Eph. 4:27 Don’t give the devil any opportunity to work.
Have you ever thought about how much time and attention has been given to keep bad people who are out to do harm from taking advantage of our families and rightfully so. There are all types of alarms available as well as monitors, and of course guns, not to mention online protection from hackers as well. Society has done a lot to provide protection from such people, but as believers how much attention do we give to our spiritual enemy and how he works? We may not even think much about these spiritual enemies and in not paying attention to them and how they work, they can subtly move in and take advantage of our lives. I want to share this week some very important things we can do to give this enemy of ours no place in our lives.
First of all let me establish a couple of very important facts. The first of which is the fact that our foundation scripture reveals a very important truth for us to understand. If Paul tells us to give the devil no opportunity to work in our lives that means he cannot do so unless we give him that opportunity. Far to often Christians have given satan a whole lot more credit than he deserves. Realize that he cannot work in our life if we will not permit him to do so. Don’t think for a minute that he can just come against you and do whatever he wants, not unless we give him such opportunity. We can slam the door in his face every time he comes.
Col. 2:15 He stripped the rulers and authorities of their power and made a public spectacle of them as he celebrated his victory in Christ.
The second key point I want to make is the fact that God stripped satan and his cohorts of their power through the victory of Christ on the cross. We need to fully understand this truth because far too many Christians are even afraid to talk about the devil for fear that he might come against them if they do. First of all he has no power left. He has to deceive you to take advantage of the authority Christ has given to us. Jesus Christ delegated to the church the same authority that was given to Him. The power of God that defeated the devil is still God’s power, not ours, but when Christ gave us His authority that means we have the ability to use God’s power. We should have no fear of the devil for he has been stripped of his power.
Why then does the devil seem to take advantage of believers? There are three primary areas in which he works that we will go over so we can learn how to address these in our life and make sure we give him no place. The three primary areas in which satan works are deception, seduction, and the cares of this world. If we recognize these works we can slam the door in his face and keep him out of our lives. So let’s look at each one individually and learn how to be victorious over anything he may throw our way.
Rev. 12:9 This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.
John 8:31 So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.
John 8:32 And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
In Revelation 12:9 we clearly see that the devil is a deceiver of the whole world. He works to take advantage of us by getting us to believe things that are not true. He is continually at work in the lives of people trying to convince them of things about God that are not true. If he can convince you that it is God who makes you sick or God who brings bad things in your life or it is God who uses evil to teach us then he can deceive you and keep you from receiving what God has for your life. One of the primary areas satan has worked to bring such deception in people’s lives is through false teachings from the pulpit. John chapter 10 reveals this very truth.
So how do we keep from being deceived? Jesus gives us the answer in John chapter 8. If we abide in His Word, we are His disciples (students learning from Him), and we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free from deception. Abiding in the Word is more than just reading the Bible. The Amplified translation brings out in verse 31 above that we are to hold fast and live in accordance with Jesus’ teachings. Knowing the truth refers to knowledge through action. Reading scripture is not enough we must live by it.
It wouldn’t do you any good for example to just look at food. You don’t get nourishment from looking at food you must eat it. We must take God’s Word and meditate on it, and put it into practice if we want to overcome the deceptive works of satan. The problem with deception is you don’t know you’re deceived, and that is why we must abide in the Word of God. Stick with the Word and it will never lead you astray, but if we oppose God’s Word that will lead to deception.
1 Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; …
Seduction is different then deception for when someone is seduced they know what they are doing is wrong. Seduction is satan’s way of tempting us with things that our flesh wants. If we give in to seduction we know what we are doing is not right. This is the work of satan’s seducing spirits, which leads people away from the faith. This refers to not putting our faith in what the Word says, but instead giving in to what our old fleshly nature wants instead.
Gal. 5:16 Let me explain further. Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants.
The key to overcoming satan’s seducing works is to walk in obedience to our spirit man, the real you on the inside, and this will keep us from following after the old corrupt fleshly nature. For us to do this we must develop our spirit man. Just as the natural man can be developed, and just as the intellect of man can be developed, so can our spirit man be developed. If we want to develop the spirit man within we must feed on spiritual food. If we continue to feed on fleshly things that we should not be listening to or watching, we are going to see our fleshly nature dominate. Paul said in Romans chapter 8 that if we set our minds on the flesh we will live a carnal fleshly life, but if we set our minds on the things of the spirit, then we will be dominated by our spirit man. Dr. Roy Hicks had a great saying, “There are two natures that beat within my breast, one is cursed and one is blessed, one I love and one I hate, but the one I feed will dominate.”
If for example you don’t want to adopt all the stray cats in your neighborhood, then don’t put out cat food for the cats. If you feed them they are going to hang around and keep coming back for more. If you don’t want them around stop feeding them. If you don’t want to give in to seduction, being tempted in your flesh, then stop feeding your flesh with all the fleshly worldly things that others watch and participate in. Instead feed your spirit man and watch your spirit begin to dominate your life. Then when fleshly temptations come you will choose to walk in life through the spirit instead of corruption through the flesh.
1 Pet. 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
1 Pet. 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
One of the most overlooked areas where satan is at work in people’s lives is in getting people to live with the cares of life. This leads to worry, and Jesus said there is nothing good that will be added to your life through worry. As a matter of fact you cannot walk in faith and worry at the same time. Notice Peter here clearly states that we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that He can lift us up above the circumstances of life. We do this by casting all, not some but all of our care upon Him because He cares for us. This is significant because what Peter is saying here is that God wants to help you deal with and overcome the things that become a burden or care in your life.
Notice the very next verse warns us to be sober and vigilant in dealing with cares because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He devours people by getting them to carry the cares of life. How do we release these cares to God? You must make sure you are not in love with the world nor the things in the world, for those who are the love for the Father is not in them. If you will maintain a close and intimate relationship with God you won’t have any problem trusting Him with life’s cares for you know He cares for you.
So make sure you are abiding in the Word of God, living in and living out what the Word says. Keep developing your spirit man for as you do you will walk in the spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Make sure you are maintaining a close walk with God because then you won’t hold on to the cares of life but in fact life a care free life.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Matt. 26:41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
I don’t ever personally recall talking to any believer who has a heart to know God who did not want to know they were pursuing God’s will and wanting to fulfill their God-given purpose in life. Wanting to do so and doing so is a fine line. Fulfilling the will of God is always hands down the most rewarding thing any believer could ever do, but it is not always what we initially think. I want to share with you the words of our Savior that was one of the most important things He was trying to get across to His disciples as He was personally facing a time of temptation in His life to walk away from what God’s will.
I have been in the Garden of Gethsemane and it is a place that is a little difficult to describe. While we were there we had time to pray alone and in that time of prayer it became a time of reflection for me on what Jesus really went through. It is hard to imagine going through such a time of temptation that Jesus literally sweat drops of blood. The temptation was to be pulled out of God’s plan for His life. Not just going to the cross, but for the first time ever to be separated from the presence of the Father. When we stand in the fullness of God’s presence we will understand more fully why this was so difficult for Jesus to face.
We know clearly that the battle going on here was to actually do one of two things. Fulfill the will of the Father, or fulfill what was Jesus’ will of not being separated from God. Jesus clearly states this fact in verse 39, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Jesus did not get His own will. He chose the will of the Father over what He willed, and here is the example we are to follow when it comes to our lives if we desire to fulfill what is God’s will for us. The alternative is to fulfill our will instead, which will not result in living a fulfilled life.
I can tell you as I am sure we can all testify to, that every time I wound up doing my will instead of God’s it never came out right; and yet many times where I have obeyed God and it did not seem to me in the natural the right thing to do, God always accomplished what needed to be done. That in no way means that I always saw that. There is so much more to life and the lives of others God wants to touch through us, that we rarely see all that God does or is doing when we are walking in the will of God. When we are not walking in His will we have limited His ability to work in us and through us. God cannot bless what is not His will. He never has and never will be able to do so. For Him to work in and through us we have to work with Him. This is why Jesus said He only did those things He saw the Father doing.
When I read letters like Paul wrote to Timothy telling him that Demas had forsaken him having loved this present world, and had departed Paul going back to Thessalonica, this was a disciple of Christ who was walking out the will of God for his life but he was pulled out of God’s will working with the great apostle Paul and went back to the world. It was not the will of God for Demas to forsake the apostle Paul. God could no longer at this time work in and through this man’s life because he had gotten out of God’s will. There are many others spoken of in the Bible who did not fulfill God’s will for their lives, but they could have.
I want to be like the apostle Paul who at the end of his life was able to declare that he had fought a good fight, and he had finished his course having completed what was God’s will for him. That happened because of choices Paul made daily throughout his life. I believe Paul missed it at times as he admitted to the Corinthian church that he had not dealt with them about giving to the work of the ministry, and he even asked them to forgive him of this wrong. Along life’s paths that we choose to take it does not mean we may never make a wrong choice, but if we do we need to make sure to get back on the right one.
Jesus in the Garden gave his disciples two golden nuggets of how to live our life so that we are not giving in to the temptation to get pulled away from what really is God’s will for us. Those two keys are to “Watch” and “Pray”. When you understand the simplicity of what He said it is without a doubt one of the most powerful and important things for every believer to learn if you desire to fulfill God’s will in your life. Remember, Jesus Himself did not get His will, He chose instead the Father’s will over His. To better understand the first key here to “watch” you have to look at the final words at the end of our foundation verse of scripture. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Without this phrase we would be a little in the dark as to what we are to watch for, but this gives you the focus of what Jesus was saying. According to Romans 7:18 Paul states that there is nothing good that dwells within our fleshly nature, and the flesh is weak. If we choose to allow our flesh to decide what we will or won’t do in our daily lives we are going to give in to our fleshly nature that will always want to take the easy way out. As a believer if you desire to fulfill God’s will you are going to have to post watch on your flesh. If you don’t you will give in to its ways because of its weakness. Your spirit desires to do the will of God, but not your flesh.
If you go through life making your choices based on your mind, will, and emotions, and you are not consistently renewing your mind to the Word of God, you will be tempted and led away from what is God’s will for your life. The flesh is weak so simply put when it comes to doing God’s will or your will; the flesh’s way out is always the easy way out. To go against the flesh is uncomfortable to say the least. Think about how many decisions we have made in our lives just based on how we feel at the time. How many times have we made choices in our lives based on our emotions, making a decision because we felt hurt by something said or done? This does not lead to fulfilling God’s will. The will of God will always be founded upon, backed up by, and in line with the Word of God.
Scripture for example reveals that iron sharpens iron. Think about that for a minute. That is one hard object rubbing against another hard object. For example if I took the things that God has used my Pastor, Dr. Mark T. Barclay to speak into my life at times as anything other than God using this gift of a Pastor in my life to grow me up, it would be easy to get offended, which offense is of the flesh for offense is taken not given, and the result would have been me not being as sharp and accurate as God wants me to be. Unfortunately many in Christianity today think that the way you grow up in Christ is by hearing everything you want to hear, and getting things your way. But not even Jesus got His will over the Father’s.
As Jesus stated if you do not want to get pulled out of God’s will for your life you must daily pay attention to your flesh. We must stop making knee jerk decisions because of what someone said, did, or the fact that our flesh did not get what it wanted. We need to stop and take the time to make sure we are not making a decision based on our flesh and not the Word of God. Any such decision will lead us away from God’s will. We also need to be honest enough with ourselves and not just use the old Christian cliché’ that we are obeying God. Does both scripture and true godly leadership whom God has blessed us with to help us fulfill God’s will agree with what we think is God’s will?
If you study scripture you will find that there is only one primary way out of deception, submitting to a higher spiritual authority. If you have found such a leader in your life and you know they are gifted by God to help you why don’t we believe that they can give us godly counsel to keep us in the will of God? Many don’t for if they do speak to leadership about such major decisions, they don’t ask of their leadership if what they are thinking of doing is in line with God’s will, they tell them what they have already chosen to do. Christians are more apt to get professional advice and receive it from their doctors, lawyers, and others yet when it comes to spiritual matters of major issues never consult their leadership. To keep a watch on our flesh we need to make sure before we make a choice we are in line with Gods’ Word.
The second key is simple, pray. Stay connected with God. Maintain a close relationship with the Lord. If I was not already doing so I would lean even more upon the spiritual leaders of my life initially to stay in line with God’s will. We must be honest once again with ourselves here. If we don’t spend much time in fellowship with God through His Word and prayer, how are we going to know His will for us? Just going to church on occasion or even consistently does not mean we are actually connecting with God. If you truly have a desire to know Him you must then deny self, take up your cross, and follow after Him.
So here we have one of the most powerful truths Jesus ever taught His believers. Watch and pray for if we don’t we will be tempted and pulled away from God’s will by following the easy way out of doing what our flesh wants. Doing God’s will begins with our daily choices. If we make sure our choices are not based on the mind, will, or emotions of the flesh but instead our spirit man within and the Word of God, we too will be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
1 Chr. 28:20 And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
One of the greatest things in life is when you find out what God’s work, His passion, His plan is for your life that He will use to accomplish in and through us what only He can do. The next greatest thing is when you have those moments when you see that plan being fulfilled. The challenge is along the way we may initially find out that what we thought we were to do was not God’s plan at all, or once you do find out what He has in store for your life, you will face those challenging times when you will question yourself even though you know it’s His will because it may not seem as if you are accomplishing what He wants you to do. I want to encourage you to never give up on finding out what that plan is, and when it is confirmed biblically in your life stay the course, never give up.
As I sit here and write this weekly wisdom article I was reflecting on getting to see another one of those moments for a pastor when the very things you have prayed for, worked for, studied and preached happens. When God called me to be a pastor 24 years ago this coming Easter, it certainly was not what I had planned for my life. But from the beginning the passion that the Lord put in me to fulfill His commission to go and make disciples is what drives me. A disciple is more than just someone born again. They develop a true and genuine relationship with God, and they are no longer baby or carnal Christians, but a mature believer. To see those moments as a pastor when people take what the Holy Spirit gave you to preach and teach to them and they apply it to their life and see the results, there is nothing better for a spiritual dad.
I got to see another one of those moments tonight as I watched one of our spiritual daughters stand and preach to our church for the first time and she did awesome. Sharing from the Word what she has learned and applied in her life. Just like other moments I have had watching her husband chase the passion in his heart to now seeing those dreams being fulfilled. Not to mention the children’s teachers who I have watched with such a dedication and love for our children in teaching them the Word and impacting their lives, to leadership God has raised up, men and women of God who have faced adversity and blessed me to see them overcome with God at their side, and there are many more stories I could share.
Our foundation text is king David telling his son Solomon that because it had been revealed to David that it was God’s plan for Solomon to build the temple, and that God would be with him and would never leave him nor forsake him so that he could fulfill God’s plan. David had wanted to build the temple but God revealed to David that was not His plan. We need to make sure first of all that we have God’s plan. There are many plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s plan will stand. I have known some who thought they were called to pastor, but as scripture reveals one of the ways God will confirm a call to the five-fold ministry is through a minister who recognizes that calling on your life. Realize I am not writing this to ministers, for God has a plan for every one of us. The Bible tells us that His plans were prepared for us beforehand. We just need to make sure we have God’s plan.
To find God’s plan just place your entire life like a piece of clay in God’s hands and be willing to let Him mold you. As you do then God will begin to give to you what is His desire is for your life. Just remember this means you are willing to let go of anything God says to let go of and willing to take up whatever He says to take up. As David reveals to Solomon there are some key things to be reminded of along the way. A quick key here is to point out that Solomon was receiving from his elder confirmation of God’s plan for his life. David reveals to Solomon you must be strong and of good courage, just do the work, do not fear nor be dismayed for God would be with him.
Again let me apply a part of my walk with God here to share some things about these key points that are necessary to fulfill God’s plan. The first key is you must be strong. The word for strong here refers to strength developed through you being consistent in your walk with God, never letting go of Him. This is a result of coming to God because you want to know Him, not just know Him for what He can do for you. When I gave my life to Christ I did so because I found out I could come to know God. I was blown away by the fact that this was actually something I could do. There are those who don’t ever become very strong as a believer. They tend to be those who come to God for what He can do for them, not because they just want to know Him. If you want to know Him, you will never let go of God.
The second thing David said was to be of good courage. This is defined as being determined, persisting, unwilling to quit. I can’t tell you how many times I have had thoughts of quitting. In pursuing God’s plan I have made mistakes, said things I should not have said, done things I should not have done, but the intent behind everything I have ever done is to help God’s kids become disciples, more than conquerors through Christ who know their God. Realize as you work toward carrying out God’s plans you will make mistakes. You will make some wrong decisions.
Like anything in life it takes time to develop yourself in the plan God has for you. The key here is even when those times happen, make a decision before hand that you will never quit. When I have had times I felt like quitting it was because I would question my calling and myself when I made mistakes, but we all make them. Be determined you won’t quit. If you know without a doubt you are walking out what God has planned for you, which we know will ultimately bring glory to Him, don’t think God gave up on you because you made a mistake. Remember what David said to Solomon that until he finished what God had for him to do, He would never leave nor forsake Solomon. Nor will he do so with you!
The next thing David told Solomon was to act. When you have no doubt that you know God’s plan for your life, you have to do something about it if you want to see it come to pass. Faith without works is dead. For some it may be that they need to get some training to learn how to use the gifts God has given them. Going back to school isn’t easy, but as I was reminded by a lady we met the other day if you know it’s God’s plan for you, you can do it. She is a single mom raising two kids who put herself through night school and now has a job that is a great blessing to her. While doing her job she shared some of her testimony with us. I know she is an encouragement to others. For others you may find out like David something you wanted to do was not what he wants you to do. Until you find out God’s plan you can begin to fulfill part of His plan now. Get involved in doing something in and through your church or others where you can begin to have an impact on people’s lives. We must act in obedience to what God has set before us, which will lead us into His ultimate plan.
David then tells Solomon not to fear. As a believer in Christ you do not have a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. Fear for the believer results in focusing on the natural instead of what God said. This leads to us magnifying the things that we see instead of what God said for us to do. Phillip was told by God to go out into the desert and wait there. Phillip could have looked at things in the natural and allowed his mind to focus on his surrounding circumstances. If he would have then timidity would have set in. This is what the word “fear” is defined as in 2 Timothy 1:7. Timidity makes you question God. Timidity gives place to satan where he begins to plant all kinds of doubting thoughts into your head.
Phillip could have thought to himself he surely wasn’t doing much for God by just sitting out in the desert. If you were to compare him to the other disciples it didn’t look like he was too successful. They were reaching cities for God and here was Phillip just sitting in the desert. But along comes a chariot with an Ethiopian eunuch who worked for Candace the queen of Ethiopia. Phillip leads him to the lord and it is recorded in history that eunuch had a powerful impact in bringing the gospel to Ethiopia. Success is not based on what you see in the natural, it is based on your obedience to your calling.
This leads to the final thing David said; don’t be dismayed, which means to become discouraged. Believers must learn to do like king David did. You must learn to encourage yourself “In The Lord”. This comes back to relationship with God for as David said right after he told Solomon to not be dismayed the Lord our God is with us wherever we go. We get discourage when we begin to drift away from intimacy with God. In His presence there is fullness of joy. Hard for discouragement to set in when you are full of joy. When you feel discouraged you need to quite your mind and draw near to God.
So child of God stay the course, know for sure you have God’s plan, make sure if it involves ministry you have leadership in agreement, but whatever His plan for you don’t ever give up. He is with you wherever you go and He will never leave you nor will He forsake you. He will always be there to help you along life’s way to fulfill what is His plan for your life.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
2 Tim. 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Fear is one of the most crippling effects in life that can wreak havoc in anyone’s life. When fear sets in you can at times be so overtaken by it that you can feel as if you are helpless and have no way out. I want to share with you a personal experience I had when I was younger that describes how helpless fear can make you feel.
I was with my father years ago and we were in northern Arizona at a mine that he at the time was involved in. We went deep down into this mine that had shafts going all different directions. After getting down into the deeper part of this mine we turned off our flashlights. We stood there for several minutes with no light at all. If you have ever experienced something like this it is certainly an event you will never forget. It was so dark you could not see your hand in front of your face. I had never been in such darkness before.
Within minutes my mind began to panic. All of a sudden I had lost all sense of direction and became totally disorientated. I understand how a pilot in a plane without proper instruments could get caught in a bad storm with no visual line of sight and how they could become so disorientated that they could be upside down and not even know it. I began to think about what would happen if our flashlights did not work. How would we get out of this mineshaft with no sense of direction at all? It was a fearful feeling to say the least. It was an awesome feeling to turn those flashlights back on and even better as we made our way out to eventually see the light coming from above as we finally made our way back to the surface.
Fear is designed by the enemy to do the same thing to a believer. It causes them to become totally disorientated where they lose all sense of direction. Thoughts begin to flood the mind that make things even worse as you begin to think about what may or may not happen in any given situation. Fear enables satan to do his work in our lives. What is that work? He only has two primary weapons, deception and seduction. Fear opens the door for satan to begin to lead us into one or the other, primarily deception. He will begin to flood your thoughts with all kinds of defeat, destruction, depression, etc. But today I have some good news for all you believers who have received Christ into your hearts. You do not have to ever allow fear in your life, and as a matter of fact once born again that fear is not in the real you.
In our foundation text this week I want you to look closely at the first part of this verse of scripture. God has not given you a spirit of fear. Why is this so important? Because when we allow fear in our life we are cutting off from within our spirit man the power of God that is available to us, and the ability to maintain complete control of self, which includes your thoughts. God has given us a spirit of power, love, and self-control. So if we have not been given a spirit of fear then why do believers often battle with fear? There are several reasons why, which I am going to cover this week. When we are not in fear we are in faith, which is how every believer is to be living on this planet. We are to walk by faith and not by sight. Faith empowers God to work in your life; fear emboldens the enemy to do his work.
First and foremost when this verse says God has not given “US” a spirit of fear what exactly is He referring to? You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. You are not a soul you have a soul. You are not a body you live in a body. You are a spirit being that will never cease to exist. Every spirit birthed will live forever. Some will live eternally separated from God their creator in a place called the lake of fire. The rest will live eternally in the presence of God. Before you were born again you had a spirit of fear because of the fallen nature of Adam. That is why Paul writing to Timothy inspired by the Holy Spirit states that you, the spirit man inside, no longer have any fear.
The more we relate from our soul with what we see on the outside, the more we allow fear to enter our soul, which is made up of our mind, will and emotions. But the more we begin to develop our spirit man, the real you on the inside, to where he dominates our life and that is what our soul is looking to, then fear cannot enter the soul. Within our spirit is power, love, and the ability to maintain control of your entire being. So the first thing we must get revelation of is the fact that when you say or even think that you are afraid, the real you is not afraid. Your spirit man has no fear in him. We get in fear when we don’t see ourselves as a spirit but instead relate to the old fleshly nature.
Paul goes on to state that we have a spirit of power. The word power here is dunamis in the Greek and it is defined as: inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth, power for performing miracles, moral power and excellence. You have in your spirit the same miracle working power that Jesus used. It is no different. When satan gets us in fear he blockades that power from coming forth out of our spirit into our soul and into our body. When we are in fear we have no ability to release that power through us. Fear is like turning off the power switch to God within. That power resides right now in every born again believer.
Jesus said in John 14:12 the very works He did we can do also, if we believe in Him. When we are in faith we believe in all He has done, but when we get in fear we stop our faith from releasing our God-given ability to do the works Jesus did. Those works include raising the dead, healing the sick, casting out demons for we have freely received the same ability within us and we are to freely give what we have freely received. We did not earn this power. It became a part of who we now are when we were born again. When we put our faith in Christ, repented of our sin, and made Him the Lord of our life that old you died. The new you came alive, filled with the dunamis power of God. Most believers don’t even realize that they have such power. Others don’t believe it’s true, but it is right there in 2 Timothy 1:7. I not only believe in this power I have seen it work in and through my life. When it does it always brings glory to God, because it is His power working through us.
You must understand that when you got born again you are the breath of God. In Genesis God breathed into man’s physical body the breath of life, his spirit and soul. In John 20:22 Jesus after being raised from the dead breathed on His disciples and said to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit not only entered those disciples, the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, created within them a brand new spirit, a spirit of power, love, and self-control. We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that all who are in Christ are a new creation. That word means something that never existed before. Your born again spirit is literally the breath of God Himself.
1 John 4:18 No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment.
When you got born again Romans 5:5 says the love of God, who He is for God is love, was poured out into your heart, your spirit man. You like God don’t have love you are love. You are a spirit not of fear but love. Where His loves is no fear exists. So another powerful key to walking in faith and free from fear is to walk in the love of God. This is why Jesus tells us the commandments we are now to walk in is to love the Lord our God, and love our neighbor as ourselves. When we get out of love we open the door for fear to enter our souls, (mind, will, and emotions). But when we walk in the light of God’s love for us and we exercise that love toward one another we eliminate fear from our lives. We slam the door to satan and we open the door for that dunamis power within us to work in our lives and through our lives.
Gal. 5:6 …the only thing that matters is faith working through love.
Faith works through love. Romans 12:3 tells us we were given a measure of faith. The opposite of faith is fear. If we walk in love our faith can now work through us for faith works through love. Both us knowing the love God has for us, and we obeying Jesus’ command to love our neighbor. Romans 13:10 tells us love does no harm to a neighbor. Isn’t it obvious why satan works so hard to get us out of walking in the love of God? It gives opportunity for him to get our souls filled with fear. Walking in love does not mean we condone wrong living, but we don’t condemn people for it either. Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love. If you love someone you will tell them the truth. Again not condemning them to damnation, but not condoning the behavior.
When we walk in the love God has for us, and we exercise the love we now have and have become, faith can now be released. The power of God within you can go to work through that faith. Jesus Christ in making us brand new within freed us from fear to live a life of faith. Faith that brings God’s supernatural power alive in and through us to live victorious, and to help others be set free. If you are a child of God you have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. Walk in love and you won’t lose control of your senses, and you will keep the door closed to fear.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Prov. 4:20 My son, pay attention to my words. Open your ears to what I say.
Prov. 4:21 Do not lose sight of these things. Keep them deep within your heart
Prov. 4:22 because they are life to those who find them and they heal the whole body.
Image you go to turn on your computer and as you do the computer goes crazy, flashing things across the screen that you have never seen before. It looks like a bunch of gibberish to you. You have no idea how to address the problem. You happen to know of a computer expert who has years of training and even years of experience in solving computer issues, but you choose to go to your friends who are well meaning and want to help, but they unfortunately are not computer experts but try and help anyway. After several attempts with multiple friends your computer is now not even turning on. The problem has gone from bad to worse but you continue to try and fix the problem on your own.
What if you actually chose to go to the computer expert and he looks at your computer, diagnosis the problem and tells you exactly what you have to do to fix it, but you walk away and continue to try and fix it yourself. Sounds pretty crazy right. Well think about this as it relates to God for a moment. God knows all things and God knows how to fix anything that is broken in our lives. He has given us an instruction manual filled with the answers we need to fix our lives, but yet many instead of picking up their Bible go to their friends for advice who many don’t know what the Word says, or some even go to the Word and see what scripture tells them in how to live a successful life, but they chose to ignore what scripture says and continue to try and fix their problems on their own.
One of the most important decisions we can make as a follower of Christ is to give God’s Word first place in our lives. God’s Word is the instruction manual for life that will not only give you answers to life’s challenges, but it will also help you to develop your relationship with the Lord who will always cause you to triumph if we will get to know Him and learn how His kingdom works. To give the Word first place requires two things. One: We must make the Word of God a priority in our life. Two: We must make the Word final authority in our life.
As we see here in Proverbs 4 we are to pay attention to the Word of God. To pay attention to God’s Word we must make it a priority for us to spend time in the Word. You cannot pay attention to something you don’t know. Notice in verse 22 we are told that the Word is filled with life (the life of God), and healing for every part of our body. God’s Word is filled with insight, wisdom, and revelation of what Christ has done for us, who we now are in Him, and what we now have because of what Christ has done for us. To begin developing our understanding of these things the Word must become a priority in our everyday lives. The Word of God is given by inspiration of God, meaning it is God breathed. God’s Word is God speaking to us.
John 1:1 IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.
God and His Word are one. The Word is Jesus Christ made manifest who walked among men. You cannot separate God and His Word. His very DNA is in the Word of God. The written Word of God is given to reveal the living Word of God. Something very important to remember, we don’t spend time in the Word as a “religious duty” or a “religious exercise”. If you never read the Word of God it would not change how much He loves you. But if you truly love Him and you desire to grow your relationship with Him, getting to know Him intimately, you are going to make the Word of God a priority in your life.
When you understand that spending time in the Word is spending time with the Savior who loves you, then you realize that every time you open the Word of God and listen with your heart, He will speak to you. You cannot come to fully know God apart from God’s Word. It is no different than developing a relationship with someone here on earth. If you love them and want to develop a close relationship with them, you are going to make time to spend with them. Other things you used to do will become less important to you. You will adjust your life to focus time and attention with that person. So it is with the Lord. I love the following quote from the great apostle Smith Wigglesworth: “I understand God by His Word. I cannot understand God by impressions or feelings; I cannot get to know God by sentiments. If I am going to know God, I am going to know Him by His Word.”
Num. 23:19 God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn’t change his mind. When he says something, he does it. When he makes a promise, he keeps it.
So if we are going to give the Word first place in our life we must first make it a priority in our lives. Secondly, we must make the Word of God the final authority in our life. As simple as that sounds many do not do so. Like my example of coming to the computer expert and finding out what he knows and yet not doing what he tells you to do, people far to often do this with God’s Word. They will hear what is said in a message preached, or read scripture that clearly states how they should be living their lives and yet choose to not act upon the Word of God. Why would we do so when God clearly knows what is best for us and is simply trying to help us to walk in all that He desires for our life? There are different reasons for doing so, but when we make the decision to accept the Word of God as final authority in our life our excuses should be done away with.
Look at this verse here in Numbers 23. God is not like people for God never tells a lie. He is not like us a human because He never changes His mind. When God says something, He does exactly what He says. When God makes a promise, He always keeps His promise. This being true why would any believer look to God’s Word and then choose not to do what God’s Word says? Whatever God’s Word says that we are to do, we can do. God would never ask us to do something that He would not give us the ability to do. Whatever God’s Word says we should do to reap the benefit of what He has done for us we should never question it, we should just humbly respond in willful obedience knowing it is for our benefit and the best thing we could do.
John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
God has given us many promises in His Word, but what often is overlooked is the part we play in receiving that promise. All throughout scripture we are told if we will do this, God will do that. For example in the above verse Jesus Himself said that if we abide in Him, and His Words abide in us, then we can ask what we desire and it shall be done for us. What a promise. The condition is we must abide in Him (the Word), and His Word must abide in us, come alive in us through meditating on His Word, as we do so we will only have His desires rise in our hearts. As we ask for those desires it shall be done for us.
Everything God’s Word tells us to do is for our benefit. To ever think that God doesn’t have our best interest in mind is to not understand the glorious God we serve who desires to do us good and not harm. All good gifts come from our Father above in whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. But if we want to walk in what the Father has for us we must give His Word first place in our life. We must stop reasoning out in our minds what we think, and just simply accept God’s Word for what it says and do what it says. If God’s Word says it, then believe what it says and settle it forever in your heart. Accept what His Word says you should do by willfully, humbly, submitting to His Word. Accept what His Word says about you by confessing what the Word says and not what your circumstances say.
James 1:25 But if you keep looking steadily into God’s perfect law—the law that sets you free—and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
Notice again here in James that he reveals whoever will look steadily into God’s perfect law, they are making His Word a priority in their life, and as they do what it says, they are not a hearer only of the Word but a doer and this one will be blessed by God for doing so. But there is the condition “if” we do these things, if we don’t then we are going to miss out on the blessings God has for us. Many don’t realize those blessings are much more than material things, and refer more to how blessed we will be as we grow spiritually.
Child of God your heavenly Father knows how to help you. He knows what is best for your life, but if you don’t give the Word first place in your life you are going to miss out on much of what He has for you. Stop reasoning out why you don’t have to do what the Word asks you to do. God’s Word says to forgive so forgive. The Word tells you to be a part of a local body of believers so find your pastor and get hooked up with that body. God’s Word is the instruction manual for life. If you use it the way God intended you will find that life, and see in manifest in and through you.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Eph. 4:8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
Eph. 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, …
One of the greatest gifts that Jesus gives us to grow us up and help us become the man or woman of God He called us to be is the gift of a pastor. Here in Ephesians Paul is telling us about the gifts that Jesus gave to the body of Christ as He ascended into heaven. They are what we call the five-fold ministry gifts. Of those five gifts the one that is called to speak into your life each and every week is the gift of a pastor. What many believers don’t know is that you don’t need to find a church to attend; you need to find the shepherd, the gift of a pastor that Jesus gave you.
To deny the need for a pastor is to reject one of the most valuable gifts Jesus gave to the body of Christ. I hear many Christians who say they don’t need to go to church, but in fact by making such a statement you are going against what God has provided for you. Every believer who sits at home each and every Sunday thinking they don’t need a shepherd, they are rejecting a gift that Jesus provided for their life. Once you find the pastor not the church that Jesus has for you, you must then realize satan will do everything he can to tear you away from that gift. Why? Because that pastor has a gift on their life that Jesus imparted to them to speak into your life and help you become a powerful believer in Christ.
For anyone who thinks that finding a shepherd and being a part of a local body is not important, they have chosen to live life on their terms and reject something that God provided for us all to be a part of. This week I want to share with you from my pastor Dr. Mark T. Barclay’s book seven powerful truths about how to relate to your pastor. You can buy a copy here: “How To Relate To Your Pastor”. Learning to do so will help you get all God has out of this gift for your life.
1. RECEIVE YOUR PASTOR AS A GIFT FROM GOD
As I have already been sharing with you not recognizing your pastor as a gift, but only looking to him as just another believer means you won’t receive what he has to add to your life. No pastor is any better than any other believer. We are all created the same, but we do not all have the same gifts and callings. When Jesus came to His own hometown He could only heal a few sick people because they did not respect the gift that God has sent to them. When we don’t recognize our pastor as a gift from God, we to are not fully receiving all of what we should, and it is that much easier for the devil to pull you away from this gift from God. But if you recognize who your pastor is and you then receive them as a gift from Jesus, you won’t allow the devil to take this gift away from you by leading you away. If you want to be blessed by the Lord, you must receive your pastor as a gift from God.
2. GET TO KNOW YOUR PASTOR
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, …
The second key in relating to your pastor is to get to know them. The word “recognize” here is actually translated to get to know. In getting to know your pastor you are simply learning from their example. Paul himself said imitate me as I imitate Christ. You don’t have to spend personal time with your pastor to do this. You can do so by listening carefully as they teach in how they apply God’s Word to their life for they are to set an example for you. You can get to know them by attending special meetings they do, not just regular services. One of the best opportunities in getting to know your pastor is staying up with these other opportunities to come and learn and glean from them. Your pastor should live what he preaches and as you get to know him it will help you to follow Christ.
3. ESTEEM HIM HIGHLY IN LOVE
1 Th. 5:13 We ask you to love them and think very highly of them because of the work they are doing.
To esteem your pastor highly does not mean to worship him nor put him on a pedestal, but to honor them for the work they do. Their work is you. They work to help you grow with God, learn how to walk in the light of God’s kingdom, and learn how to become a part of God’s work on earth. When you no longer esteem them highly you will not honor this gift Christ has given you. If you love your pastor then you will show the same unconditional love toward him that God has shown you. When you honor God’s gifts given to you it is always going to be to your benefit.
4. PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR
2 Th. 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,
2 Th. 3:2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.
Why should we pray for our pastors, so that the Word of the Lord my run swiftly and therefore have not only a greater impact on our lives, but on the lives of others as well. When a pastor has a church family that knows how to pray effectively and they are praying for their pastor, they are going to have a much more powerful impact on their church family and the world. Pray they are delivered from unreasonable and wicked men who don’t have faith. They will only be a pawn of the enemy to hinder the work your pastor does. Every pastor knows it takes the whole body of Christ to accomplish what God has called us to do and walk in the victory He has for us. That is why your pastor prays for you and so should we pray for our pastors.
5. CONTRIBUTE TO HIS SUPPORT
Gal. 6:6 Let him who receives instruction in the Word [of God] share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his support].
For years the devil has done everything he can to try and keep ministers poor. There are unfortunately those who have used the ministry as a means of personal gain, which Paul warned us about, but that does not mean we should just take from our pastor’s and do nothing to provide for them. It is a sad statistic today that only 2.8 percent of Christians tithe. Going to church and being blessed by what God has given your pastor to help you be a disciple of Christ and not honoring God’s Word by giving to the work he does would be like going to your grocery store, loading up your cart, but not expecting to pay for anything. Not contributing to your pastor’s support is hurting you more than it hurts him. As you give Jesus said it would then be given to you. You reap what you sow. You sow only to your flesh you reap corruption, but when you sow to your spiritual development you reap life.
6. FOLLOW YOUR PASTOR
Heb. 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Your pastor is an example of faith and patience, which is how we obtain God’s promises. How often do you see your pastor missing church? When there are corporate prayer times at church follow his example go and pray with him. A pastor who is walking in obedience to God does not do these things because he has to, but because he has learned what faith and patience are all about. We are to walk by faith not by our carnal fleshly desires, and following our pastor will help us to do so.
7. OBEY YOUR PASTOR’S TEACHINGS
1 Cor. 11:2 I am so glad, dear friends, that you always keep me in your thoughts and you are following the Christian teaching I passed on to you.
As your pastor teaches the Word of God you should apply what you are being taught because as they hear from God and preach the Word, you are going to be blessed. James tells us that those who are not just hearers of the Word but doers, they will be blessed in what they do. You should not just come to church as a religious duty to think you “paid your dues” for the week. You should come with a heart to know God better and apply everything you are learning. Church is not a place to just hear sermons it is a place to connect with God, grow as a disciple of Christ as you apply what you are taught, and become a part of the work God is doing in the earth.
When you learn how to relate properly to your pastor you are going to grow in God and see God work in your life. Without a shepherd scripture teaches you will in fact remain a baby Christian, immature, and tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Having a shepherd is not watching your favorite preacher on T.V., but being connected with that gift Christ has given you. Saying you don’t need a pastor is telling Jesus you don’t want this very valuable gift God has given to you. In John 10 we are told how to find our pastor. We will know when we hear his voice. Our spirit will bear witness with us when we find that gift Jesus has for our life. Through that gift the Lord will help us to grow, mature, and become a disciple of Christ.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
1 Cor. 3:1 HOWEVER, BRETHREN, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!]
One of the most important truths to walking out what God desires for us is an area that is not talked about often enough, but is in fact a must for believers if they want to mature and no longer be ruled by their old fleshly nature. Man is a three part being. Man is a spirit who posses a soul and lives in a body. We are not a soul nor are we a body, we are a spirit being. Most of the time when we refer to ourselves in the first person we are referring to our soul or our body. Once born again our spirit man becomes brand new, recreated in the very image and likeness of God. If you want to mature as a believer you must learn to develop who you really are, your spirit man.
Man has learned how to develop the body through exercise and diet. Man has learned how to develop the soul through study and education, but the one area we have had little understanding in is how to develop our spirit man. Paul addressing the Corinthian church reveals that they were still fleshly, carnal, nonspiritual Christians. They were still being dominated by their carnal nature. Because of this he could not speak to them as to spiritual men and women of God, which simply refers to being dominated by their spirit man within. The more we develop our spirit man, the less carnal and immature we will be. One who is spiritual is also tuned in to the Spirit of God within them, following God’s leading for their life.
Just as it takes discipline to develop the body and the mind, there are also spiritual disciplines necessary to develop our spirit man. This week I want to share with you some of the key elements that scripture reveals of how we can develop our spirit and become spirit ruled instead of carnally ruled. Just being born again does not obviously deliver you from being carnally ruled for if it did this would not have been an issue for the Corinthians. So let’s dig in to the things that we can do to develop our spirit and become spirit ruled Christians.
1. BECOME SPIRIT CONSCIOUS.
Eph. 4:23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.
The first key to developing your spirit man is to become spirit conscious. We must renew our minds through the Word of God to do so. You will see throughout the New Testament that most of the references where the writers refer to themselves in the first person they are referring to their spirit, not the soul or the body. When someone says they are depressed, they are referring to their soul. When they say they are sick, they are referring to their body not their spirit man. To renew your mind to become more spirit conscious you need to find scriptures that reveal the real you, your spirit man within. As you do you will begin to see a whole new picture of who you really are.
One such scripture can be found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul declares that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, old things have passed away and all things have become new. The words for new creation actually refer to something that did not previously exist. When you become born again, in that instant you put your faith in Christ, there is a supernatural event that takes place within. God replaces your old spirit man with a brand new spirit.
This brand new spirit that comes into existence when one is saved is one spirit with the Lord. A born again spirit is one that has been recreated in the very image and likeness of God. The spirit man you used to be is no longer there. You become completely brand new on the inside. God’s very DNA now resides in your spirit man. You are instantly changed and now have all of the fruit of this new born again spirit within you. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are now residing in your new spirit man. If we develop our spirit man and become spirit ruled, these fruits will begin to manifest through our lives.
Another powerful verse to renew your minds to become more spirit conscious is found in Galatians 2:20. This scripture reveals that one who is born again has been crucified with Christ. This again is referring to our spirit man. Paul goes on to state in this scripture it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives is us, and the life we now live in the body we live by faith in the Son of God who loves us and gave His life for us. The old man is gone and the new man has come, made in the image of Christ Himself.
2. PRAY MUCH IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
1 Cor. 14:14 For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, …
Here in 1 Corinthians 14 we clearly see that when we pray in tongues it is our spirit man that is doing the praying. It is not coming from your soul, which is your mind, will, and emotions. It is your spirit man that is doing the praying as the Holy Spirit gives your spirit the utterance. Having the ability to pray in tongues is a result of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is clearly seen through the book of Acts as a separate experience from being born again. One becomes baptized in the Holy Spirit when they simply yield themselves fully unto the Holy Spirit and allow Him to come upon them.
It is easy to see why the devil has worked so hard to convince Christians to have nothing to do with begin baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is a powerful part of our walk with God in which we become empowered to be a witness for Jesus Christ. One of the evidences that someone has received this in their life as revealed in scripture is praying in tongues. There are many benefits to praying in this supernatural language. One such benefit is that we are allowing our spirit man to do the praying and this helps us to become more dominated and aware of our spirit. When you pray in the spirit scripture reveals you are building yourself up as it edifies you personally. The you that is built up is your spirit man.
Praying in the spirit is the easiest way as a believer to instantly allow your spirit man to become the dominant part of your three part being. You are also praying in the perfect will of God when you pray in tongues. There has been a lot of misunderstanding about tongues in the church. When you carefully study 1 Corinthians 14 you will find that Paul states we should not speak to one another in tongues in church, but he does not say we should not pray in tongues. As a matter of fact he states we should pray in our understanding (natural language), and pray in the spirit as well. When you speak to someone in tongues, not praying to God in tongues, Paul states it should only be done if there is an interpretation given of what was being said in tongues to that person or persons. When we pray in the spirit we are speaking to God, not to man.
It is easy to understand why the devil has worked so hard to get Christians and even Christian leaders to have nothing to do with being baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is a major part of what builds our spirit man, and remember; the more we develop our spirit the less carnal we will be. Satan loves for Christians to be carnally ruled because they are powerless against him and easily taken advantage of. If you want to develop your spirit man and you have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit, just yield to the Spirit of God and ask the Lord to baptize you in His presence; and you can begin to pray in this new and powerful heavenly language.
3. WALK IN LOVE
Eph. 5:1 Imitate God, since you are the children he loves.
Eph. 5:2 Live in love as Christ also loved us. He gave his life for us as an offering and sacrifice, a soothing aroma to God.
God is a spirit and certainly therefore not carnally ruled because He is not carnal. We are to imitate Him as His children. We do so by walking in love just as Jesus walked in love. Walking in the love of God means we treat others the way we would want to be treated, no matter how they treat us. The very first fruit of our spirit is God’s love. When we choose to yield to the love of God we are yielding to our spirit man. As we walk in the spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of our flesh. Our spirit man begins to dominate our entire being and we become more aware of who we really are.
As 1 Thessalonians 5:23 reveals, we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. The more we learn to develop our spirit man; we will begin to see things as God sees them. We will become more conscious of the Holy Spirit who bears witness with our spirit. We will also no longer be a carnal Christian, ruled by our flesh but instead we will become mature believers, seeing the power of God working in and through us to fulfill His will by changing the lives of others. You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. Develop your spirit man and you will live a whole new life as a child of God.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
When it comes to money have you ever thought about this question: Are you master over money or is money a master over you? When it comes to money and Christians they don’t usually like anyone talking about money, but Jesus addresses this issue many times in scripture and He did so for several reasons, but the most important reason He did so is because of the above verse of scripture. Take a moment and read that verse again and think about what it is saying.
There is not doubt nor question about what Jesus is saying here. If money has become your master then you are not serving God for you cannot serve both God and money. One of the first things that religion has done to deal with this incorrectly is to claim that we should be poor, for Jesus even told a rich young ruler to go and sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and come follow Him. But Jesus was dealing with what had become a god to him, and Jesus also declared that when you give it shall be given to you. There is no doubt that poverty is not of God. Poverty is demonic and will strip you from what God desires to do through your life.
On the other hand there are those who do teach it is God’s will to prosper us, and it is, but they clearly are out to take advantage of people going further to say things the Bible does not say. They will tell you that you must give only to their ministry to be blessed, or that you must give in the next 30 minutes a certain amount of money and if you do all your needs will be taken care of. Neither Jesus nor His disciples did any of this when it comes to dealing with money. But there is a clear truth revealed here in Matthew 6 that if you are serving money then you cannot be serving God.
God wants us to master money because if we do money will never master us. If you serve money then money is making the key decisions of your life. God is being removed from that equation even if you think otherwise for again as Jesus said you cannot serve God and money. God wants us to master money so that He is the one that has our heart, for it is through your heart that God is going to lead you, it is through your heart that you are going to receive from God, and it is through your heart where true life comes from. So what are some of the signs that our money is our master and we are in fact serving it? Jesus gives us some clues in our foundation verse for starters.
Those who despise or hate for a pastor or minister to ever ask of anyone to give to the work of God are serving money. As Jesus states here one of the things you will see in contrast to serving God or money is that you will love the one and hate the other, or you will at least be devoted to the one and despise the other. Most believers would not think they are despising God, but to despise here means to think little of. What you think little of you will invest little in, but what you think highly of you will invest highly in.
If you think highly of your kids you are going to invest much in your kids. If you think highly of your education you are going to invest much in your education. If you think highly of God you are going to invest much in the kingdom of God. Investing much is not based on amount but percent, but the truth is we all invest our money in something. Everyone beyond their basic needs invests or spends their money on things that are important to them. What we invest in reveals what our heart is set on.
Matt. 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.
When our heart is set on God, then God can give us the direction and guidance we need in life, for that is how He does so. When our hearts are set on God faith will rise in our hearts as we hear God’s Word, for faith is of the heart. When our hearts are set on God we will tap into the life of God within us, for that is where the source of that life comes from. Our treasure (which refers to where our money comes out of, bank account, wallet, etc.) reveals what our heart is set on. Many just don’t want to admit this is true, but in denying this truth from the Word of God we continue to live in deception and continue to have money as the master of our life instead of God.
Money is not a good master. It cannot love you when you hurt, it cannot heal you when you are broken, it cannot fix relationships, it cannot bring you true inner peace and joy, it cannot deliver you from the powers of darkness, it cannot get you to heaven, it cannot restore your relationship with God, and on and on you could go. God has never been against His kids having money, for He knows that it is what we need to not only provide for our families, but it is also what we need to fulfill His Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel.
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
If God has called His kids to go into all the world and preach the gospel don’t you think He would provide us the way to do so? God would not call us to do something He would not provide us with the ability to do. One reason money is a master to many is because they are not thinking of fulfilling this Great Commission God gave us. They are just focused on trying to provide what they need and what they want. When our focus in life is not the same as God’s we are not going to see what He sees and we are not going to experience what He desires for us in this life. When it comes to our money do we look at a dying world where so many do not know the truth about the gospel and become motivated to do something about it? God’s desire for you is to not only see to it that you have your needs met, but that you have more than enough to help evangelize the world, but it begins with a seed.
2 Cor. 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2 Cor. 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
2 Cor. 9:9 As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
2 Cor. 9:10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
Many may say that when God finally blesses me I will begin to give, but that is the same as the farmer saying I will start sowing when I get enough seed. Notice here in 2 Corinthians 9:10 the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul states that God supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, and He will in fact supply and multiply the seed we have sown. God does not multiply seed sitting in our bank account or wallet. God does not multiply seed that we use to spend on other things instead of sowing that seed. When you finally decide to become the master of your money you decide to become a sower. You decide to invest in something that your heart becomes set on, the kingdom of God. When you become a sower you begin to recognize that you have seed to sow. You just have been using it for other things that are not eternal.
James 2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
How do you become a sower? How do you begin to master money? You must put action to your faith. People often think they don’t have any seed to sow, but in fact when you simply pray and ask God what He desires for you to give above the tithe and then do so, you will see God begin to multiply the seed you have sown. Scripture in the New Testament is clear that we should in fact be tithing and giving offerings. That is a whole other subject to teach on, but if you want to become the master over your money you must go to the Word of God, recognize what God’s Word says about money, then face any fears you may have by acting on God’s Word in faith.
As I recently heard my wife say, “If we trust God with our life (our spirit) which is eternal, surely we can trust Him with our money, which is only natural & temporary.” You cannot serve God and money. If we want to serve God we are going to have to master our money instead of our money mastering us. God’s desire is to prosper your life. Scripture is very clear about this, but you have to sow seed for God to have something to multiply. Don’t let money be your master, make God the master of your life and you will watch Him bless you and take care of you providing more than enough to do your part in evangelizing the world!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Matt. 23:23 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.
One of the most misunderstood areas of scripture has to do with money. There are those who think if you ask for any money to do the work of God you are just after their money. Then there are those who exploit people by making all kinds of promises about their giving that is not based on scripture. As the old saying goes we should not throw out the baby with the bath water. I am amazed at how many Christians don’t think you should ever ask for money in church.
Many want to have a church facility to come to where they can grow in their walk with God, bring their kids to kid’s church, and have a place to connect with others, but for some reason they must think the money to provide such things to do God’s work just comes from out of no where. I often wonder how do they think a church pays their light bills, provides snacks for their kids, pays for rent or payments to keep their facility, and provide upkeep and maintenance for their facility? Most people who have an issue with giving to the work of God either have no understanding of what God’s Word says about it, or they are in love with money. This week I want to share seven Bible reasons as to why God says we should give tithes and offerings.
1. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN NOT MAN’S
2 Cor. 9:10 And God who continually supplies seed for the sower and bread for eating, will supply you with seed and multiply it, and will cause your almsgiving to yield a plentiful harvest.
Take a look back at our foundation text, and then at this text here in 2 Corinthians 9:10. First in Matthew 23:23 Jesus tells the Pharisees that they tithed right down to the very herbs in their gardens, but they had overlook the very justice, mercy, and faith of God that was standing before them in Jesus Christ. Notice Jesus in the New Testament clearly states that they should tithe, but not overlook what He had come to do to provide justice for all through His shed blood, revealed by the mercy of God, and received by faith in what Christ would do for us.
In Leviticus 27:30 God said all the tithe is the Lord’s, and it is holy to the Lord. The tithe is the first tenth of our increase. Many today say tithing is of the law. First of all by saying that they don’t even understand tithing and the fact that Abraham who gave a tithe of all to Melchizedek did so before the law was ever established. Tithing is in the law but not of the law. Secondly Jesus Himself here clearly tells the Pharisees that they should tithe. I don’t know how anyone can misinterpret that unless you are going to change the Word to fit your lifestyle. Tithing is a way we honor our God and it is something He established, not man.
Above the tithe we are to give offerings. Remember the tithe is the Lord’s, not mans. That is why Malachi said to God’s people in his day that they had robbed God of tithes and offerings. As 2 Corinthians 9:10 above states God supplies us not only with bread for food, but with seed to sow, so that when we sow that seed He can in turn multiply it back to us to yield a harvest of blessing. All through the New Testament we see verses of scripture that reveal it is God’s plan to give tithes and offerings, not mans.
2. TITHE AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN TO SUPPORT THE LOCAL CHURCH AND ALL OUTREACHES OF THE CHURCH
Mal. 3:8 Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? [You have withheld your] tithes and offerings.
Mal. 3:9 You are cursed with the curse, for you are robbing Me, even this whole nation.
Mal. 3:10 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Our tithes and offerings are to be brought to our storehouse, the house of God where we are feed the Word of God, and where we in giving help support the work of that local church as well as the outreaches of the church. As I stated in my opening comments how do people who come to church and think it’s wrong for the church to obey the Word of God and take tithes and offerings think the church pays it’s bills? A church that is obeying God’s Word is also going to fulfill the call of God through outreaches to evangelize and reach out to those in need. This is clearly God’s plan.
3. TITHE AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN TO BLESS HIS PEOPLE
Luke 6:38 If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”
The kingdom of God’s system to bless you is in giving and receiving. Jesus here states that when you give you will receive. The measure of your giving will determine your receiving. Even Paul states in 2 Corinthians 9:6 if we sow sparingly we reap sparingly, but if we sow bountifully we will reap bountifully. This is how God’s kingdom operates to bless His children. Sowing bountifully is not based on amount, but on the percentage of what we give. Jesus in the temple one day pointed out a widow who gave two mites in the offering that day. He told his disciples the rich had put in much by way of amount, but that widow had given more than all of them for it was all she had left. The key to giving offerings is praying and asking God what He desires for us to give. If we will do so and obey Him God will make us a bountiful giver because He does desire to bless His children. We don’t reap what we want; we reap based on what we have sown.
4. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS TO HELP YOU KEEP GOD FIRST
Prov. 3:9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income.
Prov. 3:10 Then your barns will be full, and your vats will overflow with fresh wine.
When you honor God with the first tenth of your income, and each time you come to God’s house pray about what He wants you to do in giving Him an offering, you are keeping God first in your life. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 6:24 that no man can serve God and wealth. If we honor God in our giving we keep God first, not wealth. Scripture reveals that the love of money is the root of all evil. Money is not evil, but the love of money is. That will never be a problem for one who puts God first.
5. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN TO KEEP YOUR ATTENTION ON HEAVEN
Matt. 6:21 For where your wealth is, there also will your heart be.
When we use our wealth, our money to do the work of God that reveals what our heart is set on. Those who give to God from their heart, because they want to not because they have to, they keep their focus on eternal things. Their attention is on heaven, not on the things of this earth.
6. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS HOW WE LAY UP TREASURES IN HEAVEN
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.
As givers we are laying up treasures in heaven. Those treasures are all the people who will come to know the Lord and be born again because of the seed we have sown into God’s kingdom. People are God’s treasure and we will have a great reunion in heaven with those whom we have help to reach with the gospel.
7. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN TO ENLIST YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE GREATEST THING CLOSET TO HIS HEART, WORLD EVANGELISM
Mark 16:15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.
Mark 16:16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.
God’s desire is that none perish but that all would come to the knowledge of salvation. One of the last things Jesus said to the church was to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone everywhere. It takes money to go into all the world, but it is an investment that changes lives for eternity. There are many things man can invest his money in, but there is only one thing that will make an eternal difference, investing into the work of the kingdom of God.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Phil. 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; …
As we put a close to 2013 and look forward to the year to come as believers in Christ this is always one of the best times of year to take a look at some key areas of our life and make sure we are on track with God. This is a major part of working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We cannot work out someone else’s salvation, and we know we don’t work for our salvation, but once we are saved, there is a work to do, for we are now to work out the salvation we have been given.
We are to do so with fear, absolute awe, reverence, and respect for our God. Trembling refers here to an awareness of God’s presence in our life for when people were aware of His presence they often trembled. So if we are going to show respect and reverence for God, then we are going to examine our life and make sure we are showing respect to Him by being obedient to God as Paul states here that the Philippians were in fact doing so. So I want to share with you this week five key areas we should examine that have to do with working out our salvation.
1. WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSED ON
Heb. 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb. 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We need to make sure we are pursuing God and that in doing so the burning passion of our heart each day is to simply get to know Him better. Even as elementary as that is, many believers are not passionately pursing getting to know God, which is what the heart of Christianity is all about. What we are doing with our life says a lot about what we are pursing. Notice Paul states here that we must lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, looking unto Jesus the originator and the finisher of our faith.
The phrase “looking unto” means to turn away from everything else, and focus on one thing. If we are focused on our relationship with the Lord, then that will be seen by what we do with our time. There are many weights that pull us back from pursuing our God. These weights pull us away from the Word of God, prayer, church, Christian fellowship, etc., and for many they don’t even realize it is happening. Think about how much time people devote in their life to television, Internet, social sites, and hobbies, yet they say they don’t have time to read the Word or come to church. All these things in and of themselves are not necessarily bad, but what we are doing with our time reveals what our hearts are really pursing. There is nothing better in life than getting to know God intimately and personally, but like any relationship that takes time with Him.
We must also lay aside the sin that so easily ensnares us. There are sins that may have us, or sins that we have them. The sins that may have us are strongholds and can be broken, but there are sins that we hold onto that we could lay aside any time we want. Those are the one’s that so easily ensnare us. Sin is the result of desires in the flesh that we become enticed with. We must adjust our focus to the Lord and lay every such sin aside for they are only going to hurt our life and our relationship with God. If we walk in the spirit, obeying the Word of God, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
2. LEAVE THE PAST BEHIND – DON’T’ GO BACK TO EGYPT
Heb. 11:15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.
This scripture refers to those who had come out of Egypt, which is a type of the world, and if those who entered the promise land would have kept thinking about what they had in Egypt, they would have returned and not entered the promise land. Make sure you are not thinking like the world. Keep your mind renewed to the Word of God. Find out and keep meditating on who God says you are, and what God says you have. If you don’t deal with your thought life and you keep looking back to the ways of the world and that becomes the focus of your thinking, you will not enter into all that God has promised you in this life.
3. EXAMINE WHAT YOU ARE HEARING, SEEING, SAYING, AND DOING
Prov. 4:20 My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.
Prov. 4:21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.
Prov. 4:22 For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.
Prov. 4:23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
Prov. 4:24 Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you.
Prov. 4:25 Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.
Prov. 4:26 Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.
Prov. 4:27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil.
If you take time to examine these verses you will see that we are told to watch what we hear, see, say, and do. This is what determines the course your life is taking. What you hear, see, say, and do, you think about. If you don’t pay attention to these areas of your life then evil will win. If you don’t think so take a look at Ephesians 5:15-16, for Paul states the days are evil. If you don’t redeem your time you will automatically be influenced by evil. Too many believers live their lives out publically in front of everyone, especially on social sites. When you do you get all kinds of responses given to you, most of which even though the intent is good, it is not biblical and in line with scripture. Christians don’t realize that in reading and listening to such things you then ponder them in your mind and this is not guarding your heart. I have watched believers ignore what I am telling you and they continue to watch movies filled with trash, listen to music full of the world, and listen to friends that don’t give them godly counsel. Scripture is very clear on this subject and a simple way to say it is garbage in, garbage out. It is our choice, not Gods as to what we hear, see, say, and do.
4. EXAMINE YOUR MONEY
Matt. 6:19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.
Matt. 6:20 Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.
Matt. 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.
The word “treasure” here refers to the place where we keep our money. Many believers don’t like this subject, but again scripture is very clear. God is not actually after your money, God wants your heart, and He wants to see us use our resources to reach the lost with the gospel. As Jesus goes on to state in verse 24 of this same chapter you cannot serve God and mammon. I used to serve mammon just like everyone has at one time or another in their life. I found out it is better to serve God. If we want to keep our heart where it needs to be, we must make sure we are not serving money, but in fact doing with our money what the Bible clearly states.
If you believe in the kingdom of God you will invest in the kingdom of God. Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and all the disciples had to have money to preach the gospel. As Paul told the Philippians in writing to them they were the only church that consistently gave to help him preach the gospel. Because they had done so he declared that His God would in turn supply all their need according to His riches in glory. If our money is right with God our heart is right with God.
5. FAST AND PRAY TO GET GOD’S PLAN
Matt. 6:17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
Matt. 6:18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Fasting and praying is a great way to begin the New Year seeking God and putting your flesh aside so you can get God’s plan for your life. Proverbs 19:21 declares that there are many plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s counsel will stand. As you set time aside to seek God in that secret place, drawing close to Him, He will reveal His counsel to you. God’s plans always work, so take time to seek Him through prayer and fasting. He will reward you openly. Take a look at these areas in your life and you can be ready for all God has for you in the New Year.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker