Posted by: dhkrause | September 16, 2018

God’s Shining Face

Numbers 6_24-26

The references in Scripture to God’s shining face progressively reveal His desire for a strong personal relationship with His people who walk with Him.

The first occurrence of this phrase is when God told Moses to instruct his brother Aaron to bless the people in the following way.

Numbers 6  (NKJV)
The Priestly Blessing
22 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’

This is a prayer for God’s blessing and protection, for His favor and grace, and for His peace.  There is also a hint of a coming personal relationship with His people individually, in the lines referring to His shining face and uplifted countenance.

God’s desire for an intimate personal relationship with each believer culminates in the rending of the veil by Jesus Christ, through His life, death and resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 31_16

The promise carried by God’s shining face is seen in various Psalms, and in the book of Daniel.  The Lord is David’s fortress in adversity in Psalm 31, and His shining face is coupled with salvation, as David prays,

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
And from those who persecute me.
16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.

 Asaph prays for the restoration of Israel in Psalm 80. Three times he declares, Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!”  God’s shining face signifies His favor upon His people, leading to their salvation.

Psalm 119:135 declares: “Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.”  God’s shining face is here connected with His teaching and guiding His people.

Daniel associates God’s shining face with the restoration of the sanctuary in Jerusalem when he prays in Daniel 9:17,

Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate.” 

Psalm 67_1-2

Psalm 67 begins with a prayer for God’s mercy and blessing, and for His face to shine upon us, again sparking a hope of an intimate walk with God in His anointing.  The further purpose of this prayer is seen in the second verse, that His way would be known on the earth, and His salvation among all nations.

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.

The further result of this light shining forth from the face of God is seen in the next verses.  God will be the righteous judge and governor of the nations, blessing His people, acknowledged to the ends of the earth.

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.

2 corinthians 4_6.JPG (2)

God’s desire for an intimate personal relationship with each believer culminates in the rending of the veil by Jesus Christ, who by the power of the Holy Spirit now lives in the hearts of believers.

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4.6 NKJV)

Author Alisa Hope Wagner writes:

“We see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. God is our Creator, and many times He seems so perfect and distant that we can’t reach Him. In fact, we in our imperfect state cannot even come close to God. He is holy, and we are not. Our sin separates us from our Creator, but God’s plan didn’t end at our sin. Our sin merely ignited the rest of God’s plan on earth and heaven. God rested on the 7th day of creation, knowing that Jesus reconciled each believer back into His loving arms. From His place on High, God shines His glory onto earth, revealing the face of Jesus in the darkest parts of our hearts. We no longer have to grope for a tangible God. He is here in each of us, guiding us, molding us and growing us into His glorious image. God in the flesh has come to walk with us on every step of our earth-journey. We don’t have to be afraid or confused; we simply need to keep our focus on the light shining in the darkness—a light that has destroyed eternal separation from our Heavenly Father.”  “The people that sat in darkness Saw a great light, And to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, To them did light spring up” (Matthew 4.16 ISV).
https://faithimagined.com/2016/05/verse-meditation/

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 9/16/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1)  http://thedailyverses.blogspot.com/2013/03/numbers-624-26.html
(2)  https://www.crosscards.com/cards/scripture-cards/psalm-31-16.html
(3)  http://mphilliber.blogspot.com/2018/03/o-god-creator-preserver-and-governor-of.html
(4)  https://faithimagined.com/2016/05/verse-meditation/

Posted by: dhkrause | September 10, 2018

Evocative Words

The pronunciation of certain words helps evoke their meaning. This includes, but is not limited to, words that sound like what they reference (onomatopoeia). Here are four words, closely related phonetically, that do this for me: twinkle, tinkle, tickle and tingle, relating to the senses of seeing, hearing, touch and internal feeling. Pay attention to how your mouth pronounces each of these words, and see if you can catch how the act of pronunciation subtly evokes the meaning.

Stars twinkle
Chimes tinkle
Feathers tickle
Spines tingle

I think being sensitive to this phenomenon may help a person learn a new language. It certainly makes the words come alive. Adam may have been a master at this, when he named the animals in the garden of Eden.

Posted by: dhkrause | September 2, 2018

Light, Love and Truth

1 John 1_5

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  God is love, and the source of all true love.  God is truth, and by knowing Him we have eternal life.  Light, love and truth abide together in those who walk with God.  John’s first epistle describes walking in the light by the grace of Jesus Christ.

1 John 1  (NKJV)
Fellowship with Him and One Another
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 allIf 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.

The eternal Word of God, the Son of God who was with the Father before the world began, is the source of all life and light, including our very consciousness.

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.

John 1_17 (2)

The  Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

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.

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. 

God sent His light and truth into the world through Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the ultimate answer to David’s prayer in Psalm 43.

Psalm 43 (NKJV)
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

1 John 4_7-8

1 John 4 describes knowing and abiding in God’s love through Jesus Christ.

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 loveIn 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.

Abiding with 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 17_3 (2)

In His high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus declares that to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent is to have eternal life.  Near the end of this prayer, He prays that those who believe in Him will share in the unity, glory and love that He had with the Father before the world was.

John 17 (NKJV)
1Jesus 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 sentI 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.

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.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 9/2/2018, https://compellinglove.net/   

Photo credits:
(1)  http://www.bibleverseimages.com/bible-quote-8.htm
(2)  https://inspirationandhealing.blogspot.com/2015/10/bible-quotes-john-117.html
(3)  https://www.amazingfacts.org/news-and-features/scripture-pictures/scripture-pictures-by-verse/verse/e/30611/t/1-john-4-7
(4) https://www.deviantart.com/bible-quote/art/John-17-3-Daily-Bible-Verse-571492829

Posted by: dhkrause | August 19, 2018

Beautiful Savior

Beautiful Savior

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blooming Garb of Spring

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

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

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

Jesus Shines Brighter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 22_28

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credits:

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

Posted by: dhkrause | August 5, 2018

Light of the World

John 8_12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 9_25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 5_14-16

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 36_9

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

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

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

John 1_6-9

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

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

. . .

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

. . .

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted by: dhkrause | July 22, 2018

The Kingdom of Christ’s Love

Colossians 1_13-14

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

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

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

Romans 5_8

Jesus said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  This is the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us, as explained in Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:10.

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

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

John 6_35

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

John 6 (NKJV)
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

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

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

Revelation 1_5

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: dhkrause | July 8, 2018

Love that is Better than Life

Psalm 63_3-4 (2)

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

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

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

Psalm 16_11 (2)

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

The trust and love shown by Job and by David in these statements is a testimony to their faith in the coming Redeemer and the promise of eternal life.  These expectations were fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ, who declared: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

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

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

The Gospels: The Manifestation of Christ

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

Zech. 9_9

Matthew: Christ is Manifest as Royalty

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

Mark: Christ is Manifest in His Ministry

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

Luke: Christ is Manifest in His Perfect Humanity

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

John 1_1-2,14

John: Christ is Manifest in His Deity

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

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

Now this is love that is better than life!

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

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

Posted by: dhkrause | June 24, 2018

Resurrection Life

John 11_25

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

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

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

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

Luke 24_46-48

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

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

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

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

Job 19_25

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hosea 6_2

Bruce Demarest continues:

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

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

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

Matthew 16_21

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 6_4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: dhkrause | June 10, 2018

Christ Our Redeemer

Isaiah 54_5

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 1_14

Describing the purpose of His coming, Jesus declared:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Peter 1_18-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 8_36

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 10_10 (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted by: dhkrause | May 27, 2018

Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and Son of God

1 Timothy 2_5-6

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

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

John 3 (NKJV)
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

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

Daniel 7_13

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

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

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

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

1 John 1_7 (3)

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

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

John 3:16 declares, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Every soul is precious to God. When we trust in Him with all our heart, He promises to direct our ways, leading us into ever increasing light, as pictured in Proverbs 3 and 4.

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

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

Romans 12_2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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