Posted by: missionventureministries | April 17, 2014

JESUS’ UNFAIR AND CORRUPT TRIAL – Matthew 26:3-5

“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” (Matthew 26:3-5)  

The arrest, trial, conviction, sentencing and execution of Jesus Christ was and still is without legal precedent. He suffered the death penalty even though Pontius Pilate – the local Roman authority – found Him innocent.  

1 Jesus before Caiaphas

The Messiah actually underwent two trials with three phases each. First came the religious trial where the charge was blasphemy; then came the civil trial where the charge was incitement to rebellion. 

2 jesus-before-pilate

Jesus was tried before a “kangaroo court”. This is how the dictionary refers to a kangaroo court – (An unfair, biased, or hasty judicial proceeding that ends in a harsh punishment; an unauthorized trial conducted by individuals who have taken the law into their own hands, a proceeding and its leaders who are considered corrupt and without regard for the law). Like all such trials, it was preceded by a conspiracy: “Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” (Matthew 26:3-5)  

The conspiracy included the Pharisees, the elders of the people, the Sadducees and the chief priests. These were two opposing camps and there was a great bitterness between them. But they had one thing in common; animosity towards the claims of the Messiah. While Jesus upheld the Law of Moses, He refused to uphold the traditions of either the Pharisees or the Sadducees. This was the reason He was hated by both groups. This hatred gave rise to a conspiracy against the Messiah, which was lead by Caiaphas, the High Priest. The plan was to arrest Jesus in secret, away from the attention of the masses, and kill Him before the people became aware of what had happened. 

Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:11 and Luke 22:5 clearly declare that the conspirators were glad when Judas offered the opportunity to apprehend Jesus. They quickly made a promise to pay him for his services. The amount agreed upon was thirty pieces of silver. Judas was paid out of the “Temple” money that had been designated for the purchase of sacrifices. Little did the conspirators realize that they were indeed purchasing a sacrifice with temple money, for when the Messiah died, he died as the sin-sacrifice for all men. 

The thirty pieces of silver had further meaning. According to Exodus 21:32 “If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave. . .” Thus, the leaders of Israel held the ministry of the Messiah to be the value of a slave. Yet at the same time, unknown to them, these leaders were fulfilling an Old Testament Prophecy. Zechariah 11:12 clearly states that His price would be thirty pieces of silver. Read Zechariah 11:12-13. 

By the time of the Messiah, Judaism had developed a large body of law controlling every facet of Jewish life, which in the Scriptures is referred to as the tradition of the elders (read Mark 7:3-4).  

Within this massive body of law were the commandments that dealt with the manner in which the Sanhedrin was to conduct a trial. 

The main thing that the Pharisees and Sadducees had against the Messiah was His refusal to accept the traditions as being authoritative and binding. Yet they themselves were guilty of the very thing for which they condemned the Messiah. In trying to bring about the speedy death of the Messiah through a kangaroo court, they violated a number of their own laws. 

The twenty two laws of the Sanhedrin which were violated at Messiah’s trial are as follows: 

  1. There was to be no arrest by religious authorities that was affected by a bribe: “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.” (Exodus 23:8)
  2. There were to be no steps of criminal proceedings after sunset. (“Let a capital offense be tried during the day, but suspend it at night.” (Mishna = the oral law, Sanhedrin 4:1)).
  3. Judges or Sanhedrin members were not allowed to participate in the arrest. “Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?” (Luke 22:52)
  4. There were to be no trials before the morning sacrifice.
  5. There were to be no secret trials, only public.
  6. Sanhedrin trials could only be conducted in the Hall of Judgment of the Temple Compound.
  7. The procedure was to be first the defense and then the accusation.
  8.  All may argue in favor of acquittal, but all may not argue in favor of conviction.
  9. There were to be two or three witnesses and their testimony had to agree in every detail: (Deuteronomy 19:15)
  10. There was to be no allowance for the accused to testify against himself.
  11. The High Priest was forbidden to rent his garments (Leviticus 21:10)
  12. Charges could not originate with the judges. They could only investigate charges brought to them.
  13. The accusation of blasphemy was only valid if the name of God itself was pronounced.
  14. A person could not be condemned on the basis of his own words alone.
  15. The verdict could not be announced at night, only in the daytime.
  16. In case of capital punishment, the trial and guilty verdict could not occur at the same time but must be separated by at least 24 hours.
  17. Voting for the death penalty had to be done by individual count beginning with the youngest so the young would not be influenced by the elders.
  18. A unanimous decision for guilt shows innocence since it is impossible for 23 – 71 men to agree without plotting.
  19. The sentence could only be pronounced three days after the guilty verdict.
  20. A person condemned to death could not be beaten or scourged beforehand.
  21. Judges were to be humane and kind.
  22. No trials are allowed on the eve of the Sabbath or on a feast day. (The Mishna = Oral law says: “They shall not judge on the eve of the Sabbath, or on any festival.” 

* * * * * * * 

From Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum’s teachings

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 14, 2014

HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE A TRUE BORN AGAIN BELIEVER? – James 2:19

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The most terrifying words that professing Christians could ever hear would be Jesus Christ saying, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23). On judgment day, those horrifying words will be heard by many who call Jesus “Lord” who never repented of their iniquities and asked Him to truly be the Lord of their lives.  

How can this be? How can someone who declares Jesus is Lord and perform religious activities not be truly saved? And the question is: How do you know this will not happen to you? Since most people reassure themselves by saying, “It can’t be me, because I believe in Jesus.” 

Scripture says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe, and shudder” (James 2:19). The issue is not “faith in God”, but what kind of faith do you have? There are two types of “faith” described in the Bible. One originates in man as he gives affirmation to certain truths about God. This is a dead faith since: What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? . . . Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14; 17) 

The other is a God-given faith: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a living faith born out of a new heart that desires to bear fruit for the glory of God: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  (John 15:8) 

The word of God tells us to: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). If you truly are a Christian, it will deepen your assurance of salvation. If you are not a true Christian, then by God’s grace, you can call on the Lord before you perish forever. When a person comes to see the proper foundation of faith and trust with his heart what Jesus did for them on the cross, this is saving faith: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life.” (John 6:40) 

Many people believe in facts concerning Christ. They believe that He is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for the sins of the world. But they do not love Him supremely, nor are they willing to obey Him and follow Him. This is not true faith in Christ and it will never bring salvation. 

There is another Scripture that tells us: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist. (1 John 4:2-3)

‘The mouth can easily confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, but the spirit cannot lie. If the spirit confesses that Jesus came in the flesh the actions and teachings of that person will line up with the actions and teachings of Jesus when He walked upon this earth.’ (John Henderson) 

The Lord Jesus said we must: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). This is followed by an urgent warning: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). They appear to be Christians, but deceive people with a distorted gospel: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:6-9). These false teachers will deceive people by asking them to respond to the Gospel without repentance and faith. People need to: Repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15) 

Some believe that they are a Christian because they responded to an altar call, or made a one-time decision to follow Christ, or repeated a sinner’s prayer or were water baptized. These responses are not found in the Bible. The only response unto salvation is to “repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).  

Jesus stated: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32). God is commanding “all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Saving faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”  (Hebrews 11:1).  God wants true believers to know that they have eternal life (1 John 5:13). 

True born-again believers are the only ones that will see the kingdom of God since they pass from death to eternal life in Christ (John 3:3). Because God sees our heart, our intentions and through: “His great love for us, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5).  

Only godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death (2 Corinthians 7:10). For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God –  not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).  

True born again believers are thankful to God for their redemption because: “thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance”  (Romans 6:17).  “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13). “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14). Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) 

False converts do not discern their perilous condition. They remain dead in their sins because “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). They love themselves and the world; and the warning is: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in them.” (1 John 2:15)  

False converts deceive themselves because: Whoever says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar and the truth is not in that person (1 John 2:4). They listen but do not obey: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). “They claim to know God but by their actions they deny Him” (Titus 1:16). They have no solid foundation and: “since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.”  (Matthew 13:21) 

Think about this and search your mind and your spirit. Either you will reject these warnings and continue to walk in darkness and deception. However, we hope you will recognize the need for change and to search the Scriptures diligently for God’s truth and answers and come to the realization that: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)

The one and only Gospel of salvation is this: Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4), He ascended into heaven and He will return. (Acts 1:11) 

Jesus said: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12)

No one knows the day or the hour that they will take their last breath, therefore: “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). Take heed, because tomorrow might be too late.

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 6, 2014

HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU – Deuteronomy 31:6

Deuteronomy 31 vs 6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 

This is an invitation to believe in and follow God. Only when we believe in God and follow His leadership can we be truly strong and courageous. The result and effect of sin is always weakness, confusion, strife and eventually death. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:22-26) 

Understanding God’s omnipresence, which means that God is present everywhere, should encourage us in times of distress and keep us from sinning because He is always with us and watching us. 

God’s omnipresence should be of great comfort to every born again believer since no matter what the trial, the Lord is there. Sometimes God might seem far away, but He is really there with you right now – where He has always been. His promise to us is, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) 

God is always with us to encourage and support our service to Him. When God called Moses to proclaim His message and lead Israel out of slavery, Moses protested because of his lack of speaking abilities (Exodus 4:10-12). But God said, “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”  

Jesus commands us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . and surely, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20). If you feel that you are not strong and courageous, remember what God told Moses and what Jesus told His disciples. Bear in mind that as believers we have the same resources they had, which is the presence and power of God! 

As we focus on God’s continual presence in our lives, it also becomes a shield against sin. Therefore; the omnipresence of God should also motivate us to holiness. Because whether we sin in thought, word, or action; we sin in the presence of God since “the eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). “His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” (Job 34:21-22) Therefore, we need to remember not to do anything we would not want God to see; because, He will see it anyway! 

Knowing that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us gives us a great motive to rejoice because: “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Hebrews 13:6) 

Surely this is one of the greatest of God’s exceedingly precious promises because His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3) 

Take heed and: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7) 

And be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 31, 2014

TRUST IN THE LORD – Proverbs 3:5-6

Proverb 3 vs 5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

We must trust in the Lord with all our heart, which means to have complete confidence in Him; it is trust that makes us prepared to put our entire lives into God’s hands.This is why James 1:5-7 says that God will give wisdom to those who ask in faith without doubting. We cannot trust God with our whole hearts and at the same time doubt that He will provide us with His wisdom.  

We need wisdom from God so that we can live each day in a vibrant and holy manner; we want our lives to reflect His honor and glory in everything that we say, think and do. God will give His wisdom to everyone who will humble themselves and receive it by faith.

It is easy to put our full trust in God when things are going well. How committed however are we in our trust when circumstances get difficult or move too slowly for our liking? How about when situations don’t take the turn we expected? How do we trust when things do not make sense to us? 1 Peter 5:7 says that we are to cast all our anxiety upon Him, because He cares for us.

Second, we are told lean not on your own understanding. We must recognize our weakness and our dependency upon God and look to Him who alone is sufficient. Trust must be transferred from our own human abilities and intellect to the power and wisdom of God.

There will be things that we just won’t understand because we won’t see the whole picture as God sees. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9). God sees the whole picture, while we only see what is happening in our space, therefore, we must trust Him.

Third, in all your ways acknowledge Him. Acknowledging God is not a casual, “I know You are there”. It is seeking His direction, asking for His guidance, desiring His wisdom and wanting to know His instruction in every aspect of our lives. In order to truly acknowledge God in this way we need to be humble before Him and recognize that He alone has perfect understanding. We need to admit our need for His guidance.

How is God acknowledged in our decisions? How aware are we of Him in every circumstance? Before we make decisions, do we pray for direction? During the process, do we continually seek His guidance? After the fact, does He get the praise and glory?

Remember that the Lord said: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Fourth He will make your paths straight. This means that God will be with us every step of the way sustaining us and giving us grace to do what He asks of us. It means that He will make us spiritually effective and efficient in doing His work as He opens and closes doors. As we walk in His wisdom, we will see where we should go and what we should do.

Are we dependent on God? How great is our need for Him? Do we need His guidance and protection to keep our path straight? Have we ever followed our own path? How did we do on our own?

And the LORD said: “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Every person must make a decision whether to live his or her life according to personal preference or according to the unchanging Word of God. We often will not understand how God is causing “all things to work together for good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28), but when we trust Him with all our hearts, we know that He will never fail us for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 24, 2014

REACHING THE LOST FOR JESUS – Matthew 9:37-38

Matthew 9 vs 37-38

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”Matthew 9:37-38 

Notice, that Jesus took the initiative. He didn’t expect people to come to Him; it was He who sought them. 

They will not seek, they must be sought – they will not learn, they must be taught – they will not come to Jesus, unless they are brought.

As true believers and followers of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit living in us; we need to be reaching the lost for Jesus just like He did. 

What would happen if Jesus had waited for us to come to Him? Do you think we would have come? Jesus had to go after each one of them! Now the question is this: will we reach out to people who have eternal souls – what are we doing each day to influence their decision and eternal destiny?  

In 9:36 Matthew writes, “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and harassed like sheep without a shepherd.”  

The disciples and Jesus both looked at the same sea of humanity; but Jesus saw something that the disciples did not. He saw the hurts of people. He saw people harassed by pressures, tormented by their past, exhausted by their present and frightened by their future. Why didn’t the disciples see this? They saw with their natural eyes, not with their spiritual eyes. 

Matthew states that Jesus “felt compassion” for people and His heart went out. Whenever Jesus saw people lost, He had a deep concern for them. 

We must pray to have the compassion of Christ, since compassion is love in action. (Matthew 22:36-40) 

We must see people with the eyes of Jesus and we must seek to act. This means being aware of their hurts and needs. There are times when people are especially responsive to spiritually things. (1) When a person is recently divorced. (2) When a person loses a loved one. (3) When a person moves to a new town. (4) When a person is in the midst of a significant physical trial. During these traumatic times in peoples’ lives they are most open to the gospel. We must be sensitive to the Spirit and look for every opportunity to share Christ with those who are lost, or need to come back to Him. 

Jesus has promised us that there’s a plentiful harvest. The only problem is: “The workers are few”. Yet, God is looking for “workers” who want to reap His harvest. Notice Jesus doesn’t call for pastors, missionaries, evangelists, leaders, or experts; He calls for “workers”. 

Harvesting a crop requires effort and Jesus relates this passage to agricultural work, which is much like spiritual work; it takes patience and perseverance. Sadly, putting these qualities into action is lacking in many believers. Yet, Jesus is calling you and me to the ultimate harvest of the men, women, boys and girls who need Jesus.  

Harvesting it is not a glamorous or showy activity that generates applause – it is hard work! 

Will you work for the harvest? It’s the only pursuit worth devoting your life to. In 9:38, Jesus closes with these penetrating words, “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” 

Although the harvest is already His, it must be gathered in. To this end, we need selfless workers (Matthew 10:1–42). This is a clear command; and the reality of hell should be a huge motivation for each one of us to reach the lost, remembering that ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who is the true Soul winner. Thus it is our responsibility to share God’s Word with those who do not know Christ. The Holy Spirit then uses His Word to point out the person’s sin and the righteousness available through Christ. 

Jesus told his disciples just before ascending to heaven that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came and that they should be His witnesses both in Jerusalem and on to the remotest parts of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Therefore as His we need to reach out and teach others how to get to know the Savior that died for all of us. For we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23). 

There is only one life that will soon pass. And only what’s done for Christ will last.

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 17, 2014

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD – Psalm 23

Psalm 23

The 23rd Psalm portraits a beautiful picture of Christ as the Shepherd. This chapter finds its New Testament exposition in John 10:1–30, where Christ identifies Himself as “the good shepherd” who “gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

  • Verse 1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. What an amazing relationship!

“The Lord is my shepherd.” Here David uses the term shepherd for the Lord. Like a shepherd cares for His sheep so the Lord cares for those who are His. David had himself been a keeper of sheep, and understood both the needs of the sheep and the many cares of a shepherd.

“I shall not want.” When we truly make the Lord our Shepherd we understand and know that He is able to supply all our needs, and He is certainly willing to do so, for His heart is full of love.  Therefore “I shall not want,” because the believer has everything in Him! “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8)

  • Verse 2. “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” Here we see that God seeks to comfort His people when they are exhausted and gives them rest.

When by faith we find rest in His promises, we are like the sheep that lie down in the midst of the pasture; therefore, we find provisions, peace, rest, serenity and satisfaction in Him. “He leads me beside the still waters.” What are these “still waters”? It is the influences and graces of His blessed Spirit. For the Holy Spirit loves peace. Our Lord leads us beside these “still waters;” because we cannot go there by ourselves, we need His guidance and like a shepherd He walks beside us and guides us.

The shepherd’s responsibilities are to protect and provide for the needs of his sheep; the responsibility of each of the sheep is to follow and obey the shepherd.

  • Verse 3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. God provides security and guidance for His people in very difficult and dangerous times and He heals and restores us.

He restores my soul.”  When we grow weary and lack courage with the troubles of life, He restores and refreshes us. He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” We like sheep are not always aware of where we are going, so the Good Shepherd leads us in the paths and His path leads to His righteousness. Not only for our sake, but for His glory and for His name’s sake, because one of the chief purposes of mankind is to glorify God for His name’s sake

  • Verse 4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Through testing and faith, God shows us how to find security and protection in Him during difficult times.

The Lord guides us through dark valleys of distress and trouble just as through green pastures. His presence is with us, through dark valleys where we find ourselves in death’s shadow and helps us to overcome our fear. On these occasions the Shepherd serves as our personal guide. David also acknowledged the console and protection of God. The shepherd’s rod was used against animals that threatened the welfare of the sheep. The staff was used to gently guide the sheep along the right path. These tools represent protection and provision.

  • Verse 5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. God graciously provides for our needs in abundance. He protects us, gives us hope and consecrates us.

The Lord’s people feast at His table, while Satan and wicked men are not able to destroy their comforts, as they are anointed with the Holy Spirit, and drink of the cup of salvation which is ever full.

  • Verse 6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.  All the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. God sees His relationship with us as one of an intimate friend, living together in His house, as part of His family; blessing us and keeping us safe for all eternity.

With a sense of assuredness, David understood that mercy which blots out sins and goodness which supplies our needs would follow him. Not just while he was king, but all the days of his life, thus he knew that he would dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. This is an Old Testament revelation of what is to come for those who are His.  It is a prophecy that will be fulfilled by Christ at the physical death of all believers. We will dwell in the house of the Lord, which is the Kingdom of God, forever and without end. 

This beautiful Psalm is packed with powerful promises, provisions, and purpose. The Lord is my Shepherd.  What more should I want?

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 10, 2014

WHO IS A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST? – 1 Peter 2:21

Who is a disciple of Christ

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 

In Christianity, the term disciple primarily refers to students of Jesus and is found only in the New Testament in the Gospels and the book of Acts. The New Testament records many followers of Jesus during His ministry, but only some became disciples. 

Vine’s New Testament Word Search defines the Greek word (mathetes) that is translated “disciples” as a learner. It denotes ‘one who follows one’s teaching’. A ‘disciple’ was not only a pupil, but a believer; an obedient servant to his teacher. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

Disciples begin as followers of Jesus at their new birth (born again believers), and they quickly learn that to grow in Christ requires time with Him. Just like Jesus spent time with the Father, a disciple quietly spends time with Jesus in prayer (Mark 1:35; Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12). Disciples pay attention and learn from the Lord through His Holy Word. Moreover, disciples of Jesus are not obsessed by gifted men and women of the faith. They respect and learn from these seasoned leaders, but only for the purpose of growing in their devotion to Jesus Christ. Disciples are called and commanded to follow God, not man. Like John the Baptist, humble and wise Christian leaders take the focus off themselves and point people to Jesus.

John the Baptist said: “He [Jesus] must increase, but I [John] must decrease.” (John 3:30) 

Jesus’ apostles and disciples learned from Him as they lived with Him for more than 3 years. What a blessing it would have been to have Jesus to be your Bible school professor for three years. Jesus taught them by the Holy manner in how He lived, meaning by His example. He instructed them by word, and they asked Him questions.  

They asked about scripture (Matthew 17:10), about what He meant by what He had said (Luke 8:9), about how to live (Mark 10:10), about their failures (Mark 9:28), and about His will (Luke 9:54). As His disciples we are to do the same by searching the Scriptures, learning from wise and godly counsel and spending much time in prayer. Remember what Jesus taught us: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). When we ask for wisdom, discernment and knowledge He is so gracious to give it to us through His Holy Spirit. 

Christ’s disciples are to “bear much fruit.” What did Jesus mean by “fruit”? What kind of “fruit” does a disciple produce? How does a disciple’s fruit glorify God the Father? He said: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) 

Just as a child learns as he grows we also learn, as we grow in Jesus. Growing and maturing in Christ is becoming more like Jesus every day. Just as His early disciples accepted Jesus’ invitation to come and learn and walk with Him, Jesus invites us to come and do the same. Therefore; as disciples of the Savior we need to spend time with Him and listen to His voice.

As we learn and mature in Christ we are to invest time in those around us to help them grow in their faith. God through His Holy Spirit makes us disciples to be facilitators in other’s faith development. We are to search the Scriptures together for God’s answers to life’s questions. Disciples are made by their Maker to grow with each other and remain faithful.

Just like Paul after preaching the gospel and returning to Lystra, Iconium and Antiochin we are to strengthen new disciples and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. (Acts 14:22)

Disciples are trained by the Holy Spirit to follow the Spirit’s leading. They learn to make much of their master Jesus and make less of themselves. Disciples schooled by the Spirit bear the fruit of the Spirit and they are made to invite others to meet their Savior Jesus Christ. 

We are to go and make disciples wherever God has called us and we are to baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit once they understand, have accepted what Jesus Christ has done for them and you can see a definite transformation in their life.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.’ Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 2, 2014

SHOUT JOYFULLY TO THE LORD – Psalm 100

Psalm 100 vs 1-2

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.” Psalm 100:1-2 

This is one of the psalms that expresses thanksgiving for the goodness and mercy of God. It extends to all the inhabitants of the earth. We are to know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are his people both Jew and gentile believers and we are the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3). He gives us all His grace which we should recognize, as we receive it every day.  

If we are more attentive and we stop to look around us, we will see that there is always something more that God is doing for us; unfortunately most of the time we do not notice or look for it. However, if we pay attention, we will see, that with each new sunrise God stands ready to offer us something unique and full of His grace.  

In the New Testament, “grace” takes on a special redemptive sense in which God makes available His favor on behalf of sinners, who actually do not deserve it. The fact is that human salvation is the result of God’s grace. 

Yes, our Creator gives us every morning the rich and gracious blessing of life, the opportunities, the strength to achieve and overcome challenges and gain victory over defeats and our enemies. Therefore those who trust in Him have a new expectation that lies firmly in His Word. Romans 8:28 says: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God …” 

So when we feel that everything seems to be going wrong, everything is against us, we are to: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations,” (Psalm 100:4-5). We need to remember that there is always a reason for us to be grateful to God. 

When we really trust, He always surprises us with His actions of aiding us amid our struggles or sufferings. Because if we trust, even if everything is apparently going wrong, we know that God is working in our favor. Once the solution is visible to our eyes, we see His faithfulness and that His deliverance arrived “on time” because God’s time is always the right time. It is a joyful realization when we see our Lord at work and it makes us more dependent on Him as we rest in the shadow of the Almighty and realize that: He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2 

We might know someone who is going through trials and we are to encourage them with the certainty that God is looking at them and is planning their deliverance at this time. We must have faith and trust in Him and give others the hope that only comes from the Lord. He gave us His live so that we might have ever lasting life and He is always there by our side. However; to fully receive greatest blessings, we must completely and unconditionally surrender our lives to His Lordship and be determined to obey His Word.  

May we witness God’s infinite goodness, His presence grace and power, and may we be “more than conquerors” in the blessed person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Let us encourage one another and come joyfully before the Lord, worshiping Him with gladness and in song. As we do this the enemy flees from us and our hearts are filled with hope and joy. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 24, 2014

LOVE KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS – 1 Corinthians 13:5

1 Corinthians 13 vs 5

Love is directly tied with forgiveness as Jesus said: “When you have been forgiven much, you love much.” Luke 7:47 

Forgiveness means the offense is pardoned, consequently freeing us to love that person again. When we look at Jesus we see that some of His last words requested forgiveness from God for the ignorant acts of His offenders: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Christ’s greatest act of love was the forgiveness He extended by His voluntary death on the cross (1 John 3:16). Jesus described His own act of love when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus was, and is the personification of love and forgiveness. 

Forgiveness flows when you have been authentically and thoroughly forgiven. It is the grace of God and faith in Him that drives forgiveness in followers of Christ. We need to realize that our capacity to love is directly tied to our willingness to receive Christ’s forgiveness.

Forgiveness forgets the past, engages in the present, and hopes in the future. We need to extend forgiveness indiscriminately and receive it graciously. We must reject the temptation for resentment and humbly receive God’s grace instead.

The word of God tells us to: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13  

And the Lord commands us: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25). We need to love with action and in truth and not with words or speech. 1 John 3:18 

The LORD says: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19 

We need to deal with problems right away in a loving way and not give them room to fester: “In your anger do not sin” (Forgive) Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27  

We need to determine to: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 

We should never: “Repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  . . Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:17, 19  

As hard as it might seem we are to: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28  

Because “…The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, is slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…” Exodus 34:6   

As God’s children, filled with His love we need to follow His instructions as He has commanded us to do; always remembering that love keeps no record of wrongs – LOVE FORGIVES.

Haggai 1 vs 4-6

“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” (Haggai 1:4-6)

Haggai is writing to the children of Israel that have returned to the land after their time spent in captivity in the land of Babylon. Upon returning, they acted well in the beginning, and they immediately began to re-build the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. However, after some opposition, they put aside the building of God’s house and began working on their own houses.

When their priority changed from God to self, their blessings stopped and their self-centered hard work did not lead them to acquire very much, simply because they were no longer putting the Lord first in their lives.

This passage has many similarities to what is happening today in our world, as we see that possessions become more important then God. There has never been a time in history when people are as busy as today. Many families have both husband and wife working with some folks working two and three jobs. Work is good and the Bible says that men need to work in order to eat; but when our work replaces God, or seriously interferes with our worship of Him, something is wrong.

When this occurs we need to ask ourselves: Is God doing to us what He did to those Israelites of old who had misplaced priorities? Do we miss church regularly due to work, or because we are too tired? Or perhaps because there are other priorities that take first place in our life?

The problem is that we are so conditioned by this world that we are blinded to what is happening. We have been so accustomed to focus on self, that we don’t realize that we have lost our first love and have replaced it with something above God in our lives.

We need to be honest with ourselves and ask: Have we put something in front of God; like our job; our children; our pleasure? What is causing us to miss the full blessing of God in our life? We need to wake up and put God back where He belongs. He deserves and demands first place. After the Israelites repented and starting working again on the temple, God said, “I am with you”.

When a professing believer never seems to have enough, and his money bag seems filled with holes, it is time for him to consider carefully his ways before the Lord. After all, our God owns everything and He is well able to supply all our needs. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

If these necessities of life are not being provided, we urgently need to consider our ways. Is God’s kingdom and His righteousness really our first concern?

The Bible teaches that “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). But we must remember that this promise was given to a group of Christians whose “deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their kindness,” because they “first gave their own selves to the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 8:2, 5)

Just like the people of Haggai’s generation, when we fail to focus on God’s priorities, life takes a turn and our purses seem to have “holes” in them, in the sense that the money we put in them disappears before we can pay all our bills.

A Christians that is wasting God’s generous gifts on trivia and selfishness, will have much to answer for, when the Lord returns.

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