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daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 25 January 2010 13:04
Isaiah 43:19 - Behold, I make all things new! Now it will spring up,
shall you not know it? Surely I open a way in the wilderness, and rivers
in the desert.

The greatest enemy of the new things is old things. Unfortunately, the
enemy of our past is constantly attempting to impose itself on us. But
we must recognize that to move forward, we have to leave the past
behind; we must find a way to cut it off from our present. In this
passage of scripture, Isaiah is talking to a rebellious people who have
refused to obey God. They all attended church, but refused to walk out a
life of obedience. Their past responses to God were a miserable
disaster. Yet the Lord planned a future for them, that would bring them
into a greater glory than when He led them out of Egypt. To do this He
would win the hearts of His people - with greater miracles than He had
done when he parted the sea, and destroyed their enemies who attempted
to hold them back from walking with Him. God desired to bring His people
into such a glorious miracle of His grace and provision that they would
not remember the former things, because the new things would be so much
greater.

Even though Israel was already dispersed and Judah was heading into a
captivity; God was planning out their return. He was making a way where
there was no way, and providing a hope where there was no hope. He was
willing to let go of all of their past transgressions, so that He could
plan out a brand new day and a glorious future. We must realize that it
is easy for God to forgive us, but it is hard for us to forgive
ourselves. However, until we will forgive ourselves (as well as others)
and let go of the past, we cannot move on into the future that God has
planned for us. God is doing a new thing right now: it is springing up!
But we must be willing to lift up our hands that hang down, and realize
that God has brought to pass a brand new day (Hebrews 12:12-13; Isaiah
35:3-10). We must be willing to allow the failures and disappointments
of the past to no longer guide our decisions and expectations. Rather,
in confidence towards God, we must begin anew as though this is the
first day that we believed. The confidence and the expectation of the
promises of God must be allowed to become the excitement and
anticipation of our hearts once again.

Faith in the promises of God is how we will step into our future, and
live today in the Kingdom of God! If we allow the trials and failures of
the past to turn our hearts from the expectation we once had in God,
then we must face the fact that the word of God has been overthrown in
our lives. Doubt and unbelief are the forces of hell that have come out
against our faith; and we must deal with them as such. If we allow the
forces of doubt and unbelief to overwhelm our lives, then there is no
moving forward; but a staggering about in the torments of the past.
Condemnations and discouragements are the heroes of darkness; and unless
you put your trust in God, they will confine you to an eternal prison of
darkness. It is time that we end our compromises with failure and
mediocrity, and step into the certainty of our call to greatness in God!
No matter how many situations and circumstances of the past say "it is
not so," we must turn to the word of God and say: "It is!" We must
forget those things which are behind, and reach for those things which
are before us in God; we must press on! (Philippians 3:13-14). Let us
see Jesus and no longer ourselves; let us lay hold on the heavenly
vision. No matter what things may come to stop us, we must not be moved
(Hebrews 12:2; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Timothy 6:12; 1 Peter 5:10; Colossians
2:7; Matthew 7:24-25; Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Sunday, 24 January 2010 16:37
Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the reality of things expected; the proof of
what is not seen.

What is reality to you? Most people live their lives on the logical
predictions that they forecast for themselves. For example: we predict
our budgets based upon what money we make, and then we predict what we
can and cannot do based upon that budget; which of course is all very
sensible and rational. But there is a reality that is superior to the
one in which we forecast our present and future events, and that is the
reality of God's promises: the word of God and the promises of God
produce faith. Fundamentally, God's promises produce a good hope or
expectation of the future. The Spirit of the Lord takes that hope and
expectation into the realm of divine power, and provides faith. We may
trust in God to work on our behalf; but faith allows us to participate
with God in the miracle.

The Greek word 'hypostasis' ("reality,"sometimes translated "substance")
was a word used exclusively in science in ancient Greece. The word
expressed the hidden reality behind an observable phenomenon
(Theological dictionary of the New Testament). Now it is faith that
makes our expectations in God a reality! Many want to make faith a set
of philosophical beliefs or religious opinions, but it was not Daniel's
opinion's that delivered him from the lion's mouth. It was not the
philosophical beliefs that caused Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to be
untouched by the flames that engulfed them (Daniel 3:20-30). Noah was
warned by God of unseen things; and because he obeyed the word of God
even though it was foolishness to men, he and his house were saved.
Abraham believed the promises of God and moved in obedience, and stepped
into a great inheritance. When we believe God and act in obedience to
His word, He will reward us with the promises that He has made. God has
promised to bless and prosper us, but we must move in accordance with
His word. He has promised to do exceedingly above all that we can think
or ask; but we must believe that it is true, and obey!

Faith brings into reality those things that God's word has led us to
expect. Faith also demonstrates that which cannot be seen. Even as the
worlds were made from unseen things, faith that comes by hearing the
word of God demonstrated those things, which are not under the control
of man. Recently, there was a evangelistic crusade in the nation of
Nepal. Everyone said that it was impossible to rent the National
Stadium, which was the icon for the Kingdom of Hinduism. Yet, knowing
the promises of God faith not only brought to pass that impossible event
that resulted in thousands of salvations, but the church in the nation
began to experience unprecedented growth. After that crusade when a
great missionary organization took their cameras to Nepal to document a
church planting work by a young preacher, who was impacted by that
crusade, a storm began to come up that would have disrupted the
meetings. The young preacher commanded the wind and the storm to cease;
and immediately the wind stopped and the storm dissipated. The young
preacher turned to the camera and said, something like, "God has taught
us to believe for the impossible." Now faith is the reality!
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 22 January 2010 16:23
1 Corinthians 14:26 - What should be done then my brethren? Whenever you
assemble, each one of you should have a song of praise, a teaching, a
tongue, a revelation, an interpretation - all to produce a building up.

There is a powerful impact on the unbeliever and the unlearned when the
people of God flow in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). If the church
is going to be an assembly in which everyone has the overflow of the
Spirit in their lives, then each person is going to have to learn how to
receive from God. Paul gives instructions to both the church at Ephesus
and at Colosse - on how to have the overflow of the Spirit in their
lives. To the church at Colosse he says: "Let the word of Christ dwell
in you richly;" and to the church at Ephesus he says: "Be filled with
the Spirit" (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:18). In both cases, he reveals
that there will be the song of praise, hymns, and spiritual songs coming
forth from the heart. Jesus said that if we would drink of the spiritual
water, it would produce the expressions of the Holy Spirit flowing out
of us like the rushing streams of rivers flowing together (John 7:38-39).

If the word of Christ is going to dwell in us, then we are going to have
to give ourselves to knowing the word of Christ. We are to be a light
unto the world; a city set upon a hill in our conduct and behavior. We
are those who are supposed to lead the world into the kingdom of God by
our deeds; but if we do not allow the word of God to govern our actions,
how will this ever be a reality? The word of Christ, which is a synonym
for the word of God, activates the outworking of the power of God in our
lives; as much as being filled with Spirit activates the outworking of
the nature and manner of God. In both instances, we are drinking of the
spiritual water, that produces the rivers of living water.

All of the good things of God are expressed through a relationship with
God, in the Holy Ghost. If we are neglectful of this relationship, then
we are going to forfeit all the good things of God that have been made
available to us. We will be stuck in the world of human effort and
ritual; and all the world around us will see is religion and the stale
actions of man, instead of the glory of God manifested by the working of
the word and the Spirit of God. If we will allow God to teach us to be
conformed to His word and His Spirit, then those things that we speak
will be filled with the power and authority of God; and the things that
we do will be the expressions of the nature and glory of God.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 21 January 2010 04:15
Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all
wisdom; teaching and admonishing yourselves in psalms, in hymns, in
spiritual songs: singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.

The People of God must come to understand that until they begin to live
by the Word of God, nothing will change. If we live by the Word, then
the Word will govern our speech and conduct! If we are going to live by
the Word, then we must come to know the Word well enough to recall what
God has to say in His Word - regarding our conduct and reactions to
everything we encounter in life.

The phrase "the word of Christ" is only found one time in the New
Testament, so to understand exactly what Paul meant by the "word of
Christ," it will be necessary to consider both how Christ dwells in our
hearts, and how His word dwells in us. The most obvious meaning of the
"word of Christ" is as a synonym for the "word of the Lord" or the "word
of God." Jesus said that the words that He spoke would never pass away
(Matthew 24:35; Luke 21:33). The word of Christ, above all else, is
those things that are written in the word of God; which will always be
those things that the Spirit of God speaks. If anyone does not speak
according to this word, then it is because there is no light in him
(Isaiah 8:20; John 5:46-47; Matthew 22:29; 2 Peter 1:19-20; 2 Timothy
3:15-17). If we are going to speak the word of Christ, then we must give
ourselves knowing it by heart (John 14:26; John 16:13; John 17:17).

We can both live under the inspiration of the word of Christ, and speak
the word of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
The Spirit of Christ Jesus, who dwells in us, will speak through us all
the words of this life - that produce signs, wonders, miracles, praise
and adoration - that belong to God (Colossians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 2:13;
1 Corinthians 12:7-10; 1 John 3:24; Acts 5:20). One of the chief aims of
the word of Christ dwelling in the saints is to empower us to teach and
admonish one another. Paul made it clear that when He spoke, it was by
the operation of the Holy Spirit speaking through him; either by
revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or teaching (1 Corinthians 14:6).
Furthermore, it may be argued that Paul made these expressions as a
product of the spiritual language. His demand to the church was that
they earnestly contend for the spiritual; and especially prophecy (1
Corinthians 14:1).

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to govern the church, and to lead us and
guide us; and it is essential that we realize that we are to only speak
by the Spirit of truth, which has been given to us (John 15:26; John
16:13; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:4; Acts 2:17-18; Acts 10:45-56; Acts 19:6; 1
Corinthians 14:2). Peter said that when we speak, we are to do so as the
oracles (bearers of the divine word) of God, according as God supplies
to us (1 Peter 4:11). In Ephesians, Paul instructs us to be filled with
the Spirit; which is related by context to the word of Christ producing
the utterances of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19).

There is a message living in our hearts, which can only be expressed by
the Spirit of God who dwells in us. Those utterances come forth from our
hearts as rivers of living water, expressing the majesty and splendor of
who Christ Jesus is. The word of Christ is a continual unchanging force
in the church; as much as His peace is (Colossians 3:15). The result of
being filled with the Spirit and having the indwelling word of Christ is
the same: it produces thanksgiving from the heart in psalms, hymns, and
spiritual songs. In Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he emphasizes the
spiritual song in the context of the language of the spirit (1
Corinthians 14:14-15). He also further reveals to them the dynamic of
what teaching and admonition is, when he said: "How is it then,
brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a
doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let
all things be done unto edifying" (1 Corinthians 14:26).

Realizing that the word of Christ is the same as the word of God, we
have many scriptures that help us to understand this work of grace that
placed the word of God in our hearts; so that we may remember, do, and
speak what God has spoken. We have been born of the word of God (1 Peter
1:23). The word of God has been written in our hearts and minds by the
Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:3; Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16). The word
of God is at work with power in those who believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13;
Acts 20:32). The word of God is how faith is produced in us (Romans
10:17) The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, that gives us the
ability to destroy every work of darkness (Ephesians 6:17). When the
word of God dwells on the inside of God's people, it makes them strong;
so that they can overcome the wicked one on every front (1 John 2:14).

We are the people of God; and as such we are the people of faith, who
live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God (Romans 10:8;
Matthew 4:4). The word of Christ is established in us, because we give
ourselves to knowing and speaking the word of God that is written in our
Bibles. Everything that we do must be both judged and governed by the
written word of God. It is the written word of God that brought the seed
of God's word into our hearts (Romans 10:14-17; Matthew 13:23). When
Christ speaks through us by His Spirit, it will be the Word written in
our Bibles. God's people must refuse to live by their own words, and
speak their own words - which are influenced by all sorts of things. We
must be willing to make the transition in our lives, and speak by the
word of God, from the Spirit of God; rather than out of the realms of
our own understanding.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 12:47
John 14:31 - But that the world may know that I love the Father; and
that I do exactly as the Father has commanded me. Get up! Let us go from
here.

Jesus was obedient to the Father because He loved Him, and it was a love
that He wanted all of the world to witness. All that God has ever
desired is that we love Him (Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12;
Deuteronomy 11:1,13; Deuteronomy 11:22; Deuteronomy 13:3; Deuteronomy
19:9; Deuteronomy 30:6,20; Joshua 22:5; Joshua 23:11; Nehemiah 1:5;
Daniel 9:4; Matthew 22:37; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 8:3; 1 John
2:5). We have been so entangled with hate and the treason of this world,
that all we have known is broken relationships and darkness. The light
of God has come to shine into our hearts: to give us the knowledge of
God in the Presence of Jesus Christ, so that we might know Him (2
Corinthians 4:6; John 16:13-15). To know God causes us to love Him, and
to love Him causes us to obey Him! Love for God is only really
demonstrated by obedience (John 14:15; John 15:10; 1 John 4:21; 1 John
5:2-3; Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 7:9).

We may all be comforted by the fact that God so loved us, that He gave
us His only begotten Son. His mercy that endures forever pleads with us
today to come over and stand with Him, and know His love and His life.
His forgiveness and faithfulness will continually uphold us, even when
we forget and disobey. All we have to do is be willing to seek Him, and
do what He has commanded. God will continue to faithfully deal with us
as His children, if we will continue to hunger and thirst after
righteousness!
 
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