Psa. 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psa. 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
This week I want to share some powerful truths from one of my favorite Psalms. Many of the Psalms are prophetic, and speak of events to come. Psalm 22 was a prophetic Psalm speaking of the days in which Jesus walked on the earth. Psalm 23 is prophetic of the time we live in now, and therefore a great Psalm to study as we live out the last days of the church age. Psalm 24 speaks of what is to come as Jesus returns for His church. I will go through Psalm 23 a few verses at a time this week as we find out more about how it applies to us now.
Here in verse one we have the statement that the Lord is our Shepherd, and because He is we shall not want. When you learn about how Christ is the One who makes you complete in this life you will understand this statement. Unfortunately many who know the Lord are still living a life of want. They are focused on and chasing after what this life has to offer instead of relationship with Christ. When you come to the place where you are fully submitted to Jesus as the Lord of your life, you will both find true contentment, and you will see Him provide and care for your needs.
Matt. 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
When you seek first the kingdom of God, you are seeking above all else in life the King of that kingdom. When you do, the things you have need of Jesus said would be added unto you. Think about how easy it is to get sidetracked in life and be seeking first things above the Lord. This will lead to you being discontent. Things cannot make you complete; it is only Jesus who makes us complete. As a child of God you must keep things in perspective, and above all else make sure you keep Jesus as the shepherd of your life. That doesn’t happen just because you are born again. This comes as a result of wanting to be a sheep and follow after Him.
When we have Jesus as the One who is shepherding our life, leading us through this life, it is then that we will lie down in green pastures, and be led beside the still waters. This is a place of rest. Sheep were led by their shepherds to places where there was more than enough grass for them to feast on, and water to refresh them. This is a place where you know you are at rest in life because you know Jesus is determining your steps as you hear His voice, and you will live a life of rest and be taken care of by your Shepherd.
Psa. 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
People often think when scripture speaks of our soul it is referring to our spirit man, but the soul is usually referring to our mind, will, and emotions. The book of James tells us that our soul is not saved. When you get born again your spirit man is the real you, and it is your spirit that has been saved. The soul must be continually renewed if you want to walk in what God has for you here on earth. This is what David is referring to that you and I have the ability to do. Jesus is the Word of God as John chapter one tells us, and it is through the Word of God that our souls are renewed, or continually being restored.
The reason it is so important to have our souls continually renewed is because this is how we learn to walk in the paths of righteousness. There are many paths one can take in life, but there is only one path that leads to what God has for your life. The many other paths that people choose all end up in the same destination, which is taking you farther away from what God wants for your life. If you are not on the path of doing that which is right in the sight of God, then you are being led farther away from Him, not closer to Him.
There are those who walk a path of man-made religion and just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, that does not bring you closer to God. But that does not change the fact that there is a path of righteousness, which leads us to God and what God has designed for our life. If someone is going down the path of idolatry for example, this means they have made a god to fit them. This would include believers who know what scripture teaches us, yet they choose to follow their own path. Doing things that God speaks about clearly in the New Testament that will hurt your life, and you know it’s wrong but choose to do so anyway is idolatry. Doing so one has made a god to fit them, instead of chasing after God and experiencing the life He desires for you.
Psa. 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
This is powerful when you understand this is a time again that applies to us right now. Even though we are going through what is currently a valley of the shadow of death, remember we have been redeemed from spiritual death. There is death all around us. I am not talking about people physically dying. Death signifies separation from God, and therefore also represents darkness. Even though we are going through this valley where many are walking separated from God, the believer is not! We have no reason to fear any evil around us for God will not leave us nor forsake us.
His rod and staff comfort us in the midst of this valley of death. The staff refers to the hook shaped staff the shepherd had and is used for several things. He would use this to fight off predators who would come after the sheep. He also would use that staff to hook the sheep when they would get caught in a thicket and would pull them out. Jesus is the One who fights for us when we know who we are in Christ, and He is the One who pulls us out of that which tries to ensnare us. The rod represents the Word of God. It was something the shepherd leaned on for support. We can lean on God’s Word to support us and thus bring comfort to us no matter what we face.
Psa. 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Jesus has also prepared a banqueting table for us right in the midst of this darkness and our enemies all around. On that table is everything we need that pertains to life and godliness. Everything we have as a part of the redeeming work is sitting on that table. To become a partaker of what is on that table you must stop turning your back to the table and looking at your enemies. Instead you need to turn your back on your enemies and look to the table, and by faith jump into the feast of all that Jesus has for you. As scripture reveals for example healing is a part of the children’s bread. That bread is sitting on that table, not in heaven, but right here in the midst of our enemies.
Jesus also has anointed us to walk in the power and presence of the Lord for our lives so that we can receive revelation through the Word, walk in that anointing on our lives, and therefore fulfill His work here on earth. Every believer has been anointed by God to accomplish His work that He Himself did. Jesus said if you believe in Him, the works He did you would do also. How did Jesus do those works? God anointed Him and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. When you start yielding to and walking in this anointing seeing the captives set free, your cup will run over. You will experience the fullness of His joy and His goodness in your life.
Psa. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
Last but not least because of who Jesus made us to be, God’s goodness and His love will follow us all the days of our life. Often people believe that God must not love them anymore, or that God will not show forth His goodness to them because of something they have done. Not true! God’s goodness and mercy will always follow us, all we have to do is believe in His goodness and His love for us.
Notice what this prophetic Psalm of our day finishes with. Often the last words spoken are the most important in any conversation because it is what you remember the most. We are to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Simply put, during this church age we are not to abandon the house of God. Many have and don’t realize they are only hurting their lives. Scripture clearly reveals that Sunday is the “Lord’s Day”. This is not to become a bondage to us. God’s house is a place where we get to be blessed by spending time in His presence, which helps us to get refreshed, and is where we grow through the Word of God in our walk with Him. If you don’t want to dwell in His house as the Lord instructed me earlier this year about this, the question is, “Why don’t you want to be in My house?” God designed His house as a place of blessing for our life. If you do church right and are where God called you to be, you will be blessed.
So take time to meditate on this powerful Psalm as this is referring to the church age you and I live in right now. What a wonderful God we serve, and what a blessing to know Him, experience who He is and what He has for our life, and help others do so as well.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
1 Pet. 1:23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
Could you imagine a farmer who wanted to harvest crops so that he could have what was needed to sustain his family, both by what he grows to put on his own table, and through the harvest he would sell to provide the funds to take care of the rest of their needs, yet never plants any seed? He goes to a feed store or supply house and picks up that seed then brings it home and puts it in his barn, but never takes the time to go and plant it. The obvious reason there would be no harvest is because there is no seed in the ground.
Yet often believer’s who are born again who have a desire to harvest the kind of life that Jesus has died and paid for and made available for them, don’t realize that their seed is sitting in their barn. If they want to experience the harvest of all God has for them they need to get the seed out of the barn and in the ground for it to grow up in them. You must first go to the supply store and get the seed. As our foundation verse reveals that seed is the Word of God. It is called an incorruptible (imperishable) seed. That means it cannot decay. As scripture reveals God’s Word does not return void. It never loses its power.
The store where we get this seed is the Bible. Going to scripture is how we go to the feed store where that seed is awaiting us to be brought home and placed in our barns while we get the ground prepared for that seed. When you go to God’s Word it is primarily first head knowledge. Just as our foundation verse reveals it is through this seed that we became born again. Most people don’t respond to the gospel the very first time they hear it. It becomes head knowledge to them, but it must become revelation in their hearts for it to produce new life.
The minute someone gets revelation of the Son of God and then turns their life over to Him they become born again. I know in my life I had several different encounters with the gospel over a couple of years before I finally got it. When I got the revelation of what Christ had done for me, it was then I had the faith to act upon that Word and receive this new birth experience. But it all started with a seed. The key then for us to continue in our walk with God and experience growing our garden and bringing forth what He desires for our life, is getting the seed from the Word, the supply store if you will, then taking it from our barn, which is head knowledge, and planting it in our hearts.
One of the most important parts of taking that seed from knowledge form and now getting revelation of that Word in our hearts comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. Once God’s Word becomes revelation to you, the seed is planted now in your heart and can bring forth a harvest of God’s truth in your life. This is where people often miss it with God’s Word, and thus one of the primary reasons they are not seeing the kind of harvest the Word promises.
Prov. 29:18 Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; …
In the natural if man did not plant his seed, grow that crop, and then harvest it, without food he would perish. The people of God who do not plant the Word of God and harvest it will perish or lack the harvest of what God has for them as well. Without revelation of the Word of God there is no seed yet planted. It may be in your barn (head knowledge), but you need to get it in soil to grow (your heart by way of revelation). I am not trying to belabor this point, but it is imperative if you want to grow the things of God in your garden.
Eph. 3:3 The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above.
The Word of God scripture reveals is full of mysteries, which simply means hidden truths. They are not hidden from us but for us. This does not mean that God is keeping them from us, for He declares in His Word that there is nothing secret in His Word that will not be revealed. But the Bible also teaches us that the fleshly man, or one ruled by their carnal nature, is blind to these truths. They just don’t get it. They can read the Bible and get head knowledge, but it does not become revelation to them.
What is the difference between head knowledge and revelation? Head knowledge is nothing more than knowing the facts of what scripture teaches. Revelation of the Word is when it comes alive in your heart as revealed by the Spirit of God. You will know when this happens for there will be an absolute knowing within it is so. How then do we get this seed from the barn (head knowledge) into the ground (revelation in our hearts)?
1 Cor. 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
1 Cor. 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
The Holy Spirit is the One who knows all the things of God, and no one can know the things of God except by the Holy Spirit. We have received Him so that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. The word “know” here means to have understanding. In this same context in verse 14 we find out that the things of God are spiritually discerned or understood. When one has understanding of the Word in their hearts as given by the Holy Spirit, they have revelation of God’s Word.
So here is a key. What if I am living a life of willful sin, choosing to quench, resist, or then even grieve the Holy Spirit? I am negating His ability to reveal God’s Word to me. This is why so many churches who have now removed the work of the Holy Spirit from their church or never allowed Him to work in the first place are filling people with head knowledge, but are not getting revelation of God’s Word. If the church where they go does not welcome the third part of the Trinity and those who attend like it that way, they certainly don’t welcome Him working in their life when they leave church.
I had someone awhile back tell me that one of the things that they were concerned about had to do with the church they attended. They did not understand why people came to church and acted one way, then left and were no different than worldly people. If the Word of God does not become revelation in you heart it is not going to change your life. Unless it becomes a seed planted there will be no harvest. There is of course one other very important part here to grow our garden. That is the condition of the soil in which the seed is planted.
Mark 4:14The sower sows the word.
Mark 4:15And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Mark 4:16These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mark 4:17and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.
Mark 4:18Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
Mark 4:19and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Mark 4:20But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
Jesus in this parable teaches us how the seed of God’s Word when planted in good ground will produce a harvest of the Word in our lives. There are four types of soil He refers to. The first is wayside soil, which being hardened, the seed falls upon the heart but satan comes immediately and snatches it away. To keep our hearts from being wayside soil we must remain yielded and open to the Holy Spirit. One’s heart becomes hardened when they no longer respond to the work of the Holy Spirit in their life.
The second type of soil is stony ground. This refers to people who are not rooted in Christ; they are to caught up in other things, which would include man-made religion. The third type of soil are those who allow the cares of life, deceitfulness of riches, or desire for other things to become their focus and they choke out the Word of God. But those who are good ground are going to produce a harvest, and that harvest will become more productive as they grow in God.
So grow your garden in God! Take time to go to the supply store to get seed, get it into your barn, prepare your ground for the seed, and then get that seed planted. This will produce a godly harvest of God’s goodness in your life.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Luke 24:32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
If you are familiar with the two disciples who after Jesus had been raised from the dead on the same day were headed to Emmaus you will remember that when He first appeared to them they did not know who He was. As they were talking about the events of His death and now the report that had come back from Mary, Martha, Peter, and John that Jesus was in fact alive, Jesus comes and joins them in the midst of this conversation. He then begins to explain to them from the Old Testament Scriptures the things concerning Him.
As they came to the village Jesus indicated that He would have gone on but they convince Him to stay with them that night. There was something going on in the hearts of these two that was undeniable and they wanted to know more. As He then sat with them to eat He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and then gave it to them. Immediately their eyes were opened and they knew it was Jesus. He disappears and they then make this powerful statement in verse 32. “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
There are two powerful things revealed here that will help us in our relationship with the Lord. I hear many Christians say they want to get to know God intimately, but I find they are struggling in doing so. The word “burn” in this verse means to kindle, be set on fire, consumed with. This is what God wants in the heart of every believer. If we are on fire and consumed with God we are going to have that intimate relationship He desires with us. The first of these two keys is that they having Him present with them and talking with them brought a stirring in their hearts. It goes without saying that when we spend quality time in the presence of the Lord we will get closer to Him.
But the second point is often overlooked and is actually the easiest way to begin developing an intimate relationship with Jesus, and with the Father through the Holy Spirit. It says that this fire was kindled as He “opened the Scriptures to them”. The Bible is an amazing book, and is supernatural in its origin. There is no other book in the world like it. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we find out that all of Scripture is inspired by God, or actually what it says in the Greek is that they are God-breathed. When God created man He breathed into man the breath of life. After the fall when Jesus was raised from the dead Jesus breathed on His disciples that breath of life once again and they received the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures have God’s DNA in them. God and His Word are one.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The reason this is so important is because God has provided for us in the 66 books of the Bible the ability to get to know Him, intimately, and personally. In John chapter one we know that Jesus is considered the Word of God. As verse 14 states the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. As I have heard Kenneth E. Hagin say many times the written Word reveals to us the Living Word.
This is important to understand because of two reasons. Many believers say they want to know God better, and all they have to do is open the Word of God to do so. I will explain more about the importance of how this is to be done in a minute. The second reason this is important is because today there are believers and unfortunately preachers who are saying the Bible isn’t that important; but God and His Word are one. To say the Word isn’t important is to say God isn’t important. Some would argue that they can get to know God intimately without the Word, but this is what leads to error in our beliefs about God because people lack understanding of the Word.
Those who make the argument that the 12 disciples didn’t have the Word and they got to know the Lord intimately don’t realize that first of all they did have the Old Testament Scriptures that revealed God to them. Secondly they had the Living Word Himself with them personally for 3 years. I like a quote I heard from Smith Wigglesworth who had a very close relationship with the Lord. It goes as follows:
“I can’t understand God by feelings. I can’t understand the Lord Jesus Christ by feelings. I can only understand God the Father and Jesus Christ by what the Word says about them. God is everything the Word says He is. We need to get acquainted with Him through the Word.”
The great part about understanding this is I know many who are trying to get to know God through prayer alone and they are having a difficult time doing so. Think about how accurately the average believer hears God’s voice. How are you going to get to know God without being able to hear Him clearly? You get to know people by talking with them, learning what they like and what they don’t like. Learning about their character traits, what motivates them, what they enjoy doing, etc. So it is with God, but that is very difficult to do apart from His Word.
John 5:39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
Now back to my first point it is important how we approach the Word if we are to get to know God. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day studied the Old Testament scriptures and they did not have a close relationship with God as Jesus states before this verse, but Jesus did not say to not go to God’s Word for the Scriptures are that which testify of Him. They thought the way into eternity was based on having to prove oneself worthy by studying God’s Word. But you can’t prove yourself worthy; it is only by receiving Christ that are you made worthy in God’s sight. What they did not do is come to the Scriptures with a focus not on self-righteousness, but instead getting to know the God who could make them righteous.
So today we have people who still do spend a lot of time in the Word of God and yet like the leaders of Jesus’ day they don’t know Him intimately. They are not coming to the written Word to get to know the Living Word, but instead are just filling their heads with a lot of knowledge and they are missing the relationship that is offered. Then there are those who say the Word isn’t that important because I can get to know Him on my own, I don’t have to read the Bible. That is not what God’s Word teaches and this is where people then get mislead into believing things about God that are not true. Such people begin to base their beliefs on their experiences and not on what Scripture says about God. This is only going to lead people into error.
John 8:31 So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.
John 8:32 And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
Jesus Himself states that we are to abide (live in and by) His Word, His teachings if we are truly His disciples. How can you do that if you don’t know what Jesus taught? You cannot live in the Word only by listening to what a minister of the Word teaches. Jesus remember is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. We also know the Word of God is Truth. If you spend time abiding in the Word with a focus on getting to know Him, you will know Him for He is Truth, and He (the Truth) will help set your free from the things of this life trying to take you captive. One of the number one things that cause this is lies and deception. If we don’t’ know the written Word, we won’t know the true Living Word, and we will fall for lies about Him that are not true.
Psa. 119:130 Your word is a doorway that lets in light, …
In John chapter one Jesus is also referred to as the light that came into the world. This Psalm is telling us that God’s Word is the door, that when opened, will let the light (Jesus) in. God’s Word is the door into fellowship with the Lord. Remember the hearts of the disciples were set on fire for Him as He “opened” the Scriptures to them. You have the opportunity to open the door allowing the Lord to fellowship with you. All you have to do is open the Word of God and read it as God speaking with you and too you. Allow Him to reveal who He is through His Word.
I agree with something Kenneth E. Hagin also said that we should spend two-thirds of our time in the New Testament because this is our covenant with God. Then as you read the Old Testament you can interpret it in light of the New Testament. Don’t get caught up in thinking you have to read 15 chapters a day. As you open the Word it is more important that you hear what God is saying. It is quality time in the Word that counts, not reading the Bible just to say you read so many chapters today. As you open the Word and fellowship with the Lord your heart too will begin to be ablaze for more of Him!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
2 Cor. 11:3 However, I’m afraid that as the snake deceived Eve by its tricks, so your minds may somehow be lured away from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
One thing that bothers me is seeing people taken advantage of. It is never good and often can be quite destructive. The devils tricks have never changed. He is using the same tactics he has always used, but it is becoming more apparent in the last days that far too many are, as Eve was, being deceived through his tricks and they are being lured away from their devotion to Christ.
I want to share this week some important truths from the Word of God that can protect us from falling for his deceiving works. Just as Paul writing to the Corinthians in his day was concerned about this happening to them, so am I concerned about this happening to people in the body of Christ today. So let’s begin by looking at Eve as the example that Paul used and what led her astray.
Gen. 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
Gen. 3:3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
Gen. 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
The first thing that satan did to deceive Eve was to exchange the truth of God for a lie. God told Adam that if they ate of that tree they would die, but the devil being the liar that he is of course tells her that she would not die. Who was right? God of course, yet tragically I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this happen in believers lives. You can show them directly from the Word of God what the Bible says, and they will look at you and say, “I know the Bible says that, but….”.
This is a big problem today because people either don’t spend much time in the Word of God, or they are not allowing His Word to govern their lives, instead they are allowing their feelings to do so. Those feelings then lead to people reasoning in their own minds as to what they think the Bible says, or they just ignore it all together. There is a work of a demon in America and the church today, which is a lying demon. We need to be aware of how our enemy can get us focused on our feelings (flesh) and therefore reason things out without looking to God’s Word.
Rom. 8:5 For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.
Rom. 8:6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].
I hear people saying that the Word of God is not that important. I learned a long time ago as scripture teaches to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. One such man was Smith Wigglesworth who raised the dead, cast out demons, healed the sick, and got people saved. Smith Wigglesworth said that he could not come to know God by experience, nor what others said about Him, but he could only come to know the living Word through His written Word.
Most people that I hear who say the Word is not that important have not raised the dead, healed the sick, nor cast out demons. This is a big part of what Jesus commissioned His church to go do. God’s Word is God speaking to us. If you make that Word a time of fellowship with God and let Him speak to you through that Word you will get to know Him. Where people get deceived and fall prey to the lying demons that get people to trade the truth for a lie is they begin to reason in their minds what they think about something apart from what God’s Word says. Doing so is setting our minds on the things of the flesh.
If you don’t want to fall for a lie you need to know the truth. The truth is the Word and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. We are not to be controlled by our fleshly feelings as Romans above says; we are to be controlled by the Spirit of God. That won’t happen if we are reasoning things out in our minds and not examining things in the light of God’s Word. This happens far to often in believer’s lives and this leads them to be led by their feelings and emotions. Doing so can and will lead to falling for a lie.
This is what happened to Eve. Satan got her focused on her flesh, for in Genesis 3:6 it goes on to tell us that she saw that the tree was good for food and was pleasant to the eyes. She got her focus on what pleased her and did not examine what she was told in light of what God had said. This is what happens when people are led by their feelings. They are going to do what pleases them. They don’t look at things through God’s Word but their feelings. You can’t find a single scripture in the Bible that says what should lead us in our decisions is our feelings. We are to be led by the Spirit of God, and He being the Spirit of truth is always going to lead us in line with the Word.
Some would say this is not true for we are to be lead by love and love is a feeling. The love of God is not a feeling. God is love. The love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts is a fruit of the spirit, not a feeling. It will change your feelings. In 1 John 4:8 we are told that those who do not walk in love do not know God. If you walk in love you don’t get offended. You don’t have unforgiveness in your heart. You don’t allow your feelings to be constantly hurt. If you do get your feelings hurt love looks beyond what was done in the natural and you see things from God’s perspective, not your feelings perspective, and you do what the Word says.
More people have left churches, Christian fellowship, etc., because they were offended or got their feelings hurt. That is having your mind set on the things of the flesh. Re-read Romans chapter 8. This is hurting the body and allowing this lying demon to cause us to trade the truth for a lie. I am aware that there are actually people that may want to intentionally harm you, but most do not. We are allowing satan far too much access in our life by being led by our feelings. There is not one human on the planet that has been perfected yet. We all still at times say things or do things we should not have done, but the average believer is not intentionally trying to hurt people. We must grow up spiritually and stop being lead by our fleshly emotions. We need to give people some liberty to grow and realize that we all still make mistakes.
Prov. 12:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
I want to acknowledge there are people who don’t have a heart to change, don’t desire to know God and walk with God, and these are people we need to guard against. We should not be building friendships with people who are living ungodly lives and show no desire to change. No matter what you say about this the Bible tells us that such people will even lead the wicked astray. I am not talking about being cut off from the world. There is a difference between having those I am witnessing to as an acquaintance, as opposed to being my friends. Friends are people you spend a lot of time with, and you share much of your life with as well. Jesus went to sinners who had a heart to hear what He had to say, but Jesus did not have close friendship with those who sinned, for if He had He would have gone and done what they were doing. He went to those who desired for Him to change their life, not the other way around.
As our foundation text tells us the way Eve was lured away from her sincere devotion to God happened because she in her mind began to focus on her feelings, what please her, and she did not allow God’s Word to be what made her decision. So we need to recognize are we like Eve basing our decisions on what God said, or our fleshly feelings? Those fleshly feelings will always get us in trouble because then we will begin to reason out our decisions based on those feelings. Doing so will cause us to oppose God’s Word not even realizing that we have not taken His Word into account.
So let’s learn from Eve’s mistake. I, like the apostle Paul, am concerned about how many believers I am seeing being lured away by this lying spirit from their devotion to Christ. They are blaming ministers, church members, etc., and have not even taken into account what Gods’ Word says. We are to be instant forgivers. Never forget, offense is not given it is taken. Stick to the Word of God and make sure you do what it says and stop reasoning things out without looking clearly to the scriptures. Be careful who you fellowship with for the apostle Paul himself said we are to have NO FELLOWSHIP with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11). As a child of God you can live for Him and like Him. He and His Word are one. Stay true to God’s Word and you won’t trade the truth for a lie. The truth will set you free!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
James 4:7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.
So there you are heading down the highway and then you hear it. It sounds like someone popped a very big balloon. The ride gets rough on one side of the car. Yep, it’s a tire blown out. Time to pull over to the side of the road, get into the trunk, get the jack and wrench out, then proceed to loosen those lugs nuts and take off the bad tire. Once you get the car jacked up and the tire off, what good would it do if that was all you did? Obviously if you want to get back on the road you are going to have to do more than just remove the bad tire, you need to fetch the spare and put it on.
A rather simple illustration I know, but one of the problems within the body of Christ today is we may often think about submitting to God, but far to often we are not resisting the devil and his works against us. I find that one of the reasons this is true is because people are either lacking in their understanding of spiritual things, or they have just forgotten the importance of what every believer needs to stay aware of in dealing with the works of the enemy.
One thing you are not hearing much of any more is teaching on dealing with the demonic attacks that come against us. Far too many ministers are not teaching their church families about the enemy we face and how he works. At the same time I know people also get a little leery when it comes to this topic because of those who go to extremes and claim that everything negative is a demon. We certainly know from God’s Word that this is not the case, even when it comes to dealing with people. There is a fleshly nature that can rise up and as my Pastor Dr. Barclay has said many times, “We can’t cast you out of you”. But we need to be aware of the enemy, how he works, and what we need to do to resist him.
2 Cor. 2:11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.
Satan is a schemer, and he works through his demons to try and outwit believers by deception. One of the biggest problems where many have unfortunately been taken advantage of is through the lies that demons get people to believe. They will not only work to get you to believe a lie, but to convince others as well. This lying demon will convince believers they don’t need church; they can live how they want and do what they want because it doesn’t really matter. But that is not what scripture teaches
Another aspect of the schemings of the devil is to get believers lulled to sleep where they begin to no longer resist what he is saying to them in their thoughts, and where they no longer resist the things around them that are evil. They just begin to accept what they see as a “natural” part of everyday life and society. The enemy then slowly begins to infiltrate their lives and little by little he begins to take advantage of believers. We need to understand not only the workings of satan, but we need to awaken ourselves and keep awake to what he is trying to do and we must then resist him and his works.
Before we begin to talk about resisting satan we need to touch on submitting to God. The simple truth about what submitting to God is all about can be summed up in one word, “obey”. Any believer that thinks it is not important to obey God and His Word is fooling himself or has already been fooled by the devil. James tells us that if you are a hearer and not a doer of the Word you deceive yourself. Obedience to God is not bondage, quite the contrary. Obedience to God is one of the smartest things you can do.
God knows more than we do. Our choosing to not obey God is living as our own god. The reason people “choose” not to obey God is because they have not fully surrendered to Him. When you know what God says and yet choose not to do it, you are acting out of a form of rebellion. For example if you as a child when growing up knew what your parents said you were to do and chose not to do it, that was clearly seen as a type of rebellion. It is no different with God. So it goes without saying we must submit to (obey) God first and foremost.
1 Pet. 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
1 Pet. 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Pet. 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Here is one of the primary areas that satan creeps into peoples lives unnoticed. Think about how many people today are weighed down with the cares of life. There are many different types of cares people carry. Some are full of cares because they fell for the lie that they had to have all the new gadgets and toys that everyone else has so they borrowed and borrowed to the point that they have to work all kinds of hours or even multiple jobs to afford their lifestyle. This financial pressure becomes a great burden on many people, but it is often self-inflicted. The answer here is simple; stop falling for the lie that having all those things brings true happiness. When you get to heaven those things won’t matter any more, but you don’t have to get to heaven to find that out.
God is not against us having things, but for far too many those things have them. They have allowed this lying demon to convince them that their lives will be miserable if they don’t have or do all these things. This comes from what others have and we envy them, which is a sign of being an immature Christian according to 1 Corinthians, or it comes from the influence of the world that convinces us that you cannot be happy without what they are trying to sell you. One of the ways you resist the devil is to live within your means. That seems to be hard for Americans to do, as our government itself has been unable to do so.
Other cares of life will also come through circumstances and challenges we face because we are in a fallen world. If you carry the burdens that circumstances can bring you are going to be taken advantage of by satan through the weight of those cares. This will produce worry, fear, anger, frustration, etc., and you cannot walk in those things and walk in faith at the same time. You must resist the devil when He tries to get you focused on what is happening in the natural. If you don’t resist those cares won’t go away. You must deliberately choose to cast those cares over upon God. You do this as you take time to draw near to Him and focus on Him.
Is. 26:3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
What a powerful verse of scripture we have here in Isaiah 26. God will keep us in perfect peace if we keep our mind stayed on Him, not on our problems. That takes effort, but that is what it takes to resist satan. The term here for “perfect peace” means a peace that produces health, prosperity, and wellbeing. It is obvious why satan is out to get us to carry the cares of life, but if we will resist him guess what, he will flee! He has to because God’s Word says so. Some may say, “I tried to resist satan but he didn’t go anywhere”. I am sorry but I believe God’s Word. If you really do resist him as scripture teaches us to, he will flee.
2 Cor. 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
2 Cor. 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
2 Cor. 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
The primary area for satan to come against us is in our mind. He will work to get us to reason out things through our thinking. He will get us thinking things that go against what God’s Word says. As brother Kenneth Hagin used to say if you allow satan to keep you in the realm of reason he will whip you every time. But if you will hold him in the realm of faith you will defeat satan every time. We must know the Word of God. It is one of the greatest weapons we have, and it reveals the other weapons God has given to us and how to use them. Stop allowing thoughts to come to you that you don’t examine in light of the Word but just begin to reason about them in your mind. Examine every thought that comes to you in light of the Word of God. Cast down all that are contrary to His Word.
We must submit to God if we want what God has for our life, but we must also resist the devil if we want to see him flee and to stop him from taking advantage of our lives. God has made us “more than” conquerors through Christ who loves us. He has given us the ability to resist our adversary, and to win!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Prov. 16:20 Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be happy.
Who at sometime in their life has not done it or seen someone else who did? You go and purchase something and get the box home, open the box and there it is, all in pieces. Different parts, sometimes special tools included, and the infamous instructions. But as you look to the parts and the lengthy instructions you figure two things. The first is that you don’t have time to read those instructions, which leads to the second mistake that you think that you really don’t need them, for after all you can put it together yourself.
After several frustrating hours of putting things together and then taking them apart you begin to realize you would have actually saved more time had you just read and followed in detail those instructions. At this point you feel you have even less time to spare so on you go. The unfortunate part is that you may often never finish, or you do, but for some reason it just doesn’t work right. Sound familiar? Just recently I purchased an item that did not have the instructions with it. Someone forget to place them in the box. After several hours and putting it together then taking it apart, as it was not a major project, I finally got it done. But I had to do something twice that I could have gotten right the first time if it just would have had instructions with it.
Life is a lot like this. I can’t tell you how many times in my life personally and seeing this in the lives of other believers we have told ourselves to take time to focus in on God’s Word and make sure what we are about to do we were doing so as instructed in detail by God’s instruction manual. Yet we don’t take time to do so, or we pick and choose what we like of the Word and what we don’t, and in time down the road we are going to be disappointed in the results. God may get the blame, or we may just think that what we heard or read doesn’t work for everyone. This is a convenient way to live life in which we don’t have to take any responsibility for our part. The unfortunate part is that we are missing out on what God wanted for our life and often don’t even realize it.
God’s Word is explicit with instructions for this life. As the phrase has been stated many times the Bible is God’s instruction manual before leaving earth. There are those who say we don’t even need the Bible anymore for it is no longer relevant. Others may get focused only on principles in the Bible, which are important, but never learn through those principles how to develop a relationship with God, which is what He desires for us all. So we need to realize that God has given us all the details we need to do life the right way, and it includes getting to know Him.
As our foundation text tells us if we want to prosper, which means in the Hebrew language here to experience good, that which is sweet, to be well off, then we need to listen to God’s instructions. Those who do so are trusting God. Many talk about trusting God, but if we do that means we are going to find out what God says about something and how He says to we are to do it, and we are going to take Him at His Word. We are going to believe what He says, and we are going to do explicitly what He says. Realize that this means we can’t be leaving parts out.
There are several recipes that my Grandmother had for different deserts and dishes that I loved as a kid. I remember as I got older one of those deserts I loved was shoe fly pie. That is correct, shoe fly pie. I asked my Grandma if she would give me the recipe for this dessert and she did. I can remember the first time I made it. It did not come out the same as hers. I thought I had followed the instructions perfectly, but I came to find out there were a couple of things I had not done the way she did them. I got together with her and then with her help learned what I was not doing properly and behold, I was able to make the same shoe fly pie my Grandmother made.
This is a lot like how God’s Word works. First of all realize that if you leave certain steps out or certain ingredients out it is not going to come out the way God said. He did nothing wrong, nor does He not want to see you succeed, but you must take the time to learn to do things God’s way. This is two-fold. One you must take time to get into the Word of God and learn how God says things work. This is not as easy as some may think for God’s ways are not our ways. Take a look.
Is. 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
Is. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
You see this is already one of the key issues with following God’s instructions. Often we come to God and His Word with our own preconceived idea of how we want to do something, but then we find out that is not how God does things. He is not going to change for us. God comes down to meet us where we are to then take us up to where He is. His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts are higher than ours, and they are better.
The problem is if we come to God with how we want to do something and expect to get God’s results we are already defeated. We must be willing to do things God’s way. For example many want God to bless them and provide for them, but the way God declared clearly in His Word that He does this is through sowing and reaping. This is still offensive to some, but yet in scripture you cannot get around the fact that this is how God blesses us. There are many verses on this for example from the Words of Jesus He said that if you give, it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over shall men give unto you.
I know there are those who have exploited the body of Christ, but it doesn’t take much insight to realize those who are doing the work of the Bible and those who are just hirelings. Realize though no matter what you personally think about God blessing you it does not change what God’s Word says about it. We can choose to do things God’s way or our way, but His ways are not ours, and no I am not taking an offering here. Yet people want to see God bless them but those who get offended at what scripture says never do experience the blessing God has because they are not following the instructions.
Matt. 11:29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
The other side of this is you must come and learn from Jesus. This is more than just looking to the Word of God. Remember my example of trying to make shoe fly pie with the instructions I was given, but until I got together with my Grandma and learned from her how to make it, it did not come out the same. You see this is just like walking with God. We often don’t take the time to develop our relationship with the Lord, we may even read the Word of God, which we need to do to learn of Him and get His understanding of things, but we must also take time to develop our relationship as well.
There are things that you are only going to learn and get a hold of when you take time to get with the Lord and learn from Him. Without doing so you will often be missing something that you just are not seeing in the Word of God that is a key element to seeing God’s way work in your life. It is these simple but missing elements that often keep us from seeing what God desires for us to come to pass. The Word of God without relationship with God becomes nothing more than a religion. Those who say they have relationship with God in today’s times but don’t have His Word in their life will lack full understanding of how to live, for God and His Word are one. Realize we need both.
Even Jesus’ disciples had many of the writings of the Old Testament they had studied, but they had the Word’s of Christ spoken to them personally as well, which they later inspired by the Holy Spirit penned for us. They had both the Word’s of Christ and a close relationship with Him. Time and again we see Jesus teaching His disciples what to do, and then showing them by example as well as correcting them when they did wrong. So we need both if we want to follow God’s instructions for our life.
John 17:17Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
What is going to set you apart from those who don’t experience what God wants for our lives? It is the Truth, His Word, following His instructions explicitly for our lives. You can’t leave things out and see it work for you. You must take time to learn from Jesus and follow His example. Scripture teaches us in Proverbs 4:22 that God’s Word is life to those who find it and health to all their flesh. But it won’t be that if you don’t take time to learn what verses 20-27 say you must do to get that life and health. Just knowing God’s Word is life and health won’t bring life and health, you must know how it comes. So take time to learn and follow His instructions. Doing so you will prosper.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Gal. 5:16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).
I talk with believers all the time who say they want to see God’s will done in their life, but unfortunately are not. Too often we are letting our fleshly ways get the best of us and in doing so missing out on what is God’s will for our lives. I recently asked a group of men who were married if they knew what makes their spouse upset or mad. They all responded that they did. I then asked, “Why then do we do things that we know will upset them and make them mad? What is the benefit in that?
So often we do things that we know are not going to reap good results. If we love the Lord we don’t even do so with willful intentions, but yet we do things in the flesh, which does not bring good results. As scripture reveals there is nothing good that dwells in the flesh, for the flesh is opposed to God. So what can we do about this? Well as always God has an answer. This is one of the most important things to learn as a believer. One of the primary goals after getting born again is to become more and more spiritual. To be spiritual means to be governed by you spirit, which is to be led by the Holy Spirit. The more spiritual we become, the more we are walking in the Spirit. When we do this we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
The desires of the flesh apart from the Spirit of God are not going to reap good results. If we respond to people out of the flesh for example we will then often oppose what God says we should do in that situation. This brings about results that none of us like. If we face decisions in life and our response is founded off of what our flesh wants to do this will result in us missing out on God’s will for our life. So if you want to totally change your life and walk in the Spirit, which brings all the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), we must learn to do so.
So the key as to how we learn to become spiritual and not respond according to our old human fleshly nature is to walk in the Spirit. This is learning to live our life governed by the Holy Spirit who will always lead us in what is God’s will for our life, and in turn will produce godly fruit, which is far better than the fruit of the flesh. In Galatians 5:19-21 there is a list of the fruits of the flesh, and all you have to do is look over that list and I can assure you those are things you do not want to live in. There are two primary things associated with walking in the Spirit. That is what I want to teach you this week. So let’s begin.
John 6:63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
Here Jesus also states that the flesh is of no profit. Think about that. He declares it is the Spirit who gives life, and that is the word for “Zoe”, which means the god-kind of life. Now notice what He says at the end of this verse. The words that He spoke are spirit, and they are life. Did you get that? You see the first and most important truth to walking in the Spirit is one that is often overlooked. Jesus’ words are spirit. Therefore, if we will learn to walk in light of and obedience to His Words, you will begin to walk in the Spirit.
This is where you see an immediate problem for far too many that are born again. To walk in the light of and obedience to the Word’s of Jesus you must get into His Word; primarily focusing on what Jesus said, and what His disciples said which they learned of Him. If we don’t take time to get into His Word then how can we walk in the Spirit? There are two aspects to walking in the Word. First and foremost is learning to walk in the light of the Word of God, being obedient to what is says.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Walking in the light of God’s Word is practicing the truth, which is the Word of God. When we put God’s Word into practice in our lives then we walk in the light as He is in the light, and we walk in the liberty that has come from the blood of Jesus, which cleansed us from all sin. James tells us that we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. One who hears but does not take the time to put application of the Word into their life James said deceives himself. So don’t be self-deceived, walk in the light of the Word by practicing what it says. Like anything you practice that means you are going to get good at it because you are going to make an effort to practice.
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
The second key to walking in the Word is to live with an understanding of who you are in Christ Jesus. If you don’t take the time to meditate on and renew your mind to who you are in Christ, you are going to continue to think with the old fleshly mindset. You are NOT an old sinner saved by grace. You are a NEW creation. You can’t be both. You are a spirit and your spirit is born again. You are a new creature all together made in the image of God. You must learn this or the old fleshly nature will continue to dominate your life.
Rom. 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Rom. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Rom. 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit…
To walk in life, the god-kind of life, you must also be led by the Spirit of God. But whatever you do don’t put this before walking in line with the Word of God. When you talk about walking in the Spirit this is what most people think of, being led by the Holy Spirit, and it is included. But if you are not going to get into the Word and walk in the light of the Word, you are not going to be able to accurately be led by the Holy Spirit. Everything He tells us to do is in line with the Word of God.
In verse 13 above Paul is stating the same thing here that we started with in Galatians 5:16. When we allow our flesh to make our decisions and not walk in the Spirit, then we are going to have the fruit of the flesh manifesting. But when we walk in the Spirit we are going to have life for we will have the fruit of the Spirit manifested in and through us. God wants to lead us by His Spirit. A key to this is that His Spirit is not going to speak to our brain. Notice it says that His Spirit bears witness with our spirit. God is a Spirit, and He is going to reveal Himself to us through our spirit. So we must learn to listen to our spirit man within to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let me share a key to how we can learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
James 1:19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.
One of the simplest truths to being led by the Spirit is to quit reacting immediately to what you hear, or to what goes on around you. Be quick to hear, a ready listener, and slow to speak. It is our flesh that wants to immediately speak, and when we do so without taking time to hear what God would say in that situation, we are not going to walk in the Spirit, we are going to walk in the flesh.
If we are taking time to hear this not only refers to us listening to what someone is saying, but also to what God is wanting us to say or do in that situation. I have by no means perfected this, but I have avoided some arguments and created fewer problems to deal with in my life when doing this. Think about how different your life would be if you took the time before responding to any situation in your life to simply ask the Holy Spirit, “What would God want me to say or do here?” If we will really learn this habit of listening first to our spirit man, not our thoughts or what we think, but really zeroing in on our spirit man within to hear from God, how different would our lives be? How different would our relationships be?
God gave us a great Helper, the Holy Spirit. But how often to we take advantage of this great Helper to really stop and listen to what He is trying to tell us to do or say? Walk in the light of the Word and listen to the Holy Spirit within you. Doing so you will walk in the Spirit and thus not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The results will be much better, and you will experience more of God’s will for your life. You will walk in the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the flesh. It is a much more peaceful and joyful way to live life.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Rom. 4:19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
As believers we are not only called to walk by faith, God enabled us to do so. It is something that does not initially come natural to us because of the fall we became accustomed to living by human natural faith. That type of faith has to “see it” before you “believe it.” But the God kind of faith believes before it sees. Most don’t grasp the fact that the same way we got saved (born again) is the same way we receive anything from God. Let me explain.
To receive salvation I did not see Jesus die on the cross. I was not there. I had someone tell me about what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago, but I was obviously not there. I did not see Him go to hell, but He did. There are some who are still confused about this who don’t know the whole of scripture, but Ephesians 4:9 clearly tells us this. I didn’t see Jesus raised from the dead, but as scripture reveals I know He did. I also was not there when He ascended into heaven, but again I know He did so and I also know He is now seated with the Father in heaven.
When I came to the knowledge of my sin and found out what Jesus did to change this in my life, my heart knew this was true even though I am not able to see my spirit, I know that I am a spirit being. The faith for all this was not felt in my natural body. I knew in my heart this was all true. My salvation began in my heart. When I released my faith in Christ then there was a change within me. I became born again. It did not instantly change how I felt on the outside, nor did it instantly change how I acted on the outside. But as time went by and I got to know Jesus and who He has now made me to be, my life on the outside began to change, but I already knew in my heart I was different.
This is how we receive from God. Take healing for example. The God kind of faith does not feel healed first on the outside in the body. Healing begins in you heart. You must believe in your heart. Just like salvation begins within the heart so does healing and all the promises of God. When you know in your heart that you are already healed, it is then that things are going to change in your body, but not before. If you are checking your body to see if you are healed you will find that you are not because you are not walking in Bible faith. You are basing your faith on the natural, not on the Word of God. Once you know and you have received your healing within, it will manifest on the outside. Just like salvation. Once you put your faith in Christ and believe in your heart you are saved then that begins to change the person on the outside.
This is so important to faith and a big reason why we are not seeing more of what God promised come to pass in our lives. As simple as this truth is that I am teaching on this week, YOU MUST take time to examine whether you are walking in Bible faith or not. You must recognize if you are looking at the outward to try and confirm what the Word of God says. That is not faith. When you believe in your heart what God has said you don’t look in the natural to try and confirm that belief. You already know it is so.
Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
The word “assurance” here is defined as “evidence”. Faith is the evidence, not what we feel or see. If we need to have evidence on the outside of what God says to believe then we are going to do without for that is not Bible faith. Salvation, healing, deliverance, all begin in the heart. When man knows in his heart it is already so then it will change things on the outside. What happens on the outside is not evidence of what is true on the inside, but the result of what one already knows is so in their heart.
All that to say a key factor to walking by faith comes down to what we are considering. Our foundation verse reveals to us a great truth about whom the Bible calls our father of the faith, Abraham. He was given a promise from God that he would have a child, even though he was about a hundred years old, and Sarah had never been able to have children. Abraham, as Romans 4:19 tells us, was not weak in faith and therefore he did not consider his own body, nor the deadness of Sarah’s womb. If he had there would have never been a son of Abraham’s named Isaac.
The word “consider” is a key word here. It means to fix one’s eye or mind upon. This is what we do by our old nature. We focus both our attention and our thoughts on what we see in the natural. If we do that we are not going to walk by faith. Faith does not consider, does not fix it’s focus, attention, or thoughts on what is in the natural. Now this does not mean that faith ignores what is true in the natural. Faith does not deny the existence of a problem, but faith denies it’s right to stay that way. Faith sees something beyond the natural, for with the eye of faith, knowing in our hearts, faith sees what God has said as already so.
Heb. 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
Heb. 3:2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
So if faith does not consider what is in the natural what does faith do? It considers, focuses its attention and thoughts upon the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. When you confessed Jesus as the Lord of your life you received full payment of not just your sins, but also your complete redemption, which includes being redeemed from sickness, disease, poverty, lack, and spiritual death. You have to consider, get your mind and your focus on something. You need to get it on your Apostle and High Priest.
The key here is seeing Jesus first and foremost as the Apostle, which means sent one of God who was faithful to come to this earth and through the act of becoming our High Priest, He has now paid the price in full for us to walk in all that we have a right to as children of God. In the Old Testament the High Priest went into the holy of holies once a year with a blood sacrifice to cover the peoples sins. But Jesus once and for all paid the price not to cover our sins, but to remove them, which is very significant.
Heb. 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Heb. 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Jesus our High Priest went into the holy place in heaven whereby He sprinkled His blood on that mercy seat and in doing so He provided the way for us through faith in Him to become righteous, or right with God. The moment that happens you are now a child of God, which makes you an heir of God, and a joint heir with Jesus. If you don’t consider what Jesus did for you and who you have now become because of what He did, you won’t have revelation of this truth, but if you know you are an heir of God then you know you have a right to the inheritance that He has for you. If you know you are a joint heir with Jesus then you know you are equal in the inheritance He has. But if you don’t consider this instead of your circumstances then you are going to continue to walk by natural human faith and not Bible faith.
Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
Mark 11:23For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Mark 11:24Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
What you receive from God begins within. You don’t get born again by first feeling saved in the natural. You get born again by first believing in your heart it is so after you have called upon His name. All the promises of God work the same. Healing comes from your spirit within. You must know you are healed in your heart, not basing your faith on what you feel in the natural or see. That won’t change until you first receive it within, in your heart.
In verse 22 it says here to have faith in God, but one translation says have the God kind of faith, which is what the Greek implies. The God kind of faith believes and receives within one’s heart what God has said is already so. To do that you cannot consider, focus your attention and thoughts on that which is external. Instead you need to consider the Apostle and High Priest of your confession. Do so until it becomes real inside to you and the things on the outside will follow.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Matt. 6:9 So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored,
Matt. 6:10 may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Matt. 6:11 Give us today our daily bread,
Matt. 6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.
Matt. 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Prayer is one of the greatest blessings we have in knowing God. Much of what people do in prayer is bring their requests to God, which we can clearly do so in faith, for God desires to help us attain all He has for our life. But prayer is simply our communication system whereby we can come to God and not just talk to Him, but hear from Him. It is an area that most believers really need to take time to develop more in their life. Life for pretty much everyone you talk to is summed up in one word, “busy”. But one thing we need to really grasp as a Christian is the fact that much of what we are so busy with does not have much eternal value. Those who know about prayer and have developed this part of their walk with God have the same 24 hours in a day. It really comes down to priorities and redeeming our time.
When you talk about the subject of prayer, the scripture here in Matthew often comes to mind. Many were taught when they were little children to recite this prayer, but that is not what Jesus was teaching us to do when He gave us this model for prayer. He told His disciples in verse 7 right before this that we are not to use vain repetitions in prayer. That means simply praying the same thing over and over with no real meaning nor understanding of what one is doing. So Jesus did not give us this model for the purpose of just reciting it over and over, but to teach us some key things about how we connect with God as we communicate with Him. This week I want to examine these elements in the model Jesus gave us for prayer.
1. “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”
Some will teach this part as two separate things, but I want to share them as one element for they address the key to all prayer. This model begins with recognizing that we are addressing our Father in heaven, and when we do we are to “honor our heavenly Father.” The word “hallowed” means to acknowledge that God is holy, and He is therefore worthy of our honor. When you honor someone you are acknowledging their value or worth to you. God is holy, set apart from that which is worldly or unholy. Because of what Christ did for us we can approach our God because His blood cleansed us from our sinful nature. We can now come and fellowship with our God.
To honor God does not mean to come to Him as your “bud” or as I hear some says “The man upstairs”, or “The big guy”, etc. We have become a society that really lacks honor. It has very much so crept into our words as well. To honor God means we recognize that He is God, the One who is Supreme in authority. There are many today who are trying to bring God down to man’s level in relating to Him, but you will never be able to do so. God will reach down to us when we reach out to Him, but He does not do so to come and stay with us on that level, but to bring us up to His. He wants us to allow Him to bring about divine change in our life so that we will become partakers of His heavenly nature.
We also approach God in honor by actually taking time to draw near to Him and spend time with Him. We are not showing honor to God by treating Him as our sugar daddy and we just come make request of what we want and never take time to listen and receive what He wants to share with us. Sometimes God just wants us to delight in His presence. When we take time to give honor to God, which He truly deserves, we will become more intimate with Him. We need to learn one of the best things we can do is stop coming to God with what we think about things and simply come with an open slate and ask God what He wants of us. God said those who honor Him He will honor, but those who make light of Him He will lightly esteem.
2. “… may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The next element in this model of prayer is in focusing on and building God’s kingdom here on earth. That may sound like something every believer is doing but the truth is there are many believers who are more focused on building their kingdom, not God’s. To do this one must be willing to come to God and find out what His will for us is here on earth. Often people refer to His will being done here on earth in our lives as it is in heaven to only that which Christ has done for us. That is certainly included. There is no one struggling with sickness or disease in heaven, and God wants us to overcome such attacks against us here as well. So we certainly have a right as children of God to stand up for what we have a right too as His kids.
But the other side of this part of prayer is often overlooked. We are not to come to God focused on what we want or how we want to live our life and ask God to bless it. We are to come to Him seeking from Him revelation of what He desires for our life. We need to come to Him with a blank page and ask God to write on the tablets of our hearts what He wants of our life. Not knowing nor walking in what God desires for us is only going to keep us from what really will bring fulfillment to one’s life. Think how many people have gone through life never seriously seeking from God what is His will for them. Many live day to day unfulfilled because they are not walking in nor doing what God gifted and called them to do.
Psa. 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
The key and the power behind this verse is the first part of the verse. To delight yourself in the Lord means to be pliable, like a piece of clay in the potter’s hand. The clay does not come and tell the potter what to do; the potter takes the clay and molds it the way he wants it to turn out. If you delight yourself in the Lord you don’t come to Him with any idea’s of what you want for your life. You come and submit fully to Him and seek Him in prayer to find out what He wants for your life. You will often find out it wasn’t what you were thinking of. But doing so will help you to then find out what is His desire for you, and that will then become your desire as well.
3. “Give us today our daily bread, …”
The next part of this model is to daily look to God and know that He is the provider of all that we have need of, and because of this we will acknowledge and obey what He has said we are to do for that provision to come into our life. Many say that God is their provider, but if He is that means you operate by the spiritual principles He gave us to have that provision, which is giving and receiving.
Take Elijah for example who was sent by God to a widow who was making her last little piece of bread for her and her son. The prophet led by God told her to give him a piece first. Because she obeyed the prophet of God, and therefore more importantly God, her bin of flour nor her jar of oil ran out. She gave and it was given unto her. This woman obeyed because she knew God was her provider.
4. “… and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.”
The fourth part of this great model of prayer is that we should acknowledge God’s forgiveness, and forgive anyone and everyone who has ever wronged or hurt us. The word debts here refers to our faults, or when we do wrong. This does not advocate that we should just live anyway we want, for we already recognized that we are to be submitted to God’s will for our life. But we should live with a constant knowledge that when we do wrong we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This is important because when we do something wrong the enemy is going to do all he can to make us now feel unworthy of who we really are in Christ.
Now just as we are to acknowledge that we have been forgiven, we are also to forgive everyone. Unforgiveness is a like a cancer that spreads bitterness in one’s heart. Jesus taught very clearly in the scriptures that if we do not forgive then our heavenly Father cannot forgive us. This is serious business. We must make sure that we continually examine our hearts in prayer and know that we are not holding any unforgiveness in our hearts.
5. “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Last but not least we need to acknowledge what Christ has done to deliver us from the power of sin, and that our heavenly Father will always provide a way for us to escape temptation. God does not tempt us; therefore this is not referring to us asking God to not tempt us, but that we are going to look to God in the midst of any temptation we face and turn from such temptations.
1 Cor. 10:13 There isn’t any temptation that you have experienced which is unusual for humans. God, who faithfully keeps his promises, will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist. But when you are tempted, he will also give you the ability to endure the temptation as your way of escape.
The reason people often give into temptation is because they don’t draw near to God. When temptation comes they don’t think of what He has done to deliver them. God is so faithful to those who look to Him that He will not even allow us to be tempted in this life with that which we would not have the power to resist. God makes a way of escape by empowering us to overcome every temptation and walk free from it. Jesus Himself said that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. When we stay close to God in prayer we will listen to and walk after the spirit, not the flesh.
This is the model Jesus taught for us to develop our prayer life. It is not a prayer that is to simply be repeated over and over again, but it is to show us how we can get to know our God better, and walk in what He desires for our life. We can draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. It is a matter of choice. If we choose to learn how to communicate with Him, we will get to know Him intimately.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Gal. 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Grace is a very important and powerful subject. It certainly is a very important part of our walk with Christ, and because of that the enemy has used this powerful topic to bring deception into the body of Christ. This is no different than any subject you would look at, there are several aspects to grace that must be considered when studying what grace really is. Whenever you only look at a part of a subject you certainly don’t get the whole picture and therefore can be mislead. It would be like looking out to the horizon and only seeing from the ground view one perspective of the earth, therefore thinking it is flat. But of course a complete view of the planet reveals otherwise.
That is what we are going to do this week in a brief study of grace. It is powerful, wonderful, and also able to empower us to change. It was given to us not only to bring us into right standing with God, but also to empower us to live as children of the light. Today there is much being said about grace, but most of what is being declared is the not the complete picture. Many are only looking at the horizon and not the whole scope of what grace encompasses. So let’s take a little journey through God’s Word and get a better understanding of the grace of God.
We start with our foundation verse I have already shared with you above. One of the key elements that grace is connected with and really is the primary reason we have grace in our life has to do with the work of justification. Justification means to be placed in right standing with God. God’s righteousness is a gift that is given to all those who having godly sorrow, repent, and turn to Jesus trusting their lives unto Him. As Paul states above those who have received Christ as their Savior by making Him the Lord of their life do so by faith in what Christ has done. To then think that one has to go back to upholding the Old Testament law to be justified in the eyes of God has fallen from grace.
This is a key point for there are those who teach today that many are trying to mix the law with grace. To mix the law with grace would mean that you would put your faith initially in Christ for salvation, but then you would continue to fulfill the requirements of the Levitical law to be justified in the sight of God. This is falling from grace for justification only comes through faith in Christ Jesus and what He did. But those who claim that ministers are mixing the law with grace say you are doing so whenever you talk about sin, or about righteous living, which is taught in scripture. The Bible has a lot to say about our lifestyle, but a minister of the whole counsel of God knows you cannot earn this gift of righteousness or right standing with God. That only comes through faith in Christ Jesus.
Be careful when you hear ministers say that for anyone to preach against sin they are mixing the law with grace, for that is not even biblically correct. That would only be true if someone was telling you that you must uphold all the requirements given in the Old Testament law to receive God’s righteousness. The gift of righteousness as I have stated earlier is only received through our faith in Jesus Christ. This of course does not mean that it really doesn’t matter then how we live, for after all we have been saved by grace. The wages of choosing to live a life of sin is still corruption as scripture clearly teaches in the New Testament.
Rom. 6:14 For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace.
Rom. 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not!
Everyone who is born again by faith in Christ is now under grace, not under the law. This is where most of the confusion seems to come from. People say they are no longer under the law but under grace so it doesn’t matter what they do. Anyone who believes this does not know what the law is nor what grace is. The law was necessary to reveal to man that he is a sinner and therefore in need of a Savior. The law did not give man the power to overcome sin, but revealed the sin within man. Grace means you got what you did not deserve. We did not deserve God’s righteousness because of the sinful nature we were born with, but God chose to give us this gift. This gift was made possible by God’s grace.
Once you receive this gift of righteousness through grace you are now a new creation on the inside. You now have the ability, God-given within you, to defeat sin and for it to no longer have dominion over your life. Grace empowered you to defeat sin, not live sinful. You could only become born again by faith in Christ Jesus, not by the fulfillment of the law, but once you got born again you now have a new spirit and the Holy Spirit within you to overcome sin and all of it’s destructive ways. Grace is heaven’s help extended to us to help us be empowered through the Holy Spirit to be victorious over sin, sickness, disease, and spiritual death.
Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Eph. 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
It is by grace (heaven’s help) that you have been saved. Man cannot save himself by his own merit. This word saved here refers too much more than just getting born again. The definition of this word means: to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): — heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. Man cannot save, deliver, protect, heal, or make himself whole through his own works. If he could do so then he would not need God. Our faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished in redeeming our life is what brings us into what Jesus died and paid for. Anyone claiming that you must earn this through some type of religious works does not know the Bible.
Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows,
Gal. 6:8 because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.
We in no way earn from God what Jesus died and paid for. Does this mean that we can do whatever our flesh wants because after all since we are saved by grace there is no recourse for fleshly behavior? No. Anyone who looks to the Word of God that tells us what we should and should not do and thinks that doing what you want and not what God said won’t matter is deceived. Paul clearly states above that God will not be made a fool. If you sow to your flesh, letting your flesh dominate how you live and what you do, you are going to reap corruption. God didn’t have anything to do with it, and even though you have received salvation through grace it does not exempt you from this spiritual truth.
But for those who sow to the Spirit, which would be doing what God says to do with our life, is going to reap life, not corruption. Contrary to popular opinion today if you as a born again child of God choose to live a lifestyle of willful sin ignoring what the Bible tells you not to do you are taking the risk of hardening your heart to the point of denying your Christ and choosing to face the eternal judgment to come from which you were once delivered.
Heb. 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
Heb. 10:27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
Some would say that if you preach this then no one can live assured of their salvation. Sure you can. If you are not living a lifestyle of willful sin you know that you have no reason to fear the judgment to come, which will devour the adversaries. But to say that because we are now under grace we can live however we want is not biblically correct. There are even those today, who teach that no one is going to hell, that all will wake up in heaven. This is not what scripture teaches.
Jude 3 Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 4 For certain men have secretly slipped in among you–men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe–ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude gave a warning 2,000 years ago to the church that there would be those who would preach grace in such a way that it would give people a license for evil, and in doing so they are denying Jesus as the Master and Lord of their life. If Jesus is your Master and Lord you are completely surrendered to Him. Don’t fall for these modern day preachers who are telling us that if grace is not preached in such a way that it is misunderstood then it isn’t being taught biblically. This is not true. How can one have biblical understanding of what grace is if it is taught in a way that it is misunderstood? I don’t think I need to explain that.
Acts 20:26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
Paul was the predominate teacher of all that grace is in the New Testament. He declared before his departure to Rome that he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. Because he had not done so he was innocent of the blood of all men. There are some ministers today who are clearly not declaring the whole counsel of God. They want to be popular and are a fulfillment of what Paul warned Timothy about that in the last days there would be many preachers who would tickle peoples itching ears. Don’t fall for this. Be willing to hear the whole counsel of God, which will protect you and deliver you from this wicked and evil generation. Thank God for His grace, heavens help, that came down to man to make him brand new, and empower him to overcome the evil of the last days.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker