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Daily Bread - April 3, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 03 April 2017 10:54
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 2 - The Desire of the Eyes
Everything in the world is antithetical to God. The satanic forces of hell
dominate this realm (2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 John 5:19). There is nothing in
the world system that comes from the Father, directly or indirectly. Satan
is the father of all sin and iniquity, and it is from him alone that this
darkness has issued. The primary means of enticing men and leading them
away from God is through that which may be seen, felt and gained.

One of the first things that we might ask at this juncture is, what is the
difference between the 'desire of the flesh' and 'the desire of the eye'?
The 'desire of the eye' would be those things that are attractive to view,
and that could lead you away from the will of God and his purposes. For
example: Eve saw the forbidden tree in Genesis 3:6 as, "pleasurable to the
eye and desirable." She did not have this attraction because of an 'evil
nature' at work in her. But under the influence of the suggestion of the
Satanic realm, she yielded herself to that which was not of God (Genesis
3:1-6). Looking on that which was forbidden was not an evil act in and of
itself. Rather, it became the means by which she was enticed to eat of that
which God had forbidden. When men look on things that are forbidden by God,
they open themselves up to be lead away into an evil desire that results in
immorality and ungodliness. Therefore, we need to recognize that it is
essential for us to make a covenant with our eyes to turn away and not
behold that which could lead us into disobedience (Job 31:1-4).

It may be said that 'the desire of the eye' is that which entices the eye,
and 'the desire of the flesh' is that which entices the body. Yet, at the
same time, one may argue that these two are in many respects synonymous.
However, the eye looks for that which is beautiful, and the body for that
which is pleasurable. Now, one may say God made that which is beautiful and
pleasurable, and that is indeed true! However, satan has taken what God has
made, and twisted and perverted it. We must recognize that the satanic
forces use the material realm of God's creation to set up their offensive
against man and the will of God. It is absolutely essential that we learn
to choose good and refuse evil (Deuteronomy 30:19; Isaiah 7:15; Hebrews
1:9; Proverbs 8).

In the Old Testament, God expected His people to discipline themselves and
be committed to obeying Him in all things. Even though they were not born
from above, and were without the change of heart and motive that is given
to us by the divine nature, yet, it was their responsibility to not be
involved with following after those things that would lead them into sin.
"You shall remember all the commandments of the Lord to do them, and you
shall not turn back toward the desire of your own heart and your eyes"
(Numbers 15:39). Jesus is very clear on how someone should deal with
anything that causes a person to sin: cut it off or pluck it out (Mark
9:43-48).
 
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!
 
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