daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 06 May 2010 11:18
1 Timothy 2:1 - Then first of all I urge you that petitions, prayer,
intercessions, thanksgiving - be made for all men.

Paul's reason for this call to prayer is for the salvation of souls. He
notes in verse four below that God desires all men to be saved and to come
to the knowledge of the truth. Therefore, this verse is a kind of call to
arms. Paul focuses the church on their need to hit their knees and engage in
every kind of prayer. In this instance Paul identifies every kind of prayer,
including petitions, intercession, and the giving of thanks. One of the less
obvious types of prayer that Paul mentions here is the thanksgiving prayer.
He also mentions this kind of prayer in Colossians 4:2, where he says
"devote yourselves to prayer; keeping alert in it by thanksgiving." One of
the many dimensions to the prayer of thanks is the consideration that the
prayer is heard by God, and that He is at work to accomplish what we have
requested (Hebrews 11:1; Romans 4:20-21). So we are thanking Him for having
done what we ask, instead of remaining in a state of wonder or uncertainty
(Matthew 21:22).

Certainty in our prayers is an expression of faith, which says, "Thank you
Lord for meeting my needs." "Thank you Lord for changing the heart of the
president or the prime minister or the king." "Thank you Lord for the
salvation of my loved ones." "Thank you Lord for using me in the work
place." "Thank you Lord that you have filled me with authority by your
Spirit - to represent your kingdom and stand in the place of Jesus" (2
Corinthians 5:20). The prayer of thanksgiving is the prayer of faith that
believes that what has been asked has also been received. The prayer of
thanksgiving can be heard in the expression of Jesus when He looked up to
heaven and said, "I thank you Father for having heard me." In the prayer of
thanksgiving, which certainly should be a part of all prayer, one does not
hear wailing and sorrow - but the sound of joy (Philippians 1:4; Philippians
4:6). That is not to say that there is no place for strong and intense
prayer, for we can see that kind of prayer in the life of Jesus as well,
when He was engaged in intercession (Hebrews 5:7; Luke 22:44).

It is through prayer that we become alert and watchful, to both think and do
according as we have been commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been
given authority to be in charge of things, rather than to be overwhelmed
with fear and circumstance. We are the people of faith, the salt of the
earth, and the light of the world. However, to take our position alongside
of Christ Jesus, we are going to have to find a place of communion and
relationship with the Holy Spirit that is only discovered in the place of
prayer (Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 6:18; Romans 8:17; John 1:12; John
14:12-14; John 15:5,16; John 17:21-23).
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 12:31
Ephesians 6:18 - Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and
petition; and through it stay alert, with all persistence and intercession
for all the saints.

Paul insisted that we pray in the Spirit. He made it clear to the church at
Corinth that praying in the Spirit was a certain kind of prayer: wherein the
Holy Spirit was engaged in prayer through us (1 Corinthians 14:14-15). The
prayer of the Spirit that produces the language of the Spirit participates
in a communication directly to God (1 Corinthians 14:2; Romans 8:26). The
only way that we can understand the true meaning of what Paul was saying
regarding the prayer of the Spirit is to recognize that when the church was
filled with the Spirit, a divine utterance was given to them (Acts 2:4). It
must be recognized by all that if we are to pray in the Spirit, then some
event has to happen wherein we are filled by the Holy Spirit; and the prayer
that we engage in is not our own, but His. It is through such prayer and
intercession that the saints of God will remain totally alert. We have an
adversary the devil, who goes about as a roaring lion; whose craft and power
we have been given power over. The strength of the Lord and the power of His
might are communicated to us by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:10). However,
we must recognize that prayer is one of the primary ways in which we yield
ourselves to that which He desires to supply.

We should also recognize that God wants us to be alert and attentive to the
instruction of the Holy Spirit, so that the life and ministry of Jesus might
be revealed through us as individuals, and through the congregation of the
church as a whole. We are to pray for one another and for all men, but
especially for the effectiveness of the church (Philippians 4:6; 1 Timothy
2:1; Colossians 1:9; Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11). Paul viewed his
own effectiveness in ministry in part as a result of the saints praying for
him. He desired the church to pray for him: that he would be given the word
to speak, that he would speak the word of God with boldness, and that it
would advance rapidly (Ephesians 6:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:1). If we can grasp
the importance of prayer and the power of prayer, we would realize that more
things would change upon our knees than can ever be accomplished through all
our human effort. Unfortunately, if we are not careful, we will pray after
our own human concern and understanding; and be completely ineffective.

It is only the prayer of the Spirit that is the effectual and effective
prayer (1 John 5:14; Romans 8:5,27; 1 Corinthians 2:16). When we pray in the
Spirit we will also receive the utterance of specific things that we are to
pray for; but it will be directed by knowledge and understanding that the
Holy Spirit gives, and not after our own human understanding. We can always
expect the utterance of the unknown tongue that the Holy Spirit gives to
excel to a point that the understanding can also be fruitful, through
interpretation. Prayer with the understanding also should then be by
revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or interpretation of tongues - and in this
way we receive instruction and edification by it (1 Corinthians 14:6; 1
Corinthians 14:12-13; 1 Corinthians 14:15-16). Many times we make the
mistake of praying in the Spirit just short of the prayer that can be
understood (1 Corinthians 14:6,13).
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 04 May 2010 10:52
Ephesians 2:17 - And came proclaiming Peace to you which were far away, and
which were near.

God has made a way through Christ Jesus so that all men everywhere can come
into His presence and behold His Holiness. From the time that Adam and Eve's
disobedience resulted in their expulsion from the garden, mankind has been
forbidden to come into the presence of God. There is no event that makes
this more perfectly clear than when God had brought Israel out of Egypt unto
Mount Sinai. Even though God loved Israel, and in His mercy and grace
rescued them from their slavery, He refused to allow them to come into His
presence. God is Holy, and it was impossible for man in his sin and
disobedience to enter into His presence; therefore He said, "Set bounds unto
the people round about, saying, 'Take heed to yourselves, that you go not up
into the mountain or touch the border of it: whosoever touches the mountain
shall be surely put to death'" (Exodus 19:12). When the tabernacle was built
in the wilderness, it was embroidered with Cherubim angels outside and in
(Exodus 26:1,31; Exodus 36:8,35). The same angel that the Lord stationed
with His flaming sword at the entrance to the garden of Eden stood as a
warning to all who would try to draw near. Man had rebelled against God, and
so He was driven out of the presence of the Lord, and prevented from
returning back into the splendor of His paradise (Genesis 3:24). God in His
mercy made provision for only one man to come in and stand before His
presence once a year; but when he stood ready to pass behind the veil, he
was faced with the Cherubim angel and the warning that no man was allowed
back in to the presence of God (Leviticus 16:13; Hebrews 9:8).

Today if any person calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus, they can take the
blood of Jesus and come boldly into His Holy presence (Hebrews 10:19). The
veil embroidered with Cherubim has been removed; and Jesus now stands there
as the door by which all men can enter in, and behold the glory and majesty
of the Father (Matthew 27:51; Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 10:20; John 10:9; John
14:6). Regardless of who you are or what you have done, God has made
provision for all to come. However we must still realize that God is the
High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy. He is the One
who dwells in the place where no man can approach unto, but has opened the
door to those of a contrite and humble spirit: who will take the precious
blood of Jesus and draw near. We must realize that He demands that we be
holy even as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15). If we stand in His presence and
behold His beauty, and are unwilling to learn to walk in obedience - then a
fearful and dreadful end awaits us.
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 03 May 2010 11:24
1 Peter 1:14-15 - As obedient children, not conforming to the former desires
in your ignorance, but according to His holy calling: you shall also be Holy
in all conversation.

The former desires are those desires that ruled our passions before the new
birth. The former desires are inspired by the god of this world, the spirit
that works in the children of disobedience. Satan attacks the children of
God, and attempts to impose his desires upon them. The satanic desire is
expressed by all that is in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of
the eye, and the pride of life.

However, the Holy Calling has not only called us to be totally separate from
all these things, but has also empowered us with the desires of the Father.
As we yield to the Holy Spirit, the joy and wellsprings of holiness flow out
of us as rivers of living water. We find ourselves having only one desire;
and that is to please the Father. His ways become our ways, and His desires
our desires. In this realm of Holy Spirit inspiration, we are called to
resist the devil, steadfast in the faith; and not allow those former desires
to have any place in our lives.
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 01 May 2010 11:57
Proverbs 4:12 - When you walk your steps shall not be under assault; and if
you run, you shall not stumble.

The Holy Spirit has come to teach us in the way of wisdom, and to led us in
right paths. The way of life is a smooth way, lit up with the glory of God
and the word of life. Those who find it shall not stumble - even the fool
can not err there (Luke 3:5; Psalm 119:105; Isaiah 35:8). God has set us up
on the paths of righteousness, and has commanded the host of heaven to
defend us; and He Himself has become our defense! The Lord God Almighty
surrounds us with His glory, pleading with us to walk in the ways of life.
He surrounds us and fills us: with the fire of His presence and with His
Holy Spirit. He says: "Here is the way, walk in it." He leads us in the
paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He surrounds us as a shield
(Psalm 5:12). He will hold us up with His right hand (Psalm 18:35). He will
show us His ways, and teach us His paths (Psalm 25:4).Through the blood of
Jesus Christ, all of the provision of God has been made available - to
anyone who asks.

If we are willing to hear His instruction and submit to His leadership, then
our ways will be established in God; and the blessings of the Lord will
cause us to inherit all things that are good, and that pertain to life and
godliness. We are to arise and shine with the glory of God, and be like a
city set upon a hill; but we must understand how God makes this possible,
and cooperate with His will. He makes the way of the righteous like a
shining light, that shines more and more unto that final day (Proverbs
4:18). But if our hearts are not set upon seeking righteousness above all
other things, then we will miss out on everything that God has set His heart
to do for us (Matthew 5:6; Matthew 6:33; Acts 10:35).

The power of God has transformed our lives, so that we can receive the Word
of God, and be given the strength of the Spirit to do what God has ordained.
His word gives us the instruction of life, so that we might consecrate
ourselves to it; and the Spirit of God strengthens us to do those things
which God has commanded. But we all have the choice. We can either allow
temporal pleasures to dominate our thoughts; or we can set our hearts upon
the word of God, and live.

The word of God is the wisdom of God - that tends to life, and gives us the
knowledge of the Holy. Wisdom cries out to anyone who hears, and pleads with
us to come and receive her; so that we might live, and fulfill the will of
God for our lives. It is by wisdom and understanding that we will find
strength and stability in our walk with the Lord. If we hear and obey the
word of God, then all of the rich rewards of God's wisdom will be ours.
Wisdom is like a virtuous woman who invites us to a lavish banquet of riches
and honor; while folly is the adulterous woman who tempts us to come into
poverty and death. Come, let us make straight paths for our feet - where
there will be no restraint no hindrances. Take out the stones, and make your
heart a highway for God; and let your feet walk in smooth places (Isaiah
62:10). Let us keep ourselves from the things of this world, so that our
steps are not continually under harassment. Let us walk in the light of the
Lord (1 John 1:7; Isaiah 2:5; Isaiah 60:19; Ephesians 5:8).
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