Posted by: dhkrause | April 24, 2017

The God of Hope, Peace and Joy

The God of Hope

Paul prays in Romans 15:13, “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.” Hope can be a lifeline, a rope God throws to a despairing soul. Tahni Cullen, in an interview with Sid Roth, March 26, 2017, explains:

There is no coping in Heaven’s language. It is only hope. And even Abraham, it said, in the worst situations, against hope, he hoped. And you may not have the situation that I have. You may have a completely different situation, but the God of hope is extending this rope. In fact, “hope” in Hebrew (tiqvah) means a cord, a rope. Grab onto that rope. And I just pray right now by the power of the Holy Spirit, as you grab onto that rope that you will follow that rope and you will find the most amazing relationship with God the Father, with God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in intimacy. And in that hope you will find faith like you have never known before and it will move mountains.

Tahni Cullen has co-authored a book with Cheryl Ricker about her family’s trials of faith in the face of the extreme autism of her son, Josiah.  The description of the book on Amazon reads:

Where is hope when there is no hope?

First-time parents Joe and Tahni Cullen were thrust into the confusing world of autism when their toddler, Josiah, suddenly lost his ability to speak, play, and socialize. The diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder. In their attempts to see Josiah recover and regain speech, the Cullens underwent overwhelming physical, emotional, and financial struggles. While other kids around him improved, Josiah only got worse.

Josiah's Fire

Five years later, Josiah, who had not been formally taught to read or write, suddenly began to type on his iPad profound paragraphs about God, science, history, business, music, strangers, and heaven. Josiah’s eye-opening visions, heavenly encounters, and supernatural experiences forced his family out of their comfort zone and predictable theology, catapulting them into a mind-blowing love-encounter with Jesus.

– Find hope in hardship.
– Catch a fresh glimpse of heaven.
– Learn to hear and trust God’s voice.
– Identify the roles of Father, Son, and Spirit.
– Become aware of the workings of angels, and much more!

Follow a trail of truth into Josiah’s mysterious world, and see why his family and friends can no longer stay silent.

In the book, Josiah explains to his mother his understanding of the triune God:

 “In the Trinity, the Father is the manager. The Son is the lover of operations. Holy Spirit is worker. So it’s the three-in-one getting things done. The world was created only by three functions that went like this: Father thought it. Son loved it. Holy Spirit carried out the plan. That is how Trinity works, Mom.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit lack nothing.  And they all talk together about how things should go. Life is simple if you know he is Papa. He is Healer. He is Helper. Man must voice, “Father, what do you think? Jesus, what do you love? Spirit, what should we do about it?” This is your mission: do what Father thinks and what Jesus loves and what Spirit tells.”

“To say you are seated in heavenly places with God is to say the Spirit of God is seated in heaven, but he is also seated inside of you.”

“You are the fullness of God in Christ.”

(Cullen, Tahni; Ricker, Cheryl. Josiah’s Fire: Autism Stole His Words, God Gave Him a Voice (Kindle Locations 2468-2475). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC. Kindle Edition.)

Tahni says she found encouragement in Psalm 30, describing how God  gives new hope and strength when we go through the storms of life:

Psalm 30 (NKJV)
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

10 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me;
Lord, be my helper!”
11 
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Josiah’s deep relationship with God exemplifies how God speaks to His own, and they are able to hear His voice while steering clear of others that would mislead.  Jesus describes his role as the true Shepherd in John 10:

John 10 (NKJV)
1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
Jesus the Good Shepherd
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/
4/23/2017

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Posted by: dhkrause | April 10, 2017

The King of Glory Enters In

 Jesus' Triumphal Entry

(Photo credit:  https://carlamcdougal.com/2016/03/jesus-triumphal-entry/)

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey a few days before the Passover feast in the final week before His Crucifixion and Resurrection, many recognized Him as the Messiah and rejoiced and praised God with a loud voice.  The Pharisees objected to this rejoicing, but Jesus responded,  “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Luke 19 (NKJV)
28 
When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”

34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

As individuals, we are invited to welcome the Savior, the King of glory, into our lives.  Psalm 24:7 declares, “Lift up your heads, O you gates!  And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!  And the King of glory shall come in.”

Who is this King of glory in whom they were rejoicing?  He is Yeshua, Jesus, the eternal living Word of God who came in the flesh 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.

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

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

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

John announced Jesus’ ministry with the words, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

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! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

John 3:16-17 describes the depth of God’s love in sending His Son into the world so that all who believe in Him can be saved.

 John 3 (NKJV)
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.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

(Photo credit:  https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-6433688-stock-footage-jesus-the-good-shepherd.html)

In John 10, Jesus explained that as the Shepherd of our souls, he was voluntarily laying down his life, and that he would raise it up again.

John 10 (NKJV)
14 
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

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

The Apostle Paul declares that “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)  He declares in Romans 8:11, that “if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

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

Is Jesus Christ, the King of glory, speaking to you?

For God's Glory - Band

(Photo credit: http://www.forgodsgloryband.com/ )

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/
4/9/2017

Posted by: dhkrause | March 27, 2017

Our Identity in Christ

Our Identity in Christ

Photo credit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxY0aeS34Q4

Believers in Jesus Christ, both Jew and Gentile, have a new identity in Him.  Born again as children of God,  we are new creations, fellow-heirs with Christ himself in the house of God, and citizens of the New Jerusalem.

This revelation of God’s love and salvation through Christ is for the whole world:

John 1 (NKJV)
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.

John 3 (NKJV)
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.

2 Corinthians (NKJV)
17 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

God progressively reveals His plan for salvation beginning with first book of the Bible.  For example, God promised Abram (later named Abraham) that He would make him a great nation and that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed:

Genesis 12 (NKJV)
Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Psalm 67 describes God’s blessings going forth through His people to 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.

In Psalm 133 David describes the blessings that come when brethren dwell together in unity:

Psalm 133 (NKJV)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.

Paul declares in Ephesians 2 that Christ has broken down the middle wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles.  Christ has created “one new man from the two”, and “through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father”:

Ephesians 2 (NKJV)
14 
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

By revelation God made known to Paul “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel”.  (Ephesians 3:6)  Messianic Jewish author Boaz Michael accordingly describes the identity of both Jews and Gentiles in Christ in this way:

“The day is coming when the holy city, the New Jerusalem, will descend, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  The twelve gates of the city will be open, day and night.  …  Each gate is made of precious stone.  The names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel are inscribed upon the gates, just as they were inscribed on the twelve stones of the high priest’s breast piece.

“Through which gate will you [Gentiles] enter?

“The Bible teaches that in Jesus, “the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body” with the Jewish people (Ephesians 3:6), and “fellow heirs with Christ” Himself (Romans 8:17).”  …

“If I were a Gentile Christian and someone asked me, “What gate will you enter?”, I would reply, “I will enter through the gate of Judah.  Although I am not from that tribe, my Master is the son of David from the house of Judah.”  Shouldn’t the king’s bride pass through the king’s gate?  Shouldn’t  a man’s servant enter through the same gate as his master?”  …

(“Twelve Gates – Where Do the Nations Enter?”, by Boaz Michael, First Fruits of Zion, 2012, p. 56-57)

As born again believers in Jesus, our identity is in Him.  If you are in Christ, you are a new creation, a fellow-heir with Christ himself in the house of God, and a citizen of the New Jerusalem.

“Our Lord is coming; indeed, he is coming soon!”  (ibid)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 3/26/2017, https://compellinglove.net/  

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Posted by: dhkrause | February 28, 2017

Grace, Love, and Communion with God

2-corinthians-13-14

Photo credit:
https://www.bereaproject.org/verse-of-the-day/2016/7/27/2-corinthians-1314

In the final verse of Paul’s second epistle to believers in Corinth, he prays for three priceless blessings  to be with them:

2 Corinthians 13:14 (NKJV)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

These three blessings reveal the close interaction of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Referring to the Father, the Son (the living Word) and the Holy Spirit, 1 John 5:7 declares, “these three are one.”

1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

The Holy Spirit is mentioned in the very beginning of the Creation account.

Genesis 1
The History of Creation
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

The preamble to John’s gospel declares that the eternal Word of God “became flesh and dwelt among us”, full of grace and truth”.

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

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

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.

Grace, mercy, truth and love have met together in Jesus Christ, as portrayed in Psalm 85, and described in 2 John 1:3.

Psalm 85
10 
Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good;
And our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before Him,
And shall make His footsteps our pathway.

2 John 1:3
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

God’s love for us is supremely demonstrated through the life, atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In thankfulness for His love, we can love one another as never before.

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.

Romans 5
Christ in Our Place
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 us.

1 John 4
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.

Through the Holy Spirit we can enter into a close walk with God described by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30.  Our communion with God is through the Holy Spirit, Who guides us into all truth (John 16:13).  Romans 8 declares that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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

John 16:13
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Romans 8
37 
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/     2/27/2017

Posted by: dhkrause | February 12, 2017

Seeking God’s Face

seek-my-face

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

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

Psalm 27 (NKJV)
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments:

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

Psalm 27 concludes:

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

Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments on these concluding verses:

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

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

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

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

Jesus prayed in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  In John 8:12 he said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 4: 6, For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/  2/12/2017

Posted by: dhkrause | January 30, 2017

Bless the Lord at All Times

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

The Bible teaches us to bless the Lord at all times, whether those times be happy or hard.  God delights in blessing the faithful, yet all will face affliction at times. Even then we can trust in Jesus’ promise, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

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

Psalm 37 (NKJV)
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

In Psalm 34, David exemplifies what it means to praise and bless the Lord at all times, even when threatened or afflicted.  Then in verses 19 and 20 he provides a prophetic picture of the coming Messiah, who suffered and died for us.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: dhkrause | January 16, 2017

Glorious Liberty in Christ

glorious-liberty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: dhkrause | January 2, 2017

Trusting in God’s Goodness

gods-unfailing-love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
. . .
29 
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

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

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

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

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

Posted by: dhkrause | December 19, 2016

God’s Eternal Love

2016-12-18-gods-eternal-love

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

God’s love for the whole world is declared in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  He is not willing that any should perish, as 2 Peter 3:9 declares: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

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

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

Posted by: dhkrause | December 5, 2016

Knowing the Holy Spirit (Part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 16 (NKJV)
12 
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

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

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

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

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

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

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