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Days of Praise


phkrause

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  February 7, 2024
Messianic Hope in the Midst of Rebellion
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent…and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing.” (Ezekiel 17:22-23)

Yahweh directs Ezekiel to deliver a perplexing riddle targeting rebellious Israel and its leaders. The word for riddle is masal, normally translated “proverb,” which means in this context a mystery meant to be discovered. If you take time to read the entire chapter, you’ll see three main divisions: the parable stated (vv. 3-10), the parable explained (vv. 11-21), and the parable’s solution, including Yahweh’s covenant relationship with Israel and His promise to redeem (vv. 22-23).

The first great eagle in this chapter represents Babylon’s leader, Nebuchadnezzar. The highest branch of the cedar represents the nation Israel. The eagle transports the “topmost shoot,” Israel’s remnant and key leaders, including Daniel and his friends, who were carried into Babylonian captivity. The eagle then planted a “seed from the land,” King Zedekiah, who reigned as Jerusalem’s first “puppet king.” Zedekiah violated his oath both to Yahweh and Nebuchadnezzar, and sought an alliance with Egypt, the parable’s second eagle (vv. 7, 12-14).

Our Father’s love towers above Israel’s disobedience as He takes a twig, a tender shoot, from the lofty tree and plants Him, the Messiah, in response to man’s critical need for a Savior (Isaiah 52:13–53:2). Israel’s Messiah is our Savior as well, promising to hear our prayers if we cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith (Psalm 107; Romans 10:9-11). CCM

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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  February 8, 2024
Cast Away Your Transgressions
“Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31)

Ezekiel likely penned this call to repentance in 592 BC, six years before the fall of Jerusalem. He hoped that Israel would turn from their transgressions and seek God. Chapter 19 begins with “Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel” and references the past and future fates of evil kings of Judah—Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin, and the present king, Zedekiah. What are the implications of Ezekiel’s call to action and warning for today?

One, we are responsible for our own sins, and the consequence of sin is death (Romans 5:12). But “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” and become a new creature (Romans 10:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17). God is faithful and just to forgive believers if we confess and repent of our sins (1 John 1:9).

Two, leaders are responsible for where and how they lead their followers. The kings of Judah led their people into rebellion, and they suffered God’s judgment. Believers must not let themselves become victims of “grievous wolves” who would lead them into sin (James 3:1-2; Acts 20:29). Paul warns, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:6-7).

Three, if we “cast away” our transgressions, God offers hope and salvation. This is available not only to the house of Israel but to everyone through Jesus Christ. Through Him, we can be “born again” (John 3:3) and be given “a new heart and a new spirit.” How will you heed Ezekiel’s sober but encouraging plea? CCM

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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February 9, 2024
An Early Christian Hymn
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)

Some scholars have concluded that the four verses following our text were set to music and sung by the early Christian church. The hymn constitutes a praise of Christ for His nature and work. Let us look at it, with insights from the Greek not always apparent in the English.

Stanza One: His character. “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (v. 22). The words “no, neither, found” imply a careful scrutiny, with no sin or guile (i.e., craftiness) found. Total perfection.

Stanza Two: His life. “Who, when he was reviled [i.e., a bitter, heart-rending wound], reviled not again; when he [continually] suffered, he threatened not [even though He had great resources at His disposal]; but [continually] committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (v. 23).

Stanza Three: His sacrifice. “Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree [carried up the cross and offered Himself as on an altar], that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes [literally, one bleeding stripe. Christ was so brutalized by His tormentors that He was simply one big wound] ye were healed” (v. 24). Our healing is past tense, at the point of salvation. It does not refer primarily to physical healing, for in this context, and in Isaiah 53, from which the hymn is quoted, spiritual healing is stressed.

Stanza Four: His mission. “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned [have been turned back] unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (v. 25).

He has done it all! He lived a sinless life and died as a worthy sacrifice, just so He could turn us back into His blessed fold. JDM

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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February 16, 2024
Job’s Whirlwind
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind.” (Job 38:1)

What form would the Lord take if He were to speak with us? The Lord spoke to Abraham and others in the appearance of a man. “And [Abraham] lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him” (Genesis 18:2). At the end of their conversation, “the LORD went his way” (Genesis 18:33).

God appeared as an angel to Hagar, Sarah’s servant and Abraham’s concubine. “The angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly” (Genesis 16:10). Hagar did not react with the fear that others did when accosted by angels appearing in bright glory, such as the shepherds “keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). And the Lord looked quite different to Moses when He “appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (Exodus 3:2).

But God spoke to Job from within a whirlwind. Perhaps storm clouds had approached as Job’s cadre conversed. Job stated, “He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them” (Job 26:8). Moments later, Elihu said, “Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou” (Job 35:5). Whether natural or supernatural, the whirlwind arrived, and God granted Job the direct discourse he had longed for (Job 23:3-5).

Whichever mode God chooses to reveal Himself, it is always the right one. Nowadays, any literate person to whom the gospels are available shouldn’t lament over God’s silence like Job did. God ultimately chose to reveal Himself through His Son and “even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)” (Ephesians 2:5).

Praise our Maker, who reaches out to us. BDT

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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February 21, 2024
The Lord and Inspiration
“And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying...” (Leviticus 1:1)

This introductory verse to what many erroneously consider a dry and difficult book of the Bible actually introduces a remarkable phenomenon. All the rest of the chapter consists of a direct quotation from the Lord Himself. In fact, most of the rest of the book also consists solely of the direct words of God, except for an occasional interjection of a statement that God was still speaking. In all, 717 of the 832 verses in Leviticus (that is 86%) consist of the very words of God, directly quoted. This is more than any other book of the Bible, except for the books of the prophets, some of which also consist almost entirely of verbatim statements from God. The same situation is found in lesser but still substantial degrees in other historical books, not to mention the extensive quotations from the sermons and discourses of Christ in the four gospels.

While it is true that the Holy Spirit used many different means by which to convey the Scriptures (all of which are verbally inspired and fully inerrant) to writing, it is also true that on many occasions what amounts to the “dictation” method was used by Him. Evangelicals have often been intimidated by the scientists’ ridicule of this “mechanical theory” of inspiration, but they should not be. God is well able to use whatever means He chooses to reveal His word to men, and we should simply take Him at His word!

Leviticus is a guidebook for the consecration and cleansing of God’s people—especially His priests. In the New Covenant, all believers are priests and therefore are expected to be consecrated and pure. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). HMM

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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  June 13, 2024
O How He Loves You and Me
“That ye...may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

The theme of the inspiring hymn “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” is the infinite love Christ displayed for us through His gracious life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection from the grave, followed by His present ministry on our behalf.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from
shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them
all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from
the throne!

His love cannot be earned but was freely extended to us. Even greater than that, it was given when we were sinners by choice and nature. “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

His love for us never fails and never changes: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He was willing to die so that our death penalty would be paid and to adopt us into His family. Even now He rejoices over us. “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

He now oversees us from His place at the right hand of His Father, making intercession for us. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Such love is deep indeed. JDM

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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June 18, 2024
Instructing in Meekness
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves.” (2 Timothy 2:24-25)

In his second epistle to young Timothy, the imprisoned Paul admonished him to instruct those who oppose biblical doctrines, especially the gospel. But in verse 16, he said to “shun profane and vain babblings.” On one hand, Timothy was supposed to shun pointless arguments, but on the other, he was to humbly engage and instruct. How are believers supposed to know when to engage and when to disengage?

Paul gave answers in the intervening verses. We disengage when we see that the conversation is pointless. When we enter profane and vain babblings, arguing within their framework, then we “increase unto more ungodliness.” (2 Timothy 2:16). “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2:23).

We engage, however, with those who oppose God’s truth, hoping that “God peradventure will give them repentance” (2:25b). We ready ourselves “for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2:21). Once spiritually prepared, “the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all” (2:24). Paul is concerned not only that believers “rightly [divide] the word of truth” (2:15) but also with the believer’s demeanor and behavior. Why would someone’s arguments be persuasive if their statements aren’t backed by godly character (see 1 Peter 3:15-16)?

Believers are to be “apt [skilled] to teach…in meekness” (our text). Meekness does not mean weakness but power under control. In the context of a conversation, meekness isn’t focused on winning an argument so much as reaching the other person with God’s truth. So, we avoid foolish babblings with some but instruct others skillfully and with meekness. BDT

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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June 19, 2024
Habitual Joy
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Does godly thankfulness characterize your heart? Sometimes apathy or complaining will creep into the believer’s soul, causing a spiritual brain fog that robs him of the rich joy of being redeemed. Peter’s words “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” highlight and honor Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). He is the believer’s source of all hope and joy because it is through Jesus that we can be saved from our sin.

In expressing joy in his salvation and future inheritance, Peter describes God’s “abundant [Greek polus] mercy” that has forgiven believers so they may be “begotton” (anagennesas), meaning “to cause to be born again.” God’s mercy meets our misery, and His grace meets our guilt. Because we can do nothing to merit such a magnanimous gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), godly and joyful thankfulness should be the natural consequence of recognizing the extent of this mercy and grace.

Peter also rejoices in the gift of “lively hope” that is given by the physical resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:49). “Lively,” also translated as “liveth” or “living” elsewhere, is used five times in 1 Peter (1:3, 23; 2:4-5; 4:5-6) and emphasizes the spiritual life available to us through our living Savior. The resurrected Christ is the foundation of hope for the believer in the inheritance to come—an assurance based solely on the reality of a risen Christ!

Believers have joy “through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:11). Are you exulting in the joy of your salvation? CCM

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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June 20, 2024
Jesus Christ, Lord over Creation
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:15-16)

Darwin’s theory of evolution challenged the biblical account that our Lord Jesus Christ created all things, speaking everything into existence (Hebrews 11:1-3). Many Christians responded by trying to fit evolution into the Bible. This is done despite the fact that theistic selectionism—which believes God used natural selection as the driving force behind creatures’ amazing complexity—isn’t found anywhere in Scripture. Or science, for that matter.

During times of intellectual conflict, the Christian community tends to only focus on salvific points of the Christian faith. People justify this approach by saying “secondary issues” such as biblical creation are controversial and shouldn’t be addressed for the sake of Christian unity and getting along with more people.

But today’s church is starving for doctrinal precision. Compromising biblical creation weakens the church, debilitating its witness and impact. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones wrote about the “essential nature” of biblical creation that “these early chapters of Genesis, with their history, play a vital part in the whole doctrine of salvation.”1

As Christians, we shouldn’t compromise or be silent about the doctrine of creation. We can stand with certainty on the authority and authenticity of God’s Word and duly honor Jesus as the Creator and Lord of all. CCM

phkrause

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. {5T 451.1}
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