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/

Posted by: dhkrause | May 13, 2014

Life and Light in Jesus

John 1:1-18 is known as the prologue of the Gospel of John. It provides a deep revelation of who Jesus Christ truly is: God in human flesh, the eternal Creator of all things, “the Only Son, who is God!”

John 1 (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The Word who became flesh as Jesus Christ was with God, the Father, before anything was created. He is in a unique sense the Son of God, and He also is God as verse 1 declares: “the Word was God”. This is one of many passages supporting the Trinitarian view that God is one Being in three eternal Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is One, revealed through three Persons. John declares that through the Word, the Son of God, all things were created; He is the source of all life and conscious existence, “the light of all mankind”. Notice the parallels between this passage and the first five verses of Genesis:

Genesis 1 (NIV)
The Beginning
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

The Hebrew words in verse 1 for “the heavens” and “the earth” simply refer to the entire universe including our earth. No time period or details are given for this creation; therefore it could have covered a very extensive period of time with trillions of stars and planets coming into existence over billions of years. In God’s time, the earth was created and the Spirit was hovering over the dark waters of the global ocean. By the word of God, light broke through the darkness and shined upon the waters for the first time in the earth’s history. (Later, in verse 16, the thick translucent atmosphere evidently became transparent, and the sun, moon and stars became visible from the earth to “serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years”.) “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Returning to John’s prologue, verse 6 introduces the testimony of the John the Baptist, who came as a witness to the light:

There was a man sent from God whose name was John.
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.
He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Jesus was the true light, entering the world that He had made; however, the people of the world, including most of his own Jewish brethren, did not recognize or receive him. Some did receive him and believed in him; these became born again by the Spirit of God.

John1:14 declares that Jesus is the Word of God become flesh, the one and only Son who came from the Father:

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)

In testifying about Jesus, John the Baptist states that “he was before me”. We know from the Gospel of Luke that John was born about six months before Jesus, so here we have another testimony to the eternal existence of the Son of God.

John’s prologue concludes with this summary:

16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

The love and grace of God are demonstrated through the atoning life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as John 3:16 says so very well:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus declares in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Those who believe in him and follow him receive grace for forgiveness of sins, and – equally importantly – grace to “go and sin no more”. (John 8:11, KJV)

When Jesus laid down his life for all who believe, the prophecy of Psalm 85:10 (NKJV) was fulfilled:

Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.

Truth comes through Jesus Christ because he himself is “the way and the truth and the life”, as he declares in John 14:6:

I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 1:18 is clarified by John 6:46, which says, “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.”

The NIV notes that the phrase in John 1:18, “who is himself God” is omitted in some manuscripts. In either case, this phrase agrees with John 1:1, “and the Word was God.”

1 John 5:20 summarizes the importance of knowing Jesus Christ:

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

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

Posted by: dhkrause | April 25, 2014

New Life in Christ

Paul teaches in Romans 6 that because of Christ’s atoning death and resurrection believers can now walk in “newness of life”:

Romans 6 (ESV)
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Being identified with Christ, Paul exhorts us to now consider ourselves “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus”:

Romans 6
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Paul’s teachings are always based on the words of Jesus. John 13:3 states that Jesus knew “that he had come from God and was going back to God”. He loved his own who were in the world to the very end, even expressing this by washing their feet at their last supper.

John 13 (ESV)
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Just before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus told his sister Martha:

“…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…” (John 11:25-26 NKJV)

This was a threefold promise: (1) that he was about to raise Lazarus at that very moment, (2) that he would one day raise from the dead all believers who had died, and (3) that believers who are living then will never die.

Jesus repeatedly predicted his own resurrection. He declared in John 10 that he was laying down his life for his sheep – that he had “power to lay it down and power to take it again”:

John 10 (NKJV)
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. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 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.”

The Resurrection is God’s “Amen!” to this promise that Jesus spoke.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul summarizes his gospel, and then lists some of the “more than five hundred” witnesses to Christ’s resurrection:

1 Corinthians 15 (ESV)
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

 Later in this chapter, Paul refers to Christ’s resurrection as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”, and explains that “the last enemy to be destroyed is death”:

1 Corinthians 15 (ESV)
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. … 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Ken Raggio writes in his article, “Evidences Of Jesus’ Resurrection”, “Peter and the apostles were forceful and unapologetic. They believed that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Furthermore, they believed that Jesus Christ was the heir to David’s throne as King of Israel. [In Acts 2,] Peter was so convincing that the multitudes begged his further instructions.”

Acts 2
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Jesus declares in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In John 10:10, he says, “I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.”

When we repent, believe and obey, God makes all things new, both here and now, and eternally in Christ:

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17 NKJV)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 4/20/2014

Posted by: dhkrause | April 14, 2014

Before the Rocks Cry Out

This is the title of a beloved hymn that brings to mind Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in the final week of his ministry:

“Before the rocks cry out, I just have to praise Him
Just have to thank Him, for all that He’s done
Before all nature rises up to shout, just have to thank Him
For all He’s done for me.”

Tim Sheppard has composed and sung a beautiful variation of this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNKrqURflEo

The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is recorded in all four gospels. This was the day of his presentation to Israel as the Messiah. It has been estimated that 2.5 million people were gathered at the city, more than one percent of the world population at that time. God had ordained that Jesus would be the Lamb of God, sacrificed on Passover.

John 12 records how the people wanted to see Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead. His hometown of Bethany was about 1.5 miles from Jerusalem. However, the chief priests wanted to kill Lazarus. This was three days before Passover, which according to scholarly research began on Wednesday evening that week. (See for example, http://rcg.org/articles/ccwnof.html )

Jesus would soon fulfill the “sign of Jonah”, being in the grave for three days and three nights: Wednesday night, Thursday day, Thursday night, Friday day, Friday night, Saturday day, and rising from the dead sometime after sundown Saturday.

Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead was also a sign to the people that their long awaited Messiah was now entering Jerusalem as prophesied:

John 12 (HCSB)
Then a large crowd of the Jews learned He was there. They came not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus the one He had raised from the dead. 10 Therefore the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus also 11 because he was the reason many of the Jews were deserting them and believing in Jesus.

12 The next day, when the large crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 they took palm branches and went out to meet Him. They kept shouting: “Hosanna! He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One—the King of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written: 15 Fear no more, Daughter Zion. Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first. However, when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about Him and that they had done these things to Him. 17 Meanwhile, the crowd, which had been with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify. 18 This is also why the crowd met Him, because they heard He had done this sign.

19 Then the Pharisees said to one another, “You see? You’ve accomplished nothing. Look—the world has gone after Him!”

Many that day may have been seeing that their purpose, destiny and glory were in God, and that they were made for His love. The unhappy and grumpy Pharisees cried, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Jesus replied, “If these did not praise God, even the rocks would cry out.”

For a moment the multitude recognized that this was the Messiah and responded with true worship. It was a moment of prophetic destiny as the sovereign will of God was being fulfilled in human history. Three days later Jesus would lay down his life as God’s Passover Lamb for all who believe.

Luke 19 (HCSB)
28 When He had said these things, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As He approached Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, He sent two of the disciples 30 and said, “Go into the village ahead of you. As you enter it, you will find a young donkey tied there, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say this: ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 So those who were sent left and found it just as He had told them. 33 As they were untying the young donkey, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the donkey?”

34 “The Lord needs it,” they said. 35 Then they brought it to Jesus, and after throwing their robes on the donkey, they helped Jesus get on it. 36 As He was going along, they were spreading their robes on the road. 37 Now He came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen:

38 The King who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!

39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!”

God watches over His word to perform it. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey as prophesied by Zechariah 9:9, and in the exact time frame prophesied in Daniel 9:25-26 (KJV):

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: …”

[These “weeks” are periods of seven years; 69 * 7 = 483 prophetic years of 360 days from the date of Artexerxes’ decree in Nehemiah 2.]

God is so faithful and good! He watches over His word to bring it to pass. Palm branches are a symbol of triumph and victory. Jesus’ sacrifice and Resurrection were a victory for all who believe. The love of God changes us, and empowers us to be what we are created to be.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Cor. 5:17 KJV)

 Psalm 92 describes a joyous people of praise, as we all are called to be:

12 The righteous thrive like a palm tree
and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon.
13 Planted in the house of the Lord,
they thrive in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green,
15 to declare: “The Lord is just;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 4/13/2014

Posted by: dhkrause | April 3, 2014

The Reason for Our Hope

 

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Throughout the many trials we each face in life, God gives us strength and light when our hope and faith are in Him. David, for example, explores the reason for his hope in Psalm 8, and sees that God has created people to be crowned with glory and honor:

Yahweh, our Lord,
how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!
You have covered the heavens with Your majesty.
When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You set in place,
what is man that You remember him,
the son of man that You look after him?
You made him little less than God
and crowned him with glory and honor.

In Psalm 39, David prays declaring that God is the source of his hope:

6 Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow.
Indeed, they frantically rush around in vain,
gathering possessions without knowing who will get them.
Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.

Psalm 84 describes the present joy and glorious future for those who trust in God:

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield.
The Lord gives grace and glory;
He does not withhold the good
from those who live with integrity.
12 Happy is the person who trusts in You,
Lord of Hosts!

Psalm 97 describes how light dawns for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart:

The Lord reigns! Let the earth rejoice;
let the many coasts and islands be glad.

The heavens proclaim His righteousness;
all the peoples see His glory.

For You, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth;
You are exalted above all the gods.
10 You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He protects the lives of His godly ones;
He rescues them from the power of the wicked.
11 Light dawns for the righteous,
gladness for the upright in heart.
12 Be glad in Yahweh, you righteous ones,
and praise His holy name.

David prays In Psalm 139 describing how God saw him before he was formed, and that all the days of his life were written before a single one of them began:

Psalm 139
13 For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.

The Apostle Peter declares in 2 Peter 3:15, “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”  In 1 Peter 1 he describes the living hope that believers have received through resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ from the dead:

1 Peter 1
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Darlene Zschech writes regarding these promises:

“The good news is that when we build our lives around the future God has promised to us, the glorious hope we have in Christ Jesus, our present reality is all the sweeter. Life is not stifled but set free. We truly do taste the joy of heaven when we live for God today.  It’s a good thing to enjoy and explore the life and present reality God has given us. But it’s even better when we experience this life in view of eternity.” (“Revealing Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional”, March 29 devotion)

Paul prays that believers will know the hope of the Messiah’s calling and describes the glorious riches of His inheritance among us:

Ephesians 1
17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. 20 He demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens— 21 far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 3/3o/14
(Bible Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

Posted by: dhkrause | March 17, 2014

The Most Important Command

Jesus was asked in Mark 12 which command is the most important of all:

 29 “This is the most important,” Jesus answered:
Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
31 “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other command greater than these.”

The statement, “the Lord is One” in the Hebrew means that
“His character is in unity, His attributes and being, work together in unity.”
(Jeff A. Benner, “His Name is One”, pp. 16-17)

For example, God demonstrated both His righteousness and His faithful love by sending His Son to die for the sins of the world so that whoever believes in Him can have eternal life:

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son,
so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
(John 3:16)

At the cross, Jesus Christ answered the prayer, and fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 95:

Show us Your faithful love, Lord, and give us Your salvation.
10 Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace.

Loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, you will be able to pass the test that our first ancestors failed in the Garden of Eden.  The voice of God’s enemy convinced Eve that the tree He had warned them not to eat from “was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom.”

Jesus describes this deceiving spirit in John 8:44: “He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.”  Jesus contrasts the mission of this adversary with his own mission in John 10:10:
“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”  By staying focused on our love relationship with God, we are not vulnerable to the deceptions of the enemy.

At the last supper with his disciples, Jesus raised the standard yet higher with the command, “Love one another as I have loved you.”  This is a higher standard than “love your neighbor as yourself”, because we do not love ourselves as much as He loves each of us!  By our unfeigned love for one another people will know that we are his disciples:

 John 13
34 “I give you a new command: Love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

As part of this higher calling of love, Jesus also tells his followers to love and pray for their enemies:

Matthew 5
43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Here is an example of this kind of love in action:

(CNN) — A widow says she forgives the attackers in Libya who gunned down her husband earlier this month as he went for a morning jog outside his home in Benghazi.

Ronnie Smith, 33, was a chemistry teacher from Austin, Texas, who was working for more than a year in the International School Benghazi when four unidentified assailants in a black Jeep fatally shot him December 5, 2013.

Anita Smith said she didn’t feel any anger or want any revenge against the killers of her husband.  “I just really want them to know that I do love them and I forgive them, and Ronnie would want this, and I hope and pray that our son, Hosea, would believe this,” she said.

To the attackers, she wrote: “I love you and I forgive you.”

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/20/us/libya-widow-teacher-forgives-attackers/

Ronnie Smith

To the Libyan people, she said, “We came to bless you,
but you have blessed us much more. Thank you.”

“I hear people speaking with hate, anger and blame over Ronnie’s death, but that’s not what Ronnie would want,” Smith wrote of her husband. “I want all of you — all of the people of Libya — to know I am praying for the peace and prosperity of Libya. May Ronnie’s blood, shed on Libyan soil, encourage peace and reconciliation between the Libyan people and God.”

God is looking for people who will love Him more than life itself.  That is how Jesus loved us, and He gives us power to love in this same way.

Matthew 10
37 The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.
39 Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it.

Those whose lives are completely given to Jesus will go wherever he leads, whether or not this results in actual martyrdom.  He said, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/
(Bible Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)
3/16/2014 

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