Posted by: dhkrause | November 21, 2016

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Minister Ailina Carona recently posted, “When we see the revelation of who Jesus is to us, our response cannot be anything but worship.”  To know Him and His calling for us is that inspiring and life giving!  Paul teaches extensively about this personal revelation of who Jesus is, as does Jesus himself in the Gospel of John.

Speaking to Timothy and other brethren, Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  He then declares in 2 Timothy 1:9 that God “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”.  His holy calling was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began!  Our calling is not given according to what we have done, but according to His own eternal purpose and grace.  By faith in Him, we receive both salvation and a holy calling that God intended for us before the world was made!

In  the next verse, 2 Timothy 1:10, Paul declares that this “has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”.  Through His life, atoning death and resurrection, Jesus abolished the power of death, and won eternal life for all who believe.  Paul, setting an example for every believer, gladly accepts his own holy calling even in the face of suffering, and is not ashamed.  He declares his unwavering faith in verse 12:

2 Timothy 1
Not Ashamed of the Gospel
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who 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 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

“That Day” refers to the day of our final victory in Christ, when he returns to judge the earth and raise up believers to immortality, as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57.  He ends with a strong exhortation in verse 58 to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”:

1 Corinthians 15
Our Final Victory
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
56 
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

In Colossians 1:26-27, Paul refers to a mystery that God has now revealed, which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory”: “

Colossians 1
26 
the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

In Ephesians 1:1-6, Paul describes the eternal blessings of being in Christ, including God’s adoption of believers as sons and daughters to Himself:

Ephesians 1
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17-21 that believers would receive wisdom, revelation and understanding to know the hope of God’s calling, His glory and His power, through which He raised Christ from the dead:

Ephesians 1
17 
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

In John 17:3, Jesus prays, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

In John 17: 24, He prays, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

In John 17:26, He prays that believers will enter into the eternal love relationship He shares with the Father, “that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

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

Posted by: dhkrause | November 7, 2016

God’s Expansive Love

When God communicates His love to you through the friendship of another, a prayer may rise up spontaneously within you, that you may bless others the way this friend has blessed you.  When this happens, waves of God’s love keep expanding outward as each receives and reaches to others with His love.  This indeed is Christ’s call to us, and he said that this is how people will know that we are His disciples:

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

Christ’s love is a fervent and personal love: for the Father, for the disciples, and for the sons and daughters he is bringing to glory:

Hebrews 2
10 
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
13 
And again: “I will put My trust in Him.”
And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me
.”

He endured the cross “for the joy that was set before him”. (Hebrews 12:2) This joy flowed from his love for His Father, and from his love for those who would receive Him and be ushered into glory.  His salvation is for all who believe in Him, as he 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 3:162 Peter 3:9 declares that the Lord is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

How are we to love as Jesus loves?  1 Peter 1:22-23 describes this kind of love as follows: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever”.

We have power to love one another fervently with a pure heart, “because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)  Paul also declares in 1 Timothy 1:7, that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

In Philippians 2, Paul describes the mindset of Christ that we are to emulate as we walk in His love:

Philippians 2
Unity Through Humility
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
The Humbled and Exalted Christ
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Expressing the love of God includes sharing with others the Good News of the reality of Jesus Christ and the salvation he freely gives to all who believe in Him.  Psalm 107:2 exhorts, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,” and Isaiah 52:7 declares, “How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul declares that believers have been given a “ministry of reconciliation”, and that we are called to be “ambassadors for Christ”:

2 Corinthians 5
17 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
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.

The Holy Spirit led me to write this song, which is inspired by brothers and sisters who reach out to others in friendship, with the love of Christ:

Christ’s Love and Call

Beloved, Beloved, Christ loves you and calls you to be His own.
Brother, Sister, He loves you and calls you to be His friend,
Strong and pure, ambassador, reaching out to others,
That they may know Him too, and they may be His friend.

Yeshua Messiah, You love us and call us to be Your own.
Master, Savior, You love us and call us to be Your friend,
Strong and pure, ambassador, reaching out to others,
That they may know You too, and they may be Your friend.

The heart cry of this song is to know Christ and His love more fully than ever, and to reach out to others with His love.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to love others fervently, without fear, with a pure heart and sound mind.  When blessed by the godly love of a friend, we joyously reciprocate and pray we can bless others in the same way, that others may know Him too.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/    11/6/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | October 27, 2016

Love One Another Fervently with a Pure Heart

I see a connection between the words of Jesus, Paul and Peter in the following passages that has set me free to give and receive love in the body of Christ as never before.

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

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (1 Timothy 1:6-7)

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,” (1 Peter 1:22-23)

I will no longer hesitate to receive pure fervent love from a dear sister or brother in Christ; rather I will joyously reciprocate with love, power and a sound mind, giving thanks to our God. This is how people will know we are His disciples.

Posted by: dhkrause | October 27, 2016

Robbing Death of Its Power

Sunday, October 23, 2016, when I arrived at a care center for a service (worship and Bible study), the Activity Director requested that I first visit an a longtime elderly friend who was not doing well.  Entering her room, I found that my dear friend of many years was extremely emaciated with sunken cheeks, apparently semi-conscious with eyes open but slightly glazed, and her life clearly nearing its end.   I addressed her by name, identified myself, and assured her that Jesus was right there with her, and would be present with her always.  Indeed, the presence of God was manifest, as a small tear drop formed at the corner of one of her now clear blue eyes.  Later at the service, I prayed with her co-residents for her peace and comfort, giving thanks for her life which was now in God’s hands.

After the service, I had a conversation with a middle-aged resident who was grieving over not being able to return to her beloved hometown of Eureka.  Near the end of the conversation, she remarked that a family member had suggested that perhaps if she had just received Jesus as Lord and Savior, all these mishaps would not have occurred.  I gently advised her that rather than engage in “what if” speculations, the most important thing she could do is to simply receive Him right now.  She agreed, and with no further thought of trying to bargain with the Lord, she prayed with me to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, and to follow Him.

Later I visited a younger longtime friend who has bravely endured severe medical problems over the years faithfully keeping her eyes upon Jesus.  She saves the printed Bible studies I have given her with each visit, and says they help her to overcome depression and thoughts of suicide that she sometimes battles.  Her older sister visits weekly and they sometimes read these Bible studies together.  I have been visiting her regularly since she came to the facility in 2010, and both she and her sister express gratitude that these visits and Bible studies have helped her to stay strong in the Lord.  This resident also has an evangelistic ministry of her own, bringing hope, love and encouragement  to her fellow residents, including the elderly resident mentioned above.

She called the next day to tell me that our dear friend had died during the night. We prayed together in thankfulness for her life, knowing that she is away from us but present with the Lord.  Psalm 116:15 declares, “Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.”  Indeed, Paul speaking of the coming resurrection of believers, declares in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55, “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”  “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?

Posted by: dhkrause | October 26, 2016

A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break

Isaiah 42 describes the Messiah to come, God’s servant in whom He delights. Jesus fulfilled parts of this prophecy in the Incarnation, and will completely fulfill the rest when He returns.

Isaiah 42 (NIV)
1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

Amazing love! Jesus came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) In Him, mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed. (Psalm 85:10)

John 10:10 (NKJV)
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Psalm 85 (NKJV)
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
10 
Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

The captain of our salvation is the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before him; part of that joy was bringing many sons and daughters to glory. (Hebrews 12:1-2, 2:10-11)

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

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

Diane Bringgold in her book, “Life Instead”, (Word Books, Waco Texas, 1979), describes how Jesus “turned my mourning into dancing, put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” (Psalm 30:11) She declares,
“Psalm 30 truly tells the story of what the Lord has done in my life”.

See https://compellinglove.net/…/14/joy-comes-in-the-morning/ for more of her testimony.

Posted by: dhkrause | October 24, 2016

Knowing the Love of Christ

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 is one of the deepest, most comprehensive and powerfully transformative prayers in the Bible.  In verse 18, he prays that believers will comprehend the dimensions of Christ’s love — width and length and depth and height— a topic we shall explore after examining the prayer as a whole:

Ephesians 3 (NKJV)
14 
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

In verses 14-15, Paul gives a striking picture of the eternal relationship between the Son of God and the Father “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named”.  The eternal Fatherhood of God implies that the Son of God also is eternal!  The love that is shared between the Father and the Son is the essence of what relationships should reflect across “the whole family in heaven and earth”.  In John 17, Jesus prayed that his followers would enter into this eternal love relationship:

John 17
24 
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 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.”

Next, in Ephesians 3:16-17, Paul prays that believers will be “strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” so that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”.  Thus “rooted and grounded in love”, we will “be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” so that we “may be filled with all the fullness of God”.  God wants His entire family to be overflowing with the fullness of His love!

What are these dimensions of Christ’s love that Paul prays we may be able to comprehend – “the width and length and depth and height”?  Jesus’ description of the two greatest commandments offers a clue:

Mark 12
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.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

He says that first, we are to love God with all that we are, and second, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  He gave a further command to the disciples regarding their relationships with one another:

John 13
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.”

A “vertical relationship” speaks of relationship with God, whereas the term, “horizontal relationships”, speaks of our relationships with others.  This may help us to understand the dimensions of Christ’s love listed by Paul, “the width and length and depth and height”.  Bear in mind that both the horizontal and the vertical love relationships are meant to be two-way streets!

The “depth and height” dimensions speak of a two-way relationship with God in which we love Him wholeheartedly, and we experience the fullness of His love for us.  The “width and length” dimensions suggest giving love to others and receiving love from them.  The focus is on giving, but the receiving also is blessed.  The “length” could also be thought of as the dimension of time, representing the lasting faithfulness of true love.

Thus, to “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” includes faithful two-way love relationships with both God and others.  In John 15, Jesus speaks about love and joy being perfected:

John 15
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 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. … 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

Paul declares in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 1 John 4 goes on to describe knowing God through love:

1 John 4
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

The family of God is perfected as love is poured out and received, vertically and horizontally. Paul exhorts in Acts 20:35, “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  Yet these two are connected.  The love we receive from brethren we pour out to others.  Then both are doubly blessed, and the promise of Romans 5:5 is fulfilled: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Paul completes this beautiful prayer by praying that in all these ways we may come “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” and “be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Amen.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  10/23/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | October 20, 2016

A Time of Giving and Receiving

Last weekend was a special time of ministry at our church and at the care centers.  Saturday, I had a short visit with a young woman in a care center whose mental condition causes her to be emotionally isolated much of the time.  Somehow, as I spoke simple words to her about the abiding love of Jesus, her face became alive and radiant with new understanding, with light and joy and love.

Sunday morning, Pastor Caleb gave a stirring message about Restoration.  During the prayer time, a young sister in Christ blessed me with a gesture of love and acceptance, and with a prayer, that I gratefully received as unmistakably from the Lord.  Leaving the church, and later when preparing to visit another care center, I hoped and prayed I would bless others the way this young friend had blessed me.

At the care center that afternoon, I was able to gain the attention of a longtime friend with extreme Alzheimer’s disease who seldom makes eye contact with anyone. This day he held my gaze as I reminded him of the love of Jesus, and his need to receive Him and be born again.  His attention was riveted to my words, and the Holy Spirit was clearly ministering to his spirit.

Later at the same facility I visited with another longtime friend who suffers from an extreme muscular disease preventing him from speaking or even moving his facial muscles.  He also maintained eye contact with me as I shared extensively from the Word of God, with emphasis on 2 Cor. 4:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.  He too was receiving a new wave of encouragement directly from the Spirit of God.

Paul exhorts in Acts 20:35, “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  Yet the two are interconnected.  The love we receive from brethren we pour out to others, and both are doubly blessed.  In so many ways the promise of Romans 5:5 is fulfilled: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/   10/19/16

Posted by: dhkrause | October 11, 2016

Light, Salvation, Strength and Glory

For those seeking God, He is our light, our salvation, our strength and our glory.  As Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  David, who looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, exuberantly declares his hope and faith in Psalm 27, where he describes how he seeks the Lord wholeheartedly, desiring to be in His presence continually, and encourages others to do the same.

Psalm 27 (NKJV)
An Exuberant Declaration of Faith
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.

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

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!

The writer of Psalm 43 exemplifies enduring faith by commanding his soul to “hope in God”.

Psalm 43 (NKJV)
Prayer to God in Time of Trouble
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Isaiah 12:2 declares with this same hope and faith, “For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.” The Hebrew word translated “salvation” in this verse is “Yeshua”, which is also the Hebrew name of Jesus.  Understanding this sheds a deeper light on the account of the naming of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1, where an angel of the Lord directs Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, to name his son Yeshua (Jesus), meaning “salvation”, “for He will save His people from their sins”.

Matthew 1
18 
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

In John 8:12, Jesus gives an enduring promise to those who follow him: “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.’”

In Matthew 5, Jesus commands believers to let their light shine, so that people “may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5
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.

In John 17, Jesus prays that believers will share the love and the glory that he shared with the Father before the world was.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 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.”

Paul and the other Apostles took the good news of Christ to the world.  As mentioned, in 2 Corinthians 4:6, he describes how God “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  He then explains the promise of the Resurrection, and in verse 17 declares, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.

2 Corinthians 4
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.

14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

In 2 Timothy 2;1, Paul urges Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”, and in verse 10 gives this testimony of his own endurance and its glorious results: “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/
10/9/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | September 26, 2016

Delight Yourself in the Lord

If we put God at the center of our lives, being born again by faith in Jesus Christ, and walking steadily with Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will do well.  In Psalm 37, David, looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, gives keys to living victoriously as God created us to live:

Psalm 37 (NKJV)
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Paul enjoins in Colossians 3:23, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”.

Jesus Christ’s atoning death and resurrection gives us power to not only be forgiven and cleansed from sins, but to “go and sin no more”.  After speaking these words to the woman in John 8:11, he then declared, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

This forgiveness and deliverance is available to every person who comes to Him in faith.

1 John 2:1 (NKJV)
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

If we stay connected with Christ, he promises in John 15 that his joy will remain in us, and our joy will be full.

John 15
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Love and Joy Perfected
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Hebrews 12 teaches that anything in our lives that hinders us from putting God first and staying connected with Him is a weight that we need to lay aside, along with the sin that so easily ensnares us.

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

Pastor Mike Taylor comments on these verses:

“Anything can become a snare to us when we allow it to become more important than God himself. … Whatever is placed ahead of God will trip us up. Jesus’ letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2 finishes with this simple, clear call:
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. — Revelation 2:5
… What God wants from us most of all is not [even] our hard work or our perseverance, but our love, devotion and worship.”
(www.miketaylor.org.uk/xian/godcentral3.html)

Jesus invites us all to give to Him the weight of every burden that hinders us, and we will find rest for our souls:

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

Peter gives this encouragement to believers in 1 Peter 5:6-7:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

We do well to remember that God created all things by His will, and for His pleasure as Revelation 4:11 (KJV) declares:

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

God promises to Israel, and  also to all who trust in Him, that He has good intentions toward us, to give us “a future and a hope”.

Jeremiah 29 (NKJV)
11 
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

In Psalm 57, David, pursued by the murderous King Saul and his armies, calls out to God for mercy and safety, and then declares prophetically, “He shall send from heaven and save me”.

Psalm 57 (NKJV)
I will cry out to God Most High,
To God who performs all things for me.
He shall send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah
God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.

 Paul writes in Romans 8:32 that the greatest demonstration of God’s love is that He “did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all”. In verse 39 he declares that nothingcan separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/
9/25/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | September 11, 2016

Light of the World

God is the source of all light – in the Creation, in the Incarnation, and in the victorious lives of believers.  In the beginning, God spoke light into the world:

Genesis 1
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

The Word of God, who became incarnate in Jesus Christ, gives life and light to every person who comes into the world:

John 1
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’s Witness: The True Light
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.

Through Jesus Christ, God’s light shines in the hearts of believers in a wonderfully personal way:

2 Corinthians 4
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 makes the light of God available to all who seek him in truth:

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.

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. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

He promises that all who follow him will have the light of life:

John 8:12 (NKJV)
12 
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.”

44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

Jesus, the light of the world, is fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 42:

Isaiah 42
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house
.

Jesus commands all who follow him to “let your light shine”:

Matthew 5
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.

Jesus keeps his promises.  He said in John 10:10, “… I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” This is fulfilled in the life of every person who walks in his light. Looking to the future, in John’s vision of the New Jerusalem, paralleling Isaiah’s, “the Lamb of God is its light”, and “the nations of those who are saved walk in its light”.

Isaiah 60
19
“The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your glory.

Revelation 21
The Glory of the New Jerusalem
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  9/11/2016

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