12/31/12 – “BRINGING IN THE NEW YEAR”

2012-2013

2 Cor. 13:5 Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?

As the New Year approaches it is a very important time for believers to evaluate some key areas in their life to make sure they are entering the New Year with God’s plan and purpose for their life. I remember when I was around 17 years old and my dad had rented a small plane to fly me and a friend to a rodeo with a pilot that worked for him. On our flight back I got to sit up front and once we were in the air the pilot taught me how to fly the plane. The key instrument was our altimeter. He showed me that if I don’t keep an eye on that altimeter then we could get out of the range of where we were suppose to be.

It was easy to see that if I did not keep my eyes on that altimeter we would begin to drift up or down without even realizing it had happened. This is what happens often with us as Christians if we don’t keep our eyes on our altimeter, examining our walk of faith and making sure we are staying on track with God. So I want to give you five basic things to help you bring in the New Year on track with God. These are five areas that we need to keep an eye on so we don’t drift back to the ways of the world.

 

Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

1. Examine your walk with God.

Faith is often only seen as something we use to get things. But here in Hebrews take note of the last part of this verse. We need to be those who diligently seek Him. Are we diligently seeking our God, or are we seeking other things? Are we seeking only what God can do for us, or are we seeking the relationship God desires with us? To know that we are diligently seeking Him and not the rewards that He can provide we need to check our heart to see what are we passionate about. What you are passionate about you are consumed with. It fills your thoughts and it is what motivates you each and every day. If your heart is not passionately pursing God, make a change today and chase Him, not the world nor His rewards.

 

Matt. 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
Matt. 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matt. 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

2. Examine your money.

Another area we need to make sure we have in line with Word of God is our money. Focus in here on verse 21 and 24. Where our treasure is there our heart will be also. If we don’t honor God with our money in tithes and offerings, then we are serving mammon not God. The people who get offended at this are those who are serving mammon. The problem is if we are serving mammon then we are not going to walk in faith with our God. It is a fact as Jesus clearly states here you CANNOT serve God and mammon. If you honor God with your money then money does not control your destiny, God does. So make sure you are not serving mammon in 2013.

 

Mark 11:25“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
Mark 11:26But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

3. Examine your heart toward others.

One of the most damaging things to the believer’s faith is unforgiveness. It will lead to a root of bitterness and torment from the enemy. Jesus clearly states here that if we do not forgive others, then our Father in heaven will not forgive us of our trespasses. This is serious stuff. Unforgiveness is like a cancer in the Christian. There is no reason once we are born again that we cannot forgive others no matter what they have done to us. Take a look at the following verse about what God has done for us.

Psa. 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

There is none good but one, and that would be God. For everyone who has received the mercy and grace God has shown to us through Christ Jesus, we will not get what we deserved. That is mercy. God has not dealt with those who are born again according to our sins, nor will we face the punishment we deserve. The reason is because God is looking to what Jesus did for us, not what we had done. We can do the same because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is nothing more than a choice we make to release those who have wronged us. If you have unforgiveness in your heart toward anyone and you want God’s forgiveness in your life, then make the choice to show them the same mercy God has shown you.

 

Prov. 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.
Prov. 4:24 Avoid all perverse talk; stay far from corrupt speech.
Prov. 4:25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Prov. 4:26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe.
Prov. 4:27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

4. Examine what you hear, see, and do.

Our heart is our spirit man. Most people don’t realize the impact of what they hear, see, and do has in relationship to them experiencing the kind of life God desires for them. As verse 23 states above your heart affects everything you do. If you listen to things that are not edifying, godly, scriptural, but feed instead on television, movies, and surround yourself with ungodly friends you are filling your heart with corrupt speech. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. James says that your words are what determine your pathway in life. So if you don’t guard your heart from perverse and corrupt things, they will corrupt you.

It is just as important to pay attention to what you see and what you do. If you are looking at things that a believer should have not part in such as pornography, books, etc., they too will affect your heart. Many women for example don’t realize that many books they read that are filled with adultery, fantasies, and ungodly lifestyles will have a negative impact on their lives. We are to look straight ahead which refers to not looking aside at what worldly people look too, and we must also pay attention to what we are doing. Scripture tells us to have NO fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, and yet many believers flirt with sin and have sinner friends who influence their behavior. Scripture reveals that the righteous choose their friends carefully, for even the wicked WILL lead them astray (Proverbs 12:26).  We should be influencing the sinner, not them influencing us.

 

Phil. 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
Phil. 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

5. Leave the past behind and press toward your future.

We need to realize that if we hold on to our past then we are not going forward into the future of what God has for us. You have to make a determined decision to let go of what is behind. No matter what you have been through or what challenges you have faced, focusing on those things that may not have worked out the way you wanted could lead you to blame God or others. God is true to His Word and when we do what the Word says, it works.

I have talked with many believers who are always bringing up the past whether it has to do with them or someone else. What they don’t realize is if they will focus on what they can do today that is in line with God’s Word instead, then they are on their way to changing their tomorrows. As Paul stated above we don’t just forget what is behind, we must press toward what is ahead. This is where our effort must be when it comes to what we do and what we are thinking about.

If you want to bring in the New Year headed into all that God has for you, then take the time to examine your walk of faith. Make sure that you are on the right course with God. Examine your walk with God, examine what your doing with your money, examine your heart toward others, examine what you hear, see, and do; and forget the past, press forward into what God has for you. 2013 can and will be an exciting year for those who stay the course with God!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

12/17/12 – “THE FREE GIFT”

gift-of-righteousness

Rom. 5:17 For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

Now days when you hear about things that are “free” there seems to always be a catch involved. When companies advertise to give you something free it usually comes with the requirement of you sharing your personal contact information, which then leads to receiving all kinds of junk email and advertisements. But there is a free gift that God offers to all through His Son Jesus Christ in which there is no catch involved. It is God simply offering to make something right that was wronged. In doing so we become the beneficiary of this wonderful “free gift” that you cannot in anyway earn.

In Romans chapter 5 we are given a comparison between Adam’s sin that lead to condemnation and Jesus offering through His sacrifice the ability to receive God’s righteousness. Righteousness is the free gift that God offers to all through what Jesus did in bearing our sin. This gift is what restored man to a place of right standing with God. For anyone who has godly sorrow, which scripture reveals produces repentance, and then leads one to salvation, they receive this gift of righteousness. You cannot do anything to earn this free gift given by God, but once you receive it you now have right standing with God, and you now have rights as His child.

Gen. 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen. 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Notice here in verse 28 that when God created man He said that man was to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. This was God’s intent for man from the beginning. When the fall of man occurred Adam gave up that dominion and in doing so did not walk in his place of authority subduing the earth. But Jesus did something about that. If you look back to our foundation verse in Romans 5:17 it states that we are to reign as kings in life through the One Jesus Christ. God wants us just as He did Adam to once again subdue this earth. The believer in Christ should be the dominant force in the earth. Life should not be ruling over us, we should be ruling over life. I am not talking about having authority over man for God has not given us such authority, but over the works of darkness and all that has come through the fall.

Why then do we not see more Christians victorious and reigning in this life? Why does it seem many are having life overcome them? There are several reasons why but one of the most important is that many don’t understand the gift of righteousness. What many believers are trying to do today is earn something that already belongs to them. You don’t earn a gift. If you get a gift you did nothing to earn it. I often tell our parents in our church family if you are going to tell your children to be good or they are not going to get any gifts this Christmas then what they would be getting is not a gift. They through their efforts are earning it. This instead would be a reward for good behavior not a gift.

Col. 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
Col. 2:7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Col. 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
Col. 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
Col. 2:10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

If anyone has godly sorrow they will turn from sin and turn to God by faith and faith alone. There is nothing I nor you could have done to receive the salvation Jesus Christ offers to us. Now in verse 6 of Colossians 2 here Paul tells us that just as we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so should we walk in Him. How did we receive Christ into our lives? By faith alone, not our personal effort or we could boast about what we had done. So how then do we walk in Him? By faith in what Jesus has done for us. If we have faith in Jesus then we are going to act upon what we believe.

Take note of what verse 7 tells us about walking in Christ. We are to be rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith. As a believer we should certainly have established ourselves in “the faith”, which means active Christianity or in other words, doing what Christ did. How do we get rooted and built up in Him? We must come to know who we are in Christ. We must learn and get revelation in our hearts from the scriptures of who Christ made us to be since we were made right with God. We are now a new creation in Christ Jesus because of our right standing with God. The gift of righteousness is what came as a result of our being recreated in the image and likeness of God.

Paul goes on to state that you must beware for there are those who will try to cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit. He tells us in that later part of this verse what that refers to. Philosophy refers to the traditions of man. There are many traditions, religious traditions that man has come up with that do not line up with the Bible. These traditions will rob us of understanding who we are in Christ. He also refers to empty deceit, which come from the basic principles of the world. Many people today want what God has for them but yet they are still living according to the principles of the world. These principles come from the god of this world, which 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us is satan. Once you are born again you don’t want to continue in the principles of the world for they will not lead to what God has for you.

Matt. 11:28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
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.
Matt. 11:30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

To walk in your rights as a child of God you cannot earn the inheritance God has provided for you, but you must learn how to become a partaker of what is yours. In verse 28 here Jesus in referring to those who labor are going to be heavy laden. This referred to those who were trying to establish their own righteousness through their personal efforts. You cannot do so. He tells us that we are to come to Him and He will give us rest for our souls. Notice He said He would give us this rest you don’t earn it. Once you have received this rest, the new birth, you must then take His yoke upon you and learn from Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. This is where I believe many Christians miss it.

Some time ago I heard the Holy Spirit tell me that you do not come to earn anything from Jesus, but you must come and learn from Him how to be a partaker of what He has provided through your right standing with God. I did not know anything about walking by faith before I got born again. How could I be a partaker of what God has for my life without understanding how faith works? I have had to learn from Jesus God’s principles of doing things so that I could begin to experience what God has for my life. That is not earning anything, but learning how to do things His way.

What if you were boarding a plane and you were offered a parachute so that if for any reason the plane had problems and began to go down you could parachute to safety, yet you took no time to learn how to use it? What good would that parachute do you? It would be no good to you unless you had taken time to learn how to use it. Worse yet what if you had rejected the parachute all together? It would not be there when you needed it. If someone rejects God in their life they have chosen to do life on their own without His help. But even if we have not rejected Him are we taking time to come and learn from Him what we have a right to, and how we are to partake of our inheritance? You must learn how to become a partaker of what God has for you to receive what you have a right to as a child of God.

God has offered to all in the earth the gift of righteousness that comes as a result of someone who having godly sorrow has truly repented and turned to God. Salvation is more than a prayer one prays, salvation is making Jesus the Lord over your life and when you do then your desire is to become like Him, not like someone who is worldly or sinful. He becomes the center of our life and Who we live for. But once we are born again we have been given a great gift. The gift of righteousness cannot be earned but only received by faith in Jesus Christ. Then we are to rule and reign through Him, putting our faith in what He did and what He has accomplished for us. When we do we will truly be walking by faith and not by sight. We will also have a powerful impact on our world as we take our rightful place of dominion once again.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

12/10/12 – “THE GIFT JESUS GAVE”

Jesus -  Gift

John 17:3 Now this is eternal life–that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.

When you talk to people about eternal life they usually only think of the life for the believer in Christ that is yet to come, yet that is not what Jesus defined eternal life as. Eternal life according to His definition was to know the Father, the only true God. Another way to say this would be to know the real God. Jesus came to give to mankind a wonderful gift, eternal life. That gift of knowing God was significant in changing where we find our value or worth in life. Without knowing God we would continue to find our value and worth in the creation, and not the Creator.

Gen. 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Gen. 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

In the beginning when God created man He had made man in His own image. Man’s total worth and significance in life came from that image, the very image of God. As long as man received his worth from that image he had no problem walking in the dominion God had given him because he related who he was through God. So in the initial creation of man he originally received his identity or image from his Creator and not the creation.

Gen. 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

A couple of years ago I was looking at this verse of scripture and the Spirit of God revealed to me the first thing that man saw when he received his spirit and soul breathed into that body. He saw the face of God. This is significant because to truly get to know someone, to identify them, and in this case to then be identified with God you would have to see His face. This is where God intended for man to find his sole value and worth in life. It was to come from identifying with his Creator, God the Father, and not from the creation God had made.

Gen. 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Gen. 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Gen. 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

When Adam and Eve committed sin and fell they died just as God said they would. That death was not physical, but refers to them being separated from their Creator. They were now going to find their value in the very creation that they bowed down too. In verse eight we find that they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden. The word “sound” here is translated “voice”. God was looking for them and they went and hid themselves from God. They had now made themselves coverings from the creation when before God was their covering.

We also see in verse eight that they hid themselves from the “presence” of the Lord God. That word presence is actually translated in the original Hebrew language as “face”. Once Adam and Eve had sinned, they were no longer one with God. They did die, but that death was actually being separated from God, who is life itself. Because of this separation man could no longer look to God’s face to gain his identity or self worth. That was now coming from the creation itself, which includes other people. This has caused all kinds of problems as the devil has worked very hard at keeping people from getting their identity from God.

Remember in the beginning of creation God told man he had dominion over all the earth. After the fall that changed, but Jesus has done something about that. The key to walking in the authority we have been given through Jesus Christ is based on where we are getting our identity. Once we learn who we are in Christ Jesus we can once again walk in our rightful place of dominion in this earth.

Ex. 33:18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
Ex. 33:19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Ex. 33:20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
Ex. 33:21 And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.
Ex. 33:22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.
Ex. 33:23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

We even see with Moses this very fact that after the fall man could not look to God’s face because of sin and therefore was unable to regain his identity through the Father. When Moses requested to see God’s glory in verse 18, this is translated as seeing the real you. Have you ever come up from behind someone thinking you knew who they were, but once you tapped them on the shoulder and they turned around you realized it wasn’t them? The face reveals the real you. God even tells us this as He responds to Moses’ request and says that he could not see His face. But thankfully Jesus did something about that.

Heb. 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

Jesus after being raised from the dead had to ascend into heaven itself, into the tabernacle in heaven where He appeared in the presence of God for us. You may have already guessed it; the word for presence here also means the face of God. In doing this Jesus having paid the price to cleanse us from all sin provided a way for us to once again regain the image of God in our life. Through this sacrifice He made for us we can regain our worth in God, finding our identity once again in our Creator, the heavenly Father, and not in the creation. Doing so will help us to live life as Jesus did. Jesus fully identified with the Father as He declared that He and the Father were one. Knowing that they were one Jesus also tells us in the Word of God that it was not He who did the works, but the Father in Him. He walked in His rightful place of dominion and authority here on earth.

John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

So how do we then look to the face of the Father to regain our God-given identity once we are born again? Jesus tells us how. If you have seen Him you have seen the Father. When you look to the Scriptures that reveal who Jesus is you see a picture of the Father. The more you learn to relate to Jesus the more you learn to relate to your heavenly Father. As we then learn who we now are in Christ Jesus we begin to regain the image that Adam lost in the Garden of Eden. We no longer have to base our self-worth on other people, what we do, nor what we have. We don’t have to fall for the lie that we cannot change because not only can we change how we live and what we do, God expects us to.

Far too many who have had a born again experience and received Christ as their Savior are still living under the old fallen Adamic nature that was separated from God. This is not only destroying peoples lives, it is keeping the body of Christ from taking their rightful place of dominion on this earth. They are allowing themselves to be ruled by the works of darkness and the circumstances of life around them instead of reigning over life, life is reigning over them. Every believer needs to regain their total worth and value in life through their Creator, their heavenly Father.

2 Cor. 5:17 Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.

We should no longer be living our life the old way through a fallen nature, but we should now get our minds renewed to who we are in Christ Jesus. There are many such verses as these that reveal who we now are in Christ Jesus. Feeding on these scriptures will help us get our minds renewed and our lives transformed from finding our worth in the creation to finding our worth in our Creator. We can now get our image back from God and experience the gift Jesus gave.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

11/26/12 – “LIVING A LIFE OF GRATITUDE”

Col. 3:17 Everything you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I hope you had the opportunity this last weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends giving thanks to God for all He has done for us. This week I want to share a powerful truth about gratitude and what it biblically means to give thanks to God.  So let’s take a look at scripture and see what the Word of God reveals to us about gratitude.

Our foundation verse is the best scripture in the Bible that reveals the heart of thanksgiving and what it actually means. The apostle Paul tells us here that in everything we both say and do we are to do so in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through Him. The word “through” in this verse is actually defined as “because of”. We give thanks to God because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.

I want to turn your attention to the words “giving thanks”. This phrase actually means to be grateful, agree with, and say the same thing. When you look up the definition of what grateful means it comes from two words. When you understand these meanings it will become quite clear through this verse in Colossians what is being said about giving thanks. The first part of the word grateful – “grate” refers to a structure or frame with bars that run parallel. This is a reference to being in agreement with, or going the same direction as.

Now look back to Colossians 3:17 and notice it says that whatever we say or do it should all be done giving thanks to God. When you are giving thanks to God you are doing or saying things in the name of the Lord Jesus, Who is the Word of God. You are aligning your words and actions with God. You are going the same direction as He says to go. Simply put, giving thanks to God means that whatever we say or do it is in agreement with, and going the same way as God. One who lives a life of gratitude is living a life filled with words that speak what God speaks, and actions that follow God’s Word as well.

When you think about one of the greatest compliments a child can give a parent as they get older, it is a great compliment to that parent when they walk in agreement with what they have been taught or shown. You might remember a common phrase used, “He or she is a chip off the old block”. Scripture even teaches that if a child is trained up in the ways of God when they get older they will not depart from that training. This term for train is like putting a permanent crease in a pair of pants. No matter how old those pants get, that crease is there.  When we allow God to crease our life, which impacts both what we say and what we do, it will stick with us.

1 Th. 5:18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

Here is where the power of thanksgiving comes into play. If you want to experience God’s will for your life we know it takes walking by faith. To walk by faith you must believe in your heart what God has said, you must speak it with your mouth, and you must act upon what you have believed. When you live a life of thanksgiving you are walking by faith and not by sight. No matter what the circumstances may say or be, you keep saying what God says, and you keep doing what God has said. Those circumstances don’t change what you say or do. Living a life of thanksgiving is living by faith.

Scripture reveals to us the importance of our words and actions in many places. James chapter three talks all about the tongue and the fact that our words are like a rudder on a ship that determines where that ship will land. They are like the bridle in the horse’s mouth that will turn that animal whichever direction you want to go. When we declare who God says we are, what He has said we have, and what He said we can do, we are on the pathway to reaching His destination for us.

Our actions are also important when it comes to seeing God’s will fulfilled in our lives. James addresses this issue as well in the second chapter of the book of James. He tells us that faith without works (corresponding action) is dead. The Amplified tells us that it is devoid of power. Faith is not truly faith without actions that follow. In life we are going to face storms for even Jesus told us we would. As a believer the difference for us is we have the ability to get through the storms of life and come out victorious. So it is speaking in line with God’s Word, and acting in line with God’s Word that we see His will manifested.

Psa. 107:1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Psa. 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,

Remember we speak in line with God’s Word declaring what God says because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. This is seen here in this Psalm, which tells us to give thanks to the Lord for He is good. The redeemed of the Lord are to “say so”, whom the Lord has redeemed from the hand of the enemy. How do we give thanks, by speaking and acting in agreement with God. The redeemed of the Lord must say or declare their redemption for it to come to pass. You must know what you are redeemed from and declare your redemption.

Something very important to point out here, don’t think that if you simply say something long enough it will then eventually come to pass. Those who put their faith in their confession do not consistently speak in agreement with God. After a while they grow weary in well doing and lose heart. It is not faith in your confession that brings God’s will to pass, but faith in God and what He has said. But for faith to come we must see ourselves as already healed, delivered, and set free. For that to happen you must say what God says. You won’t see it if you don’t consistently speak it for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. This is why living a life of gratitude is so important if you want to obtain God’s will for you life.

Is. 29:13 And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning],

The core issue of living with gratitude for God has to do with what we have our hearts set on. Giving lip service to God but not having a heart set on Him will only lead to a life of disobedience to the Word. We are not just to speak the Word over and over without fully understanding what it actually says. When your heart is set on God you are not trying to say what God says just to get something you want in life. Those who consistently speak and act in agreement with God are those who are trusting in the Lord with all their hearts. They are aware of what God has done for them and count it a joy to serve and follow after Him. What they are now saying and doing is in response to what He has done for them.

Prov. 3:5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
Prov. 3:6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
Prov. 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil.
Prov. 3:8 It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones.

If we lean on and trust in the Lord with all our heart, we are going to lean on Him and His Word. We are not going to go through life trying to do things our way, we are going to have an awareness of God in our life, recognize what He has said about whatever we are doing, and we will then acknowledge Him. One who acknowledges God in all their ways is someone who is giving thanks. Their words and actions are agreeing with God. They will do this in every area of their life as they continue to grow and gain insight through Him.

If someone is wise in their own eyes, they are not walking in a reverential fear for the Lord, worshipping Him. The term worship refers to a heart surrendered to God. It means to bow down to. When we do this in our walk with God we are only looking to Him for the guidance, wisdom, and insight we need in life. Our focus is to pattern our life after Him. Our pursuits in life have become God’s pursuits. Our desires are His desires. This will lead to a life blessed with health and well-being. This again does not mean we won’t face trials in life, but we will not stop speaking and acting in line with God.

One of the greatest things we can do with our life after receiving what Christ has done for us is to live our lives in gratitude to Him. Take time to reflect from the Word of God what all God has done for us through Christ Jesus. Make sure your heart is completely set on Him. Then consistently yield your tongue and your actions to come into agreement with God. Doing so is living a life of gratitude.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

11/19/12 – “WHAT TYPE OF DIET DO YOU WANT?”

2 Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
2 Tim. 4:4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

In today’s times quite a few people seem to be more careful of the type of diet they eat. There are all types of health products, articles, and nutritional information readily available that can really help you to obtain optimum health. I have said to believers for years that you are not going to live on a diet of Twinkies and stay healthy. I remember years ago hearing about some research being done and someone had taken a Twinkie and had it just setting out for years. It never decayed. As much as I loved Twinkies when I was a kid that can’t be good for you.

The same holds true for your spiritual wellbeing. Unfortunately there seems to be very little thought given as to one’s spiritual diet in life. If you want to experience a spiritual life that is full of God, getting to know Him and developing in the type of lifestyle He has for you, then you are going to have to take a look at your spiritual diet as well. One who does so and feeds on all that God has for them is going to experience God, and all that God is in a far greater measure in their life. Being a Christian is all about walking in the footsteps of Jesus and experiencing what He had while here on earth. That is what true Christianity is all about.

The apostle Paul speaking to Timothy here in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 was speaking of the last days church, and in that time period people would not endure sound doctrine. Sound doctrine is simply the whole of God’s truth that has not been corrupted by man-made doctrine. Another way to look at it would be for example the same as asking your children, “What you do want to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday”. Imagine if your child came and told you that they only wanted ice cream for dinner and you not wanting to disappoint them said OK. How healthy would your child be?

Sound doctrine is not just the icing on the cake, it is first and foremost the meat of the message, filled with all types of things that at first you may not really in the flesh enjoy partaking of, but once you have done so it builds you up spiritually and you become a spiritually healthy child of God. You walk in the light of who you are in Christ because you have been given the nutrients of the Word of God that will help to build you up and make you strong. God’s Word has some dessert in it, but it has far more of the main course, which has all the types of things you need to be feeding on to become a strong believer who can stand up to anything and be victorious, no longer tossed around by the things of this life.

What is the reason why these people will no longer want sound doctrine, the very thing that will build them up and make them strong spiritually? Paul goes on to tell Timothy that people will, according to their own desires, heap up for themselves teachers to tickle that little itch of theirs. In other words they will want to chase after their carnal fleshly desires instead of God yet they will still want to feel like they are okay with God. So they will flock to preachers who do not feed them a healthy diet that is good for them, instead these preachers will give the people what they want to hear even though they are going against what scripture may say. “So you want ice cream, well I don’t want to disappoint you and have you leave my church or lose your approval, so I will give you ice cream”.

Paul then goes on to tell Timothy in verse 4 that these people will begin to turn away from the truth, and instead they will be turned aside to fables. That is a very sad statement. Jesus said if you abide in His Word you are His disciple indeed, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, not bring you into bondage. There are many today when you speak the truth of God’s Word to them they claim you are trying to put them in bondage, but that is a lie from the pit of hell itself. Walking in the light of the Word is not bondage, it is liberating.

It is sad to see believers who will actually take a stand for things that go against God’s Word. They have turned from the truth and have now gone after fables. Fables are man-made fictions or myths. It is what man says is true, not what God says is true. The people I see this happening to are those who ignore the truth spoken by ministers who don’t compromise in what they preach, or they are lukewarm Christians who are not passionately pursuing God, they fit God into their life when it is convenient for them. Lukewarm means to be indifferent. Some examples would be, “It doesn’t matter if I go to church, read the Word, pray, or give to God. After all, God loves me.” God does love us, but Jesus said if we are lukewarm when He returns we will be spewed out of His mouth (Rev. 3:14-16).

Prov. 19:21 There are many plans in a person’s mind, but it is the counsel of the LORD which will stand.

Everyone has their own opinion about life. But no matter what our opinion is about something, it is the Lord’s counsel that stands, not our opinion. This is the problem with lukewarm believers, or those who have flocked to ministers that are tickling their fleshly itch. These people have their opinion about every topic you can think of, and no matter what you show them from the Word of God they don’t see it. No matter how black and white it may be, they are unwilling to side with God and His Word because they feel their opinion is right.

That is only going to lead one down a road of failure, deception, seduction, and being overtaken by the darkness that is in the world. Yet when you try to lovingly correct these type of people they become very defensive, argumentative, and sometimes hateful. They think you are exaggerating the Word of God, or you just don’t know what you are talking about, or you are just from the “old school”. It has always been interesting to me how these who are walking by their own belief instead of God’s Word think for some reason that even though you spend hours and hours as a minister of God studying His Word, yet somehow they know more about the scriptures than you do.

This is like a parent who has lived years longer than their child and been through much of what they have been through trying to help their child not to make the same mistakes and yet the child thinks they are smarter than their parent. They think their parent is out of touch with reality and therefore they could not understand them, nor know all that they know. As Ecclesiastes states there is nothing new under the sun, what has been will be. Why would you as a parent, if you care for your child and love them, put restrictions and what your children can and can’t do? Because you have knowledge that child does not have.

2 Tim. 4:2 Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.

Please look carefully from the Amplified version of 2 Timothy 4:2, which is what Paul told this young pastor Timothy he was responsible to do. He was to preach the Word! Not his opinion, nor what man wanted to hear. Whether this was favorable among the people or not, welcomed by people or not welcomed, he as a preacher of the Word was to show people in what way their lives were wrong. Through his preaching and teaching he was to convince, rebuke, correct, warn, urge, and encourage them. There are far to many pastors and ministers today who will only encourage people, but will not do the rest of what they are called by Jesus Christ to do.

We are not talking about beating people up with the Bible. But I can assure you if I was headed down the wrong path for my life I would want to know about it. The reason far to many don’t is because they have their hearts set upon their own desires and not upon God. God’s desires for us are always good. That does not mean we are always just going to hear an encouraging word. Look at the most popular preachers today and examine out of these requirements given to them as a minister of the gospel how many of these do they actually do? They will sound as if they really care about you, but what most don’t realize is that the minister who won’t do what God’s Word says is more concerned about being liked by you instead of sparing your life much pain.

Now more than ever we need to make sure we are not chasing our own desires. Those who do will not endure; they will not receive and apply sound teaching to their life. They are going to feed on spiritual junk food or fleshly things and this is only going to make them spiritually weaker and weaker. That is what satan wants. Don’t fall for this and allow him opportunity to take advantage of your life. Find a minister of God who fulfills the mandate given to him in preaching God’s Word. Get rid of your personal opinions about God’s Word and just stick to the Word, no matter what you think. Change your way of thinking to line up with God’s. If you are getting a healthy spiritual diet you are going to be strong spiritually and face the day fearless.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

11/12/12 – “THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD?”

Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
Deut. 30:20 that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

I want to address one of the teachings and false beliefs about God that has done more to undermine the faith of many people than almost anything else you can name. There are far too many believers who have been miss-taught through a man-made doctrine that goes completely contrary to what scripture teaches about God. There are many verses I can share to reveal the truth about the sovereignty of God, but we will only have the time to cover a few of them.

Let’s begin by defining the word “sovereignty”. It is defined as:

1. Supreme or highest in power; superior to all others; chief; as, our sovereign prince.
2. Independent of, and unlimited by, any other; possessing, or entitled to, original authority or jurisdiction; as, a sovereign state; a sovereign discretion.
3. Predominant; greatest; utmost; paramount.

None of these definitions declare that sovereignty means that one is controlling everything else. God is sovereign, and the Word of God reveals Him as the One who is highest in power, and superior to all others. The word sovereign is not in the KJV of the Bible. It does appear in some modern translations, but the references are to the word “Lord” in the scriptures, which mean: Supreme in power or authority. Simply put, there is no higher power than God. This does not mean God is controlling everything that happens. So let’s look to the scriptures as our guide to find out what the Bible reveals about our God.

Look back to the foundation text that I gave you from Deuteronomy 30:19-20. Notice in verse 19 that the Lord said that He had set before His people life and death, blessing and cursing; and then He even tells them to choose life. If God is in control of everything then He is in control of everyone. If God is the One who is controlling everyone then why would He even mention that they have a choice? They had the free will to choose life or to choose death. God even tells them which to choose, but God did not choose for them.

In the following verse He goes on to tell them that they “may” obey His voice, and that they “may” cling to Him. Again God is telling them that they have a choice if they obey Him or not. If God is in control of all people and therefore all things that happen, then man would not have a choice; his choice would have already been made for him. Scripture for example reveals to us that God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Let’s take a look at this verse together.

1 Tim. 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
1 Tim. 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Here we see that it is clearly God’s desire for all to be saved. If it is God’s desire for all men to be saved and God is control of everything than why is it that not all will be saved? Why is it that scripture reveals that those, who by their own choice not God’s, will reject Christ and they will not make heaven? The answer is simple, man has been given a choice and because he has a free will to choose man is responsible for his personal outcome in life.

This addresses one of the key reasons why this false teaching on the sovereignty of God is so damaging. When one believes this false teaching it will result in one of two things in their life. One: they will have their faith in God undermined not understanding why God would do bad things to them, or two: they won’t take responsibility for their actions which keeps God from working in their life.

This second reason is one that has been used by man since the fall in the garden. When we fall for this false believe in God being in control of everything that happens then we will not take responsibility for our actions. This only causes us to continue to make the same mistakes. Adam after he sinned in the Garden of Eden because he made the wrong choice when confronted by God said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, …”. Adam immediately tried to blame God for the woman He had given Him. But it was not God’s fault Adam sinned. Adam could have refused to do that which he knew God had told him not to do. He had a choice. But Adam chose to sin and disobey God’s command.

When we don’t take responsibility for our actions, then we remain deceived because we actually think God is the one that caused what happened to come to pass. God gets a lot of credit for things He never did. This again keeps us from recognizing our mistakes and therefore keeps us deceived and walking in error. If a person does not take responsibility for their actions, they won’t see the change God can bring in their life.

This can also lead to our faith being undermined by the devil. If you think God for example caused a family member to die early, or that He brought about some harmful attack on you personally, then our faith is weakened for we don’t know what is God’s will and what is not God’s will. To have faith in God you must know what is God’s will for your life. If you believe God made you sick, then how are you going to have the faith for Him to heal you? You won’t. It is interesting to note that people who claim God made them sick for some reason will then go to a doctor to get help in getting well. If you believe God made you sick then you would be out of line with God’s will to try and get help to become well.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

This verse clearly states that we should submit to God and resist the devil. If we do so the devil will flee from us. But what if we don’t resist the devil? He obviously is not going to flee. This also reveals that what God wants to bring into our life comes from our willingness to submit to Him.  When we do we receive from God what He desires for our life. When we resist the devil then we reject what satan is trying to do in our life. This would not be so if God was controlling everything that happens. If He was doing so then why would James even tell us to resist the devil? He would not.

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

This is the dividing line of the Bible. The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy. Anything that involves these three elements is attributed clearly to the thief. God is not a thief. Never has been, never will be. Jesus said that He has come to give life and that we may have it more abundantly. Jesus was God’s representative here on the earth. He said if you had seen Him, you had seen the Father who sent Him. God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Rom. 13:1  Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God.
Rom. 13:2 So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.

Even when it comes to elections and elected officials man chooses them by election, and not God. God is the One from whom all governments “originated”, for God established what His rule of government was. It was founded on His commandments and His Word. If we are to obey all types of governments that exist that were not founded on God’s law, then Peter rebelled against God. Even Peter after being told by the authorities of his day to stop preaching in the name of Jesus continued to do so. Had he not he would have been in disobedience to Jesus for not preaching the gospel. God did not establish those leaders of Peter’s day who went against God.

God hates the shedding of innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17). Yet Hitler made it legal to kill millions of God’s own people. God does not oppose Himself. To say He places everyone in authority would mean He placed Hitler in power to go against His own will. Not possible, for God Himself never changes. These verses in Romans simply establish that the origination of all governments began with God. We are to obey the laws of the land, not the laws of men who make laws that oppose what God established in the earth as the law of the land. It is that simple.

Thank God we serve the Lord who is all-powerful, but don’t fall for the false belief that God is the One controlling everything. This will only lead to further deception by not taking responsibility for our choices, and will undermine our faith in God. We have a choice. Time for believers to start making the right choices, those that are in line with God’s Word and therefore His will.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

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

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

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

1. Refrain your tongue from evil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Refrain your lips from speaking deceit.

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

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

3. Turn from evil and do good.

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

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

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

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

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

4. Seek peace and pursue it.

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

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

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

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

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker