Brother Joe Velasquez: Dear friends, you’ll probably agree with us when we say that if we examine life in this world, it is a picture of many disappointments and failures. But can we still find hope for the future against these troubled times? That’s what we will share with you today on The Message.
Brother Joe: Hi, I’m Brother Joe Velasquez, and with me in our studios in Anaheim, California is Brother Ruben Bustos. Hi, Brother Ruben.
Brother Ruben Bustos: Hi, Brother Joe. Welcome, dear viewers. It is plain to see that in spite of the fact that man’s wisdom or knowledge continues to increase, hardship, disease, and sickness are widespread, as well as disaster and calamities, well, they continue to worsen.
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Trust God’s Plan For Your Life
Brother Ruben: Man is also stymied in his attempt to attain peace in life because of the rise in terrorist attacks, violence, as well as murders. He is unable to better the society that he lives in. Because wickedness continues, crime and immorality are also on the rise. He is even affected by pollution, which is the result of his irresponsibility.
Brother Joe: How can man’s future be made bright in spite of what is happening nowadays?
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Brother Joe Velasquez
Minister of the Gospel
Brother Joe: Whom does man need to listen to so that he’ll be able to find success in his future plans in a world where failure has become commonplace?
Brother Ruben: Well Brother Joe, let’s read the answer here in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 16:3. This is what the Bible says:
Entrust your efforts to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.
[Proverbs 16:3 God’s Word Translation]
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Brother Ruben Bustos
Minister of the Gospel
Brother Ruben: Everyone is hoping to succeed in their good plans for their future, and we often exert great effort in accomplishing them, but what should we do so that our efforts will not be wasted? Well, the Bible teaches, “entrust your efforts to the Lord.” Well, what’s the reason? What can we expect if we will do so? The Bible says, “your plans will succeed.”
Brother Joe: But isn’t it true, Brother Ruben, that today many people rely on themselves and their own capabilities when it comes to achieving their goals in life? Why then does the Bible teach that we should place our total trust in God so that all our plans will succeed?
Brother Ruben: Well Brother Joe, if we refer to the Bible in Proverbs chapter 16:9, this is what the Bible teaches to us. Dear friends, please listen to the following:
A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
[Proverbs 16:9 New King James Version]
Brother Ruben: Now a person may feel that in their heart, that what they are planning for in their life is right. You know, they may even think that they would follow the advice of their fellowman or those [whom] they consider to be successful, highly regarded authorities in their respective fields or professions, or maybe they would rely on someone that they would trust when it comes to their opinion.
However, the Bible states, beloved friends, “the Lord directs His steps.” That’s why, dear viewers, the one we should rely on to direct our steps and plans and guide us to success is none other than our Lord God. Because there is no better plan than that which comes from our Father Himself.
Brother Joe: Well dear viewers, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make any plans at all. It’s understood that if you want to achieve a goal, well, good planning is part of the process. However, we should make sure that we seek God’s plan. Why? What authority or power does God have, which is why He alone can surely guide us in the right direction to take in our life?
Brother Ruben: Well, let’s go back to what the Bible teaches. This time we will read the Book of Job chapter 12:9-10, this is what we could read from the Bible. Please listen to this, beloved friends. This is what we could read:
Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?
[Job 12:9-10 New King James Version]
Brother Ruben: The Bible teaches, beloved friends, that in God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. That’s why God is the One who owns our life and has the power to determine its course and what will be its end. You know, where many go wrong, Brother Joe, is in relying only on themselves—trusting in their abilities, their knowledge, their power, as well as their resources. But as we can clearly see by the current state of the world, well man has not been able to use these to completely solve the grave problems that he faces, like hunger, poverty, diseases, conflicts, as well as disasters.
Brother Joe: Well that’s very true Brother Ruben, and since our hope for a better life and a brighter future is dependent on God’s guidance, how can we prove that we entrust our life and our future to Him?
Brother Ruben: Well, let’s go back to the Bible, brother, in the Book of Isaiah chapter 48:17. This is what the Bible clearly states to us. We ask you to please listen once again:
This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
[Isaiah 48:17 New International Version]
Brother Ruben: Beloved friends, we can see here what our Lord God mentions to each one of us when it comes to how He could help us, how He could direct our steps, on how He would be able to guide us as we continue our journey in this life. We may think that we know what is best for us. We must remember that since God is the One that created us, well it is God Himself who knows what is best for each one of us, because God Himself says that He will direct our steps or He will direct our paths.
Brother Joe: Brother Ruben and dear viewers, it is evident that if people want to truly succeed and find solutions to the problems that they are facing in this life, well then they should entrust their plans to our Almighty God and follow what He teaches us. Now, knowing God has a plan for you isn’t enough, right Brother Ruben? You should trust God’s plan for your life. If obeying God yields positive results, well, what on the other hand would be the negative result of not listening to what God commands?
What happened because of mankind’s rejection of God’s instructions? And do these have something to do with the present troubled condition of the world and the difficulties that everyone is facing today? And what is the far greater danger facing all people who disobey the will of God? We learned that contrary to popular belief, relying only on one’s self is not a surefire way to succeed.
And while planning is necessary for charting our course in life, well this won’t benefit us if we lack the necessary guidance. Dear viewers, for us to truly find success in a world where many have come to accept failure as a part of everyday living, we need to entrust our efforts and plans to God, who has the power to help us to navigate through the obstacles that will inevitably arise. What will be the sad end for those who don’t listen to God’s commands?
Brother Ruben: Well, Brother Joe and beloved friends, we can read the answer in the Book of Isaiah, in chapter 48:18, we could read the following. We ask you to please listen once again to what the Bible teaches, [chapter] 48, verse 18:
“If only you had listened to my commands! Then blessings would have flowed for you like a stream that never goes dry. Victory would have come to you like the waves that roll on the shore.
[Isaiah 48:18 Good News Translation]
Brother Ruben: Dear friends, if people refuse to listen to God’s commands, then they are only setting themselves up for failure. Why is it that we say that? What will people fail to receive if they don’t follow His instructions and His commandments? Well, the Bible states, “blessings would have flowed for you like a stream that never goes dry. Victory would have come to you like the waves that roll on the shore.” That’s why, Brother Joe, they would miss out on the success that would have been given to them by God if they had only obeyed.
Brother Joe: That’s very true, Brother Ruben. And dear viewers, others might say that they do listen to God’s commands and they offer, as proof, their devotion to God, especially when it comes to the way they serve Him. They may even say that they’ve offered up a prayer for a better and brighter future. However, they also wonder why it seems as if God is not blessing their plans. Well, is it enough, dear viewers, for people to be devoted in serving God in just any manner or way that they choose?
Brother Ruben: Let’s refer to God’s words for guidance. Here in the Book of Romans chapter 10:2-3, this is what the Apostle Paul mentions, this time to us. Again, we ask you to please listen closely to what he mentions to us—Romans 10:2-3:
I can assure you that they are deeply devoted to God; but their devotion is not based on true knowledge. They have not known the way in which God puts people right with himself, and instead, they have tried to set up their own way; and so they did not submit themselves to God’s way of putting people right.
[Romans 10:2-3 Good News Translation]
Brother Ruben: According to the Apostle Paul, it is not enough for people to serve God in just any manner that they choose, even if they are deeply devoted in doing so. What does the Bible say about those who try to set up their own way or are serving God in just any religion of their choosing? Brother Joe, the Bible says, “their devotion is not based on true knowledge.” Although their intention may have been to serve God, what instead have they done? Apostle Paul mentions, “they did not submit themselves to God’s way of putting people right.”
Brother Joe: Well, dear viewers, is it a small sin before God that people reject His way of putting people right with Himself or the true religion? What did God decree because of man’s disobedience, Brother Ruben?
Brother Ruben: Well, let’s go back to the Bible once again, dear friends. In the Book of Jeremiah chapter 6:19, this is what the Bible says:
Listen, earth! As punishment for all their schemes I am bringing ruin on these people, because they have rejected my teaching and have not obeyed my words.
[Jeremiah 6:19 Good News Translation]
Brother Ruben: Now, according to what we have read, beloved friends, the Bible made it very clear that our Lord God will punish people. Why is it that God will punish people instead of blessing them or guiding them? Because they have not obeyed the words nor listened to the commandments or teachings of God. That’s why we’re not surprised with the numerous problems and crises facing people today in spite of the countless efforts of many to alleviate and resolve all of these things. The Bible teaches us that God is bringing ruin to the people of this world as a punishment.
Now, why is God so very angry, Brother Joe? God says, “They have rejected my teaching and have not obeyed my words.” So not only have people failed to achieve success and obtain the blessings of our Father in heaven, but they have also brought upon themselves the punishment of our Lord God, because of their refusal to obey His teachings and in setting up religions or ways of serving God that are not in accordance to the teachings of our Father in heaven.
Brother Joe: But dear viewers, what is the greater suffering that God has decreed for those who don’t obey His commands?
Brother Ruben: Well, this is what the Bible mentions, beloved friends. In the Book of Isaiah 24:5-6, this is what we could read:
The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.
[Isaiah 24:5-6 New International Version]
Brother Ruben: Now in these verses, the Bible teaches what the terrible misfortune awaiting those who disobey our Lord God’s laws are. It says, “a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt… earth’s inhabitants are burned up”. The people of this world are being punished in this present life for their sins in the sight of God. But you know, that’s not all, beloved friends. They will also be cursed with fiery destruction on the day of judgment or the second coming of Christ.
Brother Joe: Well, that’s a terrible punishment, Brother Ruben. And is that really in the Bible? Where does the Bible say that wicked people will be destroyed by fire on Judgment Day?
Brother Ruben: Well, we can go to the Book of 2 Peter 3:7. This is what the apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ teaches to us. Please listen to this— 2 Peter 3:7:
But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
[2 Peter 3:7 Revised Standard Version]
Brother Ruben: Now, according to what we have read, beloved friends, the Bible mentions that on the day of judgment, or the second coming of Christ, the ungodly or the wicked people in the sight of our Father in heaven or the disobedient will be punished by our Father, by means of fiery destruction.
That’s why the many problems that people experience and that can be seen in the world today are just the tip of the iceberg, when we talk about the greater punishment that lies ahead on the day of judgment. That is why people must examine if the way they serve God is the way by which God commands us, and if their plans for attaining a blessed life align or are in unison with the plan of our Father in heaven.
Brother Joe: And so, dear viewers, when we talk about success in this life, and more importantly, being safe from punishment come Judgment Day, well sense of reason that we must follow the way or plan that will ensure the blessed outcome that we are all striving for. Now, does God have a plan for all people which we must follow in order for us to overcome all the sufferings in this world and receive salvation?
Brother Ruben: Let’s go to the Bible, Brother Joe and beloved friends, in the Book of Ephesians 1:8-10. This is what the Apostle Paul mentions to us:
…In all his wisdom and insight God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.
[Ephesians 1:8-10 Good News Translation]
Brother Ruben: Dear friends, we can see here the plan of our Father in heaven or what our Lord God expects from each one of us. The Bible teaches us that it is to bring all people together in our Lord Jesus Christ. If people follow this will of our Father in heaven, based on what we have studied already, we know that a person then would be able to attain the great blessings that come from our Father in heaven. But notice what the Apostle Paul mentioned to each one of us: it is to bring everyone together in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother Joe: Well, Brother Ruben and dear viewers, what is a proof that following God’s plan is for our benefit? What’s the fortune of those who are able to deny themselves, and instead follow what God has planned for all people, that they be united with Christ?
Brother Ruben: Now, Brother Joe, let’s stay in the Book of Ephesians, in chapter 1. But this time we will read verses 3 through 5, as well as verse 7. This is what the Apostle Paul continues to teach each one of us, please listen.
Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose. For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God,
[Ephesians 1:3-5, 7 Good News Translation]
Brother Ruben: Now, in these verses, the Bible emphasizes the great fortune of those who fulfill God’s plan to be in union with our Lord Jesus Christ as head. Not only are their sins forgiven, but they will also be given every spiritual blessing and be counted as God’s children and His chosen ones. So, if people genuinely want to be blessed to receive the great grace of our Father in heaven, they must follow what God has planned for the benefit of all people.
Brother Joe: And dear viewers, others might be thinking that they are already following the plan of God since they also believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. But how can we be certain, Brother Ruben and dear viewers, that we have indeed fulfilled God’s plan for all people to be in union with Christ as head? Well, what is Christ the head of?
Brother Ruben: Well Brother Joe we could read the answer here in the book of Ephesians 1:22-23. This is what we could read:
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
[Ephesians 1:22-23 New International Version]
Brother Ruben: Now our Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, which is also the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Beloved friends, let’s take note that He is not the head of many churches. Just as we have only one head attached to one body in the same manner, Brother Joe, our Lord Jesus Christ is the head of only one Church. So even though there may be thousands of churches in the world claiming to belong to our Lord Jesus Christ, the truth is, there is only one that is truly in union with Him, according to the plan of our Father in heaven.
Brother Joe: Well that’s very true, Brother Ruben and dear viewers, perhaps many would assert that the church which they belong to is also headed by Christ, but according to the Bible, what is the name of the Church [of] which Christ is the head?
Brother Ruben: Let’s listen to what the Apostle Paul further mentions, beloved friends, in the Book of Acts, chapter 20:28, this is what we could read. Again, please listen to the following:
Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.
[Acts 20:28 George Lamsa Translation]
Brother Ruben: According to the Bible, the Church which was purchased or redeemed with the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, is called the Church of Christ. This is the one true Church of which our Lord Jesus Christ is the head. That’s why the members of the Church Of Christ are the ones who have followed the plan of our Lord God for all people to be in union with our Lord Jesus Christ. They are the ones forgiven of their sins and considered by God as His children and the chosen ones.
This is why we are also encouraging you, beloved friends, to become members of the true Church Of Christ. You can learn more about the Biblical teachings, beliefs and practices upheld in this Church through programs just like this one. And through our websites like iglesianicristo.net, incmedia.org. These valuable resources are available for all of us to use in understanding God’s will that we should obey.
Brother Joe: So why is it so important to be counted among God’s people or the members of the Church Of Christ? Well we can read the answer here in the book of Revelation 21:1-4, and this is what the Bible says:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then, I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
[Revelation 21:1-4 New King James Version]
Brother Joe: Dear viewers, what is the blessing reserved for God’s people? Well, just like what we have learned here, they are the ones who will enter into the Holy City. And what kind of life is awaiting them there? The Bible says, “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Dear viewers, many people today are so frustrated by their failure to achieve their plans for a stable life and a good future for themselves and their loved ones. And although there are those who exert great effort and use all the resources in trying to solve the many problems facing people today, well we can see that they’re not able to accomplish this. And so people are wondering, “Will there ever be an end to all these troubles?” Dear viewers, when you find yourself overwhelmed by the hopelessness in this world, take inspiration in the Biblical truth that there is hope; God has a plan for you.
You know, we too experience sadness in life brought about by problems such as poverty, diseases, calamities and unrest. For our fellow brethren in the Church Of Christ, we should all the more hold onto this promise of God that He will put an end to all these things that bring us pain in this life on that blessed day of our salvation when we enter into the Holy City. And for our dear viewers and friends who are with us, who are still learning about this Church, well we invite you to continue to do studies with us in this program and to our diverse life-changing content that you can find on incmedia.org.
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Brother Joe: On behalf of all of us here at The Message, we would like to thank you for joining us today in our study of the message coming from God. We hope that you will continue to watch this and other programs of the Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church Of Christ. Before we go though please join us for a short prayer.
Brother Ruben: Dear God, our Father in heaven, We thank you so much for Your words of truth, as well as programs just like this one, where we could receive the direction coming from You and be able to have that bright future we aspire for, but above all to receive Your many blessings. Father in heaven through Your words of truth, we have been taught what we need to do so that we may gain success not only in this life but most especially when You send forth Your only Begotten Son. It is very true it is hard to live in this world but Father we find comfort in Your words of truth. They give us direction, our God, they give us strength, they give us the perseverance so that we may continue to serve Your Name.
Please have mercy upon our friends, who have listened to this message this day, please continue to give them the guidance that they need, the knowledge as well, so that, Father, they will be able to follow Your will and they will be able to receive Your many blessings. Lord Jesus, our Savior, please continue to mediate all of our prayers asking our Father to grant everything we are asking for and to forgive us for the sins we have committed. Father, as we return to You in prayer, it is our hope that our prayers have reached You. You’ve also maintained our connection with the Spirit that reigns within the Church Administration. For all of these things, we ask and beg for through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You
Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You
Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You
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