Posted by: missionventureministries | September 21, 2016

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LOVE GOD? – Deuteronomy 6:5

deuteronomy-6-vs-5-loving-god

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

God wants a complete love from us because He loves us completely. And we “love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) 

And Deuteronomy 7:9 states: “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” 

What God most wants from us is our love and our obedience to His word, which will prove our love for Him “… by loving God and carrying out his commands” (1 John 5:2). And “we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:3-6) 

Faith is necessary to please God because “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), and if our faith is genuine and true, we will live a lifestyle characterized by righteousness, modeling the example set for us by Jesus Christ. We obey His commands, not because we have to, but because we want to, because we love Him. We are enabled to obey because, once we believe in Christ and are saved, we are remade. We are not the same people we once were; as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 

When we obey the Lord, we can live a life of joy, without shame, rooted deeply in the Lord and confident in our eternal hope. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Our obedience is actually part of our assurance that we truly know God, because, “We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands.” (1 John 2:3) 

When God’s children obey their Heavenly Father, He is glorified. Jesus told us that the plan is for others to “see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Of course, performing “good deeds” requires obedience to the One who calls us to good deeds.  

A Christian’s testimony of holiness is a strong witness that God is at work in the world: “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him” (Psalm 128:1). The Bible often tells us that God blesses and rewards obedience. James 1:22-25 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”  

And Psalm 119:1-2 says: “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart.” 

God is gracious. If we haven’t been living for Him, if we haven’t been following His commandments, if we’ve been living in and for the world, we can be transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We can ask God for forgiveness, and He will give it. And He will choose to forget the sin, just as if we had never committed it in the first place. God is glorified when He extends forgiveness, because it is written, “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. . . . Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:16-17) 

Obedience is an attitude we have to learn. It’s not a trait we automatically acquire when we become Christians. Thankfully, the Bible gives us clear instructions on how to obey God, and Jesus provides us with a perfect example of love and submission to the Father.

The most joyful people in the world are those who are constantly seeking to love God by keeping His commandments and obeying Him.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forevermore. Amen.” (Jude 24–25)

Posted by: missionventureministries | September 14, 2016

THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM – Psalms 111:10

psalms-111-vs-10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise. (Psalms 111:10) 

The Psalmist is telling us that true wisdom begins with fear, meaning reverence for God; respect for His law and commandments and the fear of offending our Creator.  

He who fears (respects) the Lord departs from evil; because, he who lives in sin neither fears God, nor is wise. (Adam Clark) 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge is such an important issue that Solomon mentions it twice once in Proverbs 1:7 and then again in Proverbs 9:10, adding to it that fools despise wisdom and instruction. Thus, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of an understanding that we are in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God and that He will hold us accountable for our motives, thoughts, words, and actions. To fear God is the desire to live in harmony with His righteous standards and to honor Him in all that we think, say and do. 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom means that until we understand who God is and develop a reverential fear of Him, we cannot have true wisdom. True wisdom comes only from understanding who God is and that He is holy and righteous. The essence of the Law in Deuteronomy 10:12-13 states: And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? The fear of God is the basis for our walking in His ways, serving and loving Him. 

A biblical fear of God, for the believer, includes understanding how much God hates sin and fearing His judgment of sin.  

Hebrews 12:5-6 states: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” This describes God’s discipline of the believer. While it is done in love, we should fear His discipline, and seek to live our lives in such a way that pleases Him. Remember, God wants us to be holy like He is (Hebrews 12:5-6). 

As believers we have His promise that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). We have His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Fearing God means having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our life. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe. 

The good news is that the fear of God is only the beginning of knowledge. In fact, the great news is that the love of God reflected through Jesus Christ in the New Testament scriptures has the power to cast out this fear and set us free!  

Because: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) 

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) 

How can we comprehend the Good News of Jesus Christ if we don’t first understand the fear of God? Without reverence, and respect for a perfectly holy, righteous, and just Creator, can we truly appreciate what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did for us on Calvary’s cross? 

It ultimately comes down to perspective and position. Who is God and what is my perspective on His nature, power, and justice? Who am I and what is my human position relative to Almighty God?  

Once we understand and accept God’s Word, we can live our lives in a special appreciation of co-existing truths of the “Fear of God” and the “Love of God.”  

Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever” (Psalm 118:4).  

The LORD delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love (Psalm 147:11).  

In His great love for us God created us to have a parent-child relationship with Him. We become normal only when we permit Him to adopt us as His children through the sacrifice that Jesus provided on the cross for our salvation.  

If we respect and fear God we have nothing else to fear, but if we refuse to respect and fear God we will fear everything, for all of our life. 

Jesus said; I have come to give them abundant life; and He longs to give us life to the fullest. God greatly loves us. That is why Jesus came to this earth; He wants a close relationship with us. That is why He wants each person to grow in wisdom, by searching His Holy Word with all our heart.

Posted by: missionventureministries | September 7, 2016

GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH – Psalms 46:1-3

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. – Psalms 46:1-3 

We have only one source of security who is God, our heavenly Father. When wars break out, government fails, natural disasters destroy our homes, our health deteriorates, or friends betray us, God is the only One where we can find security.  

Our world, with all its advancements in education, technology and science, is no safer today than it was thousands of years ago. Anything can happen, at any second; and there is no security unless we have placed ourselves in the hand of the One who holds eternity and who is in control of all things. 

We need to turn to God, and only when we seek God, can we find rest for our soul. The psalmist wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10) 

The Bible says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” (Psalm 20:7-8) 

God is waiting to hear us call for help; and if we call, He will respond.  

When we are secure in God, we do not need the security of other things. God is in control and seated firmly on His throne. That is why we can say: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:1-2).  

Our security comes from our faith in God and not from our circumstance: “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalms 46:7, 11). Our faith is in knowing that God is omnipresent, which gives us hope and security because we know that the Lord is always with us. 

God wants us to depend on Him and we need to be aware that our trust should not be in things, but only in Him.  

We need to pray for strong faith, and that in the midst of a world filled with problems and dangers, we will continue to trust that God is with us because His presence will give us peace and joy no matter what happens. 

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) 

There are many who live in great prosperity – they have lots of money and possessions – yet their lives are consumed with worry and fear. And there are those in our world today who live in very difficult and dangerous places, yet have a great sense of security because they have placed their faith and hope in God.  

Job lost everything, but he chose to place His trust in God. He was shaken but he did not fall. The Bible says, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” (Psalm 125:1) 

We need to have this same courage today because Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Our confidence should not be shaken, because we have a God who is in complete control. We should have courage, not because we are strong, but because we have a God who is strong. He is powerful and He rules over all. God has not changed, and His love will see us through: “For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalms 100:5) 

As Paul wrote, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:35, 37) 

We are secure in an unsafe world because the One who loves us is with us. And we need to remember that our security is in eternity and not in the present because this world is not our home.  

If we are looking only at the present circumstances we will be shaken, but if we are grounded in God’s Word and the promise of eternity, we will stand firm and no one can take it away from us. Therefore, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13) 

And remember what Isaiah 26:3 says: “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 31, 2016

BIBLE PRINCIPLES THAT PROMOTE PEACE IN THE FAMILY – Psalms 34:14

Psalm 34 vs 14 About the family

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Psalms 34:14) 

When we read the Bible we realize that family problems are nothing new, as a matter effect they started in the Garden of Eden when Adam first blamed Eve for giving him the forbidden fruit to eat (Genesis 3:12). 

Then we see the sibling rivalry between Cain and Abel and a little later between Jacob and Esau, and then the problems Joseph had with his brothers. 

Eli and Samuel dealt with rebellious children and Jonathan was almost murdered by his father, Saul. David was brokenhearted by his son Absalom’s rebellion and Hosea experienced marital difficulties. In each of these cases, relationships were damaged by sin.  

The Bible has a lot to say about relationships, as the first institution God established for human interaction was a family (Genesis 2:22–24). He created a wife for Adam and joined them forever. Citing this event, Jesus later said, “What God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6). God’s plan was for one man and one woman to remain married until one of them dies. He desires to bless that union with children who are to be raised “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  

Most family problems emerge when we rebel against God and go against His original plan. This includes adultery, divorce, polygamy which all cause problems because they deviate from God’s original intend. 

The Bible gives clear instructions about how family members are to treat each other. God’s plan is that husbands love their wives in the same way that Christ loves His church (Ephesians 5:25, 33). Wives are to respect their husbands and submit to their leadership (Ephesians 5:22–24, 33; 1 Peter 3:1). Children are to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1–4; Exodus 20:12). How many family problems would be solved if husbands, wives, and children simply followed those basic rules? 

1 Timothy 5:8 says that families are to take care of their own. Jesus had harsh words for those who evaded their financial responsibilities to their aging parents by claiming they gave all their money to the temple (Matthew 15:5–6). 

The key to harmony in families is not one we naturally want to apply. Ephesians 5:21 says to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Submission is in direct opposition to our flesh’s desire to rule and have its way. We defend our rights; defend our opinions, and assert our own agendas whenever possible. God’s way is to crucify our flesh (Galatians 5:24; Romans 6:11) and submit to the needs and wishes of others whenever we can. Jesus is our model for that kind of submission to God’s will. First Peter 2:23 says, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” 

We need to listen attentively and with an open mind. A lot of tension can be avoided if we don’t respond to our mate or any family member in a contentious tone. It is important to listen without prejudice and to respect his or her viewpoint even if we do not agree. Most family problems could be lessened if we all followed the instructions found in Philippians 2:3–4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” When we adopt the spirit of humility and treat others as Jesus would treat them, we can resolve many of our family and relationship problems. 

God commands us to seek peace (Psalm 34:14; Matthew 5:9). We should “make every effort to do what leads to peace” (Romans 14:19). Of course, there will be some people who do not desire peace, but we are still to do our utmost to be at peace with them (Romans 12:18).  

Believers have an obligation to “let the peace of God rule” in their hearts (Colossians 3:15). This means we have the choice either to trust God’s promises or to rely on ourselves and reject the peace He offers. Jesus gave His disciples peace based on the truth that He has overcome the world (John 14:27; 16:33). Peace is a fruit of the Spirit, so, if we are allowing the Spirit of God to rule in our lives, we will experience His peace. To be spiritually minded brings life and peace as Romans 8:6 states: “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” 

We need to remind our children and family members “to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” (Titus 3:1-2) 

Patience is also a virtue that we need to cultivate, because there will be conflicts, but the outcome depends on the spirit we show. The Scripture tells us to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2) 

We are to never stoop to verbal or physical abuse but we must also rid ourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:8) 

We will promote peace by being eager to forgive and to settle our differences quickly. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you,” (Colossians 3:13). A good marriage or any relationship is impossible without forgiveness. 

We need to make a practice of unselfish giving and sharing. “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) 

Don’t ever give up promoting peace in the home because “deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.” (Proverbs 12:20) 

Here are some additional thoughts: 

  • Pray frequently. Ask God to bring peace into your home. Lift up the needs of the day and seek Him for wisdom.
  • Speak kindly; it is amazing how a little kindness goes a long way to setting the tone for the home.
  • Gather regularly, for prayer and for meals or to simply hang out with each other. Enjoy your togetherness.
  • Help each other cheerfully. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” (Philippians 2:14)
  • Show your family that you love them. Wrap your arms around your spouse. Give your little ones a hug. Your older kids would probably like one too!

The world will continue to have wars and interpersonal conflicts until Jesus comes to establish true and lasting peace (see Isaiah 11:1-10), but God will give His peace to those who trust Him.  

Once His peace rules in our hearts, we are able to share that peace with others (Isaiah 52:7) and be ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). 

You can live in peace, love, victory and joy. To learn more please click on the Bible study entitled: “LIFE’S MOST IMPORTANT PRIORITY.”

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 24, 2016

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK – James 1:19-20

James 1 vs 19-20

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)

Our words are very powerful, they have the power to build up, and to tear down, the power to inspire and to dishearten, the power to encourage or discourage. Whether you are a parent, a family member, a teacher, a minister, or a friend here are five simple things to consider.

Next time before you say something you might regret, ask yourself these five questions. If the answer is “NO” to any one of them, you are not going to want to say them. Think before you speak!

  1. IS IT TRUE?
  • “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
  • “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)
  1. IS IT HELPFUL?
  • “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)
  1. IS IT INSPIRING?
  • “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)
  • Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:23-24)
  1. IS IT NECESSARY?
  • “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)
  • “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)
  1. IS IT KIND?
  • “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
  • “One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. (Proverbs 22:11)
  • “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)

Another way to look at think before you speak is to consider how to reword what you have to say so that it follows what the Bible teaches us:

Because, what goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth that is what defiles them.” (Matthew 15:11) 

If we call ourselves Christians, and yet do not keep a tight rein on our tongues we deceive ourselves, and our religion is worthless.” (James 1:26) 

Therefore, “whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” (1 Peter 3:10)    

Remembering that: The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom and their tongues speak what is just. (Psalm 37:30)

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 17, 2016

WHAT IS TRUE FRIENDSHIP ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE? – John 15:13

What is true friendship - John 15 vs 13

The Bible says that the greatest love is the one who gives his life for his friends (John 15:13). Jesus calls us his friends and loves us, even with all our faults. Jesus is the perfect example of friendship revealed in the Bible, because He gave His life to reconcile with God all those who believe in His sacrifice. He died in our place because He is a true friend. 

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can be friends with God. Sin no longer separates the one who is saved, from friendship with God. This means we can have a relationship of true intimacy, unity and love with our Creator. 

Friendship with God affects our friendships with others. The believer who knows the true friendship of the Bible will try to be a true friend because: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18) 

Therefore, true friendship is based on the love of Christ and Jesus is our great example of the most valuable friendship of all. 

We must choose friends who love the Lord and have pure hearts. The Bible says, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) 

Friends are people who have things in common like studying the Bible, and who enjoy each other’s company. We can have many acquaintances with whom we get along well, but a true friend is a person who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).  

A true friend gives us biblical advice and discourages us from going against God’s word. They encourage us to: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

A Christian friend should respect our decisions even if they do not agree with them; knowing that whatever decisions we make, we are the ones that ultimately will be responsible for them: “For we (all believers) must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Jesus is not only our best Friend but also our one and only Judge.  

A relationship of friendship requires loyalty and fidelity, and therefore God disapproves of any kind of betrayal. Gossip can destroy friendships and the Bible says in Proverbs 16:28: “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”

It is worth keeping true friends as the Bible says: “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” (Proverbs 27:9)

A true friend cares about your welfare, and therefore, is open, honest and sincere with you, in a sensitive and gentle way, even if at times it “hurts”. The Bible says: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:5-6) 

What characteristics do we need to have to be a good friend? The Bible says in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” 

Here are some additional characteristics of true friendship according to the Bible: 

Love is the key to any genuine relationship; true friendship is a symbol in brotherly love. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17) 

One of the most known cases of genuine friendship in the Bible is between David and Jonathan, as you can see in 1 Samuel 20 and 2 Samuel 9. Their friendship was so strong that Jonathan risked the wrath of the father to save the life of David, and David looked after the son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth when Jonathan died. 

Friends like being together and defend each other. “One man can be defeated, but two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) 

True friendship respects the value of the person and demands their best. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”  (Romans 12:10) 

A true friend helps his companion when they know that he is experiencing difficulties or problems. “Do not abandon your friend or the friend of his father; when hit by adversity do not go to the house of his brother; best is the close neighbor than a distant brother.” (Proverbs 27:10) 

The Bible tells us that the hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered (Proverbs 11:9). We need to be aware that the mouth can be used either as a weapon or a tool. We either hurt our friends or build them up. Sadly it is often easier to destroy than to build, and most people have received more destructive comments than those that encourage them. Our words make a difference; are they a weapon for destruction or tools for construction? 

What kind of friend do you want to be? And how many people you call friends would you be willing to give your life for?

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 11, 2016

SERVING OTHERS AS JESUS DID – John 13:15

John 13 vs 15

In John 13:15, Jesus sets an example for us to follow. After washing His disciple’s feet, which was an act of love, humility and service, He encouraged them to follow His lead and serve one another by telling them:

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15)

Jesus, the Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, never placed Himself in a position above others. He loved and humbly served by leading and teaching the lost. He fed thousands; He healed the sick and raised the dead. He spent time with those no one else cared to be with.  

When we look at Christ’s life it reflects His love for humanity and this should be our greatest desire as well.  

It is very important that as Christians, we follow the example of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter where we are or who we are with. The words we speak and the things we do should always reflect our faith in Christ. Sometimes we are eager to tell other people what they should do and how they should live, but often we fail to follow our own instructions.  

Jesus tells the crowds and His disciples to do what the Pharisees and the scribes teach them to do, “but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach” (Matthew 23:3). In other words, the leaders want to be obeyed but don’t follow or practice what they teach.  

Why is it so important for a believer to practice what he preaches? The most basic reason is the integrity of our faith, as Jesus tells us, “You are the light of the world…” (Matthew 5:14)  

People should be attracted by the light that shines forth from us by the way we live, act and the words that we speak. We need to realize and be aware that people are watching us and seeing how we respond to the ups and downs of everyday life.  

Our church, family members, children, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and classmates are all watching us. What evidence are we offering of our profession of faith? Are our responses and behavior any different from those persons who don’t profess to know Christ? 

How do we practice what we preach? One way is to be careful about the words we speak. You can determine a lot about a person by their verbal communication and even more so by the words they use when they are distressed, angry, or threatened. James tells us that the tongue is very dangerous; “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6)  

More people than we think are listening to the words we speak; so, do our words bring peace and tranquility to a situation or do they add fuel to the fire? Please understand that the words we speak should match the person we claim to be. If we profess that we are followers of Christ, then our words should be a reflection of that relationship. 

We practice what we preach when we live our lives as reflections of the life of Christ. People should always see a reflection of Jesus in us wherever we are and in whatever situation we are faced with.  

We need to be aware of that there is as much emphasis upon practicing the truth as in teaching it. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?” (Romans 2:21-22) 

Failure to practice what one preaches does not apply only to parents, preachers, elders, deacons, and teachers but to every born again Christian.

Remember, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit… In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3, 5)

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 7, 2016

WHERE WILL YOU BE ON JUDGMENT DAY?

Bema vs White Throne Judgment

“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”  (Hebrews 9:27) 

There are two accounts of a final judgment in the Bible pertaining to every human being that ever lived. One for the believer, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and made Him Lord of their lives, and one for the unbeliever who rejected the Son of God. 

The judgment seat of Christ, also referred to as the Bema Seat is described in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Gold, silver, and costly stones refer to works done for the glory of God, with the right motive, and in dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit.  

The Bema Seat judgment does not determine salvation. Rather, it is when believers must give an account of their lives to Christ and whose salvation has already been secured by faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10). We should not focus on the Bema Seat as Christ judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us according to how we lived or lives. Romans 14:10-12 explains: “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”   

In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul gives the Corinthian church an illustration of the Bema Seat, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” Paul is teaching us that all Christians will stand before the Bema Seat of Christ. There, believers will be rewarded according to how faithfully they served, obeyed, and followed Christ.   

Some of the things we will likely be judged on are: 

  • Whether we fulfilled our role in the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
  • How victorious we were over sin. Romans 6:1-4 reminds us, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
  • If we were successful in controlling our tongue. Read – James 3:1-9
  • Whether the fruit of the Spirit was manifest in our lives. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness  and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  

The Bible mentions Christians receiving crowns for various aspects of the Christian life, one of them being described in 2 Timothy 4:8, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  

Another is found in James 1:12: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  There are three more described in the Bible. In response, believers will cast their crowns before the Lord’s throne saying, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11).  

It is very important not to confuse the Bema Seat with the Great White Throne Judgment. The Great White Throne Judgment is a trial, set in the future after the Millennium, for all people who have rejected God’s call to salvation. Every person who has lived upon earth and has refused to accept God’s way to redemption from sin, will stand before their Creator at this time, and acknowledge that He is God – that Jesus Christ is Lord.  

Revelation 20:11-15 describe this judgment: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”  

At the Great White Throne is where those who died as unbelievers are judged and condemned. Each will then be cast into the Lake of Fire, which will be their place of torment throughout eternity. (Read Mark 9:43-48) 

The Bible clearly presents two options for ETERNITY. Therefore, we need to remember that we are only a heartbeat away from our choice becoming a reality. 

In Revelation 22:12, Jesus Christ declares: “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”

SO WHERE WILL YOU BE ON JUDGMENT DAY?

REMEMBER YOU ARE ONLY A HEART BEAT AWAY FROM ETERNITY

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 4, 2016

HOW TO WIN SPIRITUAL BATTLES – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

1 Corinthians 16 vs 13-14

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be courageous, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 

Every day there is a war going on all around us, and many of the participants in this war are unseen, but we certainly are able to see many of the results.  

Homes are being destroyed. People are caught in the bondage of sin, and they can’t break free. Many children can quote the words of a rap star, but can’t quote anything Jesus ever said. Many souls are incarcerated and doomed to eternal destruction and sadly the list goes on and on. 

Through Paul’s letter to the Corinthians we are told to watch, to stand fast in the faith, to be courageous and to be strong.  

Though we have spiritual enemies that we must fight, even so, love should characterize all that we do. These two verses are not contradictory, because we also read what Paul wrote to the Romans: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (v. 12:21) 

The meaning of to watch is to be alert, to be vigilant. We need to be spiritually watchful as Jesus said we need to watch and pray. The word translated “watch” means ‘to have the alertness of a watchman.’ A night watchman must be even more vigilant than a daytime guard. In the daytime, danger can often be spotted from a distance. But in the night everything is different. A night watchman must use senses other than sight to detect danger. He is often alone in the darkness and without the defenses he would otherwise employ. There may be no indications of enemy attack until it happens, so he must be hyper-vigilant, suspecting something might happen at any moment. That is the type of watching Jesus spoke about. Jesus warned us that we are too easily distracted by the physical and will be caught unaware if we do not continually discipline ourselves by being watchful. 

How should Christians stand fast in their faith? The two things we can do to stand up for Christ are to live according to His Word and to grow in our knowledge of Him. Christ said, “Let your light shine before men…” (Matthew 5:16). This means that we should live and act in a way that supports the gospel. First Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” We need to live and teach as Christ would and let Him take care of the rest. 

The next word is to be courageous. The word “courage” translated from the Greek means literally “boldness and confidence.” Therefore, when God commands us to fear not, to be of good cheer, and to have courage, He is always commanding against fear, which is the opposite of courage. 

As Christians, we are to be strong in the mighty power of God. This means that our strength is not our own; it is not human or fleshly. Our strength is not of the world, but our strength is found in Christ thru our having an intimate relationship with Him. As Paul tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). In other words, there is no other source that gives man the strength to overcome the world with its trials, its temptations, and death. It is through submission to God’s strength that we overcome the power of Satan: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). It is by first aligning ourselves with the strength of God through our total submission to Him that we are able to withstand the deceit of Satan: “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11). 

The Bible says that we are to love others the way that God loves us. We are to love the family of God (1 Peter 2:17). We are to love our enemies—that is, we are to actively seek what is best for them (Matthew 5:44). Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). When we show benevolence and selfless love, we reflect God’s love to a lost and dying world. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). 

In summary, to win spiritual battles we rely on God’s power and not our own. We need to put on the whole armor of God, utilize the power of Scripture and pray with determination and holiness, making our appeal to God. We stand firm in our faith (Ephesians 6:13–14); submitting to God and resisting the devil’s work (James 4:7), knowing that the Lord of hosts is our protector. “Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:2)

Posted by: missionventureministries | July 27, 2016

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF HOPE IN THE BIBLE? – Romans 15:13

What is the meaning of hope in the Bible

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13) 

When the Bible talks about ‘hope’, it is not talking about wishful thinking; it is talking about trusting God.   

Many people may say “I hope” when they really mean “I wish”. Therefore, let us take a look what hope means to the Christian. Biblical hope is a certainty, not a probability. Because, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. (Psalm 62:5) 

Hope is real because it is founded on faith in the factual content of the Holy Scriptures. 

Biblical hope becomes possible when there is belief in the living God who acts and intervenes in human life and who can be trusted to keep His promises. 

Hope is the certain expectation of the future reality of God’s blessings, based upon the manifestation of the activities of God’s faithful actions, as revealed in the Bible. 

The word “hope” in the Bible expresses confidence and assurance concerning the future because it’s based on God’s promises, character and faithfulness. Hope is to look forward to something with a feeling of expectation and confidence. A Christian always knows they have hope because they have God in their heart and hope is always at the forefront of their thoughts. 

What does hope encompass for the believer? Hope in Christ is not limited to this world, but for eternity because He is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1).  

Being Christ’s disciple bears with it the hope of sharing in His glory (Ephesians 1:18), which is already stored up for the believer in heaven (Colossians 1:5) and will take place when the Lord is revealed at His coming (1 Peter 1:13). 

Christians can be sure of this hope because God’s promises are sure and our faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:21) 

Also because “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5) 

Remember faith and hope are inseparable. When you have faith, you have hope and vice versa. In fact, they are bound together with love, which covers all (1 Corinthians 13:13). 

Hope is God’s gift to us, which is: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) 

In other words, a biblical hope is never an escape from reality or from problems and it doesn’t leave us idle.  

Hope gives us joy and peace as our verse states: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13) 

Hope protects us: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy” (Psalm 33:18) 

It gives us strength and courage: “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24)  

God is called “the God of Hope.” This means He is the source of all real hope. If we are going to have hope as a confident expectation, it must come from Him for He alone has the power to give it. “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)  

If you have not accepted Christ, you are without God and without hope. And “at that time you were without Christ … and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12)  

For us to have hope we need to know the Word of God. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) 

Hope depends on knowing and resting in God’s Grace. “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)  

And again Romans 15:13 stresses that hope depends on the Spirit-filled life, so “that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19) 

Do you have that hope that God promises you? Does your life prove it? Has this hope changed who you are, what you value, and what you are doing with your life? 

As believers we are to be “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13) and “and everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure” (1 John 3:3)

 

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