Posted by: missionventureministries | December 17, 2014

Christmas – A Gift of Love, Forgiveness and Healing

Christmas message 2014 (E)

It was a few days before Christmas. Late one evening Dr. Paul Young was preparing to leave the hospital after an exhausting day of operations in the emergency room. As he was preparing to exit the hospital, he received an urgent request to come back to the emergency room immediately. 

He was told that there was a severe accident and that the patient was in critical condition. He quickly prepared himself for another surgery, but he was not prepared for what he saw when he entered the emergency room.  

Lying on a gurney was Mary, his 18 year old daughter whom he had not seen or spoken to for 5 months. Her face was broken and cut; she had a broken arm, two broken legs and severe internal bleeding. 

Five months ago, Mary had decided that mom and dad’s Christian values and teaching were too restrictive; she wanted to party and live life in the fast lane, so she packed her car and left home. She got away from home, away from God and the truth that her parents had taught her.  

Dr. Young had not been looking forward to this Christmas, who wants to celebrate and open gifts, when your daughter, your only child is missing?  

Mary’s condition was very critical, so Dr. Young immediately went to work, trying to stabilize her vital systems so that she could survive. 

He worked through out the night trying to save his daughter’s life. The staff knew that he had been working in the E.R. for 14 hours; they urged him to go home and rest. He thanked them for their concern, and shared some of his thoughts. She is my child, she is my life, this is the little girl who came running to greet me with big hugs when I came home. This is the little girl who used to bake funny looking cookies for us and brought us so much happiness with her sweet childlike ways.

Around sunrise Mary’s vital signs began to stabilize, Dr Young had operated as much as he could, considering her fragile condition. He remained by Mary’s bed until she overcame the effects of being sedated. 

Dr. Young took his daughter’s hand and assured her that he would be back in a few hours to check on her, and that he and her mother would be praying for her.

On Christmas day, Dr. and Mrs. Young went to visit Mary in the hospital; they took gifts for Mary since they wanted to celebrate Christmas with their daughter.  As soon as they entered her room, Mary asked, “Daddy why did you do it, why did you stay and work on me all of those long hours after you were already so exhausted?”

After the way that I have been so unkind and disrespectful to you and mom, I have been such a rebel and prodigal, why did you even care?  

Dr. Young walked over to his daughter’s bed and took her hand in his and said, “Because you are my child, you are a very important part of our lives – all is forgiven, welcome home sweetheart.”  

Dr. young shared with Mary and the staff gathered around her bed, how God took three nails and the precious blood of Jesus and wrote the greatest love story that the world has every heard.

Love, forgiveness, hope and healing – that is the wonderful message of Christmas.

On a silent and Holy Night, a Miracle happened.  Angels announced the joyful news.

A Special Gift from God – The Birth of Jesus – This is Love – This is truly Christmas.

Christmas is an expression of Holy Love and the cradle was overshadowed by the cross. The hands that formed the universe were pierced by the nails on Calvary; that is why wise men and women still seek and adore Him. We pray that you will experience the wonderful miracle of Christmas and know the joy and peace; that only the Savior can bring. 

Wishing you a blessed and joyful Christmas.                    

David and Helena

Posted by: missionventureministries | December 14, 2014

Division in the Family – Consequences of Christ’s Coming – Luke 12:49-53

Luke 12 vs 52 (E)

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”  (Luke 12:49-53) 

When we first read this passage it sounds like a contradiction. There are so many passages in the Bible where Christ is referred to bringing peace. In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is described as the “Prince of Peace”. Luke 2:14 refers to His coming as a time on earth where there will be peace to those on whom His favor rests. John 14:27 records Jesus’ reassuring words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you”. Although it is true that Christ came to bring peace between believer and God, He came to bring conflict between light and darkness, between God’s children and the children of the devil. Jesus makes it clear in this passage that this conflict can occur even between members of the same family (vv. 52-53). 

Fire is often used, either symbolically or literally, as an instrument of divine wrath, against sinners. The “fire” of which Jesus spoke is the same fire about which the prophets spoke of, the fire of divine wrath.  (Jeremiah 15:14, Lamentations 4:11-13, Ezekiel 20:47-48, Joel 2:1-3, Amos 2:4-5, Malachi 4:1, Revelation 20:9). When Jesus said that He had come to “kindle a fire” He is saying that He has come to bring the outpouring of God’s wrath on the sinful nation of Israel.  

Yes, Jesus did come the first time to save men (John 3:16-17), but for all that reject Him there is no other means of salvation. When He comes again, He will come to judge and condemn the unbeliever to the eternal Lake of Fire. 

How can our Lord be so zealous for this “fire” to be kindled, as His words indicate? If He is going to bring about the judgment of God upon sinners, and if this is not a work in which He takes pleasure, why is He eager for the “fire” to be kindled? The outpouring of wrath is a prerequisite of and preliminary to the establishment of the kingdom of God. In order for the kingdom of God to be established, sinners must be punished and sin eliminated.  

Jesus said that before He cast fire on the earth He had a baptism to undergo. This baptism is clearly the death which He would die on the cross of Calvary. His death on the cross would set in motion a series of events, which will eventuate in the pouring forth of God’s divine wrath on sinners. The sad reality is that it is not really necessary, because Jesus went through the full extent of God’s wrath on the cross. For those who trust in Him, that is the full payment for their sins, but for those who reject Him, there is yet to come the outpouring of God’s wrath in the Day of Judgment. 

“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in- law” (Luke 12:51-53). 

The division which Jesus speaks of here has several interesting aspects. First, there is a division which occurs within the family. History has borne testimony to the fact that the gospel divides men and women, husbands and wives, parents and children, for faith in Christ requires ultimate allegiance to Him. And pride will always divide. 

Second, those who have come to faith in Christ will join together as the true family of God; while those who have rejected Christ will also find their allies, a new basis of unity, in opposition to Christ. This is how the Pharisees and the Sadducees could join together in rejecting Christ and in opposing Him, and ultimately in orchestrating His death. 

Paul points out that faith in Jesus will produce persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). There will be fathomless joy in heaven, but there will also be pain and persecution for Christians on earth.  

There is no way that we can avoid pain and suffering. The one who follows Christ will suffer now, and will renounce certain of life’s present pleasures, but will experience the limitless joys of heaven later (Hebrews 11:24-26). Following our Lord Jesus Christ will assuredly divide many families and reconciliation, in this instance, is impossible, unless all come to faith in Christ. 

If Jesus is coming to the earth to bring fire upon it, the fire of divine wrath (verse 49), and if men are responsible for their decisions concerning Him (verses 54-56), then men had better seek to be reconciled to Him before that final day of judgment arrives, when it will be too late. 

May none of you be a part of this second group. Jesus in His first coming has already endured the “fire” of God’s wrath. He has already died for the sins of men. Trust in Him and you will never need to fear His second coming. Be reconciled to God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20-21), and do it before you face Him as your judge, and before you face the fire of His wrath. Do it decisively. Do it quickly. Do it now! 

Because, “transgressors and sinners will be crushed together, and those who forsake the LORD will come to an end.” (Isaiah 1:28) 

Lord, we ask that You would work in hearts through Your powerful Holy Spirit. That You Lord would call those who have not yet embraced Christ to respond now while the opportunity still exists.

Posted by: missionventureministries | December 7, 2014

THE LORD KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT US – Psalm 139:1

Lord you have searched me

“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” (Psalm 139:1)  

Perhaps the most amazing attribute of God is that He knows everything about us. Everything! He “searches” us and “knows” us.  

Since God is both omnipresent and omniscient, it is obvious that nothing escapes His conscious knowledge about us. He observes our ordinary activities and knows everything that we do and knows our innermost thoughts (v. 2). “You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (v. 3). “Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely” (v. 4). That means that we are transparent to Him; we cannot deceive Him in any way. He knows what we are going to think; we cannot hide anything from Him. God knows what only we know about ourselves and things we won’t even admit to ourselves. 

Furthermore, He is everywhere around each one of us (vv. 7-10), wherever we are or could be. He fills all space, and there is no way to escape. We cannot hide from God. He is wherever we go.  

David, the writer of this Psalm is taking a look at himself and his relationship with God. He does an in-depth self-examination, something we need to do as well. We need to examine our behavior, our motives and our priorities. David asked, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (V. 23-24) 

It is comforting to know that God knows us by name and loves us. It is also important to realize that there is nothing we can hide from God and that He knows us far better than we know ourselves. 

When we confess our sins, God forgives us; as John writes, “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9). And Isaiah records: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). We can’t remove our own sin, only God can do that. Therefore,  we need to bring our hidden sins to light so that we can acknowledge them, repent of them ask for forgiveness and more importantly, accept God’s forgiveness. 

When we are walking with God we can expect our lives to be different because our guilt and shame are removed and we have a spirit of joy and can walk in total unbroken fellowship with God.   

Physically we are the same person, but spiritually we are a new person. Paul says that we are a new creation in Jesus Christ – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through Jesus Christ we have been given the gift of the Spirit of God, “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:12).  

We must examine ourselves, repent, ask for forgiveness and joyfully walk in spirit and in truth with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 30, 2014

“CALL TO ME” – God is eager to communicate with His children – Jeremiah 33:3

Jeremiah 33 vs 3 (E)

The words that the Lord  spoke to Jeremiah is also applicable for us: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3) 

What do we need to do to hear God? Hearing from God is a learning process that takes time. The Holy Spirit helps believers discern between what is true and false, wise and foolish, right and wrong and leads believers into truth. The most important thing is we need to be humble and have a desire to obey God’s word and to have fellowship with Him. 

God is available to all who seek Him; we need however to take time to read His Word and spend time with our Father and get to know Him. We need to remember that God created us so we can have a special Father-child relationship with Him. Jesus took time alone with the Father (Mark 6:46), and we too need a quiet place free from distraction to be alone with Him. So once we do these things how do we hear from God and know that it is He who is speaking to us? 

Here are some things we can ask ourselves to determine if it is God who is speaking to us. What we hear, 

  • Is it consistent with Scripture?
  • Is it consistent with the character of God?
  • Does it lead to change or growth in our life?
  • Does it lead to the restoration of relationships?
  • Is there a sense of healing?
  • Is there a sense of peace?
  • Does it lead to conviction instead of guilt?

There is a distinct difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation of the devil, because the two speak different languages.

SO LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCES

SATAN COMMUNICATES IN THE FOLLOWING
WAY:

THE HOLY SPIRIT
COMMUNICATES
IN THE OPPOSITE WAY:

HIS TONE IS: Accusing and nagging.  He generates fear and confusion. HIS TONE IS: Gentle, loving, and urges us to return to God.  (1 Peter 2:9-10)
HE IS VAGUE: He generates an overall sense of guilt.  Creates feelings of hopelessness and weakness. HE IS SPECIFIC: He assures us that that if we confess and repent of our sins; freedom follows. (Acts 3:19)
HE DISCOURAGES US: He attacks, tells us that we are weak and worthless. HE ENCOURAGES US: He urges us to rely on His power, not our own strength. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
HE BRINGS UP THE PAST: Replays our sin and shame, reminds us of our poor choices. HE RELEASES US FROM THE PAST: Tells us that our sins are forgiven, never to be held against us. (Romans 4:8)
HE REJECTS US: Produces the feeling that God has rejected us as unworthy and we have no chance. HE ATTRACTS US: With love and kindness, and gives us hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
HE ISOLATES US: Causes us to withdraw from others because of our guilt and shame. HE DRAWS US: Into fellowship with other believers who reassure us of His steadfast love and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. (Psalm 86:15 – John 3:16)
HE IS NEGATIVE: Tells us that we are worthless and that there is no hope. HE IS POSITIVE: Tells us that we can become His child and have, hope, joy and peace. (Romans 15:13)

 

Jesus said: “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

The Bible is clear about the fact that God actively seeks a personal relationship with His children. He delights in us and desires to bring restoration to the pain in our life. He offers Himself as a refuge from fear and anxiety, (Psalm 91). He gives strength to those who are week. He is there for us, anytime we come to Him with a humble and clean heart.

However, remember: “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” (Psalm 66:18)

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 25, 2014

GOD DOES NOT WANT ANYONE TO PERISH – 2 Peter 3:9

2 Peter 3 vs 9

The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 

Our gracious God desires all to know Christ through repentance, forgiveness, faith, and a lifetime of loving intimacy. Jesus came the first time to earth as our Savior. Before He was crucified, He promised that He would prepare a place for us in His Father’s house and that He will come back and take us to be with Him that we also may be where He is. (John 14:2-3)

Christ will come again as our judge. However, our heavenly Father’s who is patient and merciful delays His son’s return. Jesus waits, so the unredeemed have time to believe and become sons and daughters of the Almighty. God’s will is salvation in Jesus and not an eternity in hell apart from Him. Like the door to Noah’s Ark eventually closed, so the opportunity to trust Christ is slowly slipping away for many. The flood waters, meaning death will one day drown us. Will we be ready? Salvation and safety can only be found in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. “The LORD is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8). Yes, the Lord’s patient love invites us to repent, trust and not perish but He also says that even though He abounds in love and forgives sin and rebellion; yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished. (Numbers 14:18) 

Yes, we still have time to warn others of the judgment to come. Some will mock, others will act indifferent, but a few will find refuge in Jesus. Most will “show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4)   

Billions of people who have done religious things, “prayed the sinners prayer”, given money, served in churches will be eternally lost; because, they have never made Jesus Christ the Lord of their life. 

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12) 

There are true and false Disciples as we here Jesus say: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Mathew 7:21-23)

The patience of our heavenly Father is the model for us to follow. We are surrounded by a sea of those who need salvation. They are drowning in their sin. By offering them the life preserver of faith, hope and love for Jesus we can rescue the perishing. A life preserver however is useless unless it is thrown into the waters and reached for by those who are drowning.  

It should be our fervent daily prayer to ask the Father to convict the lost through the Holy Spirit. And that He would give us His wisdom to lead those He places in our paths, so we can teach them from Scripture how to receive salvation through the saving blood of Christ. Once saved, we help them to grow in their faith and in the knowledge of what the Bible teaches, so they can live a fruitful life for the Lord. God loves us and does not want anyone to perish. Jesus showed love throughout His ministry but He also knew those who would and would not follow Him.  

One day as He was speaking of the Pharisees He said: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” (Matthew 15:8-9) 

And He continued: “Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14) 

Even though God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus said: “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.” (Matthew 15:13) 

It is the hope of our Father that none should perish so we thank Him for His patience and continue obeying our Lords command which He left with us before ascending into heaven. 

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 17, 2014

MARY, JESUS’ MOTHER HERE ON EARTH

Mary, Joseph and Jesus

At the beginning of the New Testament Mary is revealed to us as a young virgin, through whom Jesus Christ was born (Luke 1:27). She is declared to have found favored with God (Luke 1:27, 30) and as a result was chosen to bear “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Luke 1:31-33).

Mary was a young Jewish woman of outstanding moral and spiritual character. Just like Daniel who was a man greatly beloved by God (Daniel 9:23, 10:11). The Bible shows that God highly valued their humble and obedient reverence to Him.

The Bible talks about God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that they are eternal. God was never “born” and never had a “mother.” However, Jesus had a beginning to His earthly ministry when He was conceived in Mary’s womb and was born; but from eternity past He has always been the Son of God. (Juan 1:1-5)

Philippians 2:6–7 gives us a bit more insight on what transpired when Jesus left heaven to become man. “Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.”

The desire to be the mother of the promised Messiah was common to young women in Israel. So the election of Mary really showed that God was blessing her. But we must not read into that more than the fact that it was a great privilege for her.

It is biblical to say that Mary was the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ during His incarnation on the earth. The human side of Jesus came from Mary, the divine side from the Holy Spirit. Thus while the One whom she bore was God, His Godhead did not come into being through the human process of birth. She was not the mother of His divinity which has always existed.

When studying history we learn that the early church, when discussing the matter at the council of Ephesus (431 AD), came to the decision that Mary should NOT be called ‘the mother of God’, but rather the ‘God-bearer’  (theotokos).  But even this carries with it the danger of seeing Mary as somehow bringing God into the world, whereas it was the Holy Spirit who brought God into the world, in union with the human being that was conceived by Mary. Mary could not in any way conceive Jesus who was eternal, only by an act of God through the Holy Spirit was this possible.

We never find in Scripture where Jesus addressed Mary as mother and at times Jesus reminded Mary of the distinction between their human relationship and His divine origin and mission.

Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem when He was 12 to celebrate the Passover. After the festival was over on beginning their journey back home they discovered that Jesus was not with them, they returned to Jerusalem and sought Him. They found Him in the temple listening to the great teachers, and asking them questions. When his parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  “Why were you searching for me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what He was saying to them.  (Luke 2:41-51). It is clear that Mary was very puzzled.  However, as a mother, she kept it all in and very likely remembered what He had said and finally understood after His resurrection.

At the wedding in Cana (John 2) Jesus called her “Woman.” This was not in disrespect, but was like addressing her as “Lady.” Mary said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). That was Mary’s only commandment.

Even though Mary knew the true identity of her firstborn, we read about an occasion where she allowed herself to be influenced by Jesus’ unbelieving half-brothers (Mark 3:20-21).

Yes, Mary did have other children as the Bible points out. She did not remain a “perpetual virgin.” Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). The Bible also tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:56). In John 7:1-10, His brothers go on to the festival while Jesus stays behind. In Acts 1:14, His brothers and mother are described as praying with the disciples. And in Galatians 1:19 it mentions that James was Jesus’ brother.

Yes, Jesus had half-brothers and half-sisters, who were the children of Joseph and Mary. That is the clear and unambiguous teaching of God’s Word.

There is no biblical reason to believe that these siblings are anything other than the actual children of Joseph and Mary. Those who oppose the idea that Jesus had half-brothers and half-sisters do so, not from a reading of Scripture, but from a preconceived concept of the perpetual virginity of Mary, which is itself clearly unbiblical: “But he (Joseph) had no union with her (Mary) until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25).

On the cross we see Jesus once more addressing His mother as “Woman.” “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to John, “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26-27). At this point Jesus severed all filial ties with Mary and transferred them to John.

The last time we read of Mary in the Bible, she obeyed the command of Jesus and was in the upper room, waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14).

When we study about Mary we realize how humble and devoted to God she was, to have been chosen to be the vessel that would bear her Savior. Here we read her words, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47). Yes, Mary knew from prophecy that the Messiah was coming and also knew that she needed the Savior; just like we also need Him.

Like all of us Mary was saved through the blood of Christ and found forgiveness in His name. She shares with all ‘saints’, (true believers and followers of Jesus Christ) the benefits from the merits of His death, resurrection and intercession in heaven for us.

It is important to remember Jesus last words recorded in the Bible, which are: I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. (Revelation 22:18-21)

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 9, 2014

LIVING IN HARMONY – Ephesians 4:32

Ephesians

The Bible tells us to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) 

A POWERFUL MESSAGE TO CONSIDER  

This story, by an unknown author was posted in the “Kids Corner – Bible Studies” section, and it teaches a powerful lesson that everyone can learn from, no matter how old we are.  

May this message of love touch your heart, as it touched ours.

* * * * * * *

Once upon a time, there were two brothers. Their father had a large farm and when he became too old to work, he called his two sons and told them.

 Two farmers and their father

 “I am too old to continue working, I will divide my farm in half and give each one of you half. I know that you will always work together and will always be good friends.”

 Farm 1

When the brothers first started farming on their piece of the farm, they were the best of friends and would share everything together.

Brotherly friendship

Then, one day there was a disagreement between the two brothers and they stopped speaking to one another.

 boys fiting

For many years, not a word was spoken between them.

 cartoons_sunrise_02_vector_156421

One day, early in the morning, one of the brothers was at his house when a carpenter came to his door and said, “I would like to do some work. Do you have any work that I can do?”

 august1231

The brother thought for a moment and then replied, “I would like for you to build a fence on my property. Build it down there near the stream that separates my farm from my brother’s property.

 Farm 2 ws

I don’t want to see my brother any more and I would like for you to build a high fence there please. I’m going into town and I’ll be back later this afternoon.

returning home ws 

When he came back that afternoon, he was shocked to see that the carpenter had not followed his instructions. Instead of building a high fence, he had built a bridge over the stream.

 Bridge over creek

The man walked down to take a look at the bridge, and as he did, his brother who was wondering what was being built walked down to the bridge to see what was happening. When he saw his brother, he walked toward him from the other side and said: “After all the terrible things I’ve done to you over the years, I can’t believe that you would build a bridge and welcome me back.”

 2 brothers making peace

 He reached out to his brother and gave him a big hug. 

The brother then walked back up to his farmhouse to talk to the carpenter.

 bob_04

“Can you stay?” he asked. “I have more work for you to do.” The carpenter answered, “I’m sorry but I can’t stay. I have to go, for I have many other bridges to build.” 

Sometimes we have a disagreement with our brothers and sisters. When that happens, we often build a fence between ourselves and them.

 Fence

We stop talking to them. We don’t want to see them. We don’t want to be around them. But that isn’t what Jesus wants us to do. He said that “we should love one another, as He loves us,” (John 15:12). Instead of fences, Jesus wants us to build a bridge of love between us.

 http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-image32487655

Dear Father, we know it is Your desire for us to learn to live together in peace and harmony. Help us to love one another. Amen. 

* * * * * * *

This Story was Adapted from an Unknown Author  

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 3, 2014

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD AND OBEY IT – Luke 11:27-28

Luke 11 vs 27-28

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”  He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:27-28)

Jesus had just finished exposing His “religious” critics in front of a crowd (Luke 11:14-26), and as He came to the end of this teaching, a woman who had been moved by all she had heard and the blessing she had received she burst out quite spontaneously, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”  

Jesus did not question the truth of the woman’s statement, but pointed her to an even greater truth. “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”  

The true blessing is reserved for those who pay attention to God’s Word and obey it; and we demonstrate the truth of our praise and worship through our actions and obedience. 

In the Old Testament we read Samuel telling his people: “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22) 

Jesus is focusing on the importance of obeying the word of God. On another occasion Jesus made nearly the same point: “Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near Him because of the crowd. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’ He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.'” (Luke 8:19-21) 

Here again we read that those who follow His commands are truly blessed because they know Almighty God personally and they find joy in hearing and obeying His word.

Our goal in life, the very reason we were created, is for union and fellowship with God. We were created for God, and until we trust and rest in Him we are considered incomplete and abnormal.

Our adoption as sons and daughters of God through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross transforms our worldly relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God and His kingdom.

Therefore, if you say you love God, show it to Him by honoring and obeying His word. Let His light shine through you, so that those who do not know Him may also have a desire to follow Him and glorify Almighty God.

Jesus said: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 27, 2014

CHRISTIANS ARE TO WALK IN THE LIGHT – 1 John 1:5-10

1 John 1 vs 5-10

1 John 1:5 – This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 

Light represents what is good, pure, true, holy and reliable. Darkness represents what is sinful and evil. God is light means that God is perfectly holy and true and that He alone can guide us out of the darkness of sin. Light relates to truth in that light exposes whatever exists, whether it is good or bad. In the dark, good and evil look alike; in the light they can be clearly distinguished.  

Just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of light, sin cannot exist in the presence of our Holy God. If we want to have a relationship with God, we must put aside our sinful ways of living. To claim that we belong to Him but then to go out and live for ourselves is hypocrisy. Christ will expose and judge such deceit. 

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

1 John 1:6 – If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Here John is saying that no one can claim to be a Christian and still live an evil and immoral life. We cannot love God and live and desire sin at the same time.

Many declare they have fellowship with the Lord, that they love Him, that they are serving Him, yet are living in sin! John says they are lying. They are deceiving themselves by continuing to live the old life and walking after the desires of the flesh, while professing to have new life in Christ.

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

New life in Christ brings us out of darkness and into the light and true fellowship with each other in Jesus. Therefore, fellowship with God is possible because of the everlasting worth of the blood of Christ.

A genuine Christian walks habitually in the light which equates to truth and holiness, and not in darkness, which is falsehood and sin. Their walk also results in cleansing from sin because the Lord continually forgives His children. Since those walking in the light share in the character of God, they will be habitual characterized by His holiness (3 John 11), indicating their true fellowship with Him (James 1:27). A genuine Christian does not walk in darkness but only in the light. Jesus is the light. If we walk in the reflection of His light, we will fulfill the Scripture that states you are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)

1 John 1:8 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  

Here we see John addressing the falsehood of the belief that we have no sin. Denial of the existence of sin in our lives is self-deception and blunts our ability to repent of sin.  

Sin always breaks fellowship with God.  Rebellion against God’s truth always leads us into self-deception and error.  We fool no one but ourselves.  We need to be honest about the sin that is in our lives so that we can deal with it effectively. “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Galatians 6:3) 

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

When we walk in the light, abiding in Jesus, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Confessing our sins before God opens the door for His forgiving and cleansing light to purify our hearts and restores our fellowship with Him.  

1 John 1:10 – If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.

To deny one’s sinfulness is not just a matter of deceiving ourselves, it is to make God a liar by denying His Word. Both the Old and New Testaments stress the universality of man’s sin.

“There is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:3)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

When we have true fellowship with the Lord, we will walk in the light. When we become a Christian, we must not live in sin because we realize that: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 20, 2014

OUR FATHER AND DEFENDER IS GOD – BLESSED ARE HIS CHILDREN – Psalm 68:5

Psalm 68 vs 5

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5) 

Instinctively human beings have a need of a father, who will feed us when we are hungry, love us when we are lonely, and care for us when we are crying. We long for a dad, who will listen to us when we have questions, encourage us when we are discouraged, and discipline us when we do wrong. A father who cares and also takes time with the little things; who extends wisdom when we are concerned, and who most of all prays and seeks to understand God’s will and direction before acting on his own.  

God placed within us a desire to be loved by our father. Some fathers do well and others do not. Some are extremely successful, and others fail miserably.  

Fortunately, God is the perfect model of a faithful father and He fills the gaps left by our earthly father as we seek Him each day. Therefore we should listen to Him and honor Him in everything that we think, say and do. Fathers need to learn to have a relationship with God, even if they did not or do not have a relationship with their earthly father. This is realized through the reading and understanding of the Scriptures, where a father will gain and grow in wisdom, grace and the ability to raise kids to the glory of God.

Fathers, that have made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior are God’s children and learn from Him and in turn teach their children the truths and treasures of the Bible.

Our heavenly Father deserves our respect and commands our love because He is always there for us and is totally trustworthy. What God says, He does. God our heavenly Father, will not let us down, He knows what we need and when we need it. At times it may feel as if He is not with us, but He is. He is probably speaking but we are not listening. Or it may be He is silent because He wants to grow our faith and trust in Him.

Earthly fathers need to be lifetime learners of how to be faithful fathers; and need to remember that each season of fathering is different. What worked in the last phase of your child’s life needs to be modified through God’s word for the next one. By faith, a father needs to be flexible. Infants need their gentle touch. Children, need their father’s patient and careful instruction. Teenagers need their example of love, obedience and forgiveness. In every phase of life children need a father’s godly wisdom, friendship, time and trust.  

Fathers need to look to the Father for guidance and reassurance. Being a faithful father does not mean perfection, but it does mean you depend on the Perfect One. Father’s need to lean on the Lord for His loving care, so they can extend the same.  

So what exactly does it take to be truly worthy of such honor? Biblically speaking, it starts when a man chooses a Christian wife wisely, then when he has a child, he is urged to “train up” their children “in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6). Therefore, godly instruction is primarily the responsibility of the Christian father, applied with a gentle and firm hand to raise his children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  

The key to being a good father is his commitment to the Father, which produces, wisdom, discernment, obedience, godly living and godly leadership. 

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)

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