice he talks about those who had wormed their way in among the believers saying that God’s forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives. They were saying that because they were now saved by grace, it does not matter any longer how they live and therefore they should not even address their lifestyle. Sound familiar? Today we have ministers and believers who are saying it doesn’t matter how we live because after all we are saved by grace. So be very careful children of God who and what you are listening to. We need to make sure it lines up with the whole of scripture. God loves you and desires the best for your life and therefore He does not want you getting caught up in the heresies of the day that are only going to bring destruction and not the liberty and deliverance He has provided us.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

11/4/13 – “HOW TO BE LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT”

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Rom. 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.
Rom. 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Rom. 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.  

One of the areas that believers need to grow in is one of the most important parts of our walk with God. We need to learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit. God has recreated within every born again believer a brand new spirit, and He has given us of His Spirit to dwell within us. This is something the Lord has been dealing with me on more and more, that every believer needs to have revelation in their hearts that God Himself is living in them. How much different we could live everyday with the revelation of who is actually living inside us now.

It is through God’s very Spirit, the Holy Spirit that He seeks to guide our steps each and every day. This is important in many ways. God wants us to walk in the light of His will for our lives. When we are led by His Spirit, He will lead us each day to carry out what He has planned for our life. As we walk out what He desires, it is also through this inner guidance that we can see God use us, protect us, and direct us into all He desires. This is why it is so important we learn to be led by the Holy Spirit.

As we see in our foundation text above from Romans chapter 8 those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. This is saying that when we are following the leading of God, He is actually fathering us. As a loving Father He desires to father us in every part of our lives. Verse 15 confirms this as we are told this very Spirit by which God will father us is now within us. Through the Holy Spirit we have been adopted, purchased by God and restored back to Him. Verse 16 is a key verse as to how God leads us through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit. It does not say that the Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit, but He bears witness with our spirit.

This is a vital key to following God’s leading for our life. The Holy Spirit does not bear witness with our soul, nor our body, but our spirit within. Often believers are looking for God to lead them through every other way than how God said He would lead us. We don’t look for a “sign from heaven” as many people do. Satan has the ability to do supernatural signs and wonders, which can cause you to be misled if you are looking for a sign. We don’t put out fleeces like Gideon in the Old Testament. Gideon did not have the Holy Spirit living within him to guide him as we do. The number one way God leads His children is through the inward witness of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:26 But 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 14:27 Peace 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.

Jesus here in John’s gospel while speaking to His disciples reveals the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as a form of guidance from the Father. As we see in verse 26 the context of what Jesus is speaking about is the Holy Spirit whom the Father would send to us to teach us all things, and bring to our remembrance what Jesus had said. If the Holy Spirit is here to teach us all things, that would include how to be led by God.

In the verse that follows Jesus tells us that He would leave with us a peace that you cannot get from the world, and that we are not to let our hearts be troubled, nor be afraid. Here is where we learn to be led by the Holy Spirit who is this peace that He has given to us which only comes through Him. The peace Jesus refers to here is defined as a state of harmony, devoid of turmoil. If you have ever heard a good gospel quartet or a group of singers in harmony you know how pleasing it sounds. But if you have ever heard a group in which there are those who are not singing in harmony it is quite unpleasant to listen to. This is what Jesus is referring to about this peace He has given to us.

After referring to this peace He tells us to let not our heart be troubled or afraid. The heart refers to the real you, the spirit within. Remember the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit, the real man within. You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. The Holy Spirit is going to bear witness with our spirit to lead us into God’s plan for our lives. The word for troubled here means to be agitated. I always think of the agitator within a washing machine. Many new washing machines no longer have them, but that agitator in the center of that tub in a washing machine was there to stir things up.

The second word Jesus refers to is not letting our hearts be afraid. This is actually better translated timid. I remember when I was a kid growing up in Montana there was a canal that was full of water that ran right by our bus stop where we waited on the bus to go to school. In the winter it would freeze over and we would go under the bridge of this canal and play hockey with sticks and rocks until our bus came. When the first freeze of the year came if you wanted to make sure you didn’t fall through the ice you would take a small step on that ice to see if it felt completely frozen or not. If it didn’t you would feel a little timid inside of going any further. That is what this word timid is referring to.

When the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are making a right choice or headed the right direction for our life we will have this inward peace within our spirit man. There will be a harmonious feeling between our spirit and the Holy Spirit. Our spirit will be devoid of turmoil. We won’t feel agitated or timid as we take that first step. This peace will be confirmation that we are walking out God’s will for our life. But when we are seeking to follow God’s direction we don’t want to jump in with both feet. We need to take it one step at a time, testing the ice so to speak to see if we have a peace about going forward.

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.
Acts 16:7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.

Take a look at these two verses in the book of Acts that refer to Paul and his company traveling to preach the gospel. The apostle Paul begins to set out on a trip to go to Asia to preach the gospel, but notice what happens. The Holy Spirit forbids them to go. Paul had that inward witness within that was devoid of God’s peace, that harmonious feeling between his spirit and the Holy Spirit that this was the proper direction for them, so Paul did not go. Then Paul begins to head out to Bithynia, but again as he did the Holy Spirit bearing witness with his spirit revealed a timidity or agitation within that revealed he was not to go there as well. These are two examples in the book of Acts of Paul receiving guidance from the Holy Spirit of where not to go.

Often times Christians just think that wherever they go they have God’s protection, but in fact one of the keys to our protection as believers is in following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Psalms 91 does tell us that God gives His angels charge over us, but it tells us before this reference to angels protecting us that this refers to those who have made God their refuge and dwelling place. In other words they are pursuing Him and what He desires for their life. Those who do are going to learn how to be led by His Spirit. There are many testimonies of Christians who in following this inward leading avoided disaster and even death that God through the inward witness was able to protect them from. We need to learn how to be led by God to experience the fullness of His will for our life.

For us to get good at following this inward witness we must learn to develop our spirit man. Just as your body can be developed, and your mind (soul) can be developed, so can your spirit. In closing I want to share briefly with you three things that will help you to develop your spirit man. The first of these three things is to read and study the Word of God. Jesus said in John 6:63 that His Words are Spirit and they are life. When we spend time soaking up God’s Word we are fellowshipping with the Lord through the Word of God, which Jesus said is Spirit and life. Take time to get into the Word of God to fellowship with Him.

Secondly when we pray in the Holy Spirit we are developing our spirit as we are in direct fellowship with the Holy Spirit. When you pray in the spirit your spirit is praying what the Holy Spirit is saying. Jude 1:20 tells us that you are building yourself up (your spirit man) on your most holy faith when you pray in the Holy Spirit. The third way to build your spirit man is to walk in love. God is love and when you walk in love you are walking in God. So take time to build your spirit man and learn to follow the inward witness from God. Doing so will help you to walk in God’s plans for your life.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

10/28/13 – THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND

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Rom. 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

One of the most noted declarations that Jesus made everywhere He went was, “The kingdom of God is at hand”. He was declaring from the start of His ministry that anyone could now enter into the kingdom of God, and therefore become a partaker of what that kingdom offers. When you look to scripture one of the most insightful verses we have in defining the kingdom of God is what Paul stated here in Romans 14:17.

In this chapter Paul was dealing with the differences people often get into when it comes to their beliefs, even when talking about the kingdom of God. Then he makes a definitive statement that reveals what the kingdom of God is primarily about. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. This week we are going to talk about these three primary elements that make up the kingdom of God and how they apply to us.

RIGHTEOUSNESS

Rom. 5:17 For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ!

The first key to the kingdom is without a doubt probably the most important of all. Take a look closely at the above verse of scripture. Notice it clearly states that those who have received the gift of righteousness are to reign in life through Jesus Christ. A couple things to note here, first of all this righteousness is a gift. You cannot earn this because if you could it would not be a gift. Secondly, righteousness means to be in right standing with God. That was all made possible through the shed blood of Jesus Christ that cleansed you of all sin.

When anyone receive Christ as their Lord they of course become born again. All their sin is washed away by that blood. Sin was what stood between us and God, but Jesus as our Mediator came and filled that gap to take away the sin that kept us from Him, and from having right standing with God. Once this was accomplished and someone receives this gift you now have direct access to the Father, and all that the Father has given to you. When we fully understand what it means to have right standing with God, and we get revelation in our hearts of what we now have a right to, life should no longer be reigning over you, but you should now be reigning over life.

All that came into this earth through the sin of Adam should not be ruling over our life. We have now been given the same authority that Jesus Christ has. He gave us this authority over all the works of darkness here on earth, and I am not just talking about demons. He gave us authority over sin, sickness, disease, depression, fear, worry, strife, and on and on and on we could go. When a believer who has been given this position of right standing with God is not reigning over these things, but they in stead are dominating our life, we are not walking in what we have a right to in the kingdom of God that is at hand. This is not something Jesus talked about in our future, but right here and now.

So much of what Jesus died and paid for Christians often put off into the future as to what will be when they get to heaven. Yet Jesus Himself taught His disciples that when they pray they were to believe God that His will be done here on earth just as it is in heaven. What Jesus has already established in heaven we should be walking in here in on earth.

Rom. 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

When Jesus was raised from the dead and then ascended into heaven sitting down at the right hand of the Father, in doing so He became our intercessor between God and us. The easiest way to explain this is the fact that He bridged the gap that once existed between man and God because of sin. The word intercession doesn’t refer to Jesus praying all the time for us, but in fact His presence next to the Father proves that He fulfilled what was needed to bridge the gap between God and us. By faith in what Christ has done for us we can now receive from the Father what He has promised us through the finished work of Calvary! For us to walk in what the kingdom has for us we must understand this righteousness is a gift, and we must know what we now have a right to.

PEACE

John 14:26 But 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 14:27 Peace 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.

The second key element of the kingdom of God is a peace within that you cannot get anywhere else except through Jesus Christ coming into your life by way of the Holy Spirit. Take note here in verse 26 that Jesus is talking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit whom the Father would send to us when He was gone. The very next verse He talks about this peace that He would leave with us that the world cannot give. This peace comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What many believers haven’t learned yet is one of the primary things as to why we were given the Holy Spirit. It was not just so we could have this feeling of inner peace, which we do have, but it was also given to teach us how to be led by God in this life.

Paul tells us that those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. This means God is fathering them. Before the kingdom of God became available to us through Jesus Christ, no one had the ability to be led by the Holy Spirit within for they were not born again. This is a major part of what God has made available and wants for all His children. He does not just want us to go through life trying to figure things out, but wants to give us the guidance and direction that He brings to help us walk out His will for our life. To many have not been taught this very important truth about their walk with God, and they have fallen for the lie that whatever happens in their life must be the will of God for them.

This teaching, which does not line up with what scripture reveals has kept Christians from learning how to follow God’s leading for their life. God wants us to be totally dependent on Him. When you look back to John 14:27 you see here that Jesus speaks of three things referring to our heart. Peace, being troubled, and being afraid. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits as the number one way that God leads us in this life. We must learn to become sensitive to and aware of this inner peace that is in our spirit man, not in our feelings. When we feel within our spirit troubled, which means an agitation, or fear, which refers to timidity, this is God trying to keep us from making a wrong choice. We must learn to tune in to our spirit man and learn to follow this inward peace, and recognize when He is trying to stop us from making wrong choices as well.

Remember the Holy Spirit will bear witness with your spirit, not your feelings. When you are making a choice in line with God’s will, there will be an absolute peace, a knowing within or what some call a green light that you are on the right track. But when your spirit is troubled, like the agitator in a washing machine, or you just sense in your spirit something isn’t right, a timidity within, He is giving you a red light to keep you from making the wrong choice. We must learn to develop our inner man so we can learn to follow this inward witness.

JOY

Psa. 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;…

Last but not least we have the opportunity now in entering the kingdom of God to experience a joy that we did not have because we were separated from the presence of the Father. In His presence there is fullness of joy. This joy is something we need in our life every day. It is a joy that will bring great strength to your life. It will help you to maintain a completely different outlook on life. It can only be experienced through close fellowship with God. If we are not experiencing this joy then we are not getting into the presence of our God, with a desire to simply fellowship with Him. May we never forget that the heart of Christianity is having an intimate relationship with our God. There is joy awaiting us in His presence every day.

So the kingdom of God is at hand, it is here and waiting for us to enjoy. We should be reigning in life through the righteousness Christ has given us, we should be led by the Spirit of God through this inward witness that now abides in us, and we should be experiencing the joy of the Lord as we fellowship with our God and enjoy His presence. Child of God wait no longer, the kingdom of God is at hand, enter in!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

10/21/13 – “WHAT CHRIST DID FOR US”

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Is. 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

When you ask people what the cross represents to them you get many different answers. For some the cross in life really has no meaning, it is simply a piece of jewelry that people may wear around their neck. To others it symbolizes their walk with Christ. In the days of Jesus though it had a completely different meaning. It was the most vial and barbaric form of punishment the Romans used for the worst of offenders. But what it should mean to the believer as revealed through the scriptures is a picture of what Christ has done for us, and we should never forget Jesus went to that cross as a proof of God’s love for all. This week I want to examine the three primary things that Christ did for us on the cross.

1. HE WAS WOUNDED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS – JESUS REDEEMED US FROM SPIRITUAL DEATH
Spiritual death is a result of the rebellion Adam committed in the Garden of Eden. The word “transgressions” means rebellious acts. The word “wounded” means pierced through. While on the cross after Jesus breathed His last breath the soldiers had come to break the legs of Jesus, and the two thieves that had been crucified with Him. When they came to Jesus, He was already dead. They wanted to make sure of this so one of the soldiers pierced His side with his spear, and when he did water and blood flowed out of His body. The price has been paid to redeem us from spiritual death.

Spiritual death means to be separated from God. This of course was the result of mans rebellious act of sin, which brought sin into the world and upon all of humanity. God had said to Adam if he ate of the forbidden fruit, he would surely die. He did not instantly die physically, but he died spiritually because he was now separated from his Creator. The result of this has been far more than most realize in how this relates to us every day, as we will cover below. Included with redemption from spiritual death was Him being bruised for our iniquities, which refers to the guilt that came as a result of our sin. As far as the east is from the west, He remembers our sin no more.

Man before the fall received his sole source of worth and value in his Creator, but when he sinned he turned to the creation as his source of self-worth. This is one of the most important things to learn as a new believer in Christ Jesus. Even after you become born again you must now renew your mind to who you now are in Christ to obtain your value and worth in God our Creator, not in the creation; which includes other people. When you find your sense of self-worth in the creation not the Creator, it will keep you in bondage to the lies of satan. But Jesus paid the price for us to be redeemed from spiritual death and not only reunite us with the Father, but to once again find our sole worth in Him.

There are four truths in the redeeming work of Christ that reveal this new worth in our God and not in what we have of ourselves or who we have in our lives. Those four truths are justification, reconciliation, propitiation, and regeneration. The focus of this teaching is not to go in depth on these subjects, as I have other teachings that do, but let’s look briefly at these four truths that reveal our self-worth in our Creator. Without proper understanding of these truths and renewing your mind to them you will continue to live your life finding your significance in what you can do, or in what you have, or in the approval of other people. This leads to living a life of frustration and bondage in many different ways.

Justification means to have right standing with God. When you are born again you receive the gift of righteousness. This is what happens because of justification. You cannot do anything of your own effort to receive justification; it is the result of Christ dying for you on the cross. When you understand this truth you realize that your self worth is not found in your performance in life, but in what Christ did for you. Next there is reconciliation, which means to be restored back into an intimate relationship with God. This again is totally based on what Christ did for us. Because you have God’s approval as a child of God you don’t need to get man’s approval to feel good about yourself.

Propitiation is another of these four truths that relate to our being redeemed from spiritual death, which simply means that Jesus bore our punishment on the cross that we deserved. Often people think that God is punishing them for what they have done, but in fact He is not, as Christ bore that punishment for you. If we sin God is not punishing us, but we will reap what we sow. If we sow to the flesh we are going to reap corruption, but if we sow to the spirit we will reap life. Last but not least is regeneration. This means we can change anything about our life with God’s help for we have been made brand new. Don’t fall for the lie that your old fleshly ways are the way you were created and you can’t change. With God’s help we can change anything about our life.

2. THE CHASTISEMENT FOR OUR PEACE WAS UPON HIM – JESUS REDEEMED US FROM POVERTY AND LACK
You may wonder how this phrase would refer to poverty and lack. The word for peace here is actually translated prosperity, wealth, or welfare. The word chastisement refers to Him being punished on our behalf so that we could also experience the prosperity or provision of God for our life. Scripture is very clear that God desires to take care of us. Even Jesus refers to the birds of the air whom the Father feeds, and the lilies of the field that the Father clothes. How much more will He not feed and clothe us. But God desires that we also have more than enough as Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 9 that we may help in doing the work of God.

2 Cor. 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Here we have scripture that clearly tells us that Jesus Christ, even though He was rich, He became poor for our sake so that we through His poverty might become rich. This happened as Jesus redeemed our lives on the cross. There are those who say this refers to spiritual poverty, but in fact one of the keys to properly studying scripture is too always keep what you are reading in it’s proper context. Paul is in fact writing here to the church at Corinth about their generous offering they are giving to help those in Jerusalem. So it is in fact referring to money. Jesus was not poor during His three years of ministry on the earth. He not only had wise men who brought great wealth to Him at the time of His birth, He also had prominent women of the day giving to His ministry as revealed in Luke 8:3. Besides this evidence, He had a treasurer, Judas, who later betrayed Him. Why would you need a treasurer if you don’t have any money? God has redeemed us from poverty and lack through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.

3. AND BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED – JESUS REDEEMED US FROM SICKNESS AND DISEASE
The third area Christ paid a price for us on the cross was in the healing of our bodies. There is no doubt according to scripture that this is a completed work in Christ Jesus available for all. Not only do we see Jesus healing people all throughout His earthly ministry, but His disciples did so as well. Jesus has in the Great Commission assigned the whole church to go and lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Jesus Himself said in John 14:12 that for all who believe in Him the works He did we can do also. It is not God’s will for us to be sick, but for us to be well and healthy in body.

For all who say healing passed away, for that to be true then faith would have had to pass away. Time and again you see Jesus telling people their faith made them whole. For healing to have passed away then faith would have had to pass away. Some will say healing isn’t for everyone, but that would go against what Acts 10:34 says, which tells us that God shows no partiality, and in verse 38 it goes on to tell us that Jesus was anointed by the Father and went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. Healing is not for a few, just like salvation is not for a few, it is for all who will simply believe in the promise of God and take it by faith as their own.

The key for us to walk in these truths works the same as to how we got born again. Colossians 2:6 tells us that just as you received Christ, that is how you walk in Him, all that He has provided for you. You receive Christ by faith. When you pray you believe you receive new life and you have new life. You act upon the faith you have released for your salvation. The same is true for provision in our life and for healing as well. You believe you receive when you pray and then you act upon that faith. Faith must have corresponding action. Take time to meditate on what you have in Christ until it becomes a part of your inner consciousness. You then release your faith by believing you receive what He promised, and as Mark 11:24 states you will have it. Our part is to believe we receive, and God’s part is to see you have it. Walk by faith in all Christ has done for you and you will become a partaker of all God has for your life.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

10/14/13 – “YOU HAVE THE CURE”

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Luke 5:31 Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor; those who are sick do.
Luke 5:32 I’ve come to call sinners to change the way they think and act, not to call people who think they have God’s approval.”

In our world there are many different diseases for which man searches to find the cure. There are many who through their noble efforts continue to do all they can to help others to be rid of disease. Imagine with me for a moment what it would be like to discover the cure for a life threatening disease and how good it would make you feel to know that you were able to spare many lives. The truth is that for everyone who has received Christ into their heart they have such a cure.

The most life threatening disease that will lead to eternal death resides in the hearts of all mankind. Jesus Himself labeled such people as those who were sick. This sickness is sin, which is a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden. The result of this initial sickness of sin has been the devastation of all that scripture reveals is now seen in that which comes to kill, steal, and destroy. There is only one cure for this sickness. His name is Jesus.

What brings about this cure? When a sinner recognizes their sickness and is willing to receive what Christ has done to heal them from it by giving their lives completely to Him. As Jesus stated in verse 32 above, He came to call sinners to change the way they think and act. This is known as repentance. Jesus in going to the cross made it possible for man to receive the cure to his sickness called sin. As Billy Graham has stated, the cross demands, it does not suggest, but demands a change in lifestyle.

When you look at our society today it is very clear that this sickness has become rampant throughout our society. Everywhere you look it is evident. In Washington no one can seem to come up with the answers to our current problems because they are looking in the wrong place. The only way for a nation to be blessed is to have God as the Lord, the One supreme in authority, over our lives.

Prov. 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

When anyone turns to Christ and makes Him the Lord over their life they are instantly made righteous in the eyes of God. They are given His righteousness. The disease of sin is removed from within them and they are given a new spirit as they become born again. There is no doubt when you look at what is going on in our world today that the earth is primed and ready for a move of God. But that move of God will only come when His church rises up and takes the cure that they have and begins to distribute that cure to all who they come in contact with.

For too long believers have allowed different things in their lives to keep them from sharing this cure with others. We don’t even need to look at what those different reasons may have been, but instead look to a loving God who became sin for all of us and realize once again the power of His love, which in turn will compel us to share that love and bring the cure for all of mankind, Jesus Christ!

Think about what Jesus did for you. The Bible clearly states that He was made sin for us; He was not a sinner for He had never sinned. But He was made sin on the cross because of His love for mankind who had no cure for this disease called sin. Jesus on that cross was made a murderer, rapist, thief, drug addict, alcoholic, prostitute, pimp, and every other sinful thing you can think of. People don’t like to think of Jesus as such, but if He did not become sin for us then our sickness of sin could not be cured, but He did!

2 Cor. 5:21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

Jesus in being made sin for all of us is the proof of how much God loves us. This love which everyone who is born again has already received, should now be the motivating factor that moves us to reveal the cure to man’s sickness. We have the answer that will bring about a complete change in one’s life who not only receives Him into their hearts, but then becomes a dedicated Christ follower as we through the love of God help them become a disciple of Christ. This is the ministry given to us by Jesus Christ, to the entire body.

2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Cor. 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, …

As Jesus stated in John’s gospel we need to look up, for the fields are already white for harvest. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. The darker it gets the easier it is to bring people to the light. I can assure you God’s Word is true and there are people around us that are looking for an answer to questions they don’t even know how to ask. Everyone who has received Christ as the Lord of their life has the answer they need. Time to share the cure! I want to share several key things that can help you to do so this week, because there is no doubt America is in need of a spiritual awakening. But it is the church that will make this happen for we are His hands extended to those hurting and in need.

2 Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died.

1. Walk in the love of God.
It is the love of Christ that will begin to take control in our lives to reach out to those in need of the cure. As Paul states it is obvious that if Christ died for all, then all have died. We are not going to bring the cure to man’s sickness if we don’t start walking in the love of God. I am not talking about condoning sinful practices, but in fact confronting the heart issue behind the sin. That is what the cross of Christ does. But when believers belittle people and call them names because of their sinful ways, that is not walking in the love of God. For example, Jesus when dealing with a rich young ruler confronted him directly revealing his sinful nature, but even when doing so the Bible says He looked upon him with love. Jesus did not call him names nor address all of his sinful ways, but simply revealed the sin nature that was within him.

Rom. 3:20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

2. Address the true issue, one’s sinful nature within.
The Ten Commandments given to Moses reveal the issue with man. They reveal that man is a sinner, and this is why all have violated those commandments. As Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:19, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, but providing the way to change the problem, our sinful nature within. In John 16: 8-9 Jesus revealed that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin not sins, which He tells us is not believing in Him. What needs to be addressed with the lost is the sinful nature within, which is what causes them to live in sin.

2 Cor. 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

3. Look for godly sorrow.
Once a person has knowledge of their sinful nature, no longer thinking they are good enough on their own merit to go to heaven, you need to see if they have godly sorrow. Godly sorrow will produce repentance, which leads people to salvation. We don’t get people saved, we share the truth about the sinful nature of man, what Jesus did to cure this sickness, and if that person has godly sorrow they will turn to Him for no one comes to the Father unless the Father draws them. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that causes them to become born again. We are simply a vessel that needs to go to everyone we can reach with the cure for their sinful nature.

Something else you can do to begin reaching people with the gospel is to hook up with a move of God that has been orchestrated through Billy Graham called, “My Hope America”. They are providing a free DVD that presents the gospel in a powerful film that is about 30 minutes in length, which you can show in your home by inviting people over just as Matthew did with his friends so they could meet Jesus. They even provide online training of how to do this with follow up materials as well. To get involved just go to: myhopewithbillygraham.org. You can sign up and do training online, and order the DVD. All you pay for is the shipping.

All who are born again have the cure the world needs. It’s time for us to be motivated by the love God revealed to us when we received Christ as our Savior and to begin sharing that cure. There is nothing better than seeing people get delivered from this sickness called sin. Go and bring them the cure!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

10/7/13 – “REST FOR YOUR SOUL”

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Matt. 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Matt. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matt. 11:30 For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”

One of the most powerful and important things that Jesus offers us is found in these verses of scripture, rest for our souls. When you fully understand what the soul is and how it affects your life you will know why this rest in your soul is so important. One verse that reveals this is 3 John 2, which tells us that it is God’s desire for us to prosper in all areas of our life and to live a life of health even as our soul prospers. A soul that is prospering is a soul at rest.

Even doctors have revealed that one of the key elements in chronic health issues, sickness, disease, and other health related problems are often the result of stress, which breaks down our immune system. When your soul is at rest you are not going to be stressed. You will not have the cares of life weighing you down, nor will you live in worry, fear, and anxiety. But thank the Lord we don’t have to. As a child of God every believer should be walking in what Jesus promised for us. Rest for your soul is one of if not the most important promise because of how it affects every other area of your life.

James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Before we learn about how to get this rest for our soul, we need to define what our soul is. We often accept things in life by just hearing what someone else says without knowing if it is actually true or not. You see we often use the term in Christianity about getting “souls” saved. But here in James we find out that our souls are not saved as James is writing to believers. The soul is only a part of what makes up who you are. You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. When born again it is the spirit man within who is saved. The soul, which is made up of our mind, will, and emotions, is not saved.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 we find out about these three parts of man. Paul had stated that our whole spirit, soul, and body should be preserved blameless at the coming of the Lord. It is easy to see when defining what our soul is why having rest for our soul is so important. James tells us here that it is in receiving the Word of God through humility that our souls are saved. Without our minds being renewed to the Word of God we are going to continue to live our life based on the old nature and not the new one we received as our spirit become brand new. Rest for our soul has to do with rest in our mind, will, and emotions.

First and foremost to have rest for your soul you must “Come to Jesus”. This is actually something we don’t just do one time when we give our life to Christ; it is something we do as an ongoing part of our walk with Him. Clearly there will be no rest in the soul of one who has not become born again. Until you receive the Spirit of God within you and get your spirit made new, scripture teaches that the Word of God is foolishness to those who are perishing. The Word is a vital part of getting this rest in our souls. So we must make sure that we have been truly born again. Romans tells us that God’s Spirit will bear witness with our spirit that we are children of God. When someone has godly sorrow it produces repentance and leads them into this salvation experience. Now they have the ability to renew their soul to the Word of God.

This leads us to the continual aspect of coming unto Jesus on a daily basis. Jesus is the Word of God as we are told in the gospel of John. We don’t come to Him just for a born again experience and automatically get rest for our soul. Remember it isn’t saved. We need to have a desire to come to the Word of God each day and spend time with the Lord first and foremost as a time of fellowship with Him. Never forget that what this is all about is a relationship with God. Jesus is the Word of God made manifest and walked among men. We come to His Word to initiate fellowship with Him. We should pick up our Bibles because we want to spend time with Him, not because we are trying to earn something from God, or prove something to Him. We simply should desire to get to know the Lord.

In doing this as New Testament believers we should spend a good amount of our time in the New Testament because that is our covenant with God. The four gospels were written for us so we could come to know the Lord and what He desires for our life. The epistles were in fact written directly to the church so we could develop as believers in Christ, and learn from those who learned directly from the Lord. We should read the Old Testament as well, but we need to interpret the Old Testament in light of the New. We also learn a lot about God in the Old Testament and we have examples of things we can grow from as well.

As you come to Jesus, He said in our foundation text of verse 29 that we are to take His yoke upon us and let Him teach us. This is a vital key for us to obtain the rest Jesus wants us to have. It is where many miss it when it comes to experiencing this peaceful tranquility within your soul that you cannot get any other way. He must become our teacher and we must become His student.

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

In verse 29 and 30 of Matthew 11 Jesus refers to us taking His yoke upon us, and in verse 30 it says that His yoke fits perfectly. Think about what those yokes were primarily made of back in His day. They were made of wood and used mostly for oxen to be yoked together so they could harness the power of those two animals working side by side. Jesus as a carpenter would have probably known something about yokes because carpenters would have made them. His yoke (His way of doing things) will fit us perfectly.

In James chapter 1 we are told that we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. This is how we allow Jesus to become our teacher. To obtain the rest in your soul you not only need to be born again and develop relationship with the Lord, but you must begin to learn from the Word of God how to make life work. If we don’t acknowledge what the Word of God tells us about living life then we are going to continue to live under the old ways of our fallen nature and be conformed to the world. Those who are of the world do not walk in the rest that comes from Jesus. Jesus needs to not only be your Savior; He needs to become the Lord over every part of your life.

Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
Luke 6:47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
Luke 6:48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
Luke 6:49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

Jesus here in Luke’s gospel states that there are those who call Him Lord, but they don’t do the things He says. We shouldn’t just write off our life thinking we are doing what scripture says, but in fact we should examine our lives each day to make sure we are walking in line with the Word of God, which is learning from Him. You never stop learning. If we say Jesus is Lord over our life and yet only hear what He says but we don’t do it, then we are building our lives without a foundation to stand on. When storms come, and they do come, we will fall.

But notice what Jesus said in verse 48 about the one who came to Him, heard what He had to say, and then did what He said. They built their house on a rock and storms came to them as well. They not only were still standing after the storm had come and gone, they were not even shaken in the midst of the storm. Do you know why? They had rest in their souls. It is a sad thing to see believers who either don’t take time to come to Him, or even though they know what His Word says they don’t do what it says. James said this person is self-deceived.

Child of God storms come to all because we live in a fallen world. But I have great news for you today if you will come to Jesus continually and build relationship with Him, let Him teach you His ways of walking by faith, walking in love, and walking in obedience to His commands, you will find rest for your soul. This produces a life free from the worries, cares, and stresses of life. He has rest for your soul!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

9/30/13 – “GOD DESIRES LOYALTY”

Loyalty

Matt. 9:13 But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Two times in the New Testament Jesus quotes this verse from Hosea 6:6 and He does so in relationship to the Pharisees who thought they had it all together in upholding not only the law given through Moses, but all the additional laws they had added to the Levitical law. They were serving their religion and missing the most important point of what God wanted all along, a relationship with man.

This continues today where many get caught up in serving different types of religions, a man-made way to get to God, instead of experiencing through Jesus Christ what He provided as the only way to the Father. Whenever we miss this point about our relationship with God, we are missing the whole point of why God created us. Man-made religion is going to try to change you from the outside in. A relationship with God is in fact designed to still bring about change in your life, but it comes from the inside out.

Today, just as in Jesus’ day, we have people who are thinking that by serving their religion they will be okay with God, and there are others who think that getting to know God requires nothing on their part other than accepting Jesus into their life, but in fact receiving Christ is just the start. Jesus in this verse from Matthew is now bringing a quote from the Father to the children of Israel in Hosea’s time to apply to us. God still desires what the English translation here calls mercy; He does not want our sacrifices. But to fully understand what it is God desire of us as Jesus said here we need to know what this means. So let’s go to Hosea and find out.

Hos. 6:6 I want your loyalty, not your sacrifices. I want you to know me, not to give me burnt offerings.

The translation I have chosen here is known as GWORD translation, which defines in the English language what is more so being said here from the original Hebrew language. May of our English translations of the Bible come not from the original Hebrew language, but from a Greek translation of the Hebrew known as the Septuagint. This is important to understand because what God actually desires from man here is one of the most important words used in the entire Old Testament. Because a different word is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament it has in fact lost it’s original meaning. The word for mercy that is in most English translations of Hosea 6:6 is a word called Hesed.

This word Hesed is very difficult to translate into English because there are three ingredients to the word. They are: Strength, Steadfastness, and Love. There isn’t really a single English word that fully describes this word. What God is looking for is loyalty, and our devotion, out of a heart of love. God does not want us to live out our lives as if we are making a sacrifice of our time or money for Him. The reason that God wants our loyalty is because He wants us to experience all of who He is, and all of what He has for us. Loyalty to God will cause us to experience this in our life.

If you look back at the latter part of Hosea 6:6 you will see this revealed in the verse of scripture. God wants us to know Him. God does not want our burnt offerings, which again refers to the attitude that what we do for God we do because we feel we have to. That does not bless man and that certainly does not bless God. God is love and God wants us to not only know the love He has for us, but for us to then share that love with others. For us to do so we must know God, and getting to know God comes from a heart that is loyal to Him.

Acts 13:21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Acts 13:22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’

David is a great example of what it means to have a heart loyal to God. God looked for a king to replace Saul and in 1 Samuel 13:14 we find out that God was looking for a man who would be loyal to Him. King David was that man whom God chose. Here in the book of Acts we read of this very truth revealed as it states that David was a man after God’s own heart. Notice what is says after that. It states that he would do all of God’s will. You see Hesed (loyalty) toward God will not allow you to walk away from what God’s will is for your life, even if you have missed it at some point in your life.

This is where the word strength comes in as one of the elements of Hesed. This loyalty of heart is what causes one to push beyond the desires and limits of the flesh to carry out God’s will. We know that does not mean you may never miss God’s will, but if you do you will turn things around and continue to pursue what God has for your life. Hesed won’t let you quit and give up on God. There are areas of our life when it comes to doing the will of God that your flesh does not like, but that loyalty to God will help you to overcome the flesh. This is why there is great strength in having a heart loyal to God.

We know even in the life of David that he did get into sin even though he had a loyal heart. When David committed sin with Bathsheba he was certainly not in the will of God. After she became pregnant he even had her husband sent to the front lines to have him die in battle. When the prophet Nathan came to David and confronted him on his sin David immediately replied to the Lord that he had sinned against Him. David did not deny nor try to cover up or make excuses for the wrong he had done. The reason David got into sin is because he had sent his men out to a battle and David stayed home. David was a warrior and should have been with his men in the battle. Whenever we are somewhere we don’t belong we open up the opportunity for our enemy to take advantage of us.

Saul on the other hand when asked by God through Samuel to wipe out everything that belonged to the Amalekites, including all the people, did not do so. When Samuel came to him after the battle he confronted Saul and asked him if he had obeyed the Lord. Saul said he had. Samuel then questioned him about where all these sheep and cattle had come from. Saul responds by saying the people wanted to keep them to offer them as a sacrifice to God. There is that sacrifice mentality instead of a loyal heart. Saul continues to tell Samuel he had obeyed the commandment of God even though he had spared king Agag as well, and he continues to tell Samuel that it was the people who wanted to spare the sheep and cattle to offer unto the Lord. This is the difference in one who saw themselves as faithful to the Lord, and David whose heart was loyal to God.

When we have a heart that is loyal to God, being faithful is not an issue. For example, you could have a husband or wife who may have been faithful to their spouse, having never committed adultery, but yet they may have not been loyal to that person and chose to divorce them. I know there are many different circumstances to deal with when it comes to marriage; my point is to say that loyalty is the key. Loyalty is what helps us to overcome the challenges in marriage.

1 Chr. 29:7 They gave for the work of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.
1 Chr. 29:8 And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, into the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.
1 Chr. 29:9 Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the LORD; and King David also rejoiced greatly.

People who have a heart loyal to God will do what they do willingly, not because they feel they have to because of some obligation, nor because of fear or intimidation. They will offer freely to the house of the Lord their time, their money, and their talents. They will be willing to do the work of the Lord both in and out of the house of God. Notice here in verse 9 it tells us that the people rejoiced for they had offered willingly because they did so with a loyal heart. When you heart is set on God and not on the things of this life you see things the way God does and you are willingly going to offer what you have unto Him.

So remember, God does not delight in anyone living their lives with the mentality that they are making sacrifices for Him. Doing the will of the Lord should not be something we consider a sacrifice, but an honor that we get to serve along side of God in helping change the lives of others. He desires our loyalty and devotion motivated by love. When our hearts are loyal to Him, we are going to get to know Him because then it will be about our relationship with God, not a man-made religion. Set your heart on Him, and you will never regret it.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

9/23/13 – “GOD IS LOVE”

God-Is-Love

1 John 4:8 … for God is love.

One of the most important truths to get revelation on is the love God has for us. Because God is love (agape), He relates to us through love. The more we understand the truth about God’s love for us, the easier it becomes to walk in what God desires for your life. Let’s take a look at our God and how He relates to us.

1 Cor. 13:4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
1 Cor. 13:5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
1 Cor. 13:6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
1 Cor. 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Cor. 13:8 Love never fails.

Here within these verses we get a very distinct picture of God. We have 15 different definitions of what love is. So you can easily say this is what our God is like. As we go over these definitions together because God is love, remember that this defines how God relates to us.

1. Love Suffers Long – Love does not give way to bitterness or wrath.
When you think about this very first definition of God it means that He does not become bitter toward us, nor will He give place to anger against us as children of God. Even when a child does do things wrong if their parent truly cares about them they may be disappointed in what they have done, but they do not get angry with their child. Those who do are giving way to the fleshly nature.

2. Love Is Kind – Love is engaged in doing good to others.
For some they have grown up believing that God does bad things to people to teach them something. Scripture reveals that all good gifts come from the Father of lights in whom there is no shadow of turning. God is engaged in doing good in our lives, not doing bad things.

3. Love Does Not Envy – Love does not begrudge others.
To begrudge others means you envy what they have been blessed with. God is not against blessing us for He in no way envies us. He wants to see His children blessed with all that He has promised in the Word of God. So don’t believe satans lie that God does not want you blessed.

4. Love Is Not Puffed Up – Puffed up means to have an inflated view of self.
The reason this is important as it relates to God is because He does not tell us things that are not true. When someone has an inflated view of themselves they are going to tell you things that are not true, and often promise you things that they won’t deliver on. Everything that scripture tells us about God you can believe, for God cannot lie. For some when they hear about how good God is they think God can’t be that good. But He is.

5. Love Does Not Behave Rudely – Simply put, love is polite.
God is a perfect gentleman. This is important because as One who is polite that means if you want God involved in every part of your life you are going to have to invite Him in. He won’t force His way into your life. Often Christians believe since they are born again that is all they need to do to see God work in their life. But if you want to see God at work in your life you will have to invite Him in, and He will gladly help.

6. Love Does Not Seek It’s Own – Love is concerned about the real needs of others.
There is nothing of our lives that God does not want to be involved in. Because He is not self-seeking, He wants to become involved in helping to meet all our needs. God doesn’t create problems in our life, He is the one who will help us to resolve them, but we can’t fall for the lie thinking He is the problem, God is our solution.

7. Love Is Not Provoked – Love is even tempered.
Even though we know God has a righteous anger against evil, God is not going to fly off the handle with us. He is the picture of self-control. He does not become enraged with us because of what we may or may not have done. So never be afraid to approach Him. Don’t ever run from God, run to Him.

8. Love Thinks No Evil – Love keeps no record of wrong.
The Bible does teach us that as believers we are going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of our walk of faith in fulfilling His purpose for us, but God is not keeping a record of our transgressions as scripture reveals in 2 Cor. 5:19. As far as the east is from the west He remembers them no more. If we sin we break fellowship with God because we have turned from Him. But just repent, turn to Him, and you renew your fellowship.

9. Love Does Not Rejoice In Iniquity – Love does not like hearing bad news of others.
God is all about bringing forth good news to us. That is the heart of the gospel. It actually refers to bringing good news from the battlefield. That good news would be that the battle is won. Don’t ever think that God enjoys hearing bad news about us. He is the one that will turn the bad news into good news.

10. Love Rejoices In The Truth – Love does not veil, cover up, nor edit the truth.
This is very important to understand about God. God does not in any way change the truth of His Word. This means several things. First of all He has never nor will He ever change His mind about the promises He has given to us. Secondly He will always tell us the truth, even when it may hurt at first to hear it. In knowing the truth, the truth is what sets us free. Don’t fall for anyone who is veiling, covering up, or editing what God’s Word says. It will only lead to deception and harm, not liberty.

11. Love Bears All Things – Love chooses to not focus on the faults of others, exposing them.
As scripture teaches love covers a multitude of sins (Proverbs 10:12). Remember God is love. He does not condone nor make light of living in sin, for the wages of sin is still death (separation from the God-kind of life). But God is not at work trying to publicly expose to everyone else our faults. Because He is love He bears all things, including the faults we have had in our life.

12. Love Believes All Things – Love looks at the best in everyone.
This is an obvious characteristic of God, and of course not of human nature. Humans tend to focus on the faults and bad in peoples live. Just look at all the gossip on the Internet and in Magazines. God is willing to believe and look at the best in everyone. He does not overlook those who lead people astray from the truth. He will expose such false teachings to keep people from being deceived and mislead.

13. Love Hopes All Things – Love sees better days ahead.
Even when things may not be going real good, God always sees better days ahead for us and so should we. His thoughts for us are filled with peace not evil, thoughts of a future and a hope for us. He is not making plans for you to fail, but to succeed!

14. Love Endures All Things – Love does not get discouraged.
God will not get discouraged with you. Did you hear that? He may be disappointed when we make wrong choices, but He does not get discouraged with us. He just keeps on loving us and reaching out to us.

15. Love Never Fails – Love is forever true.
You can count on God. He does not change. He is not up one minute and down the next. He is not there for you once in a while; He is there for you all the time. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is forever true.

This is the God whom we serve. Because He loves us, we should love Him, and love one another. Revelation of who your God is will help you to walk like Him. Let God (love) transform your way of thinking and doing. Life will take on a whole new meaning for you, and you will then know why laying down your life and taking up His is so much better, because it is the way of love.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker