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 

Posted by: dhkrause | March 4, 2014

Giving Glory to Our Faithful God

In the 1986 World Series, the New York Mets were one pitch away from losing to the Boston Red Sox, and somehow pulled out the game.  Later, in the seventh inning of the seventh game, Ray Knight of the Mets hit a line drive over the centerfield fence sparking a rally that led his team to victory.  Later when asked what he was thinking when he stepped up to the plate, he replied, “I was feeling physically exhausted.  I prayed that God would give me strength to do my very best, and He did!  I give all the glory to Him.”

Ray Knight, 1986

This is an attitude marking all true champions, and God keeps His promise in Psalm 91 to deliver those who are lovingly devoted to Him.  He answers when they call out to Him and He gives them honor:

14 Because he is lovingly devoted to Me, I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows My name.
15 When he calls out to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.  I will rescue him and give him honor.

In the Psalms, David continually gives glory to God for saving and sustaining him, and leading him to victory.  Also, in Psalm 18, he describes how God repaid him according to his righteousness:

23 I was blameless toward Him and kept myself from sinning.
24 So the Lord repaid me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.

Darlene Zschech comments on these verses, “A life lived under the light of truth will bring rewards— just as God intended—but we must always remember where our help comes from and give the Lord all the glory due to His great name.”  (From the book, “Revealing Jesus”, devotion for March 2).

Psalm 84 describes how the Lord gives grace and power to live with integrity, and He rewards those who so live, trusting in Him:

10 Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else.  I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of wicked people. 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!

John 3:16 describes God’s gift of eternal life that we receive by faith:

“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.”

Hebrews 11:6 states, “he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  We are saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ.  We are His creation.  His grace empowers us to walk with God as He prepared ahead of time, as Paul declares in Ephesians 2:

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

In John 8:12 Jesus (Yeshua) spoke about following him and walking in the light that he gives:

Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s faithful love to all who believe.  The testimony of Scripture, and of believers who walk in the light, is that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin:  “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  (1 John 1:7)

Creation and Scripture are witnesses to the reality and faithfulness of God.  David writes of these two witnesses in Psalm 19:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.
The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise.
The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad;
the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up.

Paul writes that because of the witness of Creation, those who refuse to acknowledge God, and give Him all the glory, are without excuse:

 For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.  (Romans 1:20)

We do well to follow the example of David who praised God even in the cave when he was fleeing from Saul.  God is revealed through His faithfulness to those who live in a covenant of love with Him:

Psalm 57
I will praise You, Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
10 For Your faithful love is as high as the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
11 God, be exalted above the heavens;
let Your glory be over the whole earth.

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

Posted by: dhkrause | February 24, 2014

Loving God and Hating Evil, Called to Eternal Glory

Loving God and hating evil, we are called to eternal glory in Christ Jesus.  In Psalm 97, the psalmist enjoins those who love the Lord to hate evil. He will rescue them.  They will have gladness in Him, and praise His holy name.

Psalm 97
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.

Victory over sin and evil comes through faith in the Messiah God has sent.  Jeff A. Benner in his book, “His Name is One”, states that the Hebraic meanings of the first ten names in the lineage of the Messiah as found in Genesis 5 contain a striking prophecy: “Man appointed a mortal dwelling, the light of God will come down dedicated, his death brings the despairing comfort.”  Isaiah 53:6 reaffirms this prophecy of God bringing salvation to His people through the Messiah: “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.”

Every day we make decisions whether to listen to and follow the enemy of our souls, or to hear and follow the Savior who came to set us free.  Jesus (Yeshua) declares 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.” Again in John 8:12 He declares, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

God is able to protect us from stumbling through faith in the Messiah He has sent:

Jude 1
24 Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

If we do stumble and sincerely repent, he will forgive and restore us, as 1 John 1:9 declares, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  The price God paid for our salvation is more than we will ever know: “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)

Because of His faithful love, God is very patiently drawing us to Himself.  In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter declares, “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”  David’s repentance expressed in Psalm 51 is an example of the kind of contrite heart that God will honor and restore:

Psalm 51
Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love;
according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.
Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.

Surely You desire integrity in the inner self,
and You teach me wisdom deep within.

10 God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from Your presence
or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and give me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways,
and sinners will return to You.

17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.
God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

In Isaiah 57, the prophet declares that the Lord’s faithful, righteous people will enter into His peace when they die.  He revives the heart of the oppressed and lowly of spirit, bringing healing and peace.  But there will be no peace for the wicked.

Isaiah 57
The righteous one perishes,
and no one takes it to heart;
faithful men are swept away,
with no one realizing
that the righteous one is swept away
from the presence of evil.
He will enter into peace—
they will rest on their beds—
everyone who lives uprightly.

15 For the High and Exalted One
who lives forever, whose name is Holy says this:
“I live in a high and holy place,
and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and revive the heart of the oppressed.

20 But the wicked are like the storm-tossed sea,
for it cannot be still,
and its waters churn up mire and muck.
21 There is no peace for the wicked,”
says my God.

Psalm 96 is an example of rejoicing in the salvation Yahweh brings, and worshiping Him in the splendor of His holiness.

Psalm 96
Sing a new song to the Lord;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to Yahweh, praise His name;
proclaim His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonderful works among all peoples.

Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness;
tremble before Him, all the earth.

13 … for He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness
and the peoples with His faithfulness.

In 1 Peter 5, Peter prays that God will restore and strengthen His people who have been called to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus:

1 Peter 5
10 Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. 11 The dominion belongs to Him forever. Amen.

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

(Bible Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

Posted by: dhkrause | January 20, 2014

Three Covenants of God’s Love

God made six covenants with people in the Bible: with Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, David and Jesus (New Covenant).  Understanding  these covenants of love helps us to walk with Him in victory as He intends.  The covenants with Abraham, David and Jesus are closely related and will be the subject of this brief study.

1. God’s Covenant with Abraham

Genesis 15 describes God’s covenant with Abram (later renamed Abraham):

Genesis 15
15 After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield;
your reward will be very great.
But Abram said, “Lord God, what can You give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram continued, “Look, You have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house will be my heir.”
Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.”
Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.
He also said to him, “I am Yahweh who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”

2. God’s Covenant with David

2 Samuel 7 and describes God’s covenant with David:

2 Samuel 7
11…“‘The Lord declares to you: The Lord Himself will make a house for you. 12 When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
14 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod and with blows from others. 15 But My faithful love will never leave him as I removed it from Saul; I removed him from your way. 16 Your house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever.’”
17 Nathan spoke all these words and this entire vision to David.

3. The New Covenant

About 800 years before Jesus (Yeshua) was born, the Prophet Isaiah wrote about  the ministry, suffering and death of the Messiah, and the salvation he would win for the people:

Isaiah 42
“I, Yahweh, have called You
for a righteous purpose,
and I will hold You by Your hand.
I will keep You and appoint You
to be a covenant for the people
and a light to the nations,
in order to open blind eyes,
to bring out prisoners from the dungeon,
and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.

Isaiah 53
Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,
and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.
We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished Him
for the iniquity of us all.

Peter writes of the victory over sin, and healing  Jesus has won for us by His obedience and sacrifice of himself.

1 Peter 2
24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree,
so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness;
you have been healed by His wounds.
25 For you were like sheep going astray,
but you have now returned
to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Paul (Shaul) prays in Ephesians 1 that those who follow the Messiah will know the hope of His calling and the riches of His inheritance, according to the working of His vast strength:

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.

Psalm 96 affirms that God is the King of the Earth.  Because of His covenants of love with His people, those who are in the Messiah can now walk and live in victory, with His authority, proclaiming His salvation from day to day:

Sing a new song to the Lord;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to Yahweh, praise His name;
proclaim His salvation from day to day.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net,1/19/14
(Bible Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

Posted by: dhkrause | January 6, 2014

The Everlasting Covenant

Before time began, a covenant was formed between the Father and the Son of God, with the Holy Spirit as the witness.  James L. Garlow and Rob Price in their 2013 book, “The Blood Covenant”, describe five distinct features of this everlasting covenant.

Five Distinct Features of the Everlasting Covenant

1. Eternal – This covenant was both outside of time and everlasting.  Hebrews 13 reveals that it included the commitment of the Son to give his life, and the promise of the Father to raise him from the dead:

Hebrews 13
20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.

2. Gift to Humanity – With the appearing of Jesus (Yeshua) as the Son of Man in the earth, God made available this covenant love to people made in His image.  Paul (Shaul) states in 2 Timothy 1 that we are redeemed by the power of this eternal covenant, not by any works that we have done:

2 Timothy 1
He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
10 This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

3. Hidden from Angels – Paul describes in Ephesians 3 how God withheld the revelation of the everlasting covenant from the angelic host for a season:

Ephesians 3
This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. 10 This is so God’s multifaceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. 11 This is according to His eternal purpose accomplished in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord. 12 In Him we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.

The four living creatures around God’s throne in Revelation 4 are a type of the angelic host, worshiping with ever unfolding fresh revelation about the love of God:

Revelation 4
Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty,
who was, who is, and who is coming.

James Garlow and Rob Price write: “Three times they cry “holy”, which means “set apart or sacred.”  Why three?  Holy is God the Father’s love toward the Son.  Holy is God the Son’s love toward the Father.  Holy is the Spirit’s ability to include a creature – humankind – in this dance of love!”

4. Humans were Chosen – Ephesians 1 describes God’s sovereign choice:

Ephesians 1
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

James Garlow and Rob Price write, “Humankind is chosen to join this holy relationship within the Trinity.  This has nothing to do with our performance before him.  We did nothing to earn this right.  Instead we were chosen out of all God’s glorious creations across the universe to be “blood covenanted” to him.

“And not only were we chosen for something special, but Jesus was chosen for something special.  First Peter 1:10-20 says, “But with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (emphasis added).  The Son, not the Father or the Spirit was chosen in the deep counsel of the Godhead before the creation of the world to be the Lamb of the blood sacrifice of the everlasting covenant.”

(In Acts 2:22-24 (KJV), Peter likewise refers to the death and resurrection of Jesus as by the “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.”)

5. A Promise was Made – Every covenant involves a promise to another.  Paul declares in Titus 1 that God promised eternal life before time began:

Titus 1
Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

James Garlow and Rob Price write, “Was this “promise before time began” made directly to us as human beings?  No.  We didn’t exist yet!  The promise of the everlasting covenant was made between the Father and the Son.  And the One who oversees and mediates this covenant is the Spirit.  … Humankind was, in essence, included in the blessings of this covenant, but we were not partakers or even present when this covenant happened.  … God was up to something very significant before he “made the heavens and the earth.”  He was making a covenant.  An everlasting covenant.

In Leviticus  17:11, God declares, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement.”   Jesus knew that this verse was prophetically pointing to himself as “the Lamb of God” who would one day take “away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)  James Garlow and Rob Price write, “The sinless human blood of Jesus is the covenant blood of the everlasting covenant and was manifested to us as the new covenant at just the right time in God’s province.”

Their book concludes: “At its heart, the covenant is an expression of God’s faithful, enduring love, demonstrated in the death of Christ, from which flows reconciliation, relationship, authority and many treasures more.  The covenant was not merely made – it was lovingly kept for you and for us, and we enjoy the inexplicable benefits of it.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 1/5/2013
(Bible Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

Posted by: dhkrause | December 22, 2013

Trust in God Alone

In Psalm 62, David describes how he has rest, salvation and glory in God alone.  His refuge and strength are in God, his strong rock.  Faithful love belongs to Him and He repays each according to his works.

Psalm 62
I am at rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will never be shaken.

My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock.
My refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts before Him.
God is our refuge. Selah

11 God has spoken once;
I have heard this twice:
strength belongs to God,
12 and faithful love belongs to You, Lord.
For You repay each according to his works.

Psalm 33 also speaks of trusting in God as our help and shield, putting our hope in Him, and praying  that His faithful love will rest on us.

Psalm 33
20 We wait for Yahweh;
He is our help and shield.
21 For our hearts rejoice in Him
because we trust in His holy name.
22 May Your faithful love rest on us, Yahweh,
for we put our hope in You.

This Biblical theme, of strength, salvation, and faithful love coming from God alone,  is conveyed even by the Hebrew words contained in the first sixteen letters of the Bible.  Dr. Yonathan Fass has analyzed these embedded Hebrew words in great depth.  In his book, “Creation’s Heartbeat”, he writes:

“The entry code to the Bible declares that the heartbeat of creation is the Creator’s loving kindness expressed through sacrifice to make relationship.  All that follows can be read – is to be searched and understood – in this light.  Here is where God is to be found.”  (p. 165)

Dr. Fass explains that the third word in the Hebrew Bible, and first name given for God, is “Elohim”, with roots meaning “the God who laments”.  This ties in with the Biblical theme that the Creator knew that there would be a breach in relationship due to the errant decisions of those made in His image and likeness, and planned from the beginning to restore this relationship through a sacrificial covenant including the Son of God dying in our place and rising again.

Dr. Fass shows how these embedded Hebrew words also strongly suggest that the restoration of relationship between the Creator and created beings now depends upon the decision of individuals to receive this sacrifice and to enter freely into His offered covenant of love.

The coming of the Son of God to bring this salvation to God’s people is prophetically pictured in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.”

Isaiah 53 describes how the Messiah would take upon Himself the judgment for our sins to enable restoration of relationship with God:

Isaiah 53
But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.  We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.

“Yeshua” is the actual Hebrew name of Jesus.  This name in Hebrew means “Salvation”,  or more precisely, “Yahweh Saves”.  Matthew records that when an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream he said, “you are to name Him Yeshua (Jesus), because He will save His people from their sins.”  Matthew notes that this all took place to fulfill God’s word spoken by Isaiah.

Matthew 1
18 The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Yeshua (Jesus), because He will save His people from their sins.”
22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel,
which is translated “God is with us.”

God alone is our refuge and salvation, not any works that we may do.  We receive this salvation by believing in the Son of God who came to die in our place and is risen again.  This is the message of John 3:16:

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.

Paul (Shaul) explains this further in Romans 3 and 6:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

This salvation by God alone received through faith in His Son means that nothing has the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Romans 8
38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers,
39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 12/21/13

(Bible Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

Posted by: dhkrause | December 9, 2013

God’s Word is Truth

God’s word is truth.  There is creative power in declaring our agreement with the words God has spoken over our lives.  The next step is walking out those promises in faithful love, as the psalmist describes in Psalm 119:

Psalm 119
159 Consider how I love Your precepts;
Lord, give me life according to Your faithful love.
160 The entirety of Your word is truth,
and all Your righteous judgments endure forever.

Underscoring the cleansing power of God’s word, Jesus (Yeshua) in praying for the disciples in John 17 declares: “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.”

John 17
Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said:
Father, the hour has come.
Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You,
for You gave Him authority over all flesh;
so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him.
This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God,
and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.

17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.
18 As You sent Me into the world,
I also have sent them into the world.
19 I sanctify Myself for them,
so they also may be sanctified by the truth.

God is faithful to keep His word; let us now keep our promises to Him.  David in his prayer of thanks in Psalm 138 declares, “You have exalted Your name and Your promise [Your word] above everything else.”

Psalm 138
I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing Your praise before the heavenly beings.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple
and give thanks to Your name
for Your constant love and truth. You have exalted Your name
and Your promise above everything else.
On the day I called, You answered me;
You increased strength within me.

God founded the earth and established the heavens by His words of power and wisdom, as Proverbs 3 declares:

 Proverbs 3
19 The Lord founded the earth by wisdom
and established the heavens by understanding.
20 By His knowledge the watery depths broke open,
and the clouds dripped with dew.

Proverbs 8 describes how God’s living word of wisdom was a “skilled craftsman beside Him” as He formed the earth, sky and oceans.

Proverbs 8
22 “The Lord made me at the beginning of His creation,
before His works of long ago.
23 I was formed before ancient times,
from the beginning, before the earth began.
24 I was born when there were no watery depths
and no springs filled with water.
25 I was delivered before the mountains and hills were established,
26 before He made the land, the fields, or the first soil on earth.
27 I was there when He established the heavens,
when He laid out the horizon on the surface of the ocean
,
28 when He placed the skies above,
when the fountains of the ocean gushed out,
29 when He set a limit for the sea
so that the waters would not violate His command,
when He laid out the foundations of the earth.
30 I was a skilled craftsman beside Him.
I was His delight every day, always rejoicing before Him
.
31 I was rejoicing in His inhabited world, delighting in the human race.

David’s prayer in Psalm 110 predicts that God’s living Word would be born as Israel’s Messiah, and will one day reign as a priestly king over the world:

Psalm 110
This is the declaration of the Lord to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
The Lord will extend Your mighty scepter from Zion.
Rule over Your surrounding enemies.
Your people will volunteer on Your day of battle.
In holy splendor, from the womb of the dawn,
the dew of Your youth belongs to You.
The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back:
“Forever, You are a priest like Melchizedek.”

Isaiah 9 describes this coming king as the Prince of Peace, the Son of God who will reign forever on the throne of David:

Isaiah 9
For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on His shoulders.  He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end.
He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on
and forever.  The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

Jesus (Yeshua) is coming again to fulfill these kingly prophecies.  In his first coming, he fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that the Messiah would take upon himself the punishment for our sins.  God’s word of truth declares that by believing in Him we have eternal life:

But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.  We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.  (Isaiah 53:5-6)

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)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 12/8/2013

(Bible Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

Posted by: dhkrause | November 25, 2013

Dimensions of Faith and Love

The Bible describes many facets and dimensions of faith and love.  One aspect of faith is trusting God to lead and protect and be with us always.  In Psalm 61, David prays for God to lead him, and to continue to be a strong tower for him in the face of the enemy.  He declares his faith that he will live in God’s presence forever, and take refuge under the shelter of His wings.

Psalm 61
God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer.
I call to You from the ends of the earth
when my heart is without strength.
Lead me to a rock that is high above me,
for You have been a refuge for me,
a strong tower in the face of the enemy.
I will live in Your tent forever
and take refuge under the shelter of Your wings.  Selah

The width of God’s love is revealed in Psalm 67, where the Psalmist prays that God’s salvation will be known among all nations, and that all will praise, rejoice and shout for joy as He leads the nations of the earth.

Psalm 67
May God be gracious to us and bless us;
look on us with favor Selah
so that Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, God;
let all the peoples praise You.
Let the nations rejoice and shout for joy,
for You judge the peoples with fairness
and lead the nations on earth.  Selah

Paul (Shaul) explains in Galatians 5 that faith in the Messiah, working through love, sets us free:

Galatians 5
Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.
For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.

In Ephesians 3, Paul prays that the Messiah may dwell in our hearts through faith, and that we may be rooted and established in love.  He prays that we may know the depths of God’s love more and more through Jesus (Yeshua), the Son of God who laid down his life for us.

Ephesians 3
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

God’s love is wide, reaching to all peoples.  His love is long, never ending.  His love is high, reaching to the skies.  His love is deep, reaching the depths all that we are.  Walking by His power we live for His glory.  Kim Walker Smith in her sermon, “Falling in Love with Jesus”, reminds us that  “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)  Her testimony is an example for every believer as she exhorts:

Encounter His love. Nurture and grow your relationship with Him.
Fall back in love with Him daily. The whole Bible is about restoration.
Respond to His love. He tore the veil. Nothing can separate us from His love, so freely given.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=xbzUpByf1hE
In this sermon Kim gives the testimony behind her well-known song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=JoC1ec-lYps)

In Romans 8, Paul describes how those who are in the Messiah are now set free:

Romans 8
Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.

Being led by the Spirit, we are God’s sons and daughters:

14 All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Walking by faith, we are heading for glory with God.  He promises to make all things work together for the good of those who love Him.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.
28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  Even in times of tragedy or martyrdom we are victorious by His power:

38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers,
things present or things to come, hostile powers,
39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Walking with the Messiah, we are rooted in love, established in faith, and overflowing with gratitude:

Colossians
Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, http://compellinglove.net/, 11/24/13

(Bible Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

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