Posted by: missionventureministries | June 29, 2015

STARTING THE DAY WITH GOD – Psalm 143:8

Psalm 143 vs 8

Let me hear Your loving-kindness in the morning; for I trust in You; teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)

We can never go wrong when we start the day with God and follow His Holy Spirit’s guidance. Therefore, as we start making physical preparations for the day, we need to remember the words of Jesus, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Our needs, in other words, are not merely physical, but spiritual. Nourishment for the soul is as necessary as food is for the body. 

Taking time with God every morning requires practice and discipline. There are dozens of things that may try to pull us away and distract us, but we must ignore them and make time for the Lord. Often the enemy tries to meddle in our lives, so that we think that we do not have time for prayer and meditation and we fool ourselves into believing that we will set aside time later in the day to spend with God.  

When we begin the day with God He sends us off in the right direction because He knows what is waiting for us. Trusting Him means taking time with Him to set our course for the day according to His will.  

The Psalmist knew that walking with God was inseparably connected to the hard work of spiritual discipline: In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)

Isaiah wrote that the Lord wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. (Isaiah 50:4)

Christians, likewise, must regularly remind themselves that godliness doesn’t just occur. There is a supernatural dimension to Christian living, but unless the believer abides in Christ like a branch remains connected to the vine, he cannot produce fruit (John 15:4).  Instead of love, joy, peace and longsuffering, the person who fails to maintain a habit of communion with God will naturally manifest self-centeredness, cynicism, strife and impatience as the dominant characteristics of life. 

We need to understand that to meet the challenges, bear the burdens, resist the temptations, solve problems, and fulfil the responsibilities to which one is exposed to each day without first drawing near to God we are doomed for failure. 

Jesus, the Son of God frequently rose early and departed to a solitary place to pray (Mark 1:35). The same way, followers of Jesus should make it a habit to prepare in advance for the demands of each day by beginning it in communion with the Father, because He delights to hear the prayers of the upright (Proverbs 15:8). Therefore, we should delight in the opportunity to draw near to Him. 

In “the secret place of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1), is where we entrust the cares of the day to God, asking for His blessing, direction and strength, that He might be glorified in and through us. 

Once we experience the empowerment of beginning our day with God, we will never want to start it without Him, because when we are walking in fellowship with Jesus, everyone around us can be blessed with the loving presence of the Holy Spirit.

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 22, 2015

GOD FORGIVES US OF OUR SINS – 1 John 1:9

God forgives - 1 John 1 vs 9

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

The Bible clearly teaches that God has made provisions for the forgiveness of our sins. There are however many people that have a very difficult time believing that forgiveness is available for certain sins and choices they have made in life; thus they continue to live in a compartmentalized state in which their mental awareness and their heart knowledge do not match and the person cannot accept God’s forgiveness.

To restore intimacy with our Father is a very important aspect of forgiveness, and it is perhaps best understood in the parent-child relationship. When a child chooses to do something wrong, a loving parent needs only to know that the child is genuinely sorry for their actions for reconciliation and intimacy to be restored.

In the same way God wants for us to take responsibility for our actions, admit that we were wrong, change our attitude and verbalize our sorrow in order to restore intimacy with Him.

We need to however understand that even thought there is forgiveness that there are consequences. The Bible teaches us that what we sow we will also reap (Galatians 6:7). For some it might be a lasting effect on health from the consequences of drug or alcohol abuse. Or it might be a sexual transmitted disease that has no cure. And for some it might be something quite different and very secretive that is buried in their soul, like having had an abortion that no one ever knew about. In any case it is tempting for the person to interpret lasting consequences as a sign of God’s continued judgment and rejection. Even though in many cases people might have to live with the consequences of their disobedience, our amazing and loving Heavenly Father is always ready to forgive us of all trespasses.

God is always calling sinners to seek Him and promises them forgiveness when they truly repent. It is because of His great mercy and grace that God rescues the believer from the dominion of darkness that began way back in the Garden of Eden. Jesus came to earth to restore our relationship with the Father. He extends a loving invitation for forgiveness of sins which is only possible through His shed blood. He gave His life so that we may live. We are forgiven because of His obedience and sacrifice on the cross and for paying our tremendous sin debt.

In Romans 3:24 we read that we all are, justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

To demonstrate how our heavenly Father wants to love, accept and forgive us when we turn to Him, Jesus told a parable of the son who squandered his inheritance and lived an immoral life and when he had nothing left, not even food to eat, he decided to return home. His father never gave up on him. So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

That is how our heavenly Father sees us, welcomes us, forgives us and loves us even after we’ve really messed up, and then turn back to Him! He is moved with compassion and welcomes us with open arms.

In John 8:3-11, a story is told where a woman was caught in the very act of adultery and the scribes and the Pharisees brought this woman before Jesus. They wanted to stone her, however, Jesus said to them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Each one of them were convicted in their own consciences, and walked away. When Jesus and the woman were the only ones left, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

And even while Jesus was dying on the cross, He showed compassion to the criminal who was hanging on the cross next to Him when he confessed that he deserved his punishment, and asked Jesus to remember him. And Jesus in all His mercy said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

There are so many beautiful stories of forgiveness in the Bible and it is God’s deep desire to see sinners turn to Him and receive forgiveness for their sins! There is great joy in heaven when a person turns from their wicked ways and turns to God! (Luke 15:10)

We need to understand that when we become a child of God, we are a new creation! Our past has been wiped away, and we are given a fresh new start! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

There awaits no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:1) Because Jesus did not come here to condemn us, but to save us! (John 3:17)

Not only does God forgive our sins, but He also forgets our sins! He chooses not to remember our sins for His own sake! (Isaiah 43:25)

When our sins are forgiven, they are removed from us as far as the east is from the west! (Psalms 103:12)

We are told not to look at the past, but press forward towards the future! (Philippians 3:13)

God Himself does not remember our sins, so why should we? If He felt it was best to forget them, then why should we keep on remembering them? God wants us to forgive ourselves and allow Jesus’ blood to wash clean our conscience from all the evil we have done! (Hebrews 9:14)

Please remember that when God forgives, He removes the sin and restores the soul.

We must remember that we will definitely experience a life changing transformation when we truly surrender our life to Jesus Christ, because, true Salvation always brings TRANSFORMATION.

“He who knew no sin, became sin for us so that we might become the righteous of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 15, 2015

CHRISTIAN’S SHOULD BE WALKING WORTHY OF THEIR CALLING – Ephesians 4:1

Ephesians 4 vs 1

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” (Ephesians 4:1)   

The Christian’s call in Christ is a high calling. Since we are encouraged to walk in a manner worthy of this calling, it behooves us to make careful study of it, lest our lifestyle bring reproach to the One who has called us.  

First, the calling is “of God” and is irrevocable (Romans 11:29). We are called “by His grace” (Galatians 1:15) and “into the grace of Christ” (Galatians 1:6). We are called “out of darkness” and “into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Furthermore, we are “called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). He has “called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9). We are “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1), and in response, we should “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). 

The New Testament writers mention many things to which we are called. We are “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). We are “called unto liberty” (Galatians 5:13) and are now free to “serve one another,” even though it means accepting the call to suffering. “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). The “eternal life, to which you were also called” may not come easily, for it involves the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We are called “to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3), even “his eternal glory by Christ Jesus” (1 Peter 5:10), for we as true born again Christians are “called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). Therefore, “Be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10).   

We are commanded to: “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) 

Jesus often exposed the Pharisees for their hypocritical attitude and lifestyles since they considered themselves quite “religious” in their behavior, however, “everything they do is done for people to see” (Matthew 23:5) and not for the glory of God. Jesus and John the Baptist called the Pharisees and teachers of the law hypocrites, serpents and a brood of vipers. 

The Lord’s warning in Matthew 6:33 was given to focus His followers beyond the “ordinary” desires and needs of their physical existence. We are expected to “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). And when we are rightly focused, “all these other things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). 

We become “slaves” of those things that we “obey.” We obey that which we have “yielded” ourselves to (Romans 6:16). It is not possible to “serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). Our physical bodies can either become “instruments” (weapons) of ungodliness or of righteousness (Romans 6:13). Therefore, we either “walk” after the Spirit or after the flesh (Romans 8:4). 

We are to persistently pursue godliness: “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Timothy 6:11). When we are truly born again our “new man” longs for righteousness, and we consciously yield ourselves to seek and serve God’s kingdom, because “with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. Therefore, “thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25) 

We must never become slack in our diligence, because “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”  (1 Corinthians 10:12).


BACKGROUNG PHOTO BY

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Posted by: missionventureministries | June 8, 2015

TRUE CHRISTIANS OBEY GOD – 1 Peter 1:14-16

1 Peter 1 vs 14-15

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16) 

The undeniable evidence of a true Christian is a changed life. We need to remember that if we do not change the way we live; our eternal destiny will also never change. 

When a person sincerely comes to Christ, this relationship will dramatically transform their life. The change will be seen immediately in some people and others it will take longer. For those whose lives were characterized by obvious bad habits and a remarkable immoral life, the change in lifestyle show others that something profound has happened inside. For others, who have not been involved in very obvious sins, the change may not be as obvious, but is equally significant. Remember that all of us were separated from God by sin (Romans 3:23) which was forgiven on the cross by Jesus Christ. 

Our conversion must be shown in both fruit and works. This concept of “bearing fruit” is often used in Scripture to describe the results of the surrender of a person to Christ. If we do not bear fruit, it shows that we have not actually been transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the cleansing blood of Christ, or made Him our Lord and Savior. 

Bearing fruit is not an option; it is the natural result of a person entering into union with God. Sometimes there is confusion in this matter of bearing fruit or doing works. But the Bible clarifies this. (Romans 7:4; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 7: 21-23) 

A changed life begins with obedience to God. When a person decides to follow God, a change takes place and there is tremendous joy (Galatians 5:22). We must realize that although sorrows do occur in the life of a believer, the Holy Spirit will give us a joy and peace that cannot be removed. For example, when we give up our sinful conduct, God replaces our sin with forgiveness and a clean conscience. The purpose of our lives becomes to please God and to honor Him in everything that we say, think and do. 

We recognize that we are a new creation when we understand what God has done in our lives and obedience becomes a desire more than just duty (2 Corinthians 5:14-17). When we obey God our thoughts effect our actions (Colossians 3:1-4). 

We must realize that once we are followers of Christ, Satan is not happy and will try to separate us from our walk with Him, tempting us to disobey the Word of God. We have to remember that we sin when we yield to temptation, but God has promised that He will always provide an escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

When some people sin and rebel against God they say “the devil make me do it,” that is a lie – the devil made a suggestion and our sinful nature voted for the devil and sin – that’s when righteousness looses the election. 

Some people observe the life of a Christian and say. “Living this way is too difficult!” It is true; it’s not easy being a Christian, in fact, it is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit. 

The true Christian has the desire to live each day with faith, because the Holy Spirit will help us to understand the truths of Scripture and God’s character (John 16:13-15). And He will give us great courage and ability to live and share our faith (Acts 1:8). 

When we share our faith it produces joy. Although the job of bringing people to Christ is hard work, the result will give us unfathomable pleasure (John 4:36). 

As a Christian, one of the most dramatic changes in our life should be the way we spend our time. Our plans and ambitions in life should be different. After all, we must no longer live for ourselves but for God. 

We can tell what our priorities are when we ask ourselves: What is most important to me? – What do I think about most of the time? – How do I invest my time? – What do I spend most of my money on? – What forms and types of entertainment do I find amusing – videos, movies, music, books, jokes, etc.? 

Our time on earth is short, so we need to ask God to help us to invest it on things that that will last for time and eternity (2 Timothy 4:5-8). 

And finally, as Christians it is very important to remember that we are a representative of Christ. One of the most visible ways we represent Him is by our speech. So: 

  • Think before we speak. When we measure our words we show that we are wise and watchful individuals (1 Timothy 4:12) 
  • Control our tongue. When we learn to control our tongue we will also learn to control other aspects of our life (James 3:1-12) 
  • Restrain foolish talk. We are responsible for every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:35-37)

As Christians the Lord must always be the center of our attention. 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 1, 2015

BE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE TO ONE ANOTHER – Ephesians 4:32

Ephesians 4 vs 32

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

Have you ever been wronged by someone? I mean really hurt? This probably happens to all of us at least once in our lives. The pain is worsened when someone close to us is the culprit, such as family member, a friend or a fellow Christian. 

Natural human reactions can be revenge, anger, bitterness, or even disappointment. We often protect ourselves by drawing away from the offender.  

Many times when a victim has experienced trauma, abuse and emotional stress it is important for the victim to remain separated from the perpetrator for long periods of time and sometimes even permanently. 

Waiting for the offender to make peace is usually futile. The offender either doesn’t realize the damage he has done through his words or actions, or he just doesn’t care. Your suffering means nothing to the transgressor. He couldn’t care less and the injured one ends up carrying the hurt.  

Jesus warned that many abusers have extremely hardened hearts and they can never experience any empathy or sympathy for their victims. 

The Lord Jesus taught us by His example how to forgive. He said, as He hung on the cross dying, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) 

As born again Christians, we need to approach those who have sinned against us with an attitude of grace, caution and holy wisdom that only the Holy Spirit can provide.  

God has told us to forgive our abusers and perpetrators; however, He never commanded us to forget that they still have the ability and maybe the motive to damage us again.  Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to us when it is safe for us to express a certain measure of trust toward our abusers.  Even Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for He knew what was in each person. (John 2:24-25) 

We forgive others because we ourselves have been forgiven. Forgiveness is the releasing of our wrath and condemnation in favor of these things: 

Forgiveness means,

  • Praying for those who have evil intentions for us (Matthew 5:44),
  • Abounding in love that is only possible when we really are abiding in Christ (Psalm 86:5),
  • Never avenging ourselves, but leaving it to God’s capable hands (Romans 12:18-19). However, we have the God given right to protect ourselves, our children and innocent people who can not protect themselves from evil abusers.
  • Doing good to those who never do good to us (Luke 6:27-28),
  • Watching our own life, and ensuring that we are not guilty of the same sin that have been committed against us (Luke 17:3).

While Scripture is full of stories, parables, and words about forgiveness, the heart of the matter is that it will not always be easy to forgive. People do horrible things to one another, and sometimes “forgiveness” isn’t going to bring about the restoration of a relationship. This is especially so, if the person in the wrong is unrepentant and is unwilling to change.  

So, while it may be difficult to immediately forgive, we need to think on the fact that no matter what has been committed against us, it has been committed against God a thousand times more.  

People everywhere, even well-meaning Christians, have a way of hurting us based on what they see and think. They look at us through their eyes and perspective, not through the pure heart of God. At times, we do the same to others, also. We judge someone from what we have heard, what we have experienced and what we feel – even though we know all of these can easily deceive us.  

We can never go wrong when we follow the Holy Spirit. In God is where we find our true validation and worth. We cannot allow anything, even our own thoughts or hurts, to separate us from the love of the Father. We need to forgive those who try to judge us, accept those who try to reject us and love those who try to ignore us. Jesus taught us what to do in each circumstance. He is the example and we are His followers.  

The Bible tells us to: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32). Our goal as Christians is to imitate Christ. He forgave us, which means we can forgive others. We can do this because the debt has been paid. 

Jesus reminds us of another important reason to forgive. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).  Forgiveness is for our benefit. We experience forgiveness in direct proportion to our willingness to forgive others. The Lord wants us to live a wonderfully blessed life through Him. We should not let those blessings be hindered by living in bitterness and resentment toward others. 

There are many different kinds of “trespasses” that we face in our lives, so rather than lashing out with anger (Proverbs 29:11), or seeking revenge (Leviticus 19:18), we should be seeking to share God’s love, and willing to forgive. 

Jesus teaches us clearly that we are to take responsibility for the relational conflict we have caused. First, we need to be reconciled. How can we approach the Lord when we have neglected the hurt between ourselves and others? God doesn’t receive our worship if He knows we have no intention of loving those closest to us. We can fool others; but we cannot fool Him. 

We need to ask for God’s help as we seek forgiveness and then pursue it wholeheartedly, because there are no enduring relationships without it.  

Only those who have been washed in God’s forgiveness through Christ can even begin to develop the habits of the forgiving heart. 

Prayer: Lord, you know how we’ve been hurt by others, and how we have hurt others too. Give us Your forgiving Spirit so that we can forgive just as you Lord have forgiven us. Amen.

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 25, 2015

HOW TO RESOLVE CONFLICTS IN A GODLY MANNER – James 4:7-10

James 4 vs 7-8

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:7-10) 

The world has many ways to resolve conflict, but invariably, they leave God out. God tells us that His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). His ways are much higher than our ways. If we want true and lasting peace in our relationships, then we need to resolve conflicts God’s way.  

His way for resolving conflicts is primarily our heart relationship with Him. When our ways please Him, then we have a foundation for resolving conflicts with others (Proverbs 16:7). 

In James 4:1, he asks, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?” He goes on to show that the source is selfishness.  So to resolve conflicts we must repent of our sinful selfishness and humble ourselves before God. Therefore, we need to: 

  • Judge our selfish motives (4:1-3).
  • Turn from all spiritual adultery and humbly entreat God’s grace (4:4-6).
  • Submit to God, resist the devil, and repent of all sin (4:7-10).
  • Stop judging others and submit to God’s Word (4:11-12).

James focuses especially on submitting to God, resist the devil, and repent of all sin. Proverbs 3:34 tells us, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble”. We are not to forsake God’s wisdom because it will protect us (Proverbs 4:6) and James continues by saying: “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10) 

The overall context of James 4:7-10 is about resolving conflicts and we learn from him on how to resolve conflicts God’s way, which deals with our hearts before Him. Our conflict with God is most often behind conflicts with others. Therefore the first and foremost action we need to take in any conflict is that we must get right with God. 

James tells us to submit to God unconditionally (James 4:7); to draw near to God (James 4:8); and, to humble ourselves before God (James 4:10). 

We need to submit humbly and unconditionally to God’s Holy Word and accept His discipline upon us. God’s discipline can be very intense upon people; it is always based on how rebellious and proud they remain; even when confronted by God’s anointed teachers. 

There are many things in our lives that happen to us that are not especially pleasant or to our liking. It may be the untimely death of a loved one. It could be unfair treatment at work or at school, or perhaps we had abusive parents. In the context of James 4, it may be a difficult person in our life who is always trying to stir up conflict. The potential list is endless. 

Pride is at the heart of all disobedience to God and of almost all relational conflicts. If God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6), then we want to make sure we are not making ourselves God’s opponent! – Pride will always divide. 

The theme of God humbling the proud, but exalting the humble, runs throughout Scripture (1 Samuel 2:4-8; Job 42:6, 42:10-17; Psalms 34:18; Proverbs 3:34; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2; Matthew 23:12; Luke 18:14; 1 Peter 5:6). In the context of dealing with relational conflicts, the apostle Paul tells us to imitate the Lord Jesus, the supreme example of one who humbled Himself and was exalted by God (Philippians 2:8-9). 

The key to developing biblical humility is in the phrase, “before the Lord” (James 4:10). Only those with hardened hearts could be proud in the presence of the Lord! Therefore, the first step in resolving relational conflicts is to submit to God, which includes drawing near to Him and humbling ourselves before Him. There is no such thing as “proud holiness.” 

The next step to resolve conflicts is to resist the devil (James 4:7). While often Satan does not need to involve himself, his demonic forces many times help in stirring our conflicts and our flesh seems to incite them without any extra help! While it would be presumptuous to see a demon behind every quarrel, it is also out of line and naïve to think that demons are never involved. Many quarrels are fomented by demon possession, and they are founded in pride. Proud, demonically influenced people always insist that they are right and every demon in hell is eager to reinforce their proud thinking. 

The devil, Satan, which means “adversary.” is an evil fallen angel who stands against God and His people, always ready to accuse or slander them (Zechariah 3:1-2; Revelation 12:10). While we are no match for Satan in our own strength we can ask the Lord for help like the mighty Archangel Michael did “The Lord rebuke you!” Because, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) 

To resolve conflicts we need to repent of all sin. “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.” (James 4:8-9). James is talking about thorough, heartfelt repentance. 

Those whom James confronted had become friends with the world and many were children of the devil. And the world finds joy and pleasure in things other than God, or while disregarding and disobeying God. 

James’ words show that there is an emotional element to genuine repentance. It is not just a lame excuse, “I’m sorry that I offended you.” Or, “I’m sorry that you’re upset” – implying, “it’s your fault!” When we are truly repentant, we accept full responsibility for our sin and the damage that we have done. We don’t excuse it as a shortcoming or oversight. We mourn over how we have offended God, disgraced His name, and hurt our brother or sister in Christ. 

To truly experience the joy of forgiven sins, we first have to feel the grief of the sins. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  (Matthew 5:4) 

We cannot sit passively and wait for resolution in a conflict to happen spontaneously. James gives ten active commands: Submit to God! Resist the devil! Draw near to God! Cleanse your hands! Purify your heart! Be miserable! Mourn! Weep! Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into gloom! Humble yourself!  

God’s way to resolve conflicts is to submit to Him, resist the devil, repent of all sin and make sincere restitution to all of our victims and everyone whom we have hurt.

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 18, 2015

DO WE CHOOSE GODLY FRIENDS OR WORDLY FRIENDS? – James 4:4

James 4 vs 4

“Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

The importance of the choice is clarified by the simplicity of the alternatives, and it becomes a matter of whether we want friendship with the world or friendship with God.

The expression “a man is known by the company he keeps” has been used in one form or another throughout the world. It is not only biblically based, but it is easily observable in everyday life. 

Proverbs tell us: “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (13:20) and that friends shape friends like “iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) 

James notes that the world’s friendship clashes with the truth and with the heart and mind of God, and that such a friendship is in rebellion against God’s plan for us to walk in unbroken fellowship with Him. Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17) 

The apostle John gives the clear reason: “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

James writes with a strong conviction of the seriousness of sin than most of people are not willing to accept. Many people live lives of compromise, since they want to be Christians, they want to go to heaven, to have eternal life, but they also want to squeeze every drop of pleasure out of this life as well; even if God forbids it. James is as direct as you can be, saying, “…friendship with the world is hostility toward God…”

In fact he writes with a sense of moral outrage. The beginning of this verse starts out with “you adulterous people”. Therefore, we should accept James’s terms, learn from his acute sense of moral right and wrong, and apply it to ourselves in fear of the judgment that comes to anyone who is not a true Christian. Harboring bitter envy and selfish ambition, with actions of fighting and quarreling, makes us unfaithful people who are treating God with hatred and enmity. (James 4:1-4)

The point of James’s references to Scripture in 4:5 and 4:6 is to persuade his readers to choose God unreservedly instead of the world because God himself is jealous but He is also gracious toward those who humbly surrender their lives fully to Him. “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6)

Are you a Christian? Does the Spirit dwell in you? If so, then you must submit yourself to the Lord’s will, and stop pursuing your own will. He knows what’s best for us, and if we are patient, then He will accomplish His perfect plan for our life. “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:3-5)

In summary, the person who chooses to live in sin and enters into a relationship with the world makes himself an enemy of God. The context makes clear what is involved in being a friend of the world. The basic issue is a life that centers on self. A selfish determination to satisfy our desires and cravings, to have things our way, identifies us as friends of the world.

We should note that it involves a deliberate choice on our part to become involved with the world. A person who decides to be friends with the world, rather than submit himself to God and His Word, is going to do what he wants; and is going to have it his way. That person does not know and does not want to know God, they only hunger for the praise of men and prefer the pleasures and lust of this world to the righteousness of Christ.

Remember, godly people will have godly friends and stay focused on the Lord. They will not be misled because they know that: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) 

We will all stand before Christ whose eyes can search deep down into our souls – because “His eyes are like blazing fire…” (Revelation 19:12) 

Therefore, “the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

 


Posted by: missionventureministries | May 9, 2015

HOW TO BE A GODLY MOTHER – 2 Timothy 3:15

A GODLY MOTHER - 2 Timothy 3 vs 15

“… from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

One of life’s greatest blessings is to have a godly mother. And, thus, one of the greatest gifts women can give to their children is to be a godly mother. But to be a godly mother one needs to be taught as early as possible, through example and the reading of God’s Word.

The most important decision that a lady who desires to be a godly, Spirit filled mother will ever make is to determine that she will wait upon God to provide her with a husband who desires to live a pure and holy life; a man who will be a humble, Spirit filled priest in the home that she wants to establish.

If she is a true born again Christian who is being led by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God she is fully aware that her life belongs to God and that she must not marry anyone who will not honor God and build a strong Christian home where they can raise, godly, holy, Spirit filled children.    

The dominate Bible verse for a godly woman’s life is as follows:  “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Godly mothers are women of sincere faith who are eager to hand off the truth of God’s word in love to their children (2 Timothy 1:5). They honor God’s Word and train their children in it (2 Timothy 3:14-17). However, while parents should be the primary agents for teaching their children God’s Word, we also need to pray for godly mentors for our children, such as Paul was to Timothy; men and women of God to influence our children for righteousness.

The main way our children will grow up to love and serve God is through His Word. God’s Word of truth is powerful to save (James 1:18) and to sanctify (John 17:17) His people. The best thing parents can do for their children is to instill in them from an early age the importance of reading, studying, memorizing, and obeying God’s Word.

A godly mother will use God’s Word to lead her children to saving faith in Christ. “… from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

Salvation is built on the knowledge of the truth revealed in Scripture. Children need to know more than “Jesus wants to be your friend, so you need to invite Him into your heart.” They need to know what God’s Word reveals about the condition of their hearts, that they are rebellious and disobedient toward God. They need to know several things. First that God is a God of love, but that He is also holy and just, and that He will bring terrible, everlasting punishment on those who do not turn from their sins and trust in Christ. They need to know what Christ did on the cross, dying as our substitute. They need to understand that God forgives our sin because of His kindness, apart from our good works. They need to know what saving faith is, as opposed to empty profession that does not result in salvation.

We need to be careful not to assume that just because our child “asked Jesus into their heart” that they are truly saved. They may be, or they may not be saved. We need to look for evidence of genuine conversion: Are they truly sorry about their sin and try to keep from it? Do they show a growing love for God and His Word? Do they want to talk about the things of God? Do they want to please God with their conduct? A godly mother will train her children in how to live by God’s Word.

God’s Word is mighty to save (2 Peter 1:3-4), and it is profitable for teaching us the ways of God, how God wants us to live (2 Timothy 3:16). It reveals the very thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12). It reproves us, which means, it convicts us of our sin, rebellion and pride.

It corrects us by showing us how to get right with God and others. It trains us in righteousness, showing us how to keep on the path of obedience and blessing. Scripture is given to be profitable for how we live, to correct us and keep us on God’s path of holiness. Our children should see us applying Scripture and parents should teach them how to apply it to the things they face as they grow to maturity. If we use God’s Word to lead our children to saving faith and to train them in God’s ways, they will be blessed.

Godly mothers have great influence on their children; Lois and Eunice gave young Timothy a strong spiritual and moral foundation that lasted throughout his entire life. Timothy became a great witness and warrior for God and the His eternal truth. Yes, he was strengthened greatly through his relationship with Paul, but the foundation was laid by his godly mother and grandmother. When we look at the Bible and world history it is evident that a home is shaped through godly mothers and fathers.

Here are some personal words of encouragement. If you did not have a godly mother and you struggle where to go and where to you start, turn to God and ask Him for help and begin to obey Him where you are. You can also ask Him to send you godly, Spirit filled teachers who will help you grow in your faith and your love for God and the Savior. Even if your children are grown, God will honor your repentance. Go to them and ask their forgiveness for failing to be an example of godliness or for failing to train them in God’s ways.

God can use you as He used Lois and Eunice in Timothy’s life. Walk with God in sincere faith. Use His Word to lead your children and grandchildren to the same sincere faith and to train them in God’s ways.

Be a godly example to them by following the next key points:

  • Be devoted to God
  • Be devoted to you husband
  • Be devoted to your children
  • Be devoted to you home

Godly mothers instruct their children in God’s truths. Proverbs 1:8 says, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 6:20 adds, “My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.” King Lemuel in Proverbs 31:1 said that it was his mother who taught him about how to recognize a godly woman who would be a godly mother for his children. Timothy’s godly heritage was a result of his mother and his grandmother obedience to God’s Word. (2 Timothy 1:5)

Mothers must never underestimate the role that they play in teaching their children about God, about His Word, and about salvation. From as early on as possible, God is to be central in a mother’s instruction. Even in the case of an unsaved or absentee father as in Timothy’s case, mothers can still reach their children by faith (1 Corinthians 7:14). Teaching children the Bible is a huge calling with eternal ramifications, and godly mothers are honored to take up the challenge.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 4, 2015

BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY – 1 Peter 1:15-16

1 Peter vs 15-16

“But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16) 

Scripture commands us as Christians to be like our Lord and Savior in “all manner of conversation,” and in our daily conduct. We are His earthly witnesses, and we must live our lives so that we are an adequate reflection of Him. 

Our life and daily walk should be patterned after Him. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). Because, “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) 

The Scriptures say that we are to be like Him in the purity of our lives. “Be holy, for I am holy.” Therefore, “everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). We are to “pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

We should also be like Him in love. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8). We are to be willing to suffer unjustly without revenge, “because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps. Jesus committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” (1 Peter 2:21-22)

Being like Him also involves a life of service to God and others; this flows from a humble, holy heart.  The Lord took the role of a servant when He washed the disciple’s feet and He told them “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” (John 13:15) 

Christ has forgiven each of us many times, even though our sins grieve Him deeply. He always stands ready to forgive and restore fellowship, and so should we. With His help, we can emulate Him, even when we are wronged. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32) 

We need to remember that only Christ can make us truly holy. Paul said that those who have been raised to eternal life in Christ “have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.” (Colossians 3:10) 

Christ transforms us into new people in Him, people with a new heart that will have a deep desire to walk in holiness and be holy because He is holy. It is vital that we humbly permit the Holy Spirit to have unconditional control of our lives each moment of the day so we can “be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 8:29)  

Our lives are filled with choices; however, as Christians we must learn that we cannot be the people God wants us to be in our own strength. We need to make a choice between this world and eternity, between God and anything that would try to take His place.  

As parents we are leading our children in paths of holiness, or we are leading them on the broad road that leads to destruction and an eternity in the lake of fire. 

When you enter a home, how do you know that you are with people who deeply desire to live holy lives? 

  1. The virtues of humility, peace, purity, honesty, joy, integrity, self control, self discipline and obedience to those paramount and vital commands that God has given us in His Holy Word are displayed.
  2. The beauty of self discipline is displayed in these homes. The Holy Spirit will bring great discipline into our lives when we obey and worship God in “spirit and in truth.”
  3. Self discipline is simply obeying God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. To have discipline is doing the right thing at the right time.
  4. All kinds of sin and evil will be present in the home when children are not taught God’s commands from the Bible; they can only receive a foundation for their lives from His Holy Word.
  5. Actually, the Bible informs us that parents do not truly love their children if they refuse to have a time for daily family Bible study in their home. Deuteronomy 4:9
  6. Life is never inactive; either we are growing more holy and more like Christ, or we are becoming more evil and more like the devil. Jesus 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)
  7. Anyone in their right mind would never chose to serve an evil, destructive personality like this; however, since time began, billions of people have sold their souls to the devil.
  8. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19). The original Greek states that all of the people of the world have prostituted themselves to the devil.
  9. “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will    serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
  10. The un-disciplined life is not worth living!

The choices we make today will make a difference for eternity, so let us chose to be holy because our heavenly Father desires that of us.

“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Col 4

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6 

Paul used the term “outsiders” for people who were outside the church (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). We might say “unbelievers,” “non-Christians,” or “the unsaved.” We are supposed to conduct ourselves with wisdom towards those who have not yet come to faith in Jesus Christ. 

Paul wrote that we should be wise. Now to be wise is to properly apply wisdom. The Bible says that wisdom comes from walking in the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10) in accordance with the Word of God. Because those who hear God’s Words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:24) 

So, the Scripture is telling us to conduct ourselves with wisdom, to walk in wisdom, to be wise in the way we act when we are being seen and heard by the unbeliever or anyone else. 

The Bible teaches us that: We should make it our ambition to lead a quiet life: We should mind our own business and work with our hands…, so that our daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that the Christian will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) 

Outsiders are constantly examining Christians, and we need to make sure that our lives are living up to God’s standards. That’s why Paul told Timothy that in order for a man to become an elder in the church, he must have a good reputation with those outside the church… (1 Timothy 3:7) 

Paul is teaching all of us about being wise in our walk, about demonstrating good behavior. Even Christian teenagers are supposed to be considering this: “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:6-8) 

Peter told us to keep our behavior excellent among the unbelievers (1 Peter 2:12). To silence the ignorant talk of foolish men by doing right (1 Peter 2:15), and to keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame (1 Peter 3:16). 

We are to witness in our behavior and for Christ when we are around non-believers. We should be focused on the fact that every moment is an opportunity to witness about our Savior to a lost world. “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) 

Jesus said: “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)  

A born again believer should be kind, gentle, honest, caring, loving, and truthful. And as we do this we become a shining light in this dark world we live in today. 

Even though at times we will encounter resistance and hostility, the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26) 

However; God has also commanded us to expose and sharply rebuke rebellious, divisive, evil people. 

“For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (Titus 1:10-16)

Besides wisdom, our conversation needs to be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to answer everyone. Therefore, do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) 

When we walk in wisdom and grace through the Holy Spirit’s guidance this opens doors to witnessing to the lost. 

Paul never ceased to look for ways to proclaim the Gospel as we see here when he wrote this letter to the Colossians from his prison cell: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (Colossians 4:2-4)   

We need to remember that our conduct and speech before an unbeliever or anyone else is vitally important. Therefore our conduct should be with God’s wisdom and our speech filled with His grace.

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