daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:13
Exodus 24:8 - And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people; and
said, "This is the blood of the covenant which Yahoah cut with you,
concerning all of these words."

The covenant of God is relational; not legal. It is a consecration to
devoted love, which God upholds through His faithfulness and tender mercies.
The closest thing that we have in modern times to the concept of this kind
of covenant is marriage. Just as marriage is relationship of love; so is the
covenant of God. There is no better example of an Old Testament covenant
than that which existed between God and Abraham. God sought Abraham out, and
offered him a relationship. All that men are obligated to do is to love God
and obey His direction. Yet even when they refused to be faithful, as Israel
did, God in His devoted love continued to remain consecrated to them. One of
the examples of God's devoted love to Israel is found in the story of Hosea
and Gomer. God commanded His prophet to marry a harlot, who refused to
remain faithful (Hosea 3:1-4; Hosea 2:5-23). In order to gain her
commitment, the prophet purchased her by giving her the amount that she
would normally sell herself for.

God's covenant of love was established for all men everywhere - anyone who
would believe - through the pouring out of His own own blood (1 John 2:2;
Romans 3:26). Through His life's blood He consecrated Himself to a devoted
love for us. Through His blood He broke all other claims held over our
lives, so that we might only belong to Him. Jesus takes His life, both body
and blood, and invites us to come into the communion of this covenant of
love; and dwell with Him (John 6:56). Through His own faithfulness and
tender mercies, He extended to us that which we could never afford. He
blessed us with this covenant: not based on any works of righteousness which
we have done, but according to His great love wherewith He loves us (Titus
3:5; Ephesians 1:6-7; Ephesians 2:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:9).

It is also this same love that strengthens us, establishes us, and perfects
us. God sought us out and pursued us, loving us so much that He gave us His
only begotten Son. His love will never fail. If we will only believe and
dwell in this covenant love that God has for us, we will discover the
glorious reality of the life of fellowship with God; and the life of victory
over sin and all the powers of darkness (Ephesians 3:17-19; 1 John 4:10; 1
John 4:16-18). Let us all believe God and obey His voice, and come into the
fellowship of the covenant of love that God has made for us through the
consecration of His own life (Deuteronomy 29:12; Matthew 26:28; Colossians
1:20; Acts 20:28).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 12:27
Revelation 11:6 - They have authority to shut up heaven, that no rain may
fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have authority over the
waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of
plague as often as they desire.

Although the Bible does not specifically name these two prophets, they are
more than likely to be Enoch and Elijah. What we know is that these two
witnesses have stood before the Lord in heaven since Old Testament times
(Zechariah 4:3; Zechariah 4:11-14; Revelation 11:4). We also know that
Elijah will return before the second coming of Christ (Malachi 4:5). Both of
these prophets are mortal and will be put to death - at the end of the
tribulation or the 1260 days of prophesying (Revelation 11:3; Revelation
11:7-8).

Only Enoch and Elijah went to heaven without dying; and for them to return
to earth and take up this particular ministry fits the description of these
prophets. Enoch was the prophet who prophesied to the wicked people that
were destroyed in the flood. These people were so wicked that God repented
that He had ever made man (Genesis 6:4-7). These people were so vile that
all the imaginations of their hearts were continually wicked. This was a
time when angels and men cohabited together, and brought forth men that God
never intended to exist (Genesis 6:4; Matthew 24:37-38; Daniel 2:43). It was
against these people that Enoch prophesied, and although we do not have
certainty about his prophecy in those days (as it is described in the book
of Enoch), we do know from what was recorded in Jude that He prophesied of
the coming days: when the Lord will return with ten thousands of His saints
to execute judgment on all the ungodly; which will also take place at the
end of the 1260 days of the prophesying of these two witnesses (Jude
1:14-15).

Elijah prophesied to the Northern Kingdom of Israel during a time that they
had turned their hearts from God to serve Baal-Zebub (1 Kings 16:31-33; 2
Kings 1:16). He was the prophet who called down fire upon the enemies of
Israel, and also called down fire upon the offering of the Lord in a contest
against the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:24; 1 Kings 18:36-38; 2 Kings
1:10). It was Elijah who executed the judgments and disciplines of God
because of idolatry, and shut up the heavens so that it would not rain (1
Kings 17:1; Luke 4:25; James 5:17; Deuteronomy 11:16-17; Leviticus 26:19;
Revelation 13:15). He stood during the time of Jezebel and the worship of
devils, calling the nation of Israel back to the worship of the only true
God (1 Kings 18:13; 1 Kings 19:2). Because the two prophets of Revelation 11
have the power to strike the earth with plagues, as did Moses, there have
been those who have thought that Moses should be one of these prophets.
However, Moses died; and his body was buried in Moab near Bethpeor
(Deuteronomy 34:5-6). Yet if we desire to see a model of the authority to
strike the earth with plagues, then Moses is certainly one of the most
outstanding in the Bible.

During the last three and a half years of the tribulation (or 1260 days),
they will preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus, protect Israel, and also
execute the vengeance of God. God will be at war with the nations of the
earth during this period of time, and will pour out the cup of His wrath
upon their iniquity (Revelation 15:1,7; Revelation 16:1). Although things
were terribly wicked in the days of Noah, it will be even worse in the last
days; for the fullness of the mystery of iniquity will be revealed
(Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 14:14-19, Revelation 16:9,11; 2
Thessalonians 2:8-12).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 09 March 2010 12:58
1 Peter 1:2 - According to Father God's foreknowledge, by sanctification of
the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ;
grace to you and peace be multiplied.

It was the plan or foreknowledge of the Father that we should be chosen by
being set apart (that is, "sanctified") by the Spirit. The foreknowledge of
God in every case has to do with God's plan; and not the individuals in the
plan. We may be confident that it is God's will that all men be saved for,
"He is not willing that anyone perish;" and therefore, "the grace of God has
appeared to all men" (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Peter 3:9; Titus 2:11). The Greek
word 'prognosis' was used by the ancients as a medical term, which is still
in use today; and may be defined as "a prediction about how a given
situation will develop." This word, which is derived from the compound word
'pro-ginosko', may be literally translated "to know before." It is only used
twice in the New Testament: here and in Acts 2:23.

The tragedy of the misunderstanding of God's foreknowledge cannot be said
better than John Wesley said it so many years ago: "But the doctrine of
predestination is entirely changed from what it formerly was. Now it implies
neither faith, peace, nor purity. It is something that will do without them
all. Faith is no longer, according to the modern predestinarian scheme, a
divine "evidence of things not seen," wrought in the soul by the immediate
power of the Holy Ghost; not an evidence at all; but a mere notion. Neither
is faith made any longer a means of holiness; but something that will do
without it. Christ is no more a Savior from sin; but a defense, a
countenancer of it. He is no more a fountain of spiritual life in the soul
of believers, but leaves his elect inwardly dry, and outwardly unfruitful;
and is made little more than a refuge from the image of the heavenly; even
from righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 08 March 2010 13:46
1 John 4:7 - Beloved let us love one another, because he that loves is from
God; and everyone that loves is begotten of God, and knows God.

The most important expression and evidence of the new birth is the love of
God. This kind of love is perfectly defined by the life of Jesus, who loved
us so much that He laid down His life that we might live. God's love by
definition is a holy love, one that is giving and unselfish; and was
revealed to all mankind when God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son. This holy love fulfills all of the law and purpose of God for
man, in that it works no wrong-doing (Romans 13:10; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
The expression of God's love through man is only possible if a person has
been begotten of God. If we will dwell in love, we will dwell in God. If we
are willing to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge, then we will
be filled with all the fullness of God. If we do not love one another as
Christ loves the church, then we are refusing to walk in the Spirit; and are
in breach of our relationship with God (1 John 4:8; John 15:12; 1 John 2:4;
1 Thessalonians 4:9).

The love of God is not expressed to a selective group of people, but to the
whole world (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10; Titus 3:4; 1 Peter 2:17). The love of
God causes the sun to shine upon the evil and the good, and send rains for
the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:35). It is God's
nature to bless those who are offenders and persecutors, and those of us who
have been born of Him are called to do the same (Romans 12:14; Luke 6:28).
All of God's children are marked with the expression of God's divine love
and holy nature. Unfortunately, there is probably not a more neglected
subject among His people. Above all other things the expression of this
unfailing love must be manifested among us, if the world is to know that we
have been begotten of Him (John 13:35; 1 John 2:5,10; 1 John 3:11; 1 John
4:21). Above all other things, it is our responsibility to show this love
one for another: among ourselves first, and also to the whole world. If we
fail to walk in love one for another, then we have failed at the most
fundamental and essential attribute of our calling (John 13:34; John
15:12,17; Romans 12:10; Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1
Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11,23; 1 John 4:11-12; 2 John 1:5).

Love describes the chief characteristic of God; it is central to everything
that God has willed for men, and its constant expression through our lives
is the fulfillment of His will. The subject of love is central to the Bible,
the Gospel, the Character of God, and the character of those who are led by
the Holy Spirit. God who is Holy and who is Love has set us apart from the
world, separating us unto His Love. We should be totally separated to the
purpose of God's love being revealed through us in every dimension of our
lives. All fear, suspicion, division, envy, strife, and every aspect of
discord are the enemies of love; and must be treated as the enemies of God
(James 3:16; Proverbs 6:16-19; Romans 16:17). Do not be ignorant of Satan's
devices: He does not attack us head-on, but works to divide and separate us;
and then destroys each person individually.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 06 March 2010 15:34
Ephesians 3:17 - That Christ may dwell in your heart through faith, being
rooted and founded in love.

There is a double allegory in this thought: being rooted as a tree, and
founded as a building on a good foundation. Both express the stability and
commitment to what our primary responsibility is as God's people. We are
called to walk in love: a love that is in fact supernatural, because it is
divine love; or the same love that Father has for us. Jesus said that by our
love one for another all men would know that we are His disciples (John
13:35; 1 John 4:7). It is in knowing and believing that Christ dwells in us
that the faith of God is released - to produce all of the benefits of His
divine nature.
 
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