Posted by: missionventureministries | June 16, 2021

THE NAMES OF GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

THE NAMES OF GOD

Here are some of the better-known names of God in the Bible. Each of these names of God describes a different aspect of His many-faceted character. 

ADONAI: “Lord” (Genesis 15:2; Judges 6:15) – used in place of YHWH, which was thought by the Jews to be too sacred to be uttered by sinful men. In the Old Testament, YHWH is more often used in God’s dealings with His people, while Adonai is used more when He deals with the Gentiles. 

EL ELOAH: God “mighty, strong, prominent” (Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 139:19) – etymologically, El appears to mean “power” and “might” (Genesis 31:29). El is associated with other qualities, such as integrity (Numbers 23:19), jealousy (Deuteronomy 5:9), and compassion (Nehemiah 9:31), but the root idea of “might” remains. 

EL ELYON: “Most High” (Deuteronomy 26:19) – derived from the Hebrew root for “go up” or “ascend,” so the implication is of that which is the very highest. El Elyon denotes exaltation and speaks of absolute right to lordship. 

EL GIBHOR: “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6) – the name describing the Messiah, Christ Jesus, in this prophetic portion of Isaiah. As a powerful and mighty warrior, the Messiah, the Mighty God, will accomplish the destruction of God’s enemies and rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15). 

ELOHIM: God “Creator, Mighty and Strong” (Genesis 17:7; Jeremiah 31:33) – the plural form of Eloah, which accommodates the doctrine of the Trinity. From the Bible’s first sentence, the superlative nature of God’s power is evident as God (Elohim) speaks the world into existence (Genesis 1:1). 

EL OLAM: “Everlasting God” (Psalm 90:1-3) – God’s nature is without beginning or end, free from all constraints of time, and He contains within Himself the very cause of time itself. “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” 

EL ROI: “God of Seeing” (Genesis 16:13) – the name ascribed to God by Hagar, alone and desperate in the wilderness after being driven out by Sarah (Genesis 16:1-14). When Hagar met the Angel of the Lord, she realized she had seen God Himself in a theophany. She also realized that El Roi saw her in her distress and testified that He is a God who lives and sees all. 

EL SHADDAI: “God Almighty,” “The Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 132:2,5) – speaks to God’s ultimate power over all. 

YAHWEH-ELOHIM: “LORD God” (Genesis 2:4; Psalm 59:5) – a combination of God’s unique name YHWH and the generic “Lord,” signifying that He is the Lord of Lords. 

YAHWEH-JIREH: “The Lord Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14) – the name memorialized by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac. 

YAHWEH-M’KADDESH: “The Lord Who Sanctifies, Makes Holy” (Leviticus 20:8; Ezekiel 37:28) – God makes it clear that He alone, not the law, can cleanse His people and make them holy. 

YAHWEH-NISSI: “The Lord Our Banner” (Exodus 17:15), where banner is understood to be a rallying place. This name commemorates the desert victory over the Amalekites in Exodus 17. 

YAHWEH-RAPHA: “The Lord Who Heals” (Exodus 15:26) – “I am Jehovah who heals you” both in body and soul. In body, by preserving from and curing diseases, and in soul, by pardoning iniquities. 

YAHWEH-ROHI: “The Lord Our Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1) – After David pondered his relationship as a shepherd to his sheep, he realized that was exactly the relationship God had with him, and so he declares, “Yahweh-Rohi is my Shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). 

YAHWEH-SABAOTH: “The Lord of Hosts” (Isaiah 1:24; Psalm 46:7) – Hosts means “hordes,” both of angels and of men. He is Lord of the host of heaven and of the inhabitants of the earth, of Jews and Gentiles, of rich and poor, master and slave. The name is expressive of the majesty, power, and authority of God and shows that He is able to accomplish what He determines to do. 

YAHWEH-SHALOM: “The Lord Our Peace” (Judges 6:24) – the name given by Gideon to the altar he built after the Angel of the Lord assured him he would not die as he thought he would after seeing Him. 

YAHWEH-SHAMMAH: “The Lord Is There” (Ezekiel 48:35) – the name ascribed to Jerusalem and the Temple there, indicating that the once-departed glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 8—11) had returned (Ezekiel 44:1-4). 

YAHWEH-TSIDKENU: “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16) – As with YHWH-M’Kaddesh, it is God alone who provides righteousness (from the Hebrew word tsidkenu) to man, ultimately in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who became sin for us “that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

YHWH / YAHWEH / JEHOVAH: “LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4; Daniel 9:14) – strictly speaking, the only proper name for God. Translated in English Bibles “LORD” (all capitals) to distinguish it from Adonai, “Lord.” The revelation of the name is given to Moses “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). This name specifies an immediacy, a presence. Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those who call on Him for deliverance (Psalm 107:13), forgiveness (Psalm 25:11) and guidance (Psalm 31:3).

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Posted by: missionventureministries | June 9, 2021

EVEN THRU DISOBEDIENCE THERE IS HELP IF WE TURN TO GOD – Jonah 2:7

Jonah 2 vs 7

“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” (Jonah 2:7)

Rebellion toward our heavenly Father often takes one of two forms: a bold outright refusal to obey His instructions or a more passive approach of quietly pursuing our own agenda while disregarding biblical commands we don’t like. Whichever direction we take, we can’t silence God. His Spirit’s conviction will follow us, even if we try to fill life with distractions to help us ignore Him.

Jonah’s fear and pride cause him to run from God. He did not wish to go to Nineveh to preach repentance to the people, as God had commanded, because he felt that they were his enemies, and was convinced that God would not carry out His threat to destroy the city. Instead he boards a ship for Tarshish, which is in the opposite direction of where he should be going. Soon a raging storm causes the crew to cast lots and determine that Jonah is the problem why they find themselves in that frightening situation. They throw him overboard, and he is swallowed by a great fish.

Now in the fishes’ belly he is confined for 3 days and 3 nights. While finding himself in that situation Jonah repents of his sin and the fish vomits him up on dry land. Three days seems a long time to repent, but that is what it took for Jonah.

While being trapped inside the stomach of the fish, he must have been convicted that he better obey God’s command, even though his heart had not changed. He still desired the Ninevites’ destruction, and his bitterness and reluctance was present in spite of his righteous actions.

Throughout this ordeal Jonah discovered that no one can run from God. He also realized God was with him everywhere he went. “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24).  Even in the stomach of the great fish, God knew where Jonah was and could hear his prayer (Jonah 2:2).

This is something important that we all need to keep aware of because most believers forget this precious promises that we have from the Lord, that He is with us always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

After Jonah found himself back on dry land he makes the long 500-mile trip to Nineveh and God brought a great revival to that wicked city. Their response to His warning should have made Jonah ecstatic, but because Nineveh and Israel were enemies, he became angry and showed displeasure over their repentance and God’s mercy on them.

Jonah however, learns his lesson quickly when God uses a wind, a gourd, and a worm to teach him that He is a merciful God.

What we must understand is that God is willing to pursue us and that it can involve stripping away diversions and bringing negative consequences to get our attention. He is a loving heavenly Father who disciplines us if we continue down the road of disobedience. 

The Lord was with Jonah and He is likewise with us, but whether our relationship feels tense or peaceful depends on our willingness to do what He says. Let’s use Jonah’s example as encouragement to obey promptly rather than waste time running away and suffering the consequences.

If you’ve ever tried to ignore the Lord’s commands or silence the Holy Spirit’s conviction, you’ve probably learned the same lesson Jonah did. He disliked God’s instructions and attempted to avoid the unwanted assignment by running away. But He soon discovered that you can never outrun God.

We must understand that we cannot hide from God. What He wishes to accomplish through us will come to pass, despite all our objections and procrastination. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that He has plans for us and will see to it that we conform to those plans. How much easier it would be if we, unlike Jonah, would submit to Him without delay!

Our task as Christians is to be the instrument by which God tells the world the good news of salvation and to rejoice when they accept the Jesus as their Savior and make him the Lord of their life. This is an experience God wants us to share with Him, and not to be jealous or resentful of those who come to Christ even after having been wretched sinners. Instead we are to rejoice like the angels in heaven.

Here are some facts to think about:

  • When God has something to say to you, you need to make yourself available to receive it and then obey it.
  • Don’t let fear sabotage the mission God has planted in your heart.
  • Excuses for being too busy are not a matter of not having enough time; it’s a matter of not having discipline.
  • You must die to pride, because it leads to disgrace and in turn be humble which leads to wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).
  • God will never call you to do something you can’t accomplish.
  • Live a life of gratitude and you’ll always be full of joy.
  • It’s never too late to be all that God has called you to be.

Remember that we should not run away from God, but run to Him. As Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Perhaps the Lord has called you to serve Him in a way that is personally challenging. As you commit to following the Lord, pray also for a willing heart; and you will find peace and blessing in doing the work when you follow Him with a humble spirit.

The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

(Numbers 6:24-26)

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Proverbs 27 vs 1

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”

(Proverbs 27:1)

“Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

(2 Corinthians 6:2) 

Throughout history God has told a sinful world to repent (Mark 6:12; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; 17:30). To repent means to change your mind from embrace of sin and rejection of Christ to rejection of sin and embrace of Christ, it is a heartfelt transformation of one’s mind, which if genuine, will lead to the transformation of one’s actions away from sin. Those who refuse to repent and turn to Christ in faith will suffer eternal consequences. Given the fact that hell is real; why would anyone delay repenting? Yet many do, even while admitting their sin and claiming to see their need for salvation. 

There are several reasons not to delay repentance. First, the Bible’s command to repent is accompanied by an urgent plea to do it now: Paul tells the Corinthians that “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). In other words, today is the day of salvation as the psalmist writes “Today, if only you would hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95:7-8). 

None of us knows the day we will die so why would anyone delay such and important decision since after death comes the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). The rich fool in Jesus’ parable (Luke 12:16–20) thought he had plenty of time to enjoy life, but God had news for him: “This very night your life will be demanded from you” (verse 20). 

The tragedy is that far too many people assure themselves that it is never too late, keep waiting until it becomes forever too late! Every time a person says “no” to what’s right, it becomes a little easier to say “no” the next time, too. There’s a gradual hardening of the heart that can numb an unsaved person to the point of not feeling anything at all. This is called the searing of the conscience (1 Timothy 4:2) and is a dangerous spiritual condition to be in. This is so important that the writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 95:7-8 again: “So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7-8). 

Tragically, there comes a point of no return. God may eventually stop trying to bring the persistently rebellious to repentance and give them over to their own ways (Romans 1:28). We never know when this point of no return becomes reality, so the better part of wisdom is timely repentance. 

It is true that God is gracious to us and that a person may be able to repent up until the day he dies. But we should not live presumptuously, because we are not guaranteed tomorrow. 

Tragically we see another example of a seared conscience that would not listen to the Creator of the World. Hanging on the cross next to Jesus one of the two thieves on the cross continued in unbelief right up until the time he died (Luke 23:39). Long and continued rebellion against God is likely to become so fixed in one’s character that sincere repentance may become impossible. 

On the opposite side we see the repentant thief, beholding Christ and hearing Jesus word on the cross including “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34), came to believe that Jesus truly was the Son of God and that He could, indeed, grant forgiveness and salvation. 

The repentant thief assures us that no one needs to despair once they hear the truth and obey it. The opposite warns us that no one should presume anything since we are dealing with Almighty God. 

The penitent thief had no opportunity to be baptized, to change his lifestyle, or to do anything whatever except repent, believe on Christ, and confess his faith (Romans 10:9-10). And that was sufficient! Jesus knew his heart. 

Both thieves would die that day, and the soul of the unrepentant thief would soon descend into Hades, there to await condemnation at the future judgment day. The other, because of his trust in Christ, would go with Him to paradise. 

The tragedy is that far too many people assure themselves that it is never too late and keep procrastinating until it becomes forever too late! 

Remember, we have today, the present moment, and we should use it wisely. 

Once a person is aware of sin, they are responsible to repent of it and forsake it. We dare not delay repentance. There was a time when the Lord shut the door of the ark, and the flood drowned everyone who was left outside the ark (Genesis 7:16) because they were wicked and full of sin and did not repent even though Noah had preached for over one hundred and twenty years. On another occasion Scripture tells us that there came a time when the wedding party began, and those who were not ready for the coming of the bridegroom were locked out (Matthew 25:1–13) because they were not prepared. 

Making peace with God and receiving eternal life is the most important action and decision that any person can ever make. We hope that you will take God’s word to heart since He does not force anything on any of us. The decision is yours, what will it be…eternity in Heaven or in the Lake of Fire? 

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Posted by: missionventureministries | May 26, 2021

THE GOOD SHEPHERD LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP – John 10:11-13

John 10 vs 11-13

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” (John 10:11-13) 

This is the fourth “I am” declaration recorded in the Gospel of John and points to His unique, divine identity and purpose. We read where Jesus declared Himself “I am the door” in John 10:7 and now Jesus states “I am the good Shepherd.” 

It should be understood that Jesus is “the” good Shepherd, not simply “a” good shepherd, as others may be, but He is unique in character as seen in these verses (Psalm 23; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 5:4). 

Our Lord identifies Himself as the “Good Shepherd,” contrasting Himself with those shepherds of Israel who are rebuked by the Lord in Ezekiel, where he indicts the wicked “shepherds of Israel” who care for themselves at the expense of the flock. They prey upon the sheep rather than protecting them from predators. They feed and clothe themselves at the expense of the flock, yet they do nothing to minister to the needs of the sick or injured among the flock (Ezekiel 34:3-4). It is not difficult to see that Jesus looks upon the Pharisees before Him as the kind of shepherds Ezekiel condemned. 

Jesus uses this familiar scene to demonstrate how He is Israel’s true Shepherd and how the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders are evil shepherds. Evil shepherds, to whom Jesus refers as “thieves and robbers,” do not dare present themselves to the doorkeeper, because he will know them for what they are, and will not grant them access to the sheep, since their intent is to steal sheep and to kill them. If they are to gain entrance into the sheepfold, they must enter by some other way than through the door. They must climb over the wall. The way these folks seek to get to the sheep makes it clear that they have no good in mind. The true shepherd enters the sheepfold in a way that demonstrates his claim to his sheep is legitimate. He comes to the doorkeeper, who recognizes him and grants him access through the door to the sheep. 

There are many who have claimed to be “shepherds” of God’s flock, but who most certainly were not. Included would be the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders who were currently opposing Jesus. This also refers to those false shepherds yet to appear (Matthew 24:11, 22-28). Whether in the past, present, or future, all false shepherds are alike in that they use and abuse the sheep for their own selfish interests, and they attempt to gain access and leadership in a way that seeks to avoid the divinely approved boundaries. Simply put, they don’t meet the job description of a true shepherd, as described in Ezekiel 34:11-31 and elsewhere. 

The so called shepherds promise sheep “the good life,” but they most certainly do not provide it. It is our Lord who is the Good Shepherd, and as such He alone gives salvation, safety, and the abundant life. There is not only an abundance for the sheep here, but a freedom; they can “come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). This does not mean that they can go their own way, but the Good Shepherd goes before His flock, and His sheep willingly follow Him. 

In contrast, a hired hand works with the sheep, but he is not a shepherd; he works for money, in this case he feels no love or devotion to the sheep. Sadly, the hired hand does not have a personal interest in the sheep because they do not belong to him; he tends the sheep, but he is not affectionately attached to them. The hired hand will not risk his life for the sheep because when he sees the wolf coming, he forsakes the sheep and runs for his life; he flees because he does not care about the sheep leaving them to be scattered or killed. In contrast to the hired hand, Jesus declares that as the Good Shepherd, He cares for the sheep, so much so that He willingly lays down His life for them. 

Jesus is making a contrast between Himself and the religious leaders, the Pharisees (John 10:12–13) and compares them to a “hireling” or “hired hand” that doesn’t really care about the sheep. 

To better understand the purpose of a shepherd during the times of Jesus, it is helpful to realize that sheep are utterly defenseless and totally dependent upon the shepherd. Sheep are always subject to danger and must always be under the watchful eye of the shepherd as they graze because robbers may steal them, and wolves may attack the flock. David tells how he killed a lion and a bear while defending his father’s flock as a shepherd boy (1 Samuel 17:36). Shepherds were frequently subjected to grave danger, sometimes even giving their lives to protect their sheep. 

Likewise, Jesus gave His life on the cross as “the Good Shepherd,” as Matthew 20:28 states: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Through Jesus’ willing sacrifice, the Lord made salvation possible for all who come to Him in faith. In proclaiming that He is the Good Shepherd, Jesus speaks of “laying down” His life for His sheep (John 10:15, 17-18). 

Jesus’ death was divinely appointed. It is only through Him that we receive salvation. “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (John 10:14). Furthermore, Jesus makes it clear that it wasn’t just for the Jews that he laid down His life, but also for the “other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). The “other sheep” clearly refers to the Gentiles. As a result, Jesus is the Good Shepherd over all, both Jew and Gentile, who come to believe on Him (John 3:16). 

Those sheep that pass through the door; that trust in Jesus as God’s Messiah, the Good Shepherd, are those who are saved, and who enter into the abundant life. In “sheep terms,” they enjoy the safety of the shepherd’s care and protection, and the abundance of the rich pastures and water to which He leads them. In “people terms,” those who trust in Jesus are forgiven of their sins and enter into the abundant life, under the protection, guidance, and tender care of the Savior, who is their “Good Shepherd.” 

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Posted by: missionventureministries | May 20, 2021

WHAT DO WE HAVE TO BE SAVED FROM? – Revelation 20:15

Revelation 20 vs 15

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15) 

Scripture tells us that we need to be saved from “wrath,” that is, from God’s judgment of sin (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). Because of our sins, we all deserve death (Romans 6:23). While the physical consequence of sin is physical death, that is not the only kind of death that results from sin. All sin is ultimately committed against an eternal and infinite God (Psalm 51:4). Because of that, the just penalty for our sin is also eternal separation from God; that is what we need to be saved from (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:15). 

So how do we get saved and get to live eternity in heaven, who is it that saves us? 

Only God can remove sin and deliver us from sin’s penalty. The Bible tells us in Titus 3:5-7 that “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” 

So, how does God save us? It was Jesus’ death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection that achieved our salvation (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 1:7). Scripture is clear that salvation is the gracious, undeserved gift of God. It is also necessary to recognize Jesus’ death on the cross as the sufficient sacrifice required to remove all sins. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is only available through faith in Jesus Christ because, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). 

Salvation isn’t something that we can claim because we were born to believing parents or attend church. Jesus warned that many would call Him Lord without actually belonging to Him as we read in Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; away from me, you evildoers!’” 

Therefore if we want to become a genuine believer in Jesus Christ, we need the following: 

An understanding of the gospel because faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Romans 10:17). 

In order to believe and receive the good news of Jesus Christ, a person must have an understanding of their hopeless, sinful condition because, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God  (Romans 3:23). 

Please understand that NO ONE IS SAVED BY BEING A GOOD PERSON OR DOING GOOD DEEDS. 

There is a definite turning point when someone understands and accepts the gospel, because that person will turn from sin in repentance and toward God in faith and obedience. There will be a changed life; changing direction from our old fleshly lifestyle and making a way for new life in Christ. When we become believers there is a change of heart, and the sins we once loved, we now hate. 1 John 3:9 tell us that “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” 

A genuine Christian senses God’s presence and hears His voice as Jesus said: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). If God never speaks to your heart, you have reason for deep concern. If you have no desire for prayer and the Bible makes little sense to you, it is very possible you don’t know the Savior. 

Please understand that by grace, God’s salvation is offered to all who will believe and receive it through faith. Those who love and follow Jesus don’t practice religion out of habit; instead, their worship and joy are a vibrant response to the personal relationship they have with the Lord. 

Since the Lord wants us to succeed spiritually, He has provided everything we need. His Word gives us principles to practice, testimonies of faithful men and women to study and emulate. Ultimately God’s goal for us is obedience, faithfulness, and developing a Christ-like character. 

God gave us the most powerful example of love and obedience in His Son who did nothing on His own initiative (John 8:28); His desire was to be completely dependent on His Father and to be obedient in every aspect of His life.

Is that your desire as well? It’s easy to become sidetracked from this goal, but if you’ll persist, God Himself will be pleased with your faithfulness. 

Genuine Christians possess a supernatural assurance that they are saved and forgiven of their sins because “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16). This does not mean we never have any doubts, especially when we fail our Lord, but it does mean a prevailing peace will overshadow any momentary doubts. 

Most saved people can describe a “before and after” in terms of their salvation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In simple words, it is doubtful that old things could pass away and all things become new and you not know what happened! 

We know that our Father has provided everything we need to succeed because God’s Word reveals His purpose for all believers and transforms our character, thoughts, and behaviors to align with His desires. 

The Holy Spirit providentially guides us into God’s will and empowers our obedience. And prayer allows us to communicate with God at any time to receive guidance and grace to help with every need. 

These remarkable divine provisions, together with the promise of resurrection and the glories of heaven, give us good reason to persevere and never lose heart. 

Please remember that salvation is available in Jesus alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and is dependent on God alone for provision, assurance, and security. 

Is your name written down in the book of life? 

We hope so, and that you have the assurance from the Holy Spirit that you are saved, and if you are not sure please go to our SALVATION page for additional information. 

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Posted by: missionventureministries | May 12, 2021

IN THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES WE NEED TO REPLACE FEAR WITH COURAGE – Psalm 31:24

Psalm 31 vs 24

We need to understand that fear discourage us. If we want to be strong and courageous, we must abide under the shelter of the Most High as Psalm 91 describes, and follow God’s will for our life. 

Psalm 31:24 tell us to “be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” 

The Bible mentions two specific types of fear. The fear of the Lord brings with it many blessings and benefits. It is the beginning of wisdom and leads to good understanding (Psalm 111:10). Only fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7). Furthermore, fear and respect for the Lord leads to life, rest, peace, and contentment (Proverbs 19:23). It is the fountain and life (Proverbs 14:27) and provides a security and a place of safety for us (Proverbs 14:26). Thus, one can see how fearing and respecting God should be encouraged. 

However, the second type of fear mentioned in the Bible is not beneficial at all. This is the “spirit of fear” mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” As we see, a spirit of fearfulness and timidity does not come from God. 

It is interesting to note that in nearly every happening where God says “fear not,” there follows a reason to have courage, and that reason is God Himself, His nature and His perfect plans. God calms Abram’s fears after his battle with the kings of Sodom, the captivity of Lot and in his rescue, God says, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great” (Genesis 15:1). 

Then we see when Hagar was despairing for her life and that of her child in the wilderness, the angel of the Lord tells her, “Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is” (Genesis 21:17). 

And we also see God’s promise to Jacob, “but now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). In each occurrence, we see God commanding courage, not because it is natural for man to be brave and courageous, but because, when God is protecting and guiding us, we can have courage because we are confident in Him. 

In the New Testament, we see the angel of the Lord telling Mary to have the courage to face the proof of being pregnant with Jesus by the Holy Spirit, even though Joseph is not yet her husband. Again, the reason for her courage is that the almighty God controls all things: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30). 

The shepherds are also commanded to be of good cheer and have courage by the angel who brought good tidings of great joy (Luke 2:10), and Zachariah was told not to fear, for his prayer had been heard (Luke 1:13). Each time the courage commanded is the result of understanding the foreknowledge and sovereignty of God, whose plans and purposes cannot be thwarted and whose mighty power makes every circumstance of life subservient to His will. 

The words strong and courageous have not changed but sadly have taken on completely different meanings in today’s world. Promoting and celebrating lifestyles that are contrary to Biblical truth is seen as brave and sophisticated. The media, politics, the rich and powerful pretended to be the voice of false strength and undisciplined life styles. The proclamation of self-love eradicates God’s perfect love. As we see, this is not courage at all as God’s Word ultimately outlines what bravery looks like. 

As Christians, what price are we willing to pay? As more and more of our freedoms erode, what will we do to fight against the many that are trying to silence us? Are we willing to be strong and courageous by standing on the Word of God, no matter what it costs us? 

We need to remember that fear will try to stop all of us. But when we look to the cross and the Word of God we will know what to do. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand” (Isaiah 41:10). 

Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that, “the heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it?” And Jesus said when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name as they observed His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, because He knew all people, and because He did not need anyone to testify about mankind, for He Himself knew what was in mankind (John 2:23-25). 

It is only by the blood of Jesus Christ that we can be transformed into the strong and courageous people God created us to be. Courage without Christ doesn’t really exist because without His Spirit, we are dwelling in man-made security and hope. 

Lord, we pray you will help us be strong and courageous as we navigate these uncertain times. Please give us a discerning heart, so we can know how and when to take a stand in honoring You with our life. 

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DISCLAIMER MVM

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 5, 2021

IT IS CRUCIAL TO HANDLE GOD’S WORD ACCURATELY – 2 Timothy 2:14-15

2 Timothy 4 vs 14-15

Remind them of these things, and solemnly exhort them in the presence of God not to dispute about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the listeners. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:14-15) 

The Bible is an amazing book because it is God’s words given to mankind in written form. Yet many people misinterpret it. Instead of diligently studying Scripture to discover what God means and how He wants us to live, some people search the Bible to find passages to support their preconceived ideas or preferred lifestyles. 

We aren’t free to interpret the Bible any way we want. The purpose is to discover what God meant rather than to find a meaning we like. Remember, its our Father’s approval we are seeking, not our own or that of others. Therefore, let’s devote time to studying Scripture, use our resources to learn about context, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to the truth. 

Knowing how to properly interpret the Bible is a skill every believer should develop as did the Bereans, who were commended for examining Scripture regularly to test the truth of messages preached to them (Acts 17:10-11). 

A healthy church teaches sound doctrine based on the whole counsel of God’s Word “so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9; 2:1). When believers meet together, both for corporate worship and small group study, the Bible ought to be the center of the teaching. Faithful interpretation and everyday application of sound biblical doctrine will produce wholesome Christian living (1 Timothy 1:10; 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). 

The centrality of scriptural truth preserves the well-being of the local church as well as its leadership by protecting, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to us (2 Timothy 1:13-14). And when biblical truth and sound doctrine are prioritized, safeguarded, and taught without compromise, then all other traits of a healthy congregation will naturally follow. 

A healthy place of worship recognizes the biblical qualifications of spiritual leaders. For example, godly leaders are not to be arrogant, quick-tempered, violent, greedy, or dishonest, but rather must be hospitable, wise, just, upright, disciplined, and devout (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9). And therefore, a strong church should produce leaders after the example of Jesus Christ, who is the head of the church. And by “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:15-16). They need to teach Scripture without wavering, or by adding or subtracting from the Word of God. God’s truth needs to be preached even when people might be offended by it. 

They need to emphasizes discipleship, which produces faithful followers who know and love God and seek to obey His Word, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Discipleship includes getting involved in the life of the church, building authentic relationships with other believers (Acts 2:42-47), exercising gifts of ministry and service (Romans 12:4–8), pursuing and growing in sanctification without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14), and bearing fruit (John 15:5-8). 

A healthy body does its part in obeying the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) of spreading the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was raised from death to life, and now reigns to offer forgiveness of sins, new life in the Spirit, and eternal life to all who repent and believe. 

Other marks of a healthy church can be observed in (Acts 2:42-47); where the early church was devoted to biblical doctrine, meeting together for prayer, worship, and communion. These initial Christians fervently dedicated themselves to one another, forming a loving, generous environment where members cared for one another. A healthy church today will exhibit similar enthusiasm for authentic Christian living and participate in the purposes and work of God’s kingdom on this earth. 

God established the church to be the primary agent for carrying out His purposes on earth. The church is the body of Christ; God’s heart, hands, feet, and voice reaching out to people in the world. Healthy churches come in every shape and size. While numerical growth may be an indicator of health (Acts 2:47; 5:14; 16:5); it does not guarantee the well-being of a church. The health of a church is measured in spiritual and biblical terms rather than in numbers. There are many large, so-called churches, led by proud, deceitful, false pastors who do not teach the truth or call people to repentance; Jesus exposed these evil leaders in Matthew 23. 

While no denomination or congregation is perfect, as we see, the Bible does present several characteristics to help us recognize a church that corresponds with God’s standard. 

Jesus led through the example of servant hood (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:12-17). Our Lord spent most of His three years in ministry interacting closely with the twelve disciples, teaching and training them, and letting them observe His life. 

Therefore, as ambassadors for Christ on this earth, believers are called to be “the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). 

For that reason, be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:14-15) 

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Posted by: missionventureministries | April 28, 2021

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE START PLEASING PEOPLE RATHER THAN GOD? – Acts 5:29

Acts 5 vs 19

Peter wrote that, “We must obey God rather than human beings” (Acts 5:29). It is not our duty to make people happy. Rather, we are to live serving the Lord in every way He calls us, die daily to our own selfish desires, and receive our reward from Him, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). When this is our life goal, we will stop being people-pleasers. 

When a person becomes a people-pleaser it prevents them from being all God has called them to be. It silences us when we should speak, and threatens us when we do speak. A subtle form of people-pleasing in the church today is forecast in 2 Timothy 4:3: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Preachers whose desire is to draw crowds and please people rather than God call it “ministry.” Drawing crowds is not a sin, but when the motivation is to please people and not God, the problem becomes serious. The point is that if the apostles had been people-pleasers, they would never have been martyred for their faith and for standing for the truth of God’s Word. 

Are church leaders, and for that matter any of us; ready to suffer tribulation be incarcerated, persecuted and be killed because we tell the truth and are not a people-pleaser for Jesus’ name sake? (Matthew 24:9) 

We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We cannot be fully devoted to the gospel of Christ and also fully devoted to the approval of people; these two do not mesh. We need to remember what Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). 

Paul told the people of Thessalonica that they spoke as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests hearts. Paul had never used flattery, or tried to people please, he was true to the teaching of Christ and God was his witness (1 Thessalonians 2:3–5). 

And when addressing the Galatians Paul had another strong point when he asked them: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). 

Once a person recognizes their people-pleasing inclinations as sin and repent of them, they must find an alternate motivation. First Corinthians 10:31 tells us that our motive in everything should be to glorify God. When we develop an intimate relationship with Him through saving faith in Jesus, He becomes our focus. When we switch allegiance from self-worshiping to God-worshiping, our goal is no longer pleasing ourselves or others, but to honor and to please the Lord (Colossians 1:10). 

We find great freedom when we focus on our Shepherd and listen to His voice and follow Him (John 10:27).

When we do this, we can relax under the watchful eyes of the Almighty and find contentment under His care. 

We need to realize that when our guiding force is popularity, we have chosen another god, and that is idolatry. When we allow anything to control us other than the Holy Spirit, our hearts have erected a shrine to a competing god; therefore, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16, 25). 

Seeking praise from human beings rather than seeking God’s approval is a very dangerous road that people take. John 12:43 tells us that, even in Jesus’ day, some people believed His message but refused to follow Him because “they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” 

Jesus lived to glorify and obey His Father (John 8:29). He loved, gave to, and served people, but He was also not afraid to say what needed to be said, even when people got angry. He often rebuked people in public for their hypocrisy and lack of faith. He rebuked them because He loved them and those they were leading to hell along with themselves. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are” (Matthew 23:15). 

As we see, our Lord seemed to care little about how well His audience would receive His words. He spoke exactly what needed to be said, even when it led to His death (Mark 15:1-2; John 18:37). 

Jesus was the opposite of a people-pleaser and we need to remember that as Christians we have only one Master, and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s the one we are to please, out of love and gratitude for our salvation “so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10). 

If we try to please people by compromising what Christ teaches – our integrity, victory and fidelity to Jesus Christ will be damaged. This happens whenever we let others dictate how we should live the Christian life. If we start trying to please people instead of God, we’ll lose our true liberty. 

In summary, people-pleasing can lead to eternal separation from God when we allow it to dictate our choices to obey man rather than God.

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2 Corinthians 5 vs 10

The Bible says that believers will have to give an account to the Lord one day. Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us that, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. 

The Bible talks about the Judgment Seat of Christ, also referred to as the bema seat in three places: Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; and 2 Corinthians 5:10. Only church-age saints will appear at that judgment, as written in 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” 

This event will take place shortly after the rapture of the Church and the tribunal of Christ will be conducted in the heavenly regions. The apostle Paul declares that the examination of the works of believers will be carried out before the Son of God (2 Corinthians 5:10). And that all judgment is placed in the hands of Jesus and is part of the exaltation of Christ after His victory on Calvary, receiving from the Father all the authority and power to judge. 

The purpose of this judgment is an exhaustive evaluation of our lives. First Corinthians 4:5 says that the Lord will come and “bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” 

The Lord’s return for His believing children and what it means to us individually is a very prominent subject of the New Testament. It is so significant that among the final words of Revelation, the Lord tells us: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12). 

Think about this, God might be asking you one day, “What did you do with your money, time, resources, opportunities and the talent that I gave you?” The reason is that all true born again believers have been giving talents and blessings that we should use for the Lord. 

Therefore, at the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ. Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongue (James 3:1-9). 

The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things done based on how faithfully they served Christ. The various crowns are described in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, the incorruptible crown; in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, the crown of rejoicing; in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, the crown of righteousness; in James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10, the crown of life; and in 1 Peter 5 2-4, the crown of glory. 

James 1:12 gives us a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” 

Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself. 

  • If I have time to be on Facebook or to watch TV, then I should make time to share the gospel with lost people.
  • If I can read and talk, I can teach the gospel. Since faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Romans 10:17).
  • If I say that I love Jesus, I should live as Christ lived, reflecting His love and His grace through my life. Because the Bible says that God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8). 

The point is this, the most important and rewarding thing we can do in life is to teach people about Jesus, not only thru Scripture but also through our speech, actions, attitude and good works (Romans 10:17, Matthew 5:16). 

We need to understand that God will give rewards in heaven at the bema seat of Christ, based on our faithfulness in serving Him (2 Corinthians 5:10). The rewards will show the reality that we are no longer a slave, but God’s child (Galatians 4:7) and God will not forget our work and the love we have shown Him (Hebrews 6:10). God will give rewards in heaven in order to fulfill the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7–9) and make good on His promise that our labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). 

Remember that the greatest consequence of unfaithfulness here on earth is that it disappoints our Lord and Savior who gave His life for us. First John 2:28 says, “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” That is a sobering thought because we could be ashamed in the future when we stand before the Lord. At the same time, our diligence and obedience should encourage us with the prospect of receiving His bountiful rewards if we serve Him faithfully during our time here on earth. 

Every day He gives us another opportunity to evaluate our life since our presence before Him is rapidly approaching, and we will soon have to give Him an account of what we did during the time He allotted us here on earth. So, what are you doing to prepare for this day? The day when you will face the King of kings and the Lord of lords whose eyes penetrate like flames of fire (Revelation 2:18), and where there will be nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known (Luke 12:2). 

And lastly, Peter leaves us with a very important reminder: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God are to entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (1 Peter 4:17-19) 

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Posted by: missionventureministries | April 14, 2021

THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDES THE BELIEVER INTO ALL TRUTH – John 16:13

John 16 vs 3

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13). 

Jesus said that He would send the Spirit to those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ, so that He would be our Helper, Comforter, and Guide. 

The Spirit speaks to our hearts and leads us in the right direction when we learn to listen. He acts as a still, small voice that is heard in our spirit rather than audibly. 

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His disciples that He would send us another Counselor who would teach and guide all those who believe in Him (Acts 1:5; John 14:26; 16:7). Jesus’ promise was fulfilled fifty days after the Passover when Jesus died and rose again when the Holy Spirit came in power on the believers at Pentecost (Acts 2). 

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the action by which God takes up permanent residence in the body of a believer in Jesus Christ. 

The Holy Spirit has many functions. Not only does He distribute spiritual gifts according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:7–11), He also helps us (John 14:16), teaches us (John 14:26), and remains in us as a seal of promise upon our hearts until day of redemption of those who are God’s possession, which is the day Jesus returns (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit also takes on the role of Guide and Counselor, leading us in the way we should go and revealing God’s truth in what we are to say (Luke 12:12; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10). 

The question however is always how do we recognize the Spirit’s guidance? How do we discern between our own thoughts and His leading? After all, the Holy Spirit does not speak with audible words. Rather, He guides us through our own consciences (Romans 9:1) and other quiet, subtle ways. 

One of the most important ways to recognize the Holy Spirit’s guidance is to be familiar with God’s Word. The Bible is the ultimate source of wisdom about how we should live (2 Timothy 3:16), and believers are to search the Scriptures, meditate on them, and commit them to memory (Ephesians 6:17). The Word is the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), and the Spirit will use it to speak to us (John 16:12-14) to reveal God’s will for our life; He will also bring specific Scriptures to mind at times when we need them most (John 14:26), that is why it is so vital to be familiar with God’s word. 

When we spend time with the Lord and know His Word, it will help us to discern whether or not our desires come from the Holy Spirit. We must check our decisions against Scripture; because the Holy Spirit will never lead us to do anything contrary to God’s Word. If it conflicts with the Bible, then it is not from the Holy Spirit and should be ignored. 

Please remember not to take Scripture out of context just to achieve your desires, take time to be still before God and to make sure that you have peace in your heart before going forward. 

Jesus told His disciples that “when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). He is the ultimate guide, leading the way, opening our understanding, and making all things plain and clear. 

Another way to tell if we are following the Spirit’s leading is to look for signs of His fruit in our life (Galatians 5:22). If we walk in the Spirit, we will continue to see these qualities grow and mature in us, and they will become evident to others as well.

It’s difficult to hear from the Holy Spirit when we don’t know the Bible; because everything the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts will line up perfectly with Scripture. 

Please understand that “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14). 

Constant study and practice of God’s word is a sure way to hear the Holy Spirit clearly. Remember what Jesus said in John 10:27 “My Sheep hear my voice and they follow me.” If we do not study His word, how can we correctly make the right decision? 

Hearing from the Holy Spirit requires us to be patient and wait; it is part of maturing in our faith. The prompting comes ever so gentle like; He might bring someone again and again to our mind, so we finally call the person and find out that they have a need and that we can comfort them with a simple prayer of faith. But the choice is ours, will we respond or will we ignore it and go about our day? Be conscious that if there is a matter where God has put a constant reminder in your mind, that you need to obey Him in that regard. 

To better understand the prompting of the Holy Spirit there are many Bible examples of hearing God’s voice, and here are just a few of them: 

  • Ananias a disciple of Christ, who is told to go to the house of Judas where Saul was on Straight Street in Damascus, was afraid but the Lord said to him, go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel (Acts 9:10-19). 
  • In Paul’s first missionary journey, while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them (Acts 13:2). 
  • Then we see the Holy Spirit forbidding Paul to speak in Asia when they passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, after being forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; and passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas (Acts 16:6-8). 

We need to become sensitive to God who works around us. We do this by being still and concentrating on Him as humble servants who are ready to obey what God instructs us to do without questioning (1 Samuel 3:9-10). 

It is in stillness, not busyness, that we tune our spiritual ears to hear the voice of God. Many times the Lord speaks to us in that still small voice (1 Kings 19:12), but often it’s drowned out amid all the turmoil of our daily lives because we do not recognize or to take time to be with the Creator of the Universe our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who sent us the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

We need to learn to take time to listen and fellowship with Him on a daily basis, remembering to trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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