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The Book of Jude

The Book of Jude
Finding Personal Value: Jude 1:1
“Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:” Jude‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭
We now start a study of the small book of Jude. The first and most obvious question when reading this book is “Who is Jude?” It is a good question.
Most scholars agree it was Jude the half brother of Jesus and brother of James. The early Apostle James was martyred as recorded in Acts 12:2. From that point onward, James the half brother of Jesus rose to prominence in the early church. He was mentioned by Paul in Galatians 1:19 and was also the key figure in leadership at the Jerusalem Council as recorded in Acts 15:13-21.
The reference that the author of this small book makes of being the half brother of James would place him as kin to Jesus Himself. This is further confirmed by reading Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. Note that both of these texts state that Jesus had four step brothers, and both lists include James and Judas among them.
It has been observed that family are sometimes the most difficult to reach. There is an interesting comment recorded in John 7:5 about His brothers. At this early stage in the public ministry of Jesus, “not even his brothers were believing in Him.” In fact, it appears that they were among His critics.
At some point that radically changed. Both James and Jude became avid defenders of the gospel and the Deity of Jesus Christ. They both identify themselves as “bond-servants” of Jesus Christ. This transformation was extreme and adds huge credentials to the character and works of Jesus Christ. Even his brother came to believe in Him.
Jude points out that he was writing to “those who are the called, beloved of God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ.” If you are a believer, it is because you were called. The Father loves you and planned your salvation from before the foundation of the world. (Read 1 Peter 1:3 & Ephesians 1:3-6) The longer I am a believer the more I marvel at these truths.
But there is more! Jude observes that we are “kept for Jesus Christ.” We belong to Him. But even more, Ephesians 1:18 teaches that we are the inheritance of Christ. We are His bride. (Ephesians 5:25-27).
The next time you struggle trying to find personal value, review these three points. You are so valuable to God that 1) you were called, 2) you are loved by the Father, 3) and you belong to Jesus Christ. He is planning on spending eternity with you!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Daily Bible Commentary

Daily Bible Commentary
“105) Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalms‬ ‭119:105‬ ‭
“16) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17) so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16-17‬
Welcome to the Daily Bible Commentary. This daily post is dedicated to a verse by verse study of entire books of the Bible. Over the years we have walked through the books of Genesis, John, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1,2 &3 John and Revelation.
For those of you who are new to this page, let me give a brief personal background. I love Jesus Christ and have made the study of the Bible a life long pursuit. I invited Jesus into my life in 1973 as a teenager. After graduation from high schools, I attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where I received my theological training and earned my degree. Over the years I have served as a pastor, evangelist and itinerant missionary. Inn2010 I helped launch a ministry called “GoServ Global.” I have also served four terms in the Iowa Legislature as a State Representative.
My approach in writing these daily commentaries is to let the Bible text be the guide to the subject matter. My goal is to give a sound exposition on the context that is very practical and applicable to daily life. Let me briefly share the background of this endeavor.
God blessed my wife and myself with eight children we raised to adulthood. Every three to five years I would wear out a study Bible and then leave one to each of my children as a legacy. As the years have piled up, I have grown, learned more, changed some view points and gained significant illumination on many texts. To keep my children current on my insights, I started writing the Daily Bible Commentary and posting it to my Facebook Page.
Soon others started following the daily posts and they gained in popularity and momentum. Now writing them is a significant part of my daily ministry. I have no set time to wake up each morning to study and write. I leave that to the Holy Spirit, but I usually wake up somewhere between 2:00 and 3:00 AM each morning. My goal is to post the message before 6:00 AM every day. Then I often lay down for prayer, worship, meditation and a bit more sleep before starting my day.
The message is posted both on my Facebook page and our GoServ Global webpage. My goal is to be a blessing to many in their journey of faith and walk with God. Please feel free to use this material as God gives you opportunity. It is devoted to building up the Kingdom of God.
The book of Galatians is now complete. Tomorrow we will launch into our next study. Stay tuned!

Brand-Marks For Jesus: Galatians 6:17-18

Brand-Marks For Jesus: Galatians 6:17-18
“17) From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. 18) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.” Galatians‬ ‭6:17-18‬ ‭
The greatest affirmation of your belief system can be measured by how much you are willing to suffer to defend it. Paul uses that point to drive home his final argument about the gospel of justification by faith that he preached. He paid a high personal price because of his love for Jesus Christ and the gospel. Ultimately, he gave his very life to defend the doctrine of justification by faith.
2 Corinthians 11:22-33 shares parts of his story and how much he suffered for the gospel. Every time I read this text it deeply challenges me. Let me summarize.
Paul was often put in jail or prison, beaten times without number, five times he was subjected to public lashings of thirty-nine blows, three times he was beaten with rods, one time he was stoned and left for dead. Besides that, he was ship wrecked three times and on one of those occasions he spent a full night and day floating around at sea until he was rescued.
Besides that, he went on many journeys by foot and covered thousands of miles. On those trips he often went without food and drink while suffering much hardship from the elements with cold and exposure, sleepless nights, wild animals and robbers. He was in constant danger from people who wanted to kill him. When you signed up for a short term mission trip with Paul, you literally signed with your own blood. Traveling with Paul was not for the weak or faint hearted.
But that doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. When he was put in jail in Philippi, he and Silas were locked in the inner jail with their hands and feet in stocks and bonds. Beyond that, as a prisoner of Rome he wore chains much of the time. May I observe that chains and shackles were not designed for bodily comfort. Paul’s body was literally covered with scars, calluses and leanness.
With that background, you now have an idea of the meaning of Galatians 6:17. Beyond that, some believe he may have actually been branded with a hot branding iron to mark him as an enemy of Rome. He suffered daily for Jesus and the gospel entrusted to him to preach.
His point was very clear; “The gospel preached by me is not motivated by personal gain. I have lost everything and suffered in unimaginable ways for this gospel. I have been willing to pay this price because of my sincere love for Jesus Christ and the defense of the true Gospel.” How could anyone ignore the weight of this closing argument?
Now ogives the final verse in the book of Galatians; “18) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit brethren. Amen.” His whole discussion of the flesh and the spirit earlier in the book of Galatians comes into focus once more in these closing two verses. Paul was willing to suffer in the flesh that he might prosper in the spirit. He understood that God’s grace could strengthen the inner man even when the outer man was suffering and decaying. (See 2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
I sometimes chuckle when people inquire about going on a short term missions trip. One of the first questions they often ask is; “Can you guarantee my physical safety?” It tells me from the onset that their focus is on the flesh and not on the spirit.
This is the issue that concerns me most about the western church as we move into the end times. The obsession with personal physical comfort will result in many so called Christians abandoning their faith in the face of persecution.
Jesus said that those who seek to save their life will lose it, but those willing to suffer and even lose their life for Him and the gospel will gain true life. (See the context of Matthew 10:39 and 16:25) This is the turf the faith of the early Christians was built on.
Stop right now and analyze your focus and priorities. Are you willing to suffer in the flesh that you might prosper in the spirit? Does the smallest thought of physical discomfort cause you anxiety? Can you persevere through pain and discomfort to accomplish a task? Are you willing to suffer in the flesh to keep your word and your convictions? Do you embrace the value system of Paul as verbalized in Acts 20:22-24? Is your love for Jesus greater than your love for this life and the world?
These are questions you need to settle in defining yourself and evaluating your true faith walk. Do you have any brand-marks earned because of your love for Jesus?
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Becoming a Source of Good in the World: Galatians 6:9-10

Becoming a Source of Good in the World: Galatians 6:9-10
“9) Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10) So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians‬ ‭6:9-10‬
Ok, sit back and let’s have a little chat about “going good.” This is a conversation long overdo in many Christian circles.
I believe in the importance and value of doing good. I know the world has plenty of bad, but God wants His people to constantly sow good. Verse nine starts by saying, “Do not lose heart in doing good.” Why?
First, because God is good and can only do good. James 1:16-17 tells us not to be deceived about the immutability of God in going good. “17) Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is bo variation or shifting shadow.” God is absolutely good and only does good! He does not change in “doing good.”
Second, we should “do good” because of the Law of the Sower. What you sow you reap in life. Galatians 6:7 uses the same phrase as James 1:16; “do not be deceived” and then it adds, “God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, he will reap.” The implication is that if you want to receive good be constant in sowing good. Verse 9 concludes that “in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.” Keep in mind, the context is about “doing good.”
Third, with a very large stroke of the brush, in an evil world God wants His people to be the source of good. Because He is the Father of lights, He wants us to shine as lights in the world. (Combine James 1:17 with Matthew 5:14-16) This becomes the basis of our witness and the expression of the kingdom of light of which God makes us a part at the time of salvation. (see Colossians 1:12-13)
Finally, the conclusion is that Christians should create opportunities to “do good” in the world. That’s exactly what Galatians 6:10 concludes. We are to look for opportunities to do good and in the process be clothed with good deeds.
Make no mistake, we are not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works. Ephesians 2:8-10 makes this absolutely clear. Good works should fallow in the wake of every Christian like waves behind a speed boat. God wants us to constantly make good waves in the world for the glory of God.
Nothing interrupts Satan’s evil plans in the world more than millions of Christians devoted to sowing good daily. When is the last time you pondered Romans 8:28? Read it slowly; “28) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
God wants you and me to be part of His source of good in the world. If you cannot find an opportunity to do good, then look for some hurt, pain and suffering and breath agape love, hope and grace into it. Purpose to be a beam of light in otherwise dark places. Nothing paves the way more for sharing the gospel than being a source of good in the world.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Law of the Sower: Galatians 6:7-10

The Law of the Sower: Galatians 6:7-10
“7) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8) For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9) Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10) So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians‬ ‭6:7-10‬
In this text Paul applies the Law of the Sower to the deeds of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. He basically says, “What you sow in morals and attitudes you reap in life!” There is no getting around this principle. It is equal for all people in every social group and economic status.
Verse 8 is extremely clear. If you sow to your flesh you will reap corruption and consequences in your life. The Old Testament is full of stories of this universal principle. It is true for individuals and nations. It is true for the rich and the poor. It is true for common people and political leaders. Your personal morals will shape your life circumstances.
It is equally true that those who sow to the Spirit reap amazing blessings and eternal life. As Hebrews 11:6 says, “… God rewards those who seek Him.” God abundantly blesses those who live for Him and keep His ways.
This text was foundational to my personal journey to freedom and has significantly shaped my life philosophy. I learned very early as a Christian that if I wanted my life circumstances to change, I first needed to change the seed I was sowing. It takes time to produce a crop, but you can start changing your seed immediately.
It is true that changing destiny takes time but changing direction can happen immediately. The Law of the Sower also has a compounding affect. Abundant sowing consistently over time produces incredible results.
The Law of the Sower can be applied to every area of life. It is true for your spiritual life, physical fitness, mental well-being, relationships and finances. What you do consistently on a daily, weekly and monthly basis will determine your future.
Verse 9 is a great summary; “And let us not loose heart in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not grow weary.” The Law of the Sower says, “You reap what you sow in life.” It also says, “You reap as you sow in life.” (See 2 Corinthians 9:6) If it’s worth doing, do it big! Don’t plant a small garden of good seed when you plant a huge field.
It is from the backdrop of the Law of the Sower that we can tackle the subject of the negative consequences of bad habits and the positive results of good disciplines. Understanding this Law produces huge personal motivation. It gives the promise of monumental change in life and the wisdom to accomplish that change.
Simply identify the area you want to change and start sowing different seed in that area. You are not a slave to fate, chance, your addictions, bad habits or bad karma. God has given you the power to change. This is rooted in the Law of the Sower.
Observing life and people through the lens of the Law of the Sower has given me deep fear and reverence for God. There may be a few bumps in life from unexpected events like accidents, natural disasters or the actions of the wicked; but overall the Law of the Sower is the most influential force in life because it is rooted in the character and nature of God. I will leave you to think that through on your own.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Financial Stewardship: Galatians 6:6

Financial Stewardship: Galatians 6:6
“6) The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.” Galatians‬ ‭6:6‬
This is a stand alone verse. It is setting up a model for compensation of those in full time ministry. As Acts 6:4 says, it is vital for spiritual leaders to be set aside for prayer and the ministry of the preaching and teaching.
Study, message preparation, seeking God earnestly in prayer and shepherding people is hard work. Those who excel work long hours and often get called anytime day or night. They need to be compensated by the body of Christ so they can devote themselves full time to this calling.
There is a place in church planting or beginning a new mission work for what is sometimes called “tent making.” This comes from Paul’s willingness on occasion to work with his own hands to provide financially for his support. (See Acts 18:1-5).
Notice there came a point where Paul devoted himself full time to the ministry. Why? Because as ministry grew so did the work load. It can be assumed that the support base was also growing.
God wants every Christian to practice giving and stewardship. In the Old Testament this was called the “Tithe” and was based on 10% of annual income. It went to support the priests, Levites and the work of the temple. There is far more overhead in ministry than merely the salary of the workers.
Texts like 2 Corinthians 8-9 develops this theme in depth for New Testament believers. Giving went beyond mere tithing and is more often referred to as “stewardship” and “free will offerings” in the New Testament.
We set 10% as our base to the church and formal ministry and then give as God prompts us beyond that to special needs. We also support a few missionaries on the side of our giving to the church.
I consider giving as a part of worship and acknowledgment that God is the Provider of all things. God loves a cheerful giver and He rewards generosity. (See 2 Corinthians 9:6-11). The Bible is full of financial advice, and part of it includes giving.
If you need to get your financial house in order, I would encourage you to follow this simple plan for every dollar that comes your way: Give 10% to Gods Work Save and invest 20% (Pay Yourself!) Live the rest of your life on 70% Become debt free as soon as possible Live within your means Avoid credit cards like a curse… paying interest drastically reduces your overall spending power. Consume wisely: Shop clearances, buy quality used items, pray for Gods provision, negotiate purchases when possible and learn contentment. Increase your giving as God blesses your investments and capital.
These eight points are based on practical biblical wisdom and will put you on a pathway for financial freedom and prosperity over time. I would highly encourage you to take a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course as soon as possible. The way you handle your finances tells volumes about your character and view of God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Bearing One Another’s Burdens: Galatians 6:2

Bearing One Another’s Burdens: Galatians 6:2
“2) Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians‬ ‭6:2‬ ‭
This is an important verse for many reasons. Agape love helps carry the needs of others. According to the context of verse one, some of this might be the result of restoration ministry. The burdens of someone overcoming a chemical dependency or sexual addiction may require commitments in terms of time and strange hours. Their early walk to freedom can be a heavy burden to help carry.
Of course, there are also the needs of those who are terminally ill, handicapped, jobless or grieving the loss of a loved one. Victims of a natural disaster also qualify as well as the needs of widows and orphans. Agape love shows up to meet the needs of others.
According to Hebrews 10:32-34, the early church also had huge needs resulting from persecution. Some Christians were thrown in prison and their children were left destitute. Others had all their property seized and were left homeless for the sake of the gospel. This resulted in significant burdens for the early church to carry.
Paul was not specific about the cause or scope of the burdens. They can vary greatly. But in the context of his discussion of the fruit of the Spirit, he full expected Spirit filled Christians to step up and help as needs came to their attention.
However, it should be noted that the early church promoted a strong work ethic. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, Paul warned the believers not to condone or enable laziness. Sometimes the best intervention in these cases in to help the brother or sister find a job and learn how to work.
The second part of this verse is also significant. Paul referred to the law of Christ. This might be a reference to the golden rule as recorded in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. We should treat others as we would want to be treated in a similar situation.
It may also be a reference to the New Commandment to love one another from John 13:34-35. Jesus made it clear that Christians would be identified by their love. It can be assumed that this was love in action and not a mere emotion or feeling of euphoria. Agape love steps into shoe leather and puts on work gloves in the face of needs.
Philippians 2:1-18 hammers out the practical theology behind bearing one another’s burdens. Just as Jesus was mindful of the needs of others above Himself, so should His followers care for others. He modeled that true ministry involved meeting the needs of others.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Breakdown Within Christian Family and Community: Galatians 5:15; 25-26

Breakdown Within Christian Family and Community: Galatians 5:15; 25-26
“15) But if you bite and devour one another, take heed lest you be consumed by one another. 25) If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26) Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” Galatians‬ ‭5:15; 25-26‬
Notice I have put verse 15 with verses 25-26 for this discussion. It seems that the Christians in the early church had more than a small amount of contention between them. They were biting and devouring one another. Some were boastful while others challenging each other or filled with jealousy. Why do I point this out?
Most people think about the walk in the Spirit in the context of power or anointing for spiritual service, but the backdrop of this text is interpersonal relationships. No place is the fruit of the Spirit more important than in our relationships with other people.
When you think about it, formal ministry is a very small part of our lives. Even the busiest preachers and teachings spend a relatively short period of time each week in front of people, but interpersonal relationships happen constantly. From marriage and family living to work and community involvement, we are constantly rubbing shoulders with people.
I maintain we often think about the fruit of the Spirit in wrong terms. The fruit of the Spirit is not a special occasion wardrobe, the fruit of the Spirit is all occasion attire. Soon after becoming a Christian, the fruit of the Spirit should flow constantly from our lives. These qualities should become entwined with our personality.
Take another look at the list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. If Christians constantly displayed love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control the divorce rate would be zero. There would be no need for family counseling. Church conflict would be non-existent. Christians would never be fired from jobs and Christian employers would be sought after in the market place.
Another phenomenon would also take place, groves of people would be drawn to Christ as Christians become the intended salt and light in the world. It is this ministry of the Holy Spirit that is intended to define Christians. According to John 13:34-35 we are to be identified in the world by our love.
This discussion is of paramount importance. There is a huge breakdown within Christian family and community when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit. Something has gone tragically wrong! This is part of the reason why revival tarries.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The New Life: Galatians 5:24-25

The New Life: Galatians 5:24-25
“24) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25) If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians‬ ‭5:24‬-25
Verse 24 often gets skipped over because it is attached to the end of the list of the fruit of the Spirit. Paul states that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
This sounds a lot like Galatians 2:20 where Paul said “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”
We now discover that the word “flesh” has two meanings. The first in Galatians 2:20 relates to living in a physical body. The second in Galatians 5:24 relates to our sin nature or the power sin has over our lives.
Paul was saying that those who belong to Christ have been freed from the power of sin. Christians are no longer slaves to sin. Our daily experience needs to catch up with this truth of theology.
The battle is real. Practical victory in our lives is only possible as we learn to walk by grace, by faith and by the Holy Spirit. This is the only way to die to our fleshly passions and desires.
Those four rhetorical questions from Galatians 3:2-5 suddenly become very relevant to this discussion. You cannot lean on your flesh to carry you through the vally of temptation. It is the Holy Spirit who gives strength for the battle. Your flesh will fail you when temptation presses in like a flood.
Walking by the Spirit is not optional. If you want to embrace your fulness “in Christ”, you better embrace the ministry of the Holy Spirit. You will never win the inner war apart from His intervention in your life. Verse 25 says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Our new life “in Christ” is based on the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-24

Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-24
“22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians‬ ‭5:22-24‬
The more I study these verses, the more I realize how beautiful and supernatural the origin of these qualities. And it must be noted that only the Biblical God of Creation prizes and characterizes these qualities. All other gods and deities are vile or immoral and bent toward the devious. They line up with the deeds of the flesh and not the fruit of the Spirit.
These fruits are not normal human qualities. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are desired qualities but impossible for sinful people to consistently manifest apart from grace and Divine help. But this context teaches that these qualities should become normal for Christians. These are fruits or natural outcomes of walking in the Spirit.
This is undoubtedly what Jesus had in mind in Matthew 7:16-20 when He stated “you will know them by their fruits.” The Spirit of God pours out agape love in the heart of every true believer. (Romans 5:5) This is an undeniable fact of regeneration.
This is why Jesus noted in John 13:34-35 that His followers would be distinguished by the way they loved one another. This “New Commandment” to love one another as a direct byproduct of the inner working of the Holy Spirit automatically fulfills the Law. (See Romans 13:10) Christians need not be legalistic, they merely need to focus on becoming loving and Christ-like. The fruit of the Spirit produces inner holiness.
Note what Paul concluded about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23; “… against such things there is no law.” None of the Ten Commandments can be broken when consistently walking in the Spirit and producing these fruits.
The flesh cannot keep the Law. The deeds of the flesh as recorded in Galatians 5:19-21 are why the Law was given. It was given to put boundaries around human depravity and attempt to reel in sinful corruption. But the Law failed to make people good because it was dependent on the effort of the flesh. (See Romans 8:1-4). According to these verses, Jesus has a different plan to transform people. He focuses on salvation and the walk in the Spirit.
I always scratch my head when supposed Christians argue about the importance of trying to keep the Law. The only way that is possible is through being born-again and walking in the Spirit. The flesh cannot keep the Law!
In fact Galatians 5:24 puts the hammer on the nail when it says; “Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” There is no excuse for any Christian to live in bondage to the deeds of the flesh.
Jesus died on the cross to set us free. The work of the Holy Spirit in the life of every true believer is a journey toward freedom, inner healing and wholeness. He washes and sanctifies every true believer. He moves us toward holiness.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global