Posted by: dhkrause | July 18, 2016

Praying with Thanksgiving

Paul declares in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  We have so many reasons to give thanks to God: for Creation, for His provision and His guidance, for calling us into a love relationship with Him through Christ, for putting His love in our hearts for one another, and for giving us hope and faith for eternal life!

Thankful for Creation

First of all, let us be thankful that He created us, and that His goodness and mercy are everlasting, as Psalm 100 declares:

Psalm 100 (NKJV)
1
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Thankful for God’s Provision and Guidance

Psalm 107 urges people to give thanks for God’s goodness, mercy and wonderful works: “1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever
.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.”

James 1:5 encourages, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

In Psalm 23, David praises the Lord for many blessings, declaring in verse 3:  “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” 

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Thankful for Faith, Hope and Love, and Eternal Life

Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul encourages believers to be “putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”

John 3:16 declares,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John’s gospel and epistles teach how God demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son to take the judgment for our sins, opening the way for us to have an eternal love relationship with Him.

1 John 4
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.

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.

Thankful for Friends and Brethren

Following Paul’s example in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4, we give thanks for our friends and beloved brethren: “ We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.”

God has poured out His love in our hearts, so that now we can love one another with His love, as  Romans 5:5 declares, “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.”

1 John 4:7-8 urges us to express the essence of God which is love:
“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  Philippians 4:6-7, Paul exhorts us to pray with thanksgiving in everything:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/   7-17-2016

Posted by: dhkrause | July 3, 2016

Eternal Life and Glory

The prayers of David and Asaph both speak of living life in the presence of God, leading to eternal glory.  David prays 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.”  Asaph prays in Psalm 73:23-24, “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”

The prayers of Jesus in John 17 reveal the way to eternal life and everlasting glory.  In verse 3, he declares: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  He prays that the Father will glorify His Son, so the Son may glorify the Father, “with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

John 17 (NKJV)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Redemption of believers through His Son was God’s plan even before Creation.  Paul in Titus 1:2 speaks of the “hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began”.  Jesus describes this priceless gift of God’s love 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.”

Referring to those who believe in Him, Jesus declares in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  He goes on to describe how as the good shepherd he will lay down his life for the sheep, not only those “of this fold” but of others to come, “and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”  He then explains that he is laying down His life for them willingly “of Myself” and that He will rise again, according to the command of His Father.

John 10
11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  … 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.”

Continuing in John 17, Jesus prays for a deep unity in his disciples, that they may be one as He and the Father are one.  He prays that they would be sanctified – consecrated and set apart – by the truth, just as He is set apart and consecrated for them.

John 17 (NKJV)
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Finally, Jesus prays for all believers that they may share the love and glory He had with the Father before the foundation of the world.

20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
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.”

Jesus is speaking of a love and glory which we can begin to experience right here and now, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit who lives in every true believer.  In John 14:17 and 23, Jesus teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will make their home in those who love and obey Him.

Paul likewise speaks in Colossians 1:26-27 of “the mystery which had been hidden from ages and from generations”, which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.  In Romans 5:5, Paul declares that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us”.

Truly, He guides us with His counsel and afterward receives us to glory.  He shows us the path of life; in His presence we have fullness of joy;  at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.  (Psalm 16:11; 73:24).

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/
7/3/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | June 19, 2016

God’s Love and Forgiveness

1 John 4 speaks of the out-flowing of God’s love – through Christ and through His people.  Being born of the Spirit, we can know Him through love, love as He loves, and forgive others out of love.

1 John 4 (NKJV)
Knowing God Through Love
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.

John further declares that knowledge of God, and His love, comes by the gift of His Spirit:

1 John 4
Seeing God Through Love
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

John 1 teaches that those who receive Jesus are born again, from above:

John 1
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.

Jesus explains in John 3 that unless one is born of the water and the Spirit [born physically and spiritually], he cannot enter the kingdom of God:

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Believing in Jesus, we receive God’s gift of eternal life through Him.

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.

Jesus’ gift of abundant and eternal life comes through the Holy Spirit who lives in us:

John 4
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The Holy Spirit abides in those who receive and believe in Jesus, and His love and power flows through them:

John 7
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Romans 5:5 says, “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” The Holy Spirit enables love and forgiveness to flow from those who have been redeemed. Having received God’s  forgiveness, they forgive themselves and forgive others.

Romans 5 (NKJV)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.

Love is the first “fruit of the Spirit” listed by Paul in Galatians 5:

Galatians 5 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Jesus declares in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”  He instructs the disciples in Matthew 5:44, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”.  The command to forgive is again underscored in Jesus’ prayer and teaching in Matthew 6:

Matthew 6 (Complete Jewish Bible – CJB)
12 Forgive us what we have done wrong,
as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us
.

14 For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours.

In Matthew 18:35 (CJB), Jesus says that If we treat others without mercy, God will treat us the same way: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat you, unless you each forgive your brother from your hearts.”  The vital importance of showing love, mercy and forgiveness to one another is described in James 2:13 (NKJV): “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.
Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  6-18-2016

Posted by: dhkrause | June 6, 2016

That Your Way May Be Known

The Psalmist in Psalm 67 begins by asking for God’s mercy and blessings, and then gives a deeper heart cry, revealing God’s will for the nations in verse 2.

Psalm 67 (NKJV)
God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations
.

The Psalmist’s desire was that all the nations would praise God and that God would reign in their hearts.

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

Psalm 87 declares God’s desire to receive into His family people from the nations of the world.  Referring to Zion, His special city, He declares of those who know Him in other nations, “this one was born there.”

Psalm 87 (NKJV)
The Glories of the City of God
His foundation is in the holy mountains.
The Lord loves the gates of Zion
More than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God! Selah
“I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to those who know Me;
Behold, O Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia:
This one was born there.’”
And of Zion it will be said,
“This one and that one were born in her;
And the Most High Himself shall establish her.”
The Lord will record,
When He registers the peoples:
“This one was born there.” Selah
Both the singers and the players on instruments say,
“All my springs are in you.”

Psalm 107 gives a key for making God’s way known: “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” and gathered from the four corners of the earth.

Psalm 107
Thanksgiving to the Lord for His Great Works of Deliverance
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

These Psalms were written approximately 3,000 years ago.  The great commission to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel was given 2,000 years ago by the risen Lord to His disciples.

Matthew 28
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Jesus told his disciples to pray for laborers to be sent into His harvest field.

Matthew 9 (NKJV)
37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

The fulfillment of the great commission starts with prayer, and continues as the Lord directs each of us to participate.  In the next chapter the disciples became part of the answer to their own prayers as Jesus sent them out into the harvest field.

Each believer has a role to play in fulfilling the great commission.  Some are called to go cross-culturally and take the Gospel to a foreign country.  Others are called to be senders to support those on the front lines.  The Apostle Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 5 that each person redeemed by Jesus Christ is a new creation, and is called to be a personal ambassador for Him.

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.

God’s will for the nations and the heart cry of His people is, “That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/
6/5/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | May 22, 2016

God’s Gift of Living Water

In Jeremiah 2, God admonishes Israel for forsaking Him, “the fountain of living waters”, and seeking to satisfy their spiritual thirst with false gods, “broken cisterns that can hold no water”.  Every day we also make decisions in which we are either following the Lord, flowing with the Holy Spirit, or turning away from Him, trying to satisfy selfish desires from broken cisterns.

Jeremiah 2 (NKJV)
God’s Case Against Israel
11 Has a nation changed its gods,
Which are not gods?
But My people have changed their Glory
For what does not profit.
12 Be astonished, O heavens, at this,
And be horribly afraid;
Be very desolate,” says the Lord.
13 For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water
.

The phrase, “living water” occurs again in John 4:10, referring to the “gift of God” that Jesus came to give.  This gift of God, who becomes in us “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14), is the Holy Spirit as we see in John 7:39.

John 4:14 (NKJV)
A Samaritan Woman Meets Her Messiah
10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Jesus satisfies the spiritual thirst of those who will come to Him in faith and drink deeply of the Holy Spirit.  Out of their hearts “will flow rivers of living water.”  This is the anointing of the Holy Spirit flowing through our lives.

John 7 (NKJV)
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

In Luke 11:13, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the gift of our heavenly Father, given to those who ask.

Luke 11 (NKJV)
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!

By believing in and receiving Jesus Christ, we entered into the corporate body of Christ, Paul explains, and “were all given the one Spirit to drink.”

1 Corinthians 12 (CJB)
12 For just as the body is one but has many parts; and all the parts of the body, though many, constitute one body; so it is with the Messiah. 13 For it was by one Spirit that we were all immersed into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free; and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 For indeed the body is not one part but many

Looking to the eternal future, Revelation 22:1 describes a “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,  proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”  The servants of God “shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.”  “The Lord God gives them light.  And they shall reign forever and ever.” (v. 4-5)  Verses 12-17 describe how those who come to Jesus and do His commandments will satisfy their thirst by taking of the water of life freely.  This is the gift of eternal life: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Revelation 22 (NKJV)
1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

Jesus Testifies to the Churches
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/
5/22/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | May 9, 2016

The True Light of Life

Life and light are intimately related in the Bible.  In fashioning the earth to be inhabited, the first command God issued in Genesis 1:3 was “Let there be light”.  In describing the Son of God in John 1:4, John writes, “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.”  John 1:9 declares, “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”  God is the source of both our consciousness –  self-awareness, and of our conscience – ability to discern right from wrong, which is greatly helped by knowledge of His Word.

Jesus came into the world as the living Word so that by believing in Him and in His life giving sacrifice for us we can have eternal life, as John 3:16 declares: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Following Jesus with a focus on doing what is right in God’s sight, we will increasingly walk in His light, as Proverbs 4:18 (NIV) declares: “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”  There is lasting joy in a life well lived, as Psalm 97: 11-12 describes.  Walking in God’s light, in true righteousness, we rejoice and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

Psalm 97 (NKJV)
The Lord reigns;
Let the earth rejoice;
Let the multitude of isles be glad!
The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples see His glory.
For You, Lord, are most high above all the earth;
You are exalted far above all gods.
10 You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

Though darkness yet abounds in the world, Psalm 67 declares that God will “cause His face to shine upon us”, and the day is coming when He will “judge all the people righteously and govern the nations on earth”.

Psalm 67 (NKJV)
God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth. Selah

Jesus assured the disciples in John 16:33, “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.”  In the same vein, Hebrews 12:2 exhorts believers to continue “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.”

Jesus declares in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  He also declares in John 12:46, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” Walking in His light, our path will truly be “like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”  Proverbs 4 also teaches that what we allow into our heart and mind greatly affects how we speak and live, and therefore verse 23 exhorts, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Jesus teaches in Matthew 6:22-23 about the eye being the lamp of the body; this means among other things learning to be spiritually perceptive:

Matthew 6 (AMP)
22 The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. 23 But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness!

Paul in Romans 13:12 calls believers to “cast off the works of darkness” and “put on the armor of light”.  He prays in Colossians 1:9-10 that believers will “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him”.  In verses 13-14, he declares, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”  Paul encourages believers in Ephesians 5:8 to “walk as children of light”.

Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 4:6 (CJB) how God has revealed the light of his glory in our hearts through Jesus Christ: “For it is the God who once said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has made his light shine in our hearts, the light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of the Messiah Yeshua [Christ Jesus].”

Peter declares in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”.

1 John 1:6-7 teaches that we have true fellowship with one another by walking in the light.  Verse 9 describes the first step of this walk in God’s light with Jesus Christ: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/    5/8/16

Posted by: dhkrause | April 25, 2016

Prophet, Priest and King

Three outstanding biblical prophecies about the Messiah are that he would be a unique Prophet, Priest and King.  The first two have been gloriously fulfilled by Jesus Christ, and the third is on its way to being fulfilled.

Jesus is the Prophet promised through Moses in Deuteronomy 18: 

Deuteronomy 18 (NKJV)
18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.

In John 6:63, Jesus declares, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”  Jesus declares in John 12, “the Father who sent me gave me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.”

John 12 (NKJV)
Walk in the Light
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. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

Jesus is our High Priest, the one Mediator between God and men.

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

Hebrews 6:20 (NIV), paraphrasing Psalm 110:4, states that Jesus “has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”  Hebrews 7:24-25  declares, “but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

Hebrews 7 (NIV)
20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’”
22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Jesus is not only our Great High Priest; He offered Himself as the sacrifice.  In 1 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV),  Paul refers to Jesus as “Christ, our Passover” who “was sacrificed for us.” In John 1, John the Baptist twice refers to Jesus as the “Lamb of God”:

John 1 (NKJV)
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

Prophecies such as Isaiah 9 describe the everlasting kingdom of the Messiah.

Isaiah 9 (NKJV)
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Psalm 47 gives praise for the Lord Most High who is “a great King over all the earth”.

Psalm 47 (NKJV)
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the Lord Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.

In Revelation 5, Jesus is referred to both as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” and as “the Lamb that was slain”.  The song of millions around God’s throne is described in verses 12 and 13:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

In 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Paul describes our worthy response to Christ’s great sacrifice for us: “ For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 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.

1 John 3:2-3 describes how this great hope will make us pure: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/
4/24/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | April 10, 2016

God’s Loving Kindness

John 1 declares that the Son of God was with the Father before anything was created,  as the living Word of God who later became flesh as Jesus Christ.  Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, through whom the Father is declared.

John 1
The Eternal Word
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.

The Word Becomes Flesh
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.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

The wonder of God’s grace and love is further revealed 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.”  Through believing in Him we can know God and have eternal life.  This is the fulfillment of many Biblical prophecies about God’s people receiving salvation and redemption by His grace and goodness, His lovingkindness.

The Hebrew word “chesed” (Strong’s #2617), translated “lovingkindness”, also  means “goodness”, “grace” and, “faithfulness”.  Dr. Frank T. Seekins in his book, “Hebrew Word Pictures”, states that the roots of this word picture a  “door of mercy and protection” (chas + dalet) or “refuge and foundation” (chasa + sada).   From this word comes the word, “cha-sid”, “saint” (Strong’s #2623) denoting “the people of God’s affection, grace, kindness, love and mercy who turn around and become people of mercy to others.”  This loving redemption is a work of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

In Psalm 63, David extols God’s grace declaring, “Your lovingkindness is better than life”.  God’s presence is like water poured out on dry ground.

Psalm 63 (NKJV)
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water
.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.

In Jeremiah 9, the prophet describes a judgment that was coming to Israel due to idolatry and lawlessness. The key to enduring such tumultuous times is to seek to know and understand the Lord as He exercises “lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth.”

Jeremiah 9
23 Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth
.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 63 describes God’s continual lovingkindness and mercy toward Israel even in times of affliction.  In spite of their stumbling, He continues to lead them, to make Himself a glorious name (verse 14).

Isaiah 63
God’s Mercy Remembered
I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord
And the praises of the Lord,
According to all that the Lord has bestowed on us,
And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
Which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies,
According to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.

In Jeremiah 31, the Lord promises to be the God of all the families of Israel, drawing them with His lovingkindness, establishing a new covenant by putting His law in their minds, and writing it on their hearts (v. 33).

Jeremiah 31
31 “At the same time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”
Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
Found grace in the wilderness—
Israel, when I went to give him rest.”
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you
.

In Hosea 2, God promises to betroth the remnant of Israel who have returned to Him; they will be His people and He will be their God.

Hosea 2
19 “I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the Lord.

By God’s grace, believing in Jesus Christ, we are His betrothed and have eternal life.  He declares 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 Yeshua, Jesus, God’s lovingkindness is fulfilled.

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

Posted by: dhkrause | March 28, 2016

The Resurrection and the Life

Believers in Jesus Christ are born again – resurrected, made alive spiritually – when they receive Him as Savior and Lord.  They have abundant life here and now by faith in Him.  Jesus also promises they will be physically resurrected when He comes again.  He pointed to both of these resurrections just before raising Lazarus from the dead, when He declared to the dead man’s sister Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)

John 11
I Am the Resurrection and the Life
17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Then in John 3:16, we read the memorable words, “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.”  People are made alive spiritually when they come to faith in Jesus Christ, and His resurrection is the “firstfruits” of the physical resurrection of believers when He comes again.  Paul explains:

1 Corinthians 15
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

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.

Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John also explains that the risen Lord is the source of eternal life.

1 John 5
11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

In Ephesians 2, Paul teaches that believers in Christ have already been made alive spiritually and are with Jesus even here and now.

Ephesians 2
1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

As Jesus prepares the disciples for His soon departure, He speaks of His second coming, and the resurrection and gathering of believers to Himself:

John 14
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Paul writes in Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”  This a source of great hope to those of us who purify ourselves in preparation for the second coming of our great Redeemer and King:

1 John 3
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

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

03/27/2016

Posted by: dhkrause | March 24, 2016

Significance of the 153 Fish

Numbers in the Bible are known to have symbolic significance, and scholars have long pondered the meaning of the 153 large fish Peter dragged up in his net in John 21:11, after catching nothing all night prior to Jesus’ command to try again: “Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.”  These thoughts come to mind.

The number 153 is 3 times 51, and 51 is 3 times 17.  So, 153 factors to 17 x 3 x 3. These numbers may lead one to look in John 17:3 where Jesus prays, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  The number 3 in the Bible is representative of deity.  The second 3 calls to mind the second person of the Trinity, “the Word of God” who “became flesh and dwelt among us … full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  Thus, both the miraculous catch of 153 (17 x 3 x 3) large fish (after catching nothing all night), and this numerically related verse (John 17:3) point to the deity of Jesus Christ who is the Way to eternal life.

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