John 15: Trust and Obey

CB CAMPANO | GUEST “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.” As I reflected recently on John 15, this simple yet profound chorus that I leaned on years ago flooded my mind. The recurring theme in John 15 is Jesus’ plea to his beloved disciples to abide in Him— that is, to stay vitally connected to Him so they may be assured of his love, experience his joy, and produce good fruit. I imagine like you, in days of clarity, there is nothing I desire more than to fully abide in Christ, to completely trust in my Savior’s unwavering love for me in all circumstances. But there are days, when I forget the mercy of God in my life and the how of abiding in Him eludes me. In John 15: 9- 11, Jesus reveals to his disciples a not-so-secret secret to abiding in Him, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  There, we have it. Keep the Lord’s commandments and we will be assured of his tenacious love for us. We will be happy in Jesus. Obedience is a Fruit, Not the Root How inconsiderate it would be for me to stop there! Inconsiderate for many reasons but especially because I would be trivializing the fierce battle we face this side of heaven. Though the call to obedience is not complicated, obeying God’s Word, as we know all too well, is terribly difficult. Our soul’s trifold enemies— the flesh, the world and Satan—war fiercely against this call to obedience. Putting sin to death is painstaking work for fallen creatures like us. This said, sisters, we must endeavor to pursue holiness of life for the glory of God and the good of our own souls. The Lord promises that obedience enables us to abide more deeply in his love and experience his joy more fully. I have, by God’s grace, experienced this to be true in my own life and have seen it to be true in the lives of many I have counseled.

John 15: Trust and Obey2022-05-04T00:29:27+00:00

Bearing Fruit Where We Are Planted

My husband and I are retired, so over the past few months of self-quarantining, we have received offers for various types of help. Neighbors called to see if we needed anything done around the house. Friends’ children who live near us offered to do shopping. Our own children checked in on us regularly to see how we were doing, sometimes leaving suggestions for good movies or TV shows to watch to pass the time. Where Daniel Was Planted Thankful as we are for all this attention, it confirms that we were now considered among the “old-and- at-risk” population. One day I was listening to a podcast series about Daniel and it struck me anew that Daniel was in my same age category when he was thrown into the lion’s den. Wow! At the same age that I am stuck in my house watching TV reruns, Daniel was standing up for his convictions by publicly praying to the one true God. He refused to compromise his spiritual life after colleagues unfairly duped king Darius into issuing his proclamation prohibiting worship of all gods except himself. Daniel knew how to respond to unfair treatment. He thanked God despite the injustice. I went back and studied Daniel with a new perspective. Daniel flourished where he was planted. God placed him in Babylon as a young man where he lived with determination not to conform to the ways of the world, but obeying God, trusting Him, and purposing his heart to turn from sin. The entire book of Daniel confirms the blessings of knowing God. Daniel was a man of prayer, regular and disciplined in his worship habits. He knew that God hears and honors the prayers of the faithful. Daniel trusted God’s Word to the end of his life and as a prophet, God allowed him to interpret dreams for the Babylonian kings. Bearing Fruit Where We Are Planted This spurred my thinking. I have been planted in a house without visitors. I am healthy (though admittedly slowing down), experienced in life, willing to work, but seemingly now without much purpose. Surely God has some unique work for those of us stuck at home...

Bearing Fruit Where We Are Planted2022-05-05T00:20:44+00:00

God’s Abounding Grace

There are times when I am driving my car, running simple errands or on my way to work, when I am struck by the landscape around me. The lush green hills set against the pure blue sky with puffs of clouds so thick, I wonder if I could reach out and grab one. Everything pressing on my mind vanishes and I feel a sense of wonder and amazement. Then I ask myself "Has that been there all long? How could I have missed something so amazing?” I’m especially surprised when it’s a route I often take. This is true when it comes to reading God’s Word. It's incredible what God can open our eyes to see in His Word at different times, especially in places that have become familiar. That’s the beauty of Scripture: Whether it be your first time reading it or the 20th time, you can still stumble across sweet treasures. Just like on my drives, the Lord is constantly setting our gaze on new things for us to see. A New Treasure in John 13 A recent treasure for me has been reading Peter's denial found in John 13:36-38. This story comes on the heels of Jesus serving the disciples by washing their feet, the same occasion where He announced to them that someone would shortly deny Him and informed them of His upcoming departure. When Peter heard that Jesus would soon leave them, he said, "Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." His response makes sense because they had experienced so much together and grown in their relationship. Jesus’ question in return carried a tone somewhat like “Really?” He said "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.”...

God’s Abounding Grace2022-05-05T00:49:27+00:00

The Sins We Love to Hate

A few weeks ago, I read an article about the recently released movie Rocketman, which chronicles the life of openly gay and quite flamboyant British rock star, Elton John. The article exposed that the Russian government had removed all of the homosexual love scenes from the movie since Russian law interprets these as “lewd acts” and considers them lawbreaking. Although I’m not sure that outlawing sin is the best way for believers to suppress our own sinful desires, let alone mandate that non-believers do the same, I was kind of thankful for this declaration since I believe that the Bible defines homosexual sex as sin. To be clear, however, the Holy Spirit is the one who confronts our sin and moves us to repent of it. He also moves us to believe in the power of the atonement received by the Lord Jesus on behalf of our sin and fights in and through us against sin that remains both in us and around us. But, nonetheless, my response got me wondering and made me think: why am I so on-board with the Russians here? I guess a better question is: why am I not up in arms about other sins that are so prevalent in our culture?...

The Sins We Love to Hate2022-05-07T23:17:44+00:00

Abraham’s Confidence

Editor's Note: This is the second in a two part series on the story of Abraham. To read the other post, click here. Amid the unspeakably gorgeous mountain setting at the Billy Graham Training Center in North Carolina, a simple photograph made an indelible impression on me. The photo captured a wooden desk lined with Bibles and other study helps, several open at once; the desk belonged to Ruth Graham. For nearly a year, this picture has not left my mind and it’s made me curious to learn more about Billy Graham’s beloved wife. In her book It’s My Turn, Ruth remembers striving to get her way during their early years of marriage. In his gracious but firm tone, Billy once responded, “God will lead me and you will do the following.” She closed her chapter by stating, “I’ve been following ever since.” These remarks by Billy and Ruth beautifully depict the image of Christ and his church. As we place our faith in Christ and believe in his goodness, we will follow as he leads. In doing so, a beautiful story unfolds. In the first nine verses of Genesis Chapter 12, God does all of the speaking. He asked Abram for a dramatic response and gave an overview of the dramatic promises to follow. There are no recorded words from Abram. Only action. “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him” recounts verse 4. God is leading and Abram is following. It is simple and difficult at the same time. Through Abram’s first steps toward the Promised Land, there are truths to apply to the journey you and I are on today.

Abraham’s Confidence2022-05-07T23:37:53+00:00

Abraham’s Obedience

On New Year’s Day, my children were splashing in the ocean while my toes were curled in the sand. It was a gift of a beach trip after weeks of gray skies and rain clouds at home. My daughter enjoyed staying an extra few days at the beach with my Mama, her Gramma, after the rest of our family headed home.   Upon picking her up, the joy on both of their faces told me they had thoroughly enjoyed their time together. They recounted how they talked and played music and laughed all the way home. I remarked to my daughter that road trips with Mama were one of my favorite childhood memories. Mama is all about a road trip. I remember the sunroof open, The Judds playing on repeat, and stopping for TCBY— back when frozen yogurt was a novelty.  The destination could have been the beach, a visit to my brother in Virginia, a shopping day in Atlanta, or a whirlwind weekend in New York City. It saddens me to even consider all that I would have forsaken had I responded to her fun-loving invitations with questions or stalling. In those tender years, she was my faithful guide and my willingness to follow her has led me to find some of my favorite people, places, and possibilities. The Road Trip of a Lifetime In chapter 12 of Genesis, Abram received an invitation by the Lord God to “go from your country.” The God of all creation spoke into the life of this seventy-five-year-old man and invited him on a road trip.

Abraham’s Obedience2022-05-07T23:48:16+00:00
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