Posted by: missionventureministries | June 8, 2017

A GODLY ATTITUDE – Ephesians 4:22-24

A godly attitude is the beginning to effective relationships! 

Attitude is how we approach others with our outlook on life, our behavior, our life style, our feelings, our way of thinking, and our way of behaving. It all comes from Christ’s work in us. 

Jesus maintained a perfect attitude in every situation because He prayed about everything and worried about nothing. We, too, should seek God’s guidance about every aspect of our lives and allow Him to work out His perfect will without interference. 

Jesus’ attitude was never to become defensive, discouraged, or depressed because His goal was to please the Father rather than to achieve His own agenda. In the midst of trials, He was patient. In the midst of suffering, He was hopeful. In the midst of blessing, He was humble. Even in the midst of ridicule, abuse, and hostility, He “made no threats . . . and did not retaliate. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). 

The Apostle Paul speaks about a Christ-like attitude in his letter to the church in Ephesus: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). 

So, how does our attitude impact our daily life? When we have a righteous attitude, God can better use us, and others can see His work, in us. 

Christians have a responsibility to have the best attitude possible in impacting others for Christ. When we have a bad altitude, we can see the aptitude of our old ways of sin seeking to take over our thoughts, feelings, and outlook on life and thus be a bad witness for Him. 

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Romans 12:3). 

Each time we try to control our circumstances, our future, and the people around us, we’re only demonstrating that we want to be a god. God doesn’t want us to try to become gods. Instead, He wants us to become like Him, taking on His values, His attitudes, and His character. We are meant to “be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24). 

A Christ-like attitude will also help us deal effectively with problems. So, how do you deal with problems? Do you see them as opportunities? Or, do you see them as threats? 

We can either let bad situations control us or we can allow ourselves to learn and grow from them. We can either be led by the Spirit in our attitude, or be controlled by the bad attitudes of others which are the reflection of Satan. A choice is given; an opportunity arises; and it is up to us how we respond. 

The Bible tells us to bring our attitudes into obedience to God’s Word. We need to apply discipline to our thought life and submit them to those of Christ’s. A good attitude is a matter of faith, disregarding our feelings, with a determination to embrace God’s outlook and disposition. As 2 Corinthians 10:5 states: “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 

Charles Swindoll wrote an excellent description of the meaning of attitude. He said: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” 

We need to dwell on the things that God’s word tells us to; those good and virtuous things. If we focus on the negative, our attitude will reflect the same. God’s word tell us: “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | June 1, 2017

THE WRITING ON THE WALL, A MESSAGE FOR TODAY – Daniel 5

The decline of moral values in America and in the whole world means inevitable tragedy today as it did in Daniel’s time. 

In Daniel chapter 5 of the Bible, it is recorded that at the height of a tremendous festival king Belshazzar ordered the vessels of gold and silver that were taken from the Temple in Jerusalem to be brought to the palace, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.  

Belshazzar would use them as wine goblets during this extravagant feast and while in his orgy he praised his own gods. This was an open defiance of the living God of Israel whose moral requirements were known throughout the world. 

Suddenly, the fingers of a human hand appeared in front of everyone and started to write on the wall of the palace banquet hall. It was a message of judgment for a people who were godless, had no morals and had a despicable behavior.  

As they defiled the golden cups dedicated to God’s service, their judgment was pronounced over them as the hand writing upon the wall was God’s message to them, it read: “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN,” meaning, Mene, MeneGod has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekelthat you have been weighed and found to be too light. And lastly Upharsinyour nation has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians. 

Before that very night would end, King Cyrus of Persia would attack Babylon; Belshazzar would be slain, and Darius given the kingdom. 

The Temple vessels Belshazzar desecrated were not simply artifacts; they were made holy unto God.  

The truth of this story is self-evident for our own time, because to show disrespect to God, who is sovereign over the nations, is to invite disaster. 

A sure sign of coming judgment to a country is when that which is dedicated to God and reserved for holy use is filled with venality and vice. It is detrimental for any nation when true religion is used in the name of idolatrous practices. 

Belshazzar, the Bible says, called for someone to read the handwriting on the wall, but only Daniel, the prophet of God, could read it. Preceding the judgment of a nation, those who truly know the Lord, those who understand His commands will not be many or popular, but they will still be in demand. Only they can really discern the prophetical times because they are faithful servants of God. 

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.” But obviously, Belshazzar had not learned this lesson.  

His grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar, had been a proud man and ignored God. For this he suffered from insanity for seven years before finally confessing, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, for He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (Daniel 4:37).  

Belshazzar knew all of this but refused to learn from it (Daniel 5:17-22). 

History tells us that twenty-two great civilizations have risen and fallen, and the reasons for their demise are amazingly similar. 

  • They abandoned their religious convictions, fully rejecting basic principles of morality. 
  • They were obsessed with sex and its perversions. 
  • They reduced the quality and intrinsic value of their money, while also increasing the general price level of goods and services. 
  • They no longer viewed honest work as a necessary virtue. 
  • They allowed respect for the law to seriously diminish, and violence became an accepted means for achieving both individual and group needs. 

Will we learn from history? These five reasons for the destruction of previous mighty civilizations are currently rampant in America and all over the world. 

Are we seeing the handwriting on the wall? Most definitely! It seems that judgment is imminent! 

Today people often argue that they have their own scales for judging life’s issues, and as history repeats itself the Bible tells us that: “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). But one day everyone is going to face God as He really is and be judged by the standards of His Word.  

When we look at the entire verse it says: In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” They did have a King, of course, but they refused Him. 

That is essentially what people are doing today. “There is no fear of God before their eyes,” and they are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (Romans 3:18; 2 Timothy 3:4).  

When every man believes what is comfortable and does as he pleases, he in effect becomes his own god, and this is nothing but humanism. But just as this ancient humanism was empty, and the people soon desired a human king, so modern atheistic humanism will also revert to pantheism, and the world will then yield to a humanistic king to lead them on to a final deadly confrontation with the true King of kings. 

Christ died on the Cross to redeem people of every kind, tongue, and nation. So not only in America, but the entire world has a choice to make. Either we return by faith in Jesus Christ, or we will join the fate of other nations that have long been forgotten. 

Why are we so foolish to believe that we can escape the judgment of God? Why do we continue ignoring the handwriting on the wall? Why aren’t preachers declaring this from the rooftops? 

We will either go to our knees in repentance and faith or be driven to our knees in defeat. 

Will you trust Christ as your Savior today? If you are a Christian, have you fallen into sin and in need of making things right with your Lord? 

Let us heed the call of Jeremiah 18:8 before it is too late: “If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.”  

As well as the one Ezra wrote in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 25, 2017

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE JEZEBEL SPIRIT – Revelation 2:20-23

The spirit of Jezebel is one of the dominant evil authorities over our world. Our society, the church, families, and individuals have been personally attacked, infiltrated, sabotaged, and robbed by Jezebel. This spirit works in both women and men and she is no respecter of persons. 

There are two types of people: First, those who are attacked by Jezebel and second those with a Jezebel spirit who are always seeking to be the center of attention. 

One of the last letters to the churches strongly addressed the subject of tolerating the Jezebel spirit. 

Revelation 2:20-23 gives a clear picture that it leads astray the best of servants into wrong teachings and immorality. Jesus, through John in the Book of Revelation, gives a strong warning of judgment on the Jezebel spirit. 

The reason for the warning is that the Jezebel spirit seeks to destroy true worship. It misleads and corrupts the church and seeks to neutralize the life of God appointed leaders, pastors, and other male authority, by any means – sexual enticement, discouragement, etc. Jezebel is out to destroy the families, harmony and God-ordained authority. It is the spirit behind disorder in churches and families, in the feminism movement, sexually immoral lifestyles, and the abortion movement. 

JEZEBEL’S ULTIMATE GOAL IS ALWAYS CONTROL AND THE DESTRUCTION OF TRUE, HUMBLE AND CHRIST CENTERED WORSHIP. 

A Jezebel spirit seeks control through manipulation. It has a deep hatred of true spiritual authority, and uses emotional pressure and sensuality in its pursuit of power. It uses subtle persuasion to gain influence and get close to those in control. It then uses this position to gradually dominate. 

The Jezebel spirit is always motivated by its own agenda and pride and relentlessly pursues selfish recognition. It is intent on getting what it wants. There may be one in every ministry of the church and every family, trying to dominate, arrange, and selfishly control everybody. 

Jezebel likes to be seen close to leaders, and use their influence. She likes to use the power and influence of others to accomplish her goals and control her environment. In 1 Kings 21:8 we read “Jezebel wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the elders and nobles of the city.” This is typical of Jezebel, because, she prefers to remain concealed in the background, while she manipulates situations and leaders. 

This demon spirit is very crafty, cunning, and seductive; more than many of the other types of demons are. It will thus be capable of playing more than one type of game with you. 

There is a charismatic and domineering energy in the person possessed the Jezebel spirit. 

People with a Jezebel spirit have never been born again and had their lives transformed by the cleansing blood of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.  They are religious but not righteous. 

The ultimate goal is always the control of people, of the church and to corrupt the ministry.    

They attack leadership, openly and behind their backs.   

They are jealous of godly church leaders; they complain when they are not the center of attention and things are not done the way that they want them done. 

They cause fear, discouragement and disharmony; and they try to be a dominating leader and the center of attention.    

They are deceptive, subtle, manipulative, spoiled, proud, independent, rebellious and self centered.    

They have a proud, religious spirit; their family life is out of order, their home is not a place of peace, humility and holy living. 

A weak leader like Ahab will permit the Jezebels to be in control and dominate the church and others.    

If a person with a Jezebel spirit infiltrates a prayer group, a music group or a Bible study class, they will try and work their way to the top so they can be the leader of the group and run it their way, teaching falsehoods and doing much harm wherever they infiltrate. 

Beware, as the warnings are severe in Revelation 2:20-23.

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 17, 2017

WAKE UP YOU WHO ARE SLEEPING – Ephesians 5:14

The Holy Writings say: “Wake up, you who are sleeping. Rise from the dead and Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14  

The apostle Paul is constantly exhorting churches to wake up. In the letter to the Romans he writes, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). He commands the Corinthians to awake and to start living a godly life. He tells the Thessalonians, “So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded” (1 Thessalonians 5:6); and he writes about the same subject to the church in Ephesus. 

Paul here offers an invitation, a call for those who are not children of light to come to the light and be saved. The words are adapted from Isaiah 60:1, which reads, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Paul shows the prophetic meaning of those texts by declaring that “the glory of the Lord (that) has risen” is none other than Jesus Christ, the Messiah that Isaiah and every godly Jew had so longed hoped for.  

Awake, sleeper describes the sinner who is asleep in the darkness of sin and unaware of his lost condition and tragic destiny. Arise from the dead is a summons to repentance, an appeal to turn away from the ways of sin that lead you to death.  

As we further analyze this verse we also come to the conclusion that “wake up, you who are sleeping” means to get up from a state of slumber and false security. “Sleep and death” are striking representations of the state in which people find themselves. In “sleep” we are, though living, insensible to any danger that may be near; we are unconscious of what may he going on around us. So it is with the sinner, his mind is sleeping; he does not hear or know God, and has no sense of danger, he is dead spiritually. 

God thru His Word is saying to the church, ‘Wake up! You are sleeping! Death is all around you. Darkness has enveloped you. Wake up and let the Holy Spirit expose the things that are wrong in your life. Then Jesus can shine through you and dissipate the darkness because it is His light that removes the darkness which represents the sin in your life.  

While we as Christians must always be willing to bring the saving message of God’s grace to the sinner, we must not be “partakers with them” (v.7) in their sins and indeed must “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (v.11). Instead, we must “reprove them” (v. 11), pointing out the consequences of their actions and focusing their attention on Christ who has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (v.2) in payment of our penalty. All that must be done is to accept this forgiveness. In doing so, we who are “light in the Lord” (v.8) will shed light in their darkness, for “all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light” (v.13).  

As children of the light (v.8), our lives must exhibit “the fruit of the Spirit which is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth” (v.9). We must discern “what is acceptable to the Lord” (v.10), “walking circumspectly, not as fools but wisely (v.15), “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (v.16).  

We need to realize that we are either moving towards godliness, or we are moving away from it. Every moment is a new opportunity to continue moving in the right direction, always with our eyes focused on Jesus. In Him is light, and in order to know Him, we must pursue Him through His word. There should be no stagnation in our walk towards our eternal home.  

The sleeper in our text, whether he is an unbeliever or one who professes to be a Christian, is asleep, surrounded by darkness; therefore, Jesus warned them: this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:19-21). 

Therefore, when we are saved, we are spiritually awakened to a new life with Christ and Jesus tell us to: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 11, 2017

DOES THE BIBLE SPEAK ABOUT DANCING IN CHURCH?

In many Christian churches dance has been incorporated into the worship service. To justify such an action they focus their attention on the dance of Old Testament times. Surprisingly, they do not do a serious analysis of the passages where dance was used by the Israelites. They ignore that dance was NEVER allowed in the religious services of the sanctuary, temple, synagogue and was not even part of the worship of the early church. It is only by performing an analysis of the verses where the dance appears in the Bible that the role played by Israel in Old Testament times can be understood. 

The first occasion in which dance is mentioned in the Bible was when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. Exodus 15:20-21 says, “Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.” It is interesting to note that this activity took place outdoors, as a celebration for the total destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. 

In all passages of the O.T. dance was related to a social and natural expression within the culture of the people. In the history of Israel dance appears as an expression learned within the Egyptian culture, and this we can also see when Moses came down from the mountain after receiving the tables of the 10 commandments: “When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it” (Exodus 32:19-20). In this case it was an idolatrous dance, which infuriated Moses. 

Almost all the texts that speak of dance refer to an expression of festivity, happiness and joy linked to the Hebrew culture, which was possibly learned in Egypt, since in Genesis there are no actions or references to it as a practice of the patriarchs. 

The Bible gives us many references inviting us to praise God. For example Psalm 105:1-2 says, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.” It is important to note that there are many, such references in the Psalms, the hymnal of Israel, about singing to the Lord and proclaiming His name, but references to dance before Him or to Him in the Psalms are limited to only two verses in all the 150 Psalms, and these references within the context of Israel’s special celebrations. 

In the New Testament we are encouraged to talk among ourselves with psalms, hymns, and with spiritual songs, but nothing is said about dancing. Only Psalms 149:3 and Psalm 150:4 urge to praise God with dance. They are the only two verses found in the vast Word of God that mention praise to God with dance, and were given in the context of being an order or command of the form of praise but the emphasis of the psalm is in urging to praise the Lord with joy. He mentions dance because it was the community cultural way of expressing joy in some of the Jewish holidays. By contrast, dance played a prominent role in many pagan cults, such as the orgiastic cult of Dionysius. 

So the question for us is: Is it normal where we live that we go out on the streets to dance every time we celebrate something? Is this a common expression of our culture? Certainly in many sectors and regions of the world it still remains, but tends to be associated with celebrations with alcohol and immorality. It is for this very reason that when people come to Christ, they cease to attend the celebrations and feasts of which they participated before, by conviction and motive of conscience. 

In 2 Samuel 6, David gathered together chosen men of Israel with the purpose of moving the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Abinadab, to Jerusalem. Verse five says, “David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.”

In Psalm 68:24-27 the image of a procession is presented that was heading for the sanctuary. “In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the young women playing the timbrels.” In Psalm 42:4 a similar picture is presented: “… I remember how I used to walk to the house of God. The Mighty One guarded my steps. We shouted with joy and praised God as we went along with the joyful crowd.” These two passages are consonant with the fact that these festive processions where the people danced and sang, took place outdoors and not in the temple. In the temple, only the Levites sang the praises and played musical instruments (1 Chronicles 15:16, 19-24, 16:4, 25:6-7, 2 Chronicles 7:6, 29:25, Ezra 3:10-11). 

In none of these cases was the dance performed in the sanctuary, or in the temple. The dance was always outdoors and was associated with Israel’s victory over their enemies and with the cultural and religious festival celebrations of Israel.  

There was never any frantic waving of scarves and streamers during the temple worship in the New Testament churches. As God’s irreversible command states: “But everything should be done in an honorable and orderly manner,” 1 Corinthians 14:40. 

The fact that King David did not include dance in worship within the sanctuary implies that he distinguished between secular music played in his festive celebrations; such as singing and dancing when Saul and David returned after defeating Goliath, and the Temple music. 

Israel was a theocracy, a government established by God. Their whole life revolved around God. Their songs and their cultural celebrations were centered in Jehovah but their dances on the occasion of annual festivals were never done inside the temple. 

By the way, the percussion instruments that were used in the dances, were not considered by David when the music for worship was institutionalized (2 Chronicles 5:13, Nehemiah 12:27). It is mentioned in the Bible that the Levites used the cymbal (percussion instrument) (1 Chronicles 15:19, 25:1, Ezra 3:10, Nehemiah 12:27). According to “The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia”, these were used only to mark the time (Vol. III, page 2101). 

Percussion instruments, such as tambourines and drums that were used in cultural dances, were clearly excluded from worship. Cymbals were used to mark the transition between the stanzas of the hymns and not to accompany the chorus. The lyre, or zithers, which are a type of harp was the instrument that David and the Levites considered the noblest instrument of all (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (vol. 3, page 474). 

In the book of Revelation, when mention is made of praise in heaven, harps are mentioned (5:8; 14:2; 15:2). During the inauguration of the Temple of Solomon, percussion was not used in praise (2 Chronicles 29:25) or during the inauguration of the temple in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 3:10, Nehemiah 12:27-36). Definitely, a clear distinction must be made between the music played on the occasion of these celebrations that took place outside the temple and the music played in worship in the temple. 

It is interesting to note that dance as a way of praising God does not appear throughout the New Testament. We are never exhorted in the New Testament to dance. 

The Old Testament only refers to dance on special occasions of celebration; it was never was part of the standard weekly worship of God. In this research we discovered that dance was not part of worship in the early church. Jewish culture featured dancing at weddings and the Feast of Tabernacles, and of course there are numerous references to David dancing in the Old Testament, but such dancing was spontaneous and celebratory, not liturgical. As a result, early Christians from Jewish backgrounds lacked a tradition of dance during formal worship. Dancing only appears in the New Testament in two contexts: Herod’s banquet (Mark 6:21-22, with disastrous results for John the Baptist) and the celebration of the Prodigal Son’s return (Luke 15:22-27). 

The program of weekly worship to God in the Jewish synagogue (of which Christ and the apostles were a part) did not include dancing. 

Conclusion: For 19 centuries of the history of Christian church there are no references to dancing before God in a Christian worship service. We have thousands of writings of Christian pastors and writers throughout 19 centuries of Christian history and there is no reference to any kind of dance in the weekly worship of believers. 

So it is important to understand that Christian dance in churches is a recent phenomenon. It is a practice that has started since the birth of the Pentecost doctrine in 1906, and the charismatic movement in 1960. 

If the church of Christ worshiped the Lord without dance for 19 centuries, and the fact that dance as a way of praising God does not appear throughout the New Testament or during the first 19 centuries, shows us that biblically, dancing is not part of the expression of the Christian faith in the sanctuary; then why do so many churches do it? 

Jesus never taught about dancing but He did sing hymns as stated in Matthew 26:30. 

We need to pay close attention to the words of the Holy Scripture because it is very dangerous to add or take away from the Word of God and one day we will be judged. 

Disregard for God’s Word and acceptance or defense of false teaching, slowly but surely blurs the truth and destroys one’s ability to be discerning. It eventually makes those who choose to accept something they like or want, regardless of biblical truth, incapable of recognizing the depravity of their situation. 

The fact is that people who do not adhere to the Word of God and make claims not founded on or supported by the Bible, do not understand, and believe incorrectly. 

This is a typical practice of the Emergent church. It is also what cult leaders do as they add to or subtract from God’s word and then start believing their own false ideas as authentic “revelations.” 

That is what those given over to a reprobate mind do, and this is what we have happening in our churches. 

Would you serve your family a meal if you knew poison had been sprinkled on it? Then why would you accept the words of a person who has consistently proven that they are untrustworthy and their teaching defies the Bible, just because someone claims there is a bit of good in it? 

When you give yourself over to a teacher and his teachings, or an author and his books through your investment of time, money, and emotions without allowing God’s Word to always be the judge, and then defend the message even though it is contrary to God’s Word, then, you have allowed Satan a foothold. But unless there is repentance it doesn’t stop there, soon it becomes a stronghold, and before long you become incapable of deciding what is right from what is wrong. 

Church, stop defending the indefensible teaching and come to your senses before it is too late! “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 4, 2017

JUDGEMENT BEGINS WITH THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD – 1 Peter 4:17-18

For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” – 1 Peter 4:17-18

Most people regard judgment as something that occurs only at the end of the age. However, the Bible shows that Christians are being judged today. As in a human court, judgment is a process. Judges do not render decisions without getting the facts and pondering over all the evidence. Today, God is putting Christians through trials and tests to see if they will be faithful to Him and His way of life. 

Are you willing to follow Christ when it is difficult? Will you follow Him when it is dangerous? Will you follow Him if it causes pain, suffering and even death?  

It is so easy to become accustomed to the darkness. Has sin and darkness invaded your life? Is your conscience sensitive enough to recognize sin in your life and in your church? “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Peter warns that a time is coming when Christians will be judged. By this, he is referring to severe persecutions which will test the faith of those being tried. Clearly, in such testing, not everyone is going to make it. Jesus warned that few would reach the goal. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Paul used the illustration of the Israelites leaving Egypt to make the same analogy (1 Corinthians 10:1-14). Millions of people left the idolatrous land of Egypt; yet, only two adults who left entered the Promised Land.

Peter then asks; if it is this hard to reach the goal by people who want to go to heaven, what happens to the wicked and those who don’t care? The answer is that they will not make it to heaven. If judgment comes to God’s people here in this world at the hands of the wicked, what will become of the wicked when they face final judgment before the Almighty God?

That is why we need to be constantly watchful: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

And we need to: “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

If saints scarcely reach heaven, what becomes of the ungodly? What can they do who do not know God? What can they do who do not know the Savior? What can they do who do not have the Spirit of God? What can they do without prayer, the Word and the promise of God? 

Judgment begins in the House of God, which means the church, and those that are playing around with sin need to stop before it is too late.  

Anyone who calls himself a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ can’t embrace sin and allow sin in their church and expect that there won’t be any consequences. Our God is a holy and awesome God, and the only way that any of us are going to endure what is coming is to live in holiness.  The Scriptures tell us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and there isn’t a lot of the fear of God in our churches today, but according to God’s Word, there will be soon.  

Excuses are being made for just about every form of sexual immorality that you can possibly imagine, and on top of that, many preachers are embracing the doctrine that nobody goes to hell. 

God cannot bless those who are unfaithful in their relationships with Him. People need to humble themselves while there is still time, but instead of becoming humble and repenting, they become aggressive and defend their behavior based on things contrary to the Word of God. Like the Old Testament says: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). We live in a twisted world where sins have become rights, iniquities have become virtues and evil is considered personal freedom. 

There is a strong need for repentance and getting into a right relationship with the Lord. You are in great danger because you are not under God’s cover of protection. Don’t try to mix your faith in the Lord with other belief systems. Do not embrace social acceptance with immoral lifestyles. The patience of the Lord will end one day, repent now and ask God for forgiveness because, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). 

We have a compassionate God, but He has limits. In Genesis 6 just before the flood, God said this, “My Spirit will not always strive with man. I won’t keep this up forever.”  And then He drowned the entire world except eight people.  The Lord was warning Israel, and God is still warning us, warning anyone who hears, not to go even close to the limits of God’s patience.  If your heart is still at all sensitive to the gospel, if you are feeling the pull of God to believe in Jesus Christ, confess Him as Lord, turn from your sin, repent of your sin, and follow Him. If you are feeling that, then now is the day of salvation, 2 Corinthians 6:2, now is the time to believe because no one can guarantee how long you will be alive. 

Jesus said to them, ‘For a little while longer, the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.  While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light’ (John 12:35-36). 

God is patient, but He has His limits. His Spirit will not always strive with you either, and because you will not believe, the day may come when you cannot believe. That’s a terrifying thought. Please think about this while there is still time. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) 

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 27, 2017

THERE IS NOTHING CONCEALED THAT WILL NOT BE DISCLOSED – Luke 12:2-3

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (Luke 12:2-3) 

In these verses Jesus is clearly telling us that nothing that we do is concealed from God and everything will be disclosed. Even things that we do in secret and that only we know about, which we think is well hidden will be made known.  

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:10 that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his reward, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” And Romans 2:6 tells us that God will render to each man according to his deeds.  

There are many people in the church today who are claiming to be a follower of Jesus, but who are covering up their secret sins. They look good on the outside and have the appearance of a Christian, but when they are alone they are engaging in things that are sinful and wrong. Many think that they can get away with things as long as nobody finds out about them. However, while sin may go unnoticed by man, we can be assured that it does not go unnoticed by our Sovereign God and one day we will be judged accordingly, either at the Judgment Seat of Christ or at the Great White Throne Judgment. 

In verse 3 we read: What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight. What you have whispered to someone behind closed doors will be shouted from the rooftops. 

Did you know that every word you say is being recorded in heaven? The Bible clearly teaches that liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. Your lies are being heard and recorded in heaven. 

Every time you say something unkind it is recorded. Every time you gossip it is heard and recorded. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, but I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” 

Where will you stand on that Day of Judgment? Will you be condemned by your words? Or will you be acquitted by them? The truth is, whether you believe it or not, every one of your whispered words, those that you think no one hears but those to whom they are directed, will be echoed loudly in the judgment hall of God.  

The Lord knows exactly what we’re thinking every moment of every day, because, “The Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought” (1 Chronicles 28:9). In Psalm 94:11 we read that the Lord knows the thoughts of men. And Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5:28 that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

You will be held accountable one day, so be careful what you allow into your mind. Be careful what you watch. Be careful what you listen to. Be careful what you read. Be careful what you look at. Be careful how you present yourself and be careful what you say. 

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 to think on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; virtuous, and praise-worthy. If we guard what we allow to enter our mind our life is going to be so much better and most important of all, it will be pure and pleasing to God. 

Today we are judged by others simply according to what we do. The words that come out of our mouths, the places that we go; the actions that people see us do. But a day is coming when every private thought will be exposed. Every hidden desire, every lust, every passion, every motive, every rebellion, every attitude, every thought of the heart will be revealed.  

No wonder Paul tells us to set our minds on things above; because, not only does our character and our actions stem from our motives and the desires of our heart, but there is coming a day when God’s judgment will reach into the secret recesses of the heart. Therefore, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) 

In this ministry we want our thoughts, motives, attitudes and desire to be pure. How about you what do you want to do? 

There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, however, there is good news, because Jesus said in John 3:17, I didn’t come to condemn the world. If you’re living in sin you’re condemned already, but Jesus came that He might bring salvation and forgiveness.  

Faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior is the only “step” to salvation. The message of the Bible is abundantly clear. We have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23). Because of our sin, we deserve to be eternally separated from God (Romans 6:23). Because of His love for us (John 3:16), God took on human form and died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). God promises forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven to all who receive, by grace through faith Jesus Christ as Savior (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; Acts 16:31), and make Him the Lord of their life. 

If you need to be cleansed of your sins, why don’t you bow your head and allow God to do that work in you today?

 

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 20, 2017

LET OUR SPEECH ALWAYS BE WITH GRACE – Colossians 4:6

Faithfulness in our Christian behavior must be followed by consistency in our speech. Paul is not only speaking here of preaching the gospel, but our conversation in general. Believers’ speech must always be filled with grace, as were the words of Christ (Luke 4:22). 

Whether undergoing persecution, stress, difficulty, or injustice, whether with your spouse, children, believers, or unbelievers—in all circumstances believers are to make their speech full of grace a habit. 

To speak with grace means to say what is spiritual, wholesome, kind, sensitive, complementary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Therefore, the believers’ speech should act as a purifying influence. 

Believers must also know how to respond to each person. They must know how to say the right thing at the right time. In Peter’s words, they must be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15). 

The speech and actions of the new, born again man or woman is vitally important, because unlike the ungodly, who say “Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” (Psalm 12:4), we as believers should echo the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 141:3: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” 

Our speech is to be gracious—it is to be a blessing to others, with the ultimate intend of bringing them to Christ, because, God’s grace has changed us.

 We need to realize however, that our speech is not always gracious. Even after we become Christians we can commit mistakes by misusing our tongue. In James 3:9-12, James pointed out how some Christians used their speech to curse others. He wrote, “with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” 

Even though our speech is to be full of grace we need to be aware because at times, evil will try to steamroll over us. In Acts 4 the Sanhedrin told Peter and John not speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But they replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20) 

They stood for the truth and that is what we should also do. Their words to the Sanhedrin, although confrontational—appealed the Jewish leaders understanding of a great truth that the Old Testament clearly taught—that people were to obey God rather than men. It was confrontational, but it directed them to one of their most deeply held beliefs. 

Therefore; like Jesus, the apostles and all honest people we must have the courage to expose and rebuke hypocrites who are living sinful, abusive lives and destroying the truth. “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain…. 13  Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith.” (Titus 1:10-11, 13)

Yes, we should be gracious but we need to resist evil and speak God’s truth in love.  Our intention is to be a blessing to those we come in touch with; as our speech and actions reveal our graciousness. 

Our great goal is to win others for Jesus and to point them to Him, because people need Jesus. They don’t realize the depth of their sin and how their sin puts them in danger of hell. They think they’re good in themselves. They think they’re good enough and that they’re worthy of heaven. They think that they can earn their way into heaven; but they can’t. We need to tell them about Jesus, how He came and died in our place; and that if they believe in Him they will have eternal life. 

What a privilege God has given us as Christians to be a blessing to others through our speech and actions. What a powerful tool our speech is, therefore let us use it for God’s glory.

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 13, 2017

THE NARROW AND THE WIDE GATES – Matthew 7:13-14

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14) 

Here the Lord is teaching us that there are two ways and two destinations. One is heaven and the other is hell. 

In the Old Testament we see Moses saying to the people, “See, I have set before you this day life and death, good and evil. Choose life that you and your seed may live,” (Deuteronomy 30:19). And God told Jeremiah “Unto this people shall you say, ‘Thus says the Lord, behold I have set before you the way of life and the way of death.’” (Jeremiah 21:8)   

Joshua, who succeeded Moses, said, “Choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) 

Elijah, told the people on Mount Carmel: “How long will you halt between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him. If Baal, then follow him,” (1 Kings 18:21). 

As we see, the most important spiritual decision that anyone will ever make in life, is the decision regarding their eternal destiny, which far outweigh the trivial ones that most people focus on a day to day basis. As the word of God tells us, we will live forever and we have two options, hell and eternal punishment, or heaven and eternal joy.  

Jesus is teaching us that there is a very serious choice that we need to make, a choice that renders an eternal finality. As we read our Creator’s words and teaching we still have a chance, but one day it will be too late; therefore His sermon leads to a choice that we need to make while there is still time. 

There’s only one possibility for your destiny and there are only two choices, not many, just two. There is a narrow way with a narrow gate. And there is a broad way with a broad gate. Jesus is talking about two destinations – life and destruction; and two groups of people, the many and the few.  

Verse 13 begins with a command, “Enter by the narrow gate.” The gospels itself is a command, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel always comes as a command to obey. It is not enough to study about the narrow gate, to admire what Jesus said, because hell is going to be literally filled with people who admired Jesus and His teaching but did not follow it. 

You must go beyond being fascinated with the work of Jesus Christ and admiring Him, you must enter the narrow gate of salvation through faith in Him. 

Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by Me,” (John 14:6).  And in John 10:1 Jesus refers Himself to the door: “I am the Door, if any man tries to come in any other way, he is a thief and a robber.”  

In Acts 4:12 we read, “There is no salvation in any other name, for there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” There’s only one way to be saved, there’s only one Person who is the Savior, therefore, faith in Him and obedience is required for salvation. 

Christ and Christ alone is the gate. Without Him there is no salvation and no heaven. There is no other way in; all other ways, although promoted by false teachers as heaven end up in hell. Any deviation from the person of Jesus Christ, the work of Jesus Christ, or the gospel of Jesus Christ by faith and grace alone will lead you to hell. You must make a commitment to come to Christ because He is the only way. 

When we continue reading Matthew chapter 7 we see Jesus making the comparison of the true and false disciples. The false ones are the ones who are on the broad way, and who have been lead astray by false prophets, doctrines and beliefs. They will tell Jesus one day: “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name cast out demons and in Your name perform many miracles?” Then He will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me, you that practice lawlessness” (vs. 22-23). 

As we are warned, when these, who are mislead, get to the end of the road, the news is not good as Psalm 1:6 says, “The way of the ungodly shall perish.” 

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

Remember: “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31); unless you have decided to spend eternity in hell and apart from Him.

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 6, 2017

THINGS THAT GOD DETESTS – Proverbs 6:16-19

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19  a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19) 

HAUGHTY EYES 

The word haughty is defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘blatantly and disdainfully proud.’ The word is always used in the Bible in the evil sense of ‘arrogant, condescending and setting oneself above others’; and is set in contrast to being humble. 

Haughty eyes are said to be sin in Proverbs 21:4, along with a proud heart. To have haughty eyes is to have an arrogant demeanor; it’s an overall attitude of one’s heart that causes one to ridicule or ‘looks down’ on others. The haughty person just like Satan, sets himself above others, and ultimately above God. 

When we are haughty, we become the center of attention and everything revolves around us. There is little, if any, concern for what others think and no consideration for God. In pride and haughtiness, is where all sin starts. 

When Jesus, who is co-equal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit from eternity past encountered people whose lives were an absolute mess, He didn’t look down on them with disapproval. He told them: “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). 

And in Isaiah 66:2 we find these words from the Lord: “Has not my hand created all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.

While pride always distances us from others, humility draws people close. Jesus came in humility because His mission involved drawing people back to God. Because God loves humility, He hates haughty eyes. 

A LYING TONGUE

Lying involves willfully making statements that are false. It reveals a lack of godliness, because a righteous man hates falsehood, but a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully (Proverbs 13:5).

Lying is a mark of an unfaithful person, because a trustworthy witness will not lie, but a false witness utters lies (Proverbs 14:5).

Liars love impure conversation and an evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue (Proverbs 17:4). Liars beware because; their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to put away the old self with its practices, which includes lying (Colossians 3:9). 

HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD

The definition of shedding innocent blood in reference to this scripture is to murder someone who has no blame. Since we are created in the image of God, those who shed innocent blood have disregard not only for human life, but also for God Himself, and the Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit (Psalm 5:6).

Abortion is something that is prevalent in our world today that exactly fits the description of the scripture that talks about “the hand that sheds innocent blood”. Babies are innocent and have done nothing that is worthy of death, but so many people feel that they have the right to kill a child because of the inconvenience they might cause.

The Bible tells us you shall not murder (Exodus 20:13)

The greatest example we see in scripture of the loss of innocent life is Jesus. When He was killed, even the man who sentenced him to death knew that there was nothing Jesus had done wrong to deserve to die. (Matthew 27:23-24) 

A HEART THAT DEVISES WICKED PLANS

Wickedness is defined as something ‘which is morally wrong and with a deliberate intention to hurt people’. 

This encompasses thinking or plotting evil against any individual for personal benefit or other evil intentions. Any sin is a wicked plan, but the heart of an evil man continually schemes to bring others to ruin, whether physically or spiritually. 

The heart devises evil plans, due to the craftiness and temptations of the devil. Those “who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips” (Psalm 140:2-4). 

And, for it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come —sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23) 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Therefore, every intentions and reflections of the man’s heart is naturally evil if he doesn’t have a close relationship with his Creator and Savior – “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) 

FEET THAT RUN RAPIDLY TO EVIL

Those, whose feet are quick to rush into evil, display no resistance whatsoever to sin and they will perish. 

The Word tells us to: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11). 

We are to walk by the Spirit, and not gratify the desires of the flesh, (Galatians 5:16). And not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). 

We are to “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). 

A FALSE WITNESS WHO UTTERS LIES 

We’ve already seen that God hates “a lying tongue.” Here we have a more specific type of lying. God hates a false witness – someone who commits perjury, accusing an innocent person of something that they didn’t do.

The prohibition against bearing false witness is the ninth of the Ten Commandments, and the New Testament is equally condemning of it. Because, a false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish (Proverbs 19:9).

Christians are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and, as such, we reflect His nature. We have been released from our “old self” with its evil practices such as lying and bearing false witness.

ONE WHO SOWS STRIFE AMONG BROTHERS 

In many situations strife among brothers and even within the church seems unavoidable, but anyone who purposely causes disruption to peace in the body of Christ displeases God, since that person gives reason for others to sin and for them to sin further (1 John 2:9–11; 4:19–21). 

People, who gossip or slander others, usually feel fully justified in what they’re saying. But whether or not a person feels justified in what they are saying is beside the point. God hates it when someone spreads strife. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t deal with conflict or admonish each other. But we should do so in a way that minimizes the strife. 

Jesus very intently sought unity among His followers. Jesus prayed for unity among His followers (John 17). As a matter of fact, Jesus prayed that His disciples would have the same degree of unity and single-mindedness as He had with the Father. 

There should be unity above all in the family because: “The man who divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.” (Malachi 2:16) 

In closing, God has the cure for all these sins if we want to honor Him. Here are just a few of them. 

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)  

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

 

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