Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. Galatians 1:18

The apostle Paul experienced the most dramatic conversion in all of history. He was met and blinded by Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) For three days Paul sat in blindness and didn’t eat or drink. Then God sent Ananias to Him called Him as a chosen instrument. (Acts 9:15) Immediately following this Paul began to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God– then an odd thing happened. Paul fled to Arabia where He remained in the risen Saviors presence for three years. He was not yet ready for His personal calling through Christ.
 
God causes a lag between our calling and our sending or ministry. Only God knows what He needs to work into or out of us. Our job to stay close in His presence and let Him prepare us for the ministry opportunities He has designed for us. To get to know God is using the lag time to equip us– He will never give us a task without sufficiently equipping us. We must allow God to work on us in the time in between.
 
God may continue to do this at different times in our walk. He allows our vision to become unfocused and blurred or stagnant in our current state. It is a time of re-equipping for our new task or ministry opportunity on the horizon. This is an essential and special time of reflecting, rededicating and renewing. God will reveal your sending or ministry when the time is ready. (our verse above tells of Paul’s sending after His time of preparation)
 
Our job is to enjoy that wilderness time and really get close to God and let Him work out whatever is needed in us to prepare us for the work ahead. Maybe you are in that time, make the most of it, this time with Jesus it is highly important and needed. Relax and relish your relationship allow him to prepare you for work opportunities ahead.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


“We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29

Shouldn’t this be the statement of all of our lives. I would encourage you to pray that it would be said of you, the motivation that woke you up in the morning and drove every single decision you make, and the desire you  have is all driven by “God, I want to obey You.” Not people.
 
We all have the dangerous tendency to be people pleasers, to just want to do what will make people like us. Our own pride and ego has a tendency to drive our decisions. Our question is usually how will this affect the way others perceive me? How will this affect the way others think of me? What will others think about this or that?
 
Instead our drive, our every thought, desire, action should be driven by “what will God think of this?” What will most please Him? What is most obedient thing to do compared to His Word? This is what matters!
 
People’s perception, praise and applause is fleeting. It doesn’t last and it’s not what matters. What matters ultimately is what God says, what He has said in His Word, obeying it and then what He will say in the end. We must obey God rather than people. Look at the context in Acts 5, in the middle of persecution, as they were experiencing imprisonment, even when it would cost them dearly they said our goal is not to please the government our goal is to please God. May this motivation drive us today at everything we do.
 
Pray today that God will help you and I to be driven with the zeal to obey Him alone. To deliver us from people pleasing. Ask Him to deliver us, save us from ourselves, from the pride that causes us to want to please anyone else above pleasing Him.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Rev. 20:22

This is the last promise and the final prayer in the Bible. It’s also the last of the “red letters” in the New Testament, bringing to an end the actual spoken words of Christ in Scripture. Jesus is the one “who testifies about these things” and who promises, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” The word testifies is used in the sense of declaring or proclaiming; and the phrase “these things” means the entire book of Revelation.
 
The word quickly could mean either “suddenly” or “soon”—or both. Three times in this chapter Jesus tells us He is coming quickly—in verses 7, 12, and 20. Look, I am coming quickly! Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic words of this book. . . . Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me. . . . Yes, I am coming quickly.
The immediate response of John in verse 20 was: “Amen!” This is a term of agreement, meaning “so be it!” Then John offered the Bible’s concluding prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus!” This is the same as the Aramaic term Maranatha. It’s a prayer for us to repeat frequently, however, Christians seldom pray specifically for the Lord to return. Maybe it is time to start including Maranatha in our prayer vocabulary. Shouldn’t we be asking for the Lord to “come” for a number of reasons—- consider the following:
 
Our social unrest – Come Lord quickly and put an end to our violence and hatred, come and end the injustice, bring your righteous judgment and your everlasting peace. Please Lord Come.
 
The Suffering of our loved one – Come Lord quickly end the hardship and suffering and let our loved one inherit, the blessing of their promised everlasting body, the crown of glory that awaits them. Let them come home. Please Lord come quickly!
 
For the Lost Child – Come Lord quickly in Spirit and truth, but come even sooner into the heart of my lost one that He/She too might look for you and speed your return. O Come quickly speed salvation to my lost one!
 
The physical suffering of the world – Come Lord heal and bring an end to the devastation and suffering, end all wars, poverty, hunger, and disease. All creation longs for your renewal, bring soon a new heaven and earth. Please Lord come quickly!
 
There are so many reasons we as His people should be praying Maranatha! Make sure as you pray that you do not miss the opportunity set your focus on the blessings of His return. Let us think of how we’ll feel when our Lord appears in the clouds at any moment and puts an end to all life’s ills. Maranatha! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


The choice to be made: Interaction or Isolation?

You may think I am talking about entering back into society from the Covid-19 isolation, but I am not. The question is based on your Christian witness. Long before the pandemic we as a society have been in more of a habit of social isolation. The most interesting dynamic is that this social segregation is not by necessity, but rather by choice.
 
With culture constantly gaining speed, encouraging isolation, and relying on social media, most people’s influence on other humans is shrinking. Technology is replacing actual personal engagement. We work to restrict the number of people we actually need to “do life.” While we may not ever admit it, we view many in our circles as expendable.
 
Statistics tell us that the average social media user has 338 “friends”. But that same typical user if faced with a personal crisis would actually trust only four of those people. So only about 2% of those who are online “friends” are actually authentic with the potential of regular face-to-face interaction and dependence. The gap between virtual friends and actual friends is widening by the year.
 
As Christ followers living in this culture, we all must ask ourselves: In any given week, how much eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart ministry is occurring in our lives? That question is not about creating guilt, but simply making an honest evaluation of our actual influence and interaction. So how should we respond?
 
If we are going to truly impact the world for the cause of Christ, this will occur through God’s original plan where we as His followers love our neighbors. God entrusted us with His answer for mankind’s eternal problem. So in response to this great act of trust we must choose interaction and come out of isolation.
 
(Read Acts 2:42–47 =take note of all the togetherness and sharing—the interaction!) Decide today that you will look for moments to genuinely interact in an unhurried and intentional manner. Just see what God will do to bring blessing in your life and the life of the kingdom, through you.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)

There is a question many have asked over the years: Is greatness born or made? Despite the myth of mystical innate genius, researchers have found that it’s actually made through hustle and hard work: by harnessing the supreme power of hard work and diligence.
 
We can’t control the circumstances into which we are born. But there are two things over which every man has complete sovereignty: the use of his time and his effort given. Every man, rich or poor, has twenty-four hours in a day and seven days in a week to labor as much as he wants.
 
Effort and time: these are the great equalizers among men. And how they are used is what separates the mediocre from the extraordinary. The world and the Bible’s greatest men understood this principle; they recognize time as a gift from God not to be wasted, they understand time on this planet is limited, so they put it to work. They understood that glory and honor for God and man go to those who put to use the gifts and redeeming the time wisely and effectively, and so they got to work.
 
Man does not have any innate special powers. No, the secret of success in our Christian walk and our world is making the most of every minute of every single day. Having aim, purpose, and drive. We must accept every opportunity to grow and produce. It is good to know as we wake up early and attack the day’s work with heart and determination that we have been partnered with the power of the Holy Spirit. God is the difference and he makes up the difference in the areas we struggle. But it is our job to work.
 
What will you be able to look back on when your life has been lived? Will it be a life filled with achievement and ministry or an unaccounted for wasteland of life that somehow slipped through your fingers? Better get to work.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


The Importance of a Guarded Mind!

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Prov. 4:23)
 
I am amazed at the amount of adults who stop following Christ. I’m not talking about people who tried Christianity for a few weeks or months but those who walked with Him for years. I’m speaking of committed, spiritual people who, after they’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good for a decade or more, slowly drifted away. You may be thinking that can’t happen, can it?
 
Look up a guy named Demus in your Bible! Solomon also fit that description. He trusted God to be his strength, his wisdom, and his refuge. He enjoyed the fruit of God’s blessings like no one in history. But he forgot to fear God. He forgot to remain obedient. He forgot to guard his mind.
 
Solomon’s worldview drifted from the rock-solid absolutes of scripture to the world of feelings, the worldview of the pagans around him. He forgot to guard his heart. From the wisest man to ever walk the face of the earth to the most disillusioned, Solomon became one of history’s most pathetic characters.
 
I wonder how many of the dead who strayed and paid would love to call back from death and plead with us to live differently. God afforded Solomon such an opportunity through His recorded word as one who walked with, as well as strayed from, God. He is the author of many proverbs, now his voice reverberates down through the ages with lessons from his own indiscretions, ones that left him in mental and moral pain. He says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
 
Solomon knew that the place the enemy would attack would be the heart (mind). The devil plots to conform your mind to the pattern of this world. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy” (Col. 2:8). Solomon knew his own mind had been left unguarded. He lived in the ashes of a ruined life. He warns us from the grave. Have you been guarding your heart? Or do you live by your feelings? Pity the people who leave their minds unguarded, for many of them will stop following Christ.
 
If you have left your heart unguarded, quickly post a watchmen at the gate to your mind. Hear the words of the one who knows “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Significance

What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors
under the sun? (Eccl 2:22)
 
The slow pace of this virus time has made me re-evaluate my schedule. At times even though I was “doing less” I have felt that what I was doing was more significant. At other times because I was not “busy” I felt like I was being unproductive or insignificant and I would find myself anxious to be more “productive”.
 
The longing we each have to feel significant is hard to understand but is a very real need. When we are busy, we feel this need is being met. Often, however, we become busy but don’t actually do anything very significant. We can become busy and feel good about ourselves, but our busyness may not contribute very much to forever. The trap of busyness is that we tend to equate the value of our work with the amount of our work. In truth, busyness does not lead to significance, but to self-importance. Many times busy people become puffed up with themselves.
 
The kind of work which God approves of is born in Christ and is not puffed up in self-importance. It does not seek to be busy to feel important, it seeks to find significance for the glory of God. The real significant work is the kind preassigned by the Father. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). I hope through all this I am learning to patiently wait for God to reveal His important work. This kind of watch leads me to a more measured sort of work, a considered, controlled form of busyness that leads to a mindset of true significance.
 
Busyness is a curse of the devil. So what do busy people receive for all their toil and striving? “All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest” (Eccl. 2:23). When I get back to busy I plan to stop and ask myself: “Does this busyness flow from the work God has revealed to me? Or am I merely searching impatiently for significance?” I have learned the person who slows down to hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit will labor in significance. The world may never recognize the importance of his good works, but the Spirit will testify with his spirit that it is the work God prepared in advance for him to do. And in the end I would rather have what God gives “To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Eccl. 2:26).
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Deliverance

But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor evil occurrence. (1 Kings 5:4)
 
Yesterday Mayor Cuomo of New York said “we have done better at handling this virus, it was not God that did it, we did this!”. Now He may be trying to encourage the people to keep doing what they have been doing, however to say none of this had to do with God’s grace or mercy, this is a very scary statement to me. So today I want to point you to the delivering power of God and encourage you to place your trust in Him as you make decisions during this ‘me. The truth is as believers we should claim the promise of God’s peace in this ‘me. You have a right to do so The Book of Judges (translated as “deliverers”) shows us God’s mercy in delivering Israel from her enemies. The result was that the land had rest.
 
-And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died. (Judges 3:9–11)
-So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years. (Judges 3:30) – “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.” So the land had rest forty years. (Judges 5:31)
 
Deliverance is designed to bring you into rest. Rest is peace (shalom) and prosperity. Peace is an all-inclusive word that encompasses prosperity, safety, health, protection, fruitfulness, and abundance. Peace and rest is not only for heaven but also for the here and now on the earth. It is not something coming one day. That doesn’t mean trouble will not come. You do not have to live a life of worry and anxiety. Peace is yours. Prosperity is yours. Even when trouble comes, it should not take away your peace. Peace is what you have as a saint of God. You will have the blessing of God. It’s the guarantee of His covenant of peace. It belongs to the saints of God. So no maer how bad the news gets, don’t let the devil take your peace and your shalom away from you.
 
You need to be made aware of who you are in Christ, the authority He has given you, and the arsenal of weapons He has equipped you with to fight and win back your peace. Peace is your right as a child of God. Call on Him to grant you and your land rest—then deny Him the praise when you are delivered
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Do You Believe This?

After Easter, hearing about the resurrection, I think one of the most important things we can do is go back to the personal question Jesus asked at the tomb of Lazarus. He said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me . . . shall never die,” He turned to His hearers and asked, “Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26). This is Easter’s bottom-line question: Do you believe this?
 
O.S. Hawkins in His booklet the Easter Code does a great job of explaining this question and the way it may have been asked:
“Do you believe this?” When it comes to saving faith in the finished work of Christ, what matters is not what anyone else believes. It is intensely personal.
“Do you believe this?” He is not interested in whether you give intellectual assent to His claims. Jesus wants to know if you put your total trust and faith in what He says. The real issue is one of faith. It is pointed.
“Do you believe this?” The question follows on the heels of an amazing claim: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26). Do you believe this claim about His deity? The fundamental belief of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth is God Himself, “the image of the invisible God . . . All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:15–16). Do you believe His claim 16 about your destiny? “Though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). Yo “Though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). Your body will one day die, but not your spirit, you will receive a new imperishable body.
 
There are a lot of big questions that come our way in life. But there is only one question that will matter in death: “Do you believe this?” You can settle this question once and for all by your response today. If this is the desire of your heart then pray, confess your sin to the Lord, accept His finished work as the payment for your sin debt and surrender your life to Jesus as King over your life. A simple prayer can never save you, but Jesus can, and will, if your prayer expresses the true desire of your heart. Today you can claim the promise Jesus made to all who would follow Him: “Most assuredly . . . he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). This is God’s desire for you and that is why He made it available to you through His Son Jesus. But the question is “Do You believe this?”
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)
 
Anyone who owns their own property or vehicle is a very blessed and rich person. However, with that comes a lot of maintenance and upkeep. I don’t know if you’ve ventured into a place like Lowe’s lately but it seems like everyone is doing some sprucing up around the house right now. To take care of problems today saves us from greater problems down the road. Look at our cars for example; we periodically take them in for an inspection even when they are running smoothly. We call it “preventive maintenance.” Truth is most of what goes wrong with our house or car does so because of one word—neglect. Neglect has adverse effects on physical things, but it is much more dangerous in the spiritual realm.
 
The writer of Hebrews asks a probing question—“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (2:3). As we come to neglect so great a salvation?” (2:3 the start of Holy Week, let’s consider the three responses people give to the gospel. Some accept it. Some reject it. But most simply neglect it. Please don’t be that person.
 
Perhaps you, or someone you know, is among that vast group of people in the world who simply neglect Christ’s continual call, deceived into thinking there will always be adequate time to name Jesus as Lord and Savior.
 
The reality is, you must either accept Him or reject Him, for ‘not to decide is to decide’. Please realize as you go through each day, you are faced with one choice after another . . . where to eat lunch, what to order, what paint color for the house, etc… Let each of these simple decisions be a reminder that the greatest choice we can ever make is accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. To neglect this decision leads to disaster.
 
If you have not chosen then what are you waiting for? This week or better yet today consider the cross and resurrection of Christ along with the word of God to the Israelites of old. I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:19
 
Have a blessed Easter— Love You!
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes