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Daily Bread - April 1, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 01 April 2017 09:47
1 John 2:16 - Because everything that is in the world: the desire of the
flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the
Father, but is of the world.

Part 1 - The Desires of the Flesh

The phrase used in 1 John 2:16, "he epithymai tes sarkos" (the desire of
the flesh) is one of the identifiers of those who are not born of God (the
Father). The desire of the flesh is a dimension of the wickedness that
belongs to the world. It is opposite to the desire of the Spirit, and
something that we belonged to prior to salvation (Ephesians 2:3; Romans
8:9). It is opposed to the love of the Father. The love of the Father
teaches us to "deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live
righteously, godly and soberly in this present world" (Titus 2:11-12). The
word 'epithymai' means 'desire, wish', and it is used in both a good and
bad sense. In Philippians 1:23, Paul says, "My desire... is to be with
Christ". On the other hand, it is used in a bad sense in John 8:44, "The
devil is your father, and you carry out the desires of your father." John
only uses the word 'sarx', or 'flesh', one time in his First Epistle in
relationship to the wickedness of the unredeemed man. When he uses the word
two other times, he uses it in a good sense referring to Jesus being
manifested in the flesh (1 John 4:2, 3).

There are two approaches to understanding the "desires of the flesh",
either in the Greek sense or the Hebrew. The Hebrew concept of the 'sarx'
(flesh) includes all of man's weaknesses, not just sensual or carnal, but
the realm of the purely human without divine help. This is still witnessed
in the New Testament where the 'sarx' may be regarded as human knowledge
(flesh and blood) distinct from divine revelation (Matthew 16:17; Galatians
1:16; John 8:15). Paul also regards the flesh as the power of sin that is
opposed to the Spirit of God, a power that is removed by the circumcision
of Christ (Romans 7:5; Colossians 2:11). The Greeks exclusively use 'sarx',
to refer to eating, drinking, and illicit sexual relations. They would
regard 'sarx' as that which is sensual and carnal and opposed to anything
spiritual or pious.

Now, when we find flesh in the Bible, it would be incorrect to jump to a
conclusion that every usage of 'flesh' refers only to those things that are
evil, for Christ Jesus was manifested in the flesh and suffered in the
flesh. However, when we focus in on the phrase, 'desire of the flesh', we
find an exclusive application to that which is opposite of the Spirit of
God and contrary to the will of the Father. "Put on Christ and make no
provision for the 'desires of the flesh'", "Walk in the Spirit and you
shall not fulfill the 'desires of the flesh'" "Those who belong to Christ
Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Romans
13:14; Galatians 5:16-17, 24). In the New Testament, a clear distinction is
made between those of the Spirit and those of the flesh. Yet, at the same
time, we know that Jesus became flesh and lived after the Spirit. Still,
the fact remains that the distinction between the flesh and the Spirit can
be as radical as that of light and darkness, or simply a contrast between
human ability and divine ability (Galatians 4:22-29). However, there is one
thing that we can be certain of: God makes it essential that all men are
born of the Spirit and live after the Spirit (John 3:6; Romans 8:9; 1 Peter
4:1). Now, through the grace of God that has brought to us this radical
transformation of nature, we are "not in the flesh, but in the Spirit"
(Romans 8:9; Titus 2:11-13). Therefore, let's yield to the Holy Spirit
today, and let Him lead us and guide us in every desire of our lives.
 
Daily Bread - March 31, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 31 March 2017 07:28
1 John 2:15 - Do not love the world, neither the things in the world. If
anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.


Contrary to popular humanism, there is absolutely nothing that belongs to
the "world" that is of God. The world, and all that is in it, is opposed to
God's holiness and purity. The world was designed by 'the prince of the
power of the air', 'the god of this world', that works in the children of
disobedience (Ephesians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Its demonic design is to
appeal to everything that belongs to the works of the flesh, also referred
to as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life (1
John 2:16). It is the actions of all of those who do not walk in the life
of Jesus, who are led by the Spirit of Holiness. The contrast between God
and the world could not be more clear, and the proof more certain. If you
have a love for the things of the world, the love of the Father is not in
you (James 4:4). The love of the Father, which is evidenced by our
obedience to Him, is placed within our hearts by the Holy Spirit and is the
foremost proof of the new birth (John 13:35, 14:15, 14:21, 14:24, 15:10; 1
John 2:5, 5:2; Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22). If we have His love in us, then
we will love those things He loves; and we will obey Him (1 John 3:10,
5:2-3; John 14:15, 23, 15:10). If we have received the gift of God, then we
will never thirst for the world (John 4:10-14). The spirit of the world and
its lust will come masquerading as our own desires, but the wisdom that we
have received from God causes us to see that spirit for what it is. Though
the fleshly lusts of the world and the spirit of disobedience war against
our souls, we have His overcoming power to withstand it -for greater is He
that is in us than he that is in the world (Ephesians 2:2-3; 1 Peter 2:11;
1 John 4:4).

God is absolutely separate from the world, and has a burning wrath against
all its sin and iniquity (Romans 1:18; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6). This
should not be hard for anyone to understand, especially in view of the fact
that the world is controlled by every evil enterprise of satan (1 John
4:3-5, 5:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4; John 16:11; Ephesians 2:2). If we are on
the Lord's side, then how can we do anything less than hate those things
that oppose the purity and the goodness of the Father? How could we ever be
in league with all those things which grieve the Father's heart and violate
His way of life? We have been given the blessed gift and invitation to come
out from among them, and be separate with Him (2 Corinthians 6:17). We are
called to separate ourselves from the the filthiness of the flesh and of
the spirit and perfect holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). The
door into His presence has been opened unto us. We have been given the life
of Christ. This glorious fellowship with Almighty God, in which we have
everything that pertains to life and godliness, is ours! Why would we ever
go out and return to the place of death which despises the ways of the
Lord? (Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 2:6; John 15:1-5, 17:21-23; Hebrews
10:19-21, 12:22).

We are not of this world, even as He is not of this world -changed and
transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to live a godly life (John
15:19, 17:14, 16; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Titus 2:12, 3:5). Our hearts have been
united with the heart of the Lord, and our spirits made one with God. We
are His sons and daughters, created in Christ Jesus to live in His ways. We
have no love for worldly lusts, but rather are at war against them. We have
been given the gifts of God's holiness and righteousness and could not be
more opposite from an ungodly world. We are to despise the evil, and have
no fellowship with its works of darkness and its spirit of disobedience.
Our citizenship is in heaven, and as strangers and pilgrims, we walk in the
Spirit and abstain from fleshly lusts, following in the footsteps of Christ
Jesus and clothed with His majesty and honor.
 
Daily Bread - March 30, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 30 March 2017 08:39
1 John 2:14 - I have written unto you little children because you know the
Father. I have written unto you fathers because you have known him who is
from the beginning. I have written unto you young men because you are
mighty and the Word of God abides in you, and you have conquered the Evil
One.

To be an overcomer -one who has conquered Satan- you must believe the Word
of God, live by the Word of God, and allow only the Word of God to describe
what you believe. Those who John addresses are strong because the Word of
God abides in them, which is also the theme of John 15 as well. We are
called to abide in the Living Word and to allow His Word to abide in us. We
are called and empowered to live His life, and as a result, He lives in us
(John 15:3-5). This is the overcoming power that overcomes the world and
all that is in it, even our faith, which is the miracle of the new birth
-Christ in us (1 John 5:4; John 3:3-6; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20).
This is the faith of the new creation: we are born of the Spirit; joined
unto the Spirit; and walking, living, and moving in the Holy Spirit!

Our faith is all about the saving work of Jesus, and living out His life
that was given to us abundantly (John 4:14, 7:38, 10:10, 14:20, 23, 17:22).
The saving work of Jesus is nothing short of being made a new creation in
which Christ Jesus dwells, and His life is expressed (1 John 3:24, 4:4;
John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Peter 1:23; Galatians 6:15;
Colossians 3:10; Romans 8:1). God has given us a living faith -one that can
be seen and heard! The Word of God that produces faith is the same Word
that framed the heavens and has also framed a new man. The most important
thing to our Heavenly Father is a new creature (Galatians 6:15). If we fail
to believe in and recognize the miracle of the new creation that was
brought forth by the Word and by the Spirit, then we cannot say that we are
living in the faith, for this is what the faith is all about.

The spiritual war rages against that glorious and wonderful new thing that
God brought forth. The satanic realm refuses to allow those begotten of the
Spirit and of the Word to exist. However, through the new birth, Satan has
lost all of His claims that he imposed upon a disobedient and fallen man.
The focus of his attack is to bring into question that change. He questions
the value, the degree, and the reality of the change, so that he may
attempt to regain his claim. Satan is the sower of the seeds of doubts and
questions. With his harassment and interrogation, he attempts to erode the
identity and the authority of the new life in Christ Jesus, with the
ultimate purpose of extracting a confession that we are still to some
degree under his domain. However, the testimony of the Father is: "Behold
all things are new!" (2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5). He has given us
the identity of sonship that testifies of Christ, to which we must hold
fast (Hebrews 10:23)!

Those who are as "young men" in the Kingdom of God are both strong
'ischuros' and conquerors 'nikan' because the Word of God abides in them.
We were born of the Word, and the Word has been written in the tables of
our minds and hearts (1 Peter 1:23; Hebrews 8:10, 10:16; 2 Corinthians
3:3). If we abide in Christ Jesus and allow His Word to abide in us, then
we will ask what we will and it will come to pass (John 15:7). The "young
man's" victory and authority is observed over the Evil One, the antichrist,
and the world in which the prince and the power of the air now reigns. We
are at war against the world (John 16:33, 17:14-16; 1 John 5:4), the Evil
One (1 John 2:13-14) and the antichrists (1 John 4:1-6). God has given us
the ability through Christ Jesus to be untouched by every power opposed to
God (1 John 5:18; Luke 10:19).
 
Daily Bread - March 29, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 08:58
Titus 3:5 - Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according
to his mercy, He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of
the Holy Spirit.

We were saved from the former way of life through the new birth. Because of
what Jesus did for us at Calvary, the whole of mankind were made candidates
to be born of the Spirit (John 1:12, 12:32; Titus 2:12; 1 John 2:2; 1 Peter
1:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Through the new birth, the former life and
conversation was washed away; the old things passed away and everything
became new (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10, 4:24; 1
Peter 1:23; Colossians 3:3; John 3:5; Romans 6:4, 8:9). We did not earn any
special right to be born of God, rather it was by the unmixed mercy and
grace of God that reached down into our lives and gave us the opportunity
to be born of Him. God not only gave us a new heart and a new spirit
through this regeneration, He also put His Spirit within us. The new heart
that we have been given is a heart just like Father's. Our hearts have been
inscribed with His laws, and He has establish His ways in our nature
(Hebrews 8:10; 10:16; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26-27; 2
Corinthians 3:3; 2 Peter 1:4). One of the challenging things for even those
who have been regenerated to believe is that all things are new. Too many
people hold on to the old and attempt to carry their former conversation
and way of life into this glorious new creation. Satan lies against the
truth and attempts to convince us that nothing has changed. He tries to lay
the sin and shame of the past on us. He would demand that we carry the
hurts and the iniquity of the former life along with us, but this is all a
lie! Should we only believe that all the nature and goodness of God has
been restored to us, then the faith -which is by Christ Jesus- would
produce a miracle provision of grace; and we would discover that we can
live the abundant life of Christ Jesus. If we are to occupy all that God
has supplied, then we must walk in the Spirit. The only way that we can
walk in the Spirit is to live by the Word.

In one single act of grace, God has saved us. He washed us with the water
of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5). When we
were born again, we were born of the Holy Ghost and became the sons of God
(John 1:12, 3:3-6; Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:12-17). What the prophet Ezekiel
described concerning the New Covenant became ours the day we were born
again. We received a new heart and a new spirit, and the Lord put His
Spirit within us so we could live the life of Jesus (John 3:3-6; Ezekiel
36:26; Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18). In Christ Jesus, we have
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).
This is not of man, nor of the ministry of men, but of God and Him alone.
God, in His goodness, has also poured out the baptism of the Holy Spirit on
all those who will obey, giving us the power to function in the ministry of
Christ Jesus. Therefore, we may say that we have received the new birth to
live the life of Christ Jesus, and we received the Baptism of the Holy
Spirit to have His ministry!

These mighty streams
Rivers of God
Wellspring of Life in me now Dwelling
I'm the temple of the Lord
The place of the Holy Ghost
The dwelling place of the Most High
The temple of the Lord
The dwelling place of God
The place of His great great outpourings!
 
Daily Bread - March 28, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 08:56
John 11:25 - Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life; the one
who believes in Me, even if he dies, he shall live.

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

The Seventh Miracle: Lazarus Raised From the Dead - Part 2 (John 11:17-57)

When Jesus arrived in Bethany, only Martha came out to meet Him. This was
of great concern to Jesus, who would not take another step towards the
miracle until Mary arrived (John 11:28-30). Up to this point, Mary was cast
as a more devoted disciple to Jesus. However, the one who sat at Jesus feet
and choose the better part had become deeply wounded (Luke 10:39). Now,
Mary sat at home in her disappointment and grief while Martha ran to meet
the Master. But it was essential that Mary participated in this miracle if
it was going to take place. Martha had not lost hope. She was convinced
that whatever Jesus asked the Father, it would be given to Him (John
11:22). When Jesus told her that her brother would rise again, she thought
that He was directing her attention to the time that would come in the
distant future when all people would be raised up. It was then that Jesus
said, "I am the Resurrection." He was telling her that the Resurrection is
here! Martha's response was, once again, one of confidence and faith when
she agreed saying, "I know that you are the Christ, the Son of God!" (John
11:23-27).

Divine compassion swept over the soul of Jesus when Mary came to Him and
was weeping; and in this divine compassion, Jesus said, "Where have you
laid him?" The Word of Life then spoke out the word of faith that would
cause even the believers to be taken back. Jesus said, "Roll away the
stone." He already knew what would take place. He was there by the divine
direction from the Father to "wake him up." Martha, who seemed so confident
that God would give Jesus whatever He asked, is now taken beyond what she
could imagine. It is as though she is saying, "Are you sure? Do you know
how far gone he is?" Everyone involved in this miracle must be willing to
follow and go beyond what they have faith for and listen to the
instructions of the Master -Jesus must have their participation. It will be
left to them to give the final orders to "roll away the stone" and comply
with what He directed. They must be willing to believe if they were going
to see the glory of God revealed (John 11:40).

Even though Jesus already knew that the Father wanted Him to raise Lazarus
from the dead, He still stopped and prayed. He does so for those who were
present then and for all of us who would read these scriptures now. In the
prayer, Jesus instructs us on the kind of relationship that results in
great faith -the faith that raises the dead to life again. He knows that
the Father has already heard His prayer, and that He always hears Him. The
intimacy of the relationship is that of an obedient son to his father. John
will speak of this confidence in his first epistle, as well when he
describes how every prayer that we pray can be answered (1 John 3:21-22).
If we simply obey God and do those things that are pleasing in His sight,
we will function in the extraordinary works of faith that He has called and
ordained us to do (John 14:12; 15:16). God has ordained that whatever we
ask, He will do it (John 14:13; 15:7). God has brought us into a divine
partnership to show forth His wonderful works through our lives. With this
kind of relationship, we can have confidence that God has heard us; and
then, whatever we say, we will know that we have received it (Mark
11:23-24).

Ironically, the intended purpose of miracles, signs, and wonders was
emphasized by the Pharisees when they said, "If we allow Him to continue,
all men will believe on Him!" (John 11:47-48). However, no amount of
evidence will convince those whose hearts are set against God. Miracles are
God's calling cards for all mankind; but only those who are willing to be
convinced -those who are willing to change- will respond correctly. God's
signs, wonders, and miracles are keys to unlock the door to the hearts of
those who would believe as seen in Nathaniel, the Nobleman, and the man
born blind (John 1:48-49; 4:46-54; 9:35-38). These works of God's power
take those who are willing to follow to higher heights of expectation and
faith, preparing them also to do the works of Jesus as was witnessed in the
disciples and also the hundred and twenty on the day of Pentecost, and then
by those who would come after them (Matthew 10:1; Luke 10:1, 17; Acts 1:8;
1 Corinthians 2:4; Romans 15:19; John 14:12).
 
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