Monthly Archives: November 2015

Overcoming Faith

OVERCOMING FAITH

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith (1 John 5:1-4).

The teachings of Jesus filled John’s mind. One can feel his love for his Master pulsating through every word he wrote. He had taken Jesus’ instruction seriously about the Holy Spirit and His role in their lives. John had built his life on the foundation of Jesus’ words, and it was now his task to pass them on to his readers so that they would also have a solid base on which to build their lives.

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 16:33).

Jesus spoke these final words to His disciples before they left the upper room and made their way to Gethsemane. He had taught them about the Holy Spirit and His role in their lives after His return to the Father. He had assured them that He had overcome the world and that they would have victory over sin and Satan through their faith in Him.

What did John mean? This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Without the background of Jesus’ teaching, John’s encouragement would make no sense to his readers. He must have taken for granted that they knew what he was saying because he had already inspired them with Jesus’ words.

But what did Jesus mean by His words, “I have overcome the world”? Jesus’ world at that moment was the world of God’s people, the Jews among whom He lived. Their religious leaders, who tried slavishly to obey the teachings of Moses, demanded that they also keep their unreasonable requirements. His people’s “world” was the burdensome system of religion as well as the oppression of their Roman overlords. The Roman government taxed so heavily that many of them lived in poverty. Their fellow-Jews who served Rome as unscrupulous tax collectors, added to their burden, demanding more tax than Rome required to enrich themselves.

The world had overcome them. Instead of responding, like their countrymen Jesus’ disciples reacted to the oppressive world system in sinful ways; with resentment, anger, rebellion, hatred, bitterness, adding to their burden of guilt.

Jesus modelled the response that would not permit the world to overcome Him. He did not resist arrest. He submitted to the soldiers’ torture without threat or complaint. He accepted injustice without accusation. Peter’s summary accurately describes Jesus’ attitude to the “world” which rejected Him and treated Him unjustly and cruelly despite His innocence.

When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed (1 Pet. 2:22-24).

How did Jesus overcome the world? He absorbed in Himself everything evil that people levelled against Him. The worst that human cruelty and hatred did to Him could not move Him to retaliate. He forgave and prayed for His tormentors. He proved both to the powers of darkness and to the world of sinners that it was possible to live in obedience to the Father and without sin in spite of what the world did to Him.

In His life, He demanded of His enemies, “Who of you accuses me of sin?” to which no one could reply. In His death, He remained unaffected by those who hated Him. He steadfastly trusted in His Father’s love. His resurrection proved that He had no sin because death could not hold Him.

Jesus provided both a model for us under unjust suffering, and he also provides the power to overcome the sin of others against us. What was His secret? He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. By entrusting Himself to the Father, Jesus turned His attention away from His suffering to the one who sustained Him. The assurance of His Father’s love enabled Him to endure the cross.

Likewise for us who have given Jesus the right to reign over us, we are free to trust the Father to bring good out of the worst of circumstances. It is true that we will suffer in this life because human suffering is part of this fallen world, but God works for our good in all things for one reason – He is restoring in us the image of His Son.

Jesus loved the Father and trusted in His love to the extent that He submitted to the Father’s will and obeyed Him in everything. Submission and obedience are to be the hallmark of God’s children, based on confidence in His perfect love.

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

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

 

What Is Hatred?

WHAT IS HATRED?

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must love their brother and sister (1 John 4: 20-21).

What comes to mind when you read the word “hate”? Do you think of actions like insulting, swearing, ignoring or deliberately harming the person you hate? Hatred may include treating someone cruelly, for example, but the Bible’s version of hatred is more explicit than that.

Jesus connected anger with murder.

You have heard that it was said to people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment (Matt. 5: 21-22a).

Hatred, like anger, begins in the heart. When one is angry with someone, for whatever reason, one has an underlying attitude of contempt. It is impossible for one person to make another angry. “You make me angry!” is not true. A person chooses to respond in anger when another provokes him.  If he dwells on the offence long enough, he will begin to hate the offender.

However, hatred is more than an attitude towards another person. One does not have to hold malice in the heart to hate. Hatred is as much indifference to another’s need as ill-will is towards that person.

Jesus told a parable in Matt. 25, which illustrates this point. At the end of the age, when He gathers the nations for judgment, He will measure righteousness by an unexpected standard. How did the individual treat his brother? God recognises that people express their love for Him by the way they treat one another. If someone sees a brother in need and does nothing about it, He interprets their neglect as hatred.

“But isn’t that a bit harsh?” you may ask. In what way can we show our love for God? We cannot do anything for God to express our love for Him except love His people. How can we love His people? We can do whatever we can to make their lives comfortable. Jesus said that we ought to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the sick and the prisoner and relieve suffering wherever possible. He does not expect us to save the world. However, there are simple things we can do meet people’s need where we are.

Assisting people in need does not mean that we must only give them money or goods. There are many ways to show God’s love to those who cross our path every day. A kind word or a word of encouragement goes a long way to lift the spirits of a disheartened individual. We can offer practical help in many different ways by giving our time and attention sometimes just to listen. A listening ear often does wonders for a downcast soul.

What does Jesus ask of us, His children? He wants us to be aware of the people around us. We are often so self-absorbed that we are oblivious to the pain others suffer. We have much to give if we turn our attention away from ourselves. Becoming aware of others and intervening where we can is the right thing to do.

However, Jesus did not instruct us to become busybodies. We need to respect the dignity and privacy of others. We must step in and help only when people value our assistance, not when we become interfering or controlling.

We can just as easily steal from another when we withhold help from him as when we take what does not belong to us. We need to be aware that we express our love for Jesus by our obedience to His commands. He summed up every detail of His desire for our lives in the two greatest commandments:

On one occasion and expert in the law stood up to test Jesus, ’Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ He replied. ‘How do you read it?’

He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ’Do this and you will live,’ (Luke 10: 25-28).

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

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

 

No Fear In Love

NO FEAR IN LOVE

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment. In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4: 16-19).

God is love! The world refuses to believe this one truth about God. It places the blame for all the evil in the world at God’s feet as though He were the one who opened the “Pandora’s box” of misery and released it on the human race. People blame God for every hardship they suffer. “Why did God allow this to happen?” she whines when she discovers she is pregnant after a one-night stand. She forgets that she made the choice by submitting to lust.

“Why did God do this to me?” weeps a teenager when he stares at the mangled body of a child whom he has just run over while driving under the influence of alcohol.  Did God force the drink down his throat and shove the car keys into his hand? Why do people blame God when tragedies happen when they never give Him a thought at any other time? Have they not thought of taking responsibility for their choices?

Satan will do anything and everything in his power to cast doubts on the character of God. He tricked Eve into believing that God was withholding from them their “right” to make their own rules. He was crafty. He questioned God’s love for the first pair by suggesting that he knew better than God what was good for them. If they just tasted the fruit of disobedience, they would be free from God’s restrictions.

It did not occur to them that God set up boundaries around their choices to protect them from harm, not to restrict their enjoyment of what He had given them. Why did he place restrictions on our use and enjoyment of sex, for example? He made marriage, i.e. the union of a man and women for life, the fence within in which they can enjoy His perfect gift of love. He created us with our physical and psychological makeup. He knows how He put us together to resemble and reflect Him. When we defy His boundaries, we damage ourselves.

No responsible mother would allow a toddler to play in the garden if she left the gate onto a busy highway open. Why would God allow His beloved children to play with sex without closing the door on the danger of promiscuity? People foolishly believe that they can “play in the street” without being damaged by their disobedience to God’s “boundary fence”. God has set up His warning signs, to change the metaphor, at the edge of every precipice to prevent us from stumbling over the edge. Why blame Him when we fall?

God loves His offspring enough to warn us of danger before we ruin ourselves, but we still blame Him or doubt His love when “stuff happens”.  Every time we defiantly ask “Why?” when we experience trouble or tragedy, we are inadvertently demanding to know what we have done to deserve such treatment from God. We question “why” because we are expressing fear. We are suspicious of God because we do not believe that He loves us. Of what are we afraid?

Punishment! John stated that we do not experience the perfect love of God when we are afraid. Slaves, not God’s children, fear punishment. We fear punishment when we are not convinced that God punished Jesus for all our sin once-for-all. In any legal system, no one can be punished twice for the same crime. Why, then, would God punish His children for their sin again when He punished Jesus for all sin when He died on the cross?

But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool. For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Heb. 10: 13-14).

Gods’ love provided the sacrifice for sin – the lifeblood of His own Son. There can be no greater demonstration of love. God’s love gave us to solution to our sin, but God cannot prevent us from ignoring His boundary fences if we choose to do so. We must face the consequences if we defy His instructions. He does not treat us as puppets.

How must we interpret the adversities we experience that we did not cause through disobedience? Is God responsible for hurting us? Can we blame Him when we suffer hardships despite our faith in Him? There are two valid reasons for continuing to trust God even when we are going through hard times.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children . . . God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12: 7: 10b).

God wants to expose and get rid of everything that causes us to mistrust His love.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestine to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Rom. 8: 28-29).

God is removing everything in our lives that hinders us from becoming replicas of Jesus. He wants us to be His faithful sons and daughters just like our elder brother.

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

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

 

The Test Of A True Believer

THE TEST OF A TRUE BELIEVER

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us; He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God (1 John 4: 11-15).

How can we identify true believers against the backdrop of so much false Christianity in the world today?

Some preachers tell us that we must subscribe to the doctrines of their denomination or persuasion to be authentic Christians. As long as we believe, for example, that we have a passport to heaven if we have signed a decision card or answered an altar call and have “accepted Jesus as our personal Saviour”. Any of these actions guarantees that we have been “saved”.

The Bible’s criteria for assurance that we the faithful sons and daughters of God are somewhat different from what these preachers present. John wrote that the test of a true believer lies not in what he says but in what he is and does. The first test of authentic faith is love for God and love for one another. God’s love in us comes from the Holy Spirit. He makes our dead spirits live when we believe and confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and the God raised Him from the dead.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom. 10: 9).

He pours the love of God into our hearts.

God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Rom. 5: 5b)

He changes us from selfish and greedy rebels to loving and obedient children and reassures us that we are children of God.

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 with our spirit that we are God’s children (Rom. 8: 15-16).

Peter explained the meaning of the strange behaviour of the first disciples on the Day of Pentecost. God was fulfilling His promise to “pour out His Spirit on all flesh”, just as Joel had prophesied. The people of Jerusalem were witnessing the culmination of God’s promise to save His people from their sin and to fill them with His presence.

Peter did not invite them to “accept Jesus as their personal Saviour” to save them from the penalty of their sin. He declared the truth that Jesus Christ is both Lord and Christ

Therefore, let all of Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah (Acts 2: 36).

Peter’s statement electrified the people. They responded with the conviction of what they had done and a cry of alarm.

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do (Acts 2: 37).

Peter reassured them that God would save them if they changed their minds about what they had done to Jesus and received His forgiveness of sin.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2: 38-39).

Peter’s hearers understood his words. He commanded them to change their minds about Jesus. They crucified Him as a blasphemer. God proved them wrong by raising Him from the dead. He was not an imposter as they believed; He was the Son of God. What they had to do was to acknowledge Him as Lord and confirm their allegiance to Him by submitting to the ritual of baptism into His name. Baptism initiated them into Jesus and identified them with Him and His Body of believers.

Let’s get back to the Word of God!

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

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or Kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

 

 

 

WHO MAY DWELL IN YOUR HOLY HILL?

With the passing of time we have come to realise that we are living in a world of constant change. Godly principles and values that were once embraced and practised by people to be the only way of life are almost non-existent. The statistics of crime, which include murder, rape and a host of other evil things, continue to show an increase. Churches that once were filled with people seeking God, are now empty, with sport stadiums being filled instead. We are warned of all of this in 2nd Timothy 3:1-4. However, the choice is ours who we will serve.

What I like about reading God’s word is, that the more we delve into it, the more we are see the way Christians should live awaiting their soon coming King. When reading through Psalm 15 especially through verse 1, I seem to think that David, who wrote this psalm, was busy communicating with God when certain thoughts flashed through his mind. It could only be God who made David ask the question about eternity. Verse 1 “Lord who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” The only thing I could think of was the place where God dwells, heaven, God’s kingdom. Where there is a kingdom, there are citizens who dwell in that kingdom. The sobering thought is what requirements are expected of us to inherit the Kingdom of God. Well the answer is simple. Verse 2 of Psalm 15 has the answer. “He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous.” As Christians we need to be transparent so that the world can see Jesus in our lives.

When Judy and I were on honeymoon down in Cape Town, busy sightseeing, we were approached by a little Malay boy selling fruit. At the same time two “Duck tail” hooligans went towards the little Malay boy. One of the Duck tails grabbed a lovely big peach without paying for it and was about to eat it when I challenged this individual to either pay for what he had taken or give it back to the seller. By that time I was ready for a fight. Nevertheless the hooligan got the message and replaced the peach. As Christians we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that allowing Christ to be in control of our lives, and not submitting to evil desires, we have a permanent place to dwell in called Heaven with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I end by encouraging you to read Jude 1 verses 24&25.