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daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 02 January 2010 09:24
Ephesians 1:19 - And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us
who believe: according to the working power of His mighty power.

Our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has really loaded us up with
all of the divine power and ability that we will ever need for anything
that we will ever face. The biggest challenge is on our part: to believe
Him and look to Him for help in time of need. If we are willing to look
to Him for help, then He will supply all of our needs according to His
riches in glory. There are four "power" words in this one verse of
scripture: 1- dunamis; 2- energia; 3- kratos; 4- ischus.

The Greek word 'dunamis' is defined by the virtue that went out of Jesus
to heal the woman with the issue of blood, and by the power that the
church would receive once the Holy Spirit came upon them. It has been
said that 'dunamis' is the ability to accomplish the promise. 'Energeia'
is brute or muscular power or working efficiency, by application
"supernatural strength" (Philippians 3:21, Colossians 1:29). 'Kratos' is
the power to overcome obstacles, have dominion, or controlling, ruling
power. And 'ischus' is the potential power, the power that will come to
bear when needed (1 Peter 4:11). The word 'ischus' is first used in
Genesis 4:12, "When you till the ground it will not yield her strength
to you."

This use of four synonyms for power in one verse is similar to Ephesians
6:10, which commands the saints to be 'endunamoo' (strong) in the Lord,
and in the 'kratos' of His 'ischus'. The Almighty wants us to have a
strong assurance of the faith; to know for certain that we can do all
things through Christ who strengthens us. Father so wanted Abraham to be
certain of the promise, that He swore an oath to him; and in order to
make us certain Jesus sent the promise of the Father, to both endue us
and seal us with His Spirit (Luke 24:49; Hebrews 6:13-19; Hebrews
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 01 January 2010 10:24
1 John 2:4 - The one who says, "I know Him," but does not keep His
commandments - is a liar; and the truth is not in him.

Jesus spoke a number of different times about the commandment that He
received of the Father to lay down His life (John 10:18; John 12:49,50;
John 14:31; John 15:10). Jesus also gave commandments to his disciples.
These commandments were directed at their love one for another (John
13:34; John 15:12; John 14:15,21; John 15:10; 1 John 2:7-8; 1 John 3:23;
1 John 4:21; 2 John 1:5-6). In fact, when we understand that God's
commandments are focused on our loving one another - and that this love
is divine love - then we also realize that such a love is only possible
by yielding to the operation of the Holy Spirit.

The key to walking in all the ways of God is to be ruled by divine love.
The only way to be governed by divine love is to allow the Holy Spirit
to rule our life, and be our inspiration at every turn of our behavior.
The love of God is the fulfillment of the whole Law, because it works no
wrong against anyone (Romans 13:10; Romans 8:4). To walk in love is to
walk in the Light, which is the glory of God being revealed in His
people (2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 Peter 2:9).

The commandments of Jesus are not a set of rules, but rather they are is
God's commandment to a whole new way of life. The New Testament believer
is called to a realm that goes far beyond the 10 Commandments of the Old
Testament. Through the divine nature that was given to us when we were
born of God, we are empowered to walk in all the ways of God, which are
made known to us by His word (Romans 8:4). One may correctly view
'logos' (word) as interchangeable with 'entole' (commandment); in both
the Old and New Testament (John 8:51; John 8:55; John 14:23,24; John
15:20; 1 John 2:5). The technical name for the Ten Commandments is "The
Decalogue," which means "The Ten Words" (Exodus 20:1; Exodus 34:28;
Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 10:4). In Deuteronomy for example, the
passage refers to the whole of the Law code as "all the words of this
Law;" translated by the Septuagint as "all these commandments." Also, to
further drive home this point, the opening statement of the following
verse serves to further equate commandment with word: "But whoever keeps
his words...." Thus the commandments that Jesus refers to may be
understood as all the Word of God.
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 30 December 2009 16:44
1 John 2:5 - But whoever keeps His word, truly in him is the love of God
perfected. This is how we know that we are in Him.

The word 'agape' (love) is defined by its New Testament application as
divine love, or the love that God loves with; thus "the love of God."
The usage of 'agape' in classic Greek is rare. When it is found, it is
neither dramatic nor colorful. It was usually translated "to like,
prefer, be content." However, when it appears in the New Testament
Greek, it defines the kind of Love that the Father has for the Son; and
the kind of Love that the Christian has since the Paraclete has come to
dwell in them (John 13:34; John 14:15,21; John 14:31; John 15:10,12;
John 15:17; John 17:23). This kind of love does not have a human origin
but is purely divine, flowing into and out of us by the presence of the
Holy Spirit.

Raymond Brown writes: "Agape is not a love originating in the human
heart and reaching out to possess noble goods needed for perfection; it
is spontaneous, unmerited, creative love flowing from God to the
Christian, and from the Christian to a fellow Christian." (The Epistles
of John, pages 254-255) The Hebrew word for love is 'ahav', and is
translated in the Septuagint exclusively by 'agapan'. Jeremiah writes
that love comes through a circumcised heart (Jeremiah 31:33; Jeremiah
4:4). Proverbs says that God loves us as a father loves his son
(Proverbs 3:12). Perhaps the closest example to the New Testament usage
of 'agape' is found in the Hebrew 'chesed', in Exodus 34:6. The Hebrew
word 'chesed' means "covenant love" or "loyal unfailing love."
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 13:29
Habakkuk 2:4 - Behold he who is lifted up, his soul is not upright in
him; but the righteous shall live by his faith.

What is faith? At its foundation, faith is trust in God. It is trusting:
that what God said He will do will surely come to pass. One of the great
modern-day tragedies is that many people in church think that faith is
merely a set of subjective views of God and of life. To many, faith is
little more than their individual preferences and philosophical beliefs.
However, these are not what faith is! Faith is supplied to us by God,
and begins in our lives by simply trusting God. How do we trust God? We
believe what He has said in His word. As we walk with God, there is an
ever-increasing supernatural supply of faith given to us by the Holy
Spirit. The grace of God has provided us with a proportion of faith
(Romans 12:6). As we are faithful to God with what He has given, we are
supplied with more!

If you are going to walk uprightly before the Lord, then you are going
to have to believe what God has said - and trust that He will not fail
you. Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4 in the New Testament to establish that the
saints of God must live by faith, if they are to be numbered among the
righteous (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). When we consider
the Hebrew word that is used in this passage (emuna) and what it means,
we come to a better understanding of the foundational meaning of faith.
The Hebrew word is translated "steady or firm" in Exodus 17:12. It is
used in Deuteronomy to describe God's total dependability, and is
translated "truth" (Deuteronomy 32:4). It is used to describe God's
faithfulness in 1 Samuel 26:23, Psalm 36:5; Psalm 40:10 and Lamentations
3:23. It is also used to describe God's works and His words in Psalm
33:4; Psalm 119:86 and Psalm 143:1. God, who is faithful, expects to see
those who have entered into relationship with Him remain faithful to Him
as well (Proverbs 12:22; 2 Chronicles 19:9).

Keeping in mind that Paul used Habakkuk 2:4 as the basis to describe
being made righteous by faith, we come to understand more about the
relationship between obedience to God and trust in God - that must exist
in those who have been brought into relationship with God. We may safely
say that faith is a faithful trusting in God's promises. It is also
faithfulness on the part of the believer to know that God is faithful to
do those things which he has promised to do (Hebrews 10:23; Romans 4:3;
Galatians 3:6; James 2:23).
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 28 December 2009 08:30
Romans 7:6 - But now we are released from the Law, being dead to that
which held us as slaves; in newness of Spirit, and not in the old way of
a written code.

Paul is not describing his regenerated life in Romans 7:7-25. If he
were, then we would be faced with a dramatic number of contradictions -
beginning with his own writings. A few of the first things that we have
to understand is that Paul was not under the Law, but under Grace.
Therefore, the effects of the Law and its dominion described in verses
7-25 were no longer relevant to him. Secondly, Paul was not in the flesh
but in the Spirit; and therefore no longer bound to the dictates of the
flesh described in verses 14-25. Also, Paul was no longer dependent upon
the inability of the flesh or human ability to keep the law. Rather,
because of Grace, he had been filled with the Spirit; and now by the
Spirit did by nature those things contained in the Law (Romans 8:4,9;
Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18). Paul viewed being under the Law
as equivalent to being under sin; and because he was set free from sin,
he was also set free from the Law. Therefore, because of the new life in
Christ Jesus, he was liberated to live the life of Christ, by the
Spirit; no longer being subject to either sin nor the Law.

One of the confusing things about Romans chapter 7 is that Paul speaks
in the present tense in verses 14-25. What we must realize though - is
that he is reflecting on what it was like to live dependent upon the
Law. He began his discourse by declaring that he was no longer under the
law, the flesh, nor the domination of sin (Romans 7:1-6). It is
important to recognize that Paul uses the first person past tense in
verses 7-13 and then, while talking about the same subject of being
under the law, shifts to the first person present tense. Whether one
wants to consider this an autobiographical style, or a unique usage of
the "historic present" tense; this is secondary to the fact that Paul is
clearly talking about the life that he had once lived under the Law.

There have been those who have twisted what Paul said, and made the
removal of the Law a removal of prohibition against sin (Romans 4:15;
Romans 5:13; Romans 7:9). But to conclude such a thing is to ignore the
many situations where God judged mankind before the Law was given. Adam
and Eve were not under the Law, but their disobedience was judged. All
of the world was judged in the days of Noah because of their sins. Sodom
and Gomorrah knew nothing of the Law of Moses, but their sins and
iniquities were met with the righteous judgments of God; and their
cities were reduced to ashes. All of these people and nations were all
held responsible for their sins, even though they knew nothing of the
Law of Moses. Thus it is incorrect to say that for a person to be guilty
before God, he must know what sin is with respect to the Law of Moses.
Furthermore, now that the Law has been removed, there is a greater
demand to live free from all sin - and to be servants of righteousness!
(Romans 6:13-22). Paul made a clear distinction between those who know
God, and those who do not. He defined this difference by the fruits of
sin unto death; or fruits of righteousness unto God (Romans 6:21-22;
Romans 7:4-5; Philippians 1:11). Paul made it very plain for all of us
to understand that those who commit the 17 works of the flesh have no
part in the kingdom of God, nor inheritance with Christ (Ephesians 5:5;
Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

We are released from the Law and are married to Christ; so that through
the miracle of salvation we can be conformed to the image of Christ, and
walk in the righteousness of God (Romans 3:21-22; Romans 8:29; Romans
10:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Today the Laws of God, that were once only
written on tables of stone, are written on the tables of our hearts and
minds by the Spirit of God; so that we may do them (2 Corinthians 3:3;
Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16; Ezekiel 36:26-27).
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