Posted by: missionventureministries | August 4, 2015

ARE YOU STANDING ON THE EDGE OF A CLIFF? – Psalm 46:1

Psalm 46 vs 1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) 

Have you ever stood by a cliff or by a bottomless pit? 

I have and as I looked down and ventured closer my footing seemed to get shaky and I almost lost my balance. It is at that moment when you feel your heart pounding in terror and quickly you step away to safer ground.  

Curiosity can draw us toward darkness, and the danger of sin. How often have men and women gotten too close to the edge, lost their balance, and fallen into the darkness (sin)? In doing so, they have destroyed their families, reputations, and careers through drugs, drinking or adulterous affairs that began with a “mere” flirtation but then progressed to thoughts and actions. Looking back they almost always say, “I never thought it would come to this.” 

We think we can flirt with temptation, get very close to the edge, and then walk away, but that is not the case for most of us. Some of us know that our action is wrong and yet we keep thinking about it, instead of turning away and running from it, asking God for help.  

When we don’t obey God’s directions, we are drawn into deeper and darker perversions. Jesus put it simply: “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.” (John 8:34) 

When we see need for God’s help, we need to pray as David did: “Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.” (Psalm 19:13) 

If we turn from our sins and turn to Jesus, He will purify our lives. He will enable us to stop sinning and to live clean, godly lives. So as we seek Jesus and accept His life and death for us, we can receive “the righteousness which is of God” (Philippians 3:9); for we are beholding “the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) 

When we come to Him in repentance for our sinful past, we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24), and then we are to begin a walk with Christ and a life in Christ. We choose Him in place of our former sinful ways. 

When we do sin however, we pay the consequences of our sins and separation from God. The Bible says: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:7-8) 

Christ died on Calvary to impart enabling grace, so you and I can obey God and live clean godly lives. 

If purity of heart is what we want, then we need to come to Jesus. He alone can forgive our sins, no man or earthly priest can. Christ alone can impart to us grace so we can clean up our life, and become His humble, believing, obedient child. He alone can bring genuine happiness into our life. 

Yes, we will have trials and problems. We all encounter them in this life. But having entered the new life of submission and obedience to Christ as a humble, believing, obedient child, we will have the comfort and guidance from the Lord through His Holy Spirit. As we daily walk with Him and as we pray to God, we will experience His love, guidance and help for all our daily needs. 

Remember: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) 

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Posted by: missionventureministries | July 27, 2015

JESUS PAID THE PRICE – Matthew 20:28

Matthew 20 vs 28

Jesus paid the price for our sins because of His obedience to His Father and His amazing love for us.  

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) 

Have you given much thought to the reality that Jesus Christ is the Creator of this world? 

The Holy Scriptures tell us that: “In the beginning was the Word; . . . All things were made by Him; . . . and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” (John 1:1, 3, 10)

Romans 11:36 reiterates that same message: Everything in heaven and Earth was created by Him, and for Him!  

And in the last book of the Bible, Jesus Christ is called “the Beginning of the creation of God.” (Revelation 3:14)  

Jesus Christ is not only the Creator of the world but He is also our Savior, who came to redeem lost sinners from an eternal prison in hell, which occurred when Adam and Eve sinned and were expulsed from the garden of Eden, and separated from the amazing fellowship they had with the Lord. 

We need to understand that God longs for that unbroken relationship with men so He sent His one and only Son to give His life as a ransom for man, so that anyone who accepts that free gift of eternal pardon can have his relationship with God restored. 

The Word tells us that: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ…” (1 Peter 1:18-19). In the Old Testament, ransoms were paid for various reasons, such as freeing slaves and in the New Testament Jesus paid the ransom price of slavery to sin 

Hosea wrote about the ransom that foreshadowed what Jesus was going to do for us. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.” (Hosea 13:14) 

So to whom did Christ paid the ransom to? Jesus came to this earth as a baby and He was with us for 33 ½ years, where He taught and performed many miracles and finally He went to the cross to give his life as a ransom for many. We need to understand that Jesus Christ was obedient to death and He paid the ransom for our sins to His Father. (John 3:16) 

In the Old Testament, ransoms had been paid in part “by the blood of goats and calves” offered on the altar as a temporary covering for sins. But that was only until the true ransom could be paid: “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14) 

When we intentionally sin, which means our mind tells us that we should not do it and we do it anyway, we are deliberately trampling the blood of Christ. So, be aware, because the Bible WARNS us: “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29)  

If you have a problem with drinking alcohol, drugs, pornography, lying or whatever it might be; get on your knees and ask God to forgive you through the precious shed blood of His Son. Ask Him to give you strength to overcome that sin and He is faithful to do that, but you must be willing to do your part also.  

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)  

True salvations always brings spiritual transformation. 

Remember this, we need to walk closely to the Lord every moment of our life end even more so when we are sinking and the enemy is overpowering us. “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11) 

Keep your mind fixed upon Jesus and memorize this beautiful and encouraging verse: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) 

And remember what Paul told the Philippians I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) 

God’s work in us isn’t over when we receive salvation, it has just begun.

Posted by: missionventureministries | July 20, 2015

WAIT FOR THE LORD – Psalm 27:14

Wait on the Lord

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

When we wait on the Lord it means that we trust that in God’s time He will answer our prayer. We need to learn to wait for the Lord because as it is written His thoughts are not our thoughts nor are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8), and that God will answer us in His timing and for our own good. Therefore, what we pray for can be delayed in coming. We cannot let this cause despair in our lives. Instead, we need to learn to be patient and wait for the Lord.

Daniel had to wait patiently for 21 days before he received an answer to his prayer and there was a reason for the delay:

The angel said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” (Daniel 10:11-14)

Just as Daniel waited patiently three long weeks to receive an answer, so we need to also wait and trust in the Lord.

Waiting is one of the hardest things for many of us to do in this fast-paced society. We do not like to wait. But in our spiritual lives, waiting is important. We must trust God’s timing and expect His intervention when we face life’s trials. It means that we have a spirit of confident expectation, and we know that our heavenly Father will orchestrate all things for His glory.

By not waiting, we are showing lack of trust in God, when He all along has our best interest and purpose in mind.

In Luke 18:1-8, “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” He said: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

Trusting and waiting on the Lord is an intense, spiritual activity of a born again believer. It means that we believe that God will fulfill His promises and He will supply us with the patience that we need to wait on Him. Remember what Paul said: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

And the Psalmist said: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.” (Psalm 130:5)

S.T.O.P. = is the foundation for victorious living.

SURRENDER, to the Lordship of Jesus.

TRUST that God loves you and that He wants to give you His best.

OBEY: determine that you will do what ever God tells you to do.

PRAY: really pray, until you are assured that God is going to answer your prayer and meet your need.

Don’t get ahead of God wanting an immediate answer because when you do, you always settle for less then God’s best.

Posted by: missionventureministries | July 13, 2015

HOW TO INSTILL PROPER VALUES IN YOUR CHILDREN – Proverbs 22:6

Proverbs 22 vs 6

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

Parents must instill within their children the importance of being God’s servants. Nearly all parents plan for the secular future of their children but how much emphasis is placed on preparation for their futures in the kingdom of God? While many encourage their children to be doctors, lawyers, etc., how many encourage them to plan on being God’s servants, by serving as pastors, missionaries, teachers, deacons or elders.  

Do your children see in you a high regard for service to God and the work of the church, or do they see parents who are apathetic and uninvolved in the good works one is to be doing in Christ. The Bible tells us: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10) and that Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14) 

So let us take a look at some of the ways we should instill proper values in children: 

  • Begin regular spiritual training in their first year of life and continue consistently through all their developing years. (Proverbs 22:6)
  • Give them their own Bible even before they can read. Have them begin a lifetime habit of regular memorization and review of important Bible verses.
  • Let their earliest memories include daily readings of Bible stories and frequent discussions of the word of God.
  • Demonstrate to them that God is first in all your priorities and that you first pray before making any important decisions.
  • Have regular “devotional” times as a family and speak often to your children of the joys of serving God.
  • Teach them to pray.
  • Help keep their minds pure by controlling their reading, what they are seeing or watching on television and on their computers, and watching who their friends are, remembering that the Bible says: Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
  • Keep their speech pure by not allowing yourself or them to ever use profanity.
  • Teach them that lying is one of the worst things they could ever do. (Revelation 21:8)
  • Teach them the virtue of work by giving them daily responsibilities around the home.
  • Train them to never get too busy with secular pursuits to not have time to help other.
  • Train them early in principles of dressing modestly. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  • Be responsible to bring up the subject of sex and morality with your children. Because, they will either learn about it from you or from the world.
  • Reinforce your moral teaching by setting specific guidelines for dating.
  • Instill in your children a strong desire to keep themselves pure for the one who will someday be their spouse.
  • Train your children to date only those who are morally upright and urge them to plan on marrying a Christian. Let them know what the Bible says: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
  • Spend the necessary time to be the main spiritual teacher of your children; more so than the preacher or the Sunday School teacher, etc. Remember, you have the primary responsibility of teaching your children the ways of the Lord.

If we want our children to grow into faithful, active Christians, we must begin with our examples, reinforcing them with our teaching and encouragement and then continue, prayerfully, to bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. 

As children see their parents and grandparents living a life characterized by loving obedience to Christ, the child will be more likely to do the same. This legacy can continue for generations and can impact others beyond the family. (2 Timothy 3:15)

Dear heavenly Father, guide us to be an example of how to instill correct values in our children and grandchildren. Amen.

Posted by: missionventureministries | July 6, 2015

HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE SAVED? – Galatians 2:20

Galatians 2 vs 20

Are you someone who says, “Jesus is my Lord”, “I believe in God”, “I love Jesus”?  

Many people believe in facts concerning Christ. They believe that He is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for the sins of the world. But they do not love Him supremely, nor are they willing to obey Him and follow Him. This is not true faith in Christ and it will never bring salvation. 

If you have truly repented, believed, and received Christ, there will be definite evidences of salvation and changes in your life.  

A person who is truly saved has new desires. Whereas in the past, they did not care for the things of the Lord, now they love them. The Bible says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) 

When we are truly born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. One thing that He does is to cause us to know that God is truly our Father and we are His children because, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16) 

One of the first signs that a person who is truly born again experiences are changes that take place in their life, and that the fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit is exhibited in their manner of living.  

In the Bible, the word fruit is often used to describe a person’s outward actions that result from the condition of the heart. Good fruit is that which is produced by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 tells us: the fruit of His Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The more we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, the more this fruit is evident (Galatians 5:16, 25). Jesus told His followers, “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” (John 15:16) 

Another way to know is that true born again believers want others to experience the joy and peace they have found in Christ. They want to share Christ with everyone they meet and love their brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible says, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” (1 John 3:14) 

If you have fully understood what it means to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and yet you are still not sure, there is a reason. The reason is that you are not willing to give your heart to the Lord. You are not willing to obey Him. 

Jesus confronted and condemned the hypocrites and Pharisees when He told them to their faces; “why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). He further stated that “you belong to your father, the devil.”  (John 8:44) 

Jesus defined the final test for whoever wants to be a true Christian when He declared: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) 

To help you understand what it is that is keeping you from being saved, consider carefully the following questions: 

  • Is something else more important in your life than Jesus Christ?
  • Is there some sin in your life which you are not willing to give up?
  • Are you willfully staying away from fellowshipping with other Christians?
  • Are you involved in a sinful relationship with someone that you are not willing to give up?
  • Are you holding bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart against someone?
  • Is there some point of pride which you are not willing to give up in order to be saved?
  • Have you committed some sin against someone which you are not willing to make amends?

Whatever it may be in your life, if you are not willing to obey God, then it means that you have not repented. You will not be saved unless you change your heart attitude and repent. The Lord Jesus said, “…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

Scriptures tell us: If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (Hebrews 10:26-27) 

When you are saved, it does not mean that you become immediately perfect or that you no longer struggle with sin. But you stop engaging in sin willfully and defiantly. You cannot love God and love the things that grieve Him.  

You will know that you are truly saved when you can rejoice in what the Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) 

An absolute fact is that Salvation always brings transformation and regeneration.

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 29, 2015

STARTING THE DAY WITH GOD – Psalm 143:8

Psalm 143 vs 8

Let me hear Your loving-kindness in the morning; for I trust in You; teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)

We can never go wrong when we start the day with God and follow His Holy Spirit’s guidance. Therefore, as we start making physical preparations for the day, we need to remember the words of Jesus, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Our needs, in other words, are not merely physical, but spiritual. Nourishment for the soul is as necessary as food is for the body. 

Taking time with God every morning requires practice and discipline. There are dozens of things that may try to pull us away and distract us, but we must ignore them and make time for the Lord. Often the enemy tries to meddle in our lives, so that we think that we do not have time for prayer and meditation and we fool ourselves into believing that we will set aside time later in the day to spend with God.  

When we begin the day with God He sends us off in the right direction because He knows what is waiting for us. Trusting Him means taking time with Him to set our course for the day according to His will.  

The Psalmist knew that walking with God was inseparably connected to the hard work of spiritual discipline: In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)

Isaiah wrote that the Lord wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. (Isaiah 50:4)

Christians, likewise, must regularly remind themselves that godliness doesn’t just occur. There is a supernatural dimension to Christian living, but unless the believer abides in Christ like a branch remains connected to the vine, he cannot produce fruit (John 15:4).  Instead of love, joy, peace and longsuffering, the person who fails to maintain a habit of communion with God will naturally manifest self-centeredness, cynicism, strife and impatience as the dominant characteristics of life. 

We need to understand that to meet the challenges, bear the burdens, resist the temptations, solve problems, and fulfil the responsibilities to which one is exposed to each day without first drawing near to God we are doomed for failure. 

Jesus, the Son of God frequently rose early and departed to a solitary place to pray (Mark 1:35). The same way, followers of Jesus should make it a habit to prepare in advance for the demands of each day by beginning it in communion with the Father, because He delights to hear the prayers of the upright (Proverbs 15:8). Therefore, we should delight in the opportunity to draw near to Him. 

In “the secret place of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1), is where we entrust the cares of the day to God, asking for His blessing, direction and strength, that He might be glorified in and through us. 

Once we experience the empowerment of beginning our day with God, we will never want to start it without Him, because when we are walking in fellowship with Jesus, everyone around us can be blessed with the loving presence of the Holy Spirit.

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 22, 2015

GOD FORGIVES US OF OUR SINS – 1 John 1:9

God forgives - 1 John 1 vs 9

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

The Bible clearly teaches that God has made provisions for the forgiveness of our sins. There are however many people that have a very difficult time believing that forgiveness is available for certain sins and choices they have made in life; thus they continue to live in a compartmentalized state in which their mental awareness and their heart knowledge do not match and the person cannot accept God’s forgiveness.

To restore intimacy with our Father is a very important aspect of forgiveness, and it is perhaps best understood in the parent-child relationship. When a child chooses to do something wrong, a loving parent needs only to know that the child is genuinely sorry for their actions for reconciliation and intimacy to be restored.

In the same way God wants for us to take responsibility for our actions, admit that we were wrong, change our attitude and verbalize our sorrow in order to restore intimacy with Him.

We need to however understand that even thought there is forgiveness that there are consequences. The Bible teaches us that what we sow we will also reap (Galatians 6:7). For some it might be a lasting effect on health from the consequences of drug or alcohol abuse. Or it might be a sexual transmitted disease that has no cure. And for some it might be something quite different and very secretive that is buried in their soul, like having had an abortion that no one ever knew about. In any case it is tempting for the person to interpret lasting consequences as a sign of God’s continued judgment and rejection. Even though in many cases people might have to live with the consequences of their disobedience, our amazing and loving Heavenly Father is always ready to forgive us of all trespasses.

God is always calling sinners to seek Him and promises them forgiveness when they truly repent. It is because of His great mercy and grace that God rescues the believer from the dominion of darkness that began way back in the Garden of Eden. Jesus came to earth to restore our relationship with the Father. He extends a loving invitation for forgiveness of sins which is only possible through His shed blood. He gave His life so that we may live. We are forgiven because of His obedience and sacrifice on the cross and for paying our tremendous sin debt.

In Romans 3:24 we read that we all are, justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

To demonstrate how our heavenly Father wants to love, accept and forgive us when we turn to Him, Jesus told a parable of the son who squandered his inheritance and lived an immoral life and when he had nothing left, not even food to eat, he decided to return home. His father never gave up on him. So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

That is how our heavenly Father sees us, welcomes us, forgives us and loves us even after we’ve really messed up, and then turn back to Him! He is moved with compassion and welcomes us with open arms.

In John 8:3-11, a story is told where a woman was caught in the very act of adultery and the scribes and the Pharisees brought this woman before Jesus. They wanted to stone her, however, Jesus said to them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Each one of them were convicted in their own consciences, and walked away. When Jesus and the woman were the only ones left, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

And even while Jesus was dying on the cross, He showed compassion to the criminal who was hanging on the cross next to Him when he confessed that he deserved his punishment, and asked Jesus to remember him. And Jesus in all His mercy said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

There are so many beautiful stories of forgiveness in the Bible and it is God’s deep desire to see sinners turn to Him and receive forgiveness for their sins! There is great joy in heaven when a person turns from their wicked ways and turns to God! (Luke 15:10)

We need to understand that when we become a child of God, we are a new creation! Our past has been wiped away, and we are given a fresh new start! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

There awaits no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:1) Because Jesus did not come here to condemn us, but to save us! (John 3:17)

Not only does God forgive our sins, but He also forgets our sins! He chooses not to remember our sins for His own sake! (Isaiah 43:25)

When our sins are forgiven, they are removed from us as far as the east is from the west! (Psalms 103:12)

We are told not to look at the past, but press forward towards the future! (Philippians 3:13)

God Himself does not remember our sins, so why should we? If He felt it was best to forget them, then why should we keep on remembering them? God wants us to forgive ourselves and allow Jesus’ blood to wash clean our conscience from all the evil we have done! (Hebrews 9:14)

Please remember that when God forgives, He removes the sin and restores the soul.

We must remember that we will definitely experience a life changing transformation when we truly surrender our life to Jesus Christ, because, true Salvation always brings TRANSFORMATION.

“He who knew no sin, became sin for us so that we might become the righteous of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 15, 2015

CHRISTIAN’S SHOULD BE WALKING WORTHY OF THEIR CALLING – Ephesians 4:1

Ephesians 4 vs 1

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” (Ephesians 4:1)   

The Christian’s call in Christ is a high calling. Since we are encouraged to walk in a manner worthy of this calling, it behooves us to make careful study of it, lest our lifestyle bring reproach to the One who has called us.  

First, the calling is “of God” and is irrevocable (Romans 11:29). We are called “by His grace” (Galatians 1:15) and “into the grace of Christ” (Galatians 1:6). We are called “out of darkness” and “into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Furthermore, we are “called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). He has “called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9). We are “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1), and in response, we should “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). 

The New Testament writers mention many things to which we are called. We are “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). We are “called unto liberty” (Galatians 5:13) and are now free to “serve one another,” even though it means accepting the call to suffering. “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). The “eternal life, to which you were also called” may not come easily, for it involves the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We are called “to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3), even “his eternal glory by Christ Jesus” (1 Peter 5:10), for we as true born again Christians are “called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). Therefore, “Be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10).   

We are commanded to: “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) 

Jesus often exposed the Pharisees for their hypocritical attitude and lifestyles since they considered themselves quite “religious” in their behavior, however, “everything they do is done for people to see” (Matthew 23:5) and not for the glory of God. Jesus and John the Baptist called the Pharisees and teachers of the law hypocrites, serpents and a brood of vipers. 

The Lord’s warning in Matthew 6:33 was given to focus His followers beyond the “ordinary” desires and needs of their physical existence. We are expected to “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). And when we are rightly focused, “all these other things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). 

We become “slaves” of those things that we “obey.” We obey that which we have “yielded” ourselves to (Romans 6:16). It is not possible to “serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). Our physical bodies can either become “instruments” (weapons) of ungodliness or of righteousness (Romans 6:13). Therefore, we either “walk” after the Spirit or after the flesh (Romans 8:4). 

We are to persistently pursue godliness: “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Timothy 6:11). When we are truly born again our “new man” longs for righteousness, and we consciously yield ourselves to seek and serve God’s kingdom, because “with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. Therefore, “thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25) 

We must never become slack in our diligence, because “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”  (1 Corinthians 10:12).


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Posted by: missionventureministries | June 8, 2015

TRUE CHRISTIANS OBEY GOD – 1 Peter 1:14-16

1 Peter 1 vs 14-15

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16) 

The undeniable evidence of a true Christian is a changed life. We need to remember that if we do not change the way we live; our eternal destiny will also never change. 

When a person sincerely comes to Christ, this relationship will dramatically transform their life. The change will be seen immediately in some people and others it will take longer. For those whose lives were characterized by obvious bad habits and a remarkable immoral life, the change in lifestyle show others that something profound has happened inside. For others, who have not been involved in very obvious sins, the change may not be as obvious, but is equally significant. Remember that all of us were separated from God by sin (Romans 3:23) which was forgiven on the cross by Jesus Christ. 

Our conversion must be shown in both fruit and works. This concept of “bearing fruit” is often used in Scripture to describe the results of the surrender of a person to Christ. If we do not bear fruit, it shows that we have not actually been transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the cleansing blood of Christ, or made Him our Lord and Savior. 

Bearing fruit is not an option; it is the natural result of a person entering into union with God. Sometimes there is confusion in this matter of bearing fruit or doing works. But the Bible clarifies this. (Romans 7:4; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 7: 21-23) 

A changed life begins with obedience to God. When a person decides to follow God, a change takes place and there is tremendous joy (Galatians 5:22). We must realize that although sorrows do occur in the life of a believer, the Holy Spirit will give us a joy and peace that cannot be removed. For example, when we give up our sinful conduct, God replaces our sin with forgiveness and a clean conscience. The purpose of our lives becomes to please God and to honor Him in everything that we say, think and do. 

We recognize that we are a new creation when we understand what God has done in our lives and obedience becomes a desire more than just duty (2 Corinthians 5:14-17). When we obey God our thoughts effect our actions (Colossians 3:1-4). 

We must realize that once we are followers of Christ, Satan is not happy and will try to separate us from our walk with Him, tempting us to disobey the Word of God. We have to remember that we sin when we yield to temptation, but God has promised that He will always provide an escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

When some people sin and rebel against God they say “the devil make me do it,” that is a lie – the devil made a suggestion and our sinful nature voted for the devil and sin – that’s when righteousness looses the election. 

Some people observe the life of a Christian and say. “Living this way is too difficult!” It is true; it’s not easy being a Christian, in fact, it is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit. 

The true Christian has the desire to live each day with faith, because the Holy Spirit will help us to understand the truths of Scripture and God’s character (John 16:13-15). And He will give us great courage and ability to live and share our faith (Acts 1:8). 

When we share our faith it produces joy. Although the job of bringing people to Christ is hard work, the result will give us unfathomable pleasure (John 4:36). 

As a Christian, one of the most dramatic changes in our life should be the way we spend our time. Our plans and ambitions in life should be different. After all, we must no longer live for ourselves but for God. 

We can tell what our priorities are when we ask ourselves: What is most important to me? – What do I think about most of the time? – How do I invest my time? – What do I spend most of my money on? – What forms and types of entertainment do I find amusing – videos, movies, music, books, jokes, etc.? 

Our time on earth is short, so we need to ask God to help us to invest it on things that that will last for time and eternity (2 Timothy 4:5-8). 

And finally, as Christians it is very important to remember that we are a representative of Christ. One of the most visible ways we represent Him is by our speech. So: 

  • Think before we speak. When we measure our words we show that we are wise and watchful individuals (1 Timothy 4:12) 
  • Control our tongue. When we learn to control our tongue we will also learn to control other aspects of our life (James 3:1-12) 
  • Restrain foolish talk. We are responsible for every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:35-37)

As Christians the Lord must always be the center of our attention. 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 1, 2015

BE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE TO ONE ANOTHER – Ephesians 4:32

Ephesians 4 vs 32

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 

Have you ever been wronged by someone? I mean really hurt? This probably happens to all of us at least once in our lives. The pain is worsened when someone close to us is the culprit, such as family member, a friend or a fellow Christian. 

Natural human reactions can be revenge, anger, bitterness, or even disappointment. We often protect ourselves by drawing away from the offender.  

Many times when a victim has experienced trauma, abuse and emotional stress it is important for the victim to remain separated from the perpetrator for long periods of time and sometimes even permanently. 

Waiting for the offender to make peace is usually futile. The offender either doesn’t realize the damage he has done through his words or actions, or he just doesn’t care. Your suffering means nothing to the transgressor. He couldn’t care less and the injured one ends up carrying the hurt.  

Jesus warned that many abusers have extremely hardened hearts and they can never experience any empathy or sympathy for their victims. 

The Lord Jesus taught us by His example how to forgive. He said, as He hung on the cross dying, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) 

As born again Christians, we need to approach those who have sinned against us with an attitude of grace, caution and holy wisdom that only the Holy Spirit can provide.  

God has told us to forgive our abusers and perpetrators; however, He never commanded us to forget that they still have the ability and maybe the motive to damage us again.  Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to us when it is safe for us to express a certain measure of trust toward our abusers.  Even Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for He knew what was in each person. (John 2:24-25) 

We forgive others because we ourselves have been forgiven. Forgiveness is the releasing of our wrath and condemnation in favor of these things: 

Forgiveness means,

  • Praying for those who have evil intentions for us (Matthew 5:44),
  • Abounding in love that is only possible when we really are abiding in Christ (Psalm 86:5),
  • Never avenging ourselves, but leaving it to God’s capable hands (Romans 12:18-19). However, we have the God given right to protect ourselves, our children and innocent people who can not protect themselves from evil abusers.
  • Doing good to those who never do good to us (Luke 6:27-28),
  • Watching our own life, and ensuring that we are not guilty of the same sin that have been committed against us (Luke 17:3).

While Scripture is full of stories, parables, and words about forgiveness, the heart of the matter is that it will not always be easy to forgive. People do horrible things to one another, and sometimes “forgiveness” isn’t going to bring about the restoration of a relationship. This is especially so, if the person in the wrong is unrepentant and is unwilling to change.  

So, while it may be difficult to immediately forgive, we need to think on the fact that no matter what has been committed against us, it has been committed against God a thousand times more.  

People everywhere, even well-meaning Christians, have a way of hurting us based on what they see and think. They look at us through their eyes and perspective, not through the pure heart of God. At times, we do the same to others, also. We judge someone from what we have heard, what we have experienced and what we feel – even though we know all of these can easily deceive us.  

We can never go wrong when we follow the Holy Spirit. In God is where we find our true validation and worth. We cannot allow anything, even our own thoughts or hurts, to separate us from the love of the Father. We need to forgive those who try to judge us, accept those who try to reject us and love those who try to ignore us. Jesus taught us what to do in each circumstance. He is the example and we are His followers.  

The Bible tells us to: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32). Our goal as Christians is to imitate Christ. He forgave us, which means we can forgive others. We can do this because the debt has been paid. 

Jesus reminds us of another important reason to forgive. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).  Forgiveness is for our benefit. We experience forgiveness in direct proportion to our willingness to forgive others. The Lord wants us to live a wonderfully blessed life through Him. We should not let those blessings be hindered by living in bitterness and resentment toward others. 

There are many different kinds of “trespasses” that we face in our lives, so rather than lashing out with anger (Proverbs 29:11), or seeking revenge (Leviticus 19:18), we should be seeking to share God’s love, and willing to forgive. 

Jesus teaches us clearly that we are to take responsibility for the relational conflict we have caused. First, we need to be reconciled. How can we approach the Lord when we have neglected the hurt between ourselves and others? God doesn’t receive our worship if He knows we have no intention of loving those closest to us. We can fool others; but we cannot fool Him. 

We need to ask for God’s help as we seek forgiveness and then pursue it wholeheartedly, because there are no enduring relationships without it.  

Only those who have been washed in God’s forgiveness through Christ can even begin to develop the habits of the forgiving heart. 

Prayer: Lord, you know how we’ve been hurt by others, and how we have hurt others too. Give us Your forgiving Spirit so that we can forgive just as you Lord have forgiven us. Amen.

 

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