Posted by: dhkrause | December 9, 2018

Abide in the Light

John 1_14 (2)

The Gospel of John reveals Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the living Word of God, and “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world”.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth”. (John 1:14).  As believers, we are called to abide in the light. 

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.  … That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. … 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The first man and woman were supernaturally created by God as described in Genesis 1 and 2.  Evolutionists consider the Creation account to be a myth or allegory, but the real myth is the theory of evolution, which posits that life arose spontaneously by natural causes, and that random changes with natural selection resulted in diverse and increasingly complex forms of life.  Unfortunately for this theory, mutations are always destructive of genetic information, not creative; thus the whole “evolutionary tree” with all its supposed branches is shown to be a figment of men’s imaginations.

Luke 1:35-37.

The conception of Jesus was another supernatural miracle.  The embryo God created in Mary’s womb did not require genetic material from Mary or Joseph.  Luke 1 describes the angel Gabriel’s announcement of this supernatural conception.

Luke 1 (NKJV)
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Luke 2_30-32 (2)

At that time in Israel, following the birth of a son the mother had to wait 40 days before going to the temple to offer a sacrifice for her purification. (NKJV Study Bible, note on Luke 2:22).  When Mary and Joseph entered the temple for this presentation, they encountered a devout elderly man named Simeon, who recognized the child as the long awaited Savior, who would be “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

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.”

John 8_12 (2)

Jesus declares in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Emphasizing the role of faith, He declares in John 12:46, I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” 

John 12_46

Willfully sinning is walking in darkness.  God’s heart for us is that “we walk in the light as He is in the light”.

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

1 John 2_10

Abiding in the light includes walking in love, with both God and others.

1 John 2 (NKJV)
10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10, “ For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Let’s remember that each of us is a work in progress!

Ephesians 2_10

Abiding in the light, we will stumble no more.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory
with exceeding joy,” (Jude 24)

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 12/9/2018, https://compellinglove.net/ 

Photo credits:
(1) https://imgur.com/gallery/4EEeg
(2) https://slideplayer.com/slide/6810490/
(3) https://gspcsermons.blogspot.com/2015/11/i-have-hope-in-god-isaiah-9-john-1-luke.html
(4) http://www.pjnaijaexpress.com/2016/10/verse-for-today-1210-john-812.html
(5) https://www.flickr.com/photos/coloneljohnbritt/9387324055
(6) http://carolinasnalc.org/2014/05/04/may-4-2014/
(7) https://dailyverses.net/ephesians/2/10

Posted by: dhkrause | November 26, 2018

The Tree of Life

 

In Genesis 3 and in Revelation 22, the Bible speaks about “the tree of life”, and in many places in between we read about being trees of life.  The consistent theme is that God is calling all of us to be as branches connected to the “tree of life”, and in turn to become trees of life to others.

Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God when they followed the serpent’s advice to eat fruit from the tree “of the knowledge of good and evil” that God had commanded them not to eat.  Part of the consequence of their rebellion was that they were banished from the Garden of Eden and from the “tree of life”.

Genesis 3 (NKJV)
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Also in Genesis 3, God promises to send a Savior who will strip away the serpent’s usurped authority, and return it to humankind, declaring in verse 15, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

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.

Genesis 3_15

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.”

In Revelation 22, the “tree of life” is described as being comprised of multiple trees,  “on either side of the river of life”, “proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb”, each tree yielding life-giving fruit and leaves that are “for the healing of the nations”.

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

Reve;ation 22_2

Connecting to the tree of life is made possible through the coming of the Savior pictured by David in Psalm 57 where he cries out to God for protection, and then declares in verse 2, “He shall send from heaven to save me … God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.” 

Psalm 57 (NKJV)
1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.
I will cry out to God Most High,
To God who performs all things for me.
He shall send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah
God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.

Psalm 57_3

Psalm 85 gives an additional glimpse of this coming Savior with the declaration, “mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed”.

Psalm 85 (NKJV)
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.

Connected with God through the Savior, the Spirit of God “will make His footsteps our pathway,”   so that we in turn become trees of life, as  described in Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”

John 1 declares that “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” the incarnate Word of God, as described in John 1:1, 14-17, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was 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.  …  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.”

John 1_17 (3)

We connect to the tree of life by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, who declares 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.”  Jesus declares in John 15:3,You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”  And He teaches in John 15:5, “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.”  

Being connected to the tree of life through Christ who lives in us, our lives increasingly express the fruit of the Spirit, as Paul describes in Ephesians 5:8-10, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 11/26/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1) http://www.1millionfreepictures.com
(2) https://wallpaper4god.com/en/background_genesis-315/
(3) http://daily-bible-verse.net
(4) https://reflectionsintheword.org
(5) https://newcreeations.org

Posted by: dhkrause | November 11, 2018

Living for God’s Glory

Psalm 57_9

The high calling of God for His people is to give Him glory in all we say and do.  Like David, we can command our souls, “Awake my glory”, which is a way of saying, “let everything within me wake up and give glory to God.”

Psalm 57 (NKJV)My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and give praise.
Awake, my glory!
Awake, lute and harp!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing to You among the nations.
10 For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens,
And Your truth unto the clouds.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.

The very fact that God has made us, and that He guides us, is reason enough to sing and rejoice, and to give Him all the glory:

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

Psalm 100_3

Jesus calls us to shine as lights in this world, giving glory to God through what we do:

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

Jesus exemplified God’s calling for all of us when he prayed in John 17:4-5,I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”

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

John 17_4

Pastor Larry Pabiona comments on these verses:

Jesus’ longest recorded prayer can be found in the 17th chapter of John. This one-of-a-kind prayer talks about the eternal majesty of Jesus—and that is why this prayer itself is majestic. Here we will see that the Father glorified the Son because He faithfully completed the purpose set for His life. In this prayer, Jesus shows us not only the eternal deity He enjoyed before the creation of the world—it also shows believers today a pattern for living that glorifies God. Knowing how Jesus Himself became obedient to the Father, even to the point of death, we are also invited to live lives completely offered to God—lives that fulfill His purposes. (http://www.gcf.org.ph/sermons/2017-06-04-the-one-whom-the-father-glorifies-finding-your-purpose-in-life)

Later in John 17, Jesus prayed that He would be glorified in his disciples:

“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.

18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Jesus then prayed that all of his followers would see and receive His glory, and experience a deep unity with Him in love.

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

John 17_22 (2)

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.”

Paul exhorts us to give ourselves completely to God, living for His glory:

Romans 12 (NKJV)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Walking with Jesus, living for God’s glory, culminates in a grand marriage in heaven with great rejoicing and glory being given to God:

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.

Revelation 19_6-7

Fannie Crosby captures this high calling in her song, “To God be the Glory”:

To God be the glory,
Great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the Life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father,
Through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory,
Great things He has done.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 11/11/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1) https://pennamen.com/praise/
(2) https://www.heartlight.org/cgi-shl/todaysverse.cgi?day=20170113&ver=niv
(3) https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/john-17-4
(4) https://wiirocku.tumblr.com/post/170556746391/john-1722-nkjv-and-the-glory-which-you-gave
(5) http://www.godtreasure.net/sunday-praise-revelation-196-7/

Posted by: dhkrause | October 28, 2018

The Supernatural Conception of Christ

Psalm 19_1

The evidence of God’s supernatural creation of the world is all around us.  Paul writes in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead”.  Appreciation of the beauty and wonder of God’s creation causes one to look beyond the creation to the Creator.  Paul writes in 2 Cor. 4:18, “we do not look [only] at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

The pinnacle of God’s work of Creation in Genesis was His creation of the first man and woman.  Out of all human beings who have ever lived, they are the only ones who did not go through the process of gestation in the womb.

The entrance of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, into the world was equally supernatural.  Like every other human being after Adam and Eve, Jesus experienced the gestation and birth process beginning from a tiny embryonic form.  Jesus, alone of all human beings ever born, did not have a human biological father.

Some Biblical critics argue that the virgin birth is a biological impossibility. Dr. Henry Morris cogently writes, “It is an impossibility only if there is no God. It is indeed a mighty miracle of creation, as is uniquely appropriate for the entrance of the infinite God into the finite body of His creature, man.”
(Henry M. Morris, “Many Infallible Proofs: Evidences for the Christian Faith”, Kindle Location 1071, Master Books, Kindle Edition)

John 1_29

An important question regarding the conception of Jesus is: Did the Holy Spirit utilize a human egg from Mary, or did He simply miraculously create the embryonic child?  Some would argue that Jesus could not have been human without His conception being from a human egg, but this is manifestly untrue.  The creation of Adam and Eve did not involve conception from a human egg, yet no one would deny they were fully human.

Jesus, on the other hand, went through the entire experience of gestation in the womb beginning with His conception, and is most certainly just as human as Adam and Eve, or any of us, whether or not a human egg was utilized.

To answer the above question one should consider whether Jesus would be fully “God come in the flesh” if he inherited the genetic flaws, and innate depravity that has plagued all descendants of Adam and Eve since their rebellion from God.  Dr. Henry Morris rightly contends that for the eternal Word to be made flesh, “A newly created body was necessary, free both from physical defects and transmitted depravity, “without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:19). Yet in order to be truly the Son of Man, He must experience the totality of human life beginning from the conception itself. “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Heb. 2:17). The only way in which these requirements could all be satisfied was by miraculous creative conception and then virgin birth”.
(ibid, Kindle location 1098).

Isaiah 7_14 (2)

The miraculous creative conception of the Savior, rightly understood, is an inseparable aspect of the incarnation of Christ.  Dr. Henry Morris writes:

“Long before it actually occurred, the incarnation had been planned in heaven. Jesus Christ was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet. 1:20). Indeed, He was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

“It was promised through the Old Testament Scriptures that God himself would enter the human family in order to suffer and die and rise again, to redeem the lost world and reconcile all things to himself.

“The first of these promises was given immediately after man’s first sin, concurrently with God’s imposition of the great curse on man and his dominion. In Genesis 3:15 (known as the “proto-evangel” or “first announcement of the gospel”), God promised: “And I will put enmity between thee [i.e., the Serpent, or Satan] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it [or, better, ‘He’] shall bruise [literally ‘crush’] thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

“Since neither Satan nor “woman” could produce literal seed, it is clear that this promise refers to a spiritual seed in both cases. Nevertheless, the “seed of the woman” requires an actual birth into the human family. In some way, therefore, the promised deliverer would be born of woman, but without genetic connection to His human parents. Clearly implied, though in veiled terminology, is the supernatural entrance of God himself into human life, in a great incarnation.

Luke 1_35

“This primeval promise was made much more explicit over three thousand years later, through the prophet Isaiah. “Behold, [the] virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). The use of the definite article (the virgin) is justified by the Hebrew original and thus implies a very specific virgin, most likely referring to the “seed of the woman” of Genesis 3:15.” (ibid, Kindle Location 987-999)

Joseph and Mary each had an angelic visitation announcing the miraculous conception of the Son of God, as described in Matthew and Luke respectively.  Here is Luke’s account of this supernatural creative act:

Luke 1 (NKJV)
Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

John 1_12-13

Rightly understanding the supernatural conception of Jesus described in Matthew 1 and  Luke 1 helps us to better understand and apply to our lives the transformative revelation of Jesus in John chapter 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.

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.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 10/27/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1)  https://www.biblestudytools.com/inspirations/08292015-psalm-19-1-social.html
(2)  http://www.321biblestudy.net/Johnc1v29t36LambOfGod_handout.html
(3)  https://www.amazingfacts.org/news-and-features/scripture-pictures/scripture-pictures-by-verse/verse/e/17797/t/isaiah-7-14
(4)  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/321514860890797608/
(5) https://kristiann1.com/2016/06/08/jn11213/

Posted by: dhkrause | October 14, 2018

The Breath of God

Creation of Man

The Hebrew word “ruach” often translated “spirit” has the root meaning, “breath”.  In Genesis 1:2, the Spirit is seen “hovering” or “brooding” over the face of the waters.  The image evoked is that of a mother bird brooding over her eggs until they hatch.  From this very first reference, the Spirit is seen as the giver of life.

Genesis 1 (NKJV)
The History of Creation
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 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.

We see that on the sixth day of the Creation week, Adam became a living being when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life:

Genesis 2:7
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Like Adam, each of us became a living being when the Spirit of God breathed into us, giving us life.  Like Job, we can all truly say:

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4 NKJV)

Not only did we receive physical life by the Spirit of God, but we also become spiritually alive when we are born again of the Spirit.  In John 3, Jesus teaches Nicodemus about being born again of the Spirit.

John 3_7

John 3 New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

The anointing of the Holy Spirit brings fruitfulness in life and ministry.  When the risen Lord commissioned the Apostles in John 20, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

John 20 (NKJV)
19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

John 3_7

The disciples became spiritually ready to fulfill their calling when they received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost:

Acts 2 (NKJV)
Coming of the Holy Spirit
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Those who give themselves fully to God are no longer are being conformed to this world, but are being transformed by the renewing of their minds.

Romans 12 (NKJV)
Living Sacrifices to God
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The Holy Spirit, the breath of God, is drawing us to fully give ourselves to God, to be transformed “in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord,” “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:2-4)

Breathe on me, breath of God (3)

The key to becoming all that God created us to be is to pray from our hearts for the Holy Spirit to breathe on us and make us wholly His.  This is the theme of the following hymn by Edwin Hatch, 1835-1889.

  1. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Fill me with life anew,
    That I may love what thou dost love,
    And do what thou wouldst do.

  2. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Until my heart is pure,
    Until with thee I will one will,
    to do and to endure.

  3. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Till I am wholly thine,
    Till all this earthly part of me
    Glows with thy fire divine.

  4. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    So shall I never die,
    But live with thee the perfect life
    Of thine eternity.

       (For an excellent rendition of this song, see:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5keJHZdWYM.)

Abiding in Jesus through the Holy Spirit, we are made clean by His words and fruitful for God’s glory.

John 15 (NKJV)
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.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com,10/14/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1)  https://www.toddjana.com/genesis-11-3-the-creation-account-and-hebrew-narrative-2
(2)  https://twitter.com/wjmopar/status/1013393769851260928
(3)  https://kathleendeniseriley.blogspot.com/2015/02/pt-1-baptism-with-holy-spirit-acts-2.html
(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5keJHZdWYM

Posted by: dhkrause | October 2, 2018

Tone Deaf No Longer – A Swanee River Healing

Psalm 95_1-2

I received a “poor” in music on my first grade report card. My mother went to see the teacher, and asked “Why?” The teacher explained, “He can’t carry a tune.” My mother replied, “So what? I can’t carry a tune either!” I received “satisfactory” marks in music after that.

The problem was I was not hearing differences in pitch, so I “sang” in a monotone which is all I heard. In the third grade, the class was singing “Way down upon the Swanee River,” and I suddenly became aware of differences in pitch. Once I could hear the tune, I could also sing it. After school that day, I went around the neighborhood singing “Swanee River” to anyone who would listen.

If you know someone who is tone deaf as I was, I would recommend singing or playing “Swanee River” for them as a way of possibly snapping them out of this condition. (My brother Kris M. Krause tried to cure me using “Jingle Bells”, and it didn’t work.)

Here is a an excellent rendition of this song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO7_kaxNFvQ

Recovery from tone deafness may take time, effort and a willing spirit. In the meantime, we can all “make a joyful noise” unto the Lord:

O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. (Psalm 95:1-2 KJV)

A lady once said to me, “You should be an opera singer!” I told her, “It’s a good thing for the world that I am not!” God loves our singing when it’s from the heart. The rest is icing on the cake.

Photo credit: https://drlej.wordpress.com/tag/psalm-95-1-2/

Posted by: dhkrause | September 30, 2018

The Savior of the World

John 4

The first time in John’s gospel that Jesus reveals who He is, is to a Samaritan woman who seems to be living with a man who isn’t her husband after being married five times.  The revelation has a transforming effect upon her life, as shown by her powerful witness to others in her town.  In this conversation, she progressively comes into the full recognition of who He is.  Many of us have also awakened progressively to His true identity, and now we too can be “a true witness that delivers souls”  (Proverbs 14:25).

This memorable encounter begins after Jesus informs his disciples as they are traveling from Judea toward Galilee, that instead of bypassing Samaria, He needs to go through this territory usually avoided by Jews.

John 4 (NKJV)
A Samaritan Woman Meets Her Messiah
Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria.

So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

John 4_10-14

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

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

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

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

John 4_24

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

28 The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

John 4_42

The Savior of the World
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.

42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

The Samaritan woman goes through several stages of recognition of Jesus, just as some of us have done; first she sees Him as simply a Jew (v. 9), then as one to be respected (“sir” in  v. 11), then as  “a prophet” (v. 19), and finally as “the Christ” (v. 29).  She then runs back to the town to invite others to meet Him too.  Having heard Him for themselves, they too recognize him as “the Christ, the Savior of the world.”  (v. 42)

In our day, we have the witness of Scripture and of other believers, inviting us  to know Christ for ourselves.  Jesus prays for all of us in John 17:20-21:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 9/30/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1)  http://jefe888.blogspot.com/2015/05/
(2)  https://avirtuouswoman.org/living-water-day-42/
(3)  http://www.cherylcope.com/worship-quotes-and-scriptures
(4)  https://slideplayer.com/slide/7266009/

Posted by: dhkrause | September 16, 2018

God’s Shining Face

Numbers 6_24-26

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 31_16

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 67_1-2

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

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

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

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

2 corinthians 4_6.JPG (2)

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

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

Author Alisa Hope Wagner writes:

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

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

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

Posted by: dhkrause | September 10, 2018

Evocative Words

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

Stars twinkle
Chimes tinkle
Feathers tickle
Spines tingle

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

Posted by: dhkrause | September 2, 2018

Light, Love and Truth

1 John 1_5

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

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

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

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

John 1_17 (2)

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

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

16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 

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

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

1 John 4_7-8

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

1 John 4 (NKJV)
Knowing God Through Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is loveIn this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

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

John 17_3 (2)

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

John 17 (NKJV)
1Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sentI have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

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

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

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

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