Posted by: missionventureministries | May 4, 2015

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

1 Peter vs 15-16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Col 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 20, 2015

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD – Ephesians 3:14-21

Nothing is impossible for God

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 

Paul’s prayer for God to do abundantly beyond what we ask or think is a prayer for Christ to dwell in the hearts of believers so that we may comprehend His great love for us, so that we will grow to total spiritual maturity.  

In this context, Paul is saying: Because God is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, we should pray for that which will further His glory through Christ and His church. 

God’s power is seen in His working when we are unable to do anything. Therefore, the whole point of prayer is to ask God to do what we cannot do in our own strength or ability. We need to pray for spiritual strength, since God often puts His people in situations to display His power and glory. Here are some encouraging examples from His Holy Word: 

Abraham and Sarah were physically beyond the ability to conceive children. Even when they were younger, Sarah had been unable to conceive. When Sarah laughed at the idea that she would conceive, the Lord confronted her with the rhetorical question, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).  God honored and fulfilled His promise, she did conceive Isaac. Later, when God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham obeyed because, “He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead…” (Hebrews 11:19).  Nothing is impossible for the Lord! 

God directed Moses and the Israelites to leave Egypt by a route where they had the Red Sea in front of them and the pursuing Egyptian army behind them. They had no human means of escape. In that impossible situation, Moses told the panicked people “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today….” (Exodus 14:13). The Lord miraculously opened the sea so that the Israelites could pass through, but He destroyed the Egyptian army when He brought the rushing waters back in place. Nothing is impossible for God! 

Elisha was surrounded by the army of the king of Aram, with horses and chariots that had come to take him captive. When his frightened servant told him that they were surrounded by this hostile army, Elisha calmly answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16). Then he prayed, ‘“O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17). Nothing is impossible with God! 

There are so many examples in the Bible where we see that nothing is impossible for God as He continuously blesses those who trust in Him. In the New Testament we see another seemingly impossible situation, where Herod had imprisoned the apostle Peter, and was planning to execute him the next day. Peter was chained to two guards, inside a locked cell, with more guards outside, inside a prison with a locked iron outer door. The Lord sent an angel who caused Peter’s chains to fall off. He led Peter through opened iron doors, past all the guards, and out into the street as a free man. Again, we see that nothing is impossible with God! 

As Christians, we have a greater hope than we could ever think of and that hope is Christ dwelling in us. The power of Christ that is working in us is able to do more than we can even ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) 

We should praise God for the great victory over sin that He has given us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul’s point is not merely that God is able to do beyond what we expect. We should never feel powerless because the limitless power of God is always ready to work through us. Therefore, pray for the powerful conversion of many sinners. Pray for repentance and holiness for His saints. Pray that He will be glorified in His church and begin thanking God for the answer to your prayers, because . . . Nothing is impossible for God!

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 12, 2015

THE SON OF GOD IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT – Hebrews 1

Hebrews 1

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2) 

The unique divinity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God is emphasized here in Hebrews chapter 1. The above text, for example, introduces the Son as the Creator, then as the revealing Word, and finally as the appointed Heir of all things. 

This chapter also demonstrates that God’s Son was recognized in the Old Testament. Hebrews 1:5 quotes Psalm 2:7: “You are my Son; today I have become your Father” and 1 Chronicles 17:13: “I will be his Father, and he shall be my Son.” That this Son is none other than God Himself is confirmed. It is re-affirmed in Hebrews 1:8, quoting Psalm 45:6: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” And that He is the Creator is asserted in Hebrews 1:10 referring to Psalm 102:25: “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” That He is now at God’s own throne is stressed in Hebrews 1:13, citing Psalm 110:1: “Sit on my right hand.” Therefore, Jesus is to be worshipped as God. “Let all the angels of God worship Him” (Hebrews 1:6, taken from Psalm 97:7). 

Furthermore, Hebrews chapter 1 notes a multiple description of the meaning of the divinity of Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God by eternal generation, as the “brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person” (v. 3). He is the Son of God by miraculous conception (v. 5), also quoted in Acts 13:33 as referring to His divinity by bodily resurrection. Verse 6 refers to the divine proclamation of Jesus Christ (also in Matthew 3:17; 17:5), and verses 8 and 9 stress the testimony of His uniquely holy nature. “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” Finally, as the Son, He is promised universal inheritance from His Father (vv. 9, 13). From eternity to eternity, Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son! And yet God “gave his only begotten Son” that we might have everlasting life! (John 3:16).  

We need to remember that until Christ came to die and rise again, heaven was closed, for nothing unclean could enter there and death had “passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Even those who died in faith could only be “comforted” in “Abraham’s bosom” deep “in the heart of the earth” (Luke 16:22, 25; Matthew 12:40), because “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4) only the Son of God could do this for us. 

Then Christ died and rose again “to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26). In His spirit, “He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth,” and “when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8-9), leading all pre-Calvary saints souls with Him into heaven. Then was fulfilled the wonderful scene predicted in Psalm 24:7: “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.” 

Since that wonderful day when Christ ascended back to heaven, the soul of the believer that dies no longer has to wait, because “to be absent from the body” is “to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Heaven someday will even receive our resurrected bodies. As Paul tells the Corinthians: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). 

 

 

Background image by Carden’s Design Photography

1 The resurrection of Jesus

This time of year, it is a good time to read through both the Passover and the Resurrection accounts in the Bible. They can be found in Exodus 12, Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18. 

It is quite inspiring to think of the incredible level of faith and trust Moses had to stand-up to the most powerful worldly leader of the day, Pharaoh, and demand freedom for his people. It took courage to be resilient even after Pharaoh continually denied his requests. The love that Moses had for God and his people gave him the strength to confront Pharaoh to accomplish the mission God sent him to carry out. 

Once the first Passover took place and the Israelites witnessed the miracle God performed to deliver them from slavery, they went on their journey to the Promised Land. Despite all the many miracles God provided on the way, they questioned God, made faithless and dishonorable decisions; they blatantly defied and blasphemed Almighty God and their sins took them further from God. Therefore, many paid the price dying in the wilderness because of their disobedience and unbelief. 

Fortunately, Moses was a powerful and God anointed leader and even thought there was the never-ending bickering and backlash of his own people he pressed forward to the Promised Land. He was a man on a mission straight from God. 

As we think of Christ, our Passover Lamb, knowing His fate, He pressed on to pay the price for our sins on the cross, so that we can also one day reach our “Promised Land – Heaven”.  

If left to our individual whims and desires, we become like the Israelites, who had seen God perform miracles, yet continually strayed away from Him. They abandoned their identity to chase after the idols that fulfilled their self-gratifying desires of the moment. 

Much the same way today, our society teaches people to chase after what makes them feel good in the moment, rather than live the disciplined and faith-filled life of our biblical patriarchs. Instead, people fill their lives with all kinds of toys, pills, alcohol, perverted sexual activities, and other self-gratifying desires in order to find happiness. The result is a society that is filled with debt, depression, disease, and divorce. 

We need less stuff and more of God in our lives to bring peace and order to our day. Everything else just interferes with the process. Only God through Christ can give us hope: “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10-11) 

Pride and unbelief are the biggest distractions and the most destructive sins in people’s lives. It is what causes the negative stress that we experience. If we look back at all the stupid arguments, petty details, offenses and miss-communicated feelings that we let influence us; we realize just how much pride drains our life. 

We need to ask the Lord to warn us when pride sneaks in and not let it get hold of our mind. “Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before it is too late. Acknowledge Him before He brings darkness upon you, causing you to stumble and fall on the darkening mountains. For then, when you look for light, you will find only terrible darkness and gloom” (Jeremiah 13:15-16).  

Therefore, next time your prides gets in the way and you get easily offended, start bickering and complaining, holding grudges and arguing over things of little value; stop, take time out and spend time in prayer and in God’s Word. 

It is very sad and painful when we see people making careless decisions, abusing themselves, their bodies, other innocent people and their future. That is why we at Mission Venture Ministries have a passion to teach and encourage the principle of life from God’s Word. Spiritual health is very important as is a healthy lifestyle of eating and caring for this temple where the Holy Spirit resides. We want to share God’s ways and His love with all those He puts in our paths. 

Yes, there is hope for those who are sincerely searching.  

As you are reading these words you need to understand that there are no coincidences with God, but that through every circumstance, God is opening windows of opportunity to bless and fill your life. 

There is hope in those who trust in the Lord. God is a healer and He can and will heal no matter what has happened in the past, if we truly repent (change) our ways, discipline ourselves and do the right things starting with humbly obeying and following Christ.  

Our Lord and Savior will give us the courage to stand-up for what is right, regardless of what anyone else may think, say, or do. God has a purpose for everyone on earth, but we need to anchor our lives with absolute faith into that purpose and continually infuse it with joy, love, and hope that allows us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. 

If we can answer any questions, please let us hear from you. We are wishing you a joyful and blessed day celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. He is risen; hallelujah! 

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

 

 

 

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 30, 2015

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

Proverbs 15 vs 5(e)

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

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

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

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

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

Children should obey parents and pay attention to them because:

  • God has given parents authority over them.
  • They generally have twenty to forty years more experience in life than their children.
  • They have a lot more knowledge even if the children may think otherwise.
  • Parents generally have the children’s best interests in mind, while children are often selfishly motivated by their own desires. 

No one has to prove a fool to be a fool; he will prove himself to be one, when he despises discipline and reproof.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 23, 2015

BEING PREPARED – Proverbs 6:6-9

Proverbs 5 vs 6-9

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

The lessons in these verses are very important and very appropriate for what is going on in the world today. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 16, 2015

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

Ambassador e

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Galatians 1 vs 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: missionventureministries | March 2, 2015

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

1 John 2 vs 6

If we want to become more Christ like in our life, our daily walk should be patterned after Him. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:6) 

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

We are to be like Jesus in the purity of our lives. Peter writes but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16) and John states And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3) 

And “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) 

Furthermore we are to be like Him in love. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

We are to be willing to suffer unjustly without revenge because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:21-22)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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