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daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 28 August 2009 12:15
1 Peter 2:20 - For what sort of credit if you endure a beating for
having sinned? But if you do good and endure suffering, you have God's
approval.

There was a time when the people of God were treated so severely by the
religious community and by the world. It is a terrible thing to be
publicly beaten, as were Peter and the other apostles, and Paul and
Silas (Acts 5:40-41; Acts 16:22-25). Their response was one of joy and
rejoicing in the Lord: that they were counted worthy to suffer for His
namesake. There response brought glory to the name of Jesus and to the
church. They did not take up arms and fight back in revenge; instead
they committed themselves to the Lord and to His protection.

There are many who suffer daily for the gospel of Jesus Christ around
the world, and endure it without complaint. Yet in America and other
countries that enjoy the freedom of religion, we seem to find ourselves
so preoccupied with our own self-interest that if someone says something
that we don't like, we immediately take offense and enter into some sort
of strife. As a pastor I have discovered that very few people take
anything patiently; even when they can be proven wrong in their conduct.
Rather they rise up in self-defense, and make war. At what time will we
all begin to value above all other things the approval of God, and cease
to be so impacted by the approval of men? When will we value humility
and servitude the way that God values it?

God says that if we suffer wrongfully and take it patiently, then we
have God's approval (John 5:44). We can be certain that if we do not
take it patiently, we will not have Father's approval. We are called to
lay down our lives for the brethren and for the church (1 John 3:16;
John 13:35; Ephesians 5:2; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 1:22; 1Corinthians
12:25; 1 Corinthians 14:20). If we are truly willing to walk in this
kind of love - that we would be willing to die for the household of
faith - surely we can stop fighting and squabbling among ourselves! I
never ceased to be amazed at how many people sit around the church
nurturing a wounded spirit and a spiteful disposition. Please dear
saints, let's walk in love. Let's be those who love the word of God and
the ways of God; and be those who have perfect peace, never allowing
anything to offend us (Psalm 119:165; Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:7;
Ephesians 4:3).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 27 August 2009 11:18
Mark 3:27 - No one can enter into the strong one's house, plundering his
goods, unless first the strong one is bond; and then his house may be
plundered.

Jesus was able to cast out the evil spirits because He was stronger than
Satan. Jesus is the one who bound Satan, and rendered his power over man
ineffective. All that Satan had imposed upon man was coming to an end,
as the power of the Kingdom of God engaged the kingdom of darkness
through Jesus Christ. When Jesus was crucified at Calvary, he dealt the
final blow to Satan; and conquered hell, death, and the grave
(Revelation 1:18; Acts 2:24; Hebrews 2:14). Jesus stripped Satan of all
of His authority, and made a public show of his defeat (Colossians 2:15;
John 12:31; 16:11; 2 Timothy 1:10). God the Father has now highly
exalted Christ Jesus the Deliverer and Savior far above all other power;
everything now being subject to Him (Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9;
Matthew 28:18).

Jesus Christ, who has defeated Satan, has given His power to those who
are His witnesses: to cast out every evil spirit, and to set everyone
who will hear free from the Satanic domain. Paul described this power
and authority when he made known the authority given to him to preach
the gospel: "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to
light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive
forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by
faith that is in me" (Acts 26:18). When Philip went down to preach in
Samaria, the same power and authority of Jesus was witnessed in his
life: "For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many
that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that
were lame, were healed" (Acts 8:7).

Today we must hold fast to the word of the Lord, and believe what God
has said. We are too easily turned away from the promises of God because
of our circumstances and situations. God is not a liar! The things that
He has declared concerning our salvation are true; and though it may
seem that the promises are not yours, yet even as Abraham did - you must
hold fast to what God has said - and count Him faithful who has promised
(Romans 4:20-21; Hebrews 10:23; Isaiah 53:1; 1 John 5:11). There is no
power of Satan that has the right to afflict our bodies with sickness
and disease. Satan has no right to impose sin and wickedness upon us in
any way. In Christ Jesus we have been given the sovereign authority of
God over every power of the wicked one. If we will allow God's word to
abide in us, we will discover that we can conquer Satan at every
encounter (1 John 2:14; 1 John 4:4; Luke 10:19; Revelation 3:21). Rise
up, oh people of God, and clothe yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:27;
Ephesians 4:24; Ephesians 6:11). Let the battlefront be clearly defined;
and give yourself to the fight! For we are called to show forth the
glory of the one who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous
light.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 12:15
Matthew 25:46 - And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the
righteous into eternal life.

It seems today that many do not want to hear about eternal judgment; but
regardless, it is a certainty that each person will soon face. Are you
ready to give an account to God for your life? Based upon your obedience
to God, you will either go into an eternal punishment or into an eternal
life.

Jesus was not shy nor reluctant to talk about the eternal consequences
of the deeds and actions of mankind. He often spoke of hell and the
eternal judgment that awaited those who were unwilling to obey God. Even
though there are those who would attempt to dilute the message of
eternal judgments, and almost do away with hell all together; it is
still a living reality, and as much a part of the truth of God as the
message of salvation. There are those who will say that so long as you
believe that Jesus if is the Christ, you will not need to worry about
hell; but the fact is the devils believe and tremble, and yet they are
still hell-bound. Jesus made it very clear, over and again, that
obedience to the will of God would be what made the difference between
heaven and hell (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:47; 1 John 2:17; James 1:22-23;
James 1:25). Make no mistake: this is not a "good works"-based
salvation; this is about receiving a new heart and a new spirit, and
then coming under the rulership of the Holy Spirit, and doing the will
of the Father from the heart.

Jesus described hell as a furnace of fire, a place of outer darkness
where there would be torment and weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew
8:12; Matthew 13:42,50; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 24:51; Matthew 25:30;
Luke 16:23-25; Luke 16:28). Those who would not bring forth good fruit,
or who were like chaff, would be cast into the fire (Matthew 3:10,12;
Matthew 13:40; Luke 3:9,17; John 15:6). Anyone who called his brother a
fool would be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5:22). Those who
participate in wickedness are going to be thrown into the fires of hell,
unless they repent/change (Matthew 5:29-30, Matthew 18:8-9; Matthew
25:41; Mark 9:43-46). We are commanded to fear God, who has the power to
destroy both body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:5). Make no
mistake: those who reject Christ Jesus and the message of salvation will
suffer the damnation of hell (Matthew 23:33; Mark 16:16).

Jesus preached as much on the consequence of sin and its eternal
judgment as He did on righteousness and its eternal reward. To think
there is one and not the other is to believe a lie. To think that there
is not a consequence for sin is to mock God (Galatians 6:7-8; Romans
6:23; James 1:15; Romans 5:12; Romans 6:16; 1 Corinthians 15:56; James
5:20). Hell is a terrible reality - but sin is as well. We must come to
terms with the fact that more than the thought of hell being horrific to
man, sin is a greater horror to God. God has made a way of escape for
all men! Today if we will hear His voice, we must flee from the wrath
that is to come. If mankind instead chooses sin and iniquity over the
ways of truth and life, and accuses God of being unjust; then it is
because of a stubborn heart. These people in reality would rather have
the world of iniquity and torment that now exists imposed upon all
creation forever. Praise God it will not be; because the King of
Righteousness Christ Jesus will come and reign supremely over all creation!
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 25 August 2009 13:02
Isaiah 30:13 - Therefore this iniquity shall be to them as a break in a
wall ready to fall; as a bulging out in a high wall, which suddenly in
an instant shall come crashing down.

During the days of Isaiah, the people of God became so backslidden that
they forsook trusting in God, and put their trust in money; and instead
of looking to God for protection they looked to Egypt, which was a
shadowy image of the world. God demanded that Isaiah show the people
their rebellion and stubbornness. One of the ways that Isaiah did this
was that he made a sign on which was inscribed: "This is a rebellious
people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the
LORD." He took this sign and carried it around Jerusalem, but the
response of the people was merely ridicule and suspicion. You can almost
hear their self-justified responses against Isaiah; accusing him of
being out of touch with reality, and merely a product of some former
year. They believed that they were the people of God, and no amount of
sin or rebellion would change that. So long as they held to their
religion, they believed themselves invincible. They loved the smooth
words of the false prophets that told them all was well, when in reality
they were a rebellious people who would not obey the word of the Lord.

Today we live in similar spiritual illusion: we are surrounded by those
who will not conform to the image of Christ, which is the command of the
New Covenant (Romans 8:29; Galatians 3:27; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians
4:24; John 15:1-5; John 17:21-23; Colossians 1:27-28; Colossians 3:10; 1
John 3:7; 1 John 4:4; etc.). They will not endure sound doctrine that
reproves them for their sin and disobedience, but instead heap unto
themselves those who will speak smooth words, and tell them that they
are right with God; even though they practice ungodliness, and have
entered into a covenant with the world (2 Timothy 4:3-4; 2 Timothy
3:1-6; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2:1-3). Instead of believing the truth
of God's word and repenting, they trust in lies and believe they can
participate in all that is in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust
of the eye, and the pride of life - and still be the servants of God.

We are continually instructed and exhorted by the word and by the Holy
Spirit to live lives of purity and holiness. We are commanded: "Be
perfect and harmless, the sons of God, children of God, without fault in
the midst of a crooked generation, perverted ones, among whom you shine
as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15; Matthew 5:48). Yet we make
excuses for our evil ways and proclaim, "Sin has dominion over us so
that we are unable to serve the Lord" (Romans 6:14; 2 Corinthians 6:16;
John 17:14,16,18; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 6:6)! When God tells us to
do something and we refuse to do it, we are by definition rebellious and
stubborn. God hates divers weights and measures, and will hold us to the
same judgment that he held past generations to. If you think that you
can escape the judgments of the Lord by saying that this is Old
Testament theology, then know this: God has not changed; He is eternal
in His ways and in His judgments. What He believed billions of years
ago, He believes today; and will continue to believe throughout
eternity. The judgments of God are not passing ideas limited to one time
period or another; but are true and righteous altogether, now and forever.

It is time that the people of God recognize that friendship with the
world is hostility towards God (James 4:4). If you want God to receive
you, then you must come out from among them and be separate (2
Corinthians 6:17). You must take a stand with God and refuse any area of
iniquity, which carries with it the punishments and curse of eternal
death. We are commanded to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works
of darkness, but rather to rebuke them; and thus make it clear to all
that they who do these things shall die the death. The truth is that
those who participate in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and
the pride of life have no inheritance with Christ, or in the kingdom of
God (Ephesians 5:5; Galatians 5:21). Those who continue to fight against
the word of God and refuse to hear the instruction of the Almighty have
created a breach - a break in the wall of protection that has surrounded
them. That wall is bulging, and is about to collapse suddenly in an
instant; and all of those enemies of your soul that would have already
destroyed you will rush in upon you, and carry you away into an eternity
void of God and His goodness.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 24 August 2009 10:59
Psalm 32:11 - Rejoice in Yahoah and be glad, you righteous ones; shout
for joy, all you upright in heart.

If we want to be right with God, all we have to do is REPENT. The mercy
and forgiveness of the Lord is extended to any person who will not keep
silent, but will acknowledge their transgressions and sins. If we cry
out to God, He will come with shouts of deliverance, and set us free
form our sin and our iniquity (Psalm 32:7). All of the past will be
remembered no more, and we will be those who stand before God with
neither sin nor deceit in our spirit (Psalm 32:2,5; 1 Corinthians 1:8;
Philippians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Peter 3:14). If we are
unwilling to acknowledge our sin, then we will discover that every sin
has a consequence of death. As surely as the act of sin comes, so will
the consequence and punishment for that sin (Romans 6:23). Therefore
because sin has the inevitable effect of destroying the individual
and/or the community, it must be rooted out (Joshua 6:18; Joshua 7:12;
Joshua 22:18; Numbers 14:35; Judges 2:2-3; Isaiah 59:2; Deuteronomy
7:26; Haggai 2:13-14; Jeremiah 6:8; 1 Corinthians 5:13; Colossians
3:5-6; Revelation 2:16).

Those who are stubborn and rebellious will discover that God's hand is
heavy upon them. Sin will be punished now and in the future. Those who
will learn now will not have to endure the torments of an eternal
punishment where there is no opportunity for change. Jesus was very
radical about the subject; and simply said that if it is your hand that
is the problem - then cut it off; if it is your eye - then pluck it out;
because it is better to enter into life having one hand or one eye;
rather than have your whole being destroyed in the fires of hell
(Matthew 5:29-30; Matthew 18:8-9; Mark 9:47). Because of this great act
of mercy wherein God does whatever possible to reach the soul of man,
then the stubborn and disobedient child will encounter punishments that
will cause their bones to wear out with groanings, and their health to
be overthrown like drought in the summer (Psalm 32:3-4).

People have one of two choices: they can either be sensitive and
obedient to the instructions of God, or they can be treated like a horse
or a mule who needs bits and straps to obey. One thing if for certain:
God in His mercy and love for us will not easily give up on working to
bring an end to disobedience. We can rejoice however in knowing that if
we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord; so that we will not be
condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:32; Hebrews 12:5-11; 2
Corinthians 7:10).

If we will simply humble ourselves before the Lord and repent for our
sin, and receive the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in holiness and
obedience, then we will enjoy the abundant life. We will find ourselves
surrounded by His loving mercy, and kept by His power (Psalm 32:10; 1
Peter 1:5). Our lives will be free of shame and condemnation, and we
will enjoy the rulership of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:1-2). Our lives
are supposed to be full of all the spiritual blessings freely bestowed
upon us by Christ Jesus. We should only know perfect health and
prosperity; and should be the people who stand out among all others
because of the abundant life that we have received in Christ Jesus. Our
peace should pass all understanding, our love should be divine, the joy
that we know should be unspeakable and glorious - because we know and
serve the Living God.
 
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