Posted by: dhkrause | August 19, 2018

Beautiful Savior

Beautiful Savior

The beloved hymn, “Fairest Lord Jesus” motivates us to fix our eyes on our beautiful Savior.  Christ humbly came to this earth as a baby, but all “Glory and honor, praise and adoration, now and forevermore” belong to Him.  By contemplating the lyrics of this old song, we will be better able when we sing it to “put on the garment of praise”, “praise with the spirit and with understanding” and “magnify the Lord” (as a contemporary song exhorts).

Stanza 1
Fairest Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.

The first stanza extols Christ as the Ruler of all nature.  This echoes a theme found in John 1 and Colossians 1:5, that Christ – the Son of God and Son of Man –  is the One by whom and for whom we each were created.

John 1 (NKJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 

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

Colossians 1:16 (NKJV)
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 

Blooming Garb of Spring

Stanza 2
Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
who makes the woeful heart to sing.

The second stanza calls attention  to the beauty of nature – making special mention of meadows, woodlands and blooming flowers.  These reflect the radiant beauty of our Creator, who makes our woeful hearts to sing.  Paul gives this description of Christ’s glory and beauty:

2 Corinthians 4:6  (NKJV)
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Shines Brighter

Stanza 3
Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.

The third stanza salutes the awesome beauty of sunshine, moonlight and the “twinkling starry host”.  Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”  Psalm 19 and Romans 1 make this same point:

Psalm 19:1 (NKJV)
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

 Romans 1:20 (NKJV)
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

 Yet the light of Christ is brighter and purer than all that nature or the angels of heaven can boast.  We will never walk in darkness when we follow Him.

John 8:12 (NKJV)
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

If we walk in His light, we too will be the light of the world as He declares:

Matthew 5  (NKJV)
14 “You are the light of the world…  16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Psalm 22_28

Stanza 4
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
now and forevermore be thine.

The fourth stanza acknowledges our beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, as the Lord of all the nations.  Psalm 22, a prophetic psalm about the Messiah, declares His coming rulership over all the nations.

Psalm 22 (NKJV)
27 All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s,
And He rules over the nations.

The last two lines of the fourth stanza are an exuberant response to this awesome revelation of our Lord: “Glory and honor, praise, adoration, now and forevermore be thine.”  The first stanza includes the opportunity for the worshiper to personally respond, “Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor; Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 8//18/2018, https://compellinglove.net/ 

Photo credits:

(1)  https://vimeo.com/61902737
(2)  https://medium.com/congregational-song/fairest-lord-jesus-beautiful-savior-f4459fc88a1e
(3)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6WMcjk4ZQo
(4) http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/versesjh/index.htm

Posted by: dhkrause | August 5, 2018

Light of the World

John 8_12

Jesus declares in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  He said this right after refusing to condemn the woman caught in adultery, and directing her to “go and sin no more.”  In the next chapter, Jesus demonstrates in yet another way that He is the light of the world, by healing a man born blind.

John 9  (NKJV)
A Man Born Blind Receives Sight
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in himI must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

The healed man boldly testified to the Pharisees how Jesus had healed him, and they threw him out.

24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

John 9_25

Later Jesus found the healed man, and gave him spiritual sight as well as physical.

John 9  (NKJV)
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”

37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”

38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”

41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.

Jesus also declares in Matthew 5,  “You are the light of the world.”

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5_14-16

In Psalm 27, David exuberantly describes how the Lord is his light and his salvation, and the strength of his life.

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

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

13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

In Psalm 36, David extols God’s faithful love, and declares in verse 8,

“For with You is the fountain of life; In your light we see light.”

Psalm 36_9

Psalm 36  (NKJV)
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

The beginning of John’s gospel declares the oneness of the Son of God with the Father before the world began.  The living Word gives light to every person coming into the world.  “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”  … “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:4, 9)

John 1 (NKJV)
The Eternal Word
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1_6-9

The living Word of God is truly the source of all consciousness and light, both physical and spiritual:

John 1 (NKJV)
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

. . .

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

. . .

18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 4:6)

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 8/4/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1)  http://bibleinspirations.org/i-am-the-light-of-the-world-whoever-follows-me-will-never-walk-in-darkness-but-have-the-light-of-life/
(2)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D82pB64UY8E
(3)  https://thinkthebible.org/graphics/verse-graphics/23-gospels/167-matthew-5-14-16
(4) https://www.janiscox.com/sunday-stillness-psalm-369/
(5) https://mudpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/the-true-light-john-1_9.jpg

 

Posted by: dhkrause | July 22, 2018

The Kingdom of Christ’s Love

Colossians 1_13-14

Jesus prayed in John 17:26, “I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  Jesus came to deliver us from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His love, as described in Colossians 1:13-14.

Colossians 1 (NKJV)
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long-suffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 

Romans 5_8

Jesus said 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.”  This is the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us, as explained in Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:10.

Romans 5 New King James Version (NKJV)
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for usMuch more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

1 John 4:10 (AMPC)
In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.

John 6_35

In John 6, Jesus further described His atoning sacrifice for us that we receive by faith in Him:

John 6 (NKJV)
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.”

The power of Jesus’ blood that was shed for the sins of the world is declared in Revelation 1:5-6, along with the high priestly calling of believers.

Revelation 1 (NKJV)
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who ­­­­­are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.  To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own bloodand has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 1_5

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, ”says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Having been transferred from the power of darkness into His kingdom of love, it is now our joyous privilege to walk in the light as he is in the light, in fellowship with Him and with one another, as described in 1 John 1.

1 John 1 (NKJV)
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 7/21/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1)  http://mastershandcollection.com/blog/category/monday-motivation/page/2/
(2)  https://www.amazingfacts.org/news-and-features/scripture-pictures/scripture-pictures-by-verse/verse/e/28056/t/romans-5-8
(3)  https://www.deviantart.com/bible-quote/art/John-6-35-Daily-Bible-Verse-563677463
(4)  https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/revelation-1-5-jesus-christ-the-faithful-witness-red

Posted by: dhkrause | July 8, 2018

Love that is Better than Life

Psalm 63_3-4 (2)

What kind of love would cause a person to declare like David, “Your love is better than life”?  He wrote, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.   I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”  Psalm 63:3-4 (NIV) 

David wrote this Psalm when he was in the wilderness of Judah, possibly while fleeing from his son Absalom and others who sought his life.  Certainly David had a deep revelation of the love of God, and he looked forward to meeting his Redeemer who would one day stand upon the earth, to whom he refers in Psalm 16 as “Your Holy One” who would not see corruption.

Psalm 16 (NKJV)
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16_11 (2)

Job also expressed his hope in the coming Redeemer when he declared, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth.” (Job 19:25 NKJV) He did not understand why God was allowing him to experience so many tragedies and illnesses, but he told his critical friends, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.  Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.” (Job 13:15)  Job would argue his case before God but no matter what, he would continue to hope and trust in Him.

The trust and love shown by Job and by David in these statements is a testimony to their faith in the coming Redeemer and the promise of eternal life.  These expectations were fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ, who declared: “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)

The revelation of God’s love that comes with the entrance of Jesus into your life enables you to declare like David, “Your love is better than life!”  His abiding love becomes more precious to you than life itself.  “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4 NKJV)

 The four Gospels reveal complementary aspects of our Redeemer who was anticipated by Job and by David, and even by the Old Testament as a whole.  Norman L. Geisler writes in his book, “Christ: the Theme of the Bible”, Moody Press, 1968, p. 101-102:

The Gospels: The Manifestation of Christ

“The anticipation of the Old Testament is the realization of the New Testament.  The Old Testament deals with the national preparation and expectation of Christ; the Gospels provided the personal manifestation of the Saviour.  His manifestation as recorded in the Gospels is fourfold.

Zech. 9_9

Matthew: Christ is Manifest as Royalty

 “His lineage is traced to a sovereign (He is the Son of David) and to a sacrifice (the Son of Abraham) (Matt. 1:1).  Christ is represented by the symbol of the lion (Ezek. 1:10), the king of beasts.  In the words of Zechariah, the Jews are told, “Lo, your king comes to you” (Zech. 9:9).

Mark: Christ is Manifest in His Ministry

“He is the Servant of Jehovah (Isa. 53:11), symbolized by the ox, and presented to the Romans.  His ancestry is not traced (a servant needs none), but His activity is predominant.  Matthew stressed what Jesus taught, but Mark emphasized what Jesus wrought (Mark 10:45), as Isaiah said, “Behold, my servant” (Isa. 52:13).

Luke: Christ is Manifest in His Perfect Humanity

 “Christ’s ancestry is here traced to the first man, Adam.  Luke stressed not what Jesus taught (As Matthew did) or wrought (as Mark did), but what He sought.  Luke writes, “For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).  Zechariah stated the theme in advance when he wrote, “Behold, the man” (Zech. 6:12).

John 1_1-2,14

John: Christ is Manifest in His Deity

“John wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14).  He does not trace Christ’s ancestry to human royalty (as Matthew did), or leave it in anonymity (as Mark did), nor trace it to the origin of humanity (as Luke did), but he traces it to deity and to eternity.  In John, Christ is seen as the eagle soaring into the heavens and, as in no other gospel, it is manifest what Jesus thought (cf. John 13-17).  In Matthew, Jesus fulfills man’s needs for righteousness (cf. Matt. 3:15); in Mark, man’s need for service (Mark 10:45); in Luke, man’s need of redemption (Luke 19:10); and in John, man’s need for life, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV).”

At the Last Supper, after washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus raised the standard of love higher than just loving others as yourself.  He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)  In John 17:26, He prayed that His followers would enjoy the same love relationship that He has with His Father: “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” 

Now this is love that is better than life!

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com,7/7/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1)  http://flowerbless.blogspot.com/2016/06/
(2)  http://flowerbless.blogspot.com/2013/02/you-will-show-me-path-of-life-in-your.html
(3)  https://biblia.com/bible/kjv1900/Zech%209.9
(4)  https://www.heartlight.org/cgi-shl/todaysverse.cgi?day=20181201&ver=niv

Posted by: dhkrause | June 24, 2018

Resurrection Life

John 11_25

Jesus declared in John 11:25 (NKJV), “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to the Christian faith.  The Old Testament points to this event.  The New Testament attests to it and describes its promise and significance for our lives here and now.  Bruce A. Demarest writes in his book, “Jesus Christ: the God-Man”:

“At the heart  of the Christian faith is the claim that Jesus Christ on the third day rose from the dead and is alive forevermore.  The Apostles’ Creed confesses in simple words, ‘I believe in Jesus Christ … who … the third day rose from the dead.’”

“Before He returned to heaven, Jesus claimed that His death and resurrection were foretold in the Old Testament (Luke 24:25-27, 44-46).  The Apostle Paul also declared that Christ both died and rose again in direct fulfillment of prophetic Scripture (1 Cor. 15:4).”

Luke 24 (NKJV)
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Luke 24_46-48

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

 46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

1 Corinthians 15 (NKJV)Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

Job 19_25

“Job’s confession surely anticipated our Lord’s rising.  “I know that my Redeemer lives and at the last He will take His stand on the earth” (Job 19:25)  David, also, inspired by the Spirit, could say, “Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).  We know this prophecy was not totally fulfilled in David’s experience because Peter (Acts 2:25-28) and Paul (Acts 13:25-37) clearly testify that David was speaking of Christ who had yet to come.  (Bruce A. Demarest, “Jesus Christ: the God-Man”, Victor Books, 1978, p. 113-114)

[Note also Psalm 16:10: “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”]

Isaiah prophesied that the Lord of Hosts would “swallow up death forever”:

Isaiah 25 (NKJV)
He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.

The resurrection of Jesus fits the picture prophesied by Hosea 6:2:

Hosea 6 (NKJV)
A Call to Repentance
6 Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight
.

Hosea 6_2

Bruce Demarest continues:

As Barnes notes in his commentary, “The prophet expressly mentions two days, after which life would be given, and a third day, on which the resurrection should take place.  What else can this be than the two days in which the body of Christ lay in the tomb, and the third day, on which He rose again?”

 In the Gospels, Jesus rarely spoke of his impending death without mention of His resurrection three days later.  At the outset of His public ministry the Lord said to the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up” (John 2:19).  It was clear to John that Jesus spoke of His own body (John 2:21).  Later the Lord used the story of Jonah’s three days in the belly of a whale to foretell His own death and resurrection (Matt. 12:40).

 After Peter’s confession near Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:21) Jesus made specific predictions of His resurrection.  He made the point so often that even the chief priests and Pharisees got wind of it and told Pilate that Jesus claimed He would rise after three days (Matt. 27:63).  (ibid, p. 114-115)

Matthew 16_21

Matthew 16  (NKJV)
Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

 Matthew 27 (NKJV)
Pilate Sets a Guard
62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 

The Resurrection holds promise of eternal life for believers, and also empowers us here and now, as Bruce Demarest describes,

If Christ did not rise from the dead there would be no resurrection life in the Spirit.  Scripture makes the astounding claim that the believer, spiritually united with the risen Christ, participates in the reality and power of his Lord’s resurrection life (Rom. 6:4-5).  In a real sense God sees believers as risen with Christ (Col. 3:1) and seated in heavenly places in Him (Eph. 2:5-6).

A Scotsman was once asked if he ever expected to go to heaven.  His immediate reply was, “Why, mon, I live there!” He entered heaven before leaving this body because he possessed the reality of Christ’s resurrection life. (ibid, p. 117)

Romans 6_4

God wills that He be glorified through the reality of the risen Lord living powerfully in and through His blood-bought people.
(ibid, p. 122)

Romans 6:4-5 (NIV)
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.

Colossians 3:1 (NIV)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Ephesians 2 (NIV)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 6/24/2008, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1) https://weheartit.com/entry/173890152
(2) http://slideplayer.com/slide/3352707/
(3) http://www.dailylifeverse.com/posts/2012/09/job-19-25-
(4) https://www.jesuslovesyoutoday.org/bible_study_pictures_and_notes/hosea_4-7
(5) http://slideplayer.com/slide/3536959/
(6) http://meditationsbyapril.com/printables/romans-6-4/

Posted by: dhkrause | June 10, 2018

Christ Our Redeemer

Isaiah 54_5

To redeem means theologically “to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner”.  The Bible describes both the redemption of Israel as a people, and the redemption of individuals through the Messiah, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Describing the redemption of Israel, the Bible declares in Isaiah 54:5 (NIV), “For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” 

The redemption of individual believers is exemplified in Job’s declaration of faith in his coming Redeemer who would one day stand on the earth:

Job 19 (NKJV)
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.

Job was trusting that the Redeemer who would one day stand on the earth would raise him up into eternal life with God.  In the fullness of time, the Son of God who is the living Word became a human being and made his home with us:

John 1:14 (NKJV)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1_14

Describing the purpose of His coming, Jesus declared:

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.

Jesus sometimes described the purpose of His coming using the word “ransom”:

 Mark 10:45 (NKJV)
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

To clarify the Biblical usage of the word “ransom”, Bruce A. Demarest writes:

“In the Old Testament, a ransom was the price paid to secure a slave’s release (Isaiah 45:13).  Thus Christ’s death somehow may be likened to the price paid to obtain the sinner’s release from the slavery of sin and death (Matt. 20:28, 1 Tim. 2:6).

“Christ’s death is also represented as a redemption.  The idea here is the slave’s release from bondage (Ex. 21:8).  Thus the Apostles taught that Christ’s blood shed on the cross effectively secures our release from the domain of Satan (Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).”
(Bruce A. Demarest, “Jesus Christ: the God-Man”, Victor Books, 1978, p. 110)

Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

1 Peter 1_18-19

1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV)
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

John the Immerser testified about Jesus’ coming work of atonement:

John 1 (NKJV)
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

In His atoning death on the cross, Jesus took the judgment for the sins of the world upon Himself.  In the aforementioned book, Bruce Demarest writes:

“In the Old Testament the mercy seat, in the Holy of Holies, was the place where the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled.  As a result of the blood God’s wrath was appeased.  Similarly, the blood-sprinkled body of Christ became for all time the “mercy seat” for sinners.  Through Christ’s death on the cross, all the demands of a holy and just God were satisfied.  The divine anger was turned into kindly favor.” (ibid, p. 110)

“Christ’s atonement has removed every obstacle to salvation except willful resistance to the Gospel.  As Matthew Henry put it, the Atonement “is sufficient for all, but effectual for many.” (ibid, p. 112)

John 8_36

Jesus, the Son of God, releases us from bondage to sin, so that we can be the kind of person God created us to be, as He declared to his detractors in John chapter 8:

John 8 (NIV)
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Jesus Christ delivers us from being enslaved by the fear of death.  Death holds no fear when you know you have Jesus.

Hebrews 2 (NIV)
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 

John 10_10 (2)

The devil and his minions have no power or authority over those who trust in Christ.  We can live life to the full as the people God created us to be.  Jesus taught in John 10:10 (NIV), “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  We read in Luke 10 that even demons are subject to the power of Jesus’ name:

Luke 10 (NIV)
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Authority over the power of the enemy continues to reside in those who walk faithfully with the Lord, as Paul assures:

Romans 16:20 (NKJV)
And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

 John 1:4 (NKJV) declares, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”  Those who receive Jesus Christ and believe in his name are born again into the family of God:   

John 1 (NKJV)  12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 6/10/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbc_jUEADok
(2) http://bibleoutlines.com/blog/marveling-incarnation-word-god-john-114-18/
(3) http://www.kcisradio.com/2017/01/27/1-peter-11819/
(4) https://www.pinterest.com/pin/156077943310855335/
(5) https://www.versaday.com/Months/07/0719.aspx

 

Posted by: dhkrause | May 27, 2018

Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and Son of God

1 Timothy 2_5-6

Paul declares in 1 Timothy 2:5-6, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time”

Jesus Christ is both the Son of Man and the Son of God.  Therefore, He alone was qualified to pay the judgment for the sins of the world.  He laid down his life so that all who believe in him can have eternal life.  In explaining this to Nicodemus in John 3, Jesus refers to himself both as “the Son of Man” and “the Son of God”.

John 3 (NKJV)
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Daniel 7_13

This title, “the Son of Man”, which Jesus frequently used when referring to himself, is the same term used by the prophet Daniel in his vision of God’s coming kingdom.

Daniel 7 (NKJV)
13 “I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.

Online theologian “Johannes” explains that  Jesus is the eternal Son of God who has assumed a human nature, as pictured in Daniel’s prophecy.  He adds, “It is precisely because He is the Son of God that, in his human nature, He will be given dominion and glory and is worthy of being served and worshiped by all peoples.” (https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/24923/difference-between-son-of-man-and-son-of-god )

Because Jesus Christ is both the Son of Man and the Son of God, and because He was faithful to do all that the Father gave Him to do, the blood He shed for us is able to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Receiving him and believing in him, we are able to “walk in the light as He is in the light”, as 1 John 1 describes.

1 John 1_7 (3)

1 John 1 (NKJV)
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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.”  Every soul is precious to God. When we trust in Him with all our heart, He promises to direct our ways, leading us into ever increasing light, as pictured in Proverbs 3 and 4.

Proverbs 3 (NKJV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 4:18 (NIV)
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

Romans 12_2

In Romans 12, Paul urges believers to offer our whole lives as a “living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God”.  Then we will be “transformed by the renewing of our mind”.  Our goal is to be what He wants us to be, knowing and walking in His will and purpose for our lives.

Romans 12 (NIV)
A Living Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul sums up the calling we as believers have to reveal Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and Son of God, to the world.

2 Corinthians 5 (NKJV)
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 5/27/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.pinterest.com/thebible4/1-timothy/
(2) https://biblepaedia.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/prophecies-of-christ-daniel-713-14/
(3) http://www.rgcaz.org/2016/06/june-1-john-17/
(4) https://thepreachersword.com/2014/09/17/great-verses-of-the-bible-romans-121-2/

Posted by: dhkrause | May 13, 2018

Sovereign Lord, Loving Father, Steadfast Friend

Romans 8_28

The God we serve is our Sovereign Lord, Loving Father and Steadfast Friend.

Let us examine and take to heart all three of these relationships:

(1) He is our Sovereign Lord
(2) He is our Loving Father
(3) He is our Steadfast friend.

 1. He is our Sovereign Lord

God makes all things work together for good who love Him.  He calls us according to His purpose, and He leads us forth into new life, increasingly reflecting more of Jesus.

Romans 8 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Jesus speaks about God’s sovereign care for His people in Luke 12.  Even when we encounter setbacks or suffer loss, He is there, and He is mighty to save, heal and restore.

Luke 12 (NKJV)
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

The beloved hymn, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” was inspired by this verse:

His Eye is on the Sparrow

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

2. He is our Loving Father

Every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

James 1_17

James 1
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

God’s greatest gift is eternal and abundant life through Jesus Christ, His Son:

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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Paul asks in Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

3. He is our Steadfast Friend

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  This is what Jesus did for all who believe in him.  We are not only servants, but he calls us friends.

John 15_13

John 15
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

God wants us to know Him as both servants and friends.  Pastor Robert Morris writes,

“God invites us into a true friendship with Him.  We should keep in mind the greatness of the Person to whom we’re talking and relating.  However, Jesus also clearly says, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) …”

“God speaks to people.  He spoke to people in the Bible, and He still speaks today.  God spoke in many different ways in the Scriptures.  He speaks to people because He cares about them.  God constantly speaks to people, always inviting them to draw a step closer to Him.  He speaks to us today because the Holy Spirit indwells us.  Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will speak to us and tell us what He hears (John 16).”
(Frequency Study Guide – Tune in, Hear God, Gateway Press, 2017, p.20)

John 16_13

God still speaks to people, more than ever, as Jesus promised in John 16:

John 16 (NKJV)
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

The God who created the heavens and the earth wants to be friends with you and me, not only to guide and comfort, but to be intimate friends forever.  The song,
My Redeemer Lives”, sung by Nicole C. Mullen, fervently conveys this same message.

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well I know my Redeemer lives, I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies, This life within me cries,
I know my Redeemer lives

He lives, my Redeemer lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
He lives, I know, I know He lives,
I spoke with Him this morning!
He lives, The tomb is empty!
He lives, He Lives! I’m going to tell everybody!

He invites us to be with Him every day, as friend with friend:Matthew 11_28-30

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com 5/13/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo Credits

(1) http://www.bibleverseimages.com/romans-8-28.htm

(2) https://www.godtube.com/popular-hymns/his-eye-is-on-the-sparrow/

(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ne1CgZ_RY8

(4) http://lovinglifeathome.com/

(5) http://newlife-atl.org/about-us/what-we-believe/what-we-believe-about-the-holy-spirit/

(6) https://www.amazon.com/Matthew-11-28-30-Vinyl-Weary/dp/B007LS1WXI

Song Videos

Ethel Waters His Eye Is On The Sparrow ( 1975 )

Nicole C Mullen My Redeemer Lives (Official Video)

Posted by: dhkrause | April 29, 2018

The Greatest Commandment

Mark 12_30

Jesus was asked, “What is the first commandment of all?”  He replied, giving both the first and second greatest commandments:

Mark 12 (NKJV)
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Let us examine all three parts of Jesus’ answer:

(1) Hearing the one true God
(2) Loving God with your whole being
(3) Loving others as yourself

1. Hearing the one true God

1 Timothy 2 declares that “there is one God”, and describes “the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

1 Timothy 2_5

1 Timothy 2 (NKJV)
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

When Jesus called four fishermen to be his disciples, He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:18-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

1 Corinthians 8 declares “there is one God” and then describes the lordship of Jesus Christ under the Father.

1 Corinthians 8
yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

 1. Loving God with your whole being

Loving God with all you are requires a pure and undivided heart.  Jesus says in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Psalm 51_10 (2)

God said of David, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ (Acts 13:22)  Yet David sometimes had a divided heart, as seen in his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, Uriah.  He suffered grave consequences for these sins, but God did restore Him spiritually when he repented and prayed for God to create in him a clean [undivided] heart:

 Psalm 51
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

 In Jeremiah 24:7, God describes the people who are returning to Him:

Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.

Jesus teaches about the need for an undivided heart in Matthew 6:24 (NIV):

Matthew 6_24

Loving God with one’s whole being means being truly set apart to do His will, as Jesus prays in John 17:

John 17 (NET Bible)
17 Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart.

Loving God with one’s whole heart means purifying oneself to be like Jesus, as 1 John 3 declares:

1 John 3 (NKJV)
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

3. Loving others as yourself

In John 13, Jesus raises the standard for loving others.  Instead of just loving our neighbors as ourselves, He commands, “love one another as I have loved you.”

John 13_34

John 13 (NKJV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Having a pure heart towards God enables a person to love others deeply and fervently, from the heart.

1 Peter 1:22-23 (NIV)
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

1 Peter 1_22

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 4/28/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1) https://bibleversestogo.com/products/mark-12-30-love-the-lord-your-god-with-all-your-heart
(2) https://themasterstable.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/1-tim-2-5.png
(3) http://ourdailyblossom.com/2012/07/28/bible-verse-psalm-5110/
(4) https://psalmstube.com/october-17-2016-matthew-6-24/
(5) http://www.knowing-jesus.com/john-13-34
(6) http://www.scriptureme.me/1%20Peter/1/22/

 

Posted by: dhkrause | April 15, 2018

Wisdom from Above

Wisdom from Above (James 3_13-18)

With the help of many loving supporters in the United States, my friend Namugawe Esther, leader of the Unstoppable Love Orphanage in Uganda, was able to send all of her twenty-three children to public schools this term.  The current term is closing in two weeks (at the end of April), and the children will be taking their end of term exams.  Esther says, “They do well because the Bible says in Proverbs [9:10] that ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.’  They will do really well and I know they will get promoted to the next term for further learning.  I give all the glory to God and I pray for them every day, for God to give them wisdom, because it only comes from above.”

Indeed, God delights to give the wisdom we need whenever we simply ask.  James 1 promises that if any person prays in faith asking God for wisdom, it will be given generously:

 James 1 (NKJV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

James 1_5-6 (Feed Your Faith, Starve Your Doubts)

James later declares that our heavenly Father gives good and perfect gifts, including bringing us forth into new life through his word of truth.

James 1 (NKJV)
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1_16-17 Every Good and Perfect Gift

18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

James 1_18 Reborn thru the Word of Truth - Firstfruits

James proceeds to contrast true and false wisdom.  Wisdom so-called that is filled with envy and selfish ambition is unspiritual and from below.  True wisdom that comes from above is filled with mercy and bears good fruit.

James 3 (NKJV)
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

The true wisdom from above comes from trusting the Lord rather than in the arrogant speculations of men (Psalm 118:8), allowing Him to illuminate our understanding:

Proverbs 3 (NKJV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3_5-6 NKJV

Proverbs 3_5-6 Where God Guides He Provides

Proverbs 3_5-6 Let Him Lead You, He Will Clear the Road

Trusting in the Lord we follow Him, as William A. Ogden declares in his famous hymn, “Where He leads I’ll Follow”:

Sweet are the promises, Kind is the word,
Dearer far than any message man ever heard;
Pure was the mind of Christ, Sinless I see;
He the great example is, and pattern for me.

Where He leads I’ll follow,
Follow all the way.
Where He leads I’ll follow,
Follow Jesus ev’ry day.

Being born again through the word of truth, we allow Jesus to direct our paths.
This is true wisdom from above, leading us to ever greater light, as Proverbs 4:18 (NIV) declares: “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

Proverbs 4_18 The Path of the Just

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 4/14/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1) https://thelovelyscribe.com/2013/11/04/wisdom-from-above-james-3-13-18/
(2) http://www.bryanhudson.com/2016/05/feed-your-faith-starve-your-doubts.html
(3, 4) https://www.creatingagreatday.com/praying-james-chapter-1-part-one/
(5, 6,7) https://achristianpilgrim.wordpress.com/tag/proverbs-35-6/
(8) http://judeochristianchurch.com/proverbs-418-path-just/

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