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Daily Bread - March 23, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 23 March 2017 07:03
John 6:19 - And having rowed about three to three and a half miles, they
beheld Jesus walking on the Sea. As He came near the boat, they were
terrified.

The Seven Miracles of Jesus Described in the Gospel of John (continued)

The Fifth Miracle: Jesus Walking on the Water (John 6:14-21)

In the midst of the great signs and wonders Jesus did came a success
through which men would have imposed their will on God's anointed servant.
Jesus, however, was unwilling to submit Himself to the promotion of men,
and instead, went up into a mountain alone to pray. The disciples, in
obedience to Christ Jesus, got into a boat and attempted to go to the other
side of the lake, but were faced with great opposition even unto the point
of death.

When the disciples set out in obedience to Christ Jesus, they were
immediately met with a storm that prevented them from going very far. They
left the mountaintop of the great miracle of feeding the multitudes to be
confronted with their human frailty in the valley of a stormy night. Once
again, the disciples are shown to be helpless without Christ Jesus. They
had observed the power of Jesus to speak to the wind and the waves, but
they still did not believe that such power belonged to them (Matthew
8:23-27). They faithfully toiled with the arm of flesh throughout the
night, but were unable to fulfill His command. In the midst of their agony
and labor, these veteran fishermen were unwilling to give up and turn back
to shore. The wind and the waves were contrary to them, but they continued
to drive forward. They had spent most of the night fighting the wind and
the waves, and had come to a point that their lives were in jeopardy. They
had left in the evening as darkness was falling, and now it was the fourth
watch, or sometime around 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM, in the morning (Matthew
14:25). It had taken most of the night, and they had only gone about half
way across the lake or about three or four miles. If we will listen, we can
hear them crying out unto the Lord for His help (Psalms 107:23-32). Jesus,
turning unto them and looking by the Spirit, saw them in the darkness of a
stormy and perilous night faithfully toiling against the adversity and fear
of death that they faced. He would not leave them to their own failing
strength, but would come in the midst of the opposition that they faced.
Through what appeared to be their defeat, Christ Jesus had positioned them
to be lifted into higher heights of revelation and faith. He would come to
them in a way that they could not imagine, and demonstrated yet another
dimension of the Spirit -a dimension that the rest of the world would not
be allowed to see because it only belonged to those who had faithfully
served the Master and obeyed His voice.

Christ Jesus, in His earthly tabernacle, had stepped over into the heavenly
and spiritual in such a way that all the natural laws no longer restrained
Him. The One who had spread out the heavens in His eternal glory, yet had
humbled Himself to the earthly robes of flesh, now tread upon the waves of
the sea (Job 9:8). When the disciples saw Him, they could not imagine that
it was anything other than a spirit, or ghost (Mark 6:48-49). They had seen
His glory and power manifested in so many situations, but this was a whole
new dimension now displayed before their eyes. In their terror and fear for
their lives, Jesus' comforting words came into their ears, "Don't be
afraid; it is Me!" (v 20)

Peter was captivated by such a great revelation of glory and transcendence
in the Spirit being displayed by Jesus, his Master (Matthew 14:22-33). He
was so moved with the heavenly realm, that he too desired to participate
with Jesus in His mastery over the stormy sea. That which had wrought
hardship and defeat throughout the night, Peter desired to subdue. He had
come to realize the power and authority of the spoken word and had learned
the lesson of how to lay hold of great faith from the centurion, and now
asks Jesus to speak the word only and bid Him come (Matthew 8:5-13). With
the word of His power, Peter would rise up and tread upon that which had
threatened his life. When Peter cried out to be empowered to walk in the
same realm of glory, the Lord made a way in the sea and a path in the
mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16). With Jesus' spoken word, Peter rose up in
faith and stepped over into the heavenly realm and walked by the Spirit.
The fierce wind and the bellowing waves were the same as they had been.
When he stepped out upon the water, that which had threatened his life and
hindered his commission was still there. The only difference was his senses
were now filled with the heavenly. All He could hear was the voice of the
One who spoke the word of faith, and all He could see was Jesus.

Afterwards when Jesus stepped into the boat, they were all translated and
immediately found themselves upon the shore (v 21). The moment that Jesus
was willingly received into their situation, no power was able to prevent
them from their divine purpose and destination. The disciples were beside
themselves! Every law of the universe that they knew had been broken! Were
they still upon earth, or were they in Heaven? They were overwhelmed and
beside themselves at what just happened (Mark 6:51)! They were still in
shock over the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and were not even
able to fully deal with that because their hearts were still imprisoned to
the earthly realm (Mark 6:52). The disciples, so overwhelmed by this man of
Galilee that they had left everything to follow, still could not even begin
to fathom who He was! Although it was more than the mind could reason and
the heart could understand, yet captivated by the heavenly revealed in
Christ Jesus, they fell down and worshipped saying, "You are the Son of
God!" (Matthew 14:33).
 
Daily Bread - March 22, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 10:25
John 6:11 - Jesus took the cakes, and having given thanks, He distributed
them to the disciples and the disciples to those seated, also the fish in
the same way, as much as they desired.

The Seven Miracles of Jesus Described in the Gospel of John (continued)

The Fourth Miracle: The Multitudes Fed (John 6:1-13)

The multiplying of the loaves and fishes is one of the great miracles
reported by all four Gospels. It was a highlight in the extraordinary
exploits of faith and the revelation of Heaven on earth. That day, faith
was shown to be the substance that would bring forth something out of
nothing as Jesus worked a creative miracle to feed the people (Hebrews
11:1-3). This miracle testified to the truth that the entirety of the
material world had been created by the spoken word. It set another
dimension of precedence of faith in the lives of the apostles and
disciples, to which Jesus will point back on several occasions. After this
event, it was not tolerable to God for His disciples to be surprised about
anything miraculous (Mark 6:51-52; 8:19-21; 9:19).

The multitudes were assembled before Jesus, having followed him and his
disciples into a wilderness place. When Jesus saw them coming, He received
them and healed everyone who had need of healing (Luke 9:11). Compassion
moved Jesus that day to provide food for the people in the wilderness (Mark
6:34; Matthew 14:14). The greatness of this miracle would leave no question
at the end of the day about Who Jesus was; the people would recognize that
He was indeed the Messiah (John 6:14). They would have no more excuse to
remain in their unbelief and disobedience. Miracles served to authenticate
the message of many of God's servants from the leadership of Moses to the
identification of the true and false prophets by God answering with fire
from heaven (Exodus 4:1-9; 1 Kings 18:39).

One of the great features of this miracle is that Jesus performed it
through His disciples. He took the five loaves and two fish and blessed
them, and then divided them to His disciples giving each one a piece. Jesus
then commanded them to take what was given to them and give it to the
people. We could imagine that, if each time Jesus divided the five loaves
and two fishes among His disciples and gave them each enough to have a
piece and still break off a piece, then they each would have witnessed the
beginning of the miracle as Jesus divided the five loaves and two fishes
among them. There is no reason to believe that this was limited to just the
twelve apostles, because there were many who followed Him as disciples at
this point. Furthermore, to take care of five thousand men, not counting
women and children, would have required all the help that Jesus could
muster. The disciples did exactly as Jesus instructed them; and in
obedience to Him, the loaves and the fish did not diminish. As the oil in
the cruse and the flour in the barrel, each time they broke off a piece of
bread or fish, the portion did not decrease (1 Kings 17:14-16).

The miracle began with Jesus being moved with compassion for the people. As
the miracle developed, Jesus involved those around Him beginning with
Philip. He asked Philip how they might provide food for so great a
multitude of people from a natural perspective. Once Philip had sized up
the situation and concluded the impossible nature of being able to provide
bread for so great a company of people, Jesus put the responsibility on the
disciples shoulders and commanded them to give the people something to eat
(Mark 6:37). Jesus was moving them from the natural to the supernatural
-from reliance on human ability to miraculous ability supplied by faith.
Andrew was the first to catch on and identified the seed from which the
miracle would grow, five loaves and two fish (John 6:9). This would not
just be a miracle that would give everyone a bite of food, it would be one
of excess. Every person would eat and be filled, and still twelve
basketfuls would be taken up (John 6:12-13). After this miracle, Philip
should have never resorted to depending only on what the natural world
could supply.

Jesus sat all the people down in preparation for the meal. Whether or not
each person really prepared their hearts to receive a miracle that day,
they cooperated with the instruction as each one positioned themselves for
a miracle. We can only assume that they were told that they were about to
be fed; it remains uncertain if they were told a miracle was about to take
place. They sat down in companies of hundreds and fifties. With more than
twenty thousand people being fed that day, doing so would provide room for
the disciples to move among them. Every detail of instruction was
preparation to receive a miracle that would take place with five loves and
two small fish. What we can be certain of is that the disciples knew a
miracle was about to take place, and they cooperated with the instruction
that Jesus gave, which was necessary for the miracle to come to pass.

Today, we must recognize that Jesus has shown us how to function in the
love of God that works miracles. He has sent us with the power to deliver
people from every influence of the powers of darkness. If we will simply
recognize that our abilities are not sufficient to do the works of God,
then we can begin to cooperate with the Divine provision. Of ourselves, we
can never supply the needs of people in any dimension, whether physical or
spiritual. Words alone cannot convince men of the truth, and bring them to
an encounter with God and revelation of the Heavenly (1 Corinthians 2:4-5;
1 Thessalonians 1:5). If we will turn to Christ Jesus, and let Him show us
how to do the works of God -and then imitate Him, we will begin to fully
preach the gospel and give witness to Who He is (John 14:12; 15:5, 16;
Romans 15:19; Acts 1:8). Every miracle in the Bible should cause us to have
confidence that what God has done before, He will continue to do now. The
prophet of old was given the ability to do twice the miracles of Elijah,
but Jesus showed that there was even a greater dimension of this same kind
of miracle. Elisha set twenty loaves of barley and full ears of corn before
one hundred men, and they all did eat to the fill; and there was some left
over. If we will be confident in the miracle ministry of Jesus, which will
not pass away until all things are fulfilled, then we will see the same
miracles, too!
 
Daily Bread - March 20, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 20 March 2017 09:09
John 4:48 - Then Jesus said to him, If you do not see signs and wonders,
surely you will not believe.

The Seven Miracles of Jesus Described in the Gospel of John (continued)

The Second Miracle: The Nobleman's Son Cured (John 4:43-54)

Jesus was rejected in His own hometown, but it is said that the Galilaeans
received Him (John 4:45). In the place where there is no honor for the man
of God miracles cannot take place. Matthew says that those of His own
hometown were offended by him (Matthew 13:57). There are many today who are
offended by the belief that Jesus still does miracles through His servants.
As a result, just as Jesus was dishonored then, they show the same dishonor
to His servants now (Matthew 10:25). Whatever anyone does to those who come
in the name of Jesus, they do it to Him (Matthew 10:40; John 13:20). So in
the same way, those who have this disposition today will be deprived of the
divine provision they otherwise could have had. If men truly honor Jesus
and His word, then they are going to show the same honor to those who come
in His Name teaching His word and doing His works. There are many who
prevent the miracles of Jesus from entering into their lives because of
their attitudes towards the servants of God. Just as a little rudder turns
a great ship, their tongue sets the course of their lives. As fire burns
and devours, so the utterance of their tongue consumes the blessings of the
Lord (James 3:4-6).

Anywhere that the miracle working Jesus was honored and received, faith was
at work. Such was the case among the Galilaeans and specifically in Cana.
There was a nobleman who lived more than a day's journey from there who had
heard that Jesus was in Cana, so he set out to lay hold on the miracle his
son needed. His faith in the Healer was set into motion, so that he might
lay hold on that which he needed for his dying son. When he had finally
arrived in Cana, he asked Jesus to return with him to Capernaum to heal his
son, who was at the point of death. In this context, Jesus revealed one of
the chief doctrines of His ministry -the need for signs and wonders. Signs
and wonders were the primary feature of the ministry of Jesus and his
disciples. The purpose for them was plainly stated by Him: "without signs
and wonders you will not believe" (John 4:48). Surely, it was the joy and
delight of the heart of Christ Jesus to bring healing and deliverance to
all who would receive.

Jesus was unwilling to comply fully with the request of the nobleman, and
instead, had a greater plan -to reveal the power of His spoken word. The
nobleman wanted Him to accompany him to his house, but Jesus showed that
all anyone needed was His word. The noblemen believed the word that Jesus
had spoken and discovered later at that very moment his son was healed.
Jesus demonstrated that the power of faith was not limited by distance, but
was carried on the authority of faith to wherever it was needed.

The nobleman did not come "seeking the will of God"; he already understood
it. The Healer was there, and he came with an urgent demand. He was
persuaded that Jesus had the power to heal his son and had no question
regarding His willingness. He was insistent with Jesus as any desperate
father would be. His insistence was emphasized by the double reference to
his demand for Jesus to come down, or his child would die. Jesus met his
request without hesitation and bid him to return home, telling him that his
son would live. The faith of the nobleman was demonstrated by his
obedience. There was no further need for him to be convinced. His faith in
the word of the Lord was observed by his willingness to end the
conversation and return on the long journey home. He believed the word
Jesus had spoken and immediately departed (vs 50). He had not seen, but he
believed (John 20:29).

The power of the signs and wonders which help men believe was underscored
by the response of the nobleman's entire family who were established in the
faith as a result of the miracle (vs 53). God ordained that His message of
salvation be preached with signs and wonders. To believe that Jesus was
issuing a rebuke when He said, "unless you see signs and wonders you will
not believe," is a mistake. God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost and
power to do these works. Jesus also equipped and sent all those who would
go on His behalf as His witnesses and ambassadors with the ability to do
the same signs and wonders (Matthew 10:1; Acts 1:8; Romans 15:19; John
14:12). When the disciples of John came asking Jesus if He were the Christ,
He answered their question with the signs and wonders He did (Luke 7:22).
Jesus lived in the miraculous, and every part of His ministry relied upon
the heavenly being revealed through His life. Beginning with Nathaniel,
Jesus opened his heart to believe with the word of knowledge (John
1:43-51). Throughout all of Jesus' ministry, Father was being revealed by
the works He did (John 14:10-11).

We must never lose sight of that which is far better than signs and wonders
and every display of the supernatural. There is something better than all
the good things that God in His love would do for us. If we combine all
that we can think or ask, still nothing can compare to this fellowship we
now have with God in Christ Jesus. There is nothing so great as the beauty
and the splendor of His manifest presence. There is nothing that compares
to the love He has for us, and the blessed privilege we have of interacting
with Him. Knowing Him and walking with Him, because of Who He is, far
surpasses all other things.
 
Daily Bread - March 18, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 18 March 2017 10:18
John 2:5 - His mother said to the servants, if he says something, whatever
it is, do it.

The Seven Miracles of Jesus Described in the Gospel of John

Introduction:

The Gospel of John records seven miracles of Jesus. There is a reason why
the Lord chose to highlight these specific miracles among so many. It is
important to recognize that these reports are given to us so that we might
know what to expect from Jesus and how to cooperate with Him in the working
of miracles today. If we want to know how to move with the Holy Spirit in
the working of miracles, then we must receive the wisdom that He alone can
give.

The First Miracle: Water into Wine (John 2:1-11)

When Jesus turned the water into wine, there were several people involved
in participation with this miracle. To begin with, this was a miracle that
was initiated by Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary presented the need to
Jesus by simply saying, "they have no wine." The response of Jesus was
shocking, as it appeared as if He was not interested in being involved, and
effectively points to a timing issue (John 2:4). Jesus was committed only
to doing what the Father showed Him to do; but this did not stop Mary, who
persisted in her desire to provide the needed wine for the wedding. Mary,
as it were, ignored what Jesus said, and persisted by instructing the
servants to do whatever Jesus required of them. Jesus then told the
servants, who were evidently waiting for His instruction, to fill the six
water pots with water and then, afterwards, to take the water and present
it to the governor as wine. The six water pots combined would have
furnished a generous amount of wine totaling roughly 108 to 180 gallons.
Each stone jar would have been about 18 to 30 gallons, weighing up to more
than 200 pounds each. Once the water was supplied, it is not clear if the
water was made wine while it was sitting in the water pots, or at the time
of the drawing of the water by the servants, or at the time that the
governor actually tasted of the water.

The people that participated in this miracle were: Mary, who initiated it
and insisted that it take place; Jesus, who instructed how the miracle
would transpire; and the servants, who were willing to obey the instruction
given to them by both Mary and Jesus. The total number of servants involved
would have been numerous, because the jars themselves would have been of an
enormous weight. Therefore, they would have had to either carry the
containers weighing around 200 pounds, or continuously carry smaller
buckets until the jars were full. In either case, there would have been a
significant amount of work involved in the performance of this miracle.

The persistent faith of Mary cannot be regarded as a minor factor in this
miracle. Although it was Jesus who did the miracle, it was the idea and
insistence of His mother that moved Jesus to do the work. Jesus, however,
would not do the miracle without the labor of the servants, who would have
to obey the commands of someone they were not obligated to obey; and,
furthermore, He issued a ridiculous request to supply an enormous amount of
water for wedding guests that were not in need of water in the first place.

Mary showed us how to move in faith. She made her request to the Lord and
then prepared to receive the miracle. She showed no signs of wavering or
doubt. She made her request, but did more than just leave it in the hands
of the Lord to work it out. She immediately set the servants to wait upon
Him until they received the specific instructions on how the miracle would
take place. If those who were waiting upon the instructions of the Lord
were unwilling to follow through with divine instruction, there would have
been no miracle.

There was also a similar pattern of interaction observed with the woman who
was from the nation of Jezebel, a Syrophenician (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark
7:26). In both instances, a request was made which was met by a rebuke from
Jesus that was then followed by His assistance. The most outstanding
characteristic of the faith exhibited by both Mary and the Syrophenician
woman was that neither of them were willing to take "no" for an answer.
While both seem to interrupt the divine commission - one who was asking
Jesus to do something before His time and the other who stood outside those
to whom Jesus was sent - their faith changed the order of things. While
many important points could be made here, the most outstanding one is that
faith does not say, "if it be thy will." Rather, as Jesus points out
elsewhere, faith places a demand on those things that we know a loving and
generous God is willing to supply (Luke 11:5-13, 18:1-8).
 
Daily Bread - March 17, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 17 March 2017 09:10

1 John 2:13 - I write unto you, fathers, because you have known Him Who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have conquered the Evil One.

Jesus conquered the 'world system' where the Evil One reigns who is also called the prince and the power of the air by Paul (Ephesians 2:3). Those who have been born of God have been empowered to conquer the 'world system' just as Jesus did, which is also the proof of the believer (1 John 2:6, 4:4, 4:17, 5:4-5, 18). We are commanded by Jesus to conquer or overcome just as He overcame (Revelation 3:21). There are two realms: that of Christ Jesus which is far above all others, and the realm of the god of this world (Ephesians 1:21-22, 2:2-3). The realm of Christ Jesus is the place of glory and virtue; the other, is that of lust and iniquity (Colossians 1:13; 1 John 2:15-17).

The scriptures demand that we refuse the ways of the Satanic and walk in the power of the new birth, by which we conquer the Evil One; because the Greater One, Christ Jesus, is in us. The world, its lust, and the spirit of antichrist have no power over the ones who are born again (John 16:33; 1 John 2:12, 14, 4:4, 5:4-5; Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21). The overcoming power encapsulated in the Greek verb 'nikao,' which means to 'conquer,' is found many times, making this doctrine absolute: 6 times in the 1st Epistle of John (1 John 2:12, 2:14, 4:4, 5:4, 5:5); but is also found once in the Gospel of John (John 16:33); and 15 times in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21, 6:2, 11:7, 12:11, 13:7, 15:2, 17:14, 21:7).

The "Evil One", 'poneros,' is Satan. He is the one who rules in the realm of darkness, a place foreign and alien to those who walk in the Light, where there is no darkness (1 John 1:5; Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:13). The Evil One is referred to as the prince of this world whom Jesus cast out when He was crucified (John 12:31). He is also called the prince and the power of the air, the god of this world, and referred to as spiritual wickedness by Paul (Ephesians 2:2-3, 6:11-12)

Be an overcomer!

Pastor Mark Spitsbergen

 
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