Daily Bread - August 31, 2020 (The Second Day - Genesis 1:6-8)
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 31 August 2020 16:25
1 Corinthians 9:25 - Now, everyone engaged in a contest is temperate in all
things; they do it for a corruptible crown, but we do it to receive an
incorruptible one.

The message of temperance is one of the three primary messages Paul
highlighted in his address to Felix (Acts 24:25). We should, therefore,
place the subject of temperance alongside righteousness and judgment in
importance. Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit many of us know
very little about. It has basically been categorized as "self-control", and
we leave it there without too much more consideration. However, there is
more to temperance than just "self-control" for it is the ability to rule
over every desire and thing that presents itself to an individual.

In order to grasp the meaning of this very important word, we must
appreciate the fact that the stem 'krai' denotes power, or lordship. The
basic meaning of this Greek word is then grasped by its adjective
'enkrates', which is defined as one who has a status of power or rule. For
the ancient Greeks, this word referred to the truly free and independent
man who was not dominated by anything. Socrates recognized temperance as a
cardinal virtue. To Plato, it meant superiority to every desire. In the
Hermetic writings, it was the ability rising up in the decade of powers.
Paul revealed it to be one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Peter listed it as one of the necessary attributes of consecration to God
(2 Peter 1:5-8). By definition then, temperance (enkrateia) is the absolute
power one exercises over oneself, or anything else.

Paul uses the word to describe the unwavering commitment of an athlete to
his training. In order to walk in this divine ability, or power, supplied
to us by the Holy Spirit, we must yield to God as we would in any other
way. If the nature of God is going to be manifested in our lives, then we
must be reminded at all times that without Him, we can do nothing (2 Peter
1:4; John 15:5). As an athlete devotes himself to his training, we must
yield ourselves to the training and instruction of the Holy Spirit. We have
a far greater reward awaiting us, both now and throughout eternity: a crown
of life, a crown of righteousness, and a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4; James
1:12; Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:8). As the expert swordsmen learns
through commitment and strict training to wield the sword, we must be
willing to give our members over to God so they become the weapons of
righteousness He has ordained (Romans 6:13; 2 Corinthians 6:7).
 
Daily Bread - August 29, 2020 (The Seventh Day - Genesis 1:24-31)
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 29 August 2020 10:23
John 15:7 - If you dwell in Me and My words dwell in you, then you may ask
what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

The junction of where the works of Christ, the Word of God, and the power
of faith produce the miraculous life of Christ is the point where we submit
to the truth - "I no longer live" (Galatians 2:20). To live in Christ
Jesus, we commit to live by Him. In this commitment, we turn our lives over
to Him in a dedication to doing the things He does, and in a recognition
that without Him, we can do nothing (John 14:12, 15:5). Now, this has
nothing to do with washing dishes or working on your car; rather, this is
all about fulfilling the Great Commission. If we are going to do the works
He did and greater works, then we are going to have to live the same life
of obedience He lived.

The act of dwelling in Christ Jesus is a consecration of our will to do His
will. Dwelling in Christ Jesus is a commitment to obey Him in all things.
It is a surrender to believe He has given us His life - with all of the
benefits and authority thereof. It is the continuous commitment to follow
Him, and to be as He is in this world (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 4:17). The only
way we can follow Jesus is to know - and then do - what His Word tells us
to do. Following Jesus is a refusal to live for ourselves; and instead, to
live as living epistles (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23; John 5:30, 15:5; 2
Corinthians 3:3). Dwelling in Christ is a daily consecration to live the
life of Christ freely given to us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:20).
We dwell in Christ because His Word dwells in us; we have believed and
accepted everything He has said we are! We allow the Word of Christ Jesus
to dwell in us richly because we hear it, read it, think on it, and do it
(Colossians 3:16; Luke 6:47-48, 11:28; James 1:22-24; Matthew 12:50; John
14:23-24, 15:10). If we say we know Him and dwell in Him, but do not keep
His sayings, then we are living a false life. Yet, if we simply obey Him
and do His Word, then we will find ourselves in a love relationship
resulting in receiving all that Father has bestowed upon those who will
walk with Him!

If we dwell in Christ Jesus and His Word dwells in us, then we will receive
whatever we ask (John 15:16; 1 John 3:22). Jesus reveals how easy it is to
receive the answer to your request - He simply tells us to ask! Jesus tells
us seven times in John chapters 14 through 16 to "ask." The kind of prayer
we are to pray is an asking prayer - one that expects God to do the
impossible! Elijah prayed, asking God to stop the rain, and it did not rain
for three and a half years. Then, when he asked God to cause it to rain, it
was so (James 5:17-18). James said, "You have not, because you ask not."
Jesus said, "Everyone who asks shall receive," and, "All things whatsoever
you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive" (Luke 11:9-10; Matthew
21:22). How simple can it be? Jesus reduces the impossible to nothing more
than a basic request - if we will walk in obedience to the life of Christ
by allowing His Word to determine all that we think, speak, and do.
 
Daily Bread - August 28, 2020 (The Sixth Day - Genesis 1:20-23)
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 28 August 2020 08:09
John 15:4 - Dwell in me, and I in you. Just as the branch has no power to
bring forth fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can
you unless you remain in Me.

Jesus has made the reality of God's will very plain to us by the use of
this allegory. The life God offers to us is a life totally united with Him
that functions as a result of His care and provision. A botanical
understanding of a vine thoroughly and simply drives home the point. The
vine is the only connection the branch has to the source of the life-giving
nutrients essential to its survival. The vine supplies the structure and
resources from which the branch can produce the fruit. The fruit the
branches produce is specific to the DNA of the vine, which in this case is
the fruit of God's own nature.

The gardener's objective is to tend the branches in such a way as to
maximize, first, the quality of the fruit; and then, as the branch matures,
the quantity. Both the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ have not only
purposed we bring forth fruit, but they have dedicated themselves to supply
everything we need in order to do so. Our role as the branch is very
simple: all we must do is obediently respond to the will of the Father -
Who is cultivating our lives to fulfill the very specific objective of
producing the fruit of the Vine. As a branch, we must see our whole
identity and purpose defined by the Vine from which we grow. This intimate
relationship and absolute identity ultimately results in Father doing
whatever we ask (John 15:7, 14:13-14).
 
Daily Bread - August 27, 2020 (The Fifth Day - Genesis 1:20-23)
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 27 August 2020 08:12
2 Corinthians 3:18 - And all of us with an unveiled face, beholding the
glory of the Lord in a mirror, are transfigured into the same image from
glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Moses beheld the glory of the Lord and his face shown with the glory of
that encounter. Jesus was caught up into the glory of God and was
transfigured before Peter, James, and John (Mark 9:2-10). Today, God's
people also have an opportunity to be transfigured. We are transfigured as
we allow our hearts and minds to come into agreement with the Word of God.
As we take hold of those things God has said about us and believe we are
what He declares us to be, then we are renewed in the spirit of our mind
and transfigured into the image of Christ (Ephesians 4:23; Romans 8:29).

We must be willing to make no provision for the realm of humanity, but
instead, allow the Spirit of the Lord to cloth us with the splendor and
image of Christ (Galatians 3:27). We are supposed to look at ourselves in
the light of what God has both said about us and made us to be in Christ
Jesus. When we look at our reflection, we should see the glory of the Lord
and find ourselves being transfigured into that glorious image of Christ.
We are continually faced with the challenge as to whether we will believe
what man and demon spirits say about us, or if we will believe what God
says about us. If we will accept the identity we have been given by God in
Christ Jesus and walk according to the Word of God, then we will realize
all of the glory and splendor of the life of Christ.

God has an image and identity for us - the image and identity of Christ!
God predestined us to be conformed to this image (Romans 8:29). We were
given this image when we were born of the Spirit. At that same moment, we
were created anew in Christ Jesus after the likeness of His righteousness
and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24). This is what God desires for us to know
about ourselves - that for us to live is Christ (Colossians 3:10;
Philippians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Galatians 2:20).

If we are willing to take on the image of the Son, then we will discover
and ever increasing glory of the manifest presence of Christ Jesus in our
lives (Romans 12:1-2). If we refuse to accept anything other than what God
has said about us, then we will arise out of the ashes of shame and failure
and experience a continual increase of God's manifest glory and power in
our lives - and we will shine as the sun (Isaiah 60:1; Matthew 5:14, 13:43,
17:2; Philippians 2:15)!
 
Daily Bread - August 26, 2020 (The Fourth Day - Genesis 1:14-19)
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 26 August 2020 10:46
2 Corinthians 3:17 - Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of
the Lord is, there is freedom.

Part 2 ~ The Freedom & Glory of the New Creation in Christ Jesus

The allegory of removing the veil does not end with the removal of the
blindness of heart, but extends to an encounter with God bringing to pass a
transformation (2 Corinthians 3:14). Through the work of the Holy Spirit,
the new creation is brought forth in the likeness of Christ Jesus. The
image of Christ and the glory of the new creation springs forth - like the
rising of the sun (Isaiah 60:1). The most important part of Paul's message
has to do with our willingness to behold the glory of God, which has been
freely given to all those who will believe (Colossians 1:27-28; 2
Corinthians 11:4). We cannot remain religious and unwilling to believe the
good things God has done. He has called us to come and hear His voice and
know His ways. We cannot fall after the same manner of unbelief that took
place in the heart of Israel when they had the Gospel preached to them
(Hebrews 4:1-2).

For us to refuse to see the freedom and glory of the the new creation that
has been brought to us by the Holy Spirit would be equivalent to demanding
Moses' face to be veiled. We must be willing to look, as it were, into the
mirror and behold the same glory on our face that the Father gave to Jesus
(John 17:21-23; Romans 8:1-4, 29, 12:2; 1 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Corinthians
3:18, 4:7; Ephesians 4:23-24; 2 Peter 1:3-4). The Spirit of the Lord has
brought to us freedom from the old man, and newness of life; but unless we
are willing to believe, we will fail to take hold of the glory that has
been given! (2 Corinthians 3:3; John 3:3-6; Romans 6:6, 7:5-6, 8:9; Hebrews
10:16; Ezekiel 36:26).
 
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