Posted by: missionventureministries | March 3, 2021

PLANTING AND WATERING FOR CHRIST – 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:6-9) 

Paul was dealing with a church that had become focused on the person who was ministering rather than on the fact that it is God that causes the growth and brings about spiritual fruit. 

Borrowing an image from the processes of agriculture Paul explains the relation in which his teaching differed from that of Apollos; just as Christian workers have different jobs and see different results – it is God who gets the work done and makes things grow. 

When a farmer plants a seed, and waters it, he really does not make it grow. The miracle of life does that. All the farmer can do is to provide the right environment for growth, and trust in the miracle that God provides. We do the same thing by planting the Word of God in people’s hearts and minds. 

Once that seeds starts germinating as a person puts their faith in Christ; God wants them to grow. However, making a one-time decision that is then neglected and left malnourished is not what Christianity represents and that many fail to understand. True Christians live and have a personal relationship with God through His Son. When a person comes to Jesus, they become a new creation in Christ and are born again; and as spiritually newborn baby they need to be nurtured to grow. 

Peter wrote his second letter challenging the believers to become more mature in their faith by adding to it specific Christians virtues, thereby becoming effective and productive in their knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-9). Peter desired that they become strong in their faith to withstand the false teachers that had crept in and adversely affected the churches so that they could detect and combat the spreading apostasy. And he told them to, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). 

We are saved by God’s grace, and we need to grow in that grace. We are also to grow in the knowledge of Christ. Certainly part of that knowledge is learning about Christ from the Bible, but we are also to grow in our own personal knowledge of Jesus, as we walk with Him daily, spend time in prayer, submit to His Lordship and authority in our lives through the choices and decisions we make. 

There is something wrong about “a Christian” who never experiences Christian growth. Imagine having a baby who was not growing, you would be alarmed and would be checking with doctors to find out what was wrong. Likewise, if you are not growing as a Christian, then that means something is wrong. 

When we have been in the presence of Jesus and our Father we want to be like Them, and the desire to be like Jesus is the foundation of all spiritual growth and that growth is the most natural aspect of Christianity.  

Paul told the Corinthians, “test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5). 

As we see in this verse if you do not see any spiritual growth you should be testing yourself by asking “Am I really a Christian? Have I really put my faith in Christ?” If you have not, that would definitely be a reason why you are not growing spiritually. 

It is no shame to be a baby, if you were born a few months ago. But if a person has been a child of God for several years and has not grown, he has a problem. Everyone needs to grow if they are a true born again Christian, and everyone can grow, if they simply apply the Bible principles of growth. 

You need to understand that you cannot grow as a Christian until you first become a Christian. There must be spiritual life before there can be spiritual growth. The seed must have been planted and constantly watered for it to grow. 

Once the seed germinates and starts’ growing it needs to develop and grow to produce fruit. In the same way a young believer in Christ needs to grow by learning about God, the Word, prayer, forgiveness, sin, temptation, and a host of other Biblical issues. 

When we talk about spiritual growth and maturity, we are not just talking just about Bible knowledge gained, we are talking about character. True spiritual growth and maturity will always result in the Christian becoming more like Jesus in character which is accomplished through the Holy Spirit living in us.

 In the same way that Paul told the Corinthians that, “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building,” he tells the Ephesians that Christ Himself gave different people the task so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13). 

The purpose was so that they would grow in Christ and would no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14).   

But, instead by speaking the truth in love, the end result of service in the body of Christ is spiritual growth. We are no longer immature infants blown back and forth by the wind, but we become mature, solid adults in Christ, knowing the truth of God’s word and speaking that truth in love as God shapes our character to become more like Christ. 

If we are faithful at planting and watering God’s Word it will grow and bear fruit and that is our goal as believers, and the reason Jesus gave the great commission. 

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) 

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 24, 2021

AS GOD’S OBEDIENT CHILDREN WE ARE CALLED TO BE HOLY – 1 Peter 1:13-16

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16) 

Let us take a look at what it means to be holy. 

Peter is addressing believers in these verses and in verse 1:16, and is quoting directly from Leviticus 11:44 and Leviticus 19:2.  

As believers, we need to be “set apart” from the world unto the Lord. We need to be living by God’s standards, not the world’s. God is calling us to be distinct from the world as we read further on in Peter’s letter: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). 

Being set apart from the world, we need to live our day-to-day lives as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:13-16. We are not to engage in the sinful activities the world promotes, rather, each one is to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2). 

Walking in holiness requires the Holy Spirit we receive when we become “new creations.” When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts, we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). Holiness is only possible when we are put on the new self and live life as the new creatures God ordained us to be. Although holiness isn’t natural to us, we are instructed in Scripture to pursue holiness. 

We need to comprehend that if we have believed in Christ for salvation, we have been washed by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit and set apart from the world to live a holy life. 

God expects us to cultivate a lifestyle of holiness (1 Peter 1:14-16) and commands us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). 

Perfecting holiness means that we should be increasing in spiritual fruitfulness every day. We are to consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11), refusing to revert back to our former lifestyles. 

As Paul told Timothy, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:19-21). 

Holiness is the mark of every true Christian as the apostle John wrote: “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God (1 John 3:9-10). 

Holiness only results from a right relationship with God by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior and accepting His gift of eternal life. If we have not placed our faith in God’s Son alone to save us from our sins, then our pursuit of holiness is in vain. So, we must first make sure that we are born-again believers as we see Jesus instructing Nicodemus in John 3. 

If we truly are believers, then we recognize that our position in Christ automatically sets us apart from the world (1 Peter 2:9); since we have a relationship with the living God! Then we must live daily a set-apart life, not trying to “blend in” with the world, but instead living according to God’s Word as we study the Bible and grow in knowledge and holiness. 

Holiness is a requirement for every believer because, “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). The difference between God and us is that He is inherently Holy while we, on the other hand, only become holy in relationship to Christ as we mature spiritually. 

While on this earth, the Holy Spirit will produce Christ likeness in us as we yield to Him in pursue of holiness, the final attainment being completed when we are with Him. 

This is, perhaps, the most important lesson that we can learn as Christians. God’s ultimate desire for His people is that we be holy, conformed into the image of His Son, Jesus (Romans 8:29). 

Jesus Christ is our perfect example of one who walked in Holiness. If we look at how He lived and exemplified Holiness, we see a life committed to honoring God, showing love, honoring parents, serving others, and keeping our body holy. 

Having a relationship with the Father is imperative to those who want to be holy. And we are equipped for being holy when we put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). 

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

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 17, 2021

WHATEVER WE SOW WE WILL ALSO REAP – Galatians 6:7-9

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:7-9) 

Sowing and reaping is more than just an agricultural principle; it is also a law of the spiritual world.

Anything we put our time, energy, money, or focus on is an act of sowing. Reaping is the results or consequences of what we’ve sown. 

There are natural consequences to our actions. The world operates under the law of cause and effect. There is no way around it, every time we choose an action; we also choose the consequences of that action. 

This principle works both positively and negatively. “The one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18), but “whoever sows injustice reaps calamity” (Proverbs 22:8). 

The law of sowing and reaping is related to the law of multiplication. Jesus spoke of seed that brought forth “a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:8). A grain of wheat produces a whole head of grain; likewise, sowing spiritual good seeds or evil seeds can produce a series of positive or negative consequences. 

It is true God forgives all our past sins if we genuinely repent, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and came down from heaven to save us, paying for our sins on the cross. He is a compassionate God, but we cannot mock Him because there will be a due punishment. 

Many men in the Bible reaped fruits of their seeds even after receiving forgiveness from God. Here are a few examples:

  • Moses could not enter the Promised Land due to the seed of disobedience. (Deuteronomy 32:51-52)
  • David suffered the consequence of his own sins because of the seed he sowed willfully due to his lust and power. (1 Chronicles 22:8)
  • Jacob, who cheated his brother, ended up being cheated by his own father-in-law. (Genesis 29:14-30) 

God will settle our accounts as well and we will reap what we sow in this world. This principle applies to everyone, both Christians and non-Christians; it is irrevocable and there is no escape, either for the believer or for the unbeliever.

In life we are given two choices: 

1.     Either we sow to the flesh – “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption” (Galatians 6:8a). This involves the works of the flesh described in Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” 

Consequently, those who sow to the flesh reap corruption, sorrow, disease, damnation and they will not inherit the kingdom of God and will instead experience the wrath of God!  (Ephesians 5:5-7)

 2.     Or we sow to the Spirit – “the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8b). This requires walking in the Spirit. As a result, those who sow to the Spirit reap everlasting life, abundant life, salvation. They will also reap the fruit of the Spirit which is: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).  

Galatians 5:16-17 tells us: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  

We either do one or the other; so which will it be? 

We should sow to the spirit by doing good to all, especially brethren – “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10).  

What we become is due to the decisions we make each moment of every day. We have the option to change, if we do not like what we have become. We can turn to Christ and He will help us when we make Him the Lord and Savior of our life: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  

Paul tells us: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).  

So by practicing His presence we become a new person. There will be a dynamic transformation in our life when we are living under His Lordship; when this takes place, we will know it; others will know it and all of heaven will be aware of the transforming power of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our life. 

It is vital that we identify what occupies and dominates our life, thoughts, desires and actions each day.  We should be asking ourselves. Is my mind fixed on how I can please my God and Savior in every thing that I say, think and do?  Do I long to worship and honor Him more humbly and fervently? Can I honestly say that I have unconditionally surrendered my life and will to His absolute Lordship? Or am I still running my life my way?  

Am I only thinking of what I desire and want, my plans and goals, what will gratify me now, not considering and obeying the commands of God that He has given me in the Bible?

Eternal life awaits those who are willing to sow to the Spirit by obeying God’s Word and He will give eternal lifeto those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality” (Romans 2:7). 

God told Jeremiah: “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10). 

Therefore, always remember that everything we sow has a direct consequence on what we reap now or in the future, and that we reap more than we sow.

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 10, 2021

THE EVIDENCE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN OUR LIFE – Acts 17:28

For, ‘in Him we live and move and have our being …” (Acts 17:28)

What would our lives be like if we could live in the continual presence of God and our Savior?   

When Jesus was living and teaching on earth nothing could separate Him from the presence of His Father; that is one of the reasons that He had great peace and power in His life; He was never anxious, worried or hurried. 

Scripture provides endless examples of how the presence of the Lord empowers His people to live for Him. 

The following are just a few examples: 

God’s presence was so evident in Abraham’s life, even the heathen around him recognized the difference between their lives and his: “At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do” (Genesis 21:22). This heathen king basically said, “There’s something different about you, Abraham. God is with you wherever you go.” And the same is what others should see in us. 

Then, we see where Moses was absolutely sure that without God’s presence in his life it was useless for him to attempt anything. When he spoke face to face with the Lord, he stated boldly, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). He was fundamentally saying, “Lord, if you’re not with us, we’re not going to make it. We won’t take a single step unless we are assured of Your presence with us.”

Later on the psalmist acknowledges comparable words when he wrote: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2).

Moses knew it was God’s presence among them that set them apart from all other nations. The same is true of God’s people today. The only thing that sets us apart from nonbelievers is God’s presence “with us,” leading us, guiding us and working His will in and through us. God’s presence drives out fear and “will keep him in perfect peace whose mind in fixed on You, because he is trusting in You” (Isaiah 26:3). 

God promised Joshua that no enemy could stand against him as His presence was with him: “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them” (Joshua 1:5-6). 

When God told Joshua I will never leave you; is saying the same to us, because at salvation, Christians are permanently indwelt with the Holy Spirit, who is God Himself (Acts 5:3–4). Christ affirmed that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would be with His followers always (John 14:16). Also, Jesus told His disciples that He would be with them “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). As we see, the God who promised to never leave Joshua is the same Lord who says He will never leave believers today. 

God told Gideon, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior”…then “the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:12, 14). 

The Lord is saying, “Gideon, there is a might in you so powerful it can save Israel. That might is My presence.” The Lord wanted to let Gideon know what any person can do when God’s presence is with them. 

Isaiah was told by God of a special promise He makes to those He loves: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-3). 

With God’s presence abiding in us, we can go through any potential difficulty, God will be with us; and when He is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) 

Scripture is filled with accounts of the wonderful blessings that came to those who had God’s presence with them. 

When God’s Spirit is present with us, we can be strong and courageous because we trust His promise that He will go with us. Just as the Lord replied to Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).As we learn, it is only when our lives are positioned in the Lord, in union with Him that we possess the appropriate power to overcome. Jesus said, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4–5).

The believer’s empowerment comes from being in Jesus. Apart from Him, we can do nothing, but in Christ we have at our disposal all the strength of His might. Through the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the Lord’s power makes us capable. He strengthens us with everything we need for any task. 

We can choose to live in victory, joy and peace every day; because we are filled with all of the fullness of God and He is doing more for us and in us, than we can ask or even imagine, (Ephesians 3:19-20). 

Almighty God wants us to accept the fact that He has made each of His children a “royal and holy priest unto Him,” to live in His presence each moment of our existence, to humbly and faithfully serve Him and the people that He has called us to minister to. 

Just as, “Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil” (John 12:3); there is always a refreshing fragrance, an aroma, about the people who are living in humble, unbroken fellowship with Jesus, as they reach out to people around them and draw them into the presence, comfort and love of Jesus everywhere they go.   

God’s humble, obedient children want Jesus to be the center of attention, and their deep desire is that others will see Jesus, high, Holy and lifted up, because Jesus said; “when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). 

Who has the right and the privilege to enjoy the presence of God and live in the secret place of the Almighty? Only those people who will accept Jesus as the absolute Lord of their lives and of their time.   

Reach out to the Lord with your whole heart, trusting and obeying Him, and He will manifest His presence, enabling you to be steadfast and fearless for His honor and glory. 

“Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does

not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.”

Psalm 24:3-4 

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 3, 2021

DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE, TRUST IN THE LORD – Psalm 22:1-2

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2) 

In this psalm, David cries out to God for help but feels forsaken and in deep agony because God does not answer him. He expresses utter hopelessness and despair and cannot comprehend why God has abandoned him. He is suffering both physically (Psalm 22:14–15) and socially (verses 6–8). Most disturbing to him is his apparent abandonment by God; since David’s lifelong relationship with God appears to be broken. 

Yet even in his desolation, David prays, “My God, my God,” acknowledging his faith in God and dependence on Him, despite the Lord’s apparent distance and silence. 

After his first words of despair, David declares outright his trust in the Lord: “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame” (Psalm 22:3-5).

David knows that God never forsakes His people: “I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise You. You, who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob honor Him! Revere Him, all you descendants of Israel! For He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help” (Psalm 22:22–24). 

Hundreds of years in the future, Jesus was nailed on the cross, enduring His most intense moments of torment. He desperately needed His Father’s presence. In a loud voice, the Lord cried out what the psalmist had written in the Messianic prophecy, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). 

When He was hanging on the cross, Christ recited Psalm 22:1. Joining with the multitude of humans in their affliction, Jesus became one with them in their suffering and cried out to God for help. 

This psalm was written to give individuals a model for praying in times of extreme suffering and need. Like so many other psalms, it movingly expresses the common emotional experience of people who feel alone and afflicted. 

Our fully God, fully human Savior identifies with us in every way, even in our weakest moments; even when we feel like God has abandoned us. Through Christ’s total identification with us, He gives us His own example of how to pour out our hearts to God. Jesus shows us that trusting God means talking to Him in good and bad times and that we have to especially trust in Him with our worst moments in life. 

Hebrew tells us that: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission” (Hebrews 5:7). Jesus asked that the cup be taken away from Him (Luke 22:42), yet the cup was not taken away. Nevertheless, His prayer was heard because His prayer was not to escape His Father’s will, but to accept it, and that prayer was definitely heard. 

Sometimes we have to go thru trying times before we can clearly see our own rebellion and pride that the Lord is trying to show us. When we suffer, we may feel isolated from God, but the reality is that God is with us step-by-step and is trying to teach us what in that moment or circumstance we cannot see. 

The Bible teaches us that we are going to suffer in many different ways. And when we suffer, we should remember that: 

  • If we are faithful, we know that God is present, even when He seems far away;
  • God’s timing is perfect, even when He appears not to hear; and
  • During our times of suffering, the most important thing to do is keep our faith and trust in God. 

Scripture tells us 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). 

As Jesus took on Himself the sins of all humankind, He acknowledged feeling abandoned by the Father, yet, like David, He trusted in God. He knew that He was fulfilling God’s purpose by laying down His life: “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Therefore, the greatest mistake any Christian can make is to substitute his own will for the will of God.  

If you are having problems hearing from the Lord, consider this verse: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). 

Then read 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 

And to help you further, memorize the following verses: 

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3) 

“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 right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) 

“Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10) 

May the God of hope bless you! 

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

Romans 15:13 

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 27, 2021

BE DOERS OF THE WORD AND NOT HEARERS ONLY DECEIVING YOURSELVES – James 1:22-25

Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;  for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25) 

James stresses the need to act on what we hear. He says we are fooling ourselves if we think we can be hearers only and not doers of the Word. 

We need to remember that people who sincerely love God are those who keep His commands (John 14:15; 1 John 5:2-3), they are not only hearers but doers of his instructions. 

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus gave a stern warning to those who hear the words of God but don’t act on them: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 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!’’ 

And He continues: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27). 

As we see, both groups “heard.” But the “wise man” was the one who not only heard what Jesus said but also put what He said into action. There are a lot of people today who say that they love Jesus and call themselves Christians; people who love to call Him “Lord.” We have to remember though that Jesus reprimanded them by also saying: “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). 

James wrote that we are to be “doers” of God’s word, “and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (v. 22b). People who only “hear” God’s word but who do not “do” what it says, are fooling themselves; they think that they are receiving a benefit from ‘hearing’, when in fact they are deceiving themselves if they only hear and do not obey. 

The main point of James’ illustration about the man and the mirror is that he quickly forgets what he saw in the mirror, meaning what the word of God is pointing out to him. The mirror tells it like it is, it shows and reveals to us what we really look like. But the man, who takes this quick look, quickly forgets what he saw (1:24). He is a “forgetful hearer” (1:25). And so he does nothing about the problems he saw in the mirror and keeps doing things the same way. 

When we are not interested in truly hearing the word of God we are also not interested in being doers of His word because we have wrong priorities and do not regard Scripture as important. 

The word of God is like a mirror that reveals to us the very thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12). It shows us our ugly, self-centered attitudes. It exposes our pride. It confronts our contempt for others, our lack of compassion and the lack of restraining our tongue. 

Consequently, if we just take a quick glance at the word once in a while and then rush out to do something else without doing anything to address the problems that it reveals, it won’t do us any good. 

To be doers of the word, we need to give it more than a passing glance. It requires concentration and hard work to apply it to ourselves and to our life. 

The problem of forgetting God is a frequent seen in the Old Testament; just like Moses warned Israel before they got into the promised land when he said, “be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slaver” (Deuteronomy 6:12). 

As we see, there is an inherent danger if a person hears the word, but does not put it into practice, because they are deluding themselves. The solution is to apply the word to fix the problems that it reveals. 

In verse 25 James changes terminology. Up till now, he’s mentioned “the word” (1:18, 21, 22, 23), but now he refers to it as “the perfect law of liberty.” 

The reason James does this is that he was writing to Jewish-Christian readers who were prone to keep the Law outwardly, while their hearts were far from God. Like the rich young ruler, they thought that they were okay, because they kept all of the commandments from their youth up, but as we read in Matthew’s 19:16-22 account, the rich young ruler was violating the great commandment, because he loved his money more than he loved God. 

When James calls it the perfect law of liberty, he is referring to the new covenant promise of the law written on the heart, enabling obedience to that law for the first time. This was written by Jeremiah 31:33 and Paul also later writes“(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares” (Romans 2:14-16). 

When we look into God’s mirror “His word” and apply it to our hearts we will be set free as Jesus told the Jews who believed in Him: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). 

Do you want God’s blessing in your life? If you say yes, then James’ answer is clear: Don’t be a forgetful hearer of the word when you look at God’s mirror. Instead become an effectual doer and you will be blessed. 

*******

Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

  1. THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD

 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (God-breathed, alive), and is profitable for doctrine (what to believe), for reproof (to tells us what is wrong), for correction (tells us how to make it right), for instruction in righteousness (tells us how to live). That the man of God may be perfect, (capable, being empowered to do what God wants), thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Bible was written by man, but authored by God. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). It is a book that you can read in which the author (the precious Holy Spirit) is with you to guide you and to help you understand it. 

The Bible comes alive to those who have received the Holy Spirit because they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to earth to redeem the lost to the Father by His sacrificial death on the cross, that He arose on the third day and has ascended on to heaven from where He will return.

The Bible is useful to teach, rebuke, correct, train and equip us. When we read out Bible we have an encounter with the Living God. 

The Bible transcends time, culture, age, race, gender and education. God’s Word speaks to all who seek Him as seen in some of the following verses: 

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). In this dark world God’s Word will light our way with His awesome light if we let Him! 

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). 

“I will take delight in your commands, which I love. I will lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes” (Psalm 119:47-48). 

The Bible offers profound insight into our heart and soul. “For the word of God is living and powerful (active), and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). 

The Word of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, provides a living encounter with God Himself. As you read the Bible, God discerns your deepest inner secrets and reveals the thought and intents of your heart. 

The Lord is truly our wonderful Counselor. Praise His Holy Name! 

  1. THE BIBLE IS ETERNAL

Psalm 119:89 says: “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” 

In 1 Peter 1:24-25 we read: “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 

And Mark 13:31 states: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” 

When we die we cannot take anything with us other than the Word of God that we have treasured in our spirit. Our world is a temporary place, but how awesome is our God that we can study His eternal word while in this temporary body. 

2 Corinthians 5:1 tells us, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 

If you read, and treasure God’s eternal Word you know that you have an inheritance reserved for you in heaven. 

  1. THE BIBLE IS TRUE

The Bible is true; it is inerrant (without error) as we read in Psalm 119:160, “Your Word is true from the beginning: and every one of your righteous judgments endures forever.” 

The Bible is absolute truth; it is our love letter from God. It is our owner’s manual of Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. The Bible teaches us reverence for life from conception to the grave and we are commanded to search the Scriptures because they point to Jesus and eternal life. As Jesus told the Pharisees: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). 

  1. THE BIBLE REVEALS PROPHECY

True prophets were called and chosen by God and given prophecy through divine inspiration to warn God’s people. Prophesy was the declaring or describing of something that would occur in the future, which was beyond the power of human wisdom to foresee, discern, or imagine. To prophesy is to speak forth truth. 

Statistics show that over twenty-five percent of the Bible is made up of Bible prophecy; and that of the existing 31,124 verses in Scripture, 8,352 are prophecy verses. 

Since Jesus said that we are to live by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4) we cannot ignore Bible prophecy. 

We need to understand that the ancient Jews were careful to use prophecy as a measuring stick. If someone claimed to be a prophet, yet his predictions did not come true, the punishment was severe: “If any prophet dares to speak a message in My name that I have not commanded him to speak, or to speak in the name of other gods, that prophet must be put to death” (Deuteronomy 18:20).

A true prophet of God was required to deliver God’s message accurately. Remember, only God can “declare the end from the beginning” and forecast to the very day the “things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:10). 

Reading and studying prophecy is fascinating since it not only opens up our eyes to the truth of God’s Word but it also keeps us from being mislead by those that add or take away from Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18-19); which the Lord tells us will lead to God taking away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:19). 

Please always remember that God wants us to regard His Word as the most important source for life and we are commanded to study Scriptures. The following verses are just a few that mention these commands: 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8) 

I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. (Psalm 119:15-16) 

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. (Psalm 37:31) 

As we see, we are to study Scripture to transform our life. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). 

Remembering that, “blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). 

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Therefore, study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

******* 

SOURCE: Parts taken from, “Meditating on the Bible;” a message from our sister in Christ, Carol T. 

*******

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 13, 2021

PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU MY PEACE I GIVE YOU – John 14:27

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). He had also told His followers that “in this world you will have many troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). 

Peace is the presence of God giving us the inner tranquility of mind and spirit even during times of trouble. 

Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). When the “God of all peace” comes to live inside a believing heart (1 Corinthians 6:19), He begins to produce His own characteristics in that life. Inner peace comes from knowing that circumstances are temporary and that God is sovereign over all (Isaiah 46:9-11). 

Peace comes from exercising faith in God and His Word. We can have peace in the midst of challenges when we remember that “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). 

Peace is an inner sense of contentment and quietness, regardless of life’s circumstances. It is steadfast confidence in our ever-faithful, immutable heavenly Father. 

In Colossians 3:15, Paul tells believers, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Peace is an awesome gift of God that He gives to those who, through faith in Jesus Christ, belong to Him and walk obediently in His ways. 

Knowing that our lives are under God’s authority should bring us great peace and assurance because He promises to work everything together for good to those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

If we do not have faith, believe and trust, we do not have peace; and worry and fear will creep back in. If that should happen we need to immediately take our concerns to the Lord in prayer so that His peace, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). And we should always remember that: “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). 

Psalm 119:165 emphasizes that those who love God’s Word have great peace. 

Throughout Scripture, God makes promises of provision for His obedient children. Therefore, His peace is available to all who are willing to believe and trust that the Lord will meet all our needs. 

So how do we receive this peace? We give every situation to God in prayer; and when we do this, God’s peace fills out our inner most being, because we trust in Him. 

Psalm 29:11 tells us that: “The LORD gives strength to His people; the LORD blesses His people with peace.” 

God has provided His peace to every believer. If there is an absence of it, it’s because we have not let it rule in our hearts. Or in other words, we haven’t practiced and applied the truth of His peace to our lives in a way that governs our hearts, no matter what our circumstances may be. 

To reach this place of peace won’t come from worry or stress; it will come from resting in the loving arms of the Savior; knowing that He is in control and that He will carry you through any situation that life has to offer. 

God’s desire is that we who know Him and have His peace in our hearts radiate that peace to others, bringing calmness and wisdom to tense situations and in so doing be light to the world (Matthew 5:14). 

Always remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). 

*******

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 6, 2021

THE POWER OF PRAYING IN JESUS NAME – 1 John 5:14-15

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (1 John 5:14-15) 

Praying for things that are in agreement with God’s will is the essence of praying in Jesus’ name; and it is important that we pray with words that accurately express the words that the Holy Spirit inspires us to say. 

Some believers think any request that concludes with the words “in Jesus name,” will automatically be fulfilled, but praying in Jesus’ name is not a guarantee for our wishes to be granted. It is true that Jesus promised to do whatever we ask in His name (John 14:14); however, we cannot base our concept of prayer on this one verse without considering the context and other teachings on the subject throughout Scripture. If we do this it leads to confusion and disappointment when God doesn’t answer our prayers as we expect. 

Praying in Jesus’ name means asking according to His will so the Father will be glorified in the Son as stated in John 14:13. 

Oftentimes, unanswered prayer is not about God’s unwillingness to respond but has to do with requests made with wrong motives or limited perspective. We should keep three things in mind: 

  • First, we must make wise requests. When we ask according to God’s will, we have confidence that He’ll answer our requests (1 John 5:14-15). The purpose of prayer is not to pressure God to do what we want, but to submit to His desires because He knows what is best for us. 
  • Second, our prayers should be according to correct motives, because selfish motives will not be blessed by God. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3). 
  • Third, we are to trust God’s perspective. As we submit to His will and pray according to His word, we need to be patient knowing that the Father knows the time and place for everything. And as we continue praying, we start thanking Him and waiting for the answer with faith, because the Lord knows what we need and what is best for us. 

Never give up on prayer, and as you present your requests, ask the Lord to reveal if you’re hindering His answer in some way because “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18). Remember, prayer is about His will, not ours. 

So how can we know what God’s will is? God promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).                                       

The more we study Scripture, the more we understand God’s Word, and the better we will know how to pray “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7); and the more often God will answer “yes” to our requests. 

As we see, the important condition to prayer is that it is prayed within the will of God. Jesus prayed this way all the time, even in Gethsemane: “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). We can pray with great sincerity and faith, but if it is not within God’s will, we are praying incorrectly, and prayers will not be answered until we learn and understand His purposes for us. 

On the other hand, when we pray according to God’s will, the Lord hears our petition and we truly can say: Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me!” (Psalm 66:20) 

*******

Posted by: missionventureministries | December 30, 2020

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RESCUING AND ENABLING? – Hebrews 12:11

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) 

When we talk about rescuing or enabling someone, we need to look at the situation of what is happening and what has been occurring. Once we have done this, we need to evaluate the situation to make sure that we are not becoming enablers. 

The Bible says a person reaps what they sow (Galatians 6:7). A bad choice almost always leads to a bad consequence. Since we want what’s best for someone, we’ll counsel them to avoid making bad choices, but that’s not the same as helping them not to suffer the consequences if they persist in choosing to do what is wrong. 

While it is correct and good to rescue people who are in a dangerous situation and cannot save themselves (Proverbs 24:11), or helping them when a dire unforeseen circumstance happens; we become enablers when we rescue people that continue to practice bad choices and we feel the responsibility to minimize the consequences of their bad choices. 

Many people believe that rescuing equates to having mercy on someone, but is that really having mercy? We need to understand that we become enablers whey we continually bail someone out and never allow the person to learn from their mistakes. As Christians we are to help each other move in the right spiritual direction. It does not mean giving them money every time they ask for it. 

There is a place for mercy, but if we constantly rescue someone from the natural consequences of sin, we rob that person of the wisdom God wants to impart to them. It’s never easy to see a loved one experience difficulty, but we need to be tough and let God teach them the important lesson in life they need to learn. 

When we give money to a family member or a friend we suspect is using it unwisely, we enable them to continue in their wrongdoing. Even when we are helping out with necessary bills, we may still be enabling them when we know that that they are only experiencing need because they have squandered their own money on gambling / booze / drugs / cigarettes / materialistic self-satisfaction / etc. 

When we rescue people from consequences they deserve, we become amateur providence that is; we are interfering with God’s plan for them, which might end up in adverse consequences for us also. 

God uses the consequence of our bad choices to teach us life lessons, but when a rescuer/enabler keeps bailing the person out, the offender is basically living a consequence-fee life, and we are negating a valuable lesson that the irresponsible person needs to learn. 

Like the story Jesus told about prodigal son who had to hit terrible times tending pigs and eating their food after squandering the vast amount of money his father had given him (Luke 15:11-32). Thankfully after the prodigal  hit rock bottom and realized he was wrong; he became remorseful and vowed to make things right. The father welcomed him back with open arms since he never stopped caring, but he was willing to let God discipline the son’s rebelliousness in His own way.

As we see some people do not learn until they hit bottom and unfortunately some never do. The Bible is a book of boundaries and consequences. From the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1-3) to Revelation, we see many situations of God saying, “Thou shall not.” But He did not put a fence around the forbidden fruit in the Garden, and He allowed Adam and Eve to make the choices they wished to make; however, there are consequences that came with those choices. 

All through the Old Testament, we find examples of God clearly instructing His people Israel to walk in His commands. Through His prophets, He warned them what would happen if they disobeyed (Joshua 23; Zechariah 1:6). They disobeyed anyway, so God brought consequences: they wandered in the wilderness for forty years (Numbers 14:28-35), and they spent seventy years of captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 25:3-11). Although it displeased God to have to punish His people, the Lord did not rescue them from their justly earned consequences. 

Many times when we rescue others by being enablers, it allows them to manipulate us while remaining on the same unwise course. When people ask and we just give, we are not helping them; instead we are making it easier for them to continue doing what they have been doing instead of letting them reap the well deserved consequences. 

We need to stop our habit of enabling by setting healthy boundaries for ourselves. As long as we believe it is our job to rescue everyone who comes to us for help, we will be at the mercy of fools who in the long run will drain our resources if we let them. We need to make every decision based on the discernment God gives us for the long-term best interests of ourselves and others. 

When we allow others to violate our boundaries and take from us what many times we cannot afford to give, we have switched from righteous rescuing to unrighteous enabling. 

Allowing someone to suffer the consequences of their disobedience might be painful to us, but it is letting God do what He has to do to free them from the power of sin. The Bible teaches us that “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. 

As followers of Jesus, we are to be both helpful and wise. We need to make sure however, that we are truly helping and not enabling someone to continue on a self-destructive path. If we aren’t sure what to do, we should ask God. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). 

The difference between helping and enabling comes down to having the strength to say NO when we find ourselves doing things people should be doing for themselves. 

We need to remember that Jesus Christ is the final authority on any decision we make and that “we must obey God rather than human beings” (Acts 5:29); and that a change in behavior will never last without a change in the heart and mind of a person; and that’s the kind of transformation only Jesus provides (1 Corinthians 6:10-11). 

When we want the best for someone, we’ll encourage them to please God with their choices. They can’t however please God if we continually enable them by being part of the problem, because people don’t have initiative to change when they find themselves in a comfortable situation. 

*******

 

Older Posts »

Categories