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Daily Bread - June 3, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 03 June 2017 11:20
Deuteronomy 29:4 - The LORD has not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes
to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

The Word of God promises us so many wonderful things, but why is it that so
many seem to live out their lives far beneath those promises? When the Lord
brought Israel out of Egypt, they were full of all of their own ideas about
God. Over and again, they showed themselves to be much more comfortable
with being slaves to the bondage of Egypt, rather than those set free to be
the servants of the Lord. From the beginning, the Lord saw their heart and
lamented, "O, that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear
me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them,
and with their children forever!" (Deuteronomy 5:29). Their unwillingness
to obey God resulted in their blindness of heart. The glory of God was
there for them to see, but they were unwilling to look (2 Corinthians
3:12-15). The voice of God was there for them to hear, but they were
unwilling to listen (Deuteronomy 5:24-27). The wisdom and revelation was
theirs to have, but they refused to seek it.

They had a great anointed leader in Moses, and God Almighty was in their
midst, but still the Word of God did not profit them (Hebrews 4:2). God
pleaded with them to step into all that He had for them for forty years,
yet little changed. This disposition continued throughout the history of
Israel. They were convinced that they were going above and beyond for God;
while in reality, they were only doing what they thought was right. God
wanted to give them the ability to see and hear and understand, but there
was no passion or cry of the heart to get it right. The prophets came and
pleaded in God's stead again and again, but they refused to listen.
Finally, God said by His prophet Isaiah, "Go and tell this people: Hear ye
indeed, but understand not; And see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the
heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes;
Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand
with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:9-10). All they had
to do was repent and turn to the Lord and seek after Him and He would have
opened their eyes to see, their ears to hear, and they would have received
an understanding heart; but they refused. They continued to be justified in
their own hearts for over twelve hundred years, even until the days of
Jesus (Matthew 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; John 12:37-41; Acts 28:26-27). Their
commitment to their religious ideas had become so strong that there was
little place for God to work within them. God stood in their midst, and
they could not see Him. He spoke with His voice, and they could not hear
Him. He worked miracles, but they could not understand. There traditions
had become more precious than the Word of God, their Sabbaths more
important than the movings of God. They were so far removed from knowing
God that they were convinced that what God was doing was actually the devil
at work (Matthew 12:24).

The same thing can happen to us today. Peter referred to this spiritual
blindness and its cause when he described the divine nature that we have
been given, along with the supernatural ability to live the life of God. If
we are unwilling to be trained by God, to be conformed to His image and
walk in all the glory and virtue that He has called us to, then we will be
as those that are blind (2 Peter 1:3-11; Romans 8:29). Because of
disobedience, blindness of heart can set in to even those whose eyes have
been opened. Those of the church of Laodicea were made a part of the
covenant. They had been redeemed and born again by the power of the Name of
Jesus, but their disobedience had resulted in something so dreadful, they
had become wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17).
We must be warned! For if we refuse to hear the voice of the Lord and
respond to Him in obedience, then the darkness that we have chosen will
blind our eyes (1 John 2:11; Hebrews 4:11).

Israel had "seen" with their physical eyes all of the wonders that God
performed for them in Egypt and the wilderness; but because they were set
on doing things their own way, they had no spiritual perception of what was
happening (Numbers 14:22-24). It may be even easier for us today to slip
into such a state of defining the will of God out of our own perception
rather than believing what He has written. The whole of redemption -in all
of its complete and finished work- has been set before us, but will we see
it? Will we listen? Will we understand? Israel had the shadow, but we have
the substance. They had the promise, but we have its fulfillment. They had
the type, but we have the very life of Christ! We have been given the
opportunity to know and comprehend the height, the depth, the length, and
breadth, and to be filled with all God's fullness; yet many recoil at such
a promise and say it cannot be (Ephesians 3:18-20). We say that we have
been baptized in the fire of God, but that fire does not result in
passionless Christianity. God is a consuming fire, and if His fire falls on
us, there is nothing left but Him. The Seraphim angels dare not look at
God, but we have been given the opportunity to look upon the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ. Israel had God's temple in their midst, but
our very bodies have become His temple. There is much evidence that we have
responded to God as Israel did and find ourselves in a wilderness rather
than His inheritance (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7). After what God has done
for us through the new creation, our every feeling should be love, and our
every word should be praise!

In the hardness of our hearts and love for the world, we have contrived
more doctrines to live wrong than to live God's life. We have turned a deaf
ear and a blind eye to the Word of God that has brought us His life and
listened instead to those things that please us. We have been given the
same opportunities that Israel had, who could have changed the situations
simply by turning to the Lord with all of their hearts. All they needed to
do was to cry out to God like the Psalmist, "Open up my eyes, That I may
behold wondrous things out of thy law." (Psalms 119:18). If we will cease
from our own works, and instead press into that which God has given, then
our eyes will be opened and our hearts unstopped. Today, God stands ready
to reveal all that He has done for us, but we must believe what He has
spoken. The Holy Spirit has come to show us what eyes have never seen, and
what ears have never heard, but we must believe and lay hold of Him (1
Corinthians 2:10). The Spirit of wisdom and revelation is available for us
to have, but will we cry out for it? It is God's will that the eyes of our
understanding be enlightened, but we must desire this spiritual sight above
all other worldly interests (Ephesians 1:18; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew
6:19-24, 33).

Unfortunately, many would rather talk theoretically about their minds being
renewed some time in an uncertain future and in an uncertain way, rather
than having the mind of Christ. They are more certain about a wicked heart,
than a pure one. They are more comfortable with being a sinner than a
saint, condemned instead of righteous. They would rather discuss laying
aside the sin, instead of being free from it. They would rather make living
the life of Jesus a future goal, instead of having it. Yet, the most tragic
thing of all is that they believe that God is pleased with their
dispositions.

The Lord would teach us how to see with pure eyes (Matthew 5:8; Psalms
19:8, 36:9; Habakkuk 1:13). He would teach us to hear truth and understand
righteousness. All we have to do is be willing to apply our hearts to the
things of the Spirit, and turn away from the influences of the world. If we
would simply obey those things that He has declared to us in His Word, we
would grow and mature in all the wisdom and revelation of God's way. If we
would cry out to God in our failures with repentance and hunger to get
things right, then He would cause us to understand, and we would awake with
His righteousness (Psalms 17:15). Yet, if we cover our transgression as
Adam did, and make excuses for that which is wrong, we will never know what
Christ Jesus died for us to have. Like Israel, our hearts will be hardened
by the deceitfulness of sin, and we will fail to enter into His rest
(Hebrews 3:12-19, 4:1-11). If, instead, we passionately desire to be all
that God has created us to be, then we will discover that:

"The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak a word in season to him
that is weary:
He awakens morning by morning,
He awakens my ear to hear as the learned." (Isaiah 50:4)


Seek the LORD, and apply your heart to His desire for your life!
 
Daily Bread - June 2, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 02 June 2017 08:52
1 John 3:15 - Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know
that everyone who is a murderer does not have eternal life abiding in him.

With God, there is only love or hate -and hate is equivalent to murder. The
two times that this word for murder 'anthropoktonos' is used in the New
Testament, it was used by John -in John 8:44, "You are of your father the
devil, and you do the lust of your father. He was a murderer from the
beginning and abode not in the truth...", and here in 1 John 3:15.

The eternal life that we have abiding in us is the life of Jesus Christ.
The eternal life is the fountain head of all the ways of God issuing forth
from our hearts. It is like a well spring springing up and a river flowing
out (John 4:14, 7:38)!
 
Daily Bread - June 1, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 01 June 2017 11:43
1 John 3:14 - We know we have passed from death to life, because we love
the brethren. He that does not love his brother abides in death.

The First Epistle of John is a book of proofs that are based upon the
actions and deeds of a person -proofs that demonstrate if a person is born
of God, or not. When we are born of God, we pass from death to life. Those
who do not know God are of the evil one, and are spiritually dead, because
of their spiritual state and the fruits of their actions and deeds
demonstrate a life of unrighteousness (1 John 3:7-8; Romans 6:16)

Again and again, the book of proofs reveals evidence concerning where our
hearts and spiritual lives really are. We are supposed to be abiding in
Christ Jesus; but if we do not walk in the life that Christ Jesus modeled
for us, then it is evidence that, no matter who we think or say we are, we
abide in death.
 
Daily Bread - May 31, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 12:13
1 John 3:13 - And do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.

To believe that we are going to win the favor of the world is just not
realistic. The world is governed and control by the prince of the power of
the air, the god of this world, who is at war against the church (Ephesians
2:2-3, 6:10-12; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Things will ultimately be so bad that
we will be hated by everyone for His Name's sake (Matthew 10:22, 24:9).

As hard as it is to believe, the world hated Jesus (John 7:7). Even though
He came in the greatest demonstration of love, and gave His life to heal
people and set them free, still He was hated. Just as the world hated
Jesus, they are going to hate us; and that should be no surprise to us
(John 15:18; 1 John 3:13).

Our response must be to lay down our lives and pour out the love of God
regardless of what people are doing, or how they respond to the Gospel. We
are not of the world even as Jesus was not of this world; and if we are
going to live the life that He has given us to live, they will hate us just
like they hated Him (John 15:19, 17:14).
 
Daily Bread - May 30, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 29 May 2017 21:37
1 John 3:11-12 - Because this is the message that you have heard from the
beginning, that you should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of the
Evil One, and murdered his brother. Why did he murder him? Because his own
works were evil, but his brother's were righteous.

Cain was unwilling to do things God's way. He brought to God what he
thought would be acceptable to worship with, but God corrected him
(Gen.4:3, 7). However, Cain refused to listen and obey God. Instead, he was
angry with his brother because his brother was righteous and accepted by
God. His envy and jealousy were bigger than his desire to be right with
God. Cain chose rather to submit himself to the rebellion and stubbornness
of Satan, the Evil One. As a result, the natural love of one brother for
another was displaced with hate -a hate that would compel Cain to murder
his brother. Just like Satan, Cain was not willing to remain in the truth,
and became a murderer and hater of those who were righteous (John 8:44).

Do things God's way!
 
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