Posted by: dhkrause | February 12, 2017

Seeking God’s Face

seek-my-face

Photo credit:
https://twitter.com/chr1stlike/status/656785185006972928

Psalm 27 powerfully portrays David’s relationship with God, providing a strong and inspirational example for all who desire to have a deeper walk with Him.  He begins by declaring the Lord to be the source of his confidence, the one who provides light, salvation, strength and courage:

Psalm 27 (NKJV)
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?
When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

Verse 4 reveals how God is the supreme focus of David’s life, the one object of his desire and of his ambition:

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
.

This supreme focus is found throughout the scriptures, as Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains in his book, “Seeking the Face of God”:

The apostle Paul, at the height of his great experience, says that this is his desire, the one thing that he wants: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings” (Phil. 3:10), “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind … I press toward the mark” (Phil. 3:13-14).  It is the realization that nothing really matters ultimately in life except my relationship to God: “That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.” (Psalm 23:6) …

In effect, the psalmist is saying, “What I want above everything else in this world is always to be in an intimate relationship with God, so that whatever happens, I am with Him and He is with me.”  … His supreme ambition is to gaze upon the glory of the being of God.

The psalmist starts with worship and adoration, and we also see this in the New Testament. “We all, with open face,” says Paul, “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord…” (2 Cor. 3:18).  That is it; you “set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).
(“Seeking the Face of God”, Crossway Books, 1991, p. 168-170)

Psalm 27 continues with declarations of confident faith, praise and adoration:

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments:

This is the way to pray.  The apostle Paul has said it all, as we have seen, in Philippians 4;6: “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything” – or in all circumstances – “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”  There it is: You start with adoration, wonder, and amazement.  You gaze upon Him and all His glorious attributes – what He has been, what He has done for us, and all the wonders of His work. You trace them out, you praise Him, and then, knowing Him, you bring your petitions to Him, whatever they may be.  (ibid, p. 171)

Psalm 27 concludes:

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!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments on these concluding verses:

Then the psalmist says, having done all that, wait for the answer.  Everything does not finish the moment you have uttered your petition.  “Wait on the LORD” (Psalm 27:14, emphasis added), He has heard you; He will do what you have asked, and He will do it in His own way.

Then, finally, this man comes to his inevitable conclusion:  “You know, if I hadn’t ‘believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living, ‘ If I didn’t know that God is ready and waiting to bless His people in this world as well as in that which is to come, ‘I [would have] fainted.’”

So he says to himself, “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say on the LORD.”  Start like that, and keep on like that.  Make it the central thing of your life to gaze upon God, to arrive at a knowledge of Him that will be intimate and personal, a communion with Him that will ravish your heart and cause your soul to rise up to Him.  Seek His face (v. 8), and go on seeking it.  Wait upon Him.  Let us praise Him and put ourselves entirely and completely in His hands.

And if you do this, you will find that He will be your light, your salvation, your strength and power, your never-failing refuge.  (ibid, p. 171-172)

Jesus prayed in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  In John 8:12 he said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  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 Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  2/12/2017

Posted by: dhkrause | January 30, 2017

Bless the Lord at All Times

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(1) http://ourdailyblossom.com/page/87/
(2) https://www.pinterest.com/pin/573997914987176520/
(3) https://mobile.twitter.com/jessica33519438
(4) http://hopeforday.com/pin/4991/
(5) https://ramblingsofazealot.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/less-than-thankful/

The Bible teaches us to bless the Lord at all times, whether those times be happy or hard.  God delights in blessing the faithful, yet all will face affliction at times. Even then we can trust in Jesus’ promise, “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.” (John 10:10)

In Psalm 37, David describes God’s faithfulness to all who trust in Him.  If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart.

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.

In Psalm 34, David exemplifies what it means to praise and bless the Lord at all times, even when threatened or afflicted.  Then in verses 19 and 20 he provides a prophetic picture of the coming Messiah, who suffered and died for us.  “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)

Psalm 34 (NKJV)
 I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.

21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

In Psalm 73, Asaph struggles with seeing how sometimes the wicked prosper and the righteous go through great trials.  Finally, God shows him the glorious future of the faithful and the future desolation of the wicked.  Then like David in Psalm 34, he rises up with praise and thanksgiving to our faithful God.

Psalm 73 (NKJV)
Truly God is good to Israel,
To such as are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

16 When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.
18 
Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.

22 I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

In Matthew 5, Jesus spoke many encouraging words for those going through hard times, pointing to the glorious future awaiting to those who keep the faith.

Matthew 5 (NKJV)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

In John 16:33, after telling the disciples of his coming death and ascension to the Father, Jesus concludes with these words of encouragement: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”   

We can bless the Lord at all times, knowing that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in us!  (Romans 8:11)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  1/29/2017

Posted by: dhkrause | January 16, 2017

Glorious Liberty in Christ

glorious-liberty

Photo credit: http://ministrymanjohnnytrejo.blogspot.com/2012/07/our-glorious-liberty-as-child-of-god.html

Relationship with God is the source of true freedom and lasting joy.  David describes his deep relationship with God in Psalm 16, and prophesies of the Messiah, “Your Holy One” who would die and then be risen from the dead:

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.

Jesus began his public ministry by reading in the local synagogue a prophecy from Isaiah 61 describing the mission of the Messiah, and then announcing:
Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.

Luke 4 (NKJV)
16 
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

To those who believe in Him, Jesus promised that if we abide in His word, we will know the truth and the truth will make us free.

John 8 (NKJV)
31 
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 
They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

We enter into true and abiding liberty through a life union with God.  Jesus describes this relationship in John 15:

John 15 (NKJV)
15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

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.

“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.

Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, is raising up believers who will together be His Bride.  John describes his vision of the Bride in Revelation 19:

Revelation 19 (NKJV)
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Every believer is called to be part of Christ’s Bride.  Pastor Joshua Ryan Butler describes this essential decision we all will make:

“To say yes to the wedding proposal is to enter into union with the very life of Jesus. And to enter into union means our old life lived alone must die. “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) To let Jesus fill us with his Spirit is to abandon our freedom from God and be filled with his freedom for God.
“God redeems the world from sin, so we must face the reality of which we prefer: God or sin. Freedom from God or freedom for God.”

(Butler, Joshua Ryan. The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy War (pp. 144-145, 308), Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.)

David prayed in Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  With equal confidence, Paul writes of “the glory which shall be revealed in us”, and how even “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God”.

Romans 8 (NKJV)
18 
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  1/15/2017

Posted by: dhkrause | January 2, 2017

Trusting in God’s Goodness

gods-unfailing-love

Photo credit: https://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/a-collection-of-bible-verses-scriptures-in-pictures-to-lift-comfort-and-encourage/

Learning to trust in God’s goodness is a key to living life victoriously in His presence.  From the beginning, God created mankind with the capacity for intimate fellowship with Him, and to be stewards over His creation, as seen in Genesis 1:26-28.  Throughout human history, God has been reaching for His people to respond to His love, culminating with the redeeming life and ministry of Jesus Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.

Genesis 1 (NKJV)
26 
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

In Genesis chapter 3, enticed by the devil in the form of a serpent, Eve, and after her Adam, ate fruit from the tree God had said not to eat.  Their hearts were desiring freedom from God instead of freedom for God.  As a consequence, God evicted them from the Garden and they became subject to pain, sickness and mortality.  At the same time, God spoke both a judgment and prophecy to the serpent:

Genesis 3 (NKJV)
14 
So the Lord God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

The “Seed of the woman” was referring to a Savior who would be born from a virgin, who would remove the usurped authority of the devil (bruise his head), though the devil would “bruise His heel” (harm Him physically).  This prophecy was the first good news (proto-evangel) after mankind’s fall.

The fruit of sin was again seen when Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve, murdered his brother Abel in anger.  Through the centuries sin and violence raged so universally that God brought a flood over the whole earth, with only Noah and his family surviving.  Later, God called Abraham to walk with Him and to be the father of a nation who would be in a covenant relationship of mutual commitment with God.  This covenant was extended to Abraham’s son Isaac, and to Isaac’s son Jacob (later named Israel).

After four hundred years of slavery in Egypt, God brought the nation to freedom under the leadership of Moses, just as He had promised Abraham.  At Mount Sinai, God gave the Ten Commandments and other instructions to the people through Moses.  The people committed themselves to this new covenant, and God led and nurtured them for forty years in the wilderness before leading them into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua.

Over a long period of generations, and against overwhelming odds, Israel finally, under King David, conquered all the land promised to Abraham centuries earlier.  Later, because of rebellion and idolatry, Israel was in turn conquered by other nations, first by Assyria (northern kingdom) and then Babylon (southern kingdom).  At the time of Jesus’ birth, the nation was under the rulership of the Roman empire.

In the fullness of time, God sent His own Son to live a sinless life and to take upon Himself the judgment of the sins of the world.  He came to fulfill God’s original purpose in Creation, and in calling the people of Israel to represent Him as a light to the world.  Through His Son Jesus, God came into the world that He had made, to reconcile the world to Himself, as described in John 1.

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. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

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

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 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.

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.
. . .
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!

Jesus is “the Lamb of God” who takes away the sin of the world, and He is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.  He is risen from the dead and alive forevermore, leading His people from every nation by the presence of the Holy Spirit into life victorious, abundant and eternal.

John 10 (NKJV)
10 
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
. . .
14 
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/   1/1/2017

Posted by: dhkrause | December 19, 2016

God’s Eternal Love

2016-12-18-gods-eternal-love

(Photo credit: http://olusamuels2.blogspot.com/2012/11/gods-eternal-love.html)

God’s love for the whole world is declared 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.”  He is not willing that any should perish, as 2 Peter 3:9 declares: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 

Jesus came to share with people of every nation the eternal love and glory He had with the Father before the world was made:

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.”

Luke 2 describes how an angel of the Lord came to announce the Savior’s birth to shepherds living out in the fields – “good tidings of great joy which will be to all people”:

Luke 2
Glory in the Highest
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

A just and devout man named Simeon described the salvation, light and glory that Jesus would bring both to Israel and to the nations:

Luke 2
Simeon Sees God’s Salvation
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel
.”

Jesus prayed in Matthew 6:9-10, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Jesus came not to bring us to heaven, but to reconcile heaven and earth,
as pastor and teacher Joshua Ryan Butler explains:

“God’s purpose in Jesus is not to get us out of earth and into heaven, but to reconcile heaven and earth from the destructive power of sin. To redeem creation to himself.”

“Jesus became fully human in our flesh and walked our dust; he lived the life we couldn’t live and embodied the kingdom he proclaimed; he took our sin, corruption, and death into himself on the cross and was raised victorious as the beginning of a glorified humanity in a reconciled earth. Jesus conquered the power of hell to reconcile creation to God.”

”God’s purpose is to create through his own eternal, holy life a multi-ethnic, international body from every nation, tribe, and tongue, constituted by worship in relation to himself and communion in relation to one another. God is on a mission to heal the nations.”

[The Skeletons in God’s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy War (pp. 101, 102, 126). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition]

Revelation 21 describes the new heaven and new earth which will be the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose for Creation:

Revelation 21
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Those who have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ are new creations, ministers of reconciliation, and ambassadors for Christ:

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

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 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.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  12/18/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | December 5, 2016

Knowing the Holy Spirit (Part 1)

The Holy Spirit is the most neglected Person of our triune God Whom we do well to know.  Pastor Robert Morris writes, “I encourage you to realize three truths before we go further on this journey: (1) the Holy Spirit was sent to be your helper, (2) He wants to be your intimate friend, and (3) the truth that makes those two statements most amazing of all is He is God.”  [The God I Never Knew: How Real Friendship with the Holy Spirit Can Change Your Life (p. 192-193). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]

John the Baptist introduced the soon to be revealed Messiah as the one who would baptize people “with the Holy Spirit and fire”:

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

Jesus urged His followers to pray diligently to receive the Holy Spirit, our Heavenly Father’s good gift.

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

 Jesus teaches about this Gift of the Father in John 14, telling the disciples that the Helper He would send is the Spirit of truth, who would live in them.

 John 14 (NKJV)
Jesus Promises Another Helper
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Jesus declares in John 15 that our Helper, the Spirit of truth, will testify of Jesus, bearing witness of who He is.

John 15 (NKJV)
26 
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Jesus again describes the importance of the Holy Spirit in John 16, and the work of the Holy Spirit in the world.  He convinces people of their need for Jesus to be right with God, and of the multi-faceted judgment to come.

John 16 (NKJV)
The Work of the Holy Spirit
“But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Jesus then describes the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of the believer, guiding us into all truth.

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.

Jesus gave final instructions to the apostles “through the Holy Spirit”, including for them to wait for the Promise of the Father, that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.  Filled with the Spirit, they would receive power to become witnesses to Him, “in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1 (NKJV)
Prologue
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit Promised
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

When we allow the Holy Spirit to fully dwell in our lives, He gives many benefits: power for evangelism, supernatural love, fruit of character and of souls, and gifts for ministry.  The Holy Spirit pours out the love of God into our hearts, making it possible for us to walk in the love of God toward others: “… because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  (Romans 5:5 NKJV)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  12/4/2016

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?

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