Posted by: missionventureministries | December 13, 2018

JOSEPH – JESUS’ FATHER ON EARTH – Matthew 13:55

Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? (Matthew 13:55)

The biblical account of Joseph the earthly father of Jesus is found in the New Testament books of Matthew and Luke. Joseph was a faithful man who obeyed God’s laws. He not only strived to do what was right but also to do it the right way. When his betrothed Mary came to him with the news of her pregnancy, he knew the child was not his.

Joseph loved Mary so he decided he would annul the engagement, but determined to do it in such a way that it would not bring shame to her. Because of Jewish laws he could not marry her under these circumstances, but he wanted to be just, acting with love. He had great respect for Mary’s character but her story of being miraculously impregnated by God’s Holy Spirit was difficult for him to believe.

As he was considering all these things, the Lord sent an angel to speak to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

God confirmed Mary’s story and told Joseph that Mary had not been unfaithful and that she had been chosen to be the mother of Messiah. The angel told him what Isaiah had professed about this about 700 year before: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14). So God instructed Joseph to marry the young woman and honor her virginity until the baby was born.

This must have been initially very difficult for Joseph to reconcile in his mind. But Joseph was faithful and a man of integrity and He obeyed the Lord.

It is not known how long Joseph was in the life of Jesus but he realized, from the moment of the heavenly visit, that Jesus was to be very special.

 

The last time Joseph was mentioned in the Bible was when Jesus was 12 years old and they went to Jerusalem to celebrate the yearly Passover celebration.

We can assume, that being the honorable man he was, Joseph fulfilled the role of father to the best of his ability and with all the love any man can have for his son. Even though Jesus was the Creator of the World, Joseph and Mary brought Him up in a spiritual environment teaching Him the Torah.

Joseph also taught Jesus carpentry, as we see Him referred to in Mark 6:3, “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?”  

Joseph fulfilled the role of protector, provider and teacher, raising the young boy without any hesitation. God provided Joseph with assurance, strength, and the abilities of leadership to raise the child who was born to be the Savior of the world, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9).

Just as God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus, He also chose Joseph to be His earthy father and provided Joseph the honor to personally name the child . . . “and you shall call his name Jesus” (Matthew 1:21)

This is deeply significant because, it means that Joseph, in naming the child, acknowledges Him as his own son and thus becomes the legal father of the child according to Semitic law. As a result of this legal adoption, Joseph’s ancestry as a descendent of David transfers also to his lawful Son.

Biologically, Jesus is begotten by the Holy Spirit and is thus the “Son of God” (Luke 1:32), but legally He is the son of Joseph and heir to the promises of David, Joseph’s ancestor.

The angel Gabriel had promised Mary that, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). In Joseph naming the boy, and therefore adopting him, David becomes Jesus’ earthly ancestor since the bible states that Mary was a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David, Luke 1:27.

The lineage of Joseph is further explained by the census that was decreed by Caesar Augustus where everyone went to be registered, everyone to his own city. “Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,  in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.” (Luke 2:4-5)

As we see, God honors integrity, obedience, and faithfulness. Our obedience to Him will also bring increased guidance and blessings from Him. With God’s help, any situation or appearance of things gone wrong can be used for good when we remain steadfast and have a personal relationship with God. If you seek Him and listen for His direction, He will answer you with provisions of a blessed outcome for you as well.

Even though our Savior was most probably born in September-October, let our hearts joyfully celebrate Him all year through.

 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Luke 2:14

*******

Advertisements
Posted by: missionventureministries | December 6, 2018

THE MAGI FROM THE EAST AND – HIS STAR – Matthew 2:1-16

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1-2) 

As we read this passage we need understand who the Magi from the east were. Magi is a Persian term for a priestly class of wise men who specialized in astrology, medicine, and natural science; and would naturally would have been interested in any unusual heavenly phenomenon. 

Historically, it is very likely that they would have been familiar with the writings of Daniel who gained great notoriety as a wise man and interpreter of dreams in the Persian court of Nebuchadnezzar. If so, they would have also known Daniel’s prophecy of “the seventy weeks of years” which is recorded in Daniel 9:24-27. 

This remarkable prophecy established the general time period of the Messiah’s coming by indicating it would be 483 years after a Persian ruler issued an edict to rebuild Jerusalem. The magi throughout this time period had probably been counting down the years since the Jews had been sent back from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem, and they therefore knew the approximate time period when the Messiah would be born. 

As we read these verses they seem to imply that the “star of Bethlehem” appeared only to the magi in the East, who were most likely from the area of Persia, or modern-day Iran. There is no biblical record of anyone else observing “the star of Bethlehem.” 

The “star” could have been what the Jews called the “Shekinah,” that is, a physical manifestation of the glory of God in the form of a supernatural radiance. They knew that no ordinary star could do what it did and many also assumed that the star was an angel or some other entity that God had created for this specific occasion. 

Shekinah, is a word that does not appear in the Bible, but the concept clearly does. The Jewish rabbis coined this extra-biblical expression, signifying that it was a divine visitation of the presence or dwelling of the Lord God on this earth. The Shekinah was first evident when the Israelites set out from Succoth in their escape from Egypt. There the Lord appeared in a cloudy pillar in the day and a fiery pillar by night: “So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people” (Exodus 13:20–22). 

God spoke to Moses out of the pillar of cloud in Exodus 33, assuring him that His Presence would be with the Israelites (v. 9). Verse 11 says God spoke to Moses “face to face” out of the cloud, but when Moses asked to see God’s glory, God told Him, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (v. 20). This clearly seems to indicate that God’s glory is too awesome and powerful to be seen completely by man. 

The magi in the East saw “the star of Bethlehem” that alerted them to the fact that the Jewish Messiah was born. However, the magi do not call “the star of Bethlehem” by that name; in Matthew 2:2 they refer to it as being “His star,” since it was a sign to them that a king was born. The star guided the magi to travel in the direction of Jerusalem. 

In Jerusalem, the magi visited King Herod and after inquiring, were told that the new King they were looking for would be born in Bethlehem, not in Jerusalem (Matthew 2:5). The wise men left Herod’s palace, and “the star of Bethlehem” appeared to them once again. In fact, the star “went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed” (Matthew 2:9–10). The “star of Bethlehem” then astonishingly guiding the way, led the magi to the precise place where they could find Jesus.

As we continue in Matthew 2:11-12 we read, And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

In reading theses verses, we become aware that modern portrayals of the Christmas nativity scene usually show the wise men visiting Jesus on the night of His birth, which does not agree with the truth found in the Word of God.

We also learn that the magi may have first observed the star of Bethlehem the night of Jesus’ birth, meaning they may have first seen it up to two years beforehand. The Bible tells us why: “Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16). 

Many Bible scholars suggest a natural explanation for “the star of Bethlehem”, their theories range from a supernova to a comet to an alignment of planets. However, there is evidence to suggest that the “star of Bethlehem” was not a natural stellar phenomenon, but a sign from God and something unexplained by science.  

The fact that the star of Bethlehem apparently only appeared to the Magi indicates that this was not an ordinary star. Also, celestial bodies normally move from east to west due to the earth’s rotation, yet the star of Bethlehem led the magi from Jerusalem south to Bethlehem. Not only that, but led them directly to the place where Joseph and Mary were living, stopping above the house. There is no natural stellar phenomenon that can do that. 

The final thing to consider is why God would open the eyes of a group of gentile wise men who specialized in astrology, medicine, and natural science and draw them to the Christ Child. Undoubtedly it was for the purpose of symbolizing the universal importance of His birth, and to emphasize that although salvation comes from the Jews (John 4:22), it is intended for all peoples. 

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 29, 2018

THERE IS HOPE FOR THOSE WHO TRUST IN JESUS – Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) 

Very often people who are dejected have difficulty expressing their feelings in a healthy way. A common cause of sadness is hidden feelings due to loss, or past hurts. 

To ignored or deny those feeling won’t make them go away. When we don’t deal with them and burry them in our soul, they will fester and create an infection that produces poison in our body.  

The cure is to bring our heartaches and hurts, our anxiety and anger, our fear and frustration to Jesus. We need to learn to pour out our heart to Him and receive His comfort. Jesus alone understands the depth of our pain, and the Bible assures us that: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). 

We need to realize that harbored resentment blocks our emotional health and can lead to bitterness and even to physical problems. We need to learn to release each offender, each offense and all the resulting pain to God. When we do so, we will be taking all that weight off our mind and placing it on God, remembering that He is faithful and just, and He will avenge us in His time and in His righteous ways. God will give us comfort just as He gave Jeremiah when we pray: Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (17:14). 

The Scriptures are full of instruction and encouraging verses as Paul tells us: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).  

We need to quit negative thinking and focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8) 

We need to understand that God is sovereign over our life, and He promises hope for our future. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) 

Even though our finite mind does not understand at times why things happen, the Bible tells us that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) 

God has a purpose for everything that happens to us. There are storms that bring rain and than comes the sunshine that brings flowers. Likewise the storms in our life can revive our relationship with God and give birth to abundant fruit of the Spirit. 

The psalmist tells us that: Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (Psalm 119:67). God wants us close and He brings storms to warn us when something is wrong, so that He can slow us down and cause us to reflect inwardly to reveal our weakness and need of Him; and to develop our trust in Him. 

The Lord wants us to forgive and show compassion and understanding for others, to develop perseverance and maturity, to develop worth and value in our life. 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. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4) 

As we see, we need to exchange our hurt and anger for the option to give thanks, even when we don’t feel like it, because that is what we are commanded to do; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus, (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

We need to give Christ control of our life, entrusting ourselves to Him because He is always with those who trust in Him. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2). 

Even though God wants His children to forgive people, who have abused and injured us, we must be cautious and not trust them until they prove themselves worthy of our trust; this may take a long time or maybe never.  God gives His children wisdom and we must apply His wisdom and truth in every area of our lives.  

Therefore, remember to always: 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 | November 22, 2018

THE PARABLES OF THE HIDDEN TREASURE AND THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE – Matthew 13:44-46

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

The similarities of these two short parables make it clear they teach that the kingdom of heaven is of great value. Both parables involve a man who sold all he had to possess the kingdom. The treasure and the pearl represent Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers.  

Jesus began His parable with the words, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” The kingdom of God is wherever the will of God is done. Jesus compared the kingdom of God to the hidden treasure; meaning that the kingdom of God is the treasure.  

Jesus is telling us that the kingdom of God is far more valuable than anything in this world. There is nothing that even compares to a loving relationship with the Creator of the universe!

The kingdom of heaven is knowing the Father and the King. It is listening to His voice; it is having His peace, His joy, His love, and His power. Jesus said, “I have come so they can have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way” (John 10:10).

Life outside of the kingdom of God is not what God intended it to be. It is a life that is separate from God (Isaiah 59:2).

Jesus came and offered the kingdom. Everyone who chooses to trust in Him has kingdom life, which is life to its fullest!

He is telling His disciples what compares in value to the new life that the He wants to give them. If you belong to the kingdom, you have the greatest treasure! This treasure is freely given by God, the King, to everyone who trusts in Him.

In both parables, the treasures are hidden, indicating that spiritual truth is concealed and cannot be found by worldly wisdom. Matthew 13:11-17 and 1 Corinthians 2:14 make it clear that the mysteries of the kingdom are hidden from some who are unable to hear, see, and comprehend these truths. Therefore, the disobedient reap the natural consequences of their unbelief, which is spiritual blindness. On the contrary, those whose eyes are opened by the Spirit do discern spiritual truth, understand its great value. 

In Jesus’ day pearls were especially valuable. So Jesus continues the parable refereeing to a man who found a very valuable pearl. This man unlike the other one was actively looking for treasures. This man was like the people who had heard and listened to God’s prophecies, and were waiting for the Messiah, the Savior, to come. Even though these people had been looking for God’s kingdom, when they finally found it, it was far more precious than what they had ever expected.

Just as in the first parable, the man gladly gave up everything he owned to get the pearl. He, too, knew that nothing he owned could compare to the great treasure he had finally found. 

Notice that the merchant stopped seeking pearls when he found the pearl of great price. Eternal life, the incorruptible inheritance, and the love of God through Christ constitute the pearl which, once found, makes further searching unnecessary.  

Christ fulfills our greatest needs, satisfies our longings, makes us whole and clean before God, calms and quiets our hearts, and gives us hope for the future. The “great price,” of course, is that which was paid by Christ for our redemption. He emptied Himself of His glory, came to earth in the form of a lowly man and shed His precious blood on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. 

The Kingdom of God is worth far more than anything else. The emphasis is not on what we give up, but on the unfathomable new life that is being offered to us. 

The point of these two parables is the great value of being a part of God’s kingdom. Both men gladly and joyfully gave up everything else to claim their new found treasure. Jesus makes it clear that we should not let anything keep us from entering the kingdom of God.  

It is true, that the kingdom is available to us only by grace through faith; but genuine faith means genuinely embracing and yielding to God’s reign, not simply acknowledging it and then passing it by as if it did not exist. The Kingdom is a treasure, and those who truly believe will sacrifice everything in their lives to possess it.

To further clarify this parable, we see in the first parable, where the man finds the treasure purely by accident. He just came across it while working in someone else’s field. That is the way that Christ comes into some people’s lives. They are living their lives with or without problems and all of a sudden, they hear the gospel message which turns their whole life around.

In the second case, the man is looking for something of great value and he has a very definite goal in mind, the perfect pearl. Similarly, a person can be looking for real meaning in their life. They may have tried many things already with only partial satisfaction. Then they come across the Gospel of Jesus and they know that here is the answer they have been looking for. Everything else is abandoned as they now focus entirely on following the way of Jesus.

Once we truly understand what it really means to live under the Lordship of God, once we have a full understanding of the vision of life that Jesus proposes, then everything else pales into insignificance. And, whatever enticements may come our way, we know that there is no other way to go. Jesus is the Way, Jesus is Truth and Jesus is Life; and we would not exchange His way for anything.

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:7-11)

* * * * * *

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 15, 2018

WHAT IS WRONG WITH CHURCHES TODAY? – Isaiah 29:13

Sadly, many pastors are exchanging truth for passivity, boldness for cowardliness, and conviction for comfort; they are not anxious to teach righteousness. The goal of a great majority is to be motivational speakers rather than preachers of righteousness.

We need to understand that in the church, the pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. Therefore, a lukewarm, sex-saturated culture in the church reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit.

Pastors and Christian leaders alike must take responsibility for the spiritual health of today’s church, and the nation. We don’t need more marketing plans, demographic studies, how to dazzle the congregation on Sunday morning, or whatever your church is doing; we need men filled with the Spirit of God.

Pastors must be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit and have the courage to expose hypocrisy, pride, and rebellion in the church. They are called to teach God’s Word and convict the flock, so that godly change takes place. There are some good pastors and churches, but, as a whole, the church has drifted off course. They have lost the scope of truth.

Let’s look at some points:

If a pastor fills his mind with the world all week and expects the Spirit of God to speak boldly through him from the pulpit, he will be gravely mistaken. “The sermon cannot rise in its life-giving forces above the man. Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher” (E.M. Bounds). The person he is all week, is who he will be when he steps on the pulpit.

Secondly, without prayer, “the church becomes a graveyard, not an army equipped for battle. Praise and prayer are stifled and worship is dead. Therefore, without prayer, the preacher creates death and not life” (E.M. Bounds).

God brings great change, when prayer is the catalyst.

The boring and dead condition or the need for an egocentric performance in the church simply reflects an ineffective and week prayer life. We need powerful times of prayer, devotion, and worship. “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees” (Al Whittinghill).

Sermons should not come from popular psychology and the latest fad; they must come from the prayer closet where God prepares the messenger, before a godly pastor is led by the Spirit to the message he needs to convey. Pastors, church leaders, Sunday school teachers and worship leaders need to unplug the TV, turn off Facebook, and get back into the Word of God, prayer, and worship before leading the flock. A pastor or any church leader who does not take time to pray is not prepared to preach or to teach.

In worship, many sing “about” God but they have never truly experienced Him; they have head knowledge lacking the most vital one, which is heart knowledge. The main point is that all worship needs to be centered on God, and must be doctrinally sound for people to have a time to exalt their Creator and Savior.

God honoring worship is extremely powerful and allows us to shift our focus and praise toward God. The issue is: are you truly worshipping God in “spirit and in truth”? He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He is not a cosmic force, a universal love; He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We must worship Him in the most humble and honorable way, since He created, redeemed, and saved us. Worship is honoring God and not the performance of a secular show.

So many of our worship services today put emphasis on the music. The acoustic, sound system and worship leaders are the ones who end up being the focus of attention, and people do not come to the Lord with humble and true devotion. There are churches that have few of these things, but where people truly worship the Lord with a humble and devoted heart. God could care less if we have the latest sound system and the best worship teams if we do not come to worship Him from our hearts.

Our outward worship is not what God wants. Great worship services are not necessarily what God desires. We think we are pleasing God by holding worship services that are great in the eyes of men. Yet, God may not be pleased with our worship services at all. The Bible condemns worship services that are not what God wants. Listen to what God says in Amos 5:21-24 – “I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.” God is more interested in our heart devotion to Him and our obedience to His Word than He is in our offerings and songs. We may have all kinds of praise songs and gifted song leaders and a great variety of musical instruments and the latest in sound and projection systems. We may have all of that with lively worship services but unless our hearts are devoted to the Lord and we are walking in obedience to Him, all of this is useless.

The church can also not allow water-down sermons that avoid preaching sin, repentance, or the fear of the Lord in the hope of not offending or securing an audience. Truth often offends, and rightly so, it should be a wake up call to sinners that are on their way to the Lake of fire before it is too late.

The goal of preaching truths is faithfulness to God, not crowd appeal. Let it not be said of us today: And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord (Judges 2:10), because pastors failed to be preachers of righteousness. Remember, the burden of responsibility rests directly upon the pastor’s shoulders.

Only when the church finally acknowledges sin, can they begin the journey back to the place God has reserved for us. However, when the church looses the fear of God, they loose the power of God. And at that point, as it says in Isaiah 29:13, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

Remember Jesus’ warning to the church of Laodicea:  “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” (Revelations 3:14-19)

If your church is failing God’s word says: “Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 1:3).

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 8, 2018

QUALITIES A BIBLE OR SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER MUST HAVE – 2 Timothy 2:15

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

The highest work given to humans is that of winning souls. It is the work which Christ Himself came into the world to do. Jesus’ part was to reveal the love of God and then make redemption for lost men; the seeking of the lost, He committed to His disciples. He is the only Savior, but human messengers must tell the story of His grace and bring men to Him.

So let us take a look at some vital qualifications a Sunday school Teacher or a Bible teacher must have:

They must be called, anointed and appointed by God.

They must be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, meaning that they must come to Christ, before they can teach about Christ. People are not ready to be entrusted with the care of souls, until their own soul is saved and they are following Christ.

They must have an in depth knowledge of Christ; it is not enough to know about Him, a person must love Him and know Him. A personal relationship with Christ is a necessary qualification for anyone considering being a teacher or being allowed to teach.

A prospective teacher must be familiarity with the Scriptures and must be a diligent student of the Word. They must present the True Character of our Holy God, His creativity, purity, compassion, power, judgment and righteous wrath.

A teacher needs to be able to teach sound doctrine and be spiritually mature. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).

An effective Bible teacher not only tells students what they need to know but also demonstrates it by his or her own life through actions, words, and attitudes both in and outside of the classroom. If a teacher is not a godly person, they are not fit to teach and give other needy people vital life guidance.

If a teacher does not know how to manage their own family, they will not know how to take care of teaching God’s word to others. Discipline and respect for God must start at home.

Those who have the responsibility to teach God’s Word, interpreting the meaning of a passage of Holy Scriptures to a class of children, young people or anyone else, should take time in preparing, so that the teaching is clear, interesting and inspiring. Young minds are very impressionable and their hearts are open to influences which will shape their whole life. Therefore, the most careful and thorough preparation is required by this awesome responsibility.

Teachers must make God real to their pupils. Those being taught must get inspired from our teaching to help them live with faith and hope as they learn to obey God’s commandments. No one can ever teach more of Christ than they themselves know through personal closeness and friendship with Christ. Therefore, it is a serious responsibility to become a teacher to children or anyone else. The Bible tells us that: “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1)

Every teacher needs to maintain the habit of daily Bible reading as a devotional exercise. The great men of the Bible were all lovers of God’s Word. The people of Israel were taught to read it continually, to hide it in their hearts, and to meditate upon it day and night (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). Job esteemed the words of God’s mouth more than his necessary food. We know where Mary learned the sweet lessons which made her life so fulfilled, she sat at the Master’s feet and heard Jesus’ words, and His words transformed her.

It is very important that those who lead the young in spiritual things should themselves have a rich experience of the love of Christ. Every teacher should be a close friend of Christ, living for Him, and learning from His Holy Word, eager to be taught and led by the Holy Spirit, because it is God’s will for us, that we should bear much fruit.

No one is ready to teach until they have some reasonable knowledge of the way of salvation. How can anyone teach others what they have not learned? How can anyone guide inexperienced feet along paths over which they have never walked? How can a teacher lead his pupils to a Savior he has not found for himself? How can he make plain to eager, inquiring minds, truths concerning life which he himself has never learned by experience?

A teacher must know the truths of the Bible and interpret them correctly if he or she is to teach or be allowed to teach.

A teacher should be holy in heart and life. He or she should be completely under the influence of the Spirit and should be filled unto all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19). A teacher should be filled with the Holy Spirit; this will make him a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17) and prepare him to be a successful winner of souls.

More mature believers are better equipped to teach and equip members of the church. They also have more experience in dealing with the temptations and stresses of the Christian life. And, they are more aware of their own shortcomings, so they are less likely to become arrogant. For these reasons, a person who is new in their faith should not be given spiritual authority over others.

It is very sad to see a person getting converted and barely understanding the gospel and in no time they are teaching Sunday school or a Bible study.

Hasty appointment of a new believer bypasses the character qualifications, for it takes time for the fruits of sanctification to become evident (2 Peter 1:3-11). Remember that authority comes with humility and humility comes with time.

How is your church choosing to shepherd the flock?

 

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 1, 2018

GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE – 1 Peter 5:5

Peter cites this Old Testament verse from Proverbs 3:34 about the proud person, as does James (4:6). In contrast the word “humble,” is a quality that God honors. 

We need to first understand that there is a difference between the kind of pride that God hates which is “pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13) and the kind of pride we can feel about a job well done (Galatians 6:4) or the kind of pride we express over the accomplishment of loved ones (2 Corinthians 7:4).  

God hates pride that stems from self-righteousness or conceit because it is a hindrance to seeking Him. 

Psalm 10:4 explains that the proud are so consumed with themselves that their thoughts are far from God: “In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” This kind of arrogant pride is the opposite of the spirit of humility that God seeks: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The “poor in spirit” are those who recognize their utter spiritual impoverishment and their inability to come to God aside from His divine grace. The proud, on the other hand, are so blinded by their pride that they think they have no need of God. 

Throughout Scripture we are told about the consequences of pride. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Satan was cast out of heaven because of pride (Isaiah 14:12-15). He had the prideful audacity to attempt to replace God Himself as the rightful ruler of the universe. But Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire in the final judgment of God.  

Pride has kept many people from accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. Admitting sin and acknowledging that in our own strength we can do nothing to inherit eternal life is a constant stumbling block for prideful people.  

Why is pride so sinful? Pride is giving us the credit for something that God has accomplished. Pride is taking the glory that belongs to God alone and claiming it for ourselves. Pride is essentially self-worship. We need to be aware though that anything we accomplish in this world would not have been possible were it not for God enabling and sustaining us.  

On the contrary, the humble man receives God’s grace, while the proud man stands in opposition to God.

The humble yields his rights to God, while the proud demands his rights. The humble person overlooks offenses and waits on God’s vindication, while the proud seeks self-vindication and revenge. 

The proud is obsessed with praising himself; while the humble lets praise and recognition come from others. “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).  

In Galatians 1:10 we see the proud seeking the approval of men while the humble desires the approval of God:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” 

The proud perceives humility as a weakness, while the humble perceives humility as strength. Jesus said: “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). 

Humble people understand their utter dependence on God and yield to Him and His will. Proud people are self-serving, self-centered, and self-dependent on their own strength and wisdom.  

Humble people don’t have to constantly prove or defend themselves; a stark contrast to prideful people who are obsessed with proving they are always right.

God said that the one He favors is “the one who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). What better example do we have than Christ Jesus? He was meek and lowly in heart and “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). 

The hope of the proud is to humble himself and to have faith in the Savior. Confess your pride, receive His forgiveness, and live for His glory. God is calling us to repent of the sin of self-reliance and to start trusting Him.

 

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 25, 2018

HOW TO KNOW GOD’S WILL FOR OUR LIFE – Romans 12:2

Many people wonder why they were born and what the purpose for their life is. God wants to reveal His purpose and plan for our life. He wants to guide our life and not just have us live without purpose if we seek Him and let Him.

We first need to understand that at the beginning, God created Adam and Eve to have a relationship with Him and that relationship was broken when they disobeyed Him and committed sin. However, in His infinite love God sent His Son Jesus Christ to teach us and die for us so that we would once again be able to be reconciled with the Father. Why? Because God loves us and desires a relationship with us and this can only happen when we receive Him as our Savior and make Him the Lord of our life.

God gave us the Holy Spirit inspired Bible which we can call our manual on basic instructions before leaving earth. Consequently, we need to realize that one of the Bible’s most comforting promises is that God loves us and knows what is best for us. He wants to guide us in ways that are right for us. The Bible says, “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).

And Psalm 119:105 tells us that: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

God guides us by speaking to our conscience. Paul affirmed that believers receive God’s guidance through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and tells us, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things God has prepared for those who love him; these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). He proclaims to the believer that the Spirit can enlighten the “eyes of your heart” (Ephesians 1:18).

The most vital thing we must first do is to repent of our sin and trust in Christ. If we have not taken that first step, then we have not yet accepted God’s will for our life.

Once we receive Christ by faith, we are made God’s children (John 1:12), and He desires to lead us in His way (Psalm 143:10). God’s will is knowable as Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” When the Christian’s mind is renewed according to the things of God, then they can know His perfect will. God loves us so much, and He wants to empower us to do His will in all areas of our lives.

So how do we discover God’s will for our life?

The first step is to want to do His will! All too often we don’t really seek God’s will; we do whatever we think is best, without ever consulting Him. We may decide, for example, to do something exciting or challenging, and automatically assume it must be God’s will, although it isn’t. Or we’ll decide to do something and then ask God to bless our plans, although they aren’t His.

The second step is to seek His will! How do we do this? One way is through prayer, asking Him to guide us as we make decisions. God also guides us through His Word, the Bible and He may guide us through circumstances, or through a godly counselor.

The more consistently we practice communicating with God, the more He is able to guide us so we can clearly see the next step we need to take.

We need to be careful though, because it is possible, of course, to assume we are living a God-directed life when we are merely following our own inclinations and impulses as the Bible cautions us: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25).

If we are intimately walking with the Lord and truly desiring His will for our lives, God will place His desires in our hearts. The key is wanting God’s will, not our own. “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

At times knowing God’s will requires patience. It’s natural to want to know all of God’s will at once, but that’s not how He works. Many times He tests our faith by revealing things a step at a time as He sees our trust and faith in Him growing.

As we walk with the Lord, obeying His Word and relying on His Spirit, we get to know Him, and that helps us to know His will and we find God’s guidance readily available. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

God has an awesome and amazing plan for each of us, and He is continually calling us to follow Him and to do His will. He wants to have a close relationship with us, like that of a loving father with his children, and His will for us includes calling us to be worshipers, having a discerning spirit, a grateful heart, and doing good to others among other things. The result of obedience will not only bless us with a life pleasing to God, but it will usher us into His family and eventually into an eternal home with Him.

 

********

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 22, 2018

DEFYING GOD’S WORD – Leviticus 19:28 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

What does the Bible say about tattoos and honoring our body? 

The Bible warns us against tattoos in Leviticus 19:28 “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.” 

Today, tattooing has become an accepted practice in our society. However, just because society approves of something does not make it right in God’s eyes. Our society at large also approves of abortion and divorce as well; however, the Bible makes it clear that God does not approve of these things. 

There are some dedicated and sincere Christian people who got tattoos before they accepted Christ as their Savior, they were uninformed about what the Bible says when they got their tattoo. We need to remember that our past is under the blood of Jesus and the sins and mistakes of the past will not hinder in our serving Him, because only a hard and unrepentant heart keeps us tied to the old life. So this article is to warn those who are considering getting a tattoo. 

Remember that just because something is popular does not mean it is right. Let’s see why: 

Tattoos have their “roots” in witchcraft. Many today, including young people are doing these very things because of some evil witchcraft influences in their lives that they are unaware of. They do not realize that partaking of these can open the door to bad influences in their lives. Evil videos, depraved rock music, satanic Internet games and violent movies are full of evil trends in order to destroy everyone it can. Satanic tattoos and other cultic rites are opening the doors to many of our children to become demonized. 

People do not realize that displaying a satanic mark or symbol can open the door for satanic attack which allows the enemy entrance in their lives.  

Many tattoos have evil and witchcraft themes that are portrayed as devil faces, skulls, ugly demonic signs, vulgar pictures, etc. These things hurt the human spirit, just as satanic displays of any kind do. Many tattoos are obviously satanic and have a devilish appearance, while others may be flowers or innocent looking names or objects but it is the spirit behind this compromise that makes it dangerous.  

Some people object to using Old Testament scripture as a reference to tattoos since the New Testament doesn’t speak of these things. However, in the New Testament we are told to glorify God in our bodies. This would include not marking our bodies with tattoos, as the principles in the Bible clearly tell us it is wrong to defile our bodies. We must remember that God is still the same God of both the Old and New Testament and He never changes. 

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 states: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” 

When the Lord created man and woman and placed them in the Garden of Eden along with His other creations; and, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). When the Lord created the human body, He pronounced that what He created was very good. The Lord desires that our bodies be a reflection of His own holiness since He said “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness (Genesis 1:26). When people tattoo their bodies they are tampering with what the Lord said was very good the way He made it. We should never mark our bodies since as Christians our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to honor it and not defile it.    

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). As we see tattoos do not honor or glorify God. 

What is it with humans that make them dissatisfied with the way the Lord made each of them? There are many people today that are also dissatisfied with their sexual gender and want to change it from how God created them. This is total rebellion against God. 

Sadly most people are not happy with the way they look so they seek ways that will cause them to feel better about themselves or cause others to accept them by doing things that the Bible condemns. Many in their present prideful condition will on day regret what they did.  

In the book of Revelation, the Bible teaches that people great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, will be forced to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they can conduct business of buying and selling. With this in mind, will this be some kind of tattoo? Is the world being conditioned to accept the Antichrist’s plan?  

The reason so many people are being deceived on this issue, as well as others, is that there is a lack of knowledge of the Word of God and a lack of discernment in the body of Christ. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” 

Many have not been taught nor grounded in the Word of God because; the church has failed its responsibility to teach and has allowed the influences of the world to shape our society. A great number of “Christian parents” have also failed in their responsibility, as they have been too involved in chasing their dreams instead of raising their children according to the training and instruction of God, as commanded in Ephesians 6:4. 

If you, through ignorance, have received a tattoo or allowed your children to have one, you should pray against any evil or witchcraft that may have come through the circumstances when that tattoo was received. Some people receive tattoos before they are “born again” and after they are touched by the Lord, they wish they had never had it done. The Lord loves you, so pray and ask the Lord to remove any spiritual influences denoted by the tattoo and He will do so.  

As truly born again Christians we are to reflect Him on this earth. Jesus did not have any tattoos on His body.  The only scars on His body are the ones put there by those that crucified Him. They were not-self inflicted, but because of our sins, He willingly went to the cross and died for us. Their hatred for Him put nails in His hands and pierced His side. He hung on that cross and bled and died taking the punishment of our sins so that you and I can be forgiven; He was buried and was raised from the dead so we can have eternal life in heaven with Him.   

The message to the Christian is that our bodies belong to God, not ourselves, and that we are to honor and reflect God’s glory. 

Also, be careful, the Bible says that rebellion is as witchcraft. Your Tattoo or piercing is only an outward symbol of what was planted in your heart. The truth is that tattoo or piercing indicates a real spiritual problem. What will it be, God’s way or your way? Does it matter what the Bible says?

Absolutely: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Remember, one way Christians adhere to this mandate is to abstain from externally identifying themselves with any visible signs that would link them to the world, its false religions, and immoral behavior. A Christian is to live in the world but not become a part of the world. This includes external signs or marks that would identify us as being of the world; beyond mere physical imprints on the body.

God said: “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). “Holy” means being separate, set apart, and refers in Scripture to a separation from sin and the world. This includes giving ourselves to God in every way, including what we do with our bodies. And lastly, 1 John 2:15 states: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 

If you are a Christian and you got a tattoo after you were saved repent, ask God for forgiveness and do not do it again.

 

*******

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 11, 2018

HAVING CONFIDENCE AT HIS COMING -1 John 2:28

“And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” (1 John 2:28)

John indicates that there are two possibilities when Jesus Christ comes: either we will have confidence at His appearing or we will be ashamed of our behavior when He returns.

There are many that for a while, professed to know Jesus Christ, but then turned away, showing that their faith was not a genuine saving faith (1 John 2:19). They have denied Him His rightful place as the Sovereign Lord and have turned, instead, to foolish speculations that puff them up with pride in their supposed knowledge. Their denial of Christ means that they are ashamed of Him, therefore, when He comes He will be ashamed of them (Mark 8:38). They will hide in fear and shame when they see Him in His glory (Revelation 6:15-17). But, for those who abide in Christ, they will be confident when He comes.

To abide in Him means to live righteously, and because God is righteous, those truly born of Him will be righteous in the way they live their lives; because, when we are born of Him, He grants to us “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Ephesians 4:22-24 further explains that: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” That new life in us produces godliness, or righteous living therefore: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God” (1 John 3:9).

Living righteously is a lifelong process of growth in obedience to God’s Word. It does not happen instantly or without setbacks and struggles; but if we are born again, we will be learning to evaluate every thought, motive, and attitude by God’s Word. We will seek to please the Lord, beginning with our thinking and actions as He warned us in Mark 7:20-23, “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

If you are truly born again, the fruit of the Holy Spirit will be growing in your character, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23), and you will be disciplining yourself for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). Of course, all of this is done in dependence on the Holy Spirit, but we must be involved actively in the process, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

We are to abide in Christ so completely that we would be like a branch growing from the vine, thus making “fruit” possible (John 15:4-5). We are to continue in His Word so thoroughly that our prayers will be in synchronization with His will (John 15:7) and our behavior will be in synchronization with His commandments (1 John 3:24). To abide in Him means to be at home with Him and to be an alien in this world.

“Little children” implies that abiding in Christ is simple, not something that we need a seminary degree to understand or practice. In fact, Jesus said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Ask yourself these basic questions:

  • Do I spend consistent, regular time alone with the Lord in the Word?
  • Do I trust God by drawing near in prayer to His throne of grace in all of my trials?
  • Do I memorize and meditate on God’s Word, applying it to my life?
  • Am I faithful as a steward of all that God has entrusted to me, maintaining integrity and refusing to be greedy?
  • Am I growing in holiness, developing the fruit of the Spirit by walking in the Spirit?
  • Am I confessing, and forsaking sin?
  • Am I working at maintaining relationships, especially with my family? This includes sincere and loving communication; listening; being kind, having patience; forgiving and being humble.

When trials come into our life, we must actively draw near to the Lord and depend on Him as we have never had to do at other times. If we do not actively do this, we will become angry and bitter and will drift away from God. This is why Peter writes to suffering believers: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,  casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11)

So, are you ready for the return of Jesus Christ? If not, why not start today? Get alone with the Lord and confess all known sin to Him. Accept His gracious forgiveness. Change your daily schedule to dedicate time to your Creator and Savior and as you do, you will grow in confidence anticipate His coming.

Remember that the lifestyle of abiding in Christ while we are on this earth builds the sanctified relationship with Christ that we are going to enjoy for eternity.

 

*******

Older Posts »

Categories