Posted by: missionventureministries | December 1, 2016

GOD INSTRUCTS AND COUNSEL US IN THE WAY WE SHOULD GO – Psalm 32:8

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I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8) 

God teaches and instructs us similar to a father who lovingly watches over his children teaching and guiding them. This verse is a great reflection of the perfect model of what parenting should be. 

It should be natural that we would long to be close to God, our Heavenly Father, because every child wants to have the security of being close to their parents, but many because of what happened during their upbringing wonder if they can really get close to God the Father because they never had a real father that loved them and gave them the teaching and attention they needed. 

The Bible declares that God loves us and longs to listen to our hearts, comfort us, and counsel us like a father. As the Psalmist declared, “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) 

Just as every parent knows the importance of getting a child’s attention, so God relate to us also. 

We need to make time to be with the Lord as Psalm 46:10 states “Be still and know that I am God.” God is always available for us, but we cannot really know Him until we specifically concentrate on Him and His Holy attributes.

The promise in Psalm 32:8 encompasses everything we need to know to make the right choice.

  • First of all, He promises to instruct us with truth. The world and even religious people offer us advice and ideas that are full of error, but the Lord’s guidance always leads us the right way. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
  • When we open His Word, the Lord teaches us and helps us understand what it means. However, having information is just the beginning. To benefit from it, we must apply what we learn to the situation we’re facing. Since some of our decisions are not a matter of right and wrong but of what’s best for our lives, we also need wisdom and discernment to make the right choices. The Holy Spirit within us has promised to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). His goal is to direct us to do the will of God by showing us the difference between truth and error and helping us distinguish between what’s good and what’s best. Because He knows the future and sees what will result from taking a wrong turn, He guides us into paths that lead to the blessings that come from obedience to God. When we follow His promptings, we won’t suffer from the inevitable regrets that follow wrong choices.
  • I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” This promise shows us the closeness of God because counseling involves a relationship. It also reveals that we walk under the loving eye of the Lord’s encompassing watch. As a loving Father, He watches over us, giving wise counsel for life. Since we know that He loves us, has full knowledge of the future, and always wants the best for us, it’s foolish to ignore His wisdom and make decisions based on our own knowledge and understanding. There are so many aspects of the situation we cannot see, but God knows them all, therefore, we should seek His loving instructions of the way we should go.
  • God’s eye upon us also demonstrates His protection and watchful care over us, wherever we are and whatever we do. He sees what awaits us each day and shows us the right way, even when another path seems like the one we should take. Our responsibility is to keep looking up and setting our minds on God. Every decision should prompt us to ask Him what He’d have us do.
  • And if others come to us for guidance, we need to immediately seek wisdom from the Lord. Anytime we offer counsel, we should rely on this promise because we are accountable to God for the advice we give.

Remember, God desires to be close to His children and when we draw nigh to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).

He looks forward to our prayers, and He also looks forward to our listening to what He has to say to us. Keep in mind that God will disseminate things plainly to us; He will enable us to reach His purpose for us. He’s given us a wonderful promise in this verse to encourage us when we’re in need of His guidance.

If we come to Him seeking and believing Him, He will give us instruction and teaching for whatever situation we’re facing. Stay close to God and He will be close to you and will guide you throughout your life.

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 24, 2016

THE BIBLICAL MEANING OF THANKSGIVING – Psalm 100:4-5

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Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:4-5) 

We should be thankful because God is worthy of our thanksgiving. It is only right to credit Him for “every good and perfect gift” He gives (James 1:17). When we are thankful, our focus moves off selfish desires and off the pain of current circumstances. Expressing thankfulness helps us to remember that God is in control. Thankfulness, then, is not only appropriate; it is actually healthy and beneficial to us. It reminds us that we belong to God and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). Truly, we have an abundant life (John 10:10), and thankfulness is our expression of love for our Creator. 

Let us look at a couple of biblical points on why we should be thankful to our heavenly Father. 

Because it honors God. When we are thankful, we recognize that God exists, and true thankfulness recognizes our total dependence on God and stems from realizing that everything going on in our lives and all we have is the product of God’s sovereign control, infinite wisdom, purposes and grace. “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15) 

A humble person is a thankful person and a thankful person will be a humble person, therefore, they know that everything that they have comes from our loving Heavenly Father. 

Because it is commanded in Scripture. God commands us to overflow with thanksgiving. Both the Old and New Testament are filled with verses about thanksgiving as our verse tells us; and the apostle Paul teaches us to “pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18) 

We also find these beautiful words in Colossians 3:15-17 – Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and]be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. 

We should give thanks for God Himself and for His sovereign activity and control over the universe. What a hopeless world this would be if all things had no purpose and were merely the product of time plus chance. As we again see in Colossians 1:12-14, we should give joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”.  

We should give thanks for our salvation through Christ and for the unfathomable riches that are ours in Him (Ephesians 3:8). After all, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing, and we are complete in Him (Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 2:10). As illustrated so often by Paul in the salutation of his epistles, we should give thanks for others who know the Savior and are growing and serving the Lord. And we should continue sharing the good news with those who are lost and in such great need of our Savior. 

So, are we responding with a heart of gratitude that is focused on the Lord? Are we actively giving thanks for what God has done, is doing, and will, and are we seeking to serve the Savior? Such a response can only come as we begin to truly comprehend the grace of God in Christ, are seeking to know Him intimately in all the situations of life as we face them, and are resting in His sovereign grace.

We should rejoice as David did – Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)

Let us encourage one another and come joyfully before the Lord, worshiping Him with gladness and in song. As we do this the enemy flees from us and our hearts are filled with hope and joy.

We need to remember that thanksgiving needs to be the attitude of the believer at all times because: Praise, thanksgiving and worship is our expression of love for the Lord.

MAY YOUR THANKSGIVING BE BLESSED

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 16, 2016

BE HUMBLE, GENTLE AND PATIENT – KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT – Ephesians 4:2-3

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Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:2-3) 

How do we live a life worthy of the Christian calling? This verse tells us how – by being completely humble, gentle, patient and bearing with one another in love. These are powerful words; just think how many of those around us would want to change to become more Christ-like if we chose to react in a completely humble and gentle way?

Be completely humble.” Biblical humility is grounded in the character of God, therefore the Christian ought to emulate Christ’s example of meekness and humility: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

And gentle.” A gentle person has a sensitive disposition and a kind behavior prompted by love. Being gentle focuses on the way that we respond to people that we differ with or that are having a bad day.

Be patience.” Patience is a virtue and talked about throughout the Bible in the Old and New Testaments. According to 1 Samuel “lack of patience can cause you to miss blessings”. When we are patient, we will not so easily blow up or react against others. Instead, it allows us to exude a kind spirit in a difficult situation.

Bearing with one another in love.” We need to show forbearance to all through the power of Christ’s love. We are to be forgiving as He has forgiven us. It is basically a Christian grace in likeness to God. It means that we can be happy and content when we are not in control or steering things our way. We need this so that the inevitable wrongs that occur between people in God’s family will not work against God’s purpose of bringing all things together in Christ. 

We need a commitment to love Jesus Christ above all things and to sacrifice all of our mini-agendas for His sake: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Anything else must take second place to the priority of living a life that reflects the love of Christ and models His humility and gentleness towards all who have put their trust in Him.  

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. The apostle Paul was a constant proponent of Christian unity, he knew that it will take effort and work to walk in unity.  

Paul makes a similar appeal in his first letter to the Corinthians. In verse 10 of chapter 1, he writes, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” Similar words can be found in Philippians 2:2, and Colossians 2:2-3. Paul was constantly urging Christians to pursue unity! 

It is essential to realize that people do not create unity—God does. However; when God’s people are led by and filled with The Holy Spirit peace, humility, Christian love and unity becomes a reality. In Ephesians 4:3, Paul does not call us to ‘create unity,’ or ‘make unity.’ Instead he says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”. True Christian unity originates in the unity of the Holy Trinity. This unity is given to the believer by the Father through the Spirit because of what Christ did for us at the cross. As Ephesians 2:22 promises, “And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”  

We must note that Christian unity is radically different from anything the world has to offer. Non-Christians can rally passionately and effectively around any number of causes, including political agendas, moral issues such as poverty or racism, or many other reasons. In contrast, Christian unity is not formed around a cause; it is centered on a Person – the Lord Jesus Christ. As we contemplate the immensity of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for us, as well as the glory of his deity, we should be inspired to pursue a unity that far outshines anything the world could possibly plan. “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)  Christians must never accept the evil practices of this world’s Anti-Christ system for the purpose of a false “unity.”  

God has commanded His true children to expose evil in ever place – even in our churches. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11) 

Unity requires a commitment to develop Christ-like character, especially humility and submission. Pride is the great enemy of unity. This is why so many passages in Scripture call for unity in the body of believers and also urge us to cultivate humility and mutual submission. Just before Paul calls us to unity in Ephesians 4:3, he urges us to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (v. 2).  He warns us in Romans 12:3 – “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you”. And in Philippians 2:3-4, Paul exhorts us to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  

To maintain unity is a commitment to strive earnestly and prayerfully to pursue peace, resolve conflict, and preserve relationships despite personal differences. Having planted numerous Christian churches, the apostle Paul knew that conflict frequently threatened the unity and witness of local congregations. Therefore, most of his letters contain an exhortation such as that found in Ephesians 4:2-3: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” We must always be patient with true Christians who are still trying to develop their faith and understanding of God’s plan for joy, peace and victory in living the Christian life. 

Paul and other New Testament writers knew that Satan is always seeking to sow seeds of conflict, offense, and division in the body of believers, hoping to destroy our witness for Christ. As Paul teaches, the best way to stop these seeds of conflict from growing is to be humble and gentle toward those who irritate us, to patiently overlook minor offenses, to bear with those who disappoint us, and to lovingly correct those whose sins are too serious to overlook. There are some people that say that they are “brutally honest.” Satan uses these also, therefore when confronted with these types of people we should ask them – which aspect do you enjoy administering the most – the honesty or the brutality? Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (Luke 17:3) 

One of the most beautiful descriptions of Christian unity is found in Acts 2:42-47: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” 

As this passage shows, true Christian unity can provide a powerful and appealing witness to the world. It reveals the redeeming and reconciling power of the Savior. It shows that relationships can withstand the disappointments and pains of daily life. Unity also enables the body of believers to resist the pressures of the world, to care for those in need, and to take the gospel to the whole world, (Matthew 28:19-20).

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 9, 2016

WHAT DOES THE WORD OF GOD TELL US ABOUT GOSSIP? – Proverbs 11:13

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A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. (Proverbs 11:13) 

A gossiper is a person who has privileged information about someone and proceeds to reveal that information to those who have no business knowing it. Gossip can also be defined as a slanderer who makes a false spoken statement about the behavior or personal life of other people, often without knowing the truth and therefore damaging this person’s reputation. 

If we were honest, most of us would admit we ourselves at times have a problem with our verbal communication. How many can honestly say they have never said something about someone else and then later realized they should not have said it? If we studied the Bible better, we might regret even more what comes out of our mouth, because: A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. (Proverbs 20:19) 

Anyone can be guilty of gossiping simply by repeating something heard in confidence. The book of Proverbs has a long list of verses that reveal the dangers of gossip and the potential hurt that results from it. “A person who lacks judgment puts down his neighbor, but a person of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” (Proverbs 11:12-13) 

The Bible tells us that “a perverse person stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28). Many a friendship has been ruined over a misunderstanding that started with gossip. Those who engage in this behavior do nothing but stir up trouble, cause anger, bitterness, and pain among friends. Sadly, some people thrive on this and look for opportunities to destroy others. And when such people are confronted, they deny the allegations and answer with excuses and rationalizations. Rather than admit wrongdoing, they blame someone else or attempt to minimize the seriousness of the sin. “A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” (Proverbs 18:7-8) 

The antidote to gossip is to think before you speak, because, whoever guards his mouth and tongue, keeps his soul from troubles. (Proverbs 21:23) 

If no one would ever listen to gossip, then it would likely die, out from a lack of ears to hear. But the reality is there is always someone who is eager to listen and that only feeds the gossiper and enables them to keep the gossiping going. 

When you are telling a story about someone ask yourself the following questions: 

  • How certain am I that the facts are correct? 
  • Was the information given in confidence? 
  • Have I checked the facts with the person involved? I may not even have the facts straight about the situation or the person being gossiped about!!! 
  • Am I telling this story for the edifying of the body of Christ?  
  • Have I asked God if I should share this information with other people? 
  • Do I really love and care about the person that I am gossiping about? Have I gone to the victim of my gossip and asked if I can pray for them and how I can help them if they are struggling in some area of their lives?  

The message throughout the Bible is very clear – don’t gossip! All it does is cause hurt and damage. God rewards the just and the righteous, so do as God commands and avoid gossip – be trustworthy. So, 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) 

How should we respond when someone begins to gossip? 

  • Don’t participateIf a person refuses to stop trying to convey gossip/slander to you, it will be necessary to distance yourself from them.
  • Avoid themA gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. (Proverbs 20:19)
  • Change the subject“Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. (Proverbs 26:20)
  • ConfrontBe on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (Luke 17:3)

Remember that: Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. (James 1:26)

God hates gossip because it hurts people, it damages reputations, it causes friendships to break up, it can destroy marriages, family and even someone’s job. Remember, next time someone gossips to you, don’t participate, change the subject, walk away, or confront them because, “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. (Proverbs 26:20) 

When in doubt keep silence, because, whoever guards his mouth and tongue, keeps his soul from troubles (Proverbs 21:23). And in case you did not know there seven things that are an ABOMINATION to the Lord and one of them basically refers to gossip: A false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:19) 

Therefore, refrain from gossip and remember what Jesus said: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | November 3, 2016

HYPOCRITS WHO ARE THEY? – Matthew 15:8

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This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. (Matthew 15:8) 

What Jesus is saying here is that the Pharisees and teachers of the law who had come to see Him and to question Him were hypocrites.  

Hypocrisy means ‘the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; a deceiver, a liar, a pretender.’ And in biblical terms it is ‘the contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character, especially with respect to religious and moral beliefs.’ The word hypocrite is rooted in the Greek word hypokrites, which means ‘stage actor’, – literally, ‘one who wears a mask’- in other words, someone who pretends to be what he is not. 

Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah who condemned the hypocrisy of his day: “The Lord says, ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’” (Isaiah 29:13) 

Some time before, Jesus addressed another form of hypocrisy in the Sermon on the Mount: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). Here, Jesus is not teaching against helping others overcome sin; instead, He is telling us not be so prideful and convinced of our own goodness that we criticize others from a position of self-righteousness. We should do some self examination first and correct our own shortcomings before we go after the “speck” in others, since those who judge, probably are practicing the same things. (Romans 2:1) 

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had many encounters with the Pharisees. These men were well versed in the Scriptures and zealous about following every letter of the Law; however, in adhering to it, they actively sought loopholes that allowed them to violate the spirit of the Law. Also, “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.” (Matthew 23:5–7)  

Jesus also condemned their behavior in no uncertain terms, pointing out that “justice, mercy, and faithfulness” are more important than pursuing a perfection based on faulty standards (Matthew 23:23). Jesus made it clear that the problem was not with the Law but the way in which the Pharisees put it into action and told His listeners you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. (Matthew 23:3)  

We cannot say we love God if we do not act accordingly and love our brothers (1 John 2:9). Love must be sincere (not hypocritical). Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). A hypocrite pretends to look righteous on the outside, but he is wearing a mask and it is like a façade. True righteousness comes from the inner transformation of the Holy Spirit not an external conformity to a set of rules. In contrast, the Pharisees did everything just to be seen and were total hypocrites. (Matthew 23:5) 

Please understand that hypocrisy is not the same as taking a stand against sin. For example, it is not hypocrisy to teach that adultery is a sin, unless the one teaching against adultery practices it himself—that would be hypocrisy. As we read in the Scriptures: “you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?” (Romans 2:21-22) 

Hypocrites are self-righteous and they think that they are better Christians than everyone else, just like the Pharisee who stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (Luke 18:11-12) 

Jesus is saying that these hypocrites were honoring Him with their lips. They were just talking about serving the Lord but in reality were only acting.  

It is no different today; the Lord knows each of us here. He knows our heart. He knows if what you are doing for Him comes from the heart. Too many people in the world honor God with their lips and there are a lot of folks today sitting in churches and their pretended worship is an abomination to God. These people need to humble themselves and get right with God. The only way God will accept our worship is to follow His directions in the Bible. Worshiping any other way lacks worth or substance and is unacceptable to God, for Jesus says, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8). Today is the day to repent, not on Judgment Day, because then it will be too late. 

Please take the time to read Jesus’ warnings about hypocrisy in Matthew 23, where He calls the Pharisees hypocrites six times along with “You snakes! You brood of vipers!” 

Pride and hypocrisy go hand in hand; and God “opposes the proud”. The word “oppose” is used in a war or fighting context; this is a very dangerous place to live – God is actually fighting against proud, rebellious, hypocrites. However, if we humble ourselves, “He gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) 

True Christians submit to the righteousness of Christ. Hypocrites seek their own righteousness and their own glory. As Romans 10:3 states: “Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” 

If you have been living in hypocrisy you must repent and put your trust in Christ alone. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior please click here.

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 27, 2016

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TRUST IN GOD? – Psalm 34:19

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Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)         

First of all, what is trust? The dictionary defines trust as, “The belief that someone or something is reliable, has integrity, strength and is honest.” 

We all know that God is the personification of this definition and so much more. Then why is it so hard for people and even Christians to trust Him? 

As believers, we need to understand that trust is one of the most important parts of our relationship with God. When times are tough and things aren’t going our way, that’s when many find it the most difficult to trust God; and doubt that God is going to help us. They lack faith in His promises, and worry with endless thoughts about what will happen to them. 

Just like the people in John 6 that had witnessed Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5,000 thousand with five small barley loaves and two small fish…the next day where asking Him “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?” (John 6:30). Even after all the miracles that Jesus had performed, they still would not trust in Him. 

God wants us to trust Him when we’re having doubts and are unsure about what to do; therefore, we need to surrender ourselves and all of your troubles to God. We need to realize that there is supernatural strength available to us from heaven, and when we accept these truths, our perspective on life will change. 

We need to replace negative thoughts with positive ones; consequently, when we find ourselves thinking negative thoughts that are depressing us, we need to start thinking about positive scriptures that will help us. Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” 

God will answer us at the right moment. He will never fail us, but we need to be especially close to Him during difficult times because our faith will be tested. During hard times we need to ask God to give us perseverance to trust in Him, because God knows what is best for us, and many times God has to do a work in us first by teaching, purifying and molding us before the answer will come.

Please understand that there is no fear when we trust, since the two are opposites. There is also no worry in trust, since when we worry about anything; it is because we have not turned it over to God. Trusting in God takes away anxiety and fear, and gives way to calmness and peace.It is sad to see so many people using a large portion of their energy in worry. There is always something that is troubling them. Their days and nights are full of anxiety, and worrying becomes a fixed habit with them. Peace, calmness and assurance are a rarity in their lives. These people have to learn that the cure for worry is trust. Trust brings assurance. Trust tells us that God is in control, assuring us that God is our refuge and strength, that our lives and everything else are in His hands, and that He will carry out what is best for us in His time.

Trusting in God permits us to see His true character and it gives us confidence. It causes us to realize the greatness and tenderness of His love, and gives us an awareness of His might. As the psalmist wrote: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

There are so many promises about trust in the Bible, but they will never become real to us until we learn to really trust in them.

Another way of looking at trust is that it implies submission. Very often God fails to do things for us because we do not permit Him to. We want to plan ourselves. We want things to be done in the way that seems best to our finite wisdom, but God wants us to trust in Him only.

Trust also implies obeying. It means working with God to produce the results. We can not sit down and be idle and expect things to work out by themselves. We must be workers and not be lazy, since the man who prays for a bountiful harvest but does not prepare the ground, and sows no seed will pray in vain. Trust, faith and works must work in harmony.

We need to understand that our attempts to trust will amount to nothing if we are not willing to obey. We need to obey what God commands us to do, and not what we choose to do.

Trust implies patience. “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10: 36). So many times we want the answers to our prayers right away’ and if they do not come, we grow impatient and think God is not going to answer. There is no use trying to hurry the Lord; we will only hinder Him if we do.

Remember, if you have trusted the Lord as your Savior that things will not always be easy since “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)

And, You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3)

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 19, 2016

THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO HEAVEN – John 14:6

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The Bible teaches that there is no other way to salvation than through Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We need to understand that He is the way, as in the ONE AND ONLY WAY.  

He said His words are life (John 6:63). He promised that those who believe in Him will have eternal life (John 3:14–15). He is the gate of the sheep (John 10:7); the bread of life (John 6:35); and the resurrection (John 11:25). No one else can truly claim those titles. And He warns, those who teach a false gospel, of their fate in Matthew 7:21-23. 

Jesus is the only way to heaven for several reasons. Jesus was “chosen by God” to be our Savior (1 Peter 2:4). Jesus is the only One to have come down from heaven and returned there (John 3:13). He is the only person to have lived a perfect sinless human life (Hebrews 4:15). He is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2). He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). He is the only man to have conquered death forever (Revelation 1:18). He is the only man whom God has “exalted . . . to the highest place… that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). 

“There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5). In fact, it is the unified testimony of the New Testament that no one can know God the Father except through the person of Jesus Christ. 

To understand why this is so, we must go back to the beginning. God created the heavens and the earth. . . And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:1-2).  And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . (Genesis 1:26). In these first verses we see the Trinity revealed in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God was hovering and let Us (plural) make man in Our image. And when He had finished creating, everything was good (Genesis 1:31). 

Man and woman were placed in a perfect environment, with all their needs taken care of. They were given only one prohibition: they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they die (Genesis 2:17). Yet they did eat of the tree, and the result was a fall, and the relationship was broken between God and man (Genesis 3). 

However, God promised to restore all of these things and gave His word that He would send a Savior, a Messiah, who would deliver the entire creation from the bondage of sin (Genesis 3:15).  

This promise that some day Messiah would come into the world to set mankind free is repeated throughout the Old Testament. 

God’s word came true and God came to earth the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14, 29). Jesus eventually died in our place so that we could again enjoy an unbroken relationship with God. The Bible says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19) and “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) 

If mankind could have reached God any other way, then Jesus would not have had to die. His death illustrates the fact that there is no other way 

But the story doesn’t end at the cross and with Jesus’ death. Jesus came back from the dead, demonstrating that He was and is the one whom He claimed to be (Romans 1:4), the unique Son of God and the only way by which a person can have a personal relationship with God. 

The apostles’ preaching focused on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Peter, speaking to the Sanhedrin, clearly proclaimed Jesus as the only way to heaven: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  

Paul, speaking to the synagogue in Antioch, declared Jesus as the Savior: “I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin” (Acts 13:38–39).  

John, writing to the church at large, specifies the name of Christ as the basis of our forgiveness: “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name” (1 John 2:12). No one but Jesus can forgive sin. 

Eternal life in heaven is made possible only through Christ. Jesus prayed, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). To receive God’s free gift of salvation, we must look to Jesus and Jesus alone. We must trust in Jesus’ death on the cross as our payment for sin, and in His resurrection. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22). 

At one point in Jesus’ ministry, many of the crowd were turning their backs on Him and Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67). And Peter replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68–69). We should all share Peter’s faith that eternal life resides only in Jesus Christ. 

Jesus is exactly who He says He is. He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14). He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). He’s the way, the truth, and the very life itself. Therefore, in order for us to have eternal life, we must receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. 

There is only one way to heaven and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 12, 2016

PREPARING TO LIVE IN PERILOUS TIMES – Matthew 24

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It is very important that we understand that we need to make spiritual, physical and material preparation for the events prophesied by Jesus before the time of His Second Coming.  

The most likely to be neglected and more difficult for most people to prepare for is the spiritual one, which we need to be ready for because we never know when our time on this earth is up. Therefore, we need to make sure that when we die, that we will be forever with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

As the time approaches for the second coming of Christ, we see more signs of which Jesus spoke of while He was on earth, “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:7) 

Jesus also mentions that the coming of the Son of Man will be as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37). And He tells us that, “of that day and hour no one knows…” (Matthew 24:36). This is consistent with God’s dealings in the past. Specifically, we can see this in relation to the flood. No one, not even Noah, knew the exact day or hour that the flood would come. (Genesis 7:12-17) 

Noah had spent many years building the ark. He knew that the season for divine judgment was near, but he did not know the exact day. Then one day God gave orders to board the ark. It was God who closed the door, and then He sent the flood. The people of Noah’s day had no “early warning” that the flood was coming. When judgment came, it came quickly, and without warning; there was no opportunity for those under judgment to change their minds and to board the ark, and they all perished.  

The same will occur in last days (Matthew 24:39). There will be no dramatic indications that “the day” or “the hour” has come. Two men will be in the field, going about their normal daily routine; one will be taken, the other will be left. Two women will be grinding grain, just as they normally would; one will be taken, the other will be left (Matthew 24:40-41). 

We, too, must be ready, as Jesus tells us. We do not know the hour of His return, and the coming of the Son of Man will be at a time that we don’t expect. (Matthew 24:44) 

Believers need to get serious about their relationship with Jesus Christ. In other words, make Him the number one priority in their life. Obviously, if Jesus is the number one priority, as we communicate with Him daily and read the warnings He gave us in the Bible we will keep our minds sharp and alert as the Holy Spirit guides us. 

We need to pray for wisdom and a spirit of discernment and be separate from the world. We should not be enslaved to the many enticements and distractions that the world offers; because that is the way that Satan wants to distract us. Therefore, be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Before Jesus’ returns, times of trouble, persecution and testing will come to all Christians; some will be very subtle and some will be very obvious. Therefore we need to be prepared as we trust in God.

Many people think that if we prepare materially with provisions for our family it shows lack of faith in God, but that is not so, as we saw Noah’s obedience as he built the ark.

With all that is happening in the world today, it is sad to see Christians who are not making any provision for hard times – not preparing themselves spiritually or physically. Most believers in the world are neither spiritually nor physically prepared for what their Savior foretold in Matthew 24, that it would be like “the days of Noah.”

Let us recall once more about what Noah did to prepare – in direct obedience to God. In Genesis 6, God told him to prepare for the greatest natural disaster in the history of the world by storing food for his family and the animals before entering the ark. God provided all the food and the material to build the ark, but He told Noah to gather the food and actually build the ark. “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household.” (Hebrews 11:7)

Noah was warned by God of things to come and Jesus warned us that times like those are coming again; and He provided us with a detailed forecast in Matthew 24. Among the things He says is to “be ready to be prepared.” Being ready means being prepared both spiritually and physically for the hardships believers will have to endure. If it wasn’t so, we would not have been warned by Jesus Christ himself.

Another great hero of the faith in the Bible is Joseph. In Genesis 41 Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream about fat cows and lean cows and healthy wheat and withered wheat. It was a dream God gave to Pharaoh about an impending drought throughout Egypt and much of the Middle East. The solution was to prepare for the famine ahead by storing food for seven years. Joseph was not only given the wisdom from God to interpret the dream but was also given the job of implementing the plan as Pharaoh’s chief operating officer. His work and obedience not only saved Egypt but Israel, too.

God provides, but men have to be obedient and use their heads to prepare. When God gives us warning about impending disasters, believers are supposed to listen and act responsibly to prepare. No, none of us can be prepared for every unforeseen circumstance, but that’s not an excuse for not taking God’s warnings of escalating judgment seriously.

Proverbs 6:6-11 shows that God does not appreciate laziness of those who do not think ahead. Even the ant prepares in advance for her needs.

As Matthew 24 warns, natural disasters will increase in frequency and intensity in the last days, and this is what we are seeing increasing in frequency and intensity every day. God is providing all the information we need to prepare. However, aren’t we being disobedient by ignoring what He has revealed to us as believers? Jesus clearly tells us in His Word that conditions on the Earth are going to deteriorate before His return. He already issued the warnings, so let us obey and prepare; because not preparing ourselves spiritually and physically is unwise and irresponsible.

We need to trust God. He’s warning us of what’s coming. He’s telling us very clearly. He’s commanding us to be prepared. So, think about this . . . doing nothing is the opposite of trusting God.

Remember, all events taking place in this world are unfolding according to His Sovereign plan.

Physical preparedness and spiritual preparedness must go together, because physical preparations should be an outward sign of obedience to our spiritual preparedness.

We need to realize that things are getting worse in this world that we live in and we are going to be persecuted because the Word of God tells us so. Remember, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). These are however, days of golden opportunity to share the Lord Jesus Christ and to warn others to prepare also.

Please pray and ask the Lord to give you discernment and spiritual strength (Philippians 4:13), to listen, obey and prepare.

Posted by: missionventureministries | October 7, 2016

BECOMING FISHERS OF MEN – Mark 1:16-18

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And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him. (Mark 1:16-18) 

Evangelism was of greatest importance to our Lord Jesus. He began and ended His ministry (Matthew 28:19-20) with a call to spread the Gospel. From the very beginning of His ministry, His plan was to use disciples to make disciples. He called his first disciples, who were fishermen, to become fishers of men (Mark 1:17). Instead of continuing to cast their nets into the sea, He told them to follow Him and become fishers of men.  

He gave them a new purpose for living with an eternal perspective because the difference between fishing for fish and fishing for men is profound. When you reel in fish, they are alive, and then they die. When you catch men, they are dead in sin, and when you begin to share with them, you see the miracle that takes place and they begin to have a new life in Christ. (Ephesians 2:1-6) 

Jesus wants us to be fishers of men also. The techniques for effective fishing are similar whether we are fishing for fish or for men. So let’s focus on how we can do that effectively.  

Have you ever gone fishing? Well even if you have not, Jesus is telling those who believe in Him to come and be His disciples (students) and go fishing with Him. He will help us by giving us knowledge, wisdom, love and the strength that we need to bring many people for Him. 

As we fish for men, we need to understand that they are spiritually dead and that “the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Since they are spiritually dead, they cannot see the light of the Gospel because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).  

Therefore, many ask, just like the disciples asked Jesus “who then can be saved?” And Jesus answered, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Matthew 19:24-26) 

Consequently fishers of men need to be patience, as well as being properly equipped. 

As we fish for spiritually dead men, we must be equipped with the Word of God, which is the seed that is needed to make them alive in Christ (1 Peter 1:23). By teaching people about Jesus we are helping lost people to get to know more about God and His love for all of us. Jesus said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) 

The next thing we need to do is we have to go where the fish are so we can catch them. Just as fish live in water and won’t come to us, we must seek the lost because many love the darkness and the things the world has to offer. Others are content in living their way and will never seek the truth. This is why we need to take every opportunity God gives us to share with lost people the love of Jesus, who came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10) 

The only proper lure for catching lost people is the Lord Jesus. He said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32) 

This means that we need to share the Gospel and tell the lost about Jesus as He is revealed in His Word, the Bible. Nothing can be caught until we do, because: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) 

If you have ever gone fishing you know that it takes patience and time. We should never give up because sometimes it is not the right time and fish just aren’t biting. We need however to trust God to draw the lost, because Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” (John 6:44) 

We need to wait on the Holy Spirit to use the Word of God to bring conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11), as Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) 

Are you starting to understand how we can be fishers of men? We can teach those that do not know about Jesus, so they also can believe in Him, accept Him as their Lord and Savior, love Him by obeying Him, and one day live with Him in eternity.  

The only way anyone can get to heaven is through Jesus, there is no other way. 

Remember, a good fisher of men needs to have patience since not everyone we tell about Jesus is going to believe. Some people just won’t be interested, but we can’t give up. We just have to keep teaching people about Jesus and let Jesus take care of the rest.  

If we do what Jesus teaches us, we can really become fishers of men like Jesus wants us to be. If you have ever caught a fish you know how exciting it is. Can you imagine how exciting it must be to have someone understand what Jesus did for all of us and have them be part of His family forever! It is absolutely awesome.  

Let us all be fishers of men for Jesus remembering that: “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

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Posted by: missionventureministries | September 28, 2016

GOD ANSWERS PRAYER, AND SOMETIMES GOD IS SILENT – Psalm 83:1

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O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. (Psalm 83:1) 

As believers we have received answers to our prayer as well as God’s silence. 

There are times when we earnestly seek God, but in return only sense His silence. When this happens, silence can be difficult, frustrating and tempt us to doubt. 

The Bible tells the story of a man named Job, who was well acquainted with God’s silence. In his pain and suffering, he cried out to God. He asked for answers, and kept asking, but as we learn from the first 37 chapters of the book of Job, his cries for help and relief were met only by God’s silence. 

Just as with Job, Christians are not always going to hear God’s voice, but we can learn a few practical things to do when God seems silent. 

EXAMINE YOUR LIFE 

We need to begin by asking ourselves the question, is there any un-confessed sin in my life? We need to make sure nothing is blocking us from being able to hear God’s voice. 

Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened.” 

We have to look internally to see if there is any wrong motive. We should ask the Lord to show us if there is anything that needs to be removed or cleansed from our life, and to reveal to us if there is anyone we need to forgive. The question also should be: Is there anything or anyone that I love more than God? 

As God brings things to our mind, we need to quickly ask for His forgiveness, because, repentance pleases God and restores our fellowship with Him. 

ACCEPT GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY 

Like Job, we also face the choice of acknowledging, or rejecting the sovereignty of God. In response to his suffering and loss Job’s wife suggests he curse God and die. Her ungodly advise was actually the voice of Satan speaking thorough her. 

Instead of following her advice, Job chooses to let God be God. “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” he replied (Job 2:10).  

We need to be very careful from whom we get advice. It might sounds spiritual especially coming from “religious people,” but if that advice is not supported by the Word of God, than it is actually the voice of Satan trying to get us to dishonor God by our thoughts and actions. When this happens our response should be like Jesus said: “Get the behind me Satan.” 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 states: “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 

Accepting God’s sovereignty means to actively trust in Him, realizing that He is in control and that we can always hope in Him. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15). Nothing in Job’s life, or ours, happens apart from God’s knowledge and plan.  

As we learn at the beginning of the Book of Job, God was fully aware of all the things that were about to happen to Job. In fact, He gave Satan permission to do these things in Job’s life; but remember that God was always in control. 

LISTEN TO WHAT GOD IS SAYING 

Although God may seem silent regarding a specific request or petition, we need to remember that He is always present in our life. 

When we are so focused on self, it is possible to overlook an answer that God already has for us. Therefore we need to take time to be alone with Him, and study God’s word to find out what He has to say about the problems we are facing or the questions we are asking. 

As we read the Bible, we need to ask God to speak to us through the Holy Spirit, who lives inside of every born again believer. Often known verses can have new significance in light of current problems that we are facing. 

We must be cautions however not to twist the Scriptures to say what we want them to mean, so that we end up doing things our way, and not God’s way. Remember our heavenly Father has His timing for everything.  

Also, do not let friends, family or so called “religious people” influence you, especially those who refuse to obey Scripture and to let Jesus be the Lord of their lives. 

SILENCE IS GOD’S WAY OF SAYING – WAIT AND TRUST IN ME  

The Gospel of John tells a story about Jesus’ friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha. When Jesus found out that Lazarus was ill, He didn’t rush to his house to heal him. Instead, Jesus stayed where he was for two more days (John 11:6). And before Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus died. 

To Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, Jesus’ silence could have been interpreted as – Jesus didn’t care or didn’t want to help them. This is how we sometimes might feel when God doesn’t immediately answer our cries for help. 

But, as David wrote: “My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:5-8) 

Just as with David and Job, God’s silence at times proves the depth of our relationship with our heavenly Father, because when He is silent there is a reason, so we pray, wait and trust in Him.

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