Winning the spiritual war!

Our opponent needs only one blind spot, just one entry point, to prevent us from reaching our fullest potential and experiencing victory in our day-to-day lives. Satan just needs one area where we are still trying to gratify our flesh and live according to our feelings to keep us from experiencing God’s best. Most of us never even come close to fulfilling God’s purpose or experiencing God’s peace, because we won’t remain pure long enough for God to reveal it to us!
It only takes a little sin to steal a lot of purpose! Romans 8:13 warns us against providing that single foothold for the enemy saying, “If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live!” Our flesh, if left untamed, will destroy our lives and our witness. Or we can “put to death the misdeeds of the body,” and experience life as it was intended to be.
The ultimate goal, as Christians, is excellence and righteousness that we may bring great glory to God with our life. So whatever that one habit or stronghold is that we’ve let fester – that is what is holding us back from being used to our fullest potential. Once we surrender it to Jesus – that is what will ultimately unlock the abundance and peace that we’re all looking for. So let’s stand on Psalm 5:12 knowing that the Lord “blesses the righteous and surrounds them with His favor as with a shield!” Let’s pursue complete righteousness and receive that shield of favor. It’s time to go to war and confront the enemy! Ask the Lord to examine your heart and life then reveal
any area that the devil may be using to hinder your potential to bring Him glory. Be sure to place that area back under the Lord’s care, surrender it to Him and claim His resurrection power over that area.
We must do everything we can to live free of sin and live up to our
potential “to the Glory of God”.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people. (Luke 2:52)

We are accustomed to having our progress measured in many ways. We are given tests in school, evaluations at work, and physicals at the doctor’s office. However, we go through our life without really thinking about our social or even more important our spiritual growth. As Jesus grew from a child to an adult, He “increased” in wisdom and stature with God and man. The better people got to know Jesus the more they learned to trust Him. All admired His wisdom. In the same manner as Jesus grew in His relationship with God, He continued to please God.
We are to follow Jesus’ example. The apostle Paul said that when he was a new Christian, he behaved as a spiritual child, but as he matured in his faith, he began to act like a spiritual adult (1 Cor. 13:11). The obligation of every Christian is to strive for maturity (Heb. 6:1).
As a new believer we may have a hard time relating to others or walking in wisdom, we may battle sin, anger, or unforgiven but the longer we walk with the Lord the more we should live and act as He does, in our own personal life and with others. As you grow, God will become increasingly more satisfied with your obedience to Him.
Along the way it is important to gauge our progress through God’s Word and accountability with a mature Christian. Be honest about your life and actions with them and let them help you know in what areas you still need to grow and in what areas you are maturing well. Don’t ever settle and become satisfied with less than a fully developed relationship with the Lord. If we measure our progress in all other areas then be sure to measure the progress of your growth with God and man.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:2)

When was the last time you ever saw a dead body be tempted by sin? We are called to be dead to self. Temptation can be persistent and enticing, yet a dead man will not react. The truth is before you were a Christian, sin had a great hold on your life, you were in its grip. However, when you became a Christian, your old self died (Gal. 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me).
In the power of Christ sin now has no more control over you than temptation has over a dead body. You have died to sin. You still have the ability to sin, but you are no longer in sin’s power. Now, the truth is, if you choose to succumb to temptation you are rejecting the freedom from sin that Christ gained for you by His death.
You are no longer the helpless victim of your sin. The victory has already been won. It was God who already won a victory over your sin. You and I must only apply His victory to each area of our life. If there is a sinful habit, an ungodly attitude, or an unholy relationship that needs to be put to death then claim the victory of Christ’s resurrection today and repent (turn) of your sin. Then you will be free to experience the abundant life that God
intends for you.
We should never undermine God’s love and forgiveness, by just choosing to live in sin again. Instead claim the freedom Christ died for you to have, by acknowledging your death to self and sin, then live in the Holy Spirit’s provided power over sin. Exercise the power of Christ’s death and resurrection in your life and begin to live a life free of the consequences of sin and shame. Abundant and Holy Just as He is Holy! Begin today to live the blessed life you were meant to live.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

We Are Called to Step In!

One of the greatest tools a Christian has in defeating sin, is the life of another Christian. Sometimes we can think that it is none of our business if another person chooses to sin. They think they are being judgmental if they confront or address someone’s sin. The world around us tells us not to get involved, but inaction doesn’t allow us to be an effective brother or sister in Christ.
As Christians we are aware that sin brings horrible consequences, even death. (Rom. 6:23) We understand sin destroys relationships, marriages, and has the power to steal peace or joy. When we see someone wandering from the truth in to sin and error, what are we to do? Lets’ look at Jesus for our example. First, he wept with a broken heart over those in sin and far from truth (Matt. 23:37-39). Second, He prayed for others not to fall to sin (Jn. 17) Then, He warned many who were heading toward spiritual failure (Matt. 26:20-25). Finally He was willing to step in and die in order to save others from sins consequences and to offer a better way. So, Jesus didn’t stand by idle, He took an active role in turning others from sin toward God.
“Minding your own business” may save you from some hardship but it will not help a brother or sister in need. If you truly understand the serious consequences facing those who practice sin, you can’t stay by idle. It is our duty and calling to weep over, pray for, and even confront and keep accountable those who have fallen into a life of sin. James reminds us how important this is as a Christian: My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins. (Jam. 5:19-20)
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

This is a gift of God

Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 5:19)
What is the purpose of your prosperity? God owns it all. He supplies it and searches for men and women to entrust this material world He owns. Unbelievers and many believers alike cut throats and cheat as they compete for their slice of the prosperity pie. But the hand of God pours out blessings without trouble on many of His children who have learned to trust Him and work hard. He desires to bless them to extend the kingdom of God in the temporary world we serve. He has no secret reason for blessing His own.
It is our job not to miss the purpose of the prosperity with which we have been blessed. Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5 that our goal is to please God with these bodies and it is not pleasing to God when we ignore the mandate to extend the Kingdom with out prosperity. As a matter of fact God will take the blessing out of our prosperity. Solomon eludes to this in Eccl. 2:26 “to the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God” God has indeed blessed all of us in America, yet we tend to error with our prosperity in the way we see it and put it to use.
We often error by
1) Taking credit for our prosperity (self made)
2) Showing ingratitude for our prosperity (don’t thank God for it)
3) Showing guilt for our prosperity (downplay God’s blessing as if ashamed to have)
4) Learning to show dependence on our prosperity rather than the provider of it. (A false security on things of worldview)
Let us not try to fall into these errors with our prosperity instead let us recognize God has blessed us so that we will bless His work and advance His kingdom in the world. It is not for you only so don’t use prosperity only to increase your lifestyle. Accumulating any more than what you need to provide for family, continually run a business or retire is accumulating to much. God has provided you with what you need to live in joy and He has also blessed you to bless others to His glory. Let us take account of all we have, give thanks, and use it wisely for both our own family needs but also to the furtherance of His Kingdom.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

Noah “walked with God” Genesis 6:9

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (Gen. 6:5-6)
Noah lived during a very difficult time. The scriptures tell us: No one else loved GOD. No one else did what was right. No one else encouraged Noah’s family and people thought Noah was foolish for obeying and loving GOD.
Noah could have said, “Well everyone else is doing evil, so why should I do good?” Or perhaps, “But GOD, the whole world is doing this so why can’t I?!?” Yet Noah didn’t have this attitude. Genesis 6: 9 says that Noah “walked with God”. Noah didn’t allow everyone else’s actions to influence him to do what he knew was wrong. The sad truth is that most people choose not to love and serve GOD. And you may find yourself in situations where the other people around choose to do evil.
When that day comes what will you do? Will you follow along and do evil or will you seek after GOD and His will? Choosing to follow GOD is not always easy. It isn’t always what we want to do. But GOD knows best and living like He would have us to will always work out for the best. And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.” (Deut. 6: 24-25)
Be sure and make the choice today to follow God even if no one else does. Get to know God’s commands and learn what He is asking you to do. May you stay bold and walk with the Lord even as our culture is falling farther away.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes

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