Matthew 7 vs 3-5

Most people, when they have a problem with someone else, focus on what that person did wrong. We think the problem will get better if the other person would change. Yet we need to focus on what Jesus said: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). 

Jesus said we must first focus on our own weakness and changes we need to make. This is not to say that those around us don’t have faults, bad habits and sin in their life. We all do, but despite that, God wants us to focus first on what we must do and how we can and must change. 

The Bible says that we must overcome anger and not use it as an excuse to sin. Paul wrote, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27). 

We need to learn to: 

Ask forgiveness from God and from others and learn how to react to aggravations or disappointments in a Christ like and loving manner. 

Yes, sometimes we need to confront others’ sins. But this should be on rare occasions. If we look again at Matthew 7:3-5 we will see three elements Jesus spoke of: 

First, we must take the plank out of our own eye. Then, once we see clearly, we can lovingly help remove the speck from someone else’s eye. 

Jesus indicates that the one with the plank in his own eye would not immediately be aware of it because he is blind to his obvious fault. 

We are being hypocritical when we attempt to correct the fault of someone else when we ourselves have the same or greater fault. Notice how we are generally far more tolerant to our own sin than we are to the sin of others. 

A good example of this kind of hypocrisy was David’s reaction to Nathan’s story about a man who unjustly stole and killed another man’s lamb. David quickly condemned the man, but was blind to his own sin, which was much greater (2 Samuel 12). 

If we try to remove the speck from the other person’s eye without first taking the plank out of our eye, we cannot see clearly and will hurt the other person. Jesus didn’t say that it was wrong for us to help our brother with the speck in his eye. It is a good thing to help your brother with his speck, but not before dealing with the plank in your own eye. 

At times, we may feel that we have suffered grievous wounds and desire revenge; however, the Bible warns that it is God who avenges, not us (Psalm 94:1). Jesus tells us “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). We are also to forgive others (Matthew 6:12). Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:15 to: “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else”  and  Peter wrote: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

These are directives that at times are very hard to follow, but if we love the Lord we need to pray and ask Him to change us, and He will. The results will be not only a change in us, but and inspiration to others to change also.  

It is so easy to see someone else’s fault, but when it comes to seeing our own faults that is another story. We need to ask God to help us see clearly. We need to ask ourselves: Did I contribute to the problem? Have my actions helped set the stage for the current problem? As we become aware of how our emotions, actions and words affect others, we will likely discover that we contribute to problems more than we realize. 

Spend some quiet time with God, asking Him to show you where you need to change. You can also ask someone who seems upset, “Have I offended you?” Or, “You seem upset. Have I done something wrong?” If you do this listen carefully without getting into an argument since “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). Seek to truly understand the person’s opinions and emotions. When you understand where the other person is coming from, look for ways to minister as you share with them. Jesus said: “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28). We need to learn to emulate Christ’s humility. 

We need to speak courteously and respectfully. God wants us to speak with love, whatever the circumstances. Remember “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). We also need to keep in mind to stay balanced because although it is important to focus on changing ourselves, it is possible to take this principle to an extreme. 

Even though we need to concentrate on changes we need to make, we should not blame ourselves for everything that goes wrong in our relationships. Of course there are things we all need to work on. On the other hand, we are not the only ones with problems. It is reasonable to be aware that others have faults; however, we need to learn not to concentrate on them and pray and ask God to take care of them. 

Remember sometimes you need to talk about problems and the key is to do it God’s way, with courtesy and respect. Jesus said: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). 

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Posted by: missionventureministries | January 19, 2022

HOW DO WE GET SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT? – 1 Corinthians 2:11-16

1 Corinthians 2 vs 11-16

For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except 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. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  (1 Corinthians 2:11-16)

Spiritual discernment is the ability to determine the difference between truth and error. It means to have wisdom. The Word of God itself says:  it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). 

A discerning mind demonstrates wisdom and insight that go beyond what is seen and heard. For example, God’s Word is spiritually discerned. “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:14). As we see, it is the Spirit who gives us spiritual discernment. 

With so much deception in the world, every believer needs spiritual discernment. Although we have access to God’s wisdom, it’s not something we automatically possess. Rather, it must be diligently sought. And His Word is the place to start, because spiritual discernment comes only when we know the truth and use scripture in every situation we encounter. 

It’s foolish to think that our own wisdom is sufficient to guide us. The human mind, while rational, is incapable of seeing the true nature of many situations and events. What is good may not always be best, and what is presented as truth is sometimes a lie. We need to remember that pride in our own judgment hinders access to godly wisdom. 

In contrast, regularly reading of God’s Word develops our insight. As the Holy Spirit of truth illuminates our mind and interprets the Scriptures, we increasingly see life from God’s perspective. Through the Spirit and the Word, we have a direct link to the very mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). From Genesis to Revelation, God is revealing His thoughts, principles, and wisdom so we can live accordingly in any situation. 

We need to understand that the Lord doesn’t simply pour knowledge into our head after we’re saved. It’s important to daily seek His will and study the Word in order to know Him better. We should also ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand Scripture and obey what it says. 

A good Bible teaching church is another means of instruction. As the Bible is taught and explained, we gain a foundation of truth on which to build our life. But let’s not be satisfied with simply knowing the basics of the faith. As we delve into the Word and grapple with more important issues, we will gain a broader understanding of what the Lord wants and expects of His saints. 

But no matter how much information we accumulate, discernment is produced only by putting into practice what we’ve learned. It does no good to sit in church week after week without ever applying the biblical principles taught in Scripture.  

Spiritual maturity is measured not by what we know but by how faithful we are to apply what we know. It’s through our obedience that God trains us to discern good and evil, then we can live wisely and righteously. Spiritual discernment takes time and increases as we study the Word and put into practice what we learn. 

We must know the truth of Scripture so the Holy Spirit can help us discern how to apply it to our life.

We are commanded to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). But, unless we have true discernment, how can we determine what is “evil” and what is “good”? In order to maintain the purity of the gospel, each believer must know how to distinguish truth from heresy. 

Discernment has many benefits. “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:21-24). 

Just as Solomon sought discernment and wisdom (Proverbs 1:2; 1 Kings 3:9-12) to explore the handiwork of God (Ecclesiastes 1:13) and seek the meaning of life (Ecclesiastes 12:13), so should believers seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven” (James 3:17). We must study the Scriptures which are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). 

So, how does one increase spiritual discernment? First, recognizing that God is the only one who can increase wisdom, second, pray for it, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). And Philippians 1:9-11 tells us: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” As we see, having wisdom to distinguish good from evil comes by training and practice, we need to go to the Bible to learn the truth and meditate on the Word to reinforce the truth. 

When a bank hires an employee, he is trained to recognize counterfeit bills. One would think that the best way to recognize a counterfeit would be to study various counterfeits. The problem is that new counterfeits are being created every day. The best way to recognize a counterfeit bill is to have an intimate knowledge of the real thing. Having studied authentic bills, bank cashiers are not fooled when a counterfeit comes along. Knowledge of the true helps them identify the false. 

This is what Christians must do to develop spiritual discernment. We must know the authentic so well that, when the false appears, we can recognize it. By knowing and obeying the Word of God, we will be “trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14). We will know God’s character and will. This is the heart of spiritual discernment – being able to distinguish the voice of the world from the voice of God, and of having the sense that “this is right” or “this is wrong.” 

May our request to God be: “I am Your servant; give me discernment that I may understand Your statutes” (Psalm 119:125).

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Posted by: missionventureministries | January 12, 2022

SHOULD A CHRISTIAN FEAR? – Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah 41 vs 10 - (22)

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) 

This verse gives us the reason to never be fearful. We must not fear because God is with us. There are several other Bible passages that confirm why we should not be afraid. 

A Christian that knows the word of God needs to especially realize that God is with you. Yes, the majority of our government is corrupt; there are terrorists, wars, financial crisis, diseases, illnesses, death, and the list goes on. Psalm 118:6 however tells us that, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” 

So, if God protects you, why do you fear? If God is on your side, what can man do to you? The same sentiment is expressed in Psalms 23:4 where it says: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” 

Christians especially need to trust in God and help others to build their faith with encouragement reinforcing what the Bible teaches. We need to remember that all things work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28). 

Psalms 56:3-4 is another passage that tells us that: “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” 

When we do not trust in God and instead let fear overtake us, it brings turmoil in our hearts and minds and we will not be able to think properly which will lead us to make mistakes. Instead, we need to surrender our fear to God and trust the Lord that He will do what is best since He always does if we let Him. Like a father who protects his children, so is God who will protect us from evil. 

We need to be thankful for Jesus’ comforting words: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). 

The question is simple then, either we trust our heavenly Father or we don’t. What will it be? 

Here are some encouraging Bible verses for you to read, memorize and use when you feel afraid: 

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4) 

 “…Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you…” (1 Chronicles 28:20) 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) 

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13) 

We need to focus on the Lord instead of our fear and every time dread enters our mind, we must remember that we are in the hand of our Almighty, All-knowing, loving Father. 

To meditate on the Word of God is a powerful step in overcoming anxiety, since the Bible is an immovable anchor for our life. 

We must hold fast to Scripture because fear is shattered on the foundational truth of God’s Word, especially in times of trouble. Therefore, “be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”  (Deuteronomy 31:6) 

And remember, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.” (Isaiah 26:3) 

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DISCLAIMER MVM

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 5, 2022

MESSAGE FOR 2022 – BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW – Revelation 21:5

Revelation 21 vs 5 - 2022 New Year

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

As we start off the New Year it is a good time to consider the glorious time that will come one day when Christ will make everything new again. In the present age, all things “shall wax old as does a garment” (Hebrews 1:11). 

“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). There, in the “New Jerusalem,” we shall each have “a new name” and sing “a new song” (Revelation 2:17; 3:12; 5:9). We shall have new bodies and Jesus, “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:21), and a new dwelling place, prepared by Christ Himself among the “many mansions” in His “Father’s house” (John 14:2). 

And all the old things will be completely and forever gone. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). 

What a “Blessed New Year” that will be! In the meantime, we have His “new covenant” (Hebrews 8:6-13) and as believers we have been made “a new creature” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Since all His words “are true and faithful,” we know His promises are certain. 

The only way you can ever rejoice to have a part in God’s new creation, is if you yourself have become a new creation. If you are not a new creation, you can have no part in the coming glorious new heaven and earth with their eternal duration and unmatched perfection. Only those who are saved, those who are in Christ are new creatures that can have a part in God’s new Creation. 

When you walk in newness of life you will live for heavenly things and not for earthly things any more. You will be more concerned with the things of God than the things of the world, and with things that are eternal, rather than with things that are temporal. And with things that are above, rather than with things that are on the earth. 

Above all, if you are truly walking in newness of life, you will respond to the Word of God. You will listen to God when He speaks to you through His Word. You will be ready to do His bidding and take His Word seriously. Those who walk in newness of life will take God’s Word seriously, and will be moved and convicted by it thru the Holy Spirit that lives inside a believer. And will respond to the Word with prayer, trust and obedience. You will not be just a hearer of the Word, but also a doer of the Word (James 1:22). And will be like the good ground in the parable of the sower of Matthew 13:23 who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much. 

It would be good to make sure of your salvation as you start this New Year. If you can see evidence that you are walking in newness of life, do not be satisfied with that, but search your heart and repent of whatever sins that you have not been able to let go of. Leave them all behind and do not bring them into the New Year. Renew your love and commitment to the Lord and trust in Him to lead you every day of your life. Resolve to strive for the greater heights of Christian living and service that God wants you to attain and let Him accomplish more through your yielded life in this New Year. 

Then you can earnestly look forward to the day when the Lord will make all things new, to that great and wonderful day when you will dwell forever in the new heaven and the new earth. Therefore, as we start the New Year, let us all set our hearts on the words that God has spoken to us, ‘Behold, I make all things new!’ (Revelation 21:5) 

We need to understand the present time we live in and wake up from our slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (Romans 13:11). 

Wishing you a Blessed New Year! 

And looking forward to the Lord’s soon return.

 Maranatha!

Come Lord Jesus. 

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Posted by: missionventureministries | December 29, 2021

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT A MARRIAGE THAT HONORS AND EXALTS GOD? – Genesis 2:18

Genesis 2 vs 18

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18) 

The woman was made to complement and support the man and to strengthen his work for God in this world. The man needed a companion like himself, and yet unlike himself, he needed a friend and ally that he could absolutely depend on. 

The woman completed the man, and he knew it, for he greeted her by saying: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). As the New Testament clearly teaches the head of the woman is man (1 Corinthians 11:3) and that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. 

God’s purpose would not have been complete if man were to remain alone without the help of a loving woman. He needed her contribution; “a helper fit for him” which asserts the equal worth of the woman. She is fit for him that is, corresponding to him, on his level as his equal. 

The woman is not the man’s property or prize but is important in her own right as the man’s unique counterpart; she is the only one in all the creation who is made in the image of God like him. Man and woman need each other and benefit from each other mutually. Their gifts and abilities differ, but to the advantage of both to reflect the glory of God. 

In Proverbs 31:10 a wife is referred to as worth far more than rubies. We need to remember though that a jewel has no internal light of its own. Rather, it reflects the light that shines upon her, and if a wife shines and becomes radiant, she figuratively speaking, is reflecting the light of her husband’s love and attention. There is nothing more beautiful as the glow of a godly wife showing forth the radiance of a true Christian marriage! 

God has designed separate, but related, roles for men and women in much of life, including in marriage. We need to accept the roles God has given to us and learn to complete, not compete with our spouses. We need to honestly help one another to succeed in our biblical roles as husbands and wives to build successful, enjoyable, and fruitful marriages. 

Paul, in Ephesians 5:27, notes that the church, as the wife of Christ, is to be “radiant.” This is also true of earthly wives. How fulfilling it is to a woman when a loving husband is thrilled and pleased by this beautiful, radiant woman that belongs to him. 

If we are to enjoy good lifelong marriages, husbands and wives should strive not only to carry out their own unique roles, but most importantly to walk together under the Lordship of Christ into the oneness He has prepared for them. Together, a husband and wife can form something of beauty to honor God and to radiate this truth before man. 

In a godly marriage a man leads and the wife follows. And when she follows, it causes her husband to see his wife placing herself under his protection, which brings forth in him a love and willingness to give him self up for her which in turn brings forth her respect for him as a husband. 

No longer are these two competing individuals. Instead, by “submitting to one another …” (Ephesians 5:21), and carrying out their biblical roles, such a husband and wife have so integrated their lives that they truly have become “one flesh.” As a result, God is glorified, the partners receive joy and fulfillment, and society and future generations are blessed.

By following the Proverbs 31 example of fearing God and allowing the Holy Spirit to work within us, all women can grow to become mature godly women.

In order to understand what it means to be a godly wife, first we must understand what it means to be godly. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we are given the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit begins working within us to transform us into the new creation God wants us to become.

Galatians 5:22–23 describes the work of the Holy Spirit within us as: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control …” God created us in His image and these are attributes of His character that He longs to develop within us. Therefore, both men and women should embody the godly characteristics described in Galatians.

Proverbs 31 demonstrates how these characteristics uniquely manifest themselves through a wife’s role in marriage. One of the first characteristics we see of a godly woman is that she is faithful and completely loyal to her husband (Proverbs 31:11–12).

She is someone he can count on to live a godly life and bring honor to God.  She has a servant’s heart and cares for others. God wants to make us all humble, holy, dignified, wise, patient and kind (Proverbs 31:25–26).

These attributes gain her the respect of her husband and children. While all of the characteristics demonstrated in Proverbs 31 are valuable, the most important is that a godly woman fears the Lord and would never want to disobey His Word or the Holy Spirit’s leadership (Proverbs 31:30).

In this house I am blessed since my husband is my spiritual leader and priest in our home. He is a godly teacher and he has taught me how to teach others. When guests come to our home they remark that they sense God’s presence and a spirit of comfort, joy, and peace. My husband’s deepest desire is to live in unbroken fellowship with Jesus and our Heavenly Father.

Like the wife in Proverbs 31 wife, I want to please God, so I need to always make loyalty, love and respect for my husband a priority in my life. Marriage is a symbol of the relationship between the Church and Christ (Ephesians 5:31-32); therefore, I will follow the Lord’s command and will submit to my husband, as I do to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).

When wives submit to their husbands’ leadership out of respect and trust, they exemplify the stance they should take as believers before Christ and, as such, profit from it. My example is that my husband treats me with love and respect and believes that I am a gift from God to him.

He encourages me and other Christians to develop the gifts and talents that God has given to all of His children. He wants everyone who visits our home to experience God’s love, peace and Holy presence in a wonderful and special way.

Remember that a wife that has a husband who wants to honor God with his life, is one of the most blessed, joyful and wealthy women in the world.

Here are a couple of the Bible verses that define the goal and purpose of our home, our marriage and our ministries. 

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. (Isaiah 26:3)

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Posted by: missionventureministries | December 22, 2021

THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS IS LOVE – John 3:16-17

John 3 vs 16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

John 3:16-17

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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 as the cradle was overshadowed by the cross. 

The hands that formed the universe were pierced by the nails on Calvary. 

God took four nails and the precious blood of Jesus and wrote the greatest love story that the world has ever heard.

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Why did God do such a thing? Because He loves us! 

Why was the birth of Jesus necessary? Because we needed a Savior! 

Why does God love us so much? Because He is love (1 John 4:8).

Our Heavenly Father knows that there are so few things in life that really matter.

That is why He wants us to concentrate on those things that will last for all of eternity. 

Therefore, the true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love for us when God descended from heaven becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ so that those who accept His free gift of salvation have the opportunity to be reconciled to Him.

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Remember – wise men and women still seek and adore Him. 

We pray that His presence will be with you throughout the coming year, as you walk in unbroken fellowship with Him. 

May the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior’s be with you now and always.

Mission Venture Ministries

Any time, anything, anywhere for Jesus, because He is so worthy

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DISCLAIMER MVM

Posted by: missionventureministries | December 15, 2021

BE ON GUARD FOR YOURSELF AND FOR YOUR CONGREGATION – Acts 20:28-29

Acts 20 vs 28-29

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. (Acts 20:28-29). 

An essential component of pastoral leadership is the call to protect the flock. 

So, from whom should the shepherd protect the flock? It is important to realize that although our main adversary, the devil, is unseen; he manifests himself in very tangible ways through others. “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). 

As mentioned in Acts 20:28-29, pastors must protect the flock from wolves, i.e. false teachers. False teachers come in great variety; some are legalists, seeking to add rules to the gospel of grace (Galatians 1:6-9). Some defy established religious precepts, seeking to subtract Christ’s Lordship from the believer (Jude 1:4). Some are motivated by money; others by immoral behavior and their main purpose is to seek to destroy God’s church. 

We need to be careful, as wolves often do not come to church announcing their presence or their intentions. They try to sneak in unnoticed and this is why it is extremely important to prepare and make aware those who are vulnerable to their attacks. 

So how do pastors protect their flock? Scripture gives us three main ways: prayer, teaching sound doctrine and encouragement. 

Prayer: Is the foremost tool we have for protection. Our main adversary is a spiritual being. So the best method for protecting our flock from spiritual attack is a spiritual weapon: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18). 

Teaching sound doctrine: The pastor has the responsibility to teach sound doctrine. And a solid scriptural church also should have under-shepherds that are strong mature Christians who love God and care about protecting His children and that are available for sound biblical teaching and advice. 

God’s Word is life-giving and Jesus warned us when He said: “The thief 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). 

Paul’s final letters to Timothy and Titus repeatedly emphasize the need for sound doctrine. He told Titus (1:9) that an elder must hold “fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” 

He goes on to explain that there are many empty talkers and deceivers who are upsetting whole households through their false teaching. In his final directive to Timothy, after telling him to preach the word, he explained, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). 

Encouragement: Helps people pursue Christ-likeness. The book of Hebrews tells us: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). 

Many wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing prey upon God’s flock. Some are masters of deception and disguise. They talk like Christians, they use the Bible and they seem like nice people. Some pretend to be loving, but theses wolves want to destroy and devour new and even mature Christians.  These wolves are enemies of Jesus and all true Christians. 

Many false teachers infiltrate the church and professed to know God. Satan is smart enough not to use men who look like villains. They seem to be nice and invite you to their meetings and make you feel like you are part of the group. But their teaching is deadly! 

One wolf in a sheep pen can ravage the whole flock. The same is true in the church. One false teacher in the congregation can cause untold damage. The pastor’s job is to protect the flock. Paul certainly knew this well. During his final warning to the pastors at the Ephesian church, he tells them: “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain (1 Timothy 6:3-5). 

The apostle Peter devotes most of 2 Peter chapter 2 to warning against false teachers. Jude devotes his entire short letter to the same theme. John in his epistles repeatedly warns of false teachers. Paul’s final words to the Ephesian elders warned them to be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock … (Acts 20:28-30). 

Even obedient Christians need to be on guard against false teachers who deceive others for their own gain. Paul urges us, “to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve  people” (Romans 16:17-18). 

False teachers attempt to build a following because they love promoting themselves and being the center of attention. They are after power, fame, money, or other sinful gratification. They don’t seek to exalt Christ and Him crucified. They don’t hold firmly to the gospel of justification by faith alone and their main purpose is to promoting themselves and not Christ. They are in the ministry for their own profit or gain. They love power and being in the limelight but they do not preach or live in submission to Christ as the Lord of their life. 

False teachers want to appear nice, likeable, and they flatter you by telling you what you want to hear. They smile a lot as they tell you how fantastic you are and how you can have your best life now. They don’t talk about anything negative, like sin and the coming judgment. 

Deceivers know how to manipulate people’s feelings and they influence your mind and emotions. They tell you stories that touch your heart. They get you to laugh by telling jokes and often ridicule those who stand firm for biblical truth and portray them as mean, angry, unloving and ungrateful. 

Therefore we are not to engage in dialogue with them or to invite them into our church to see if we can find some common ground as we discuss their ideas. Sometimes division or separation is both the necessary and the godly thing to do.   

Remember false teachers want to take you to every verse that seems to support their lies. If you are not scripturally knowledgeable, they will confuse you and draw you into their heresies. Therefore, you must be prepared and well informed about what God’s Word says, and to be ready to tell them that if they are looking for the truth about how to know God and go to heaven, you will be happy to talk to them. But if their goal is to convert you to their errors, they’re wasting both their time and yours. . . . So it’s better to be careful and say goodbye. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and be faithful to Him. 

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Posted by: missionventureministries | December 8, 2021

UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST – Ephesians 4:3

Ephesians 4 vs 3

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3) 

If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, God’s Spirit is at work in you whether you feel His presence or not. He’s conforming Christians to the image of the Savior, and the evidence of this transformation is known as the fruit of the Spirit which is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These godly character traits are not something we can generate on our own but are divinely produced in us as we yield to the Spirit and walk obediently with Him. 

We should never underestimate the impact of spiritual fruit when unbelievers observe how we respond to pressure, temptation, suffering, or an avalanche of problems. By demonstrating peace rather than anxiety or practicing patience instead of speaking a sharp word, we bear witness to the beauty of the gospel. 

One way God uses Spirit-filled lives is to create curiosity in the unbeliever—and opens the way to the message of salvation. Wherever you are or whatever you do, you can be powerful witness for Jesus Christ when you walk obediently with the Holy Spirit each day. 

Shortly before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed for unity among His followers: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11). 

Later in the same prayer, Jesus asked “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us. . . . I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:21–23). Obviously, Christian unity is important to our Lord. 

Jesus not only prayed for unity, but He gave the reasons that Christian unity is important: He asked that all believers may be in the Father and the Son, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21). 

And then Jesus prayed for “complete unity” so that “the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (verse 23). When Christians are united in Christ, the world sees two things clearly: Jesus was sent by the Father, and Jesus loves His church. 

In Romans 15:5–6, we see another, more general reason why Christian unity is important: “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The bottom line is God’s glory. God’s people should be speaking with one voice in glorifying God. 

Christian unity comes with Christian maturity and it is always something that we strive to attain. Paul instructs us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Helping us toward that unity are the gifts of the Spirit. God has given each Christian different gifts and their exercise in the edification of the church leads to more and more unity. One purpose of the gifts is that “we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). 

To promote Christian unity, God presents the church in 1 Corinthians 12:12–27 as a living body. The body has many members, each with specialized work to do, but all the parts are united in the Head of the Body, which is Christ (see also Ephesians 4:15). 

Christians from many different backgrounds working in unity display the power of the gospel and the universality of its saving message (Galatians 3:26–28). Christians bring honor to God’s name by pursuing unity in the power of the Holy Spirit who brings us together as one through faith in Christ. 

Christian unity is a virtue, but there are some things that can and should limit unity. We don’t pursue unity simply for the sake of unity; it is Christ and His truth that unite us. Scripturally, we are to separate from professed brothers and sisters in Christ who live in persistent, unrepentant sin (Matthew 18:15–17; 1 Corinthians 5:1–2) and from those who teach false doctrine (Revelation 2:14–15). And we need to “watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them” (Romans 16:17). 

As Ephesians 4:13 intimates, we won’t reach full Christian unity until we attain “to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ;” but we should strive for it every day. 

We should ask our heavenly Father to give us the desire to achieve unity every day and to follow thru in our obedience to Him.

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Posted by: missionventureministries | December 1, 2021

THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYING AND INTERCEEDING FOR OTHERS – 1 Timothy 2:1-6

1 Timothy 2 vs 1-6

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:1-6) 

Paul tells us that we are to pray “first of all.” That means that prayer is to be the top priority in the life of a Christian. As Paul continues, he uses four words to describe the total scope of prayer: 

  1. Supplications – making requests, sharing our needs with God (Philippians 4:6). This refers to prayers focused on special needs. The idea is that of bringing a deep and intense burden before the Lord. When we have needs in our own lives, and when we see needs in the lives of others, we are to be moved by these needs and we are to bring them to the throne of grace. “Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need” (Hebrews 4:16). 
  2. Prayers – means to set aside time to worship the Lord by coming into His presence to spend time talking to Him by being still and enjoying His presence as we wait to hear from Him to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Every believer must have that time when they go before the Lord, without distraction, without hurry and just spend time reverencing Him.
  3. Intercessions – this is taking the needs of others before the Lord. This refers to boldly pray on behalf of others. Jesus is our intercessor as verse 5 states. He stands in the gap between us and the Father and boldly intercedes for us – Hebrews 7:25 and Paul is teaching us that we are to carry out the same ministry on behalf of others. The main idea in these verses is that of making intercession for those who do not know the Lord. We are to stand in the gap for them, praying for God to convict them and save them by His grace!
  4. Giving of thanks – is a spirit of gratitude to God. No prayer is complete until we spend some of that time thanking God. We are to thank Him for that which He has already done, such as salvation, blessings, answered prayers, etc. We should thank Him for the fact that He is hearing us as we pray. We should thank Him for those things that He is yet to do! You see, as we pray, we are to do it in faith, believing that the things we are asking God to do are already done, even though we can’t see them at the present time. That is the very essence of faith as Hebrews 11:1 describes: “Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.”

Then who are we to pray for? –  Prayers are to “be made for all men for kings and all who are in authority.” Paul makes it clear that we are to pray for “all men.” And Paul specifically mentions those who are in places of authority. As we pray for our family, friends and neighbors, let us not forget to pray for our leaders. They need the wisdom of God to be able to carry out their duties. As hard as this many seem to do, even when we do not agree with the policies of the people who lead us, we should still pray for them. Regardless of how wicked they may be their work should be bathed in the prayers of God’s saints. We firmly believe that God intervenes in the affairs of men and can impress them to make godly decisions! We need to pray for those in positions of power, especially right now; because there are many serious decisions that must be made by the leaders of our country we should continually be making intercession for them before the throne of grace! 

And what does prayer accomplish? “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” The Bible describes both that which is accomplished outside of us because of prayer – “quiet and peaceable life” and that which is accomplished inside of us because of prayer – “godliness and reverence.” Godliness means to live knowing what is required in life with respect to God, your fellow man and yourself. That of course can come only through a life of prayer! And reverence means that this kind of prayer life gives you a graceful dignity. 

When we pray for others, we are thereby becoming more like Christ; because since His return to heaven, He has been continually occupied with His ministry of intercession. “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34). 

Not only is our resurrected, glorified Savior perpetually interceding for us in heaven, but also the indwelling Holy Spirit is praying for us here. “Now in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27). 

Now if both God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are always interceding for us before God the Father, we surely ought to be willing to spend time in prayer for others and not only for our loved ones, but even for those who have hurt us and especially for those who are lost and are in desperate need of knowing the Savior. Jesus said, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:44-45). 

May God help us to be faithful in this vital ministry just as Daniel did in his prayers of intercession for his people in Daniel 9:3-19, knowing that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

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Posted by: missionventureministries | November 24, 2021

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE THANKFUL? – 1 Thessalonians 5:18-19

1 Thess 5 vs 18

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18-19) 

Webster’s dictionary states that the act of giving thanks; it is a grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors and an expression of gratitude for something received, or done for, one. 

So let us see what the Bible tells us about being thankful. 

Paul declared, in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Being thankful is a learning process. It is allowing the Holy Spirit to place within us contentment demonstrating a real praise of thanksgiving to God for everything in one’s life. Biblical thankfulness is not what one does, but rather it is what one is; what one has become as a result of absolute and complete trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

The Biblical meaning of the word of being thankful is the thankfulness that is instilled in us because the Holy Spirit lives within us. Therefore, once we are spiritually born again, a life of thanksgiving becomes a daily expression of Jesus’ life in us, as 1 Thessalonians 5:18-19 tells us: “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 

There are only two ways to face life: The natural way of complaining, murmuring and grumbling; the other attitude being to, “give thanks in everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) – “to count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2) – “to rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) – and remember, “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). 

It is the easiest thing in the world to complain. However, our “spiritual-attitude” is to constantly be one of praise to the Lord, since praise means “to exalt, to honor, to express approval – it is giving a positive affirmation.” 

God’s eternal purpose for our life is to bring us into divine fellowship and communion with Him. The highest form of communion with God is that of giving thanks! We are to have an inner spiritual-attitude of thanksgiving, not because we feel good, but as an act of obedience to His Word and spiritual development of our Christian life. 

God has promised to achieve this within our life however, in addition to God’s power within us; it also requires a setting of our will. God will not force anything upon us, but, if we cooperate with the life of the Holy Spirit living within us, and are thankful, God will release His power into whatever situation we go through. 

Jesus said, “I have come that your joy might be full” (John 15:11). Jesus often said to His followers, “Be of good cheer!” In the same manner that God has commanded us to be honest, to be truthful and to be kind; it has commanded us to be cheerful. Being cheerful is a Christian duty, even when we don’t feel like it! 

Jesus had a very difficult, hard life. He was a “man of sorrows” however His life was always radiant. He had an inner joy and no one was ever depressed by His presence. 

The Bible commands us to “rejoice!” This does not take out the pain and the sorrow of our life as Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  In other words things are in My hands, I am victorious, in Me you have peace.” 

Being thankful is not a question of whether we are going to give thanks or not, but it is a question of what spirit we will allow to rule us. Remember that when we have the characteristics of the Holy Spirit within us, He expresses Himself through praise. 

So, why should we be thankful? Here are some reasons why we should be thankful: 

  • Because it honors God. When we are thankful, we recognize that God exists. Therefore, true thankfulness recognizes our total dependence on God and stems from realizing that everything going on in our lives and all we have is the product of God’s sovereign control, infinite wisdom, purposes and grace (2 Corinthians 4:15).
  • Because it is commanded in Scripture. The Psalms are filled with the call to give thanks. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4). Then Paul tells us to: “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. . . And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:15, 17). 

The next question is how should we give thanks? 

First, we should give thanks whenever we pray. Scripture teaches us, both by example (Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:3-4; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2) and with confidence (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2). That prayer should be offered in a context of thanksgiving, since being thankful turns our eyes from our problems and ourselves to the Lord that we might focus on Him and His sovereign grace. It helps us to see life through the perspective of God’s person, principles, promises, plan, provisions, and purposes. Then, as this happens, this upward focus promotes faith and courage in the face of the trying and painful situations that we all eventually face to one degree or another. 

Second, we should always give thanks in everything and for everything (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Why? In addition to the reasons already given, it helps us to focus on the sovereignty of God and the fact that He is in control and working all things together for good regardless of how they may seem to us in our limited perspective (Romans 8:28; James 1:2-4). While all things may not look good in our understanding, God uses them for good as we see in the story of Joseph. “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:19-20). 

Since a spirit of thankfulness keeps our eyes on the Lord, it also keeps us alert and promotes an eagerness to go to God in prayer to lay our burdens and those of others at His feet. Finally, we should always give thanks because it protects us against the dangers and consequences of thanklessness which dishonors God and leads to dependence on man rather than God (Romans 1:21). 

Living in the Word keeps our focus where it belongs since God has designed the Christian life to be lived under the control and influence of the Holy Spirit. As a result, the Spirit-filled life is a vital source of thankfulness leading to “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20).

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