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daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 01 October 2009 11:29
James 2:26 - Just as the body is dead without the spirit, even so faith
without action is dead.

Faith is the miracle-working power of God that lives on the inside of
us, because Jesus lives on the inside of us. The word of God that
produces faith was incarnated into flesh, and the actions of faith were
demonstrated for the whole world to see. That same Jesus now lives in
us, and from Him continues to flow the mighty deeds of faith and power
(2 Corinthians 13:5; Colossians 1:27; John 17:23; 1 John 4:13).

James helps us to understand that there is a living faith, and there is
a dead faith. A living faith has action. A living faith participates in
the things that the word of God describes. The word of God cannot help
but produce faith in those who will hear (Romans 10:8,17; Galatians 3:3;
1 Thessalonians 2:13). Those who will hear the word of faith will have a
corresponding action. There will be a divine power and ability supplied
by the Spirit of God to do those things that the word of God demands.
However, if we are unwilling to come under the control and domination of
the Holy Spirit, then faith will have no action at all; and the word
will not be revealed in our lives. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to
reveal Jesus (John 16:14; John 15:26; Galatians 1:16). Even as the Holy
Spirit was responsible for revealing the incarnate Word with mighty
signs and wonders - He reveals the life of the word, Christ Jesus, in us
today (Acts 10:38; John 3:34; Luke 4:18; Acts 2:22; Matthew 12:28;
Galatians 3:5). The Holy Spirit does this through the actions of faith.
The actions of faith are the word made manifest in our lives.

Faith that does not produce an action is a corpse; even as the body
without the spirit is a corpse. A corpse is nothing more than a rotting,
decaying body that is returning to its dust. The word of God that does
not produce an action is the word that is not obeyed. When the word of
God goes forth, the Holy Spirit stands ready to produce the miracle of
obedience in all those who will act (Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26; 1 Peter
1:2). The gift of God has provided the measure of faith that is needed
to do all that God has commanded. As soon as the word is heard, faith
comes; but the faith that comes must be yielded to - if the actions of
the word are to be revealed. The Holy Spirit stands ready to supply all
the faith that is needed to do all that God has commanded, so that the
life and nature of Jesus may be revealed in our lives today (Galatians
5:22; 2 Corinthians 4:13).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 11:27
James 2:17 - And so faith without works is dead, being by itself.

How many people have dead faith? In other words - their faith just does
not work? Each person must realize that faith is inseparably linked to
the word of God. Faith has its starting point and its beginning in the
word of God. It is established, and then grows into all the
glory-producing power that is contained within it. The word of God
describes the blessings that we are to have in our life; and it is faith
that lays hold of those blessings. The word of God describes the actions
that must be taken; and it is faith that moves forward in those actions.
Without those actions or works, then faith is dead. If the word of God
does not move us to do something, then we are only hearers of the word;
as such Jesus said we are not right with God (Matthew 7:21,24; Matthew
7:26; Luke 6:47,49). The word of God, that is living and powerful,
empowers us to do extraordinary things. Like Peter, we must be willing
to step out and begin to walk in the realm of impossibility when we hear
the word of God (Matthew 14:28).

We must be careful that we obey God, and do the first things first. How
can a person who is not willing to find the power to obey God in their
conduct ever expect that they will find the power to walk on water? If
we are not going to be faithful in the basic things related to our
relationship with Jesus, then how do we expect to be entrusted by Him to
do greater things? We must recognize that Jesus Christ is in us, and
that He is the fountainhead of all faith. Paul says for us to test
ourselves, to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). The faith
that flows from the Word of God, Christ Jesus, is going to produce the
works of God - that are to be found only in the life of Christ Jesus.

The word of God says that we can do all things through Christ who
strengthens us (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:11; 1
Peter 5:10). Yet many shrink back, and with the confession of their
mouths say the opposite; because they failed at one thing or another.
Yet were they reaching for it in God, or were they reaching for it in
self-interest? If we will start by reaching for the strength to walk in
obedience in conduct, then we will find the strength to lay hold of all
of the blessings and promises of God. For example, if a person reaches
to lay hold on the wealth that God has promised His saints, but refuses
to reach for the ability to walk in love - faith will not work
(Galatians 5:6). There is a fellowship with Christ Jesus that produces
the confidence and assurance that we need to function in all the great
things that God has called us to do (1 John 3:21; 1 John 5:14; Ephesians
3:12; Hebrews 10:22). We must understand then that living and active
faith functions out of a realm of fellowship with Jesus: a fellowship
that is demonstrated by obedience.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 13:15
Matthew 8:10 - When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who
followed, "Truly I tell you: I have not found so great of faith in Israel."

The definition that Jesus has of faith is recorded in Matthew 8:10. The
definition of faith was characterized by the attitude and confidence
that a Roman Centurion had in Jesus. The centurion recognized who Jesus
was, and laid hold on the power and authority which Jesus possessed. The
centurion was in such awe of Jesus, that he did not feel worthy to even
have Him come to his house. Perhaps one of the advantages that this man
had was his ability to recognize authority. All the centurion needed was
for Jesus to "speak the word only." If Jesus said it - then that would
be good enough. With the word of Jesus, the centurion was able to call
it done; and leave fully satisfied that his servant was totally cured.

The authority of the word, and our willingness to accept it and act on
it, is a theme that runs throughout the scripture. To move in such
faith, we must be struck with the awesomeness and power of God; who has
authority to do anything He chooses. We must hear His word telling us
that he cares for us, and that He will do whatever we ask. Then we must
call it done (Mark 11:24; Acts 10:43; Galatians 3:2; Romans 4:17; Romans
4:20-21; 2 Corinthians 1:20). The centurion was not of the household of
faith, and had no rights to the covenant and promises. He was a man of a
pagan race, who did not know God. Even though Jesus was sent to the lost
sheep of the house of Israel, He could not pass by the faith of this
man. The centurion's faith created an access into the realms of the
Kingdom that was not yet available, and His petition was immediately
granted. Perhaps one of the advantages that this man had over many in
Israel was that he was not confused with all of the doctrinal questions
as to whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. He, being a man exposed to
great commanders and leaders, was able to recognize authority and
greatness when he saw it.

Today, if we will only have faith in God, we will see the great things
that He has promised become a reality in our lives. If we will have
faith that Jesus is exalted above all other rulers and authorities,
everything being subject to Him; then we can be certain that what He has
said, He is also able to do. We can have the same confidence that the
centurion had, and know that because Jesus has spoken the word - that is
all that we need. We do not have to wait until we can see it with our
eyes in order to believe; for His word is evidence enough for those who
are convinced of who Jesus is!
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 28 September 2009 13:16
Luke 8:25 - And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And being
afraid, they said to one another, "Who is this that commands even the
wind and the waves, and they obey Him?"

One of the primary things that Jesus taught His disciples was how to
function in faith. He was continually rebuking them for a lack of it, as
well as making examples of those who displayed it. Unlike many scholars
and theologians, who over the years have attempted to define faith in
numerous ways, Jesus defined faith in a way that was always associated
with a supernatural display of power. If we look only at the gospel of
Matthew, we can easily see that Jesus expected the disciples, and all
those who would hear, to move in faith for the miraculous.

The first time Jesus mentions faith is in association with the
expectation that we should have for divine provision (Matthew 6:30).
Then when Jesus encounters the centurion, He highlights an example of
great faith, pointing to the fact that the centurion only needed Jesus
to "speak the word" (Matthew 8:10,13). When a paralyzed man was brought
for healing, Jesus once again pointed to the faith that would result in
the miracle of healing (Matthew 9:2). The woman with the issue of blood,
who knew that all she needed to do was to touch Jesus in order to
receive a miracle, was rewarded with the words, "Your faith has made you
well" (Matthew 9:22). Peter was eager to walk on the water with Jesus;
and knowing that all he needed was a word from the Master, stepped out
in the miracle provision of faith, and walked on the water until he
became afraid; and learned yet another lesson on faith as he began to
sink. Jesus said, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Mathew
14:31). They watched as Jesus was at first reluctant to respond to the
Syrophonecian woman, but in the end said, "Woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done to you as you wish" (Matthew 15:28).

All of these many lessons on moving in faith find their climactic
resolve in the words of Jesus, when He declared: "Nothing shall be
impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20). Whether it is a command for a fig
tree to dry up, or for a mountain to be cast into the sea - those who
have faith will say what they will, and it will come to pass (Matthew
21:21-22). God has called and elected us to have such a relationship
with Him: that whatever we ask, He will do (Matthew 21:22; John 15:16;
John 14:12). We can be confident that those things that God has promised
will surely come to pass, if we remain faithful, and hold fast to our
confession of faith; for God is faithful who promised, who will also do
it (1 John 5:14-15; Hebrews 10:23; 2 Corinthians 1:20). If we ask
anything according to His will, He will do it! His will is expressed in
His words - which can never pass away (Mark 13:31; Matthew 24:35; Luke
21:33).

His word declares that it is His will that the blind see, the death
hear, the crippled walk, the devils go out of those who are afflicted by
them, and the dead be raised to life again! It is God's will that we
prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers. It His will that we
walk in righteousness, holiness, and purity! It is His will that we have
the power of proof for the message that we proclaim: that Christ Jesus
has risen form the dead. It is His demand that we be His followers, and
imitators of His deeds and conduct (Ephesians 5:1; Luke 10:19; John
14:12; Mark 16:17-20). To do so then, we must give ourselves to the same
message of the Kingdom of God that He preached, and the miracles which
He performed. If we will give ourselves to living by His word: speaking
and doing those things which He has declared, then we will have His
results. If we refuse to waver or to be moved by doubt, and instead
recognize who Jesus is, and the gift of God that He has given us; then
we will surely see all the miraculous realms of faith produce what
otherwise would have been impossible. Jesus says to us today: "Only have
faith!" (Mark 5:36).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 28 September 2009 12:46
Luke 8:25 - And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And being
afraid, they said to one another, "Who is this that commands even the
wind and the waves, and they obey Him?"

One of the primary things that Jesus taught His disciples was how to
function in faith. He was continually rebuking them for a lack of it, as
well as making examples of those who displayed it. Unlike many scholars
and theologians, who over the years have attempted to define faith in
numerous ways, Jesus defined faith in a way that was always associated
with a supernatural display of power. If we look only at the gospel of
Matthew, we can easily see that Jesus expected the disciples, and all
those who would hear, to move in faith for the miraculous.

The first time Jesus mentions faith is in association with the
expectation that we should have for divine provision (Matthew 6:30).
Then when Jesus encounters the centurion, He highlights an example of
great faith, pointing to the fact that the centurion only needed Jesus
to "speak the word" (Matthew 8:10,13). When a paralyzed man was brought
for healing, Jesus once again pointed to the faith that would result in
the miracle of healing (Matthew 9:2). The woman with the issue of blood,
who knew that all she needed to do was to touch Jesus in order to
receive a miracle, was rewarded with the words, "Your faith has made you
well" (Matthew 9:22). Peter was eager to walk on the water with Jesus;
and knowing that all he needed was a word from the Master, stepped out
in the miracle provision of faith, and walked on the water until he
became afraid; and learned yet another lesson on faith as he began to
sink. Jesus said, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Mathew
14:31). They watched as Jesus was at first reluctant to respond to the
Syrophonecian woman, but in the end said, "Woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done to you as you wish" (Matthew 15:28).

All of these many lessons on moving in faith find their climactic
resolve in the words of Jesus, when He declared: "Nothing shall be
impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20). Whether it is a command for a fig
tree to dry up, or for a mountain to be cast into the sea - those who
have faith will say what they will, and it will come to pass (Matthew
21:21-22). God has called and elected us to have such a relationship
with Him: that whatever we ask, He will do (Matthew 21:22; John 15:16;
John 14:12). We can be confident that those things that God has promised
will surely come to pass, if we remain faithful, and hold fast to our
confession of faith; for God is faithful who promised, who will also do
it (1 John 5:14-15; Hebrews 10:23; 2 Corinthians 1:20). If we ask
anything according to His will, He will do it! His will is expressed in
His words - which can never pass away (Mark 13:31; Matthew 24:35; Luke
21:33).

His word declares that it is His will that the blind see, the death
hear, the crippled walk, the devils go out of those who are afflicted by
them, and the dead be raised to life again! It is God's will that we
prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers. It His will that we
walk in righteousness, holiness, and purity! It is His will that we have
the power of proof for the message that we proclaim: that Christ Jesus
has risen form the dead. It is His demand that we be His followers, and
imitators of His deeds and conduct (Ephesians 5:1; Luke 10:19; John
14:12; Mark 16:17-20). To do so then, we must give ourselves to the same
message of the Kingdom of God that He preached, and the miracles which
He performed. If we will give ourselves to living by His word: speaking
and doing those things which He has declared; if we refuse to waver or
to be moved by doubt, and instead recognize who Jesus is, and the gift
of God that He has given us; then we will surely see all the miraculous
realms of faith produce what otherwise would have been impossible. Jesus
says to us today: "Only have faith!" (Mark 5:36).
 
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