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
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
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
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
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
Luke 24:32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
If you are familiar with the two disciples who after Jesus had been raised from the dead on the same day were headed to Emmaus you will remember that when He first appeared to them they did not know who He was. As they were talking about the events of His death and now the report that had come back from Mary, Martha, Peter, and John that Jesus was in fact alive, Jesus comes and joins them in the midst of this conversation. He then begins to explain to them from the Old Testament Scriptures the things concerning Him.
As they came to the village Jesus indicated that He would have gone on but they convince Him to stay with them that night. There was something going on in the hearts of these two that was undeniable and they wanted to know more. As He then sat with them to eat He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and then gave it to them. Immediately their eyes were opened and they knew it was Jesus. He disappears and they then make this powerful statement in verse 32. “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
There are two powerful things revealed here that will help us in our relationship with the Lord. I hear many Christians say they want to get to know God intimately, but I find they are struggling in doing so. The word “burn” in this verse means to kindle, be set on fire, consumed with. This is what God wants in the heart of every believer. If we are on fire and consumed with God we are going to have that intimate relationship He desires with us. The first of these two keys is that they having Him present with them and talking with them brought a stirring in their hearts. It goes without saying that when we spend quality time in the presence of the Lord we will get closer to Him.
But the second point is often overlooked and is actually the easiest way to begin developing an intimate relationship with Jesus, and with the Father through the Holy Spirit. It says that this fire was kindled as He “opened the Scriptures to them”. The Bible is an amazing book, and is supernatural in its origin. There is no other book in the world like it. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we find out that all of Scripture is inspired by God, or actually what it says in the Greek is that they are God-breathed. When God created man He breathed into man the breath of life. After the fall when Jesus was raised from the dead Jesus breathed on His disciples that breath of life once again and they received the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures have God’s DNA in them. God and His Word are one.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The reason this is so important is because God has provided for us in the 66 books of the Bible the ability to get to know Him, intimately, and personally. In John chapter one we know that Jesus is considered the Word of God. As verse 14 states the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. As I have heard Kenneth E. Hagin say many times the written Word reveals to us the Living Word.
This is important to understand because of two reasons. Many believers say they want to know God better, and all they have to do is open the Word of God to do so. I will explain more about the importance of how this is to be done in a minute. The second reason this is important is because today there are believers and unfortunately preachers who are saying the Bible isn’t that important; but God and His Word are one. To say the Word isn’t important is to say God isn’t important. Some would argue that they can get to know God intimately without the Word, but this is what leads to error in our beliefs about God because people lack understanding of the Word.
Those who make the argument that the 12 disciples didn’t have the Word and they got to know the Lord intimately don’t realize that first of all they did have the Old Testament Scriptures that revealed God to them. Secondly they had the Living Word Himself with them personally for 3 years. I like a quote I heard from Smith Wigglesworth who had a very close relationship with the Lord. It goes as follows:
“I can’t understand God by feelings. I can’t understand the Lord Jesus Christ by feelings. I can only understand God the Father and Jesus Christ by what the Word says about them. God is everything the Word says He is. We need to get acquainted with Him through the Word.”
The great part about understanding this is I know many who are trying to get to know God through prayer alone and they are having a difficult time doing so. Think about how accurately the average believer hears God’s voice. How are you going to get to know God without being able to hear Him clearly? You get to know people by talking with them, learning what they like and what they don’t like. Learning about their character traits, what motivates them, what they enjoy doing, etc. So it is with God, but that is very difficult to do apart from His Word.
John 5:39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
Now back to my first point it is important how we approach the Word if we are to get to know God. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day studied the Old Testament scriptures and they did not have a close relationship with God as Jesus states before this verse, but Jesus did not say to not go to God’s Word for the Scriptures are that which testify of Him. They thought the way into eternity was based on having to prove oneself worthy by studying God’s Word. But you can’t prove yourself worthy; it is only by receiving Christ that are you made worthy in God’s sight. What they did not do is come to the Scriptures with a focus not on self-righteousness, but instead getting to know the God who could make them righteous.
So today we have people who still do spend a lot of time in the Word of God and yet like the leaders of Jesus’ day they don’t know Him intimately. They are not coming to the written Word to get to know the Living Word, but instead are just filling their heads with a lot of knowledge and they are missing the relationship that is offered. Then there are those who say the Word isn’t that important because I can get to know Him on my own, I don’t have to read the Bible. That is not what God’s Word teaches and this is where people then get mislead into believing things about God that are not true. Such people begin to base their beliefs on their experiences and not on what Scripture says about God. This is only going to lead people into error.
John 8:31 So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.
John 8:32 And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
Jesus Himself states that we are to abide (live in and by) His Word, His teachings if we are truly His disciples. How can you do that if you don’t know what Jesus taught? You cannot live in the Word only by listening to what a minister of the Word teaches. Jesus remember is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. We also know the Word of God is Truth. If you spend time abiding in the Word with a focus on getting to know Him, you will know Him for He is Truth, and He (the Truth) will help set your free from the things of this life trying to take you captive. One of the number one things that cause this is lies and deception. If we don’t’ know the written Word, we won’t know the true Living Word, and we will fall for lies about Him that are not true.
Psa. 119:130 Your word is a doorway that lets in light, …
In John chapter one Jesus is also referred to as the light that came into the world. This Psalm is telling us that God’s Word is the door, that when opened, will let the light (Jesus) in. God’s Word is the door into fellowship with the Lord. Remember the hearts of the disciples were set on fire for Him as He “opened” the Scriptures to them. You have the opportunity to open the door allowing the Lord to fellowship with you. All you have to do is open the Word of God and read it as God speaking with you and too you. Allow Him to reveal who He is through His Word.
I agree with something Kenneth E. Hagin also said that we should spend two-thirds of our time in the New Testament because this is our covenant with God. Then as you read the Old Testament you can interpret it in light of the New Testament. Don’t get caught up in thinking you have to read 15 chapters a day. As you open the Word it is more important that you hear what God is saying. It is quality time in the Word that counts, not reading the Bible just to say you read so many chapters today. As you open the Word and fellowship with the Lord your heart too will begin to be ablaze for more of Him!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
2 Cor. 11:3 However, I’m afraid that as the snake deceived Eve by its tricks, so your minds may somehow be lured away from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
One thing that bothers me is seeing people taken advantage of. It is never good and often can be quite destructive. The devils tricks have never changed. He is using the same tactics he has always used, but it is becoming more apparent in the last days that far too many are, as Eve was, being deceived through his tricks and they are being lured away from their devotion to Christ.
I want to share this week some important truths from the Word of God that can protect us from falling for his deceiving works. Just as Paul writing to the Corinthians in his day was concerned about this happening to them, so am I concerned about this happening to people in the body of Christ today. So let’s begin by looking at Eve as the example that Paul used and what led her astray.
Gen. 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
Gen. 3:3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
Gen. 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
The first thing that satan did to deceive Eve was to exchange the truth of God for a lie. God told Adam that if they ate of that tree they would die, but the devil being the liar that he is of course tells her that she would not die. Who was right? God of course, yet tragically I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this happen in believers lives. You can show them directly from the Word of God what the Bible says, and they will look at you and say, “I know the Bible says that, but….”.
This is a big problem today because people either don’t spend much time in the Word of God, or they are not allowing His Word to govern their lives, instead they are allowing their feelings to do so. Those feelings then lead to people reasoning in their own minds as to what they think the Bible says, or they just ignore it all together. There is a work of a demon in America and the church today, which is a lying demon. We need to be aware of how our enemy can get us focused on our feelings (flesh) and therefore reason things out without looking to God’s Word.
Rom. 8:5 For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.
Rom. 8:6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].
I hear people saying that the Word of God is not that important. I learned a long time ago as scripture teaches to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. One such man was Smith Wigglesworth who raised the dead, cast out demons, healed the sick, and got people saved. Smith Wigglesworth said that he could not come to know God by experience, nor what others said about Him, but he could only come to know the living Word through His written Word.
Most people that I hear who say the Word is not that important have not raised the dead, healed the sick, nor cast out demons. This is a big part of what Jesus commissioned His church to go do. God’s Word is God speaking to us. If you make that Word a time of fellowship with God and let Him speak to you through that Word you will get to know Him. Where people get deceived and fall prey to the lying demons that get people to trade the truth for a lie is they begin to reason in their minds what they think about something apart from what God’s Word says. Doing so is setting our minds on the things of the flesh.
If you don’t want to fall for a lie you need to know the truth. The truth is the Word and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. We are not to be controlled by our fleshly feelings as Romans above says; we are to be controlled by the Spirit of God. That won’t happen if we are reasoning things out in our minds and not examining things in the light of God’s Word. This happens far to often in believer’s lives and this leads them to be led by their feelings and emotions. Doing so can and will lead to falling for a lie.
This is what happened to Eve. Satan got her focused on her flesh, for in Genesis 3:6 it goes on to tell us that she saw that the tree was good for food and was pleasant to the eyes. She got her focus on what pleased her and did not examine what she was told in light of what God had said. This is what happens when people are led by their feelings. They are going to do what pleases them. They don’t look at things through God’s Word but their feelings. You can’t find a single scripture in the Bible that says what should lead us in our decisions is our feelings. We are to be led by the Spirit of God, and He being the Spirit of truth is always going to lead us in line with the Word.
Some would say this is not true for we are to be lead by love and love is a feeling. The love of God is not a feeling. God is love. The love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts is a fruit of the spirit, not a feeling. It will change your feelings. In 1 John 4:8 we are told that those who do not walk in love do not know God. If you walk in love you don’t get offended. You don’t have unforgiveness in your heart. You don’t allow your feelings to be constantly hurt. If you do get your feelings hurt love looks beyond what was done in the natural and you see things from God’s perspective, not your feelings perspective, and you do what the Word says.
More people have left churches, Christian fellowship, etc., because they were offended or got their feelings hurt. That is having your mind set on the things of the flesh. Re-read Romans chapter 8. This is hurting the body and allowing this lying demon to cause us to trade the truth for a lie. I am aware that there are actually people that may want to intentionally harm you, but most do not. We are allowing satan far too much access in our life by being led by our feelings. There is not one human on the planet that has been perfected yet. We all still at times say things or do things we should not have done, but the average believer is not intentionally trying to hurt people. We must grow up spiritually and stop being lead by our fleshly emotions. We need to give people some liberty to grow and realize that we all still make mistakes.
Prov. 12:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
I want to acknowledge there are people who don’t have a heart to change, don’t desire to know God and walk with God, and these are people we need to guard against. We should not be building friendships with people who are living ungodly lives and show no desire to change. No matter what you say about this the Bible tells us that such people will even lead the wicked astray. I am not talking about being cut off from the world. There is a difference between having those I am witnessing to as an acquaintance, as opposed to being my friends. Friends are people you spend a lot of time with, and you share much of your life with as well. Jesus went to sinners who had a heart to hear what He had to say, but Jesus did not have close friendship with those who sinned, for if He had He would have gone and done what they were doing. He went to those who desired for Him to change their life, not the other way around.
As our foundation text tells us the way Eve was lured away from her sincere devotion to God happened because she in her mind began to focus on her feelings, what please her, and she did not allow God’s Word to be what made her decision. So we need to recognize are we like Eve basing our decisions on what God said, or our fleshly feelings? Those fleshly feelings will always get us in trouble because then we will begin to reason out our decisions based on those feelings. Doing so will cause us to oppose God’s Word not even realizing that we have not taken His Word into account.
So let’s learn from Eve’s mistake. I, like the apostle Paul, am concerned about how many believers I am seeing being lured away by this lying spirit from their devotion to Christ. They are blaming ministers, church members, etc., and have not even taken into account what Gods’ Word says. We are to be instant forgivers. Never forget, offense is not given it is taken. Stick to the Word of God and make sure you do what it says and stop reasoning things out without looking clearly to the scriptures. Be careful who you fellowship with for the apostle Paul himself said we are to have NO FELLOWSHIP with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11). As a child of God you can live for Him and like Him. He and His Word are one. Stay true to God’s Word and you won’t trade the truth for a lie. The truth will set you free!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
James 4:7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.
So there you are heading down the highway and then you hear it. It sounds like someone popped a very big balloon. The ride gets rough on one side of the car. Yep, it’s a tire blown out. Time to pull over to the side of the road, get into the trunk, get the jack and wrench out, then proceed to loosen those lugs nuts and take off the bad tire. Once you get the car jacked up and the tire off, what good would it do if that was all you did? Obviously if you want to get back on the road you are going to have to do more than just remove the bad tire, you need to fetch the spare and put it on.
A rather simple illustration I know, but one of the problems within the body of Christ today is we may often think about submitting to God, but far to often we are not resisting the devil and his works against us. I find that one of the reasons this is true is because people are either lacking in their understanding of spiritual things, or they have just forgotten the importance of what every believer needs to stay aware of in dealing with the works of the enemy.
One thing you are not hearing much of any more is teaching on dealing with the demonic attacks that come against us. Far too many ministers are not teaching their church families about the enemy we face and how he works. At the same time I know people also get a little leery when it comes to this topic because of those who go to extremes and claim that everything negative is a demon. We certainly know from God’s Word that this is not the case, even when it comes to dealing with people. There is a fleshly nature that can rise up and as my Pastor Dr. Barclay has said many times, “We can’t cast you out of you”. But we need to be aware of the enemy, how he works, and what we need to do to resist him.
2 Cor. 2:11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.
Satan is a schemer, and he works through his demons to try and outwit believers by deception. One of the biggest problems where many have unfortunately been taken advantage of is through the lies that demons get people to believe. They will not only work to get you to believe a lie, but to convince others as well. This lying demon will convince believers they don’t need church; they can live how they want and do what they want because it doesn’t really matter. But that is not what scripture teaches
Another aspect of the schemings of the devil is to get believers lulled to sleep where they begin to no longer resist what he is saying to them in their thoughts, and where they no longer resist the things around them that are evil. They just begin to accept what they see as a “natural” part of everyday life and society. The enemy then slowly begins to infiltrate their lives and little by little he begins to take advantage of believers. We need to understand not only the workings of satan, but we need to awaken ourselves and keep awake to what he is trying to do and we must then resist him and his works.
Before we begin to talk about resisting satan we need to touch on submitting to God. The simple truth about what submitting to God is all about can be summed up in one word, “obey”. Any believer that thinks it is not important to obey God and His Word is fooling himself or has already been fooled by the devil. James tells us that if you are a hearer and not a doer of the Word you deceive yourself. Obedience to God is not bondage, quite the contrary. Obedience to God is one of the smartest things you can do.
God knows more than we do. Our choosing to not obey God is living as our own god. The reason people “choose” not to obey God is because they have not fully surrendered to Him. When you know what God says and yet choose not to do it, you are acting out of a form of rebellion. For example if you as a child when growing up knew what your parents said you were to do and chose not to do it, that was clearly seen as a type of rebellion. It is no different with God. So it goes without saying we must submit to (obey) God first and foremost.
1 Pet. 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
1 Pet. 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Pet. 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Here is one of the primary areas that satan creeps into peoples lives unnoticed. Think about how many people today are weighed down with the cares of life. There are many different types of cares people carry. Some are full of cares because they fell for the lie that they had to have all the new gadgets and toys that everyone else has so they borrowed and borrowed to the point that they have to work all kinds of hours or even multiple jobs to afford their lifestyle. This financial pressure becomes a great burden on many people, but it is often self-inflicted. The answer here is simple; stop falling for the lie that having all those things brings true happiness. When you get to heaven those things won’t matter any more, but you don’t have to get to heaven to find that out.
God is not against us having things, but for far too many those things have them. They have allowed this lying demon to convince them that their lives will be miserable if they don’t have or do all these things. This comes from what others have and we envy them, which is a sign of being an immature Christian according to 1 Corinthians, or it comes from the influence of the world that convinces us that you cannot be happy without what they are trying to sell you. One of the ways you resist the devil is to live within your means. That seems to be hard for Americans to do, as our government itself has been unable to do so.
Other cares of life will also come through circumstances and challenges we face because we are in a fallen world. If you carry the burdens that circumstances can bring you are going to be taken advantage of by satan through the weight of those cares. This will produce worry, fear, anger, frustration, etc., and you cannot walk in those things and walk in faith at the same time. You must resist the devil when He tries to get you focused on what is happening in the natural. If you don’t resist those cares won’t go away. You must deliberately choose to cast those cares over upon God. You do this as you take time to draw near to Him and focus on Him.
Is. 26:3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
What a powerful verse of scripture we have here in Isaiah 26. God will keep us in perfect peace if we keep our mind stayed on Him, not on our problems. That takes effort, but that is what it takes to resist satan. The term here for “perfect peace” means a peace that produces health, prosperity, and wellbeing. It is obvious why satan is out to get us to carry the cares of life, but if we will resist him guess what, he will flee! He has to because God’s Word says so. Some may say, “I tried to resist satan but he didn’t go anywhere”. I am sorry but I believe God’s Word. If you really do resist him as scripture teaches us to, he will flee.
2 Cor. 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
2 Cor. 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
2 Cor. 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
The primary area for satan to come against us is in our mind. He will work to get us to reason out things through our thinking. He will get us thinking things that go against what God’s Word says. As brother Kenneth Hagin used to say if you allow satan to keep you in the realm of reason he will whip you every time. But if you will hold him in the realm of faith you will defeat satan every time. We must know the Word of God. It is one of the greatest weapons we have, and it reveals the other weapons God has given to us and how to use them. Stop allowing thoughts to come to you that you don’t examine in light of the Word but just begin to reason about them in your mind. Examine every thought that comes to you in light of the Word of God. Cast down all that are contrary to His Word.
We must submit to God if we want what God has for our life, but we must also resist the devil if we want to see him flee and to stop him from taking advantage of our lives. God has made us “more than” conquerors through Christ who loves us. He has given us the ability to resist our adversary, and to win!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Prov. 16:20 Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be happy.
Who at sometime in their life has not done it or seen someone else who did? You go and purchase something and get the box home, open the box and there it is, all in pieces. Different parts, sometimes special tools included, and the infamous instructions. But as you look to the parts and the lengthy instructions you figure two things. The first is that you don’t have time to read those instructions, which leads to the second mistake that you think that you really don’t need them, for after all you can put it together yourself.
After several frustrating hours of putting things together and then taking them apart you begin to realize you would have actually saved more time had you just read and followed in detail those instructions. At this point you feel you have even less time to spare so on you go. The unfortunate part is that you may often never finish, or you do, but for some reason it just doesn’t work right. Sound familiar? Just recently I purchased an item that did not have the instructions with it. Someone forget to place them in the box. After several hours and putting it together then taking it apart, as it was not a major project, I finally got it done. But I had to do something twice that I could have gotten right the first time if it just would have had instructions with it.
Life is a lot like this. I can’t tell you how many times in my life personally and seeing this in the lives of other believers we have told ourselves to take time to focus in on God’s Word and make sure what we are about to do we were doing so as instructed in detail by God’s instruction manual. Yet we don’t take time to do so, or we pick and choose what we like of the Word and what we don’t, and in time down the road we are going to be disappointed in the results. God may get the blame, or we may just think that what we heard or read doesn’t work for everyone. This is a convenient way to live life in which we don’t have to take any responsibility for our part. The unfortunate part is that we are missing out on what God wanted for our life and often don’t even realize it.
God’s Word is explicit with instructions for this life. As the phrase has been stated many times the Bible is God’s instruction manual before leaving earth. There are those who say we don’t even need the Bible anymore for it is no longer relevant. Others may get focused only on principles in the Bible, which are important, but never learn through those principles how to develop a relationship with God, which is what He desires for us all. So we need to realize that God has given us all the details we need to do life the right way, and it includes getting to know Him.
As our foundation text tells us if we want to prosper, which means in the Hebrew language here to experience good, that which is sweet, to be well off, then we need to listen to God’s instructions. Those who do so are trusting God. Many talk about trusting God, but if we do that means we are going to find out what God says about something and how He says to we are to do it, and we are going to take Him at His Word. We are going to believe what He says, and we are going to do explicitly what He says. Realize that this means we can’t be leaving parts out.
There are several recipes that my Grandmother had for different deserts and dishes that I loved as a kid. I remember as I got older one of those deserts I loved was shoe fly pie. That is correct, shoe fly pie. I asked my Grandma if she would give me the recipe for this dessert and she did. I can remember the first time I made it. It did not come out the same as hers. I thought I had followed the instructions perfectly, but I came to find out there were a couple of things I had not done the way she did them. I got together with her and then with her help learned what I was not doing properly and behold, I was able to make the same shoe fly pie my Grandmother made.
This is a lot like how God’s Word works. First of all realize that if you leave certain steps out or certain ingredients out it is not going to come out the way God said. He did nothing wrong, nor does He not want to see you succeed, but you must take the time to learn to do things God’s way. This is two-fold. One you must take time to get into the Word of God and learn how God says things work. This is not as easy as some may think for God’s ways are not our ways. Take a look.
Is. 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
Is. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
You see this is already one of the key issues with following God’s instructions. Often we come to God and His Word with our own preconceived idea of how we want to do something, but then we find out that is not how God does things. He is not going to change for us. God comes down to meet us where we are to then take us up to where He is. His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts are higher than ours, and they are better.
The problem is if we come to God with how we want to do something and expect to get God’s results we are already defeated. We must be willing to do things God’s way. For example many want God to bless them and provide for them, but the way God declared clearly in His Word that He does this is through sowing and reaping. This is still offensive to some, but yet in scripture you cannot get around the fact that this is how God blesses us. There are many verses on this for example from the Words of Jesus He said that if you give, it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over shall men give unto you.
I know there are those who have exploited the body of Christ, but it doesn’t take much insight to realize those who are doing the work of the Bible and those who are just hirelings. Realize though no matter what you personally think about God blessing you it does not change what God’s Word says about it. We can choose to do things God’s way or our way, but His ways are not ours, and no I am not taking an offering here. Yet people want to see God bless them but those who get offended at what scripture says never do experience the blessing God has because they are not following the instructions.
Matt. 11:29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
The other side of this is you must come and learn from Jesus. This is more than just looking to the Word of God. Remember my example of trying to make shoe fly pie with the instructions I was given, but until I got together with my Grandma and learned from her how to make it, it did not come out the same. You see this is just like walking with God. We often don’t take the time to develop our relationship with the Lord, we may even read the Word of God, which we need to do to learn of Him and get His understanding of things, but we must also take time to develop our relationship as well.
There are things that you are only going to learn and get a hold of when you take time to get with the Lord and learn from Him. Without doing so you will often be missing something that you just are not seeing in the Word of God that is a key element to seeing God’s way work in your life. It is these simple but missing elements that often keep us from seeing what God desires for us to come to pass. The Word of God without relationship with God becomes nothing more than a religion. Those who say they have relationship with God in today’s times but don’t have His Word in their life will lack full understanding of how to live, for God and His Word are one. Realize we need both.
Even Jesus’ disciples had many of the writings of the Old Testament they had studied, but they had the Word’s of Christ spoken to them personally as well, which they later inspired by the Holy Spirit penned for us. They had both the Word’s of Christ and a close relationship with Him. Time and again we see Jesus teaching His disciples what to do, and then showing them by example as well as correcting them when they did wrong. So we need both if we want to follow God’s instructions for our life.
John 17:17Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
What is going to set you apart from those who don’t experience what God wants for our lives? It is the Truth, His Word, following His instructions explicitly for our lives. You can’t leave things out and see it work for you. You must take time to learn from Jesus and follow His example. Scripture teaches us in Proverbs 4:22 that God’s Word is life to those who find it and health to all their flesh. But it won’t be that if you don’t take time to learn what verses 20-27 say you must do to get that life and health. Just knowing God’s Word is life and health won’t bring life and health, you must know how it comes. So take time to learn and follow His instructions. Doing so you will prosper.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Gal. 5:16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).
I talk with believers all the time who say they want to see God’s will done in their life, but unfortunately are not. Too often we are letting our fleshly ways get the best of us and in doing so missing out on what is God’s will for our lives. I recently asked a group of men who were married if they knew what makes their spouse upset or mad. They all responded that they did. I then asked, “Why then do we do things that we know will upset them and make them mad? What is the benefit in that?
So often we do things that we know are not going to reap good results. If we love the Lord we don’t even do so with willful intentions, but yet we do things in the flesh, which does not bring good results. As scripture reveals there is nothing good that dwells in the flesh, for the flesh is opposed to God. So what can we do about this? Well as always God has an answer. This is one of the most important things to learn as a believer. One of the primary goals after getting born again is to become more and more spiritual. To be spiritual means to be governed by you spirit, which is to be led by the Holy Spirit. The more spiritual we become, the more we are walking in the Spirit. When we do this we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
The desires of the flesh apart from the Spirit of God are not going to reap good results. If we respond to people out of the flesh for example we will then often oppose what God says we should do in that situation. This brings about results that none of us like. If we face decisions in life and our response is founded off of what our flesh wants to do this will result in us missing out on God’s will for our life. So if you want to totally change your life and walk in the Spirit, which brings all the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), we must learn to do so.
So the key as to how we learn to become spiritual and not respond according to our old human fleshly nature is to walk in the Spirit. This is learning to live our life governed by the Holy Spirit who will always lead us in what is God’s will for our life, and in turn will produce godly fruit, which is far better than the fruit of the flesh. In Galatians 5:19-21 there is a list of the fruits of the flesh, and all you have to do is look over that list and I can assure you those are things you do not want to live in. There are two primary things associated with walking in the Spirit. That is what I want to teach you this week. So let’s begin.
John 6:63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
Here Jesus also states that the flesh is of no profit. Think about that. He declares it is the Spirit who gives life, and that is the word for “Zoe”, which means the god-kind of life. Now notice what He says at the end of this verse. The words that He spoke are spirit, and they are life. Did you get that? You see the first and most important truth to walking in the Spirit is one that is often overlooked. Jesus’ words are spirit. Therefore, if we will learn to walk in light of and obedience to His Words, you will begin to walk in the Spirit.
This is where you see an immediate problem for far too many that are born again. To walk in the light of and obedience to the Word’s of Jesus you must get into His Word; primarily focusing on what Jesus said, and what His disciples said which they learned of Him. If we don’t take time to get into His Word then how can we walk in the Spirit? There are two aspects to walking in the Word. First and foremost is learning to walk in the light of the Word of God, being obedient to what is says.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Walking in the light of God’s Word is practicing the truth, which is the Word of God. When we put God’s Word into practice in our lives then we walk in the light as He is in the light, and we walk in the liberty that has come from the blood of Jesus, which cleansed us from all sin. James tells us that we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. One who hears but does not take the time to put application of the Word into their life James said deceives himself. So don’t be self-deceived, walk in the light of the Word by practicing what it says. Like anything you practice that means you are going to get good at it because you are going to make an effort to practice.
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
The second key to walking in the Word is to live with an understanding of who you are in Christ Jesus. If you don’t take the time to meditate on and renew your mind to who you are in Christ, you are going to continue to think with the old fleshly mindset. You are NOT an old sinner saved by grace. You are a NEW creation. You can’t be both. You are a spirit and your spirit is born again. You are a new creature all together made in the image of God. You must learn this or the old fleshly nature will continue to dominate your life.
Rom. 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Rom. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Rom. 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit…
To walk in life, the god-kind of life, you must also be led by the Spirit of God. But whatever you do don’t put this before walking in line with the Word of God. When you talk about walking in the Spirit this is what most people think of, being led by the Holy Spirit, and it is included. But if you are not going to get into the Word and walk in the light of the Word, you are not going to be able to accurately be led by the Holy Spirit. Everything He tells us to do is in line with the Word of God.
In verse 13 above Paul is stating the same thing here that we started with in Galatians 5:16. When we allow our flesh to make our decisions and not walk in the Spirit, then we are going to have the fruit of the flesh manifesting. But when we walk in the Spirit we are going to have life for we will have the fruit of the Spirit manifested in and through us. God wants to lead us by His Spirit. A key to this is that His Spirit is not going to speak to our brain. Notice it says that His Spirit bears witness with our spirit. God is a Spirit, and He is going to reveal Himself to us through our spirit. So we must learn to listen to our spirit man within to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let me share a key to how we can learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
James 1:19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.
One of the simplest truths to being led by the Spirit is to quit reacting immediately to what you hear, or to what goes on around you. Be quick to hear, a ready listener, and slow to speak. It is our flesh that wants to immediately speak, and when we do so without taking time to hear what God would say in that situation, we are not going to walk in the Spirit, we are going to walk in the flesh.
If we are taking time to hear this not only refers to us listening to what someone is saying, but also to what God is wanting us to say or do in that situation. I have by no means perfected this, but I have avoided some arguments and created fewer problems to deal with in my life when doing this. Think about how different your life would be if you took the time before responding to any situation in your life to simply ask the Holy Spirit, “What would God want me to say or do here?” If we will really learn this habit of listening first to our spirit man, not our thoughts or what we think, but really zeroing in on our spirit man within to hear from God, how different would our lives be? How different would our relationships be?
God gave us a great Helper, the Holy Spirit. But how often to we take advantage of this great Helper to really stop and listen to what He is trying to tell us to do or say? Walk in the light of the Word and listen to the Holy Spirit within you. Doing so you will walk in the Spirit and thus not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The results will be much better, and you will experience more of God’s will for your life. You will walk in the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the flesh. It is a much more peaceful and joyful way to live life.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker