Tag Archives: riches

BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING!

BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING!

But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!” Romans 11:12.

Now there’s a thought!

If the door of God’s grace was opened to the Gentiles because the Jews refused it, and blessing came to the whole world instead of to only one small group, just imagine what would happen if the Jews as a people, and not just individuals here and there, were to receive Jesus as their Messiah. The entire Jewish nation, not only those in Israel but those who are scattered all over the globe, would be a blessing wherever they are! Isn’t that what God promised Abraham?

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2, 3.

However, that does not give the Gentile believers any cause to gloat. We who are not the natural descendants of Abraham, have no reason to think that, because the Jews refused their Messiah and we received Him, that we are any better than they.

“I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and so save some of them. For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.” Romans 11:13-16.

Paul was doing much more than expressing wishful thinking or inventing a reason for believing that the Jews will still play a big part in God’s plan for the world. His reasoning was based on a solid Biblical principle which applies anywhere and everywhere. It’s called terumah or the firstfuits offering.

From the beginning of time, God required the first portion of the increase of the harvest, and the firstborn of the flocks and herds to be given to Him. Hence Abel’s offering of the firstborn of his flock was acceptable while Cain’s sacrifice of “some of the harvest” was unacceptable because he did not honour God first. The terumah, offered to God and given to the high priest to support him and his family, guaranteed God’s blessing on the rest of the harvest.

“Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfuits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9, 10.

Israel was God’s “firstborn” son, set apart and belonging to Him. Every firstborn son belonged to God and had to be redeemed by the payment of a sum of money to the high priest. God redeemed Israel through the blood of a lamb – symbolising the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He took the Levites to be His special tribe in place of all the firstborn of the nation. 

“I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine.” Numbers 3:11-13.

Therefore, according to Paul, if the Israelites were holy, set apart for God, then the rest of the harvest (the world) is holy. Since the door of grace has already been opened to the Gentiles because the Jews, God’s firstborn, refused Him, in order for the blessing which has come to the world through Abraham’s descendants to be authentic, the firstfruits of the harvest must be given to God – that’s the Jews.

Paul, basing his case on sound Biblical truth and in a kind of reverse reasoning, argued that, since the rest of the harvest is already being blessed i.e., the Gentiles, the full harvest of His people, the Jews, must be blessed and gathered in as well since the firstfuits, the Jews, were gathered in at Pentecost.

That puts paid to the teaching that God is finished with the Jews. He cannot be because He is always true to His word and His nature. The firstfruits and the full harvest are inextricably tied together. Since the blessing of Abraham has already come to the Gentiles, it must still come on the Jews because they are his natural offspring. By faith in their Messiah, they will also become his spiritual children and the full harvest, which began with the first believers who were Jews, will be gathered in.

Acknowledgement

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

Talk About Power!

TALK ABOUT POWER!

I pray also that the eyes if your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and His incomparably great power for us who believe (Eph. 1: 18-19).

Once again we must remember the background of these Ephesian believers. Many of them had come out of witchcraft. After their conversion, they had made a huge bonfire of their witchcraft paraphernalia in the city. Their lives had been invaded by the power of God, the God of pure love. From then on, they could no longer have a part of anything that misused other people.

Why do people dabble in witchcraft? Why do some even sell their souls to the devil? He promises them power! But the only power the devil can give is power to control and power to destroy. It is evil power because it affects the lives of other for the worse. The next problem with demonic power is that it diminishes the person who uses it. Every time one person brings harm to another, he is diminished and dehumanised.

These ex-witches and wizards burned their past when they burned the tools of their sorcery, to tell the world and the devil that they had finished with that life. They were now under a new Master, one who also had power, a different kind of power of which they had never dreamed. Perhaps at that point of their new-found faith, they did not know the magnitude of the power that resided in them.

What did they need? Enlightenment. Understanding. Knowledge. Up this point in their lives, they had been fed and had believed lies. Since the early history of man, a false religion had grown up around Nimrod, great-grandson of Noah, and his evil wife Semiramis and her illegitimate son, Tammuz. Through a series of fabricated stories that Semiramis spawned, she had deified Nimrod as the sun-god, Baal, and she became the moon-goddess, known as Ashtaroth, or Astarte (Diana), or by other names in many parts of the ancient world.

Behind these false stories, the father of lies was garnering worship for himself under a variety a nom de plumes, which was exactly what he craved, even if he had to do it by deceit. Paul came to Ephesus with a blistering message of the truth. Satan, alias Caesar, alias Baal or any other name behind which he hid, was not Lord. Jesus was Lord and He proved it by His resurrection. Satan, through the evil religious leaders in Israel, tried to destroy Him but, instead, his plan backfired and Jesus destroyed him.

Those who were held captive to the devil and were enslaved to live in wickedness were now free to escape the devil’s clutches. Jesus had rescued them from their hell, forgiven their sin, power-washed them clean by His blood and relocated them to the kingdom of God where they had always belonged. Satan was the squatter, the hijacker and the felon who had usurped God’s position on His earth. Paul said, “If you want to know real power, that’s power.”

Many of us have seen effects of the raw power of nature. Fire, wind, water, earthquakes, rip through a region and leave utter devastation in their wake. But have you even noticed the power of a seed. I have seen buildings split open by the force of a growing seed. That’s power! Power does not only destroy. God’s power is able to restore, renew and recreate. He can heal broken hearts, broken people, and broken relationships. He can give people whom the devil has destroyed, a fresh start. Jesus said that it’s like being “born again”.

Paul wanted these people, who had only known destruction in their lives, to experience that kind of power. He prayed that they would have their spiritual eyes opened to the truth of what had happened to them. God had removed the cloud of doom that hung over them, and the deep-seated fear of death which was the legacy of those who gave allegiance to the devil. He had replaced it with hope, the unseen end product of what He had done for them through Jesus.

Their faith in Jesus had cancelled fear. They were safe in God’s kingdom – under His authority and protection from the one who had now become their arch-enemy. Jesus had bought them back from slavery. They were legitimately His. They now belonged to God, body, soul and spirit, and He had the power to keep them from wandering back into enemy territory as long as they kept their eyes on Him.

But the power of God didn’t end there. He had put a power source in them that had created the universe. Take that, devil! Satan is not a creator; he can only counterfeit what God has created. Even the people who worship him do not belong to him. He stole them and put his mark on them, the mark of rebellion in their hearts. God put His plan right back on track by rescuing the ones the devil had kidnapped, cleaned out all the evidence of his ownership and replaced them with His Spirit, His guarantee of ownership.

What power is there in the universe greater than the power of the Holy Spirit? His power is recreating, regenerating, restoring, and renewing power. “That’s the power of God I want you to know,” said Paul. God alone can give you understanding and experience of His power that is able to set aspects of your life right that went horribly wrong when Adam rebelled against God – your relationship with God, and your relationship with people. When these two areas of your life are back on track, everything in your life will come back into focus.

God’s power does something amazing inside of you. He enables you to take control of yourself. That’s it! When you have your own heart in check, through the power of the Holy Spirit in you, your world will turn right side up. It’s part of the fruit of the Spirit and it’s called, “self-control”!

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 ?

 

Fully Mature

FULLY MATURE

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. (Colossians 1:27-29).

Fully mature! Paul’s goal was to present everyone fully mature in Christ by teaching and admonishing them with the truth in the hopes that they would respond and become what he urged them to be.

Of course he had no guarantee that they would respond to his teaching as fully as he hoped. All he could do was to provide the food; whether they ate it or not was up to them. He had two powerful weapons with which he contended – the Word of God and prayer – and he used them both with all the energy which the Lord provided.

The Scriptures present God’s Word as a weapon.

‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’ (Jer. 23: 29).

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Heb.4: 12).

By prayer, Paul interacted with the Father through the Holy Spirit, discerning His mind and becoming one in spirit with the Father so that the Father’s will would be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Although he could not make anyone respond, he trusted his weapons to break down opposition and resistance and open up the channels of the heart for the light of God’s truth to penetrate and transform.

What was his goal? Fully mature in Christ! Those two words open up a world of meaning for those who aspire to maturity in Christ. It is the Father’s purpose to restore every believer to the image of His Son.

For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Rom. 8: 29).

God’s goal is that every child of God become an exact replica of His Son. What does He mean by that? Jesus was the perfect and model Son. He was submissive and obedient to His Father, serving Him by doing what the Father wanted. He lived in union with and dependence upon the Father. He refused to do anything the Father did not tell Him to do and He did everything to protect the unity He had with the Father, even to laying down His life to fulfil the Father’s will.

Yet is was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, He will see His offspring, and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand. (Isa. 53: 10).

Surprisingly enough, it seems, maturity is not about learning to be independent, as we train our children to be, but about growing in dependence upon Him as our source. Paul contended with the energy supplied by Christ through the Spirit. The secret is ‘Christ in you’. If we are ever to come anywhere near to maturity in this life, we must learn to become one with Jesus, living in union with Him in our everyday walk, doing His will in His way.

Working for Jesus is not what we are called to do. It is a mistake to think that our job is to be busy doing His work. We are called to live out His life wherever we are, because that is His work. It is Christ in us, being Himself through us that will accomplish His will. Working for Jesus does not mean doing what we think He wants us to do in our way. Working with Jesus means allowing His Spirit to recreate us in His image so that the world can see who He really is.

Paul called it a ‘mystery’? This doesn’t mean that it cannot be understood. It means that this truth was hidden until the moment when Jesus revealed it to His disciples to whom He gave the responsibility and authority to interpret His ‘yoke’. It was their duty to ‘bind’ it on all His followers and to free them from the ‘yoke of bondage’.

As I have explained many times, Jesus’s ‘yoke’ was His way of interpreting the ‘Torah’, God’s teaching in the books of Moses, and the way He lived it in His own life and taught it to His disciples.

It is only by following His way that we can every hope to become ‘fully mature’.

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.

 

It’s All About Him!

IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM!

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been His counsellor?

“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”

“For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.

“To Him be glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36.

Could Paul have concluded his presentation of God’s wisdom in any other way than a grand doxology of praise?

How mistaken we are if we think that salvation is all about us! Have you ever wondered why God created Adam and Eve in the first place, knowing full well that they would disobey Him and drag the whole universe into disarray?

This salvation saga goes much farther back than the Garden of Eden. Before God spoke the universe into existence, He created an order of spirit beings called angels (or messengers) who would share His domain of the unseen realm, and worship and serve Him with unceasing praise.

There were different orders and functions of angels; those who worshipped Him around the throne (Isaiah 6); those who carried out His instructions (Psalm 103); warrior angels headed by the archangel, Michael (Daniel 10) and the archangel, Gabriel, God’s special messenger who would later be sent to announce the imminent arrival of Messiah (Luke 1). After the creation of angels, God created the heavens and the earth and the angels celebrated His magnificent work with Him (Job 38).

Lucifer headed the throng of angels who worshipped around the throne. He was the most beautiful (Ezekiel 28) of all the “sons of God” (Job 38) who perpetually celebrated His glory and holiness. However, pride in his beauty crept in (Ezekiel 28) and turned him from a worshipper into a rebel. He had designs on God’s position (Isaiah 14) and lost his place in heaven, taking a third of the angels with him.

God banished him and his minions to the earth (Revelation 12), where he would mount a campaign to discredit God, steal the allegiance of God’s human children and lead them down a path of self-destruction. In spite of His foreknowledge of what would happen, God created the beginnings of a human family with the purpose of revealing Himself to them and winning their love in spite of the devil’s efforts to turn them away from Him.

Why did He do this? Without man’s fall, there was one aspect of the God’s character which remained hidden – His mercy, the weightiest of all His attributes. In the unfolding of His salvation plan which He put in place before the foundation of the world, His mercy is revealed in His rescue of rebellious and undeserving sinners. He purposely created a race of people who could and would choose against Him and then won them back by His bold plan to send His representative – His own son – to become one of them. Jesus risked the same fate as theirs, eternal death, if He failed to live as a perfect son.

Where the first Adam failed, the last Adam, Jesus, overcame and exposed the devil’s deception. He revealed both the Father’s love and His justice by taking the punishment for sin in Himself and forgiving the sinner. Was there ever a display of mercy like that!

Who taught God wisdom like that? Does He owe us anything? Who but Almighty God could think up a plan like that and carry it out with such outstanding success? He showed the world that love and mercy are far more powerful than bombs and guns. Only through love could He rebuild and restore what was destroyed through man’s disobedience.

And it’s all about Him!

The hostile forces of darkness were left in no doubt about who was right and who was wrong. Mercy won the day, and the rebel hoards of demons and all the humans who side with them now, await the day of their final judgment; banished from the presence of God then; banished to a place of everlasting darkness and torment when Jesus comes again to complete what He started – God’s eternal kingdom of love and light.

Acknowledgement

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

 

Blessed To Be A Blessing!

BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING! 

“But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!” Romans 11:12.

Now there’s a thought!

If the door of God’s grace was opened to the Gentiles because the Jews refused it, and blessing came to the whole world instead of to only one small group, just imagine what would happen if the Jews as a people, and not just individuals here and there, were to receive Jesus as their Messiah. The entire Jewish nation, not only those in Israel but those who are scattered all over the globe, would be a blessing wherever they are! Isn’t that what God promised Abraham?

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2, 3.

But that does not give the Gentile believers any cause to gloat. We who are not the natural descendants of Abraham, have no reason to think that, because the Jews refused their Messiah and we received Him, that we are any better than they.

“I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and so save some of them. For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.” Romans 11:13-16.

Paul was doing much more than expressing wishful thinking or inventing a reason for believing that the Jews will still play a big part in God’s plan for the world. His reasoning was based on a solid Biblical principle which applies anywhere and everywhere. It’s called terumah or the firstfuits offering.

From the beginning of time, God required the first portion of the increase of the harvest, and the firstborn of the flocks and herds to be given to Him. Hence Abel’s offering of the firstborn of his flock was acceptable while Cain’s sacrifice of “some of the harvest” was unacceptable because he did not honour God first. The terumah, offered to God and given to the high priest to support him and his family, guaranteed God’s blessing on the rest of the harvest.

“Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfuits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9, 10.

Israel was God’s “firstborn” son, set apart and belonging to Him. Every firstborn son belonged to God and had to be redeemed by the payment of a sum of money to the high priest. God redeemed Israel through the blood of a lamb – symbolising the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He took the Levites to be His special tribe in place of all the firstborn of the nation.

“I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine.” Numbers 3:11-13.

Therefore, according to Paul, if the Israelites were holy, set apart for God, then the rest of the harvest (the world) is holy. Since the door of grace has already been opened to the Gentiles because the Jews, God’s firstborn, refused Him, in order for the blessing which has come to the world through Abraham’s descendants to be authentic, the firstfruits of the harvest must be given to God – that’s the Jews.

 

Paul, basing his case on sound Biblical truth and in a kind of reverse reasoning, argued that, since the rest of the harvest is already being blessed i.e., the Gentiles, the full harvest of His people, the Jews, must be blessed and gathered in as well since the firstfuits, the Jews, was gathered in at Pentecost.

That puts paid to the teaching that God is finished with the Jews. He cannot be because He is always true to His word and His nature. The firstfruits and the full harvest are inextricably tied together. Since the blessing of Abraham has already come to the Gentiles, it must still come on the Jews because they are his natural offspring. By faith in their Messiah, they will also become his spiritual children and the full harvest, which began with the first believers who were Jews, will be gathered in.

Acknowledgement

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