Posted by: dhkrause | September 14, 2014

The True Shepherd and His Sheep

In David’s most famous Psalm, he describes the many ways the Lord is a shepherd to him, providing for his needs, giving rest and restoration, wisdom to walk in His ways, freedom from fear, and the knowledge of His presence. His rod protects the sheep, and applies discipline if needed; his staff draws them away from harm. By the anointing and provision of the Lord they overcome their enemies. Goodness, mercy and life everlasting in His presence – these are His promises to those who follow Him.

Psalm 23 (NKJV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 100 reminds us to give thanks and praise to the Lord our God. It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Psalm 100
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Isaiah 53 describes the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah-Savior who was yet to come. He has carried our sorrows and taken our judgment upon himself, as a shepherd giving his life for his sheep who have gone astray.

Isaiah 53
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Peter describes how Jesus (Yeshua) fulfilled the promise of Isaiah 53, bringing salvation and healing by his sacrifice for all who believe in him.

1 Peter 2
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

In John 10, Jesus describes his work as the shepherd of his people. He is both the shepherd and the gate of the sheepfold. He speaks, and his sheep hear his voice. He leads them and brings them into abundant life in God’s presence. As the good shepherd, he has laid down his life for us, and he is risen from the dead just as he said. F. F. Bruce writes, “If he was to impart resurrection life to others, he must receive resurrection life himself, and to receive resurrection life he must pass through death.” He did this for all who believe in him, as John 3:16 declares. We are eternally secure in him; he and the Father are one.

John 10
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. … 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

In John 17, Jesus prays that the union of life and love he shares with the Father would be shared by every believer, and that the glory the Father has given to the Son would shine through us, so that the world may know that the Father has sent His Son and loves us as He loves Him.

John 17
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 9/14/2014

Posted by: dhkrause | September 1, 2014

All Things Working Together for Good

In John 9, Jesus responds to the disciples questioning about why a man was born blind:

John 9 (NKJV)
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

The blind man may have had this question himself from time to time over the years. Strikingly, Jesus states that the man was born blind so that the works of God could be revealed in him.

While Jesus was physically in the world, God purposed to reveal he was the light of the world through signs such as this, as Jesus then explains:

John 9
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Sometimes God takes what we consider to be evil and makes it work together for good. Paul declares this principle in Romans 8:28:

Romans 8
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

This theme is particularly well illustrated in the life of Jacob’s son Joseph who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Years later when he was co-regent with the Pharaoh in Egypt, his repentant brothers came to him after their father’s death to plead for mercy. Joseph famously responds:

Genesis 50
19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?
20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

The way God sets things up for His purpose to be fulfilled is also clearly seen in the book of Esther. When Mordecai urges her to intercede for her Jewish people by going before the king unasked at the risk of her life, he declares, “… Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) She consents, declaring, “… if I perish, I perish”, and the rest is history. (Esther 4:16)

The man born blind may not have known he was called by God for this special purpose, but later looking back at his healing by Jesus he most likely understood. God’s purposes override our own because our lives on earth are meant to glorify Him, not us. Like this blind man healed by Jesus, we too have the joy and privilege of living for God’s glory and letting His light shine through us. (See Matthew 5:14-16)

Upon being healed, this man realized Jesus was sent from God. When asked, he answers, “He is a prophet.” He testifies repeatedly of what he had just experienced: “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Still being pressed by his questioners, he exposes the error in their perspective:

John 9
30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

Jesus finds the man to let him know exactly who he is:

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”
36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.

Jesus explains that those who are spiritually blind but think they see need to recognize that they are spiritually blind in order to be healed:

John 9
39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.

Several of the Beatitudes in Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” likewise point to the blessedness of knowing we are poor in spirit without Him, of hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and having a pure heart focused on seeing God:

Matthew 5
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
     for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
     for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
     for they shall see God.

What Jesus desired the healed man, and all others to see is that true fruitfulness can only come through being connected to Him, as he later explains:

John 15:5
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Jesus invites all who sense the need for the help that only He can give, to come to him to learn and find rest for our souls:

Matthew 11
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 8/31/14

Posted by: dhkrause | August 18, 2014

Light of the World

God is the source of all light, both inner and outer. By His word, light broke forth upon the waters covering the earth, and the cycle of day and night began. On the sixth day, He created man in His own image – male and female – with the light of self consciousness.

Genesis 1 (NKJV)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

All things were created through the eternal Word of God. John’s gospel reveals the Word of God to be His Son, eternally dwelling with the Father. Light and life flow from the living Word of God who became incarnate as Jesus Christ. He declared in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

John 1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

In Numbers 6:24-26, God gave Moses this priestly blessing for Aaron and his sons to speak over the children of Israel:  “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” His face shone upon David, who declares in Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation”. He sought not just the help of the Lord, but His face, to behold the beauty of the Lord in His temple.

Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

David’s son Solomon writes prophetically of the Messiah in Proverbs 16:15, “In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.” Paul (Shaul), with a heart for God like David, declares in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Isaiah 60 describes a coming time when the glory of the Lord will be seen upon His people Israel, and the nations will come to her light. The Lord will be to her an everlasting light, and her glory.

Isaiah 60
Arise, shine; for your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

19 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your glory.

John describes the glory of the New Jerusalem in a very similar way:

Revelation 21
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).

In Ephesians 5, Paul urges believers to walk as children of light through Jesus Christ, who came into the world for this very purpose:

Ephesians 5
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/

Posted by: dhkrause | August 4, 2014

Grand Canyon Salvations

From Russ Miller, Creation, Evolution & Science Ministries
Quarterly Newsletter, August, 2014, http://www.CreationMinistries.org

God provides the harvest
On one of our recent Grand Canyon Rim & Raft tours, during which we play many of Russ’ DVDs and reveal original creation rock, judgment layers and more, our bus driver and his wife began the trip by telling us they were “spiritual.”  At the end of the tour, over the bus’s PA system, they announced they now know Jesus is Who they have been seeking.  God is good.

You Can’t Top God
A raft guide on a recent Rim & Raft tour was very combative, arguing as I shared how the biblical view of the Canyon bested the secular misinterpretations of geology.  Well, two weeks later he was again one of our guides and I expected more of his opposition.  Instead he explained the Canyon from a biblical perspective and said he was a Christian!  (I was blown away!)

Posted by: dhkrause | August 4, 2014

The Fountain of Living Waters

God promises to be the fountain of living waters for all who come to Him. Jeremiah 17 speaks of God’s life-giving spirit abiding with those whose hope and trust are in Him.

Jeremiah 17 (NKJV)
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

 In Jeremiah 2, God warns that trusting in false gods causes people to be cut off from Him, “the fountain of living waters”.

Jeremiah 2 (NKJV)
13 “For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

In Psalm 91, God promises to deliver and honor those who set their love on Him, giving them long life and showing them His salvation:

Psalm 91(NKJV)
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

The word for salvation in Hebrew is “Yeshua”. Jesus (Yeshua) promises that those who come to him will receive “living water”, that will become in them “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life”.

John 4 (NKJV)
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

In John 6:16-21, Jesus’ disciples were frightened when they saw him walking on the stormy sea and drawing near the boat. “But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.” Psalm 77 contains a parallel prophetic description:

Psalm 77 (NKJV)
I cried out to God with my voice—
To God with my voice;
And He gave ear to me.

19 Your way was in the sea,
Your path in the great waters,
And Your footsteps were not known.
20 You led Your people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.

In John 7, Jesus reveals the key to knowing if what he teaches is true: if anyone wills to do God’s will, he will know that what Jesus speaks is true.

John 7 (NKJV)
16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.

Jesus promises to give the Holy Spirit to those who come to him and drink. “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” The Spirit was given with power after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the Father.

John 7 (NKJV)
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Revelation 7 describes a great multitude of believers that will come out of the great tribulation and stand before the throne of God. Jesus, the Lamb of God, will shepherd them and lead them to “living fountains of waters”.

Revelation 7 (NKJV)
14 … So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, ever continues to be the fountain of living waters, leading and empowering by his Spirit all who come to Him.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/

Posted by: dhkrause | July 21, 2014

The Bread of Life

Jesus bread of life

In John 6:48, Jesus declares, “I am the Bread of Life.” He continues in verse 51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

How does one eat of this bread of life? This is the subject of Jesus’ teaching to the crowd who came to Capernaum seeking him after the miracle of feeding the five thousand men and their families. Jesus begins by scolding them for being motivated by their desire for another free lunch, rather than by desiring to know the meaning of this sign:

John 6 (NKJV)
25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”
26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

Some then began changing their focus to seek for the “food which endures to everlasting life”. So they asked Jesus what kind of works did they need to do to obtain this food. They did not yet grasp that the “work” God was looking for was that they believe in the Son whom He has sent:

28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

The people then requested that Jesus help them believe by performing a sign such as sending bread from heaven, similar to the manna people ate during their forty years in the desert:

30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” [Exodus 16:4; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalm 78:24]

Jesus draws a contrast between the manna their fathers ate in the wilderness, and the true bread from heaven:

32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Some of the listeners then believed that Jesus could give this food, but they had yet to realize that Jesus himself is both the giver and the gift. Jesus then describes the relationship between the Father and the Son of God, and declares it is the Father’s will that “everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life”:

34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Those who knew Jesus as the “son of Joseph” and also knew his mother wondered how he could claim to have come down from heaven. Jesus again describes the relationship of the Father and Son of God, and the crucial need for faith declaring, “he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” Then he astounds them further by declaring, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Some of them misunderstood him to be speaking of cannibalism:

41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ [Isaiah 54:13] Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

Jesus again declares that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” He is speaking of spiritual nourishment, as he clarifies by saying, “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me”:

53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever. …   63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

F. F. Bruce writes, “The true sustenance and refreshment of our spiritual life are to be found only in him who died that we might live.” [The Gospel & Epistles of John, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1983, p. 160]

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 7/20/14

Posted by: dhkrause | July 7, 2014

God’s People Israel

It is important for all believers in the God of the Bible to understand God’s calling and purpose for the Jewish people. In Romans 1:16, Paul (Shaul) declares that the gospel of the Messiah is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first…”:

Romans 1 (NKJV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

What is the role of Jewish people in God’s purpose? Paul writes extensively about this in Romans, chapters 9-11. He begins by enumerating the gifts and callings of God to Israel, and by expressing his heart’s longing that his relatives according to the flesh, the nation from whom the Messiah came, would receive their Messiah who is “over all, the eternally blessed God.”

Romans 9
1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Israel was the first to be adopted as a son. In Exodus 4, God calls the young nation of Israel “His Son”:

Exodus 4
21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me.

In Hosea 11:1, God again declares His continuing love for Israel saying,
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.”

Israel was the first to see and receive God’s glory in their midst:

Deuteronomy 5
24 And you said: ‘Surely the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.

2 Chronicles 7
7 When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. 3 When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying:
“For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.”

In Isaiah 46, God promises to place salvation in Zion, and refers to the nation as “Israel My glory”:

Isaiah 46
12 “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted,
Who are far from righteousness:
13 I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off;
My salvation shall not linger.
And I will place salvation in Zion,
For Israel My glory.

In Isaiah 55:5, the prophet speaks about Israel being glorified by God and drawing the nations to Him:

Isaiah 55
5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you.”

In Isaiah 60 the prophet again declares that God’s glory will shine on the nation, drawing the Gentiles to their light:

Isaiah 60
1 Arise, shine; for your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

As Paul notes in Romans 9:4, the gifts and callings of Israel include “the adoption, the glory, covenants, the giving of the law (Torah), the service of God, and the promises”, the foremost being the promise of the Messiah who would bring salvation and healing to the nation and the world.

Jesus (Yeshua), whose name in Hebrew means “salvation”, said in John 4:22, “… salvation is of the Jews.” Jesus is the living Torah, Word of God. Many prophecies point to the day when Israel will come to know him as their Savior, the risen Son of God who gives eternal life. John 19 refers to some of these prophecies relating to the Crucifixion:

John 19
36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” [Psalm 34:20] 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” [Zechariah 12:10]

John 3:16 declares, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In Romans 11, Paul explains that Israel’s unbelief in their Messiah is temporary. Gentiles should show the love of Jesus (Yeshua) to the Jewish people in every way, to hasten the day when their acceptance of Him will be “life from the dead” for all the world.

Romans 11
11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Credits and recommended videos on this subject:

http://www.kkcj.org/teaching/sermon-player/to-the-jew-first/video

http://www.kkcj.org/teaching/sermon-player/to-the-jew-first-pt-2/video

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 7/6/14

Posted by: dhkrause | June 23, 2014

The Messiah and His Bride

In Matthew 16, Jesus (Yeshua) commends Peter for recognizing who he is –
the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God:

Matthew 16 (NKJV)
13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

This revelation was from His Father in heaven, who is seeking covenant relationships with His people through His Son, who laid down His life for all who believe:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Salvation is only through Jesus’ death on the cross and our acceptance of His forgiveness. However, salvation is just the beginning of what should be a walk of increasing maturity and intimacy of relationship with Him.

Types of covenant relationships in the Bible include service, friendship, inheritance and betrothal/marriage:

Types of Covenant

These covenants involve progressive growth in our purification, relationship and partnership with God. Authors John Klein and Adam Spears write:

“The Lord will give us a step-by-step increase of His kingdom in our lives if we choose to walk out our faith. But we have to consciously make that commitment to move beyond basic salvation and enter into true covenant relationships with Him. When we do, He will give us the strength, the knowledge, and the stamina to move continually forward. As we show that we can be faithful with one step, He will show us the next.

“The final step in the process of restoration is in the hand of the bridegroom alone. … [Marriage] is the ultimate fulfillment of all covenants. God’s goal for us is a marriage relationship with Himself, involving complete intimacy. Marriage is the renewed relationship He desires.”

(“Rediscovering the Hebrew Roots of our Faith”, Chapter 2)

God describes Israel as His bride in Isaiah 62:

Isaiah 62 (NKJV)
For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
And her salvation as a lamp that burns.
The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory.
You shall be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the Lord will name.
You shall also be a crown of glory
In the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem
In the hand of your God.
You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah[Literally My Delight Is in Her],
and your land Beulah [Literally Married];
For the Lord delights in you,
And your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.

Jesus exemplified the service covenant in John 13 by washing the disciples’ feet. He was obedient to the Father even unto the death on the cross.  He taught the disciples,

“And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44-45) 

He exemplified the friendship covenant in John 15, when he called his followers friends if they obey his command to love one another as he has loved them.

John 17 pictures the inheritance covenant, where Jesus prays that believers would receive the love and see the glory that he shared with the Father before the foundation of the world.

Revelation 21 returns to the New Jerusalem, calling her the Lamb’s wife, coming down out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband:

Revelation 21 (NKJV)
1 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.

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God.

In Revelation 22, the Spirit and the bride call out together for Jesus to come, and to all who are thirsty to come and drink of the water of life freely. You can be as close to God as you choose to be.

Revelation 22 (NKJV)
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches.
I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!”
And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 6/22/14

Posted by: dhkrause | June 9, 2014

Three Outstanding Gifts of God

Among the major gifts of God in the Bible, these three are outstanding:

(1) Gift of His Son (Isaiah 53:6; John 3:16)
(2) Gift of the Law (Exodus 20)
(3) Gift of the Holy Spirit (John 1:33; Luke 3:16, 11:13; Acts 2)

Gift of God’s Son

Isaiah 53:6 (NKJV)
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Gift of the Law

Exodus 20 (NKJV)
The Ten Commandments
And God spoke all these words, saying:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Gift of the Holy Spirit

Luke 3 (NKJV)
15 Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, 16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Luke 11 (NKJV)
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Acts 2 (NKJV)
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

God’s gift of the Law and His gift of the Spirit have both come to be associated with the Feast of Pentecost, also known as Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, which was also a time of giving thanks for the spring harvest as described in Leviticus 23.

Messianic leader Myles Weiss gives the following parallels between the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai and the giving of the Spirit at Mount Zion:

Mount Sinai Mount Zion
God gave the Law with fire God brought the Spirit with fire
Kingdom of Priests (Exodus 19:5)
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey  My voice and keep My covenant, then  you shall be a special treasure to Me above  all people; for all the earth is Mine.”
Family, Organic body, with a priestly calling (1 Peter 2:9)
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
3,000 died at the foot of Mt. Sinai
(Exodus 32:28) “So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And   about three thousand men of the people fell that day.”
3,000 born of the Spirit
(Acts 2:41) “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
Law written on tablets of stone Law written on hearts

 

The Messiah has come as the “Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6)

Pentecost is a celebration of thankfulness for God’s provision, materially and spiritually. For Christians, it is a special day of thanks for the gift of His Son who gives eternal life, for the gift of His Law now written on our hearts, and for the gift of His Spirit filling and guiding all who seek Him wholeheartedly.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/

June 8, 2014

Posted by: dhkrause | May 25, 2014

Living Sacrifices to God

In Romans 12: 1-2, Paul (Shaul) sounds the trumpet (shofar) calling
believers to give themselves wholeheartedly to God:

I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God
,
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service.
And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is that good
and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Paul calls them brethren – brothers and sisters born from above by the Spirit of God, by faith in the grace and mercies of God made available through Jesus Christ.

He calls each of us to be completely dedicated to God, a living sacrifice set apart and acceptable to Him. This is our reasonable service considering all that Christ and the Father have given for us.

Those who answer this call will not be conformed to this world, but transformed into new creations by the renewing of their minds, so that they can walk by the leading of His Spirit, knowing and proving His good and acceptable and perfect will.

Dr. Viggo (Vic) Olsen and his wife Joan lived out this call in their lives and ministries.   In his autobiography, “Daktar, Diplomat in Bangladesh”, he describes how they came to the decision to be medical missionaries in East Pakistan (later to become Bangladesh). They had first received salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, as promised in John 3:16:

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Out of love for us, the Father and the Son of God have given so much more than we will ever know! Now Dr. Olsen and his wife were seeking God to know how best to give back to Him a measure of that same love.

This passage in Romans 12 helped them to see that to know His will clearly, they would need to offer their whole lives to Him, in full dedication ready to obey whatever directions He would give. They agreed it was only right that “God should challenge us to dedicate ourselves fully to Him and His eternal glorious cause!”

   “Now it is clear!” we said to each other. Facing us, then, was a second great decision, a second great step in the Christian life. The Bible told us that this act would put us in position to be directed into a God-guided life. Wow! God was telling us through his Word that we needed to dedicate (give, yield, surrender, offer, set apart) ourselves to God that He might take us, reshape us, direct us, and use us for good and spiritual purposes.”
“Finally the day came, for each of us, when the last barrier collapsed and individually we gave ourselves back to the Lord who loved us, choosing to walk in His way for us.” (ibid, p. 81, 1974 ed.)

No longer would a lucrative medical practice be the goal for which they strived. Their focus now was to use all their skills to serve God wherever He might send them, to bring healing and health to the whole person – body, mind and spirit – to those most in need of the help they could give.

The back cover of the 1996 edition of his book highlights some of Dr. Olsen’s work in the country where God sent them:

     The former East Pakistan was a country beset with disease, poverty, and natural disasters. In the early 1960s a brilliant young Christian doctor named Viggo Olsen left behind the possibility of a prosperous career in the United States to establish the first modern medical facility on the eastern side of the country.
In 1971 a viciously one-sided civil war ravaged the country as heavily-armed troops from West Pakistan savagely attacked the almost defenseless East Pakistanis who sought to form their own nation. In countless hours of crisis and the horrors of war, God used Dr. Olsen to act as both a political mediator and spiritual counselor.
This classic missionary story continues to thrill readers with its blend of excitement, insight, and inspiration surrounding the birth of the new nation of Bangladesh and the dedicated Christian workers who served its people.

Jesus says in Luke 6:44, “For every tree is known by its own fruit.” The fruit of the ministry of Dr. Viggo and Joan Olsen and their four children in Bangladesh was wonderfully good and life-giving, pointing to the good tree from which it grew – the wholehearted giving of their lives to God, as we are each called to do in Romans 12:1-2.

The phrase, “brethren, by the mercies of God” calls to mind the description in Hebrews 2 of Christ bringing many sons [and daughters] to glory:

Hebrews 2 (NKJV)
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” [Psalm 22:22]

This was the joy that was set before Jesus as he laid down his life at Calvary for all who believe, as described in Hebrews 12:

Hebrews 12 (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is amazing grace, and compelling love! Jesus wants to be your elder brother! He voluntarily laid down his life to make it possible, and He is risen from the dead as He promised. Now it is your “reasonable service” to no longer live for yourself, but for Him who died for you and rose again:

2 Corinthians 5 (NKJV)
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/

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