Posted by: dhkrause | August 13, 2017

Endure Till the End

Jesus consistently teaches that faithful obedience brings glory to God and yields the good fruit of eternal life.  In Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, we see the ones who bear fruit are those “who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.”

Seed on Good Soil

Luke 8 (NKJV)
The Parable of the Sower
As a large crowd was gathering, and people were flocking to Him from every town, He said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Other seed fell on the rock; when it sprang up, it withered, since it lacked moisture. Other seed fell among thorns; the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground; when it sprang up, it produced a crop: 100 times what was sown.” As He said this, He called out, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!”
The Parable of the Sower Explained
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the seed on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing.

14 As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. 15 But the seed in the good ground — these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.

Stay connected to the vine

In Jesus’ analogy of the vine and the branches, we see once again that our abiding with Him brings glory to God and yields the good fruit of eternal life.

John 15 (NKJV)
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 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.

In John 10, Jesus taught that if we keep on listening and keep on following, then we shall not perish and shall not be taken out of His hand.

John 10 (NKJV)
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.   …  27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

My sheep hear my voice

We can see from Jesus’ own words that a onetime commitment to follow Him does not automatically result in eternal life.  Some maintain that John 3:16 implies that a simple affirmation of beliefs about Jesus assures eternal life, but this is a shallow understanding the verse:

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.

The word, “believes” in this verse carries the meaning of keeping on believing and obeying.  Analyzing the original Greek in depth,  Douglas J. Del Tondo, in his book,  “Jesus’ Words on Salvation”, contends that a more accurate translation of John 3:16 would be:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever keeps on obeying unto Him should not perish but should have eternal life.

This is a companion verse to John 8:51:

Most positively, I say to you, if anyone keeps on obeying (tereo) My word, he should never ever see death into eternity (ainon) [fig. forever]!  [John 8:51]

(Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq., Infinity Publishing.com, 2008, “Jesus’ Words on Salvation”, p. 514)

In his book, “Jesus’ Words Alone”, Del Tondo describes Jesus’ view of faith:

For Jesus, faith was something you exercised earnestly toward God in prayer, never giving up in your confidence God will answer.”

(Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq., Infinity Publishing.com, March 2007, “Jesus’ Words Alone”, p. 399)

To those facing persecution, Jesus promises, “he who endures to the end will be saved.”  (Matthew 10:22)   “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 22:10)  James 1:12 says we are blessed if we endure temptation, looking forward to this promised reward:

James 1:12 (NKJV)
Loving God Under Trials
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

James 1_12

With God’s help, we can endure as overcomers to the end.  In Matthew 24, Jesus contrasts  the one whose love has grown cold with the one who endures to the end:

Matthew 24 (NKJV)
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Paul advises believers in Philippians 2:12 to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.  Some express concern that if we earn eternal life by faithful obedience, we would be inclined to boast.  However, this need not be the case, considering the example of high achievers who refuse to boast, giving all glory to God.

Ray Knight

One memorable example of this occurred in the 1986 World Series, when the New York Mets were one pitch away from losing to the Boston Red Sox, and somehow pulled out the game.  Later in the series, in the seventh inning of the seventh game, Ray Knight of the Mets hit a line drive over the centerfield fence sparking a rally that led his team to victory.  When asked what he was thinking when he stepped up to the plate, he replied, “I was feeling physically exhausted.  I prayed that God would give me strength to do my very best, and He did!  I give all the glory to Him.”  Ray Knight refrained from boasting, giving God all the glory, but he had to swing the bat.

In Revelation 21, Jesus describes the destiny of those who endure till the end in faithful obedience:

Revelation 21:7
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 8/12/2017, https://compellinglove.net/

Posted by: dhkrause | July 30, 2017

Be Doers of the Word

Psalm 119_45

Jesus, His brother James, and the Apostle John all strongly emphasize that true faith will be accompanied by loving obedience to the commandments of God, as the writer of Psalm  119 so beautifully describes:

44 So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
45 And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.
46 I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings,
And will not be ashamed.
47 And I will delight myself in Your commandments,
Which I love.

93 I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have given me life.

Where there is true faith, the hearing and the doing go together.  This is seen in the following  exchange between Jesus and one of the scribes:

Mark 12 (NKJV)
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

In Matthew 5:16, Jesus tells the disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Then in the strongest possible terms, He enjoins them to keep all the commandments of God:

Matthew 5
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

James 1_22

In John 6:63, Jesus tells the disciples, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”  Speaking of eternal life, He promises in John 8:51, “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” 

Speaking of a deep relationship with His followers, He says in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

Hearing and doing God’s word are the two wings by which a believer rises into the perfect liberty God has planned for us.  James exhorts believers,

be doers of the word, and not hearers only”. He then explains that God’s commands are “the perfect law of liberty”, and meant to be a blessing.

James 1 (NKJV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

1 John 1_7

The Apostle John contrasts walking in darkness, with walking in God’s light, where we have fellowship with Him and with one another:

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.

Trust and obey: love God and keep His commandments.  As the song says, “ there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”
John assures us, “And His commandments are not burdensome.
This is the living faith, “the victory that has overcome the world”.

1 John 5 (NKJV)
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Faith is the Victory (2)

James asks, can faith without works save a person?  He answers no, “as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

James 2 (NKJV)
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Matthew 19_26

Jesus tells the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:17, “if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”  Later, speaking of the deceptiveness of riches, and of the challenge of walking in full obedience to God’s commands,  He gives us the key to victory: “with God all things are possible.”

 Matthew 19 (NKJV)
23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 7/29/2017, https://compellinglove.net/

Posted by: dhkrause | July 15, 2017

Truth, Freedom, Love and Joy

Walk Humbly in Truth and Freedom

1 John 1:7 declares that “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.”  We then are no longer slaves to sin – we are free to sin no more!  Freely obeying Him in love, His joy remains in us and our joy is fulfilled.  This is dramatically illustrated in John 8, where Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”  He then gives the key for living victoriously: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

John 8 (NKJV)
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

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

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

Later in verses 31 and 32, Jesus explains, “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.”  In the ensuing discussion, He makes it  clear that He is talking about no longer being a slave of sin. Those who abide in His word are free indeed, free to sin no more.

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.

­­­­­Abiding in His word means demonstrating our love by obeying His commandments.  Jesus promises those who do so, that the Spirit of truth will come and dwell in them.  He comes to us, and we are never alone.

John 14 (NKJV)
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 promised that the one who obeys His commandments with a heart of love “will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” [AMP: “I will make Myself real to him.”]

Jesus promises to the one who lovingly obeys Him, “My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

Abiding in Jesus means being continuously connected with Him, as the branch is connected to the vine. He tells the disciples, “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.

John 15 (NKJV)
“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.

Abiding in Jesus, with His words abiding in you, He promises, “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.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 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.

By walking in the light as He is in the light, our love and joy will be perfected.

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

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Let God Take The Lead

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 7/15/2017  https://compellinglove.net/

Posted by: dhkrause | July 2, 2017

The God Who Restores

He restores my soul

God is in the business of restoring lives!  We are made in the image of God, but that image, character, has been marred by sin.  Because of man’s rebellion against God, we are all born with a selfish and rebellious nature.  The Bible’s history is HIS STORY, recounting how God prepared the way and in the fullness of time sent the promised Savior to restore people to right relationship with Him, in spirit, soul and body.  The story begins in Genesis:

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.”

Genesis 3 describes the rebellion of our first ancestors in the garden of Eden, and the consequences of their sin.  This account includes both judgments and a redemptive promise, particularly in these words God speaks to the devil who had deceived Eve into sinning against God:

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” has long been understood by scholars to denote a Savior born of a virgin.  The bruising of the devil’s head is seen as referring to the Savior’s taking authority (headship) away from the devil.  The bruising of the Savior’s heel is a reference to His suffering and dying, taking the judgment of sins upon Himself.  This is further detailed in many prophecies, perhaps most notably in Isaiah 53:

Isaiah 53 (NKJV)
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed
.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all
.

Restoration begins with repentance.  David’s prayer of repentance and plea for forgiveness and restoration sets an excellent example for all to follow.  After acknowledging and repenting of his sin, he prays that God will restore him spiritually, and vows to then help others to be likewise restored.

Psalm 51 (NKJV)
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

King David and the prophets of old looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, the Savior, who would bring true salvation to Israel and to all who believe in Him.  Also, in Psalm 110, David appears to be listening in to a conversation between the Father and the Son of God:

Matthew 22 (NKJV)
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
They said to Him, “The Son of David.”
43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:

       44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’?  [Psalm 110:1]

45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.

The central message of the New Testament is that the way back to right relationship with God is through receiving and walking with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, as succinctly stated in Romans 3:23-24 and John3:16:

Romans 3 (NKJV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

John 3:16 (NKJV)
1For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Like King David in Psalm 51, when we ourselves have been restored, we can then lead others to be restored as well.  As new creations in Christ, we are called to be ambassadors for Him.

2 Corinthians 5 (NKJV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

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

The restoration God brings to those who are fully set apart for Him is for the whole person: spirit, soul and body, as Paul so aptly prayed:

1 Thessalonians 5 (NKJV)
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Come to Me

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com,7/1/2017  https://compellinglove.net/

Posted by: dhkrause | June 15, 2017

Christ’s Love and Call (Song with Video)


This is a video of a song I wrote out of gratitude for brethren who reach out to others with Christ’s love. These are the lyrics:

Christ’s Love and Call

  1. Beloved, Beloved,
    Christ loves you and calls you
    To be His own.
    Brother, Sister,
    He loves you and calls you
    To be His friend,
    Strong and pure,
    Ambassador,
    Reaching out to others,
    That they may know Him too,
    And they may be His friend.
  1. Yeshua Messiah,
    You love us and call us
    To be Your own.
    Master, Savior,
    You love us and call us
    To be Your friend,
    Strong and pure,
    Ambassador,
    Reaching out to others,
    That they may know You too,
    And they may be Your friend.

David Krause, 2016

Posted by: dhkrause | June 11, 2017

Beloved of God

Christ loves us and calls us to be His own, walking in love, as He loved us “and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering  and sacrifice to God.”  By our conduct, our lives should say to others,  “I love you. Period.”

Ephesians 5.1–2 ESV
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

I love you, period

We are God’s sons and daughters through the Spirit, as Paul declares:
As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

Romans 8  NKJV
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  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.

God makes all things work together for good to those who love Him, and absolutely nothing can separate us from His love.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

The Love of God

God’s Everlasting Love
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

 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.

Jesus declared, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you… These things I command you, that you love one another.”

No Greater Love

John 15  NKJV
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

Paul writes, “Therefore, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”…
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ.  (2 Cor. 5:17 ,20)

Ambassadors for Christ

2 Corinthians 5  NKJV
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.

Peter enjoins believers to “love one another fervently with a pure heart”, as we live in the light of God’s Word.

1 Peter 1  (NKJV)
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

Oh Beloved!

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 6/10/17  https://compellinglove.net/

Christ’s Love and Call
(Song by David Krause, 2016)

  1. Beloved, Beloved,
    Christ loves you and calls you
    To be His own.
    Brother, Sister,
    He loves you and calls you
    To be His friend,
    Strong and pure,
    Ambassador,
    Reaching out to others,
    That they may know Him too,
    And they may be His friend.

  2. Yeshua Messiah,
    You love us and call us
    To be Your own.
    Master, Savior,
    You love us and call us
    To be Your friend,
    Strong and pure,
    Ambassador,
    Reaching out to others,
    That they may know You too,
    And they may be Your friend.
Posted by: dhkrause | May 28, 2017

Renewal of First Love

Jesus teaches in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  My wife Marla writes, “In cultivating Kingdom standards and values, things that deflect us from putting God first are like hard rocks in the soil of our hearts, that must be tossed aside.  The test of blessing is to be thankful every day in everything,  loving God’s Presence more than our preferences, and letting go of whatever crowds God out.”  To love God with all your heart means to put Him first in everything.  He is our first love.

First Love

When you truly love God with all your heart, there will be plenty of love overflowing from your heart to others.  The Apostle John even writes, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

1 John 4  NKJV
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.

Jesus connected these two commandments: loving God with all you are, and loving your neighbor as yourself.  A certain lawyer tried to narrow down the meaning of “neighbor”, which led Jesus to give the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10 NKJV
25 
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

King David had a heart after God, but at one time he drifted away from his first love, committing both adultery and murder.  He repented before God and was graciously forgiven and restored.  Psalm 51 records his prayer of repentance.

Psalm 51  NKJV
10 
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

David’s heart for God and love of His Presence is seen in Psalm  27.  His exuberant declaration of faith concludes, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”

Psalm 27 NKJV
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid
?
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.
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.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek
.”
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 Revelation 2, Jesus lovingly admonishes the church of Ephesus:

Revelation 2 NKJV
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Return to Your First Love

Returning to our first love, we rejoice in singing songs like these to the Lord:

To you my heart is an open door.
Step right in and make it Yours.

True worship from my heart
Is what I bring to You.

Your heart is my home.

Our Pastor, Caleb Klinge, recently led the congregation in this prayer:

Lord, I receive the renewal of first love.
Holy Spirit, I receive the love of the Father
pouring into my heart.  I receive, in Jesus’ name.
Thank you, Lord.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 5/27/2017  https://compellinglove.net/

Posted by: dhkrause | May 15, 2017

Grace and Truth

Grace and truth are united in God.  Teaching grace without truth leads to licentiousness.  Teaching truth without grace is crushing.  Randy Alcorn in his book, “The Grace and Truth Paradox”, describes how to walk in both grace and truth as  Christ did.  Reviewer Nancy Leigh Demoss writes, “In his probing, incisive manner, Randy Alcorn presses us to examine our lives for any lack of balance. He paints a compelling picture of what it means to walk as Christ did, in both grace and truth.”

Randy Alcorn writes:

“Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” No one did either like Jesus. Truth hates sin. Grace loves sinners.  Those full of grace and truth do both.

People thirst for the real Jesus. Nothing less can satisfy. Grace and truth are His fingerprints. We show people Jesus only when we show them grace and truth. Anything less than both is neither.

The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding with Christlike Balance (LifeChange Books) (p. 87, 91) Kindle Edition.

Grace and Truth (1)

John’s gospel declares that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

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.

The Word Becomes Flesh
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 
John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
16 
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Grace and Truth (2)

Grace and truth are one in Jesus Christ, as described by Psalm 85.

Psalm 85 (NKJV)
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
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.

Jesus gave the parable of the prodigal son picturing God’s grace and forgiveness.  When the wayward son came back in repentance to his father, he was astonished by his father’s grace and forgiveness.

Luke 15 (NKJV)
20 
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

The grace that comes through Jesus Christ both forgives, and empowers us “to go and sin no more”, as seen in Jesus’ forgiveness and restoration of the  woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8:

John 8 (NKJV)
10 
When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
12 
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

The book of Romans teaches that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and all can be fully forgiven and restored through Jesus Christ.

Romans 3 (NKJV)
God’s Righteousness Through Faith
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Romans 6 (NKJV)
23 
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are saved by grace through faith, not by works.  Then we become His workmanship, expressing Christ in truth and love.

Ephesians 2 (NKJV)
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Peter describes a walk in grace and truth in this way:

1 Peter 1 (NKJV)
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 5/14/2017, https://compellinglove.net/

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Posted by: dhkrause | April 30, 2017

Christ’s Love and Call

Love of Christ

Song by David Krause, 2016

  1. Beloved, Beloved,
    Christ loves you and calls you
    To be His own.
    Brother, Sister,
    He loves you and calls you
    To be His friend,
    Strong and pure,
    Ambassador,
    Reaching out to others,
    That they may know Him too,
    And they may be His friend.

  2. Yeshua Messiah,
    You love us and call us
    To be Your own.
    Master, Savior,
    You love us and call us
    To be Your friend,
    Strong and pure,
    Ambassador,
    Reaching out to others,
    That they may know You too,
    And they may be Your friend.

    (Photo credit: http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/who-shall-separate-us-from-the-love-of-christ)

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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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