RSS

Monthly Archives: December 2012

12/31/12 – “BRINGING IN THE NEW YEAR”

2012-2013

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

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

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

 

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

1. Examine your walk with God.

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

 

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

2. Examine your money.

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

 

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

3. Examine your heart toward others.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12/17/12 – “THE FREE GIFT”

gift-of-righteousness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt. 11:28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matt. 11:29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matt. 11:30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

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

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

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

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

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12/10/12 – “THE GIFT JESUS GAVE”

Jesus -  Gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,