Posted by: dhkrause | March 1, 2020

Taste and See that the Lord is Good

Psalm 34_1 (f)

David declares in Psalm 34:8,Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” 
God’s desire is that believers would experience His goodness through a close personal walk with Him, worshipping “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).  David’s commitment to such a relationship is seen in Psalm 34:1-2 where he declares that no matter what, he is going to continually bless and praise the Lord.  Others will hear of it and rejoice.

Psalm 34 (NKJV)
1 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.

Writer Paige Sagach comments on verse 1:

 “What would happen if praises to our Lord were continually in our mouth? If we didn’t wait until Sunday morning worship or when feeling especially happy, what if we praised Him even while feeling down or having a bad day?

I think if we would choose to praise Him continually (regardless of our feelings), we could turn a “bad day” into a good day just by taking our eyes off of ourselves and our limited abilities and focusing on Him and His unlimited abilities.”  (http://paigesagach.com/i-will-bless-the-lord-at-all-times/

Psalm 34_3

In Psalm 34:3, David invites believers to join him in giving glory to the Lord:

“Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.”

David testifies how he prayed and God heard him, and delivered him from his fears.  He cites the testimony of others who also looked to the Lord and prayed, and were saved out of their troubles.

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.

He promises that the Lord will provide angelic protection, and invites believers to personally experience the goodness of the Lord.

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!

Chris and Lisa Cree comment, “The more you experience God’s goodness, the more you want to experience it. You just have to start with one small taste to know how truly good God is.” (https://newcreeations.org/psalms-348/)

Their blog  also addresses how the topic of God’s sovereignty is often misunderstood, and this can be a hindrance in our walk with God:

Psalm 34_4

“The sovereignty of God is one of those theological ideas that causes some significant challenges in the lives of believers. The idea that “God is in control” seems like it honors God because many mistakenly think that absolute control over everything at every moment is a fundamental requirement for God to be God. Plus it can be comforting because it shifts responsibility for what people do and don’t do onto God, along with the consequences of those choices.”

Power vs. Authority

“When it comes to this question, the first thing we need to understand is the difference between power and authority. God is indeed all powerful. One of the many names of God is El Shaddai, which means Lord God Almighty. However, even though God is all powerful, he sovereignly chose to self-limit his power by delegating authority to mankind in the Garden of Eden.”

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.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

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.” — Genesis 1:26-28

“With that delegation of authority, God made man responsible for what happens here on earth. It also meant that God could only intervene when invited into a situation by mankind because of God’s own self-imposed limitation of authority.”

Psalm 34_8

“Because God said mankind has dominion, if he then stepped in the earth to do stuff uninvited, God would be violating his own word. That is something God cannot do (Psalms 89:34).

God of This World

“Of course Adam promptly sinned and thereby abdicated his authority to Satan who then became the god of this world.”

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

“That abdication by Adam in the Garden gave Satan the legal right to wreak havoc in the world, especially where people’s lives are concerned.

“Later, God made covenants with different people. First was Noah (Genesis 9:8-17), and then Abraham (Genesis chapters 15 and 17). Obviously there was the Old Covenant with the nation of Israel, which gave us the Law. These covenants gave God the “legal” right to intervene in specific ways with specific people.”

Authority Given to Believers

“Then along comes Jesus who lives a truly righteous life, fulfills the law, and takes all authority back from Satan. Jesus then delegates that authority to us, his New Covenant believing followers (Matt 28:18, Luke 9:1, Luke 10:18-19, John 17:18).

John 8_31-32

“Jesus gave us the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.

And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19

“Now the authority over the earth resides in us as believers.

The Truth Will Set You Free

“There is good news. God is not in control of everything! There are other forces at work in our world today.

“That means we can trust God’s character to always want the very best for us. The door for intimacy with the Father is wide open!

“Then we can truly taste and see that the Lord is good. The more we experience God’s goodness, the more we want to experience it. Over time we really can become more intimate with God.

“Intimacy is vital because God wants to partner with you to accomplish his purposes on the Earth by pushing back the darkness and advancing his Kingdom here, now, today. The world needs more believers who live in that powerful place of intimacy.

“We live in dark times. The need for powerful world changers to rise up in the Church has never been greater than it is today. God is inviting you to join him. The first step is to stop blaming him for all the bad stuff that happens.”  (https://newcreeations.org/sovereignty-of-god/)

“We are working together with God. We ask you from our hearts not to receive God’s loving-favor and then waste it.” (2 Corinthians 6:1 NLV)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 3/1/2020

Photo credits:
(1) http://paigesagach.com/i-will-bless-the-lord-at-all-times/ *
(2) http://jeanwilund.com/join-the-journey-lets-work-through-this-maze-called-life-together/ *
(3) https://www.facebook.com/weloveourgodpage/photos/psalm-34-4-i-sought-the-lord-and-he-heard-me-and-delivered-me-from-all-my-fears/1180985745365665/
(4) https://newcreeations.org/psalms-348/ *
(5) https://seekgrowlove.com/tag/a-disciple-of-jesus/ *
* Includes excellent teaching.

Posted by: dhkrause | February 17, 2020

The Path of the Righteous

Proverbs 4_18 (5)

Proverbs 3:5-6 and 4:18 are companion verses about walking with God in ever increasing light.  As we trust and acknowledge Him, He directs our paths bringing the ever increasing light of His glory into our lives. All are invited to enter into that walk with Him in light.

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

George Washington Carver (1860s-1943) was a brilliant and benevolent man who invented over 300 different uses for peanuts. He was a world-famous chemist who made important agricultural discoveries and inventions. His research on peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other products helped poor southern farmers vary their crops and improve their diets.  He took inspiration daily from Proverbs 3:5-6, trusting in the Lord with all his heart, and acknowledging God who directed his paths.

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

Nancy Ruegg comments on Proverbs 4:18:
(https://nancyaruegg.com/tag/proverbs-418/)

John 8_12 (3b)

“Please understand: the path of the righteous has not been paved with my own righteousness.”  As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9, “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.”

“My Christian parents made sure the first gleam of dawn during childhood included many hours of Bible instruction in various settings.

And as the years have passed, the faith-pathway has been shining ever brighter.

“The Light of the world (John 8:12) has enlightened my mind and spirit, giving guidance and allaying fear.”

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

“And I’m still rejoicing that God bestows more light as the days go by. He shines ever brighter and will continue to do so till the full light of daythe day I arrive in heaven.

“God calls us to become lights on the path of life, shining like stars and reflecting the Lord’s glory (Philippians 2:15, 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Philippians 2:15 New King James Version (NKJV)
15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world

Psalm 119_105 (5b)

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

“We, too, can shine ever brighter till the full light of day. What a glorious privilege he gives us!”

The psalmist prays in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.” 
David declares in Psalm 23:3, “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  In this beloved psalm, David describes his close personal walk with God that is His desire for all of us.

Psalm 23 (NKJV)
1 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
.

God declares His unfathomable love for us 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.” 

God cleanses us from all unrighteousness when we confess our sins and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Through Him, we can “walk in the light as He is in the light”, and have fellowship with one another in His redeeming love.

1 John 1_7 (6)

1 John 1 (NKJV)
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

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

Jesus invites us all into a personal walk with God in ever increasing light.
He said to his detractors in John 5:39-40,

 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

He gives this personal invitation to come to him to find rest and be life partners with Him, in Matthew 11:28-30,

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

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 2/17/2020

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.facebook.com/Daily-Inspirational-Psalms-And-Proverbs-1453010851642262/
(2) https://thebereanmanifesto.podbean.com/e/ep36-john-812/
(3) https://dailyverses.net/2015/5/23/kjv
(4) https://newlife.com/start-spiritual-renewal/ *

* (Includes excellent teaching.)

Posted by: dhkrause | February 3, 2020

Do All to the Glory of God

Psalm 29_1

As believers, it is our birthright, and our honor and privilege, to walk with God and live for His glory.  David expressed this truth in Psalm 29:

Psalm 29 (NKJV)
Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
.
11 The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace
.

Many outstanding people have learned to call upon God for strength and guidance, and to give Him all the glory for their success.  An example from baseball is Roy Knight in the 1986 World Series.  When the New York Mets were one pitch away from losing to the Boston Red Sox, they somehow pulled out the game.  Then in the seventh inning of the seventh game, Ray Knight of the Mets hit a line drive over the centerfield fence sparking a rally that led the team to victory.  Later when asked what he was thinking when he stepped up to the plate, he replied, “I was feeling physically exhausted.  I prayed that God would give me strength to do my very best, and He did!  I give all the glory to Him.”  This is an example of giving God all the glory as the psalmist prayed in Psalm 115:1,  “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.”

Matthew 5_14,16

Jesus commands believers in Matthew 5 to let our light shine so that our Father in heaven will receive the glory.

Matthew 5 (NKJV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Then in Matthew 6,  he teaches us to pray that God’s kingdom, power, and glory will be on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6 (NKJV)
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 11_28-30 (3)

We give God glory by coming to Jesus, taking rest in Him, partnering with Him, learning from Him, and letting His concerns be our own.

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

Partnering with Jesus, reaching for God’s best in our lives, we will seek to do all for the glory of God as declared in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

The Knowing-Jesus.com website comments on this verse:

(https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/1-corinthians-10-31)
“Whether immersed in the drudgery of daily chores or quietly watching the television set, we should do all to the glory of God. Whatever we do during the day or whatever activities we engage in during the night-time hours, should be carried out for His praise and glory. If we find ourselves in difficulties or when we are engaged in some leisure time, it should always be glorifying to the Lord.

“May we  take to heart this simple instruction from Paul.. that whether we eat, or drink.. or whatever we do, we do all to the glory of God.”

2 Corinthians 4_6 (9)

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

He created us for His pleasure.  As believers, we have the joy, honor and privilege of living for His glory.

Revelation 4:11 (KJV)
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Colossians 3 (NKJV)
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 2/2/2020

Photo credits:
(1) https://heartofashepherd.com/2015/10/29/psalm-291-2-a-gift-only-you-can-give/ *
(2) https://thebiblewallpapers.com/2017/08/20/matthew-51416/
(3) https://www.blessingsandjoy.com/weekly-bible-verses/matthew-11-28-30/ *
(4) https://kzlam36.wordpress.com/category/in-christ-2/ *

* Includes excellent teaching.

Posted by: dhkrause | January 20, 2020

Love and Joy Perfected

1 Corinthians 13_13

In 1 Corinthians 13, commonly known as “the love chapter”, Paul describes various spiritual gifts and then concludes “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)  God is the giver and perfecter of the faith, hope, love and joy in our lives.

In Psalm 16, David describes how God’s presence fills him with hope and joy.

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

Love and joy arise as we begin to comprehend God’s greatest gift of 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.”

John 15_12

Jesus declares in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  He graciously perfects our love and joy, as we love one another as He loves us.

John 15 (NKJV)
Love and Joy Perfected
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

In John 17, Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, He prays for the perfection of God’s love and glory in us.

John 17 (NKJV)
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 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.”

Hebrews 12_2 (3)

Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him.  Part of that joy was in bringing many sons and daughters to glory.

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

Hebrews 2 (NKJV)
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.

In Romans 5 and 15, Paul describes how God’s gifts of faith, hope and love work together to fill us with joy and peace, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 5 (NKJV)
1Therefore, 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.

Romans 15 (NKJV)
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15_13 (4)

His love and presence, and the hope of glory, lead us to purify ourselves as described in

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.

His love is perfected in us as we love one another and abide in Him through the gift of His Spirit.

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.

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.

1 Peter 1_8 (2)

Through hope and faith, and His presence with us, we can endure hard trials, even rejoicing “with joy inexpressible and full of glory”.

1 Peter 1
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas praised and gave glory to God while in a dungeon, and God responded in a glorious way.  Paul exhorts us all to do the same:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)   

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 1/20/2020

Photo credits:
(1) https://wiirocku.tumblr.com/post/184559748904/1-corinthians-1313-nkjv-and-now-abide-faith
(2) https://www.gbcdecatur.org/sermons/NoGreaterLove.html
(3) https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/hebrews-12-2-looking-unto-jesus—author-and-finisher-yellow-8887
(4) https://resources.worldprayr.org/tag/romans-1513/
(5) https://www.pinterest.com/pin/426012445976522958/

Posted by: dhkrause | January 5, 2020

Walking in the Light

Psalm 27_1 (2)

1 John 1:7 exhorts believers to “walk in the light as He is in the light.”  This recalls  Psalm 27 where David declares, “The Lord is my light and my salvation”, and he prays in verse 4, “that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord”.

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
?

A blogger on The Fellowship Site comments on this verse:

“The morning light pushes away the darkness and distant vision is possible once again.  When we go through the dark places of life and we cannot see into the future, it is good to understand, by faith, that the Lord is our light for direction and deliverer from troubles.  Because he strengthens our lives we do not ever need to live in fear.”  (https://www.thefellowshipsite.org/psalm-271.html)

In verse 4, David declares his heart’s greatest desire:

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
.

Psalm 27_4

This prayer is the high calling of every believer, to dwell in the presence of the Lord every day, to behold the beauty of His holiness, to commune with Him, and find His direction for each day.  Jacqueline Heider comments on her site, (https://jacquelineheider.com/a-meditation-on-psalm-274-gaze/):

“Have you ever been completely captivated by someone or something? Perhaps it was a breathtaking sunset or newborn baby that caught your attention. What did you do? Did you glance for a moment, or did you become so enamored by the vision that you stopped, turned, and looked “full-on” into the face of the exquisite sight?

“David was captivated when he wrote these words in Psalm 27:4 (ESV) …

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

Gaze is from the Hebrew, chazah, which means to see, perceive, to contemplate with pleasure, look, behold.

“This idea of gazing or beholding requires more than a passing glance; it is purposeful contemplation of something so magnificent that you just can’t take your eyes off of it. You drink in the sight, and as you do, you find sheer delight in its presence.

“To gaze on the beauty of the Lord is to look, with full attention, into the face of Jesus in all of His glory.

John 12_3

“Several examples come to my mind when I think of gazing on the beauty of the LORD, but none are more prevalent than that of Mary of Bethany at Jesus’ feet. We see her at His feet twice in Scripture. In Luke 10:39 we see her there listening to His teaching, and then in John 12:3 we see her anointing His feet and wiping it with her hair.

“I think what strikes me most about these two moments is the time Mary takes away from all of the other pressing things she could be doing. She simply sits with or dwells with Jesus in an unhurried fashion and finds delight and joy in His presence. She beholds His glory in each of those moments, and it is as though time stands still. She worships her Lord and is completely unconcerned with those around her. And both times she is rewarded with a verbal note of praise from Jesus and a heart bursting with love.

“Have you done that recently? Have you taken the time to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD?”

 “What is your response to what Jesus did for you? Do you gaze upon His beauty daily?”

“Take time this week to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord daily, hourly, moment by moment. As you dwell in His presence and gaze upon His beauty, He will be honored and you will find sheer delight!”

Isaiah 53_6

The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all of us is pictured in this prophecy of Isaiah 53:

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

This greatest gift of God’s love is described in John 3:16:

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.

Believing in Jesus Christ and receiving Him as Savior and Lord, we can walk in the light as He is in the light, empowered by the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

1 John 1 (NKJV)
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1_7 (5)

Walking in the light also means letting His light shine through us as Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 1Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

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 17:18, He prays for the disciples, As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”  Then He declares In John 17:20, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word”.

The new year brings new hope.  Even if your mobility is restricted, you can call down heaven right where you are, as Jesus taught the disciples in Matthew 6.  This prayer is a model, pattern and template of Heaven.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 1/5/2010

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.thefellowshipsite.org/psalm-271.html  *
(2) https://jacquelineheider.com/a-meditation-on-psalm-274-gaze/  *
(3) http://jesusisgod316.blogspot.com/2016/05/john-121-3-mary-anoints-jesus-feet-at.html
(4) https://worldchallenge.org/verse/isaiah-536-0  *
(5) https://www.familyradio.org/scripture/1-john-1v7/

* Includes excellent teaching.

Posted by: dhkrause | December 22, 2019

Life, Light and Glory

John 8_12 (6)

If there is one verse in the Bible that supremely reveals God’s love for all people, it is 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.”  God’s gifts of life, light and glory through Jesus Christ are beautifully seen in the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke chapter 2, and in the revelation of His divinity in John chapter 1.

Luke 2 (NKJV)
Christ Born of Mary
2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

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.

Luke 2_14

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!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Joseph and Mary brought  the child to the temple for circumcision, where he officially received the name Yeshua (Jesus):

21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2_29-32

Later when they brought the child for presentation at the temple, an elderly man named Simeon declared further prophecies over him.  An elderly woman named Anna also bore witness to Him as the promised Redeemer.

Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

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.”

John 1_4 (3)

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Anna Bears Witness to the Redeemer
36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

God’s gift of life, light and glory through Jesus Christ are further revealed in John chapter 1.

John 1 (NKJV)
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.

Psalm 36_9 (3)

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

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.

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.

Jesus confirms all of the above promises with His declaration 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.”  Having received Him as Savior and Lord, we can joyously pray as David did in Psalm 36:9,For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/,12/21/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://throughthegraceofgod.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/john-812/
(2) https://www.pinterest.com/pin/494551602811459658/visual-search/
(3) https://myeverydaygod.com/2013/09/12/fulfillment/  *
(4) https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7c/c8/6c/7cc86c3f693a9904e37577c1363c0a5d.jpg
(5) https://passionateprayer.org/2017/04/24/fountain-of-life/ *
* Includes excellent teaching.

 

Posted by: dhkrause | December 8, 2019

Immanuel, God With Us

Isaiah 7_14 (3)

God commands His people, “Be holy for I am holy”, and to love one another as He loves us. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are upheld by His power to fulfill these commands.  (1 John 4:11, 1 Peter 1:5, 15.)

The gospel of Matthew describes how Jesus Christ in his life and ministry fulfilled many prophecies.  The first is that the Savior would be born of a virgin, and one of his names would be Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”  (Hebrew: Immanu “with us” + El “God”.)  Jesus’ actual name in Hebrew is Yeshua, which means “salvation” – very fitting, for He came to save His people from their sins.  Jesus Christ is both “God with us” and our Savior who redeems and transforms our lives.  All of these promises are found in the first chapter of Matthew, where an angel of the Lord comes to Joseph in a dream:

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

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

Isaiah 9_6-7 (2)

The reference to the name, “Immanuel”, is from Isaiah 7:14, “ Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”  Isaiah 9 gives additional prophecies about the coming Savior (some of which will be fulfilled in His second coming):

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.

In Luke 1, we read how Mary also received a very special visit from an angel of the Lord, while she was wide awake, telling her about the son to whom she would give birth while still a virgin.  Mary received this amazing word by faith: “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38)

Luke 1_31

Luke 1 (NKJV)
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Hark the herald angels sing

Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” captures these wonderful truths about the incarnation of the Son of God:

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

  1. Hark! the herald angels sing,
    “Glory to the newborn King;
    Peace on earth, and mercy mild;
    God and sinners reconciled.”
    Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
    Join the triumph of the skies;
    With th’angelic hosts proclaim,
    “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

     2. Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
         Christ, the everlasting Lord:
         Late in time behold Him come,
         Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
         Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
         Hail th’incarnate Deity!
         Pleased as man with men to appear,
         Jesus our Immanuel here.

John 3:16 describes God’s incomparable gift of love in sending His own Son, that we might have eternal life through faith in Him: “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 writes about the  call of God upon our lives to know His love, and to love as He loves, in 1 John 4:

1 John 4 (NKJV)
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.

1 John 4_11 (2)

God commands us as followers of Jesus to be holy in all our conduct.  We are upheld by His power to win that victory, as described in 1 Peter 1:

1 Peter 1 (NKJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 12/7/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.returntotheword.com/Isaiah-714–Fulfilled-In-Christ  *
(2) https://slideplayer.com/slide/4269906/
(3) https://genesisone.wordpress.com/tag/prophecy/  *
(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShO0BgBZXo
(5) https://medium.com/@keithmcgivern/beloved-if-god-so-loved-us-we-ought-also-to-love-one-another-1-john-4-11-dced66bb9cde  *

* Includes excellent teaching.

 

Posted by: dhkrause | November 24, 2019

Thanks Be to God

Psalm 100_4

Psalm 100:4 declares, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.”  What are you thankful for?

We can say, “Thanks be to God” for so many things, including:

(1) His Creation

(2) His faithful provision

(3) His Word

(4) Redemption and glorious unity with Him through Jesus Christ.

Psalm 100 is a beautiful song of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 100 (NKJV)
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
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
.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Revelation 4_11

Revelation 4:11 declares that God created each of us for His pleasure.
By His will we exist and were created.

Revelation 4:11 (KJV)
Thou art worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power:
For thou hast created all things,
And for thy pleasure they are and were created.

 Revelation 4:11 (NKJV)
“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Psalm 107 gives thanks for the Lord’s faithfulness to His people, four times declaring, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

Psalm 107 (NKJV)
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.

Psalm 107_1

They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses
.
And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
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.

Psalms 19 and 119 give thanks for God’s Word that transforms and guides us.

Psalm 19 (NKJV)
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
         The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
         The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
         The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
         Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
         And in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 119_105 (4)

Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

The eternal Word of God became flesh in Jesus Christ, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

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

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.

Through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, and our faith in Him, we are redeemed and have eternal life.

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

1 John 4:10 (NIV)
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

We have so much to be thanking God for every day,  most importantly, for redemption and the promise of glorious unity with Him through Jesus Christ.

John 17_3 (4)

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.

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.”

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 11/24/2019

Photo credits:

(1) https://images.knowing-jesus.com/Psalm/100/4

(2) http://2tim3v16.blogspot.com/2014/01/revelation-411.html

(3) https://www.psalmsquotes.com/psalm-107-1-thanksgiving.htm

(4) https://www.markalanwilliams.net/post/2018/09/13/your-word-is-a-lamp-for-my-feet-and-a-light-for-my-path  *

(5) https://heartofworship7.com/2017/09/21/beautiful-feet/#more-13354  *

* Includes excellent teaching.

Posted by: dhkrause | November 10, 2019

Saved by Grace through Faith

Ephesians 2_8-9

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are saved by grace through faith.  We are His workmanship, and co-laborers with Him.

Ephesians 2 (NKJV)
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.

Ephesians 2_10 (2)

Living faith is always accompanied by action, as seen in James 2:18,But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

James 2_17

James 2 (NKJV)
Faith Without Works Is Dead
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Peter H. Davids writes,  “So is faith without works dead?  What James seems to say is that our works don’t save us, but they do reflect a saving faith.”

https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/what-james-means-by-faith-without-works-is-dead

John’s gospel describes how grace and truth came through Jesus Christ:

John 1_14 (3)

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

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.

Christ has made God known to us, as the New Life Version declares:

18 The much-loved Son is beside the Father. No man has ever seen God. But Christ has made God known to us. 

God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ is clearly seen in John 3:16,

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

John 3_16 (8)

By grace through faith we receive power to have victory over sin.

John 8 (NKJV)
10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

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

Romans 5 describes the eternal blessings of being saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5 (NKJV)

1 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.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/,11/10/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.amazingfacts.org/bible-study/scripture-pictures/scripture-pictures-by-books-of-the-bible/verse/e/29238/t/ephesians-2-8-9
(2) http://dailyscriptureblog.com/scripture/masterpiece-4/
(3) http://michellenezat.com/
(4) https://www.hearthymn.com/bible-verse-who-is-jesus-christ.html
(5) https://sevennotesofgrace.com/2012/07/19/this-is-how-we-know-john-316/

Posted by: dhkrause | October 30, 2019

Seeing God’s Glory

Pastor John MacArthur writes, “The sight of the glory of God shining in the face of Christ lies at the heart of the entire Christian experience.”*

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

* Forward to Michael Riccardi’s book, “Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness”, Grace Books, 2015

Jesus prayed that His followers would be sanctified – set apart to be holy –  and that they would see His glory.

John 17 (NKJV)
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.

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.

Paul writes that it is in beholding the glory of God that believers are being transformed into His image.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

In his book, “Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness” Michael Riccardi describes how sanctification is both internal and external.
The Holy Spirit changes our hearts to not only “do what God commands”, but also to “love what God loves”.  The foundational means of or sanctification is “beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”.

He writes on page 11,

“Therefore, the truly holy person does not merely “do what God commands,” though he certainly does that; the holy person “loves what God loves,” and then acts in keeping with that renewed heart.  As God works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), He inclines our hearts to treasure the glory of Christ.  And as we behold Him with the eyes of our heart, our minds and our affections are renewed (2 Cor. 3:18; cf. Rom. 12:2), so that we love Him more and love sin less.  We are transformed from the inside out.”

In our progressive sanctification by the Holy Spirit, God is working in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  He is working even on our affections.

Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Paul teaches that we are called to be transformed from the inside out:

Romans 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The means for sanctification that the Holy Spirit uses include:

  • Scripture – being diligent and disciplined in reading God’s Word
  • Prayer – asking and receiving in dialog with God
  • Fellowship – interaction with other believers, edifying one another
  • Providence – providential working of God in one’s life
  • Obedience – obeying God with a heart of love

Michael Riccardi describes the primary means God uses to sanctify the believer:

Therefore, we conclude that while the Spirit employs various means of sanctifying the believer, beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ is the chief, fundamental, and primary means which breathes life and efficacy into all the other means.  ‘Looking unto Jesus is the great means of grace by which all other means find their potency’.*  He Himself is the fount of all spiritual life and growth, and in this way His supremacy and sufficiency are magnified in progressive sanctification.” (ibid, p. 41)

*Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, p. 526

He continues (p. 43-44), “The Christian’s pursuit of God-given holiness is, as Scripture says, a fight (1 Tim 6:12), a race (Heb. 12:1), and a battle (Eph 6:10-18).  But because the foundational means of our sanctification is beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ, we must recognize that the battle is fought first on the level of spiritual sight.  That race is run, fixing our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2).

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

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

Michael Riccardi concludes (p. 44-45),

“As we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we are conscious that it is the Holy Spirit of God who is working within us.  And He works by illuming the glory of Christ to the eyes of our hearts, winning over our affections by the delightfulness and beauty of that glory.  And then our affections inform and direct our wills, so that as a result we might will and work for His good pleasure.

“And precisely because He works in us in this powerful way, we apply all diligence to put away anything that would cloud our vision of that glorious Savior, because the prospect of fellowship and communion with Him promises a greater pleasure than the false and fleeting pleasures of sin.

“And we make every effort to saturate our minds with the loveliness of Christ’s glory, delightfully disciplining ourselves to behold Him in His Word, to seek His face in worshipful prayer, to enjoy Him in fellowship with the saints, to see Him at work in creation and providence, and to obey Him in the sure hope that obedience brings us into deeper and greater communion with Him.”

Let us, then, fix our eyes on Jesus, and run our race with endurance for the joy set before us.”

As 1 John 3:2 declares, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 10/26/2019

Photo credit:  https:// daily-bible-verse.net/2corin4-6.html

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