daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 13:15
Matthew 8:10 - When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who
followed, "Truly I tell you: I have not found so great of faith in Israel."

The definition that Jesus has of faith is recorded in Matthew 8:10. The
definition of faith was characterized by the attitude and confidence
that a Roman Centurion had in Jesus. The centurion recognized who Jesus
was, and laid hold on the power and authority which Jesus possessed. The
centurion was in such awe of Jesus, that he did not feel worthy to even
have Him come to his house. Perhaps one of the advantages that this man
had was his ability to recognize authority. All the centurion needed was
for Jesus to "speak the word only." If Jesus said it - then that would
be good enough. With the word of Jesus, the centurion was able to call
it done; and leave fully satisfied that his servant was totally cured.

The authority of the word, and our willingness to accept it and act on
it, is a theme that runs throughout the scripture. To move in such
faith, we must be struck with the awesomeness and power of God; who has
authority to do anything He chooses. We must hear His word telling us
that he cares for us, and that He will do whatever we ask. Then we must
call it done (Mark 11:24; Acts 10:43; Galatians 3:2; Romans 4:17; Romans
4:20-21; 2 Corinthians 1:20). The centurion was not of the household of
faith, and had no rights to the covenant and promises. He was a man of a
pagan race, who did not know God. Even though Jesus was sent to the lost
sheep of the house of Israel, He could not pass by the faith of this
man. The centurion's faith created an access into the realms of the
Kingdom that was not yet available, and His petition was immediately
granted. Perhaps one of the advantages that this man had over many in
Israel was that he was not confused with all of the doctrinal questions
as to whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. He, being a man exposed to
great commanders and leaders, was able to recognize authority and
greatness when he saw it.

Today, if we will only have faith in God, we will see the great things
that He has promised become a reality in our lives. If we will have
faith that Jesus is exalted above all other rulers and authorities,
everything being subject to Him; then we can be certain that what He has
said, He is also able to do. We can have the same confidence that the
centurion had, and know that because Jesus has spoken the word - that is
all that we need. We do not have to wait until we can see it with our
eyes in order to believe; for His word is evidence enough for those who
are convinced of who Jesus is!
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 28 September 2009 13:16
Luke 8:25 - And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And being
afraid, they said to one another, "Who is this that commands even the
wind and the waves, and they obey Him?"

One of the primary things that Jesus taught His disciples was how to
function in faith. He was continually rebuking them for a lack of it, as
well as making examples of those who displayed it. Unlike many scholars
and theologians, who over the years have attempted to define faith in
numerous ways, Jesus defined faith in a way that was always associated
with a supernatural display of power. If we look only at the gospel of
Matthew, we can easily see that Jesus expected the disciples, and all
those who would hear, to move in faith for the miraculous.

The first time Jesus mentions faith is in association with the
expectation that we should have for divine provision (Matthew 6:30).
Then when Jesus encounters the centurion, He highlights an example of
great faith, pointing to the fact that the centurion only needed Jesus
to "speak the word" (Matthew 8:10,13). When a paralyzed man was brought
for healing, Jesus once again pointed to the faith that would result in
the miracle of healing (Matthew 9:2). The woman with the issue of blood,
who knew that all she needed to do was to touch Jesus in order to
receive a miracle, was rewarded with the words, "Your faith has made you
well" (Matthew 9:22). Peter was eager to walk on the water with Jesus;
and knowing that all he needed was a word from the Master, stepped out
in the miracle provision of faith, and walked on the water until he
became afraid; and learned yet another lesson on faith as he began to
sink. Jesus said, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Mathew
14:31). They watched as Jesus was at first reluctant to respond to the
Syrophonecian woman, but in the end said, "Woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done to you as you wish" (Matthew 15:28).

All of these many lessons on moving in faith find their climactic
resolve in the words of Jesus, when He declared: "Nothing shall be
impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20). Whether it is a command for a fig
tree to dry up, or for a mountain to be cast into the sea - those who
have faith will say what they will, and it will come to pass (Matthew
21:21-22). God has called and elected us to have such a relationship
with Him: that whatever we ask, He will do (Matthew 21:22; John 15:16;
John 14:12). We can be confident that those things that God has promised
will surely come to pass, if we remain faithful, and hold fast to our
confession of faith; for God is faithful who promised, who will also do
it (1 John 5:14-15; Hebrews 10:23; 2 Corinthians 1:20). If we ask
anything according to His will, He will do it! His will is expressed in
His words - which can never pass away (Mark 13:31; Matthew 24:35; Luke
21:33).

His word declares that it is His will that the blind see, the death
hear, the crippled walk, the devils go out of those who are afflicted by
them, and the dead be raised to life again! It is God's will that we
prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers. It His will that we
walk in righteousness, holiness, and purity! It is His will that we have
the power of proof for the message that we proclaim: that Christ Jesus
has risen form the dead. It is His demand that we be His followers, and
imitators of His deeds and conduct (Ephesians 5:1; Luke 10:19; John
14:12; Mark 16:17-20). To do so then, we must give ourselves to the same
message of the Kingdom of God that He preached, and the miracles which
He performed. If we will give ourselves to living by His word: speaking
and doing those things which He has declared, then we will have His
results. If we refuse to waver or to be moved by doubt, and instead
recognize who Jesus is, and the gift of God that He has given us; then
we will surely see all the miraculous realms of faith produce what
otherwise would have been impossible. Jesus says to us today: "Only have
faith!" (Mark 5:36).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 28 September 2009 12:46
Luke 8:25 - And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And being
afraid, they said to one another, "Who is this that commands even the
wind and the waves, and they obey Him?"

One of the primary things that Jesus taught His disciples was how to
function in faith. He was continually rebuking them for a lack of it, as
well as making examples of those who displayed it. Unlike many scholars
and theologians, who over the years have attempted to define faith in
numerous ways, Jesus defined faith in a way that was always associated
with a supernatural display of power. If we look only at the gospel of
Matthew, we can easily see that Jesus expected the disciples, and all
those who would hear, to move in faith for the miraculous.

The first time Jesus mentions faith is in association with the
expectation that we should have for divine provision (Matthew 6:30).
Then when Jesus encounters the centurion, He highlights an example of
great faith, pointing to the fact that the centurion only needed Jesus
to "speak the word" (Matthew 8:10,13). When a paralyzed man was brought
for healing, Jesus once again pointed to the faith that would result in
the miracle of healing (Matthew 9:2). The woman with the issue of blood,
who knew that all she needed to do was to touch Jesus in order to
receive a miracle, was rewarded with the words, "Your faith has made you
well" (Matthew 9:22). Peter was eager to walk on the water with Jesus;
and knowing that all he needed was a word from the Master, stepped out
in the miracle provision of faith, and walked on the water until he
became afraid; and learned yet another lesson on faith as he began to
sink. Jesus said, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Mathew
14:31). They watched as Jesus was at first reluctant to respond to the
Syrophonecian woman, but in the end said, "Woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done to you as you wish" (Matthew 15:28).

All of these many lessons on moving in faith find their climactic
resolve in the words of Jesus, when He declared: "Nothing shall be
impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20). Whether it is a command for a fig
tree to dry up, or for a mountain to be cast into the sea - those who
have faith will say what they will, and it will come to pass (Matthew
21:21-22). God has called and elected us to have such a relationship
with Him: that whatever we ask, He will do (Matthew 21:22; John 15:16;
John 14:12). We can be confident that those things that God has promised
will surely come to pass, if we remain faithful, and hold fast to our
confession of faith; for God is faithful who promised, who will also do
it (1 John 5:14-15; Hebrews 10:23; 2 Corinthians 1:20). If we ask
anything according to His will, He will do it! His will is expressed in
His words - which can never pass away (Mark 13:31; Matthew 24:35; Luke
21:33).

His word declares that it is His will that the blind see, the death
hear, the crippled walk, the devils go out of those who are afflicted by
them, and the dead be raised to life again! It is God's will that we
prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers. It His will that we
walk in righteousness, holiness, and purity! It is His will that we have
the power of proof for the message that we proclaim: that Christ Jesus
has risen form the dead. It is His demand that we be His followers, and
imitators of His deeds and conduct (Ephesians 5:1; Luke 10:19; John
14:12; Mark 16:17-20). To do so then, we must give ourselves to the same
message of the Kingdom of God that He preached, and the miracles which
He performed. If we will give ourselves to living by His word: speaking
and doing those things which He has declared; if we refuse to waver or
to be moved by doubt, and instead recognize who Jesus is, and the gift
of God that He has given us; then we will surely see all the miraculous
realms of faith produce what otherwise would have been impossible. Jesus
says to us today: "Only have faith!" (Mark 5:36).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 26 September 2009 12:51
Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all
wisdom; teaching and admonishing yourselves in psalms, in hymns, in
spiritual songs: singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.

The People of God must come to understand that until they begin to live
by the Word of God, nothing will change. If we live by the Word, then
the Word will govern our speech and conduct! If we are going to live by
the Word, then we must come to know the Word well enough to recall what
God has to say in His Word - regarding our conduct and reactions to
everything we encounter in life.

The phrase "the word of Christ" is only found one time in the New
Testament, so to understand exactly what Paul meant by the "word of
Christ," it will be necessary to consider both how Christ dwells in our
hearts, and how His word dwells in us. The most obvious meaning of the
"word of Christ" is as a synonym for the "word of the Lord" or the "word
of God." Jesus said that the words that He spoke would never pass away
(Matthew 24:35; Luke 21:33). The word of Christ, above all else, is
those things that are written in the word of God, which will always be
those things that the Spirit of God speaks. If anyone does not speak
according to this word, then it is because there is no light in him
(Isaiah 8:20; John 5:46-47; Matthew 22:29; 2 Peter 1:19-20; 2 Timothy
3:15-17). If we are going to speak the word of Christ, then we must give
ourselves knowing it by heart (John 14:26; John 16:13; John 17:17).

We can both live under the inspiration of the word of Christ and speak
the word of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
The Spirit of Christ Jesus, who dwells in us, will speak through us all
the words of this life - that produce signs wonders, miracles, praise
and adoration - that belong to God (Colossians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 2:13;
1 Corinthians 12:7-10; 1 John 3:24; Acts 5:20). One of the chief aims of
the word of Christ dwelling in the saints is to empower us to teach and
admonish one another. Paul made it clear that when He spoke, it was by
the operation of the Holy Spirit speaking through him; either by
revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or teaching (1 Corinthians 14:6).
Furthermore, it may be argued that Paul expressed these as a product of
the spiritual language. His demand to the church was that they earnestly
contend for the spiritual; and especially prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to govern the church, and to lead us and
guide us; and it is essential that we realize that we are to only speak
by the Spirit of truth, which has been given to us (John 15:26; John
16:13; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:4; Acts 2:17-18; Acts 10:45-56; Acts 19:6; 1
Corinthians 14:2). Peter said that when we speak, we are to do so as the
oracles (bearers of the divine word) of God, according as God supplies
to us (1 Peter 4:11). In Ephesians, Paul instructs us to be filled with
the Spirit; which is related, by context, to the word of Christ
producing the utterances of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
(Ephesians 5:19).

There is a message living in our hearts, which can only be expressed by
the Spirit of God who dwells in us. Those utterances come forth from our
hearts as rivers of living water, expressing the majesty and splendor of
who Christ Jesus is. The word of Christ is a continual unchanging force
in the church; as much as His peace is (Colossians 3:15). The result of
being filled with the Spirit and having the indwelling word of Christ is
the same: it produces thanksgiving from the heart in psalms, hymns, and
spiritual songs. In Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he emphasizes the
spiritual song in the context of the language of the spirit (1
Corinthians 14:14-15). He also further reveals to them the dynamic of
what teaching and admonition is, when he said, "How is it then,
brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a
doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let
all things be done unto edifying" (1 Corinthians 14:26).

Realizing that the word of Christ is the same as the word of God, we
have many scriptures that help us to understand this work of grace that
placed the word of God in our hearts; so that we may remember, do, and
speak what God has spoken. We have been born of the word of God (1 Peter
1:23). The word of God has been written in our hearts and minds by the
Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:3; Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16). The word
of God is at work with power in those who believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13;
Acts 20:32). The word of God is how faith is produced in us (Romans
10:17) The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, that gives us the
ability to destroy every work of darkness (Ephesians 6:17). When the
word of God dwells on the inside of God's people, it makes them strong,
so that they can overcome the wicked one on every front (1 John 2:14).

We are the people of God; and as such we are the people of faith, who
live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God (Romans 10:8;
Matthew 4:4). The word of Christ is established in us because we give
ourselves to knowing and speaking the word of God that is written in our
Bibles. Everything that we do must be both judged and governed by the
written word of God. It is the written word of God that brought the seed
of God's word into our hearts (Romans 10:14-17; Matthew 13:23). When
Christ speaks through us by His Spirit, it will be the Word written in
our Bibles. God's people must refuse to live by their own words, and
speak their own words - which are influenced by all sorts of things. We
must be willing to make the transition in our lives, and speak by the
word of God, from the Spirit of God; rather than out of the realms of
our own understanding.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 25 September 2009 11:08
John 8:31 - Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, "If you
remain in my Word, then you are truly my disciples."

Jesus has called us to live by His word, and to make His word the place
where we live now and forever (John 15:7; Colossians 3:16; Matthew 4:4;
Matthew 12:37; Matthew 24:35; Luke 11:28; 1 Peter 1:25). To live there
we must know the word, speak the word, and do the word (John 3:34; John
14:23; John 8:32; John 17:17; James 1:22-23; Acts 20:32; Romans 10:8; 2
Corinthians 5:19; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 5:26; Philippians 2:16; 2
Thessalonians 2:17; Titus 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:13; 1 Timothy 4:5; 1 Timothy
6:3). The very life of Jesus was the personification of the Word (John
1:1-3). His conduct, manner of life, and deeds are the standard for what
a life fully given to the expression of the word of God looks like. The
Greek word translated "remain/continue/abide" (menein) is often used by
John to describe how we are to carry on a proper relationship with God.
We are to remain in Him and in His word (John 14:17; John 15:4-7; John
15:9-10). If we will continue to dwell in His word - which means to live
by His word - then we are those who follow Him, and who do the will of
the Father.

Continuing in the word does not merely speak of knowing the word, but
more specifically of doing it. Paul testified that those who were born
of God were living epistles: the very expression of the word that all
men could read (2 Corinthians 3:3). Peter said that we were begotten of
the Word (1 Peter 1:23). Through the new birth we become the offspring
of the Word, or a child of the Word of God (James 1:18; Hebrews 8:10;
Hebrews 10:16). The creative power of the Word of God created a new
creation in us. We have been empowered to both know and to do those
things which God has spoken; but how can we do that which we do not
know, nor are mindful of?

We must submit ourselves to the simplicity of God's word, and be willing
to obey those things that He has commanded (Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21).
If we love Jesus, we will love His word; and we will do it (John
14:23-24; 1 John 2:5). If we are going to be doers of the word, then His
word must be a part of how we think and reason. The way in which we
think and reason is the way in which we speak and conduct our lives. To
make the word of God the abiding place of both our hearts and
intellects, we must give ourselves to knowing the word. The practice of
having only a casual encounter with the word must come to an end. The
people of God are going to have to grow up and stop living as babies,
who expect to be spoon-fed the word of God on a weekly basis. We must
cease to be slothful, and become diligent with the word of God. The idea
that we can put more time and enthusiasm into things that make us
successful in the world - while we neglect the spiritual - is a terrible
deception! The command to: "Study to show yourself approved a workmen
that does not need to be ashamed" is not just for preachers and teachers
of the word; it is for every person who would be a disciple of Jesus (2
Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3:14; 1 Timothy 4:6; Hebrews 2:3).
 
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