daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 11:22
Matthew 12:39 - But He answered them saying: "An evil and adulterous
generation seeks after a sign; and no sign shall be given it, except the
sign of Jonah the prophet."

Jesus had just worked a mighty miracle that should have caused all men's
hearts to melt in thanksgiving and awe at the mighty power of God. The
Messiah had just revealed the kingdom of God - by casting a devil out of a
man who was both dumb and blind (Matthew 12:22). When the man could both
speak and see, any honest and sincere person would have hit their knees; but
instead of being stricken with the mighty visitation of God, these evil men
accused Jesus of being possessed with a devil and casting out devils by
Satan. This is the case for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and rejection
of the kingdom of God and Christ Jesus (Matthew 12:32). Instead of loving
and worshiping the Redeemer, they ridiculed the anointed of the Lord and
called His ministry the works of the devil.

Then they had the audacity to ask Him for a sign, when He has just preformed
a miracle that went beyond any sign that they had ever seen in their life!
There was nothing but falsehood in these men. Their unbelief and evil heart
was made manifest when under such deception they asked for a sign: they were
truly an evil and adulterous generation. In realty what Jesus was saying
when he used the word "adultery" was that they were serving another God, and
not the One whom Moses and the prophets revealed. There was no faithfulness
or truth in them. How many signs had Jesus already given them? Yet it had
only been for them a means to harden their hearts. Like Pharaoh, the
miracles of God did not open their eyes and soften their hearts; but rather
closed their eyes tighter, and made their hearts harder. Similarly today the
same evil men say that miracles and signs and wonders are of the devil; and
then being worse than their predecessors, they twist what Jesus said and
declare that anyone who believes in miracles is an evil and adulterous
people. There is no end to their treachery against the kingdom of God and
the ministry of Jesus and the Holy Ghost.

There is nothing that Satan can do to stop the power of God. All he can do
is attempt to lie against the truth, and invalidate the power of God through
his slander and deception. The miracles and signs and wonders are the proofs
of the ministry of Jesus and His church (Mark 16:17; John 14:12; Luke 2:49;
Acts 1:6-8; John 7:38-39; Acts 2:3-4; Acts 5:12; Acts 6:8; Acts 1:3; Acts
15:8,12; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 14:1; Ephesians
1:22-23; Hebrews 2:4). It is the evidence of God's authority over all the
powers of darkness, and the proof that all those forces were conquered by
Jesus: at the cross and through the resurrection (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4;
Acts 2:33; Acts 2:38-39).

To believe that the church and the ministers of God are not to imitate
Christ and follow Him into the miracles and signs and wonders - which He
both did then, and still does today - is to preach another gospel. We are to
be followers of Jesus. To believe that the church gives witness to His
resurrection through liturgy and dead religious ritual is to reduce the
demonstration of the power of God to the boastful conceits of human
arrogance. Today, miracles reveal the same falsehood and hardness in the
hearts of men as they did in Pharaoh and the Pharisees. Men want to be in
control; and when the power of God is revealed that would turn those whom
they control towards God, their control is threatened; and they will do
whatever it takes to maintain their power. Come now - let us follow Jesus,
and imitate Christ!
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 13:22
Matthew 17:17 - And Jesus answered and said, "Oh faithless and perverse
generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put
up with you?"

The audience that Jesus addressed here were 9 of his apostles, 70 others
that he had appointed, a company of scribes, a crowd of people, a father,
and a demon-possessed boy (Mark 9:14-18; Luke 10:1). The whole discussion
was about three things: first the lack of faith, second the inability of the
disciples to cast out the devil, and finally that such a thing should even
exist among God's people - who had the promises that none of these diseases
should afflict them (Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 7:15; Psalm 103:2-3; Matthew
15:26).

Most important of all is the subject of faith. The disciples, who had been
given divine authority to cast out devils, found themselves in a place where
they had no faith. They had many successes up until this point, but
something took place that caused them to be overwhelmed by the situation and
circumstances: which resulted in them now having "no faith" (Matthew 17:20;
Luke 9:1; Luke 10:17). The foundation of faith is the word of God; and the
strength of faith is our relationship with God, which establishes trust and
confidence in His power to perform all that He has promised. It was totally
unacceptable to Jesus that the disciples did not cast out the devil. It was
totally unacceptable to Jesus that the boy (who was a covenant child of God)
even had a devil; therefore his response was intense and disciplinary!

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith is realized through
obedience to God's instruction, and a trust that He is faithful to do what
He has promised. Faith is a trust in God that has been infused with divine
authority and power by the Holy Ghost. We have been directed by Jesus to
cast out devils and heal the sick (Mark 16:17; John 14:12). Such activities
will never be realized through religious practices, but through faithful
obedience and relationship with our Savior. There are many who only want
ritual and icons, instead of a relationship with an Almighty God that
demands obedience and requires accountability. We must all decide today
where we stand with God. Would Jesus come to us and say, "Faithless and
perverse generation" - or would we be found doing those things that He has
demanded, and living in the authority that He has given? We can all be
certain that Jesus, who is devoted to our perfection, stands ready to both
help our unbelief and to strengthen us to walk in all the splendor of His
anointing - if we are only willing!
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 15 March 2010 14:58
1 John 4:4 - You are from God little children, and have conquered them:
because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

The Greater One that "is in you" is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came in the
flesh: both when He was born into the world, and when he was born into the
hearts of men by the Holy Spirit. That Christ Jesus dwells in those who are
born of God is a well-established doctrine (1 John 3:24; John 14:20,23; John
17:23,26).

Therefore, we may understand that there is a dual meaning to "Jesus Christ
is come in the flesh;" for Jesus was both manifested in the flesh when He
was born of the virgin Mary, and when He comes to dwell on the inside of the
child of God. Jesus Christ, who was manifested to destroy the works of
darkness, is now manifested through everyone who has received Him. Thus the
Greater One that is in us opposes all that is in the world (Galatians 5:17;
John 14:17; 1 John 2:15-17). The power of Jesus Christ in the life of the
believer enables us to conquer the spirit of antichrist, the spirit of the
world, and the spirit of deception (1 John 3:6-7).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 13 March 2010 17:10
2 Corinthians 3:6 - Who also has made us qualified ministers of the new
covenant: not of a legal code but spiritual; for a legal code kills, but the
Spirit makes one living.

The new covenant is all about God breathing His life and nature into us by
the Holy Spirit, and causing us to live. The new covenant can never be
understood on the basis of a legal contract, and then enforced or upheld by
the fine print. To reduce the new covenant to such an idea is to make it
equivalent to two married people who live together, not out of love, but
because they are legally obligated by a written law.

God desires truth in our inward parts, and wants us to walk with Him and
obey Him because we love Him. Therefore He has come with His grace and love,
and made Himself known to us. He has delivered us from falsehood and
deception, so that we may truly interact with Him and love Him from our
hearts. God has made us to live by the transfusion of His life into ours. He
has filled us with His nature and with His love; so that we might obey Him
and love Him, and be devoted to His life.

This is a covenant of union: of nature and being. This new covenant
established the ways of God in our nature, and wrote the laws of God upon
our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16; John 17:21-23; 2
Corinthians 3:18). God, who sought us out, said: "Behold here am I," to a
people who were not His people. And to all of us who would receive Him, He
has come to be our teacher; so that we might say we are taught of God
(Jeremiah 31:34; Isaiah 65:1; Romans 10:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John
2:27; Isaiah 62:12). To enter into the new covenant you must be born of the
Spirit, so that you may know God and worship God - in the inward parts of
your passions and emotions; not from a mere mental affirmation of a
religious ritual (John 3:3,6; Romans 2:29; Romans 8:1-3; Romans 8:9; 1
Corinthians 6:17; Galatians 3:14).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 12 March 2010 13:50
1 John 4:13 - By this we know that we abide in Him, and He abides in us:
because of the Spirit that He has given us.

Jesus dwells in us by the Spirit, which He has given unto us (1 John 3:23;
John 14:23). And it is through our love one for another that this union with
God is revealed. It is by this divine love that all men will know that we
are His disciples (John 13:35). The Holy Spirit has poured the love of God
into our hearts (Romans 5:5). It is this divine love of the Father that is
the evidence (or "fruit") that the Spirit dwells in us. This kind of love
does not have a human origin, and is not to be placed on the same level as
"love your neighbor as yourself." The kind of love that the Father commands
us to have for one another is the same love that Jesus has for us (John
13:34). This love is only manifested as we yield ourselves to the Holy
Spirit, and allow Him to love through us.
 
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