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Daily Bread SEP/21/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 21 September 2010 17:40
John 3:5 - Jesus answered: "With absolute certainty I assure you, without
being begotten of water and of Spirit, no one is able to enter into the
kingdom of God."

To be born of water is more difficult to understand than being born of the
Spirit, but one thing is for certain: they both speak of a spiritual new
birth. Nicodemus was not surprised by the expression of being born of water,
for it had been a practice of the Jews to receive Gentiles as proselytes
through water baptism. What did take Nicodemus by surprise was the idea of
actually being born from above. God demands a thorough spiritual
purification and new creation, which may only be accomplished by the
operation of the Holy Ghost.

These two agencies of water and of the Spirit are brought together in the
prophecies of Ezekiel: "Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you
shall be clean. I will cleanse you from all of your defilement and from all
your idols. And I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new
spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh,
and I will give to you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within
you, and cause you to walk in my statutes; and you shall keep my judgments
and do them" (Ezekiel 36:25-27). There are two other applications of water:
one being water baptism, a symbol of being baptized into Christ, His body,
and His death; and the other an allegorical representation of the Word of
God (Isaiah 55:10-11; Ephesians 5:26).
 
Daily Bread SEP/20/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 20 September 2010 06:49
Ephesians 2:4 - But God who is rich in mercy, through His abundant love
which He has loved us.

Just believe God! Whether you have walked perfectly before the Lord or not -
just believe God. Trust that just as He rescued you from your sins and saved
you by His blood, He will also save you now. The Lord saved us by His mercy
when we were dead in our trespasses and sin; and He will save and heal us
now no matter what state we are in. He washed and renewed us, giving us life
and blessings - not because of any works of righteousness which we had done
- and he will do it once again. When we were alienated from the life that is
in Christ Jesus, God commended His love to us so that we may say: "By His
grace we were saved!"

God has not run out of grace; He has not run low on mercy. The love of God
that bought you is also the love of God that will perfect you and keep you,
so just believe God! The most important thing for you to consider is that
God wants you to look to Him for deliverance, no matter what your
circumstance. If you have a reoccurring sin in your life or a circumstance
that is too much for you to bear, our God wants us to turn to Him for help.
He will come and rescue you. If nothing else, just believe the love that God
has for you. Believe the record that God has given of His Son. If you will
just fall down on your knees and cry out to Him again, He will do nothing
less than love you freely and show his rich and abundant mercy for you.
 
Daily Bread SEP/18/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 18 September 2010 11:28
Psalm 59:16 - I will sing of your power, and rejoice in the morning because
of your mercies: for you have been my defense and refuge in the day of my
trouble.

It is because of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed; it is because
His compassions fail not (Lamentations 3:22-23). Our lives should be about
celebrating the mercies and the lovingkindness of our God! When we arise in
the morning, we should offer up praise because of His mercy that endures
forever! When we gather in His sanctuary, our shouts of praise should ring
out with gratefulness for His great mercy. Our gathering unto Him should be
a celebration over His mercy, and a time of being carried away with
rejoicing over His great love for us.

It is time that each person received the revelation of truth that the Holy
Spirit desires to give to each one of us: the revelation of God's great love
and of His great mercy that He has shown to us (Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians
2:4). We must be willing to believe the great things HE has done! Too often
we are consumed with the sense of our own selves, and in a depressed state
attempt to offer praise. This is not the sacrifice that is acceptable unto
the Lord; rather it is the sacrifice of praise that the Lord requires
(Hebrews 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5; Romans 12:1). The heart that responds in full
assurance of the faith - and rejoices over the great things that the Lord
has done - is the heart that accepts what God has said! Let us sing the
songs of joy and rejoicing because of his great mercies; let us sing now and
forever (Psalm 89:1). Let us not rejoice in part, but rather with all of our
heart, our soul, and our strength. God has freely given mercy without end.
His lovingkindness and compassions abound without limits to us in Christ
Jesus. So lift up your heads and begin to sing, and the King of Glory will
come in! Our God is a God of mercy, and His mercy triumphs over judgment;
His faithfulness is without end (Deuteronomy 4:31; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm
86:15; Jeremiah 9:24; James 2:13). There is no force or power greater than
our God's; who will keep and protect us unto that day (2 Timothy 1:14; 1
Peter 1:5).
 
Daily Bread SEP/17/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 17 September 2010 12:00
Psalm 116:5 - Yahoah you are gracious and righteous, and our God of mercy.

When the Almighty God revealed His name to Moses, the first thing He said
about His name and Himself was that He was merciful (Exodus 34:6). The
innocent do not need mercy - only the guilty need mercy. Charles Finney
said, "Mercy asks that justice be set aside." When we have become aware of
our wrongdoing and our guilt before God, we can do nothing but trust in His
mercy. Is that trust properly placed? Yes, because His mercies endure
forever! His mercies are new every morning!

We must not make the fatal mistake of attempting to justify wrongdoing;
otherwise we will not plead for mercy. It is only in a conscious awareness
of wrongdoing that we are able to plead for mercy. God does not show mercy
in such way as to remove all constraints and allow all men to commit
whatever acts of iniquity that they feel. Rather He gives mercy to the one
who has a repenting heart. The mercy of God is there for the one who has a
deep desire to do what is right, and live the life that God demands. The one
who looks with such a heart to the mercy of God will find forgiveness (or
pardon) 490 times a day. God only looks for our confession and our eagerness
to continue in the paths of His righteousness. With such a heart of
sincerity, the needy person will always find a merciful God who has provided
the blood of Jesus - to be the fountain of cleansing and the fountain of
life. Yes, we may safely trust in the mercy of God forever! (Psalm 52:8).
 
Daily Bread SEP/16/10
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 16 September 2010 15:31
John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said to him, "With absolute certainty I assure
you: without being begotten from above, no one is able to see the kingdom of
God."

To be born from above is to have a miracle birth by the Holy Spirit. Paul
calls it the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus
3:5). Ezekiel described it as a new heart and a new spirit, along with the
Spirit of God given to the redeemed (Ezekiel 36:26). But the most radical
description of all is the one given by Jesus, when He described the miracle
of the new birth as being born all over again.

The only detailed description given to us in the New Testament of someone
being born of the Spirit is that of the birth of Jesus. Matthew says that
Mary "was found with child of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 1:18,20). Luke
records the testimony of the angel Gabriel, who said: "The Holy Spirit shall
come upon you and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you; therefore,
that Holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the son of God"
(Luke 1:35).

Now the birth of Jesus was the literal and physical incarnation of the Word
into flesh, whereas He is spiritually born into our hearts when we believe.
Paul refers to the new creation as "Christ in you, the hope of glory"
(Colossians 1:27). John says that He "dwells in us by the Spirit which he
has given us;" and that as a result, "greater is He that is in us than he
that is in the world" (1 John 3:24, 1 John 4:4). Peter says that "we have
been born of the incorruptible seed by the Word of God, which lives and
abides for ever;" and that through the activity of God's Grace, we were made
"partakers of the divine nature" (1 Peter 1:23; 2 Peter 1:4). Paul also
compares this radical transformation of nature to being crucified, buried,
and resurrected along with Jesus. Thus the former person (or old man) is
totally destroyed; and a new man is raised up with Christ (Romans 6:4,6;
Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:12; Ephesians 2:5,6; Philippians 1:21).

The Greek 'anothen' means both "again" and "from above." There is no Hebrew
or Aramaic word of similar meaning with such ambiguity. Although in verse 4
Nicodemus takes Jesus to have meant "again," Jesus' primary meaning in verse
3 is "from above." This is indicated from the parallel in John 3:31; as well
as from the two other Johannine uses of 'anothen' (John 19:11,23); (Dean
Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John 1-12, page 130).
 
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