Posted by: missionventureministries | May 25, 2015

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

James 4 vs 7-8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 18, 2015

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

James 4 vs 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Posted by: missionventureministries | May 9, 2015

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

A GODLY MOTHER - 2 Timothy 3 vs 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 4, 2015

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

1 Peter vs 15-16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Col 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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