daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 10 May 2010 13:56
Matthew 1:18 - Now the birth of Jesus the Christ was in this manner: When
his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were joined together,
she was found to be with child from the Holy Ghost.

This is the first mention of the Holy Ghost in the New Testament. His work
was not only central to the conception of Jesus, but His work has and will
continue to be essential to the manifestation of Jesus (John 7:39; John
14:26; John 15:26; John 16:12-15; Acts 1:8; Acts 4:8,31; 1 Thessalonians
1:5; Hebrews 2:4). Too many people that attend church fail to recognize the
place of supreme authority given to the Holy Ghost. Our interaction with Him
demands the highest order of reverence and godly fear. He must be recognized
and obeyed. To insult Him or speak evil against His person or His work is
the highest offense against God, and carries the most severe penalty in the
Bible (Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10). The Holy Ghost is referred to about 440 times
in the New Testament, from Matthew 1:18 to Revelation 22:17. The Holy Ghost,
the Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth
are all synonymous terms referring to the same person (John 1:33; Luke 3:22;
Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18).

He is God: in charge of the church and the life of the saints (John 14:26;
John 16:12-15; Acts 5:3; Acts 8:29; Acts 10:19-20; Acts 13:2,4; Acts 15:28;
Acts 16:6,7; Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13). He is the One who fills us
with the life of Jesus (1 John 3:24). He is the Paraclete who was sent to us
to live and abide with us forever (John 14:16). Although Jesus is the head
over the church, He communicates everything He does through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Ghost is the one who reveals Jesus, and who makes known to all of
the saints what the will of the Father is. He is the one that comes upon us
and changes us into a new creation. He is the one who functions in the midst
of the church to lead us and to guide us. He is the one who is to
orchestrate everything that goes on in the midst of the Church (1
Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11). He is the One who gives the
utterance of tongues (Acts 2:4; Acts 10:45-47; Acts 19:6; 1 Corinthians
14:12-16). He is the one who prophecies through the saints of God (Acts
2:17-18; Acts 19:6; Acts 21:9; 1 Corinthians 14:1,24; 1 Corinthians 14:39).
He is the One who we are to depend on to speak. He is the One who gives us
power to be witnesses. He is the One who gives oversight to the church, and
speaks directly to us concerning the will of God. Just as Jesus did all of
His miracles by the Holy Ghost before the cross, He continues to do all of
His miracles by the Holy Ghost - who empowers the saints.

The ministry of Jesus focuses on the Holy Ghost (John 3:3; John 3:5-6; John
4:14,24; John 7:38-39; Luke 4:18; Mark 3:29; Matthew 12:28; Mark 13:11). The
ministry and testimony of the early church focused on the working of the
Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5,8; Acts 2:4; Acts 2:33,38; Acts 4:8,31; Acts 5:3,32;
Acts 6:5; Acts 7:51,55; Acts 8:15,17; Acts 8:18; Acts 8:29,39; Acts 9:17,31;
and Acts 10:19,47; Acts 10:44-45; Acts 11:12,16; Acts 11:24,28; Acts 13:2,4;
Acts 13:9,52; Acts 15:8,28; Acts 16:6-7; Acts 19:2,6). The ministry of Paul
focused on the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:2,6; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians
14:1-40; Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:22-25;
Romans 5:5; Romans 8:1-16; Romans 14:17; Romans 15:13). Therefore if we are
going to truly follow Jesus, then our ministries must also focus on the Holy
Ghost! 1 Corinthians 11:1).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 08 May 2010 11:48
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 - And may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our
Father God, who loves and gives us everlasting encouragement and a good
expectation by grace, encourage your hearts; and establish you in every good
word and work.

In good times as well as troublesome times, the Lord desires to supply us
with courage and comfort so that we can boldly stand above all of the
circumstances (Psalm 60:12; Psalm 108:13; Romans 8:31; Hebrews 13:6). The
Prince of Peace has given us a Peace that the world cannot take away; and
the ability to mount up with wings, and run and not be weary (Isaiah 9:6;
John 14:27; John 20:21-22). We must understand that the comfort and the
encouragement that we need is supplied directly to us by the Holy Spirit,
who has come to lead us, guide us, and fill us with all the things that
belong to us forever in God.

The title that Jesus used to introduce the Holy Ghost was 'Paraclete' (John
14:16,26; John 15:26; John 16:7). The word 'Paraclete' is closely related to
and defined by two other related Greek words: 'Parakaleo' (to urge/to call
along side), and 'Paraklesis' (to encourage/comfort). In keeping with the
meaning of these words, the Holy Spirit is calling out to us ('kalein'). He
desires to fill us with the things that belong to the life of God. He
desires to strengthen us and equip us to walk in the boldness and authority
that comes from the assurance of faith. Without courage and strength, there
is no boldness; and boldness is key to walking in the authority of Jesus
Christ (Acts 4:13; Acts 4:29,31; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 1:20; Hebrews
10:19-21; Deuteronomy 31:6-7; Deuteronomy 31:23; Joshua 1:7-9; Joshua 1:18;
1 John 3:21-22).

The Holy Spirit wants to come to our aid. He wants to walk alongside us and
show us how to function in the authority of Jesus Christ. God summons us to
yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit; so that we may not only be blessed with
his everlasting encouragement, but also strengthened to do all that God has
commanded us to do. We must also recognize that it is equally important that
we call out to the Holy Spirit for His help. We must invite Him to take
control with the free will offering of our lives - as a living sacrifice
holy and acceptable unto God. The encouragement of the Holy Ghost will
comfort us; and out of that comfort we will be confident that what God has
promised, He will also do. The Holy Spirit is not only calling out to us, He
is calling us out to be consecrated: to the Lord Jesus Christ and the
Kingdom of God.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 07 May 2010 12:21
Genesis 28:17 - And he was afraid and said, "How fearful is this place; for
this is none other than the house of God, and this the gate of heaven!"

Did you realize that you are walking around in the house of God? We look up
into the sky and are fascinated by the beauty of the clouds and splendor of
the heavenly colors, but little do we realize that we are staring into
something that goes beyond our wildest imaginations. God gave this
revelation to Jacob, so that Jacob could understand more about the One whom
he was serving. One day God also allowed the eyes of Elisha's servant to be
opened, and he was able to see all of the heavenly host that surrounded
them. Just like Jacob, he realized that they were standing in the house of
God - as he beheld the angels and chariots of the Lord filling all the earth
(2 Kings 6:17). One day in the future the heavens will be rolled back like a
scroll, and all men will be able to look up into heaven and see Jesus
sitting at the right of God. I am sure that when Jesus stood before the tomb
of Lazarus and He looked up into heaven and said, "I thank you Father that
you hear me," He was seeing more than just the clouds passing by; He was
able to see something very similar to what Steven saw as He was about to be
stoned (Acts 7:55-56). If our eyes were opened, we would see that the glory
and splendor of the throne of God is right about cloud-level: where Jesus
suddenly disappeared before the eyes of the disciples as He ascended up into
heaven.

Many would like to think that God is somewhere in His heaven on a distant
planet far far away, but He sits upon the circle of the earth (Isaiah
40:22). We are living in a place that belongs to the Lord (Psalm 24:1; 1
Corinthians 10:26,28). One day the whole earth will be filled with the glory
of the Lord: when His temple comes down out of the realm of heaven (Numbers
14:21; Psalm 72:19; Habakkuk 2:14; Isaiah 11:9; Revelation 21:2). The Lord
stands in His glory and beholds all the works of the sons of men, looking
for someone who will walk uprightly and live in the way that He lives (2
Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 11:4; Psalm 34:15). Should we realize that we are
walking around in Father's house, perhaps we would then begin to see the
Lord always before us; and on our right hand so that we will not be moved
(Psalm 16:8). Let us behave ourselves reverently in the house of the
Almighty, for we shall surely give an account for how we have walked before
Him.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 06 May 2010 11:18
1 Timothy 2:1 - Then first of all I urge you that petitions, prayer,
intercessions, thanksgiving - be made for all men.

Paul's reason for this call to prayer is for the salvation of souls. He
notes in verse four below that God desires all men to be saved and to come
to the knowledge of the truth. Therefore, this verse is a kind of call to
arms. Paul focuses the church on their need to hit their knees and engage in
every kind of prayer. In this instance Paul identifies every kind of prayer,
including petitions, intercession, and the giving of thanks. One of the less
obvious types of prayer that Paul mentions here is the thanksgiving prayer.
He also mentions this kind of prayer in Colossians 4:2, where he says
"devote yourselves to prayer; keeping alert in it by thanksgiving." One of
the many dimensions to the prayer of thanks is the consideration that the
prayer is heard by God, and that He is at work to accomplish what we have
requested (Hebrews 11:1; Romans 4:20-21). So we are thanking Him for having
done what we ask, instead of remaining in a state of wonder or uncertainty
(Matthew 21:22).

Certainty in our prayers is an expression of faith, which says, "Thank you
Lord for meeting my needs." "Thank you Lord for changing the heart of the
president or the prime minister or the king." "Thank you Lord for the
salvation of my loved ones." "Thank you Lord for using me in the work
place." "Thank you Lord that you have filled me with authority by your
Spirit - to represent your kingdom and stand in the place of Jesus" (2
Corinthians 5:20). The prayer of thanksgiving is the prayer of faith that
believes that what has been asked has also been received. The prayer of
thanksgiving can be heard in the expression of Jesus when He looked up to
heaven and said, "I thank you Father for having heard me." In the prayer of
thanksgiving, which certainly should be a part of all prayer, one does not
hear wailing and sorrow - but the sound of joy (Philippians 1:4; Philippians
4:6). That is not to say that there is no place for strong and intense
prayer, for we can see that kind of prayer in the life of Jesus as well,
when He was engaged in intercession (Hebrews 5:7; Luke 22:44).

It is through prayer that we become alert and watchful, to both think and do
according as we have been commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been
given authority to be in charge of things, rather than to be overwhelmed
with fear and circumstance. We are the people of faith, the salt of the
earth, and the light of the world. However, to take our position alongside
of Christ Jesus, we are going to have to find a place of communion and
relationship with the Holy Spirit that is only discovered in the place of
prayer (Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 6:18; Romans 8:17; John 1:12; John
14:12-14; John 15:5,16; John 17:21-23).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 12:31
Ephesians 6:18 - Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and
petition; and through it stay alert, with all persistence and intercession
for all the saints.

Paul insisted that we pray in the Spirit. He made it clear to the church at
Corinth that praying in the Spirit was a certain kind of prayer: wherein the
Holy Spirit was engaged in prayer through us (1 Corinthians 14:14-15). The
prayer of the Spirit that produces the language of the Spirit participates
in a communication directly to God (1 Corinthians 14:2; Romans 8:26). The
only way that we can understand the true meaning of what Paul was saying
regarding the prayer of the Spirit is to recognize that when the church was
filled with the Spirit, a divine utterance was given to them (Acts 2:4). It
must be recognized by all that if we are to pray in the Spirit, then some
event has to happen wherein we are filled by the Holy Spirit; and the prayer
that we engage in is not our own, but His. It is through such prayer and
intercession that the saints of God will remain totally alert. We have an
adversary the devil, who goes about as a roaring lion; whose craft and power
we have been given power over. The strength of the Lord and the power of His
might are communicated to us by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:10). However,
we must recognize that prayer is one of the primary ways in which we yield
ourselves to that which He desires to supply.

We should also recognize that God wants us to be alert and attentive to the
instruction of the Holy Spirit, so that the life and ministry of Jesus might
be revealed through us as individuals, and through the congregation of the
church as a whole. We are to pray for one another and for all men, but
especially for the effectiveness of the church (Philippians 4:6; 1 Timothy
2:1; Colossians 1:9; Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11). Paul viewed his
own effectiveness in ministry in part as a result of the saints praying for
him. He desired the church to pray for him: that he would be given the word
to speak, that he would speak the word of God with boldness, and that it
would advance rapidly (Ephesians 6:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:1). If we can grasp
the importance of prayer and the power of prayer, we would realize that more
things would change upon our knees than can ever be accomplished through all
our human effort. Unfortunately, if we are not careful, we will pray after
our own human concern and understanding; and be completely ineffective.

It is only the prayer of the Spirit that is the effectual and effective
prayer (1 John 5:14; Romans 8:5,27; 1 Corinthians 2:16). When we pray in the
Spirit we will also receive the utterance of specific things that we are to
pray for; but it will be directed by knowledge and understanding that the
Holy Spirit gives, and not after our own human understanding. We can always
expect the utterance of the unknown tongue that the Holy Spirit gives to
excel to a point that the understanding can also be fruitful, through
interpretation. Prayer with the understanding also should then be by
revelation, knowledge, prophecy, or interpretation of tongues - and in this
way we receive instruction and edification by it (1 Corinthians 14:6; 1
Corinthians 14:12-13; 1 Corinthians 14:15-16). Many times we make the
mistake of praying in the Spirit just short of the prayer that can be
understood (1 Corinthians 14:6,13).
 
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