Posted by: missionventureministries | October 5, 2017

BULLYING IS A SIN

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone… (2 Timothy 2:24)

Bullying is a sin; the devil is a bully, bullies desire to be like the devil.

The heart of the bully relies on others to back him up in his wicked assault on kind, innocent people.

The bully is someone who enjoys causing others pain and anguish. He does not love kindness but rather hostility.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says: “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: proud eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

These verses speak about the core of the bully’s heart since the bully is proud, he will lie and at times runs to shed blood. He most definitely devises wicked plans and runs swiftly to do his evil works.  The bully is proud and mean; he or she finds great satisfaction in ridiculing and hurting other people. That is why he keeps bullying.  It is a power trip for him and he doesn’t realize that he is doing what the devil wants; God hates the things that the bully does.

Bullying causes severe physical, psychological, and emotional trauma to victims. As parents, we need to stand up for our kids and do whatever we can to stop others from making victims of our children.

When we compare and contrast the heart of the bully versus the heart of the Christian we see the following:

THE BULLY’S HEART

THE CHRISTIAN’S HEART

Bullies are very proud True Christians are humble
They seeks power They seek to serve God
They want dominance Wants to obey God
Plans wicked schemes Plans acts of kindness
Acts out in rage Acts out in love
Enjoys inflicting pain on others Enjoys helping others
Loves hatred and injustice Loves justice
Relies on others to back him up Needs no one but God
Is motivated by self-dominance Is motivated to encourage and lift others up

 

Bullies always try to get other people to join them in hurting and ridiculing someone who has a kind, gentle, loving spirit.

CONCLUSION

The main thing is that at the heart of the matter bullies only focus on their own pride, ego and meanness at the cost of others. This is exactly the way that the devil lives and he influences and even possesses people who are bullies. He focuses only on his own wicked schemes ridiculing and destructing anyone that he can.

David in the Bible was bullied and prayed: “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in the right path, because my enemies are waiting for me. Deliver me and do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence.” (Psalm 27:11-12)

The Bible also tells us that the hypocrite destroys his neighbor with his mouth. (Proverbs 11:9)

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Posted by: missionventureministries | September 28, 2017

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR? – Romans 10:9

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

When an individual becomes a Christians it is assumed that they have accepted Jesus as Savior, that is, they have acknowledged that Jesus Christ came from the Father, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was sacrificed for our sins, was resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of God intervening for them; but do they know Him as Lord? 

Every new Christian should understand the concept of the Savior when they come to Christ and this is the first part of the salvation experience. 

What most people fail to understand is the second part of the salvation experience, which is that Jesus Christ needs to also become the Lord of their life. Yes, there is a difference between being Savior and being Lord. 

In the Bible you will find the word lord either spelled with all capital letters, LORD, or as “Lord”. The first version, LORD, stands for the name of God Himself, which is the Hebrew translation of the word YHWH (Yahweh).  

In the dictionary, the word “Lord” has different meanings and here are some of them: 

  • A person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler.  
  • A person who exercises authority from property rights; an owner of land, houses, etc.  
  • A titled nobleman; a person whose ordinary term contains by courtesy the title Lord because of the position they have attained. 

Therefore, someone whom you call Lord is in a position of authority, power, control, and deserves your respect and obedience. You acknowledge their authority and your submission to their authority implies your willingness to obey their commands.  

The point is that when a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior they should not only accept Jesus in the position of Savior but also as Lord. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Only a person in a position of authority has the right to command and Jesus has that authority, granted by the Father (John 3:35, Ephesians 1:22). 

The only thing required of us, for Jesus to be our Savior, is for us to believe. On the other hand, for Jesus to be our Lord we no longer make our own decisions, He makes them for us. When He is the Lord of our life, He is in total control, and we follow His instructions without questioning and in doing so placed ourselves under His Lordship and His authority. Jesus has the right to command us and to expect that His commands will be obeyed.  

Jesus does not want us to call Him “Lord” and “Master” if we are not willing to commit to doing the things He says as He told His followers, “But why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).  

Our deeds need to match our words: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). To confess Jesus’ Lordship with our mouths while not submitting our lives to Him is empty talk. If He truly is our Lord, then He controls both our words as well as our deeds. 

Now that you are aware of what it means to know Jesus as Lord and not only as Savior does this change anything for you?  

Will Jesus truly be your Master, God and Sovereign Lord over every goal, purpose and decision in your life?  

Will you be obedient and sensitive to His requirements now that you are aware of the implications of Jesus as Lord? Or will you continue to accept Him as Savior but can’t see letting this Lordship interfere with your life?  

Remember that if you place Jesus in His deserving place as Lord of your life, you might have to change some things, like give up a bad habit, reprioritize your life, and stop being self-centered. 

Accepting Jesus’ Lordship involves saying “yes” to whatever He says. It involves denial of self-interests, including sometimes the giving up of life itself – but it also involves finding life; that is, eternal life. 

Jesus told His disciples: “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:34-36).  

In these verses Jesus is commanding and demanding absolute obedience and surrender to His eternal Lordship, over everything that we desire, say, think and do. Here Jesus has defined the aspect of true Christianity; anything short of total commitment to the Master is foolish religiosity and hypocrisy. 

When you come to Christ and are truly saved, the Spirit of God will move on your spirit and you will acknowledge Jesus as your Savior and make Him the Lord of your life. 

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

Please remember that it is not enough to have head knowledge of who Jesus is or to just say you believe. If you have claimed that Jesus is important in your life, start showing it by your actions. Being a Christian means becoming transformed into Christ’s image, not molding Him into the image you think is right and rightfully making Him the Lord of your life.                                                                                                                            

So what are you going to hear when you finally come face to face with God when you die? Will it be, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:23) or will Jesus say to you “ ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23)  

IS JESUS TRULY THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE?

Posted by: missionventureministries | September 21, 2017

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF HAVING A CHURCH? – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Paul gave an excellent illustration to the believers in Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:12-27), where the church is to be “One Body with Many Members” and act as God’s ambassadors to this fallen world. 

The true believers are the church and as such we are to be doing the things that Jesus Christ would do as if He were here physically on the earth. The church is to be a Christ-like and Christ-following group of believers that are witnesses of Him to people that are lost. 

Throughout the New Testament, we see spiritual leaders teaching others. This is part of the Christian lifestyle; it is part of the Great Commission. “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The church is an educational institution as well as a place of worship and transformation. 

The purpose of the church is to worship God (Luke 4:8; John 4:23), to study His Word and correctly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), to partake of the Lord’s supper and to pray (Acts 2:42), to love one another (John 13:35), to help each other (Galatians 6:2), to learn how to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives (Titus 2:11-12), and to be a witness of God’s holiness to everyone we come in contact with: But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16) 

God has given us pastors, so that we might be equipped “for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:12). The term “body of Christ” is another name for the Christian church. The Bible reveals many aspects of the purpose of the church and here are some: 

To Guard the Accurate Teachings of the Church“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:1-2). 

To Humbly Worship Almighty God in Spirit and in Truth. That is what a true worshiper does. (John 4:24) 

To Discipline Believers – “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer” (Matthew 18:15-17). 

To Become More Like Christ“But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.(Ephesians 4:15-16). 

To be Taught by Spiritually Mature Teachers“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed:  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:1-3). 

“Likewise, older women should be reverent in behavior, …and  teachers of good things,  that they may teach the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  and to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored” (Titus 2:3-5). 

Christians need to be diligent in teaching all children to love God with all their heart soul and might and to tell them about God every chance they get. In addition, as their parents you should also tell them about God’s love when they go to sleep and when they rise up (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). 

Both children and adults should be saturated with God’s Holy Word. 

To be Unified in Christ“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). 

To get People Together to Praise their Savior – 1 Peter 2:9 declares that: “we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” And we are to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). 

The Church has the Purpose“For the equipping of the saints, for the work of service, and for the building up of the body of Christ,  until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a complete man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13). 

God provides leaders who have the function of preparing others for their godly mission. The result is growth, maturity and unity, if we allow the process to work as God intends. 

To summarize, the true church is the body of Christ, made holy by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is manifested on earth in local gatherings of the body of Christ, and it is also enthroned with Christ in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). By God’s own appointment, it is distinct from other institutions by being holy and by being uniquely empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s will for its role in disciplining and encouraging believers.

We need to understand that the church exists because God wants it for His purpose now and for eternity.

Posted by: missionventureministries | September 14, 2017

IS GOD TRYING TO GET YOUR ATTENTION? – 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)

God’s discipline and chastening is an issue that all Christians should learn about, because sooner or later, most will probably discover what it means to be disciplined by the Lord.

According to the Bible, the Lord’s chastening is generally considered painful and unpleasant (Hebrews 12:11), intended as a “reprimand” to change one’s behavior. In the Old Testament, the ordeals of the Children of Israel, including defeat by enemy armies, were often referred to as chastisement for sin and rebellion (Deuteronomy 11:2). But the purpose of chastising is not to destroy (Psalm 118:18), but to lead to repentance (Jeremiah 31:18-19) and to restore God’s blessing (Psalm 94:12).

Chastisement is not a bad thing. Although unpleasant, discipline is vital in the life of a true believer who is in rebellion to God and the commands of the Bible. It is the correction and discipline of a loving Heavenly Father toward His children. God’s love us as a parent; therefore, our sinful behavior makes it necessary for God to discipline us with spiritual, mental, physical pain and with financial losses. The Bible says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son” (Hebrews 12:5-6).

As we grow older, we recognize that the discipline of our parents was a necessary means to keep us out of trouble; and we start realizing that they corrected us not because they enjoyed it, but because they loved us.

The Bible says, “…we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness (Hebrews 12:9-10).

God wants what is best for us. For this reason, He will discipline us if we persist in sin, and will administer correction if we dishonor His name and His commands that are in the Bible. He says, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

You may ask: How does God chastise His children? This is a personal matter with each individual. Many times, He will lift his hand of blessing and allow difficulty, physical pain and trouble to come our way, not to destroy us, but to humbly bring us back to our knees in repentance.

Some people have a tendency to exhibit a continuously disobedient and rebellious spirit; therefore, these people may have to be constantly chastised with losses and sometimes chronic pain to keep them from wrecking their lives and causing further dishonor to our Holy God.

When chastisement comes, it will be accompanied by conviction of our sin and rebellion. God invites us to come to Him in repentance and humility, so that He may restore His blessings. As it is so wisely written: “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion” (Proverbs 28:13).

Is God trying to get your attention? How much pain and loss will you have to endure until you fully surrender your disobedient spirit to Him and start obeying His Holy Word?

When we begin to wander from the course God has set for us, He will take all kinds of measures to capture our attention and protect us from harm. He has a variety of ways to help us to pay attention, and here are some of them:

A Restless Spirit  – Sometimes God gets our attention by making us restless – Proverbs 15:16 tells us: “Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil with it.” If you experience restlessness and things are not going right, then stop and pray, “Lord, are You trying to say something to me?”

Conviction that comes Directly from the Bible. God gets our attention when we attentively read the Bible because it is our guide and blueprint for living a life of peace, freedom and victory. We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit when we read the Bible, so that He can guide us as we desire to be more like Christ.

A Spoken WordGod also gets our attention by using the words of others. The Lord gave a message both to young Samuel and to the old priest, Eli, through this method (1 Samuel 3:4-18). If several people in a short span of time begin telling you the same thing, then ask the Lord if He is trying to speak to you through them.

Or in an Unusual Way – God might get our attention in a number of very unusual ways, depending on the severity of our stubbornness and the overly self-sufficient person that we might be.

But remember that no matter which method He uses, He is trying to get our attention because He loves us.

The Father always knows exactly where we are in our journey of faith and precisely what it will take to get our attention. So stay alert and when things start occurring ask Him what He is trying to tell you, and then listen … do not simply hear, but obey. And do not be like the ones Isaiah spoke of in chapter 29:13 where “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

Posted by: missionventureministries | September 7, 2017

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO OBEY GOD? – Philippians 2:8

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:8)  

Obedience to God is an essential part of the Christian faith. Jesus Himself was obedient unto death, even death on a cross.  

The Bible says that we show our love for Jesus by obeying Him in all things: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). And to those who were not obeying He asked: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). 

Obedience is defined as “dutiful or submissive compliance to the commands of one in authority.” And as we look into this definition in greater detail, we see the elements of biblical obedience. 

  • Dutiful – means it is our obligation to obey God, just as Jesus fulfilled His duty to the Father by dying on the cross for our sin.
  • Submissive – indicates that we yield our wills to God’s.
  • Commands – speaks of the Scriptures in which God has clearly delineated His instructions, and finally
  • Of one in authority, which is God Himself, whose authority is total and indisputable.

Therefore, for the Christian, obedience means complying with everything God has commanded. It is our duty to do so; however, it is important to remember that our obedience to God is not solely a matter of duty; we obey Him because we love Him (John 14:23).  

We must beware of reflecting an appearance of obedience to mask a sinful heart. Living the Christian life is not all about rules. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time relentlessly followed acts of obedience to the Law, but they became hypocrites, believing they deserved heaven because of what they had done. They considered themselves worthy before God, who owed them a reward; however, the Bible tells us that, without Christ, even our most righteous works are as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).  

Isaiah also mentions man made laws where he writes: “The Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13). 

The Pharisees’ external obedience lacked true submission, and Jesus exposed their heart attitude. Their hypocrisy was in obeying the “letter of the law” while violating its spirit and Jesus rebuked them sharply: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also appear righteous to men outwardly, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27–28). The Pharisees were obedient in some respects, but they “neglected the more important matters of the law” (Matthew 23:23). 

Today, we are not called to obey the Law of Moses, which has been fulfilled in Christ (Matthew 5:17). We are to obey the “law of Christ,” which is a law of love (Galatians 6:2; John 13:34). Jesus stated the greatest commands of all: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37–40). 

If we love God, we will obey Him. We won’t be perfect in our obedience, but our desire is to submit to the Lord and display good works. When we love God and obey Him, we naturally have love for one another. Obedience to God’s commands will make us light and salt in a dark, tasteless and evil world (Matthew 5:13–16). 

You might ask, “Why is obedience to God so important?” 

Because it is preposterous to disobey God and it is insane to worship any god but Almighty God. 

Obedience proves our love for God (1 John 5:2-3), demonstrates our faithfulness to Him (1 John 2:3-6), glorifies Him in the world (1 Peter 2:12), and opens avenues of blessing for us (John 13:17). 

Faith is necessary to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and if our faith is genuine and true, we will live a lifestyle characterized by righteousness, modeling the example set for us by Jesus Christ. We obey His commands, not because we have to, but because we want to, because we love Him. We are enabled to obey because, once we believe in Christ and are saved, we are made new. We are not the same people we once were, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

When we obey the Lord, we can live a life of joy, without shame, rooted deeply in Him and confident in our eternal hope. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Our obedience is actually part of our assurance that we truly know God (1 John 2:3). 

When God’s children obey their Heavenly Father, He is glorified. Jesus told us that the plan is for others to “see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Of course, performing “good deeds” requires obedience to the One who calls us to good deeds. A Christian’s testimony of holiness is a strong witness that God is at work in the world. 

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him” (Psalm 128:1). The Bible often tells us that God blesses and rewards obedience. James 1:22, 25 says: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. . . . Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”  

God is forgiving. If we haven’t been living for Him, if we haven’t been following His commandments, if we’ve been living in and for the world, we can be transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We can ask God for forgiveness, and He will give it, and will choose to forget the sin, just as if we had never committed it. God is glorified when He grants forgiveness, because it is written, “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. . . . Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:16-17).

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 30, 2017

PAUL’S WARNINGS FOR THE LAST DAYS – 2 Timothy 3:1-4

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 

Observing people and the youth today, and considering the dark side of their captivation with technology and digital media, we may wonder if we are getting close to the generation Paul describes in these verses. In fact, we must ask – are we already there? 

The growth of technology causing rapid changes in our culture could have been a topic addressed by Jesus thousands of years ago when He spoke to His disciples about signs of the end of the age (Matthew 24:15; Revelation 13:14). In Mark 13:12, He also prophesied about a time when children would rebel against their parents, even to the point of death.

Paul’s message was that God is Sovereign; giving warning to a future generation of the growth of knowledge, science and technology yet to come.

People will be lovers of themselves. Self-love is pride, and is the root of all wickedness. It is a total disregard for God. It is okay to love ourselves as God’s creation, but this scripture is talking about people who love their sinful lifestyles and are actually indulging in self worship, rather that humbly worshiping our Creator and Almighty God. 

Never in history has society been so motivated by self-gratification. This is the generation of “what’s in it for me”; be it at work, at church or where ever the opportunity might present itself.

People will be lovers of money.” The refusal to deny self anything has already increased on enormous debt to our society. Christians lament that they ‘can’t afford’ to tithe to the church or give to missions. The reason is that they are lovers of self and money; they buy too many things on credit which they cannot afford.

People will be “boastful, proud, and abusive.” They are self reliant and arrogant; they don’t need anyone and especially don’t need God in their life!

People will be “disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy.” The Lord revealed to Paul a future time when the family unit would fall apart.

Looking far into the future, the apostle Paul wrote about the days when a zombie-like generation would grow up to be self-absorbed, without natural affection and contemptuous of parents. He warned of “terrible times” in the last days. 

The breakdown of family discipline, the ungrateful behavior of spoiled and undisciplined children which inevitably follows and the gross wickedness that inevitably derives from such conditions are characteristic of the current history of our times.

Paul continues with the total breakdown of society: People will be without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

Finally, there will be no rules, no moral absolutes, and no restraints of any kind. Every man does that which is right in his own eyes, and woe to the person who dares to question his “lifestyle choices.”

Paul’s teaching is that the intensification and proliferation of these shall indeed mark the final apostasy.

What should be our response as we read and consider these verses? Realize that our time is short. What we do for Christ must be done now! We cannot sit back and think we have plenty of time. We are living in perilous times. People are bound in sin and we need to teach those who will listen about Jesus before it is too late.

Paul challenges us to be wise and not to be proud and rebellious…but understanding the times…take full advantage and do all we can to bring people to a saving knowledge of Christ. So what can we do?

Looking at the rest of this chapter, Paul admonishes Timothy to live a godly life in the midst of a darkened world. We must be light! We must shine that others might see our good works and glorify God.

Worried parents should be looking into King Solomon’s godly wisdom that teaches them of the influence they have in shaping their children’s lives, especially those still living at home. In these early years parents still have the power to dictate the child’s relationship with technology and how frequently it can and how it should be used.

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

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 23, 2017

DO YOU REALLY LOVE GOD AND THE SAVIOR? – 1 John 2:15-16

“Do not love the world, or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-16 

When we are told not to love the world, the Bible is referring to the world’s corrupt value system. Satan is the god of this world, and he has his own value system contrary to God’s (2 Corinthians 4:4). First John 2:16 details exactly what Satan’s system promotes: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Every sin imaginable can be summed up in those three evils; envy, adultery, pride, lying, selfishness, and a lot more spring up from those three roots. 

The world is what we leave when we come to Christ. Isaiah 55:7 says: “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” 

Loving the world means being devoted to the world’s treasures, philosophies, and priorities. God tells His children to set their priorities according to His eternal value system. We are to “seek first” God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). No one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and we cannot be devoted to both God and the world at the same time. 

When we enter God’s family through faith in Christ, God gives us the ability to leave the world’s desires – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We become citizens of another kingdom, “for our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Our desire becomes to know God, and we realize that the eternal is really important – not the temporal and we stop loving the world. 

When we have experienced the presence of our God and Savior we have a deep longing to know Him better and to become holy in our desires, thoughts and conduct.  

To continue to love the world the way unbelievers do, will cripple our spiritual growth and render us fruitless for God’s kingdom. Jesus gives us two examples about this. One is found in Luke 6:43-45:“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” 

And the other is found in John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples”.

In John 12:25, Jesus took this thought a step further when He said, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Jesus said if we love anything more than Him, we are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37-38).

In summary, the term world in the Bible refers to the evil system controlled by Satan that leads us away from worship of God. Therefore, we cannot receive God’s life if we are looking for life somewhere else.

The warning in our passage (1 John 2:15-16) corresponds beautifully to the last verse of 1 John 5 which says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” An idol is anything that replaces God, anything we make bigger than Him. Therefore, we need to remember that idolatry is when God is removed from the throne and something else is put in His place. That’s why we should examine our hearts and get on our knees before the Lord. We need to seek His forgiveness and ask Him to warn us through His Holy Spirit when we start diverting in the wrong direction.

Remember to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). And, “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 17, 2017

HONORING THE LORD’S SUPPER IN COMMUNION – 1 Corinthians 11:27-29

“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29) 

When we study the depth of the meaning of the Lord’s Supper we start understanding the spiritual intensity of its meaning.  

During His last celebration of the Passover on this earth, on the eve of His death Jesus instituted a significant sharing of unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine that we observe to this day. It is an integral part of Christian worship which causes us to reflect on our Lord’s death and resurrection. 

The Passover was the most sacred feast of the Jewish religious year. It commemorated the final plague on Egypt when the firstborn of the Egyptians died and the Israelites were spared because of the blood of a lamb that was sprinkled on their doorposts. The lamb was then roasted and eaten with unleavened bread. God’s command was that throughout the generations to come the feast would be celebrated. The story is recorded in Exodus 12. 

During the Last Supper, while celebrating the Passover, Jesus took a piece of unleavened bread and gave thanks to God. When He broke it and gave it to His disciples, He said, “‘this is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:19-20). He concluded the feast by singing a hymn (Matthew 26:30), and they went out into the night to the Mount of Olives. It was there that Jesus was betrayed, by Judas and was crucified the following morning becoming “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) 

The accounts of the Lord’s Supper are found in the Gospels (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:7-22; and John 13:21-30).  

The apostle Paul also wrote about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29; and incorporates a statement not found in the Gospels: “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).  

Every Christian should ask what it means to partake of the bread and the cup “in an unworthy manner,” meaning that if you treat this holy ordnance in a common way, you become literally liable or guilty, for the body and blood of the Lord. 

In many religions, communion has become a dead and formal ritual where people come to the Lord’s Supper with unconfessed sin. Many treat the Lord’s Supper unworthily by making it a performance rather than something meaningful, by just participating in the ceremony rather than understanding it.  

Preachers need to instruct their flock about the Holy Communion because those who are not truly born again and are not pursuing holiness have no right to partake of the Lord’s Table. 

Born again are people are those who have repented of their sins and turned to Christ for their salvation, and as a result have become part of God’s family forever. Once that happens the born again Christian pursues holiness, which means that they reflect each day how they behave towards the Lord by ways of their attitude, what they say, how they dress, what they participate in, what they watch, listen to and read. In summary it is to intentional stop sinning and to have a forgiving heart.  

We need to be constantly probing our heart as we walk in the sight of our Lord each day. We need to remember that the Lord said: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16), and that “… without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). 

People who are not truly born again and pursuing holiness have no right to partake of communion. To understand who is unworthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper, we have added a few examples:

  • You treat it just as a ceremony and do not really understand the meaning of what Jesus did for you on the cross.
  • You do not understand that the Lord’s Supper is a holy and sacred communion and a restoring relationship experience with your Creator.
  • You treat the ceremony just as a ritual rather than treating it seriously.
  • You come to this table with bitterness toward another person and
  • You continue living in sin that you will not repent of or turn from.

If you come to the table without the highest respect for God, Christ and the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, if you come without total love for the brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, you come to this table unworthily and should not participate until you repent, change your attitude and make peace with your Lord and Savior. 

In keeping with Paul’s instruction, it is imperative that we examine ourselves before we participate of the Holy Communion. If you participate with sin in your life, or have never been saved from sin you’re guilty of violating the blood and sacrifice of Christ.  

The Corinthians were being disciplined by God because they wouldn’t examine themselves and clean up their life. They were literally treating Jesus Christ in an unworthy manner and had become guilty of that kind of disrespect.  

Someone who tramples the blood of Christ with indifference and a sinful lifestyle in the elements of communion is guilty of dishonoring Him, and is mocking Jesus Christ.  

It is therefore extremely important that we examine ourselves first before partaking of the Lord’s Table as stated in verses 28-29; because he that eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks chastisement. If you eat and drink unworthily, you will eat and drink judgment to yourself because you are not honoring the Lord’s body. In other words, you’re not treating the sacrifice of Christ with seriousness, dignity, purity and holiness. 

If you don’t see the seriousness and the sacredness of the Lord’s Supper, and you treat it with sinfulness, then you are literally guilty of dishonoring Him; you come under God’s judgment and you will be chastened because you have dishonored the great sacrifice that Jesus suffered to save you from your sins and from an eternity in the Lake of Fire. 

Therefore: “Do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 10, 2017

GOD COMMANDS HIS CHILDREN TO BE HOLY – 1 Peter 1:15-16

The Hebrew word for holy is “kadosh” and means “set-apart, separate, sacred” The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is set apart for God by the Holy Spirit, enjoying a holy standing before God in Christ Jesus, with the obligation of living a holy life. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

God has only one intended destiny for mankind – holiness. His only goal is to produce saints. Unfortunately that sacred trust was broken in the Garden of Eden; Jesus came to save us and restore us to a new relationship with God, because from the beginning He created us to be holy.

Once we make Him the Lord and Savior of our life and become His children, we must continually remind ourselves that our purpose in life is holy living. Strict obedience to the Word of God is the only proof that we are living a holy life and trusting in Him.

Jesus Christ died to make us holy. The purpose of God in the atoning death of His Son was to save us from the penalty of sin, and to set us apart to God to become like His Son (Romans 8:29). Our eternal destiny is to be conformed to the image of God in Christ Jesus (1 John 3:3).

When Jesus refused to condemn the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), and forgave her, He was offering her the same kind of forgiveness He offers every one of us: “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19). This woman could not live in victory over her sins and sinful past until she accepted Jesus Christ as the absolute Lord of her life.

In saying, “Go and sin no more,” Jesus was not speaking of sinless perfection. He was warning her against a return to sinful lifestyle choices. His words offered mercy and demanded holiness.  

With forgiveness comes the expectation that we will not continue in the same path of rebelliousness. Those who know God’s love will naturally want to obey Him (John 14:15). 

A step toward God is a change toward righteousness, purity, and holy living (1 Peter 1:16; Romans 8:29). We cannot experience the transforming power of holiness without being forever changed. 

After the woman had met Jesus, she would not be perfect. No one is. But she was forever changed. Her eyes had been opened to the depravity of what she was doing. Sin no longer held the appeal it once did. When we meet Jesus, sin no longer holds its fatal attraction. God’s grace changes things. “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1–2).When we are born again (John 3:3), the power of the Holy Spirit breaks the power that sin once had over us (Romans 6:6). Once we lived only to please ourselves, but when we have been forgiven, our motivation changes. We now live to honor God (Galatians 2:20). 

It should be the goal of every Christian to “sin no more,” although we recognize that, while we are in the flesh, we will still stumble (1 John 1:8). God’s desire for each of us is to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). We still sin, but sin is no longer a lifestyle choice (1 John 3:9–10). When we fail, we can come to God and ask forgiveness (1 John 1:9; 1 Peter 4:1–2). God will correct us, disciplining us when we need it (Hebrews 12:6–11) – because, His work is to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).

Once again, the only solid evidence that we are true children of God is a holy lifestyle. “Everyone who lives in union with Christ does not continue to sin; but whoever continues to sin has never seen Him or known Him” (1 John 3:6). As true born again believers, we cannot go on continuing to sin because we now have God’s very nature in us, and the Spirit of God leads to holy living because He will not lead us into sin and disobedience. If the Spirit is leading us, we will live a holy life because: “None of those who are children of God continue to sin, for God’s very nature is in them; and because God is their Father, they cannot continue to sin” (1 John 3:9). Therefore, the new birth involves a complete purification from sin.

We need to remember that we cannot walk with the Lord and the world at the same time. “Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child” (Hebrews 12:6), and He disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:9-10).

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Timothy 1:9). It is our responsibility to strive to be holy: Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do (1 Peter 1:15). If we are going to enjoy an intimate relationship with Him, we must keep our lives free from all sin. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Scripture tell us that: “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). And the apostle John writes: “And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appear, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (1 John 2:28). The physical changes of our redemption will take place when Christ returns and our bodies are glorified because “we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him” (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:52-54). We will have new glorified bodies made for living in heaven because Jesus Christ shall return. Therefore, we should keep our lives pure and live a holy life.

The only proof of true dedication to our Lord and Savior is a deep desire to live a disciplined and a holy life that honors God. If a person is not living a holy life they have no right to claim God’s promises that He has given to His true and redeemed children.

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

Posted by: missionventureministries | August 3, 2017

MODESTY THE TIMELESS REVERENCE FOR GOD – 1 Peter 3:3-4

In describing the mode of dress appropriate for women in church, the apostle Paul exhorts them to dress “modestly” with “decency and propriety.” Christian women should be noticed for being kind and good, not for the way they fix their hair or because of their jewels or worldly extravagant clothes – (1 Timothy 2:9–10). While the Bible only specifically addresses the need for women to dress modestly, the same teaching would apply to men, because both men and women should bring glory to God in their manner of dress. 

Modesty in the way we dress is not just for going to church; it is to be the standard for all Christians at all occasions. The key to understanding what constitutes modesty in dress is to examine the attitudes and intents of the heart. Those whose hearts are directed toward God will make every effort to dress modestly, decently, and appropriately. Those whose hearts are inclined toward self and sinful desires will dress in a manner designed to draw attention to themselves with little or no regard for the consequences to themselves or others. Their thoughts are only on the latest craze and not on God. 

A godly woman endeavors to do everything with a “God-ward” perspective. She knows that God wants her to be concerned for His glory and the spiritual state of others. If a woman professes to be a Christian yet she dresses in a way that will unduly draw attention to her body, she is a terrible witness of the One who bought her soul by dying for her on the cross. She is disregarding that her body has been redeemed by Christ and should now be the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). She is telling the world that she determines her own worth on a purely physical basis and that her attractiveness depends on how much of her body she reveals to them. Further, by dressing in an immodest fashion, displaying her body for men to lust after, she causes them to sin, which is something condemned by God (Matthew 5:27–29). Proverbs 7:10 mentions a woman “dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.” Here, the woman’s heart condition is displayed by her manner of dress. 

The Scripture says that a woman should dress modestly, but what exactly does that mean in our modern society? Does a woman have to be covered from head to toe? There are cults and religions in the world that demand this of women. But is that the biblical meaning of modesty? Again, we have to go back to the matter of the attitude of the heart. If a woman’s heart is inclined toward godliness, she will wear clothing that is neither provocative nor revealing in public, clothing that does not reflect negatively upon her personal testimony as a child of God. Everyone else in her circle may be dressing immodestly, but she resists the temptation to go along with the crowd. She avoids clothing designed to draw attention to her body and cause men or women to lust, for she is wise enough to know that type of attention only cheapens her. The idea of causing men to sin against God because of her dress is abhorrent to her because she seeks to love and honor God and wants others to do the same. 

Modesty in dress reveals a humility and godliness of the heart, and is and attitude that should be the desire of all women (and men) who live to please and honor God. 

Here is an example of what actually happened in a church:  

A friend after returning home on a weekend from a trip asked her husband what had happened in church that Sunday, probably expecting to hear about the day’s lesson or sermon. What she got instead was surprising. Her husband confessed that a woman had come to visit the congregation, and her outfit had left the men feeling … agitated. 

He told her, that the interesting thing is that after the woman left, none of the men could remember her face, but they all remembered her skin-tight leather pants, her protruding cleavage revealing a great part of her breast through her transparent blouse that revealed her sexy underwear.  

As you can see, Satan uses sexual exposure to destroy the atmosphere of true and holy worship to God. 

Women need to be more conscious about how they dress in church. After all, when we go to church it is supposed to be a time when Christians should feel safe from temptation, not worrying whether it will sit next to them, in front of them or is going to be flaunted before them in the “worship team”.  

We need to realize that there is tremendous damage done to the body of Christ by immodest clothing. Yes, it will cause others to struggle with lust, but worst of all it steal the glory away from God.      

As Christian women, our greatest desire should be to please God in everything we do. First Peter 3:3-4 reminds us, ‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. … Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight’. But women are getting ready to go to church and dressing in ways that are far from pleasing God.  

Please think about it: Are the outfits we choose intended to cause all eyes—especially men’s eyes—to be on us?  

If you are a true Christian please take time to look at yourself in the mirror before walking out of your house each day; and see if you are truly honoring the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by the way you are dressed. If you are not dressed modestly you will be disrespecting God, others and yourself if you go outside this way.  

You should be asking yourself: Am I representing God whom I should honor, in the right manner? 

Here are a few things to help you check your level of modesty.

Is your chest area covered? Be cautious about cleavage. If needed, add a small swatch of fabric to under your blouse or dress to cover your breasts. Bend over and see what the mirror reveals before you leave the house.

Are you showing midriff because it is the craze? Are your shorts too short? Is your skirt lingering far above the knee? If so, choose something different and appropriate for a Christian woman to wear.

Cover your shoulders if you wear sleeveless and spaghetti strap type tops and dresses as a means of showing respect for God at church services. Carry a scarf or a light sweater with you for this purpose—besides, even on hot days overly air-conditioned buildings can be very cold.

Do your clothes fit well in general? If you have gained weight, don’t try to squeeze into too small a size. First, you look ridiculous and secondly people will stare at you.

Even if you wear a long sleeve shirt with no cleavage being revealed – as such – but it is made of a see through material that does not leave anything to the imagination you have failed the test of modesty.

Men need to watch the fit of their clothes also. Pants and shirts that are far too tight are not appropriate!

We need to be mindful how we dress and behave, in our representation of being children of God. If we dress immodestly but talk about purity and biblical principles, we are guilty of a double standard and are in fact hypocrites. 

Remember that without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

 

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