Posted by: missionventureministries | March 30, 2015

A FOOL DESPISES HIS FATHER’S INSTRUCTION – Proverbs 15:5

Proverbs 15 vs 5(e)

“A fool despises his father’s instruction: but he that regards reproof is prudent.” (Proverbs 15:5) 

Many verses in Proverbs are wise instructions given to a son or daughter to keep them from straying from the right path.  This verse says that the son, who listens to his father or mother by obeying their instructions and yielding to their reproof, will be a wise and prudent son.  However, the son who despises their instructions and correction is a fool. This is not only true in the natural relationship of a father and a son, but it is also true in the relationship with our heavenly Father. We are blessed and wise when we remain as a teachable child, who obeys his father and yields to his correction.

It is a father’s responsibility as the head of the family to act as mentor to his children. He is responsible to lead, guide and teach them, and if necessary administer discipline in love. But the young person who despised that correction is described as ‘a fool’.  

Proverbs instructs us to respect the instruction of father, mother, and people who are older and wiser (Proverbs 1:8; 4:1–6, 13) A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes. (Proverbs 13:1) 

How well a person responds to discipline reveals his character. The contrast here is between the foolish son or daughter who has contempt for their parents who disciplines them, while a wise son hears and heeds reproof. 

Children should obey parents and pay attention to them because:

  • God has given parents authority over them.
  • They generally are twenty to forty years more experience in life than their children.
  • They have a lot more knowledge even if the children may think otherwise.
  • Parents generally have the children’s best interests in mind, while children are often selfishly motivated by their own desires. 
  • No one has to prove a fool to be a fool; he will prove himself to be one, when he despises discipline and reproof.

A fool will not accept instruction, especially from his father and mother, because he thinks he knows it all. When instructions are offered, a foolish child or young adult’s face clouds up with rebellion, they argue, harbor hatred in their heart and may quietly listen with the intent to disobey.

On the contrary a prudent and wise child will seek his father’s counsel and listen eagerly to any advice he can gather. He will not be offended by correction, restrictions, or repeated warnings. He trusts his father’s experience, objective advice, counsel, and the love he has for God and for him.

Willingness to be corrected is an important characteristic that distinguishes the wise from the foolish. “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1) And Proverbs 13:1 tells us once again that: “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”

Correction = “reproof”, “chastisement” and “rebuke” – is an integral tool for educating. The one who heeds correction is prudent because heeding correction or reproof leads to wisdom (Proverbs 15:31).

The wise father instructs his son from God’s word: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; 12 for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

The problem with the fool is this: he or she actually does not know good council when they see it! A fool is too foolish to see wisdom. When the fool seeks out wisdom, he’ll go to the wrong place.

We read about king Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles 10:8-11, who “rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?” 10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “The people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

Like king Rehoboam the fool is naturally drawn to those with flattering lips. Wise council is too harsh for him, because it means that some of his own foolish thoughts will be challenged. It means he may be rebuked, and he doesn’t want that!

We have a choice to make in our daily lives. Proverbs 15:10 tells us that those who hate discipline will die. And Proverbs 15:24 and 31 tell us that wisdom gained by rebuke will save us.

Five times in this chapter we read the refrain: ‘the wise receives rebuke, but the fool despises it.’ We see it repeated in vs. 15:5, 10, 12, 31 and 32. Why does Solomon repeat it so many times?  There is no doubt that wisdom is only gained through rebuke and chastening. It is gained by listening to the words of the wise, which will often not be the words the fool wants to hear.

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 23, 2015

BEING PREPARED – Proverbs 6:6-9

Proverbs 5 vs 6-9

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? (Proverbs 6:6-9)

The lessons in these verses are very important and very appropriate for what is going on in the world today. “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).

We are to consider the ants’ ways and be wise. If we do not prepare, we should not be surprised if we find ourselves without. These are the Words of our Father in Heaven has given to Solomon. He is telling us all to prepare for tough times, to observe even the tiny ant that is capable of these things. How much more capable are we?

As the ant, we should ensure we have enough food, water and the items that are needed to sustain our households through difficult times. We should always be prepared for possible natural disasters or anything else that might happen unexpectedly in life.

Some people might say, preparing shows a lack of faith, however, the Bible tells us otherwise:

“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)

The Bible has a great deal to say about those who are like the ants and are prepared, and those who are like the sluggard who are lazy and unprepared.

Proverbs is filled with warnings concerning laziness and admonition to the lazy person. Proverbs tells us that a lazy person hates work: “The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work” (Proverbs 21:25); he loves sleep: “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed” (Proverbs 26:14); he gives excuses: “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets’” (Proverbs 26:13); he wastes time and energy: “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great waster” (Proverbs 18:9); he believes he is wise, but is a fool: “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly” (Proverbs 26:16).

Proverbs also tells us the end in store for the lazy: A lazy person becomes a slave: “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (Proverbs 12:24); his future is bleak: “A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing” (Proverbs 20:4). The slugger will come to poverty: “The soul of the lazy man desires and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich” (Proverbs 13:4).

There is no room for laziness in the life of a Christian. We are convicted of our need to provide for our families through our labors: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8); and “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

As Christians, we know that our labors will be rewarded by our Lord if we persevere in diligence: “Let us not become weary in doing good,  for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Like Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers did not give up, so we should also be prepared. He lived his life with integrity, and he prospered at everything he did. He prospers because the Lord was with Him. At the end he tells his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)

Therefore let us remember that on top of the physical preparation there is the spiritual aspect to consider. How solid are you in God’s Word? Do you trust Him? Do you have faith in His Word? Have you accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior?

As believers in Jesus Christ our old propensity toward laziness, and all other sin, has been replaced by a desire to live godly lives: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28).

Remember: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” (Proverbs 27:12)

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 16, 2015

HOW TO BE AN EFFECTIVE AMBASSADOR FOR JESUS CHRIST – 2 Corinthians 5:20

Ambassador e

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

The job of an ambassador is to represent someone or something. Therefore the job of an ambassador for Christ is to represent the King himself in everything that we say and do.

The Apostle Paul was a great model for all those who desire to be an effective ambassador for Jesus Christ. He served with humility and compassion. He faithfully served God despite the persecution and trials he endured as a result of the relentless opposition from hypocrites and religious leaders.

Paul taught publicly from house to house, declaring that all must turn to God in repentance and have faith in the Lord Jesus (Acts 20:20-21). He took the message of Christ to everyone where he went. As he was going from place to place, he would testify to the Gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:24). He faithfully proclaimed the whole counsel and purpose of God (Acts 20:27).

Another important part of Paul’s ministry was warning Christians about hypocrites and false teachers who were distorting the truth for the purpose of drawing away disciples (Acts 20:30). Paul had already confronted “professing Christians” who had taught and embraced a distortion of God’s Gospel. He condemned with anathema anyone who would dare pervert the Gospel of God. This included even himself or any apostle who would distort God’s only means of saving sinners (Galatians 1:6-9).

Paul confronted the Judaizers and hypocrites who superficially taught about Jesus, but perverted the Gospel by adding works of the law as another requirement for salvation. Any human effort that is added to the Gospel nullifies God’s grace, which is the only means sinners can be saved. For this reason Paul proclaimed what the Gospel is, as well as what it is not. This method is so important when witnessing to “professing Christians” who have been led astray by a perversion of the true Gospel.

Paul’s teaching declares salvation is by grace and not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9) and by God’s mercy and not righteous deeds (Titus 3:5). If we follow Paul’s example we will warn that:

  • Sinners are justified by faith in Jesus, not by water baptism, or by taking communion, nor by church attendance, giving money or performing religious rituals and other religious works.
  • Sinners are purified by the precious blood of Jesus, ONLY and not by other means; and
  • Sinners have their sins expiated ONLY by the redemptive work of Jesus and not by human efforts as many false religions teach.

To follow Paul’s example is to reach out to and teach misguided “professing Christians” the truth, to get them off the broad road that leads to destruction while pointing them to the narrow road that leads to eternal life.

Paul also urged believers not to be partakers or partners with deceivers (Ephesians 5:6-7). Unfortunately, this vital element of contending for the faith and exposing deception is not practiced by many in the body of Christ today. In fact there are many believers that embrace false religions as a valid Christian denomination. As a result, the church has given the enemy free reign to sow tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:25). Many churches have more tares than wheat and thus reflect a picture of the world rather than a sanctified sanctuary of believers.

Paul being aware of the many counterfeit believers, who had believed in vain and continued in sin, urged them: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Those who believed in vain are those who departed from the Gospel Paul delivered: Christ died to save sinners, Christ was raised from the dead and Christ appeared to many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Paul proclaimed the word of God in all its power. He did not speak with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17).

Paul’s focus and commitment to evangelism is reflected in his writings: “I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. And I do all things for the sake of the Gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). He said, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16). Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel and its extraordinary approach to God.

By divine revelation Paul knew there was only one message of hope, only one Gospel, for in the Gospel we observe the greatest exchange in human history, man’s sin for God’s righteousness. Paul summed up this gracious and merciful substitution in one verse: “He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

As we follow Paul’s example let us seek to “know Christ and Him crucified” and proclaim this powerful message to those who have embraced another gospel (1 Corinthians 2:2). Paul urged his disciples to hold firmly to the Gospel he preached. Those who did had the assurance of eternal life. Those who embraced other gospels had no assurance, and thus believed in vain (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Since all true Christians have been entrusted with the Gospel, let us be exhorted by the words of Paul: “We are to speak, not as pleasing men but God who examines our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

The true Gospel will disturb those who hear it, for it speaks of both heaven and hell. It informs sinners of the righteousness of God and His demand for the payment of an infinite debt caused by sin. With this in mind, our primary motivation must always be to glorify God by accurately reflecting the heart of His revelation to mankind.

Galatians 1 vs 8

The Bible warns us often about the dangers of preaching a gospel other than the biblical gospel as given by Jesus Christ and His disciples. All Scriptural warnings are very strong. Consider Paul’s words: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:8)

Paul also rebuked the Corinthians for allowing this to occur: “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” (2 Corinthians 11:4)

Thus anyone who claims to be a preacher, a teacher, or a minister of the gospel, must be very careful because they are to preach the truth of the Bible, and that alone. There are to be no additions to it, and no subtractions from it. This is a Scriptural warning, which should be headed by many churches in the 21st Century: “I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and the holy city described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

Therefore, if it deviates from the clear teachings of Jesus and His commandments, then indeed they are teaching another gospel – a false gospel.

Sadly this is happening at an alarming rate today. Paul warned us that: “the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,” (1 Timothy 4:1).  There are new “churches” and cults springing up and flourishing all over the world. There are preachers at mega-churches and others giving us a gospel which bear no semblance whatsoever to the teachings of Christ and the words of the New Testament. Be aware this is another gospel, and in Paul’s words these false teachers, preachers, priests or whatever they call themselves are accursed. (Galatians 1:8)

“Jesus” is also quite popular among worldly people today, but he is not the true Jesus. The popular Jesus may be the “baby Jesus in the manger at Christmastime”, or the “buddy Jesus of the County Western ‘gospel’ music”, or the “success-counseling Jesus of the positive thinkers.” He may be also the “rhythmic Jesus of Christian rock”, but none of these are the Jesus preached by the apostle Paul through the Holy Spirit in Scripture, and therefore is not the real Jesus who saves men and women from their sins. 

During one of his sermons, John MacArthur alerted his congregation about a new “Techno Church.”  It features a break dancing Jesus and is attracting lots of people. When they meet, they all bring their stuff, their religious props and their rap albums. People jump up and down and dance while disco lights swirl over them.  It involves all kinds of people who feel like they’re connected to the break dancing Jesus. This is an absolutely ludicrous and ridiculous tragedy beyond all tragedies.

The Bible makes it overwhelmingly clear that Christ came to deal with the sin problem of mankind. He came to save sinners, so that man can once again have unbroken fellowship with God. Paul makes this absolutely plain when he said: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15)

The Lord Jesus Christ, is the Creator of the universe (Colossians 1:16), who had to die as man on the cross to redeem us through His shed blood (Colossians 1:14, 20), and who then rose from the dead to be set “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named.” (Ephesians 1:21)

We need to wake up while we still have breath in us, and need to realize that Jesus is our Savior. We need to also know that He is our Judge. It is Jesus “who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:1). He is the mighty God, the Perfect Man, the only Savior, the eternal King, and Lord of lords.  

God-called teachers will not preach an imaginary Jesus who appeals to the flesh, but rather the true Christ of creation and salvation. 

The Bible, through the writings of Paul commands us to expose false teachers and rebuke them sharply. 

You might be asking so how can we know the real Jesus? How can we keep from being deceived by all the different teachings, when most religions use the same Bible to prove their point?  

The way to recognize a counterfeit “Jesus” is to know the True One, and this is only accomplished by spending time with Him. We are not to only learn facts about Him, but, like Mary, Lazarus sister, we must spend time at His feet, meaning that we need to read His Word and ask Him to show us the truth of His Holy Scriptures through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. 

The Bride of Christ will know Him so well that she cannot be deceived into receiving “another Jesus” or “another message.” 

Jesus said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 2, 2015

HOW TO BECOME MORE CHRIST LIKE – 1 John 2:6

1 John 2 vs 6

If we want to become more Christ like in our life, our 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) 

Becoming more like Christ is the result of our surrender to God. Romans 12:1-2 says: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” 

We are to be like Jesus in the purity of our lives. Peter writes 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) and John states And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3) 

And “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) 

Furthermore we are to 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 also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:21-22)

Being like Jesus involves a life of service and being humble. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15)

If we want to be like Jesus we need to deal with our pride and any boastfulness and “let this humble mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

To be more like Jesus is to be a person willing to put others before ourselves, to seek wisdom from God, and to care about how we interact with the people we come across in life. We need to be considerate in all that we do. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that love is always patient and kind. And Hebrews 12:14 states: Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

We need to care for other people and treat others as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12); we need to think beyond our self.

Jesus forgave Peter even though Peter betrayed Jesus. Christ has forgiven each of us many times, even though our sins grieve Him deeply. He stands ready to forgive and restore fellowship, and so should we. With His help, we can emulate Him, even when we are wronged. Therefore, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Scripture teaches us to be like our Lord and Savior in “all manner of conversation,” therefore we need to watch our tone of voice and the words that come out of our mouths.  As born again believers we are Christ’s earthly witnesses, and we must act as a reflection of Him. 

Like John the Baptist said: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) This should be the attitude of every born again Christian.  As my husband always says, “hide me behind the cross, may Jesus be seen and not I”. 

Christ mined Christian always remember: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 23, 2015

ARE YOU STORING TREASURES ON EARTH OR IN HEAVEN? – Matthew 6:19-21

T in heaven (E)

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Here we see Jesus contrasting “treasures on earth” with “treasures in heaven,” and He teaches that our earthly possessions and acquisitions are vulnerable and temporal, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.

Jesus instructed believers to “store your treasures in heaven” rather than on earth. The Lord’s use of the term “store up” is important, for it implies a dedication of energy and effort over time to acquire resources. The pursuit of earthly treasure, while certainly honorable and worthy if used to provide for your family like food, clothing and a home, will simply not last. Only treasure of the heavenly kind with Kingdom purposes will endure, for it will never decay, nor can it be stolen from God’s mighty hand.

Jesus wants us to know that:  Wherever our treasure is, there the desires of our heart will also be. 

In Proverbs 4:23 we read: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  Here Solomon is telling us to guard our heart above all else, and to focus on those desires that will keep us on the right path with our heavenly Father. 

The issue of the heart was something that Jesus had to bring up quite often in His teachings, as later He gives another example in the story of the rich young ruler in (Matthew 19:16-22). Here we see a young ruler who obeys the Old Testament commandments; however his heart is controlled by his possessions. He is wealthy and supposedly has a lot going for him, but he is not willing to let those things go in order to follow Jesus. When it came down to loving the Father and having no other gods (things) before Him, he is not willing to let go of the wealth he obtained here on earth, in order to gain eternal life.  

Earthly treasures are those that potentially can be stolen, destroyed or consumed. Jesus refers to them as the moth, the rust and the thief. The moth is a tiny little butterfly-looking insect that doesn’t appear harmful at all, but it will destroy the most expensive fabric you could ever own. Rust destroys things that are thought indestructible. And the thief is always looking to break in and steal.  

All through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us to repent, to change our minds and our attitudes. Jesus is talking about laying up eternal treasures that will be with us forever. Our outlook needs to be like the Old Testament saints as described in Hebrews 11:13-16, who trusted in the promises God gave them.  

So, “how do we lay up treasures in heaven?” The answer is by living the way God has taught us to live in His Holy Scripture. The greatest commandment in all the Bible is: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)  

We need to understand that when our focus is on the things of this earth, so that we have put our treasures above God, and are serving them instead of our Savior, we need to search our heart and ask ourselves:  

  • Are we earthly-minded or heavenly-minded?
  • Are we investing in the future eternity, or are we investing in the here and now?
  • Are we engrossed with the temporal or are we focused on the eternal?
  • Are we pursuing greed or do we seek to walk in humble obedience to God?

Our focus determines our priorities. If our treasure is in heaven, our heart will be there as well. We will be concerned about God’s holiness, becoming more Christ like, and sharing the gospel. We will be eager to build His Kingdom and not our kingdom. We will recognize that we are steward’s who are entrusted with the management of earthly possessions and that they are not ours in the first place. Furthermore, we will be constantly reminded that as true born again believers we are strangers in this world and that our real home, is in heaven with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, the focus of Christ’s message can be found in the final sentence. “Treasures,” here, indicates the position of the heart. How we spend our time, our energy, and yes, our money, reveals the true nature of our desires. How humbling and convicting! Truly, the Word “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 16, 2015

EARTHLY RICHES ARE NOT THE ANSWER TO OUR ETERNAL SECURITY – Luke 12:13-21

Rich fool - bigger barns

This parable from Luke 12:13-21 of the rich fool has a very important lesson for each one of us.

Jesus was teaching the multitude when someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

By such an interruption it is obvious that this man did not come to hear Jesus Christ teach. He had come for other motives. The man apparently thought that he might use Jesus to mediate his inheritance case. We need to know that at that time it was customary for people to take their disputes to the rabbis for settlement but this was clearly an act of selfishness and greed.

Jesus immediately refuses and replies, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”

Then, Jesus turned to the multitude and said to them, “Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

We need to remember that greed and covetousness is mentioned in the Ten Commandments because it is a warning to one of the major human problems. Where greed is involved there is never enough and there is the constant desire to want more.

This was a subject that everyone needed to be aware of, so Jesus warns not just the one man, but the entire crowd. Then He proceeds to tell them the parable of a farmer, who had great success in farming.  (Luke 12:16-21).

“The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.” (v. 16)

As we read the parable, we discover there were three problems with this man.  First, you will notice that he only thought of himself.  Secondly, he did not think about God and thirdly he had no plans to help his fellow man.

He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

This man assumes that his life consists in the abundance of things he possesses; the crops are his and they will provide for his well being for many years to come, so he thinks. And he will enjoy life and eat, drink and party.

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (v. 20)        

The foolishness and selfishness of the rich man is seen in that he fails to think about his “body” and that it is mortal, and that his life can end at any moment. He also does not consider the needs of others, because the needs of the poor are not even taken into consideration. He thinks only of self as it is denoted by the number of “I’s” and “my’s” in these verses. Not once does he thank and glorify God for the abundance of the harvest.

This man lives as if God did not exist, and God is not a factor in his life or in the decisions he makes. He does not look for holy advice and he does not pray. He rationalizes and determines that he will keep everything and then will consume it in self-indulgences. In his mind, his land, his possessions, and his life are all under his control. The tendency is that the more successful a person is the more their focus is on the now, and they see their security only in their riches.

We need to be very careful how we live, since we never know when our time here on earth will end.

As Jesus continues He explains that those who lay up treasure for themselves, and are not rich toward God, are like this rich fool! (v. 21)

If our plans for the future are focus only on self, and not on God and the needs of others, we are no different than the rich fool. It is wise to plan but we should do it wisely with God’s help through the Holy Spirit guidance, through prayer and reading his Word.

The rich farmer is a fool not because he is wealthy or because he saves for the future, but because he appears to live only for himself, and because he believes that he can secure his life with his abundant possessions.

The lesson of the parable is that the rich man did not prepare for eternal life and he did not realize that everything is created and owned by God. He had no relationship with the living God. In his planning he had no regard for the God that created him and had given him possessions and stewardship of the land.

This parable teaches us that earthly riches are not the answer to our eternal security. The important thing is that we must be rich spiritually to inherit eternal life.

We need to ensure that our heart is in the right place. Jesus said:  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 9, 2015

ALL SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED BY GOD – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

2 Tim 3 vs 16

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Biblical message inspired by God is His revelation in written form, in order to precisely preserve and propagate the truth. The word revelation means an uncovering, a removal of the veil, a disclosure of what was previously unknown. Revelation of God is God’s manifestation of Himself to humankind in such a way that men and women can know Him and have fellowship with Him.

The Bible declares, hundreds of times, to be the written Word of God. The Old Testament Scriptures were acknowledged by Christ and the apostles as divinely inspired and completely infallible. When Jesus said: “The scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35), He was speaking of God’s written word. The events, actions, commandments, and truths from God are given to us and cannot be broken.

The Lord Jesus Christ identified truth with the written Word. In His great, high priestly prayer (John 17:17), He said, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” This was consistent with the declarations in which the Holy Spirit continually proclaims that the revelation from God is truth: “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever” (Psalm 119:160). There is no other source than the Scripture to which this statement applies. Only this source, the Holy Scripture, is the standard of truth for the believer. Actually, the Bible is the only foundational source of truth.

In the temptation, the Lord Jesus resists Satan three times saying, “It is written” (Matthew 4:4-10). In stating “It is written,” the Lord used the exact same phrase that is used in the Holy Bible numerous times. Therefore, the persistence of the repeated phrase underlines its importance.

People need to be very cautious regarding religious traditions, because quite often they attempt to give human traditions higher authority than God’s Word. This was true of the Jews of Jesus’ day and unfortunately it is also true of many religions today. In refuting the errors of the Sadducees, the Scripture records the Lord saying, You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29). Jesus continually reprimanded and rebuked the Pharisees because they gave their traditions equal power to the Word of God. By doing so they were corrupting the very basis of truth. So Jesus declared to them: “You are invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” (Mark 7:13)

Since Scripture alone is inspired by Almighty God, it alone is the ultimate authority and not tradition.

The Word of the Lord says as a commandment: “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)

God commands that we are not to add to His Word; this shows emphatically that it is only God’s Word that is pure and unadulterated. Jesus has some stern warning for us also in Revelation 22:18-19.

We need to realize that Scripture can only be understood correctly in the light of Scripture, since it alone is uncorrupted. It is only with the Holy Spirit’s light that Scripture can be comprehended correctly. The Holy Spirit causes those who are the Lord’s to understand Scripture and Jesus promised us that: “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14: 26). Therefore “It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth” (1 John 5:6).

If you want to be true to God in this important matter, follow His instruction, “Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you” (Proverbs 1:23). Be assured that if you are longing for truth the Lord will not despise a broken and contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17)

When we look at Scripture versus tradition we read that Scripture is the authoritative record that God has given His people. Therefore, to appeal to a tradition for authority, when God did not give it, is futile. The idea that somehow sayings and events from the Lord have been recorded in tradition is simply not true. If you want to get your theology straight, read and study the Bible carefully.

 “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:23-24)

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

Jesus Christ looked only to the authority of the Scriptures, as did His apostles after Him. They confirmed the very message of the Old Testament. “For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 33:4).

The believer is to be true to the way of the Lord, following only what is written, because, “The Word of the LORD is right and true.” AMEN


Posted by: missionventureministries | February 2, 2015

WHOEVER BELIEVES WILL NOT ACT HASTILY – Isaiah 28:16

Isaiah 28

“Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.” (Isaiah 28:16)

Behold I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation. God is the one who lays a stone and we are asked to behold God’s foundation and build our life upon it.

It is so easy to rush ahead of God instead of waiting for His leading. With good intentions and admirable zeal, Christians plan many things and become involved in a thousand-and-one good activities, all in the name of Christ and for His kingdom. Many feel and urgency, because they believe, that time is short and they feel they must hurry. The problem is that they forget to first consult with the Lord and then wait for His answer and directions.

What is this foundation? 1 Peter 2:6 applies this passage directly to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is the foundation for our lives and only with a secure, stable foundation can anything lasting be built. Anything “added on”, not built upon the foundation, is sure to end up in ruins.

The chief cornerstone carries the weight of the structure. If laid properly, the weight of the building is evenly distributed and the structure remained sound. A solid, level foundation is a must, because without that strong base, the wall will eventually fall.

Jesus taught us this principle in the parable about the house built on the rock (Jesus) versus the one built without a foundation on the sand and great was its fall. (Matthew 7:24-27)

In this great Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, God promised a Savior who would be the sure foundation of the eternal temple of God; yet it was 700 years before the promise was fulfilled. God did not “act hastily,” but His promise, nevertheless, was fulfilled. No doubt many believing Jews wondered why it was taking so long, “but when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son…” (Galatians 4:4).

Our Messiah was a tried stone. Jesus was tried, was tested, and was proven to be the glorious, obedient Son of God in all things.

Jesus a precious cornerstone. Our Messiah is precious and our cornerstone. The cornerstone provides the lines and the pattern for all the rest of the construction. The cornerstone is straight and true, and everything in the entire building lines up in reference to the cornerstone.

Our Messiah a sure foundation. Jesus is our sure foundation and we can build everything on Him without fear.

If we trust, obey and believe we will not act hastily and God will be exalted: “The Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 30:18). And once we get the complete assurance of His leadership we must not fail to follow Him, because He will lead us through the Holy Spirit and His Word. 

We need to be absolutely sure that we are following the Lord’s leading, because all too often decisions made in haste results in confusion and regret.  

Next time we are tempted to act before we have heard or considered all the facts and circumstances, let us remember God’s profound admonishment and encouragement found in His Word.

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).  

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 26, 2015

SHOW ME YOUR WAYS, LORD AND TEACH ME YOUR PATHS – Psalm 25:4-5

Psalm 25 vs 4-5

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:4-5)                   

When we wait on God it shows a spirit of trust and humility, of loving obedience, of hope and confidence, of a most intimate friendship and of the deepest reverence for our Creator. 

Waiting on God was one of the reasons David was called “a man after God’s own heart”. God was his security and he trusted Him in every aspect of his life. He trusted Him for guidance and instruction (v. 5), for help and defense (Psalm 33:20), for victory over his enemies and vindication (Psalm 37:7-9), for deliverance from trouble and destruction (Psalm 40:1), and so much more.    

Nothing proves our faith like waiting on God for answers to prayer, because when we wait we are demonstrating our submission to Him. 

Waiting does not necessarily mean abstaining from all activity; it is obedience to God because He has the right plan for us. Waiting on God means that all of our life is brought under God’s authority and direction. If we run ahead of God, we will experience anxiety, exhaustion, and failure. When we take matters in our own hands there can be some irreparable consequences and there are many examples in the Bible like Abraham and Sarah getting ahead of God and Saul’s usurping the role of a priest. 

The Word says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). So what do we learn while we are waiting? We learn to trust in God in expectation of His revelation because God is in charge of every detail of our life. His timing is perfect if we really want Him to show and teach us His ways. He is omniscient, and gives us confirmation of His omnipresence through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who guides us and teaches us if we let Him. 

God gives us assurances of His real power and He gives the grace to await His purposes until the precise moment when He gives evidence that He was working all along. Without this faith, it is impossible to please Him, for all who come to God must believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) 

The answer to waiting is through prayer, with strength and courage (Psalm 27:14). And we rejoice and trust in His Holy Name and in His unfailing love (Psalm 33:18-24).  

Our greatest desire should be to learn to be patient and obedient, desiring to know God’s truth. We need to expectantly and faithfully believe His promise and know that if we ask and expect with the right motive we will receive. 

The Lord declared: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12) 

And Isaiah 40:31 tells us: “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 

Waiting is not easy but, if we can learn to wait on God we will live a more rewarding and stress free life. Having patience and trusting in the Lord is one of the greatest life principles we can ever learn.  

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

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