Terry Baxter Devotional

This Present Evil Age: Galatians 1:3-5

This Present Evil Age: Galatians 1:3-5
“3) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4) who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5) to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.” Galatians‬ ‭1:3-5‬
As Paul continues his greeting to the churches in the region of Galatia, he extends grace and peace to them from both God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for our sins.
But now I must emphasize that Jesus gave Himself for the purpose of “delivering” or “rescuing us from this present evil age.” Though Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and purchase our salvation(John 3:16), He did not remove Satan from his office of “the god of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) Satan is still in his role as deceiver, tempter and prince of the power of the air. This age is still evil and Spiritual Warfare is a reality.
According to Ephesians 6:10-20, I would argue that every child of God is called to be a soldier for Christ “in this present evil age.” Galatians chapters five and six adds much insight to our call to freedom and the challenge to walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh.
The kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness are locked in tense conflict with one another. Make no mistake that evil is relentless and demonic forces are at work today in “this present evil age.”
The front of the battle Paul was fighting in the book of Galatians was for the pure message of the gospel. As we shall see in the next section, Satan works hard to confuse and distort the gospel message. Why? Because it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes! (See Romans 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 1:18)
If the gospel is distorted and salvation through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross is watered down, people will forever be held in bondage to sin and Satan. If we loose the pure gospel message, we loose the war in this present evil age.
The average Christian has no understanding of the plans for evil that Satan has in “this present evil age.” Grace and peace are only possible through the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan does not fear religion. It is his ploy to keep people separated from Christ and slaves to sin. Stay tune as Paul launches into an intense battle for the gospel.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Paul Asserts His Apostleship: Galatians 1:1-2

Paul Asserts His Apostleship: Galatians 1:1-2
“1) Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), 2) and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:” Galatians‬ ‭1:1-2‬ ‭
From the very first verse in the book of Galatians, Paul begins to defend his apostleship. He points out that his conversion and call was the work of God and not man. It is a reminder of his conversion and divine commission in Acts chapter nine. Jesus Himself had met Saul on the road to Damascus and converted and commissioned him for the gospel.
Keep in mind, the whole book of Galatians was a battle for the true gospel. Zealous Jewish teachers were combing the region and teaching that salvation involved faith in Christ but also keeping all the requirements of the Law. They were distorting and annulling the gospel of justification by faith as the sole basis of salvation.
Look ahead to Galatians 1:6-10. Paul recognized that many of the believers across Galatia were exchanging the true gospel of grace for a totally different gospel. They were confused and drifting away from Christ. They were being sucked into a life of legalism and self righteousness based on the Law that could not save them.
Just to clarify, though Jesus saves us unto good works, He does not save us by our good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10) We can add nothing to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross to pay for our sins and purchase our salvation.
Saul as a former Pharisee was zealous for the Law. His testimony in Philippians 3:1-16 cuts to the quick of this battle between legalism and salvation through faith in Christ alone. Focus on verses 8-10. Paul abandoned self-righteous based on keeping the Law for a personal relationship with Christ that comes through faith. Over night he moved from being a persecutor of believers to a powerful preacher of the gospel.
His previous life as a Pharisee, former persecutor of the early Christians, conversion on the road to Damascus and call to be the Apostle to the Gentiles all come into focus in Galatians 1:1. Paul was laying out his credentials to speak on behalf of Christ to the churches across Galatia.
This Epistle was destined to be read, criticized, debated, studied and memorized by millions around the world. It has become a crucial defense and foundation stone of the gospel and the Christian faith. It is worthy of your serious attention and diligent study.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Introduction to the Book of Galatians:

Introduction to the Book of Galatians:
“Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:” Galatians‬ ‭1:1-2‬ ‭
Paul now sets his focus on writing to the churches of Galatia. This was a province officially recognized by Rome. It was approximately 200 miles long north to south and 75 to 150 miles wide. Some ancient maps show it extending all the way to the Black Sea on the north boarder.
The name “Galatia” can be traced back to the Gauls who invaded and settled this region about three centuries prior to the time of Christ. They were a fierce and ruthless foe and swept through the region with violent force. They brought with them barbaric morals and pagan religious practices that promoted fleshly indulgence of every kind. This region includes what is now southern Turkey. The Turk influence over this region is also self evident by the modern name.
This dark cloud of human depravity left a void for truth and decency. This yearning was first scratched by Jewish merchants who introduced them to the Law of Moses. This was followed by a wave of Jewish disciples sent by the Apostle Peter just to the East in Jerusalem which still embraced keeping the Law as a means of justification, though it is not known the extend of their influence. Consequently, these believers were confused with the early legalism that accompanied the gospel sent from Jerusalem.
Note that this Epistle was written to “the churches of Galatia” and not to one individual church. It was intended to be circulated throughout the entire region. It appears that Paul and Barnabas had some form of itinerant ministry in this region. (See Galatians 2:1)
As the book unfolds, Paul vigorously defends the gospel of justification by faith. He shares his personal testimony and even refers to what may have been the Jerusalem Council in Galatians chapter two. This is a very important historical document to fill in the life and story of the Apostle Paul. Undoubtedly, some Jewish believers had fled Jerusalem and settled in this region to escape the persecution of the feared “Saul of Tarsus.” He even weaves some of that story into the early part of the book of Galatians.
Please understand that the battle for the pure Gospel was being waged in this Epistle and the region of Galatia was the battle ground. How fitting, for the region of Galatia had a history of fierce battles from both the Turks and the Gauls; now it was the battle ground for Paul.
The book of Galatians shares many things in common with the book of Romans. Both defend the doctrine of justification by faith, both look at Old Testament history and both point to the walk in the Spirit as opposed to walking in the flesh.
Prepare for an exciting study as we launch into a verse by verse commentary on the book of Galatians. As usual, I will try to keep this practical and applicable as we move forward.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Closing The Book: Colossians 4:18

Closing The Book: Colossians 4:18
“18) I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.” Colossians‬ ‭4:18‬
Thus ends the amazing Epistle to the Colossians. Paul’s imprisonment resulted in many New Testament books being written. It reminds us that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
The mention that the greeting was written with his own hand seems to confirm the theory that Paul had vision trouble and most likely used a scribe and dictation for his writing. ( See Galatians 4:12-15) He would then sign the salutation with his own writing.
As we look back over this short Epistle, it is packed with spiritual knowledge, wisdom and insight. It is a treasure chest of counsel for every child of God. It should be read often and studied frequently. In it are the keys to a new life “in Christ.”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ

Discover The Multiplying Affect: Colossians 4:17

Discover The Multiplying Affect: Colossians 4:17
“17) Say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”” Colossians‬ ‭4:17‬
Virtually nothing is known about Archippus. He is mentioned here and also in Philemon 1:2. From the text in Philemon, it sounds like he hosted a church in his house and he may have been the pastor. Paul calls him a “fellow soldier.”
Paul’s admonition to Archippus is short and pointed; “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.” There is always a danger of minimizing the significance of the ministry God has entrusted to you.
Those pastoring small churches may be tempted into thinking they are of little value. Those in larger churches can be tempted to coast believing other staff can fill in the gap. Paul’s admonition is fitting for all, “take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.”
Jesus taught in Luke 16:10-12 that those who are faithful in small things will be entrusted greater things. This is true in handling finances, investing in relationships, leading a Bible study or doing any task. Faithfulness in small things is doorway to bigger things. Quality ministry has a multiplying affect.
As you grow as a person your value grows. Doing your best with every task entrusted to you expresses your philosophy of life. As you grow… everything around you will begin to grow. It’s called “influence.”
Beware of measuring significance by numbers. Small groups of people are as important as large groups. Jesus placed as much value on the one sheep that went astray as the 99 that remained with the flock. (See Luke 15:3-7)
So what ministry has God entrusted to you? “Take heed that you fulfill it!” Apply yourself with cheerfulness, diligence and excellence. Be faithful where you are and watch what God does.
Faithfulness places you in the “multiplying affect.” This was true of Joseph, David, Daniel and multiple biblical leaders. Do your best and let God do the multiplying. Character makes a difference. Be a person of integrity.
Be faithful in building your walk with God. Be faithful in your daily Bible study and prayer times. Be faithful with your marriage and family relationships. Be faithful with your physical fitness. Be faithful with your finances. Be faithful with your personal witness and evangelism. Be faithful in your career. As you grow everything around you will begin to grow.
There is only one way to tap into the multiplying affect; “Take heed to the ministry entrusted to you in the Lord, that you may fulfill it!”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Don’t Be A Laodicean Losers! Colossians 4:15-16

Don’t Be A Laodicean Losers! Colossians 4:15-16
“15) Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house. 16) When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea.” Colossians‬ ‭4:15-16‬ ‭
Paul now makes mention Nympha and the church that was in her house. She like Phoebe mentioned in Romans 16:1 are part of a long list of prominent women in ministry mentioned in the New Testament. All we know about Nympha is that she had a church in her house. Only eternity will reveal the significant role women have played in the spread of the gospel over the past 2,000 years. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
Paul also mentioned the church of the Laodiceans briefly in theses verses. Many wonder at the lost Epistle to Laodicea. It is testimony to the persecution the early believers endured and how desperately Rome and the Jewish leaders tried stomping out all early Christian literature. Many gave their lives to protect the writings that comprise our New Testament.
However, there is one letter to church at Laodicea that remains. It is found in Revelation 3:14-22. We discover from these verses that the church in Laodicea was at best lukewarm. They had become prosperous and worldly. Jesus called on them to respond to His discipline and repent. He was standing at the door and knocking, but they were so preoccupied with worldly pursuits they were drowning out His voice.
Of the seven churches in Revelation, many conclude that Laodicea is descriptive of the modern Western church. It might well be that they started well but gradually slipped into complacency. It may be more than providential that an earlier letter from Paul was lost. They were losers in every way. Those who turn their back on precious fellowship with Jesus to embrace the world lose so much!
Don’t be a Laodicean Christian. Jesus is standing at the door of your life and knocking. Run and fling the door wide open to Him. Move Him from the fringe of your live and invite Him into the very center and core of your life. Build your life around Him and not yourself!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Luke the Beloved Physician: Colossians 4:14

Luke the Beloved Physician: Colossians 4:14
“14) Luke the beloved physician sends you his greetings, and also Demas.” Colossians 4:14
In this verse, Paul sends a greeting from Luke and Demas. Luke was the noted physician and historian who travel with Paul during the later part of the book of Acts. He wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. His introductions to both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts should be mandatory reading. (See Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-2)
He was a detailed researcher and scholar. Around 58% of the gospel of Luke is unique to that gospel. Notice Luke 1:3 says he investigated everything carefully and wrote it out in consecutive order. He did an excellent job of research and recording details and facts without injecting any personal spin. When reading the book of Acts, Luke suddenly injects himself into the story in Acts 21:2,3 and 6 by adding the word “we.” At that point he joined Paul and his team.
Luke had a reputation of being a physician. That is significant because he never once disputed or questioned a claim of healing either through the ministry of Jesus or the leaders of the early church. If fact, his detailed research punctuated the accuracy of every account. As a medical doctor, he was more than qualified to expose fraud, but that never happened.
Luke is the reason we know so much about the ministries of Peter and Paul and Gods working in the early church. Tragically, none of the other Apostles had a Luke with them as they spread South and East. The Apostle Thomas carried the gospel East as far as India where he was martyred, but we have no details of his travels or ministry.
One of my regrets of years of ministry and travel as an itinerant evangelist is that I never kept a journal. God has done so much, but at this point it is a blur of memories. I confess a bit of hypocrisy with this suggestion, but I encourage you to keep a journal. My daily writing has been primarily a Daily Bible Commentary. That has been a huge blessing, but much of our story has been lost. I am a sticker about living to my fullest in the “now”, but there are times it would be rewarding to look back just to rehearse Gods amazing faithfulness.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Laboring Earnestly in Prayer: Colossians 4:12-13

Laboring Earnestly in Prayer: Colossians 4:12-13
“12) Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 13) For I bear him witness that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis.” Colossians‬ ‭4:12-13‬ ‭
The longer I am in ministry, the more dependent I am upon prayer warriors. We discover from these two verses that Epaphras was a prayer warrior. He labored earnestly in prayer over the whole geographic area of Colossae, Laodicea and Hieropolis.
The phrase “labor earnestly” comes from a Greek word picturing how athletes would compete in the early Olympic games. They would wrestle to win. Epaphras is testimony to the fact that Paul trained and equipped prayer warriors who understood that winning happens only by spending time in Gods presence in earnest prayer.
Nothing of eternal significance happens without prayer. Jesus would often slip away to pray. (Matthew 14:23) Jesus told His disciples to wait until they were clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49) 120 believer devoted themselves to prayer for forty days and ushered in the day of Pentecost. (See Acts 1:14-15) The early church made prayer a daily priority. (Acts 1:42-43) The initial persecuted believers prayed for boldness and unction from on high until the ground was shaken. (Acts 4:23-31) The Apostles corrected squeezing God out of their busy schedules by returning to a focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4) Peter faced deadly calamity through prayer. (Dorcus Acts 9:40) Peter was supernaturally released from prison through prayer. (Acts 12:4-10) The leadership at the church in Antioch ministered to the Lord with prayer and fasting. (Acts 13:2-4) The first thing Paul and Silas did in Philippi was seek out a prayer meeting. (Acts 16:13) After being beaten and thrown in prison, at midnight Paul and Silas turned to prayer and praise until the place was shaken. (Acts 16:25-30) Prayer was not optional in the early church.
The secret to power, unction, anointing, and wonders in the early church was their focus on seeking God in prayer. I often hear Christians lament that God doesn’t work in mighty ways in the Western Church today. And then they ask; “Why?” The answer is simple. For the most part the western church is prayerless. We have not because we ask not or we ask with selfish motives.(James 4:1-4)
The Western Church is program driven and not prayer driven. Our emphasis is on tithes while the early church was moved to tears. The early church focused on seeking God through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit as their primary method of ministry. The modern church focuses on committee meetings, board meetings and clever mission statements.
My experience with the persecuted church and Christians in many 3rd world countries today is that they resemble the early church in the way they earnestly seek God in prayer. I have been put to utter shame by my weak prayer life compared to many Christians around the world.
Epaphras is a reminder that the kingdom of God is fueled by earnest prayer. Satan trembles when he sees even the weakest Christian drop to their knees in earnest prayer. Why? Because they just entered the throne room of God! (Hebrews 4:14-6) It is a sure sign that Satan’s plans are about to be shaken.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Become An Encourager: Colossians 4:10-11

Become An Encourager: Colossians 4:10-11
“10) Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him); 11) and also Jesus who is called Justus; these are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are from the circumcision, and they have proved to be an encouragement to me.” Colossians‬ ‭4:10-11‬
These verses mention three men from a Jewish background. They joined Paul in cross-cultural ministry to the Gentiles. Aristarchus is also mentioned in Acts 19:29 and 20:4. He was a traveling companion of Paul and joined him in suffering for the gospel.
Barnabas’ cousin Mark is an interesting story. Between Acts 11 and 15 Paul and Barnabas had work closely with each other. According to Acts 15:36-41, as they prepared for their second missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas had a falling out over Mark. He had deserted from them in Pamphylia and not gone with them in the work. Paul refused to allow him to rejoin the team. After sharp disagreement, Barnabas took Mark and Paul took Silas and embarked on separate journeys.
It is important to note that Paul had a change of heart toward Mark. In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul specifically asks for Mark to rejoin him in ministry. When Paul wrote the small book of Philemon, he mentions Mark as being Part of his ministry team. (See Philemon 1:23-24)
To his credit, Barnabas was always reaching out to unwanted people that most overlooked or rejected because of their reputation or track record of failure. Barnabas was the man who first reached out to Paul after his conversion. (See Acts 9:26-28) He later recruited Paul to help in the work with the church in Antioch. (See Acts 11:19-26)
It is noteworthy from Acts 4:36 that the name Barnabas literally means “Son of Encouragement.” He made a practice of encouraging discouraged and struggling believers. Just look at some of the men he encouraged and mentored into fruitful ministry. The list includes the Apostle Paul and Mark.
I may be speculating to far, but according to 1 Thessalonians 2:10-11, Paul himself eventually softened his approach and adopted encouragement as a main ingredient in his approach to people and ministry.
Every Christian will have struggles, discouragement and failure. In most cases they are starving for love, acceptance and encouragement. The church and the world are both full of critics, but encouragers are far and few between. There is unfathomable power in encouragement. If you want to be effective and fruitful in life beyond imagination, decide now to become an encourager. Be a Barnabas!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Multiplying Affect: Colossians 4:7-9

Multiplying Affect: Colossians 4:7-9
“7) As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. 8) For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; 9) and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.” Colossians‬ ‭4:7-9‬ ‭
Paul had a network of messengers to help enhance communications between all the churches. Without realizing it, he was raising up young men and preparing them for ministry and leadership.
Tychicus was most likely from Ephesus. He had accompanied Paul to carry an offering to the persecuted church in Jerusalem. (Compare Acts 20:4, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 and Ephesians 6:21-22.) He was very much loved and trusted by Paul.
The story of Onesimus is even more interesting. He was the slave of Philemon who fled to Paul while he was a prisoner in Rome. He was the subject matter of the book of Philemon. His story actually highlights how Christianity eventually ended slavery. He was now a trusted member of Paul’s ministry team and emerging leader in the early church.
I can only imagine the stories this second wave of Christian workers could tell. There would be stories of sitting under the teaching and ministry of Paul, but also stories of what God did through them as they traveled. I can only imagine the network of friendships they built in the various churches across Asia Minor and into Jerusalem.
The equipped and unleashed body of Christ is amazing. 1 Timothy 2:1-7 is fleshed out in these men. They were some of the faithful disciples Paul raised up to teach others also. They were Gods foot soldiers.
It is important to grow and serve where God has you planted. Seasons of life build on each other. It can be illustrated by a funnel. When you come to Jesus you enter the small end of the funnel. As you learn, grow, serve and mature in Christ the funnel opens to unlimited size and potential. The students of one generation become valuable fellow workers and then the leaders of the next generation.
According to John 15:1-17, God wants every believer to grow and multiply in fruitfulness. Be faithful where you are and never underestimate the future plans God has for you. “In Christ” you have in unimaginable potential. You are part of the Holy Spirits multiplying affect in the world.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global