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daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 26 December 2009 14:35
Colossians 1:13 - Who has delivered us from the authority of darkness,
and translated us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son.

The whole notion and concept of redemption is revealed to us in the
deliverance of Israel from Egypt. As certain as Israel was delivered
from the rule and authority of Pharaoh, we have been delivered form the
rule and authority of Satan. Concerning the absolute defeat of Satan and
his power over us, Jesus said: "Now is the judgment of this world; now
shall the prince of this world be cast out" (John 12:31). Paul spoke
with such finality in 2 Timothy 1:10, when he said that Jesus had
"abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through
the gospel." The death of Jesus on the cross was the means by which
Satan's power was destroyed: "Through death He destroyed him that had
the power of death; that is the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 26 December 2009 14:34
Isaiah 9:6 - For a child is born to us: a Son is given to us! And the
government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus was born for all of humanity. He left all of his Glory and Majesty
to become a child for us. Because God so loved the world He gave us a
Son. When Jesus entered into the world there was no room for Him among
the crowds of busy people. When the angels of heaven appeared to
announce the single greatest event in the history of men, they did not
come to the mighty of the earth; but to the poor shepherds who quietly
tended their flocks. The Dayspring from on High came to be a light to
the gentiles; and to be the glory of the people of Israel (Luke 1:75-78;
Luke 2:32). He has come to give light to them who sit in darkness and in
the shadow of death, so that all mankind might know the way of peace
(Isaiah 9:2). He came to deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, so
that we might serve God in righteousness and holiness all the days of
our lives! He came to become everything that we are, so that we might
partake of His divine nature and be one with Him!

His name is wonderful in authority and power; it is the only name given
whereby men might be saved (Acts 4:12). Everyone and anyone who calls
upon the wonderful name of Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:13; Acts
2:21). Every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow before the
wonderful name of Jesus. The name of Jesus is not just Wonderful; He
Himself is a Wonder beyond all human comprehension. He is the
personification of counsel, being the One who has brought the answer to
every need of every man. He is the Mighty God who humbled Himself, being
born of a virgin and fashioned in the likeness of sinful flesh. He has
come as the Champion of man, the Hero of Heaven, and the One who
conquered death and hell: Jesus the Mighty God. Jesus is Immanuel; who
is not only God-with-us, but God-in-us today (Colossians 1:27; 1 John
4:4; John 14:23; 1 John 3:24). Christ Jesus, who is the Eternal Word, is
also the Everlasting Father; though unique from His Father, yet One in
majesty and glory (John 17:5; John 17:21-23). As the provider of
salvation and ruler of the government of God, He is a father to the
nations and to His people Israel (Isaiah 22:21; Psalm 72). And finally,
He is the Prince of Peace! He is the one who has come and imparted -
unto all those who would receive - the divine peace of the Holy Spirit.
He has given a peace that goes far beyond world peace, or any peace that
may be found in the world; He has given us an undiminishing peace that
nothing can take away. Until Jesus came there was no peace; but at His
coming the angels shouted: "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth
peace good will towards men!"
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 24 December 2009 12:49
Luke 7:47 - For this reason I tell you: her sins which are many are
forgiven, because she has shown great love; but the one whom little is
forgiven loves little.

How much have you been forgiven? In reality, everyone needs the same
level of forgiveness. However, it is only when we encounter the presence
of Jesus that we become aware of our need. His splendor and purity has
the same effect on every man. Just as Isaiah, though he was a
consecrated and obedient prophet - when he saw the glory of God, he
cried out: "I am undone!" (Isaiah 6:5). Simon the Pharisee had reason to
trust in himself because of his religious practices; but he actually was
in need of forgiveness and redemption, as much as the woman who was a
sinner. Simon, like Saul of Tarsus, was blind to his sin and need for a
savior (Romans 7:12-20). Simon thought that he could trust in his
observance of the law and his religious practices; and was unable to see
the true condition of his heart. Jesus addressed the same blindness of
mind among the Pharisees, when they were unwilling to recognize their
sin (John 9:39-41; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Matthew 23:17-16; Ephesians 4:18;
1 John 2:11). Simon loved Jesus just enough to invite him to his house,
and he was forgiven just enough for Jesus to be willing to come.

Simon thought he was so much better than the woman; but his problem was
that he was unaware of the presence of Jesus, who would have revealed
his spiritual need. The Almighty God was in his house, but he was so
self-absorbed with his own religious practices that he was unaware of
his visitation. Had he only been willing to recognize who Jesus was, He
would have been overwhelmed with the same kind of love and affection.
Simon, just like many other Pharisees of his day, had no clue that the
condition of his spiritual nature was totally unacceptable to God. They
were unaware that the law was only a schoolmaster, that would train them
of their need for a change of nature (Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 31:33;
Galatians 3:24; Galatians 4:2-3).

It was not the woman's love that saved her; but it was her faith (that
was expressed through her love) that saved her (Luke 7:50; Galatians
5:6). One of the shocking things about this interaction was that the
woman seemed unaware of her sin. She was a woman who was well aware of
the opinion of the Pharisees concerning her presence among them. She
knew that she was unwelcome in their house, and that they despised her
(Matthew 9:11; Mark 2:16). Yet, she was so overwhelmed by the love of
Jesus, and felt so comfortable and accepted by Him, that she not only
wept at his feet - but kissed them! Could there be a more perfect
description of how God empowers us to love Him, through His love for us?
"Herein is love: not that we loved Him, but that He loved us!" The
woman, so empowered by the love and acceptance that Jesus had for her,
moved past every obstacle of rejection to embrace the One who came to
seek and save those who were lost.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 10:44
1 John 2:17 - They went out from us, but they were not of us. If they
had been of us, they would have remained with us. Nevertheless it is
revealed that none of them are of us.

Betrayal and broken communion were evidence enough of the spiritual
state of these people. One of the primary themes of the first Epistle of
John is the love of the brethren, and the communion that results from
that love. Those who refused to remain in fellowship with the apostles
and their company were not in the Light (1 John 1:7); and were revealed
to be of the devil. The fellowship that we have with the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit is equated to the fellowship that we have with
those who are begotten of God. If an individual does not have fellowship
with God, then he cannot have fellowship with those who are begotten of
God; and conversely if there is no fellowship with the brethren, there
is no fellowship with God. The epistle of 1 John provides the proofs of
fellowship to distinguish between those who are of God and those who are
deceivers.

Beloved, let us love one another.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 10:08
2 Peter 2:1 - Now there were also false prophets among the people, just
as also false teachers shall be among you: who shall sneak in
destructive opinions, also denying the Master who bought them; bringing
upon themselves swift destruction.

In order to grasp the identity of these false teachers that will be
among us, we must understand the false prophets that they are compared
to. The Greek word 'pseudoprophetai' is found 10 times in the
Septuagint. Although there is no actual Hebrew word conveying the
meaning of "false prophet," it is implied by the context. Of the 10
times that 'pseudoprophetai' is found in the Septuagint, it occurs 9
times in Jeremiah. It is in this context then that we can further
understand the impact of false prophets. Unfortunately, we discover that
the false prophets were accepted; while Jeremiah was rejected. Israel
was carried away with popular opinion; and refused to accept that they
were wrong, and needed to repent and conform to the sanctity of and
obedience to God's word.

The issue of God's controversy against His people has always been over
purity and obedience, rather than over minor issues or details
associated with style and ritual. Jesus warned us to beware of false
prophets, that look like sheep but are actually wolves (Matthew 7:15).
Jesus also identifies these false prophets as those who His rebellious
people spoke well of; warning His disciples to beware of such
expectations (Luke 6:26). Jesus credits these false prophets with the
ability to do great signs and wonders - thereby increasing their ability
to deceive (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22). John associates false prophets
with the antichrist power, that was already at work among the churches
in his day (1 John 4:1).

Although the Greek word for false teacher is only found here, Paul
describes false teachers in his Epistles to Timothy. The description of
false teachers is as follows:
1- They do not consent to the sound word of God.
2- They do not consent to the doctrines of godliness.
3- They create strife, envy, evil-speaking, and suspicion of others.
4- They suppose gain to be godliness (1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:6-7;
Titus 1:11).
 
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