Posted by: missionventureministries | March 8, 2018

WHY THE WORLD HATES CHRISTIANS – John 15:18-25

Jesus told His disciples that the world would hate them but to keep in mind that it hated Him first. He was warning them that after His departure, that they would face some severe persecution, not just from the pagan world, but also from the religious groups and leaders. The Lord wanted them to know what to anticipate and how to respond to the hostility that they would experience. 

Here are some reasons why sinners and hypocrites hate true Christians, i.e. children of God:

  • The sinner’s father is the devil – Satan hates God and Jesus – a true Christian’s Father is God – therefore; Satan hates God’s children.
  • Sinners have the spirit of Satan living in their bodies, controlling their minds and spirits.
  • Born again believers have the most powerful Force in the universe living in their bodies; therefore, the Holy Spirit is in control of what a Christian should say, think and do. 
  • Jesus warned us that every sinner and hypocrite in the world in lying in the arms of the “evil one,” and some theologians have interpreted this statement to be that every sinful person is committing spiritual fornication while lying in the embrace of Satan and the world’s evil system as 1 John 5:19 states: “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” In this verse the Holy Spirit has just defined why true Christians are hated by hypocrites and sinners. 

We need to understand that Jesus Christ is the One that either unites or divides people. Christians are known for their love, but the world is known for its hatred (vs. 17 and 18). Jesus starts by saying if the world hates you, meaning the organized system under Satan’s domain that is opposed to God and His Son, to keep in mind that it hated Me first. The Lord wants us to know that behind the world’s hatred for us is its hatred for Him. And that hatred is not only for Him but for the Father also: “He who hates Me hates My Father also” (John 15:23). 

There are reasons why the world hates Christians. First, we are no longer identified with the world. In John 15:19 Jesus says, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Jesus was hated by the Pharisees, Sadducees and Teachers of the Law and that by being identified with Christ they would be also hated. This scenario was not only occurring during their time, but it has been happening to Christians since our Lord departed from this world. 

And He continues, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (John 15:20). Jesus tells His disciples to “remember” that they will follow in His foot steps; therefore, as followers of Christ, we can not expect things to be easier for us than they were for Him. When our lives truly reflect His character and calling, we will experience either rejection or acceptance from people around us. The reality is that as true born again Christians we have a different Master, while the world serves Satan.

 In John 15:21 Jesus says, “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” Here He tells them, that the world will persecute Christians because they don’t know God. 

The fundamental problem of people in the world is that they do not know the living and true God. Instead, they make up their own gods. Even atheists worship their own intellect as supreme, refusing to acknowledge that all that they have comes from God (1 Corinthians 4:7) and that they will give an account to Him when they die (Hebrews 9:27). However, we need to understand that knowing God is the essence of the eternal life that Christ gives to all who believe in Him. 

We need to be aware that many unbelievers may not have a Bible or maybe they never wanted to read the Bible. It is also possible that they have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel, and therefore the reason they do not know God is because they do not know who He is. 

Having mentioned the world’s ignorance about God, Jesus explains in the next four verses why the world doesn’t know God. “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also” (John 15:22-23). Christ’s coming highlighted sin in human hearts; He pointed sin out so people had less grounds to claim ignorance. Paul explains this point in Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.” He continues in Romans 6:15-23, by using the analogy of slavery to show that we will not sin under grace because having been set free from sin, we became slaves of righteousness. 

Jesus continues, “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father” (John 15:24). Jesus performed all kinds of miracles. He healed the sick, He cast out demons, He fed thousands, He calmed the sea, and He raised the dead. Yet, the world rejected His works. In some cases, the world even attributed Jesus’ works to Satan (Matthew 12:24). No matter what Jesus said or did, the world chose to ignore Him and rebel against Him. Sadly, even the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ have not persuaded most people that Jesus is God. Consequently, the world stands condemned for rejecting Him (John 3:18, 36). 

Then He says, “But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause’” (John 15:25). The ultimate reason for the world’s rejection of Jesus and His revelation of the Father is found in the Old Testament Scriptures. The same words who hate me without a cause are quoted in Psalms 35:19, 69:4 and 109:3, where it is usually understood, that the quotation our Savior here refers to be where David says, speaking of himself and of the Savior prophetically, “Let not them who are mine enemies rejoice over me, neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.” Our Savior refers to that as being applicable to Himself. Jesus is saying: The world has rejected the Old Testament and My very words and works and this has resulted in their rejection of God. 

In spite of the world’s hatred, we should testify to the world of the truth about Jesus Christ (John 15:26-27). Jesus has us in this world to proclaim His glory as 1 Peter 2:9 states: “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.” 

So how can we bear witness in the face of such a hostile world? Jesus shows that we can do so only through the Spirit of truth and the Holy Spirit uses believers to testify to others about the truth of Christ. 

The apostle Paul who knew all about being persecuted said, “Pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20). As ambassadors for Christ that is what every Christian should pray for also. 

Jesus said to those who believed and would believe in Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

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Posted by: missionventureministries | March 1, 2018

THE VITAL MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – Galatians 3:1-5

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:1-5) 

Paul begins addressing the Galatians as fools, because of the lack of understanding and the absence of the Holy Spirit in them. Many today, fall in this same category having no concept of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and therefore, make a mockery of Him. But true Christians that have the leadership of the Holy Spirit know that: “God is not a God of disorder, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). 

It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and righteousness and judgment. It is the Holy Spirit who produces in us repentance. It is the Holy Spirit who regenerates us and gives us new life. We are born of the Spirit once we have a full knowledge of who He is, and why Jesus promised that He would send an Advocate once He departed from this earth to be our Intercessor in heaven before the Father (John 14:16, Hebrews 10:10-14). 

It is the Holy Spirit who produces in us faith and submission to Christ. It is the Spirit then who gives us life eternal. We are then indwelt by the Spirit, baptized by means of the Spirit into the body of Christ, gifted by the Spirit to have spiritual gifts that are used to minister for the edification of the body of believers. We are secured unto eternal life by the Spirit. We are separated from sin by the Spirit. All of this occurs at the time of our salvation when we accept His free gift of grace. 

In verse 3 Paul is asking the Galatians, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” Basically he is asking them is, ‘now that you are saved, is it time to set the Holy Spirit aside and rely on your own wisdom, on your own strength, on your own ability to achieve perfection?’ 

Today, this is also a huge problem in contemporary Christianity. There is very little discussion, very little talk, very little dialogue, very little emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in sanctification; and many religions teach the erroneous doctrine that you can only get to heaven by doing good works when the Bible teaches us that: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

We need to understand that the only way to be perfected in the Christian life is by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is not something you can attain on your own, since it is only the Spirit who brings us into intimacy with God. The Spirit illuminates the Scripture. The Spirit glorifies Christ in us and to us. The Spirit personally guides us into God’s will. The Spirit ministers through us, as Acts 1:8 tells us, that when the Holy Spirit has come to live in us we will be witnesses to Him. The Spirit intercedes with us constantly before God, always in His perfect will. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27). 

When we walk in the Spirit, He produces humility (Ephesians 4:2-3), purity (Romans 13:13), contentment (1 Timothy 6:6), faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), good works (Ephesians 2:10), separation (2 Thessalonians 3:6), love (Ephesians 5:2-3), light (Ephesians 5:8-9), wisdom (Ephesians 5:15-16) and truth (3 John 3:4).  

God has spoke through the Holy Spirit to His people for hundreds of years, and He revealed to Jeremiah the wonderful prophecy of the New Covenant, indicating that one day He would bring to them salvation, and that all New Covenant believers would also benefit from. “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, (this is the Mosaic Covenant, the Covenant of Law given on Mount Sinai) – My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:31-35). In this New Covenant God writes His law in the heart; and instead of being an external pressure to which man obeys and conforms to, it becomes an internal motivation of the soul. 

Ezekiel was also inspired to write about the New Covenant: “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). And in the following chapter he reiterates the message: “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life…Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:14). 

The New Covenant life then is life in the Spirit. The Spirit becomes for us that living fountain of divine waters flowing endlessly, providing all the spiritual resources we could ever need and far more. How foolish is it then when we live out our Christian lives to turn from this fountain of living waters, the indwelling Holy Spirit, to broken cisterns that can hold no water, as stated by Jeremiah 2:11-15. If we want to live on the spiritual level, if we want to live in the power of God, we must live in the Spirit. 

Keep in mind that until we are in heaven, sin is still present and all around us. Only when we obey the Holy Spirit will we not carry out the desires of our sinful nature, meaning the desires are still there even though we are in Christ and have been justified. Sin will conquer us if we don’t listen to the Holy Spirit. 

To help us, Galatians 5:16 sums it all up on how to live the Christian life. “Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”. That’s triumph, that’s victory, that’s conquering sin, the flesh that is in us. It’s that simple; as our life as a Christian unfolds each step that that we take needs to be in the power and under the control of the Spirit. 

When you are tempted remember that “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). And 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). 

Here are Jesus’ last comforting words to His disciples, and should likewise be to us: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from Me what He will make known to you(John 16:13-15).

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 22, 2018

THE IMPORTANCE OF WATCHING AND PRAYING – Luke 21:34-36

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36) 

Jesus is talking about watchfulness, about alertness, about being ready. The word “watch” speaks of the need to be attentive against sudden calamity. Therefore, people who profess to be Christians need to live in the light of the fact that the Lord could come at any moment and therefore we need to always be on guard, always be alert because His return is imminent – meaning likely to occur at any moment. 

Jesus lists three things that can weigh down our hearts; (1) carousing; (2) drunkenness; and (3) the cares of this life. The expression “that Day” refers to the end time and the day of the Lord’s return. “Watch therefore” means I am warning you. 

In Matthew 24:36-39 Jesus tells that: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” 

So here we see again an urgent understanding of the need to be ready. And in these verses Jesus warns that it will be like in the days of Noah. Just like Noah preached for 120 years and no one listened to him, in the same manner, people today are disinterested in hearing, preparing or watching for His second coming. 

We expect unbelievers to live indifferently and irresponsibly, and with no regard for the Lord; but certainly we don’t expect believers to take advantage of the absence of the Lord and behave in an irresponsible way. 

A true believer wants to live in such anticipation of the coming of Christ that their heart is not burdened down with sin. The Apostle John put it this way in 1 John 2:28; “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 

Are you prepared to meet Jesus? Have you made the necessary spiritual preparation? The Bible tells us: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). 

Jesus tells us to: “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man” (v. 36). 

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked His disciples to “stay here and watch with Me”, but when He returned, He found them asleep and caution them “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). 

We need to watch and pray so that God causes those who are faithful to be counted worthy. Our faith, our watching and praying, our confidence in Christ’s return is counted as righteousness. Just like when Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. 

Watching and praying cause the believer to escape the things coming to the earth and to stand justified before the Son of Man when He comes; ready to stand before the Lord; justified, ready to be fashioned like unto His glorious body (Philippians 3:21); ready to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29); and ready to “serve God day and night in His temple” (Revelation 7:15). 

So how can we do this? The weapon that Jesus used to overcome was prayer and God’s Word. Jesus’ disciples today must also watch and pray. We are easily distracted by this world, our fleshly needs and desires, and the schemes of the enemy (2 Corinthians 2:11). When we take our eyes from Jesus and His soon return, our values begin to shift, our attention wanders, and soon we are living like the world and bearing little fruit for God’s kingdom (1 Timothy 6:18–19). He warned us that we must be ready at any moment to stand before Him and give an account of our lives (Romans 14:12; 1 Peter 4:5; Matthew 12:36). 

“Watch and pray.” We can only remain faithful when we are devoted to prayer. In order to keep watch, we must pray for endurance and freedom from distractions (John 14:14). When we live with the eager expectation of the Lord’s return, we are more likely to keep our lives pure and our hearts ready to meet Him. 

Vigilance leads to holiness and we want to live with a clear conscious so that when the Lord comes we can meet Him with a clear and pure mind. It means that we need to have a constant connection with God and seek Him to have power to overcome all sin. 

Our need as Christians is to obey the command of Jesus to His disciples:  “Watch and pray…”  Be alert of any and all lurking temptations which can bring calamity, and find strength through prayer to stand before the Son of Man. 

Please remember that when we fail, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 15, 2018

CALLING ON GOD AND FOCUSING ON HIS WORD – Jeremiah 29:12-14

“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity…” (Jeremiah 29:12-14) 

God sees our tomorrows before they become our ‘todays.’ “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11. 

He sees the beginning of our life and He sees the end, and He sees everything in between. Psalm 139:16 says “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” 

The Lord knows the plans He has for us and He is patiently waiting for us to come to Him (vs. 12-14), and when we obey, He bring us back from the captivity of our sins and makes us whole again. 

As believers we need to understand that God is not only our Creator but that He also needs to be the Lord of our life. Therefore, when we take our eyes away from our Savior, we start losing sight of Him and start steering our life in the direction of sin, trials, missed opportunities and blessings. 

Throughout history, Satan has always planned schemes and diversions for us to take our eyes from the Lord. Therefore, it is very important to be very aware and alert of the diversions the devil plans for each one of us every day. 

Many times we are consumed with work, worldly things and technology all day long and we only acknowledge God right before we go to sleep with a quick 20 second prayer. What a terrible lack of respect and gratitude for everything our Lord does for us! 

When we allow worldly things to consume our lives we drift away from God and that is when Satan claims victory in alienating us from our heavenly Father. We need to remember that Scripture tells us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). 

God did not create us to live a distracted life, He created us to live a Jesus filled life. Even though we live in an imperfect world the Bible tells us that “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13); so that our focus always be redirected towards Him. 

It is extremely important to stay focused on Christ “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2); because, if we do not we will be like Peter who got distracted by the wind and roaring sea, lost faith and started to sink (Matthew 14:28-31). 

We should follow the example of Mary, who faithfully sat at the Master’s feet and listen to what He was teaching, instead of Martha who was too distracted by all the demands that she had put on herself instead of enjoying Jesus’ visit, her Creator and Savior, who was there only for a short time longer before being crucified (Luke 10:38-42). 

As we see, Satan seeks to distract us in any way possible, that is why it is written, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But we have the perfect antidote because, when we, “submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). 

We must prioritize our time. There must be a time for daily prayer. When things get hectic the wisest thing to do is to take time and go to a quiet place to hear God, just as Jesus did so many times. Scripture tells us that if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you (James 4:8). 

We need to focus on the Lord for daily guidance by meditating on Scripture because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And as Joshua said: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe 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” (1:8).   

When we walk with the Lord and draw closer to the Him with all our heart, He becomes our focus. Our heart longs for Him and seeks His presence. Our desire to have fellowship with Christ and be like Him will grow while our worldly desires will decrease. 

When we walk with the Lord we grow in our awareness of sin and our need for a Savior. We will be convicted of wrongdoing immediately by the Holy Spirit; and the Lord with His infinite love will forgive our sins if we confess them and will purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). 

We were created by God, for God and our lives will never realize their true potential until we fully belong to Him in unconditional surrender to His Lordship.

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 8, 2018

OUR HEAVENLY CALLING – 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Corinthians 15:45-49) 

Here Paul writes about the first Adam and the last Adam, Jesus; and he quotes Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”. 

The soul and the spirit are connected, but separable (Hebrews 4:12). The soul is the essence of humanity’s being; it is who we are, while the spirit is the element in humanity that gives us the ability to have an intimate relationship with God. Whenever the word spirit is used, it refers to the immaterial part of humanity that “connects” with God, who Himself is spirit, “God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). 

God himself, breathed life into the first Adam, and the joining together of spirit and body produced another phenomenon called the “soul,” the personality. It is the presence of a spirit in a body that creates the soul and allows a person to function as a human being with mind, emotion, and will. That is what the first Adam was. 

When Adam sinned the Holy Spirit that dwelt in the human spirit of Adam was withdrawn, and the human spirit was as though it was lifeless and dead. Man, therefore, was governed by his soul, the highest part of his being, which can feel, touch, taste, reason and think, but it has no contact with anything heavenly. It is “dead in trespasses and sins,” (Ephesians 2:1). We were all born that way. Every human being when born is a child of the first Adam by nature. 

Then came the last Adam; Jesus, a life-giving Spirit, and as a Spirit, He indwells, by faith in our human spirits when we receive Him and open up our life to obeying and loving Him as our Lord and Savior. He regenerates our human spirit, and He now lives in us and begins to impart life to the soul again, to recapture the mind, the emotions and the will and bring them back under subjection to His Lordship. So we begin to experience in our life, the joy of being once again in fellowship with God who made us and longs to have a relationship with us, as it was in the beginning before the fall in the Garden of Eden. 

As true born again Christians we are just passing through this world on our journey to the permanent home awaiting us in heaven (Philippians 3:20-21). Christ has prepared a “place” for us there (John 14:2), and it is there that we have “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). 

In view of such a glorious future, we ought to live not as those who are “earthy” but, as our verse says, as “they also that are heavenly.” We have, indeed, been made “partakers of the heavenly calling,” and should always, in all we do, “consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1), for He represents us even now in the heavenly places. He has gone “but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24), and we have, in effect, already been made to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). 

We may not appear to be very heavenly now, in these poor bodies made of Earth’s dust, but “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49).

However, Paul vividly expresses the desires of the true Christians, “for our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21). And remembering that “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52). 

Christians, indeed, are a heavenly people with a heavenly calling, even while still on Earth. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). 

Are you on your way to heaven? Have you opened your heart to Him? Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ into your human soul so that you have the hope expressed here of becoming body, soul, and spirit, that God intended you to be? 

If you have any doubt about your salvation or how to get saved, we have great news for you. God wants to remove all your doubts and give you absolute certainty! God intends all believers to have perfect security in their relationship to Him. The following Scriptures prove this. 

  • “These thing have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).

Here are Biblical Indicators of Salvation: 

True Christians are drawn to God and Jesus when they begin to see God’s Holiness and dignity. 

  1. Genuine Christians testify to a real and personal relationship with Christ.
  • “And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

True salvation is far more than mentally believing facts “about” God. It is actually knowing God in a life-changing personal relationship. 

  1. Saved people have experienced genuine conviction of sin and trust Christ alone for eternal life.
  • “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).
  • “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

No one is saved by intellect. Neither can anyone be saved by just being in church or around Christian people. No one is saved by being a good person. You must be personally convicted of sin and drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit. There must be a time when you personally prayed and trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior. Saved persons can readily testify to this reality in their lives. 

  1. A genuine Christian possesses a supernatural assurance they are saved and forgiven of their sins.
  • “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).

This does not mean you never have any doubt, but it does mean a prevailing peace will overshadow any momentary doubts. 

  1. Children of God exhibit a yearning for spiritual growth and a strong desire to turn from sin.
  • “And every man that hath this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).
  • “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9).

The Bible describes salvation as a life-changing experience. Put simply, if someone can consistently live in sin without deep sorrow, they are not saved. On the opposite, when saved people commit a willful sin, they feel utterly miserable. 

  1. Genuine Christians sense God’s presence and hear His voice in their life.
  • “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Because salvation is a personal relationship, true believers regularly experience the voice of Christ in their life. If God never speaks to your heart, you have reason for deep concern. If you have no desire for prayer and the Bible makes little sense to you, it is very possible you don’t know the Savior. 

  1. True Christians have a love for the church and the people of God.
  • “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death” (1 John 3:14).

Perhaps the greatest mark of a saved person is a loving compassionate spirit. If you consistently lack any desire to worship and be with God’s people, there is strong reason to question your salvation (1 John 2:19). 

  1. Most saved people can describe a “before and after” in terms of their salvation.
  • “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

To be born again is the most powerful transformation in human experience. Put simply, it is very doubtful that old things could pass way and all things become new and you not know it! 

Please know that even though we do not know you personally, God does and we are praying for you.

Many people believe in Jesus Christ as being the One that came from heaven to save man kind from sin and an eternity in the lake of fire. The problem that many face is that they do not make Him the Lord of their life. 

We need to understand that accepting Christ as our Savior also requires that we recognize Him as the Lord of our life and that our desire is to please Him in everything we do. 

Scripture teaches that behavior is an important test of faith. Obedience is evidence that one’s faith is genuine; because if a person remains unwilling to obey Christ, he provides evidence that his “faith” is in name only: Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4). A person may claim Jesus as Savior and pretend to obey Him for a while, but, if there is no heart change, his true nature will eventually manifest itself. This was the case for Judas Iscariot. 

Can a sinner reject the lordship of Christ yet lay claim to Him as Savior? Can someone pray a “sinner’s prayer” and go about his life as if nothing had happened and still call himself a “Christian”? The answer is “no,” because it is impossible to be a Christian and live in lifelong carnality, enjoying the pleasures of sin, and never seeks to glorify Jesus Christ as Lord. Therefore, it is tragic to give unrepentant sinners false hope; rather we are to declare the whole counsel of God as Jesus told Nicodemus: “You must be born again” (John 3:7). 

The sinner must not only repent of their sin, but needs to yield to Christ’s authority. A sinner who rejects Christ’s authority in his life does not have saving faith, for true faith encompasses a total surrender to God. Thus, the gospel requires more than making an intellectual decision or saying a prayer; the gospel message is a call to discipleship. The sheep will follow their Shepherd in submissive obedience. 

If a person is truly following the Lord, they will obey the Lord’s instructions. A person who is living in willful, unrepentant sin has obviously not chosen to follow Christ, because Christ calls us out of sin and leads us into righteousness. 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). 

The object of faith is Jesus Himself, not a promise, a prayer, or a creed. Faith must involve a personal commitment to Christ, and we should no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ who died for us and then rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). It is more than being convinced of the truth of the gospel; it is a forsaking of this world and a following of the Master. The Lord Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

True faith always produces a changed life and the inner person is transformed by the Holy Spirit: 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), and knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:6). 

Those who are surrendered to the lordship of Christ—follow Jesus (John 10:27). They obey God’s commandments (1 John 2:3; John 15:14), do the will of God (Matthew 12:50), abide in God’s Word (John 8:31), keep God’s Word (John 17:6), do good works (Ephesians 2:10), and continue in the faith (Colossians 1:21–23). 

Scripture teaches that Jesus is Lord of all. Christ demands unconditional surrender to His will: Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8). Those who live in rebellion against God’s will, do not have eternal life, because “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6). 

Jesus cautioned when He said: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46). He also severely warned those who claim to obey Him and to do His work of their ultimate fate: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

There is coming a day when every person who has ever lived will bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. But while in this body and in this world, a true Christian should live moment by moment in faithful submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Those who truly have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior will love Him and will obey Him as their Lord, because those we love we long to please (John 14:15).

We will be looking at two very important Bible passages today, that deal with what happens after we die and when the Lord comes for those that have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Therefore, to comprehend this better we need be familiarized with these Scripture passages and understand what they say. 

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) 

1 Corinthians 15:50-54 also describe believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies – “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised  imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 

For believers in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that after death their souls/spirits are taken to heaven, because their sins have been forgiven. Paul tells us that when a believer dies he is “absent from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). This is possible only for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and made Him Lord of their life. Paul explains that as the physical body remains in the grave “sleeping,” (v.15-16) their souls/spirits will go to be with Christ immediately after death. 

At the resurrection of believers those that have fallen asleep, their physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with their soul/spirit which has already been at home with the Lord. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21-22). And those who are alive at that time and are caught up without having witness death will be instantly changed from perishable to imperishable and shall always be with the Lord. 

As Jesus died and rose again, so also will those who die believing in Him rise again so that they can be taken to heaven to be with the Lord. Those who have died before that time (are called “those who sleep”) will be gathered and taken back to heaven with the Lord. Those who are alive and remain refers to Christians alive at the time Jesus comes for His Church, they are the Christians who live on this earth and will experience the coming of the Lord for His own. 

Now, what happens to those who do not receive and or reject Jesus Christ as Savior?  Similar to the destiny of believers, the souls/spirits of unbelievers also are to be sent immediately to a temporary holding place, to await their final resurrection, judgment, and sentencing to their eternal destiny. In Luke 16:22-23, Jesus describes a rich man being tormented immediately after death. And Revelation 20:11-15 describes that the unbelieving that are dead are going to be resurrected, judged at the Great White Throne, and then will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. Unbelievers, then, are not sent to the lake of fire, immediately after death, but rather are in a temporary realm of judgment and condemnation. However, even though unbelievers are not instantly sent to the lake of fire, their immediate fate after death is not a pleasant one. The rich man cried out, “I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 16:24).

As we see, after death, a person resides in a “temporary” heaven or hell, until our Lord Jesus Christ makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). After being in this temporary realm, at the final resurrection, a person’s eternal destiny will not change. The precise “location” of that eternal destiny is what changes. Believers will ultimately be granted entrance into the New Heavens and New Earth (Revelation 21:1); while unbelievers will in the end be sent to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people—based entirely on whether or not they had trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Matthew 25:46; John 3:36). 

Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life… for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:24, 28-29). 

Our Lord warned us throughout His ministry to: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). 

The reason we are addressing these statements from Christ is that there is a popular view in many cults and their followers that there is hope for those who did not accept Christ in this life. They teach on a ‘second chance’ after death—such as paying for their sins in purgatory and being cleansed before attaining heaven; which is a lie from Satan himself, or perhaps through reincarnation, another lie from the father of lies. 

Many false prophets also teach that there are many roads to heaven, while Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Another answer is found in Hebrews 9:27 which declares that “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment”.  So as we learn, there is no biblical support whatsoever for the notion of a ‘second chance’ after you die. The only opportunity you will ever have to get right with God is the opportunity God affords you right now while you are still breathing; because once you are dead your fate has been settled for eternity. 

Let’s remember the comforting words Jesus assured His disciples before going to the cross that: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). 

If you know Jesus, you have nothing to fear when death knocks at your door. Death comes to all of us—it will come for you and me one of these days. Do you know Jesus? If so, then you need not live in fear. 

Death is not the end of the road, it is only the beginning. For the believer, death is the doorway to heaven. For the unbeliever, it is a passageway into a horrific suffering forever. 

Remember, that what happens when you die depends on what happens before you die. Therefore, make sure you’re ready, so that when the time comes, you won’t be surprised by what happens next. It is up to you. God offers you the choice. God invites you to come to Him. It is your decision. 

We are praying that you will accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers, before it is too late.

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 18, 2018

LEARNING ABOUT GOD’S NATURE – Psalm 86:15

But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. (Psalm 86:15) 

The Bible teaches that God is loving, patient, caring, and forgiving as described in (Psalms 86:15), and the apostle John wrote that, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). 

There are many biblical passages were we read about how God cares for us. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7). That is a very comforting thought. 

Another passage written by the prophet Jeremiah tells us that: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24)   

However, the Bible also clearly teaches that there is another aspect of God’s character that is crucially important, which is His Holiness. Leviticus 11:44; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:16 all speak of you shall be holy; for I am holy, and this is what Satan wants us to ignore. 

The Bible teaches that God is perfectly Holy. Because of this attribute of His character, He cannot tolerate sin: “The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty…” (Numbers 14:18). The Bible tells us that God must deal with sin, and He does so in one of two ways – either by grace or by wrath. 

John 3:16 tells that: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” But few seem to take note of the words recorded a few verses later: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36) 

We come under God’s grace by placing our faith in Jesus and appropriating His atoning sacrifice for our lives (1 John 1:7). There is no salvation apart from Jesus (Acts 4:10-12). Those who have rejected God’s free gift of grace in Jesus are under God’s wrath (John 3:36), and they have no one to blame but themselves. 

We need to realize that God does not change and His commandments are to be obeyed for us to have a loving and pure relationship with Him. In the Old Testament we read: “For I am the Lord, I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6). And in the New Testament: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) 

Besides being a loving God, His word also tells us that God is a God of wrath. The prophet Nahum summed it up most excellently. Writing of the love of God, he said, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7). But a few verses earlier Nahum spoke of the holiness and wrath of God (Nahum 1:2-3): “A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; the Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished….” 

God wants a person to repent that is why He sent His Son to reconcile us with Him. Throughout the Bible, God demonstrates His mercy by never pouring out His wrath without warning. He warned the world through Noah’s preaching for 120 years. He tried to warn Sodom and Gomorrah through Abraham. He sent both Jonah and Nahum to warn the pagan city of Nineveh. 

He sent prophet after prophet to call the nations of Israel and Judah to repentance: “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:15-16). 

As we study Revelation we read about God’s mercy concerning the Tribulation. Rather than simply pouring out His wrath on the rebellious nations of the world, destroying them in one instant with an overwhelming catastrophe, He subjects the world to a series of judgments that sequentially increase in scope and intensity (Revelation 6, Revelation 8 and 9 and Revelation 16). 

We need to understand that there is no reason for any child of God to fear the wrath of God. Paul wrote that since we have been justified by the blood of Christ, “we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:9); and that “God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). 

Please ask yourself are you under God’s grace or are you under His wrath. It would be worthwhile for you to join a good Bible study where the truth of God’s word is being taught. Jesus is coming soon and when He appears, or your time is up on this earth; will you be absent from the body and present with the Lord, or will you forever be casted out from ever being in His presence? 

Are you under grace or wrath? The choice is yours. We hope that “no one deceives you with empty words, for because of these things, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6). 

God is a God of great Holiness and dignity; He is worthy of our humble worship, admiration and holy living. Please “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 11, 2018

BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW – Revelation 21:5

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”  (Revelation 21:5)

As we begin a New Year, it is a good time to consider that glorious time that will one day come when Christ will make everything new again. In the present era, all things will grow old like a garment” (Psalm 102:26), because we are under the bondage of the universal law of decay and death; but the true Christian should never loose hope because: “in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). There, in the “new Jerusalem,” we shall each have “a new name” and sing “a new song” (Revelation 2:17; 5:9). 

Since our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21), we should rejoice at the wonderful promises the Lord has given us. 

Christ told us that: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2). 

He gave us the glorious promise that all the old and dying things will be completely and forever gone. “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). 

What a “Happy New Year” that will be! In the meantime, we have His “new covenant” and have each been made “a new creation” in Christ (Hebrews 12:24; Galatians 6:15). Since all His words “are true and faithful,” we know His promises are sure. “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). 

You might be asking: ‘How can I know that I am a new creation?’ The answer lies in the first part of the verse: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation’ only those who are saved, those who are in Christ are a new creation. If you have truly believed in Jesus Christ to be your Savior and you have made Him the Lord of your live, you have become a new creation. 

Before we were saved, we were controlled by our old nature, and we were all slaves to sin. Sin dominated our thoughts and actions like a hard and cruel taskmaster and we were helplessly under its control. 

We served sin and suffered all the unpleasant effects that came with it: hatred, bitterness, deceit, strife, jealousy, rebellion, pride and lust. But all that has changed for those who are in Christ. Through His power we are liberated and delivered from the power of sin. Although sin may still be present in our lives, its power over us is now broken. 

Those who are not in Christ yet cannot enjoy such freedom from the power of sin. The old sinful nature is still very much alive in them and they cannot succeed to live the new Christian life, no matter how hard they may try, because they are still under the power of sin. 

Therefore, as the apostle Paul told the Corinthian Church we likewise need to: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)   

Please examine yourselves and ask this question: Do you still find yourself helplessly under the power of sin? Is your life still controlled by sin? If your answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’ then you are not yet a new creation, and have no part in the new heaven and new earth. 

To walk in newness of life, is to exhibit a new quality of life. The Bible teaches that “we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). When you walk in a new life you will live for heavenly things and not for earthly things any more. 

You will be more concerned with the things of God than the things of the world, and with things that are eternal, rather than with things that are temporal, and with things that are above, rather than with things that are on the earth. 

If you are truly walking in newness of life, you will respond to the Word of God. You will listen to God when He speaks to you through His Word. You will be ready to do His will and take His Word seriously. Those who walk in newness of life will be moved and convicted by God’s Word. And they respond to that Word with prayer, trust and obedience. They are not just hearers of the Word, but also doers of the Word. 

If the Word of God that you have been receiving has made little or no impact on your life, this indicates that you are not walking at all in newness of life. And if you are still living in sin and you are under its power, then this is a strong indication that you are not saved. 

Jesus is waiting, for you to accept His free gift of salvation; it is up to you to let Him do this transforming work in your life. Then you can really look forward to the day when the Lord will make all things new, the great and wonderful day when you will dwell forever in the new heaven and the new earth. 

So, as we begin the New Year, let our heart focus on the words that God has spoken to us in Revelation 21:5 

‘Behold, I make all things new!’ 

We hope and pray that you will be part of this glorious day!

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 4, 2018

LOVE – 1 John 3:1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. (1 John 3:1) 

Six year old Lisa was setting on the couch next to Mary, her mother, while she was reading a Bible story. 

Lisa noticed that her mother’s hands were scarred and did not look normal. So, Lisa asked her mother, “Why are your hands so scarred and ugly? 

Mary very lovingly explained that five years ago there was a mother who placed her daughter in her crib for a nap after she had finished feeding her baby. 

This mother went across the street to help an elderly lady who was recovering from an operation. The mother happened to look out the window across the street and noticed that smoke was coming from her house; she rushed across the street and into the house.  

When she arrived she saw her daughter’s bedroom engulfed with smoke and flames.  The mother quickly reached through the flames and pulled her daughter to safety and during the process her hands were burned and scarred. The burns were extremely painful, but it was happy because her daughter did not perish in the fire. 

Lisa realized that she was the baby girl who had been rescued from being burned to death. With tears in her eyes she looked up at her mother and said, “I am sorry mother; your hands are not ugly, your hands are the most beautiful hands that I have ever seen.”  

There is Someone whose hands and feet were scarred when He was nailed to a cruel Roman cross and tortured to death to pay the sin debt of all mankind, to save a lost world from sin and hell. 

One day, when we will see the Savior in heaven, we will bow before Him and His pierced hands and feet and be eternally thankful for the tremendous sacrifice that He made to give us eternal life and escape an eternity in the Lake of Fire. 

If one of our neighbors sacrificed their safety and endangered their life to rescue us from a burning building, we would probably live in deep appreciation of their unselfish sacrifice and think about it every day. 

Are we daily expressing our appreciation and thankfulness to God and Jesus for rescuing us from the horrific reality of sin and hell? 

Are we honoring the great sacrifice that Jesus provided by striving to live a life of holiness, humility and love to the Savior? As this New Year begins will you share the wonderful message of freedom and salvation with others and express your appreciation for the precious gift of restored fellowship with God and eternal life.  

Is it any wonder that wise men, women and children still seek Him, love, obey and worship Him?

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