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daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 07 November 2009 14:33
2 Kings 4:21 - And she ascended and laid him down upon the bed of the
man of God; and she shut the door and went out.

One of the reasons that the Bible may refer to the Shunamite woman as
great was because of her great faith. The example set forth by this
woman must be followed if one desires to have the same kind of
miraculous results. When the child that was given to her by the word of
the prophet died, her posture and actions exemplified the behavior of
those who have placed all their confidence in God: she simply laid the
child before God and shut the door. She shut the child in with God, and
shut out all death and fear. She immediately took her eyes off the
disaster and placed them upon the one who could provide the answer. She
did not cry out or show any kind of fear or distress about the death of
her beloved son. She immediately set her heart upon the answer to her
need. She resolved herself to the disposition that if the man of God had
the power to bring her son into this world, he also had the power to
raise him up from the dead. Perhaps she had heard the story of how
Elijah had raised the son of the poor widow woman from the dead; and so
she laid him upon the bed of the man of God and shut the door. "And the
woman said to Elijah, 'Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and
the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth'" (1 Kings 17:24).

The woman does not allow for any delay. When her husband asked why she
was going to see the prophet, she makes no mention of the death of the
boy but simply says, "All is well" (2 Kings 4:23). This woman of
substance will not allow for any delays or hesitations which may cause
her thoughts to turn elsewhere. Her urgency was to seek God, and so she
does not wait around for anything - even for the help to saddle her
donkey - but instead does it herself. Her instructions are of the most
urgent kind: she demands that the assistant take no thought of her
needs; rather he was to drive and not slow up. When Gehazi came out to
meet her and asked if all was well, her declaration was: "All is well."
Her confession to her husband and to Gehazi must not be overlooked; for
it was one of faith and confidence. It was also a declaration that left
no opportunity to open the door to fear and grief through a conversation
about death. Somehow this woman realized if she was going to have a
miracle she could give no place to fear, she could not delay and allow
death to creep into her heart. In considering her disposition we are
reminded of the words of Jesus to Jarius, "Be not afraid, only have
faith" (Mark 5:36).

She had reserved all of her emotion and complaint for the one who could
truly do something about it, the one who represented God Himself. With
all haste, she ascended to the place where she could meet with God and
lay hold on the provision that only faith can receive. When she finally
came to the mountain where Elisha was, she jumped off the donkey and ran
to Elisha and grabbed his feet with her arms. When Elisha concluded that
he would send Gehazi with his staff to take care of the situation and
raise the boy from the dead, the woman would hear none of it. She was
not going to put her faith in a staff nor in another; her faith rested
solely in God, and in the one whom the Lord had anointed. Her
consecration rings out for all to hear: "'As the Lord lives and as your
soul lives, I will not let you go!' And he arose and followed her" (2
Kings 4:30). Her faith placed a demand on the anointing, and there was
nothing for the anointed man of God to do but to follow her leadership.
The woman who had made a demand that the man of God allow her to bless
him with food and with a place to stay, expecting nothing in return, had
now placed a demand on the power of God that resided in the life of
Elisha. Her unwavering faith and commitment could not be refused, for
she had asked in faith; and faith cannot be denied (Mark 9:23; Mark 11:23).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 05 November 2009 23:14
2 Kings 4:8-11 - And one day Elisha passed through Shunem, and there was
a great woman; and she insisted that he come in to eat bread. And so as
often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat bread. And she said to
her husband, "Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who
continues to come by. Let us now make for him a small room, and place
for him there a bed and a table and a chair and a light; and then when
he comes unto us he may stay there." And it came to pass on the day that
he came there, that he came into the room and laid down there.

She sowed kindness and reverence to the Lord, and she reaped more that
she could have ever asked or thought: "Be not forgetful to entertain
strangers; for thereby some have entertained messengers of God unawares"
(Hebrews 13:2).

There are many things to say about this wealthy woman. First, she is one
of only woman that the Bible speaks of in regards to her wealth. With
many wealthy people arrogance and pride takes over; and they have no
time for anyone else, especially some stranger passing by who is in need
of food. However, the Shunamite woman was different: she was a woman of
grace, hospitality, and kindness. She was not consumed with her status
and self-interest but was moved by the need of a stranger. She did not
just ask him out of a religious obligation, but insisted with and
overpowering demand (Hebrew 'chazak') that he come and eat bread in her
house. "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yes she reaches forth
her hands to the needy" (Proverbs 31:20).

The Shunamite woman came to realize that Elisha was truly a holy man of
God. Her perception of Elisha's holiness was an indication of her own
purity and obedience to God. Any sensitivity to the anointing and honor
towards someone who walks in holiness is an indication of a deep hunger
for the things of God. Her reverence towards holiness and her desire to
make room for the man of God in her house further speak of her desire to
be near to God. Elisha recognized her eagerness and deep desire to serve
him, and called her one that "trembled for them with trembling" (Hebrew
'charat' - 2 Kings 4:13). Thus, the kind of service that she rendered
was out of the deepest kind of reverence for the anointing. The
servitude and humility that she had always expressed now found its
opportunity to be poured out upon the Lord, as she served the man of
God. Her servitude was rewarded by the willingness of the prophet to
dwell in the room that she had prepared for Him. "For all those things
has my hand made, all those things have been, says the Lord: but to this
man will I look, even to that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and
trembles at my word" (Isaiah 66:2).

There was not the slightest indication of arrogance in her attitude. She
was not upset that even after all she has done for Elisha, He never
called her by her name, but instead addressed her as the Shunamite
woman. When he called her to his room he did not even speak to her, but
addressed her through his assistant Gehazi. She regarded herself as
nothing more than his maidservant, and in her humility and meekness she
wanted nothing more than the honor to serve. When Elisha asked how He
could reward her, she had no thought for any such retribution. Her
motives were purely out of a desire to be of service to the Lord. It was
reward enough for her that Elisha had been willing to receive those
things which she had been allowed to supply. However, there has never
been a time when a person served the Lord and did not get rewarded
(Hebrews 11:6). The presence of God always results in the blessing of
the Lord - upon those who are blessed to stand before the majesty of His
goodness. Just as Obededom's house was blessed when the Ark entered;
even so must this woman also be blessed, who had served the anointed of
the Lord. "And the ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obededom
the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Odededom and all his
household" (2 Samuel 6:11).

The man of God then touched the dearest thing to her heart, and her
deepest desire. She did not ask for such a reward, and surely would have
not considered herself worthy of such a thing. To embrace a son was so
important to her that it was painful for her to even consider; and so
she pleaded with Elisha not to give her any false hopes (2 Kings 4:16).
Perhaps she had not heard of all the great miracles that God had done
through Elisha; or she thought such a miracle beyond what God would do
for her. Yet God in His awesome love and goodness did indeed reward this
woman, who had only sought to be honored with the privilege of being a
servant. Her heart was fixed; and the one who had come and touched her
life so deeply and rewarded her with all her heart's desire would have
her vow of trust for the remainder of her life. Through her heart of
servitude and commitment to trust God, she would become one of the great
women of faith - as she remained absolutely confident in God while
facing the greatest trial of her life: the death of her son.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 05 November 2009 21:57
Ephesians 2:5 - Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive
together with Christ: by Grace you are saved.

The work of salvation takes place in our lives simply because we are
willing to accept that Jesus died for us, and through His death He paid
our just penalty for sin. It is necessary then that we fully embrace His
life and identity as well. For He is in fact more than our substitute or
representative; for we died with Him that we might live with Him. The
miracle of the new birth is the result of the former things having been
put to death through our death with Christ Jesus, for we were "crucified
with Christ" (Galatians 2:20). Because we are "buried with him by
baptism into His death," the entirety of our existence now is to be in
Him (Romans 6:4). "For we thus judge: if one died for all, then all are
dead; that we should no longer live for ourselves but for the one who
died for us" (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). As a result we are alive together
with Him, we are raised up together, and made to sit together in the
heavens; this is Grace!

God's Grace produces for us what we could never supply for ourselves.
All we have to do is accept what He has done for us and surrender
ourselves to His work of Grace, that has changed us and perfects us.
Because of God's great love and unspeakable gift we are given co-life,
co-resurrection, and co-enthronement. All we have to do is to trust in Him.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 07:28
2 Thessalonians 1:11 - Unto which we also pray continually for you: that
our God would count you worthy of the calling, and fill you will all the
goodness of His good pleasure and work of faith in power.

Paul relates the similar message in Ephesians 4:1: "I therefore, the
prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation
wherewith ye are called;" Colossians 1:10: "That ye might walk worthy of
the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and
increasing in the knowledge of God;" and 1 Thessalonians 2:12: "That ye
would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory."

In each case the Greek word 'axios' is used, which is derived from the
root word used here which is 'axioo': to count worthy. When Paul
ministered the gospel to the Jews in Acts chapter 13, they refused to
listen and rejected the good news; therefore because of their rejection
of the gospel, Paul said that they judged themselves unworthy of
everlasting life (Acts 13:46). Therefore, we may suppose that Paul's
usage of this word underscores that the rejection of the gospel makes
one unworthy, whereas the acceptance and obedience to the gospel makes
one worthy. If we are willing to believe all that God has said, we will
discover that He will make it a reality in our lives. We simply accept
His love and believe on the Lord Jesus - and we are saved. If we will
accept the commission and believe in the work of the Holy Spirit, we
will discover all of His works of power in our lives as well.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 03 November 2009 11:09
1 Chronicles 29:11-12 - To you Lord is the greatness and the strength
and the glory and the victory and the splendor; for all that is in
heaven and in the earth belongs to you: the Kingdom belongs to you Lord,
and you are exalted as head over all. And the riches and the glory come
from your presence, and you reign over everything; and in your hand is
the power and the strength, and it is in your hand to make great and to
strengthen everyone.

Everything that is in the heaven and the earth belongs to God, and He
desires to bless His people with everything that He has. One of the
great tragedies that exist among God's people is that they underestimate
the power of God. He is not limited to a heavenly realm; but everything
in the heavens and in the earth, and all of its fullness, are His. Too
many days pass through our lives in which we fail to recognize the
greatness of God. Instead, in our worry and concern we look to men and
to the earth for what we need. We need to stand in the presence of God
until we realize who He really is! Everyday and in every situation we
must acknowledge that God reigns supremely; and that all of the splendor
and beauty and glory and the greatness of all wealth and riches are His,
and He gives it to whom He chooses. We must equally recognize that He
has chosen us, and that He desires to bless us and to give us charge
over all that He has. What we can be certain of is that it is His will
to make everyone great, and to give everyone strength to function in all
of His wonderful riches: both of the precious things of the heavens, and
of the precious things of the earth (Deuteronomy 33:13-16).

If we would only realize that riches and glory of both the things in the
heaven and in the earth do not come as men suppose - but they come as a
result of standing in the presence of the Lord. Knowing this, we may
further come to realize how that it is impossible to have these things
without a deep and intimate relationship with God (Deuteronomy 8:17-18;
Proverbs 8:18; Psalm 112:3; 2 Corinthians 9:8-9; 3 John 1:2). Only those
appointed by the king are allowed to stand in his presence; and this is
certainly true of the King of Kings, who stands in the Holies of Holies.
God has appointed all men unto salvation through Christ Jesus (2 Peter
3:9; Titus 2:11; John 12:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). He has opened the
door and provided the blood of cleansing and purification, so that sin
and its darkness can be removed (Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:9; Revelation
1:5; 1 John 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 13:12;
Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:13). With the life and glory
of these royal garments of holiness and purity, we can stand in the
presence of the One who has all power and might; and receive from Him
the splendor of His manifest presence, so that we may walk in the
majesty of His anointing. With this glory of His presence comes that
strength and the anointing to take our place as His representatives on
earth, and to possess a glory and an honor that reaches far beyond that
which king David inherited.
 
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