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Daily Bread - March 27, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 27 March 2017 11:27
John 11:1 - Now Lazarus was sick, who was of Bethany, the town of Mary and
her sister Martha.

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

The Seventh Miracle: Lazarus Raised From the Dead - Part 1 (John 11:1-16)

The purpose of signs, wonders, and miracles is to glorify the Son of God.
If we want the Son of God to be glorified in our lives, then we must learn
how to move with the Holy Spirit. Just as the water was turned into wine to
show forth His glory, and just as the man born blind was healed for the
glory of God, Lazarus would also be raised from the dead for His glory,
too. It was not the sickness that was for the glory of God; it was the
cure. This was an occasion for God's glory to be revealed through His power
to intervene and destroy the works of darkness bringing glory to God. What
every person must be willing to recognize is that Jesus was a miracle
worker, and all of His followers were miracle workers as well (John 14:12;
Mark 16:17). There were even those who did not follow Him like the
disciples, who were only impacted by the ministry of Jesus, but still
became miracle workers (Luke 9:49-50). God has proven, and still proves
today, that He makes the impossible possible through His Son. When God and
His Son are glorified, They are revealed for Who They are.

Lazarus was a dear friend of Jesus. When he fell sick, Jesus could have
easily been influenced to rush to his bedside. However, everything Jesus
did was by divine direction. He was devoted to doing everything God's way.
He waited for the instruction of His Father rather than being moved by the
urgent request of dear friends. When the sisters sent for Jesus to come,
they said, "Lord, the one that you love is sick." It would have been easy
for Jesus to be emotionally compromised with Lazarus' situation because of
His love for him and his sisters. However, His commitment to only doing
what Father showed Him to do would result in the magnitude of the miracle
that was ultimately witnessed. It is so easy for us to slip into doing what
we think is the correct thing instead of waiting on God and only moving by
the inspiration of the Spirit. Yet, without that divine direction, the
faith to do the works will be absent, and there will be no miracle.

At the center of this miracle is the intercession of the two sisters of
Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Reminiscent of the direction that Mary, the
mother of Jesus, gave at Cana, now Martha and Mary also attempt to direct
His actions. Jesus received the message that Lazarus was sick and at the
point of death; but His response to the message would not be based on the
desires of those that He dearly loved, but on what the Father instructed
Him to do. Faith that hears the Word of God works. When you know the mind
of the Spirit and what Father has purposed to do, there is no need for
pressing in or reaching for a miracle. As soon as Jesus heard the news of
Lazarus' sickness, He knew that the sickness would not be unto death. Jesus
knew, by Spirit knowledge, that Lazarus was dead, but referred to him as
only being asleep. What was, by all appearances, a sorrowful event would be
turned into a day of great rejoicing -but on God's terms, not that of human
need or human compassion. By the direction of the Father, Jesus would wait
two more days. Then, by the time they traveled to Bethany, another day
would transpire, so that four days would pass from the time of Lazarus'
death to the arrival of Jesus. Like the man who was born blind, this would
be the first time anyone would have seen the magnitude of such a miracle.
Never before had anyone been raised from the dead after being dead for four
days. It would not be possible for anyone to misinterpret this miracle.
Enough time would have passed for Lazarus to have not only died, but to be
in the tomb in a decomposing state.

The disciples were deeply concerned for their safety, and thought that
their return to Jerusalem would result in Jesus being killed -which was
true in part. However, Jesus would not be killed for the reasons and in the
way they supposed. Jesus assured the disciples they had divine protection.
They were of the Light and did not need to fear the darkness. They were
walking in the light of divine direction, and so long as it was day, the
works of the Father had to be done. If we walk in the light of divine
direction, we will not stumble. We are able to walk in the light of
Father's divine guidance because we have the Light of His Life in us. In
Him, our steps will not be misplaced, or His work left undone. Jesus is the
Light of Life right now. As long as we follow Him, we will not stumble; but
as the children of the day, we will walk in the Light of Life (John 8:12; 1
Thessalonians 5:5)
Daily Bread - March 25, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 25 March 2017 10:03
John 9:1 - And passing by, He saw a man blind from birth.

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

The Sixth Miracle: A Man Blind From Birth (John 9:1-41) - PART 2

Like the blind man, everyone comes into this world spiritually blind by
nature. It is only because of God's love that they are drawn to the Son and
led to the healing waters. Like a blind man, they grope through life with
no clear picture of what the world about them is actually like. Until the
spiritual eyes are open, they are imprisoned in a world of darkness knowing
nothing about the Light. Jesus came to open the eyes of the blind. He does
not want anyone to remain in darkness. He desires all men to gaze upon the
beauty of the living God, and behold with the eyes of the Spirit what it
means to live the life that we were created to have. The god of this world
has blinded the eyes and deceived the souls of men to believe that the life
they are living is right (2 Corinthians 4:4). God has sent the Savior into
the world to purge us from our sins that we might see (2 Peter 1:9). He has
come to give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation that our eyes might be
opened (Ephesians 1:18). He councils all men to have their eyes anointed
with eye salve that they might see (Revelation 3:18).

The blind man, now having received his sight, runs home to a neighborhood
that he had never seen before. He goes first to his family to tell of what
God has done from him. The Gospel is then carried to his neighbors, who did
not recognize him, for he was so changed. To them, he told the entire story
of what a man named Jesus had done for him. Afterwards, he returned to the
temple precincts where he had once begged, and there he testified to the
Pharisees of what Jesus had done for him. In each situation -the neighbors,
the Pharisees, and also with his parents- the miracle is thoroughly
examined and verified. The Pharisees, who looked for every possibility to
discredit the miracle, were left without excuses. Therefore, in the
hardness of their hearts, they invoked excommunication upon him. Now he
must testify one final time under penalty of being no longer accepted as a
Jew in the community of his people. Under such a threat, he boldly recounts
the simple truth of what God had done for him and was cast out of the
synagogue (v 34). Afterwards, Jesus found him and said, "Do you believe in
the Son of Man?" In the blind man's brokenness, he responded to the One Who
opened up his eyes, "Who is He Sir, that I may believe in Him" (v 36). With
his final confession, the healing of his blindness was complete. That which
began as a physical miracle, which no man had ever done before, became even
a greater miracle, for now his spiritual blindness was cured; and he could
see who Jesus was. His eyes had been opened to the beauty and splendor of
the heavenly and the eternal ages to come (v 37-38).

In the end, we see that there is only one sin for which there is no cure,
and that is spiritual pride. It is impossible to bring spiritual sight to
those who believe that they can see. It is impossible to teach those who
think that they know better than anyone else. There was no magnitude of
miracle that would have convinced the Pharisees, for they were blinded by
their own conceit. In such a state of madness, they were driven to do
everything they could to disprove the evidence that God had so graciously
provided for them to see. When they could not disprove it, then they looked
for any grounds possible to accuse the miracle worker. The only thing they
could possibly come up with was that He did it on the Sabbath day, and
therefore, he must be evil. They were unable to see the true meaning of the
Sabbath, which was a testimony not only of God's rest, but also of the
relationship God had intended to exist between Himself and men. The Lord of
the Sabbath had come to deliver men and bring them into this eternal rest
(Matthew 11:28, 12:8), but all the Pharisees could understand was a
religious and legal value of its meaning. The time for the covenant to
change had come, and they did not want the new. Sabbath, which testified of
God's finished work, was taking place. The work of redemption was about to
be fulfilled, and they did not want to look at its beginning (2 Corinthians
3:13-18). They would rather have the law of sin and death, with its
sickness and disease, than the deliverance Christ Jesus brought. They would
rather have their religion than the eternal rest the Sabbath represented.

Jesus warned of a future darkness that will come when no man would be able
to work -a time when He would not shine as the light of the world (v 4-5).
While some regard this only as those dark days between the Crucifixion and
Pentecost, there is yet a coming day of greater darkness upon all nations.
Today, the brilliant light of the Gospel still shines, and the works of
Jesus Christ are still being manifested. Although Jesus went away, He sent
the Holy Spirit to continue the work of His Kingdom. Though He does not now
reign on the earth, He reigns from Heaven. His kingdom may be invisible
now, but its power and majesty are revealed through His church. However, a
day is coming, a day of darkness and fiery judgment and indignation from
the Lord, in which no man can work (Zephaniah 3:8; Joel 2:2; Jude 14-15;
Revelation 14:19, 15:1). Jesus will not shine as a Light to the Gentiles,
but will come to pour out the wrath of God upon them because of their
ungodliness and refusal of the ways of life. To those who by stubbornness
and rebellion chose the ways of death and spiritual blindness, their reward
shall be death and eternal darkness. Jesus came not only as the Savior, but
also for judgment. He is a Savior to those who are blind, so they might
see; but He is for judgment to those who say they see, but are in fact,
spiritually blind. Surely, no one is so blind as those who refuse to see.
Daily Bread - March 24, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 24 March 2017 08:17
John 9:1 - And passing by, He saw a man blind from birth.

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

The Sixth Miracle: A Man Blind From Birth (John 9:1-41) - PART 1

The prophets foretold of a time when the Messiah would come and deliver all
people from the plague of sin, sickness, and disease (Isaiah 29:18; 35:5;
42:7; Psalms 106:8). They had little idea that it would actually be God
that would come and be manifested in the flesh to destroy the works of
darkness. It had been foretold that those who sat in darkness and under the
shadow of death would see great light. Yet, when the Light of the world
came, there were few that recognized Him. In fact, He came unto His own,
but His own did not receive Him (John 1:11). Many in Israel were satisfied
with their religious beliefs and had only doctrines about the coming
Messiah. They did not really have any place in their religion and in their
hearts for Him to actually come. All of their great celebrations foretold
of His coming and their deliverance, but over the course of time, they had
become disconnected from His coming and their redemption. It was during one
of these celebrations, called the Feast of Tabernacles, that Jesus cried
out in the midst of their ceremony inviting anyone who desired to come and
drink of the waters of salvation (John 7:37-39). The fountain of Living
Water was among them, and the Light of the world was standing in their
presence, but they did not perceive it. Instead, they were captivated with
the types and shadows that foretold His coming. He stood among them and
called to them with the shouts of deliverance, but instead they danced the
night away in the light of the torches which foretold His coming.

While everyone was preparing to return home after eight days of
celebration, Jesus was at work to reveal to all humanity that the day of
deliverance had come. While passing by a blind man, His eyes became fixed
on him. The whole procession that was following saw Him staring at this man
who was born blind. All that came into disciples' minds was a crazy
theological question as to why this man was in such a wretched state. They
were so deep in their doctrinal ideas they actually wondered if he had
sinned before he was even born. Jesus kindly explained that it had nothing
to do with their ideas, but rather it would be an opportunity for the power
and love of God to be manifested. This man did not sit in the torments of
darkness all of his life because it was the will of God. The state of his
blindness was a consequence of the curse and would be an opportunity for
the glory of God to be manifested. The Light of life had come to drive out
the curse of darkness. Salvation had come to break off the plagues of sin
and death. God stepped into the darkness of men, and in His love and mercy,
brought grace to deliver men from the evil. God was manifested in the flesh
to destroy the works of darkness (1 John 3:8).

Similar to the lame man who had lain by the pool of Bethesda, this miracle
would take place by Jesus' own initiative. Every human being is born blind,
and in their helpless state, Jesus came into the world to open their eyes.
The blind man knew nothing more than to ask for alms, but Jesus would give
him his sight. He had heard the discourse of the disciples with Jesus as
they discussed the cause of his blindness. He had heard the proclamation of
the good news when Jesus said that He was the Light of the world. The
glorious presence of the Living God no doubt was conveyed to the blind man
as he listened to the words of life. When Jesus began to touch Him and
packed mud made with dirt and spit into his eyes, the blind man surely felt
the most loving and comforting touch ever in his life. By this time, we can
imagine that the crowd was much bigger than before as Jesus preached His
illustrated sermon. When He told the man to wash his eyes in the pool of
Siloam. There were probably many people interested in helping because they
wanted to see what would happen. Yet for the blind man, he was probably
motivated not so much by faith, but a need to become clean. Like Naaman of
old, who was instructed to dip seven times in the Jordan, the blind man was
to wash the mud from his eyes in the spring of Siloam (2 Kings 5:10-13). In
the text, Jesus only implied that he would be healed and never said it
outright. Yet, when he washed with the water at the pool of Siloam, the
blindness fell like scales from his eyes and for the first time in his life
he beheld a world that had been hidden from him. He became a testimony to
the people of Israel, who had refused the gentle waters of Shiloah (Siloam)
to go after other gods (Isaiah 8:6). Yet, now that Shiloh had come those
who would receive God's salvation, the healing waters flowed (Genesis
49:10). It was from these same waters that the people only about a day
earlier had drawn out water on the Feast of Tabernacles and cried out for
the well spring of life to come (John 7:37-39; Isaiah 12:1-6).

The blind man was brought out of darkness physically, but would also be
given the opportunity to be healed of the spiritual blindness that he and
all men are born with. This is the purpose of every miracle, which are Gods
acts of love and mercy so that the blind might see. All the blind man knew
about Jesus was that He had put mud into his eyes and told him to wash in
the waters of Siloam. Yet, after he was able to see and pressed by the
Pharisees concerning how he was healed, he determined that Jesus was a
prophet (v 9:17). He argued, who has ever heard of anyone opening the eyes
of someone born blind? Jesus had done something that no one had ever done
before. Through his healing he became a defender of Jesus against the
opposing Pharisees, and also corrected their ridiculous doctrines (v 9:34).
Ultimately, Jesus would come to him again and provide more spiritual
revelation, which would cause him to confess that Jesus was the Son of God
(v 9:38).
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

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!
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