All posts by Luella Campbell

KEPT – BY THE POWER OF HIS NAME!

KEPT – BY THE POWER OF HIS NAME!

“‘I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.

“‘I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.

“‘While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by the name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.'” John 17:9-12 NIV.

What a power-packed prayer! Not much asking — in fact only one request, but nevertheless full of assurance and affirmation!

What can we learn from Jesus’ prayer?

The first thing I notice is that this was a Son talking to His Father, expressing His confidence in and submission to the Father — not begging, cajoling, bargaining, demanding or manipulating. This is Jesus, Son of God, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, communing with His Abba in the language of intimacy and trust.

Secondly, Jesus expressed His oneness with the Father. Everything they owned, they shared. The men whom Jesus loved and trained for three years belonged to the Father, given to Jesus as a sacred trust. During His earthly life He protected them by the power of God’s name.

Where did the idea come from that is bandied about in many parts of the church today that we must “plead the blood of Jesus” over our loved ones and possessions, when the Bible teaches us that we are kept by the power of God’s name? Unlike us humans who blindly follow the error of others because it sounds good, Jesus knew the Scriptures!

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10 NIV.

Everything that God is, is in His name; His character and His attributes are represented by His name. To invoke the name of God is to call on His love, mercy, grace and power to intervene on our behalf. When Moses requested to see God’s glory, God revealed His name.

“Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.'” Exodus 33:18, 19 NIV.

From what was Jesus praying that His disciples be protected?

We erroneously think that the devil is our worst enemy. If that were true, we would be helpless victims of his wicked schemes. No, we are our own worst enemy because there are in our old, selfish natures the seeds of self-destruction. We have the power to choose. God has given us His nature (2 Peter 1:4) but it is our responsibility to nourish that nature through faith in His promises. We are transformed into His image by gazing at Him (2 Corinthians 3:18) and contemplating His glory – His name.

Kept – by the power of His name – not some external power descending on us from above but the power of God’s nature wrought in us and at work in us by the Holy Spirit that makes us immune to the deception of the devil because we know the truth and can discern his lies.

Thirdly He was one with the Father in their nature and in their purpose to redeem mankind through His death. He would not deviate from the Father’s plan no matter what the cost. It was His passion that His disciples become one as He and the Father are one because, in that unity was the power to witness to the world that He was no self-appointed upstart but that He had come from the Father.

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

YOU’VE GOT TO HAND IT TO HIM!

YOU’VE GOT TO HAND IT TO HIM!

“‘I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“‘I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They are yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.

“‘For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” John 17:4-8 NIV.

With what calm assurance Jesus could speak to His Father of His submission and obedience! How could He do that? From our perspective, His work was far from done, but He listened to the Father and did what the Father told Him to do. That’s it! This is how a true son should be. From His perspective, His work was finished.

Jesuscame from the Father with a specific task to perform. Contrary to the many ideas people have about His mission, He revealed in His prayer the one reason why He came – to reveal the Father.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3.

In the Old Testament, the Son revealed the nature of the Father in His dealings with His people. He spoke to individuals directly on many occasions through His appearances as the angel of the Lord; to Abraham when He came to tell him of Isaac’s birth and the destruction of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and when He stopped him from sacrificing his son on Mount Moriah; to Moses at the burning bush; to Gideon in the winepress; to Isaiah in the temple, and to many more.

Jesus has many titles but the one specific and appropriate to the Apostle John’s record of His life is “the Word.” In Hebrew thought, the word is a manifestation of God in another form. John saw Jesus as God’s spoken word to the world in visible from. Through Him, God spoke and the words He spoke were a sacred deposit in the lives of those to whom they were given.

The Father gave the gift of twelve men to Jesus, men who belonged to Him because they were a fragment of His chosen people. Jesus viewed them as a sacred trust to whom He was to give the treasure of God’s words, placed within their spirits as seed where the seed would grow, mature and bear fruit as these men believed and did what the words instructed them to do under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had spent a whole night in prayer before He chose twelve men out of the many who followed Him at the start of His public ministry. When we look at them, we would think that He made some rather poor choices! But they were the ones the Father had given to Him and they were the ones with the potential to continue His mission to the world.

It is impossible for us to grasp the significance of these eleven, rough, unshaped “diamonds” the Father had entrusted to Him! At this point, they were uncomprehending, frightened and confused individuals, but Jesus had such confidence in His Spirit that He could view them as believing, obedient disciples, filled with God’s word and fully equipped to carry on Jesus’ mission in the world – to reveal the true nature of the Father to both Jew and Gentile.

Jesus’ prayer was not begging and pleading but giving thanks and expressing His trust in the Father that He would do in them through the Holy Spirit all that He intended when He chose them to be Jesus’ disciples. What an encouragement to us who feel so inadequate for the tasks entrusted to us! Jesus assures us that union with Him is the key to fruitfulness.

“Apart from me you can do nothing,” He said but, “We can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength.”

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

PRAYER

PRAYER

“After Jesus had said this, He looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those you have given Him.

“‘Now this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.'” John 17:1-3.

Jesus prayed…Now this is prayer!

He prayed many times during His earthly life. Few of His prayers were recorded for us. Some were brief, sentence prayers…sometimes He prayed all night…but this is the only time we have a glimpse into the words of His communion with the Father.

This was not the agonising, blood-sweating Gethsemane prayer. This was quiet fellowship with His Abba, pouring out His heartfelt desires before the whirlwind events that were soon to overtake Him. There would be no opportunity then to share His heart with Abba in the silence of the night. In the presence of the men He loved most in the world, He mouthed His hopes and dreams for them and for those who would follow them in faith and obedience.

What emotions were packed into those words, ‘Father, the hour has come’? The “hour” of His suffering had hung over Him from the moment of His birth. It was His reason for coming. It was the pinnacle of His revelation of the Father’s love to a world that would rather not know. It was the final nail in the coffin of His arch enemy and the enemy of all humanity. Did He shiver with anticipation and dread?

The writer to the Hebrews caught the spirit of this moment: “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2b.

As always, Jesus looked beyond the immediate events to the triumph of God’s final purpose for mankind. “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”  We read these words easily enough without understanding the depth of Jesus’ request.

“In the intense pain and suffering I am about to endure; the physical agony of flogging and crucifixion; the emotional pain of rejection, humiliation and betrayal; the searing heat of the devil’s rage against me and the utter abandonment I must face when you, Father, also turn your face away from me, give me the strength to be a perfect reflection of you, your love, mercy and grace, so that the whole world will see you mirrored in me.”

God the Father gave Him, Jesus – this God-man who came from heaven to live the ordinary life of an ordinary human being in a hostile world that hated and rejected Him, and a spiritual realm that fired its entire arsenal of weapons at Him – the authority to give life to all those who believed in Him. Sin had killed them; spiritual death had claimed them and would destroy them forever without His intervention. They would never rise to new life unless He first died in their place to take the rap for their sin; and His death would accomplish nothing unless He did not deserve it.

“Father glorify your Son…” just four simple words, but a world of desire in them. Once again, Jesus exemplified the heart of a true son. This was not about Him. It was ultimately about the Father…; “that the Son may glorify you.” All He wanted, in this whole cross event, was that the wonder of His Father’s true nature would be revealed to the world.

In one short sentence, Jesus forever defined the nature of eternal life – knowing the Father and the Son, because they are one. To know the Son is to know the Father; notice – not know about, but know, implying intimate, personal knowledge and understanding as a husband “knows” his wife. “Adam lay with (knew – yada) his wife and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.” Genesis 4:1 NIV.

That takes time, fellowship, and obedience!

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

STUFF HAPPENS

STUFF HAPPENS

“Then Jesus’ disciples said, ‘Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.’

“‘Do you now believe?’ Jesus replied. ‘A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

“‘I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'” John 16:29-33 NIV.

Stuff happens! At least that’s what Jesus said, and I think He was a realist.

Contrary to the thinking and teaching of some Christians, following Jesus is not an insurance policy against trouble. Those who believe that have to lie to themselves and to other people when things go wrong in their lives. They have to put on a happy face and shout “Praise the Lord” when they are crying or dying inside because they can’t deny their faith or let it be known that they are also human.

Jesus did not take His disciples seriously when they reassured Him that they believed in Him. He understood human nature too well. ‘Just wait,’ He warned them. ‘Before you can convince me of your confidence in me, you have to be tested. And, believe me, you are going to fail.’ Untested faith is as flabby as wet spaghetti! Faith only becomes real when it has to be exercised in desperate situations.

Following Jesus as a vaccine against trouble is a poor motive for being a believer. We are to follow Him because of who He is, Son of God, Messiah, Lord and God, not because of what He can do for us. Isn’t it unfortunate that Jesus is often presented as the solution to all our problems, and when He does not meet our expectations, we lose faith, become disillusioned and even walk away until we are called to “rededicate” our lives to Him? He is presented as a celestial “911”, an emergency call centre or a “Walmart” where we can get our supplies for the month.

Jesus called His disciples to go out into a hostile world to face the Roman might and a Caesar who claimed to be “the Son of God, Prince of Peace and Lord”. They had to face him and tell him, “You are dead wrong. Jesus Christ, a Galilean Jewish peasant, is the Son of God, the Prince of Peace and Lord! Your mob killed Him but He rose from the dead to prove it. You have to bow to Him, not Him to you!” What do you think that did for the Caesar’s ego?

They also had to face the hatred of Jewish religious bigots. They had to declare that Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah when their opponents utterly repudiated Him because no Messiah of theirs would be a law-breaker and die on a cross as a criminal. And certainly their Messiah would not expect them to hob-nob with Gentiles and the riff-raff. Would their faith stretch to embrace Him in an environment like this?

“Take heart! I have overcome the world.” What would this mean to them when they faced the “firing squad” of earthly trouble? Because He overcame, they didn’t have to be afraid of their enemies. Because He overcame, they could love and forgive when they were hated, rejected and persecuted. Because He overcame, they could live righteous lives in a crooked world. Because He overcame, they could be at peace in the midst of turmoil and conflict. Because He overcame, they were citizens of a heavenly realm in the midst of a wicked world, where God reigns in righteousness and truth.

It might have only been words to them then, but their journey would take them deep into personal experience and growth in this faith they had in embryo, then.

Reuben Morgan penned these beautiful words:

Hide me now under your wings;

Cover me within your mighty hand.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar,

I will soar with you above the storm;

Father, you are king over the flood;

I will be still; know you are God.

I rest my soul in Christ alone;

Know His power in quietness and trust.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar,

I will soar with you above the storm;

Father, you are king over the flood;

I will be still; know you are God.

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

THE FATHER’S FACE

THE FATHER’S FACE

“‘Though I have been a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father Himself loves you because you have loved me and believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.'” John 16:25-28 NIV.

Slowly, gradually, little by little, Jesus was acclimatising His disciples to the truth that, just as He had an intimate relationship with the Father, so they were moving towards the same close fellowship with God as His beloved sons. This was a foreign idea to them because they were nurtured in the misguided religious notion of a strict God who gave them rules to keep and who came down hard on them when they stepped out of line.

Jesus was passing on the legacy of sonship to them; exactly the same status and relationship that He had with the Father was theirs because they loved and believed in Him and acknowledged that He had been sent from and by the Father. His primary mission was to show them the heart of the Father so that they could enjoy the same bond with the Father as He had.

This is a truth that many so-called believers have not grasped. The world is an orphanage and not even the church, to a large extent, has realised and embraced the truth that we are God’s beloved sons and daughters. We are not only a fatherless world and an orphan generation but also a fatherless church which, like the elder brother of the lost son, is still trying to impress God by our performance rather than live in the freedom of the Father’s love in the Father’s house.

How difficult it is for us to grasp that we share the same status as Jesus in the sight of God! The same love that Father has for Jesus is the love He has for us because we have been placed in His family as Jesus’ brothers and sisters.

“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what He suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So, Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:10, 11 NIV.

Who better to reveal the Father than the one who shares His nature and who existed with Him before He entered the world? It was difficult for the disciples to grasp, in the beginning, what Jesus had told them, over and over, about Himself — who He was and where He came from. Eventually, after being with Him for three and a half years, listening to Him and watching Him in action, they began to realise that He was no ordinary human being but the one He said He was, the Son of God who came from the Father.

The enemy has launched a relentless campaign against fathers and children; free sex has led to single mothers trying to raise fatherless children; child abuse has alienated fathers and children and bred suspicion in the hearts of children towards men in general and fathers in particular. Divorce has ripped families apart, breaking hearts, driving fathers from their children, leaving them abandoned, defenceless and without security and identity – angry children venting their anger on the world.

The ministry of the second Elijah, John the Baptist, was to reconcile fathers and children, or else the world would be destroyed; and the world is now living out the destruction cause by its orphan status.

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” Malachi 4:5, 6 NIV.

The only true Father can bring us back to sanity in His love. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who sent His Son to reconcile the world to Himself and rescue us from our insecurity and abandonment so that He can take us back to the Father.

“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 does not know Him.” 1 John 3:1 NIV.

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:15, 16

Acknowledgement

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.