Posted by: dhkrause | April 15, 2018

Wisdom from Above

Wisdom from Above (James 3_13-18)

With the help of many loving supporters in the United States, my friend Namugawe Esther, leader of the Unstoppable Love Orphanage in Uganda, was able to send all of her twenty-three children to public schools this term.  The current term is closing in two weeks (at the end of April), and the children will be taking their end of term exams.  Esther says, “They do well because the Bible says in Proverbs [9:10] that ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.’  They will do really well and I know they will get promoted to the next term for further learning.  I give all the glory to God and I pray for them every day, for God to give them wisdom, because it only comes from above.”

Indeed, God delights to give the wisdom we need whenever we simply ask.  James 1 promises that if any person prays in faith asking God for wisdom, it will be given generously:

 James 1 (NKJV)
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

James 1_5-6 (Feed Your Faith, Starve Your Doubts)

James later declares that our heavenly Father gives good and perfect gifts, including bringing us forth into new life through his word of truth.

James 1 (NKJV)
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1_16-17 Every Good and Perfect Gift

18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

James 1_18 Reborn thru the Word of Truth - Firstfruits

James proceeds to contrast true and false wisdom.  Wisdom so-called that is filled with envy and selfish ambition is unspiritual and from below.  True wisdom that comes from above is filled with mercy and bears good fruit.

James 3 (NKJV)
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

The true wisdom from above comes from trusting the Lord rather than in the arrogant speculations of men (Psalm 118:8), allowing Him to illuminate our understanding:

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

Proverbs 3_5-6 NKJV

Proverbs 3_5-6 Where God Guides He Provides

Proverbs 3_5-6 Let Him Lead You, He Will Clear the Road

Trusting in the Lord we follow Him, as William A. Ogden declares in his famous hymn, “Where He leads I’ll Follow”:

Sweet are the promises, Kind is the word,
Dearer far than any message man ever heard;
Pure was the mind of Christ, Sinless I see;
He the great example is, and pattern for me.

Where He leads I’ll follow,
Follow all the way.
Where He leads I’ll follow,
Follow Jesus ev’ry day.

Being born again through the word of truth, we allow Jesus to direct our paths.
This is true wisdom from above, leading us to ever greater light, as Proverbs 4:18 (NIV) declares: “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

Proverbs 4_18 The Path of the Just

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 4/14/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
(1) https://thelovelyscribe.com/2013/11/04/wisdom-from-above-james-3-13-18/
(2) http://www.bryanhudson.com/2016/05/feed-your-faith-starve-your-doubts.html
(3, 4) https://www.creatingagreatday.com/praying-james-chapter-1-part-one/
(5, 6,7) https://achristianpilgrim.wordpress.com/tag/proverbs-35-6/
(8) http://judeochristianchurch.com/proverbs-418-path-just/

Posted by: dhkrause | April 1, 2018

Passover and Firstfruits Resurrection

The Feast of Firstfruits

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul declares, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. … But each in turn: Christ is the firstfruits; then when he comes, those who belong to him.”  This is a promise that those who belong to Christ will be raised up in resurrection bodies when He returns.  A study of the feasts of Israel  sheds light upon the historical and prophetic significance of the Resurrection and its meaning for our lives here and now.

1 Corinthians 15 (NKJV)
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn:Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet” [Psalm 8:6]. Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

1 Corinthians 15_20

The feasts of Israel were also called God’s “appointed times”.  The appointed time of Firstfruits came right after that of Passover and Unleavened Bread.  John the Baptist speaking of Jesus in John 1:29, declares: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  Likewise, Paul refers to Jesus as “our Passover” in 1 Corinthians 5:7.  Sam Nadler writes in his book, “Messiah in the Feasts of Israel”, page 56:

Just   as   Passover   was   to   mark   Israel’s   redemptive
beginning  as  a  nation,  so  also  the  Lamb  of  God  is  your
redemptive  beginning  when  you  believe  in  Yeshua:
“if  any  person  is  in  Messiah  he  is  a  new  creation,
old  things
have passed away, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

John 3:16 (NKJV) says, “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.”  New abundant life begins the moment one truly receives Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Jesus says in John 10:10, “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.”

Paul writes in Galatians 4:4, that when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son to bring us redemption and adoption to sonship.

Galatians 4 (NIV)
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

The Feast of Firstfruits, celebrated the day after the Sabbath of the Passover week, involved the Priests offering the best  first grains to the Lord.  No one could eat any of the harvest until the firstfruits were offered in the Temple before the Lord.  God promised to then bless the harvest.

The seven feasts, or appointed times, prophetically depict the times when the Messiah would be revealed to His people and the world.  By keeping the feasts, Israel was rehearsing the times of the Messiah.  The first four prophetic events have been fulfilled, the last three are yet to come.

Feasts depict times of the Messiah

The 8-day observance of Unleavened Bread beginning on the first day of Passover points to Jesus as the Bread of Life.

Jesus is the Bread of LIfe

On the day after the Sabbath of the Passover week, Jesus rose from the dead as the firstfruits of the harvest to come, the same day the High Priest was waving the firstfruits sheaf offering in the temple to God.  Then the rest of the harvest could commence.

The timing of the Resurrection parallels the offering of the firstfruits in the temple, with its promise of God’s blessing for the harvest to come.

Jesus is our Passover Lamb, the Bread of Life and Firstfruits Resurrection for all who believe in Him.  In His first coming, we see the fulfillment of the Spring feasts and of Pentecost, when believers were baptized in the Holy Spirit.  The prophetic fulfillment of the Fall Feasts –  Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles – will commence when He comes again.

Prophetic Fulfillment of the of the Feasts of Israel by Yeshua the Messiah

Prophetic Fulfillment of Feasts by Yeshua

Get ready!  … Looking forward to the second coming and the fulfillment of the Fall Feasts, 1 John 3:2-3 declares: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”  …  Get ready!

God's Appointed Times

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 4/1/2018,https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
studygrowknowblog.com/2014/04/18/resurrection-sunday-is-actually-first-fruits-according-to-jewish-calendar-not-easter/  (first photo)
wordofmessiah.org/messiah-feast-firstfruits/  (photos 2-6)

Posted by: dhkrause | March 18, 2018

Awaken the Dawn

Proverbs 4_18

Proverbs 4:18 (NIV) beautifully describes a walk with God in ever greater light: “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”  There is a recurring theme in the Bible of light breaking forth in the minds and hearts of people who turn to God.

He declares in Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Dawn is a time of day when certain key events occurred in the Bible, such as in Matthew 28 where the two Marys came to see the tomb “as the first day of the week began to dawn.”  Dawn was also a favorite time of David’s for singing and giving praise to God to usher in the new day.  He declares in Psalm 46:8, “I will awaken the dawn”, and then exalts God above the heavens, and prays that His glory will be over all the earth:

Psalm 46 (NKJV)7
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
.

Isaiah 58_8-9

The light of dawn is also used metaphorically to describe the dawning of the light of truth in people’s lives.  Isaiah 58 speaks of light breaking forth in our lives and blessing others as we receive God’s love, and express His love to them.  To people who consistently show compassion and love, God declares, “your light shall break forth like the morning” and “the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”  To those extending help and love to the hungry and afflicted, He says, “your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.”

Isaiah 58 (NKJV)
Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.

“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday
.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Matthew 4_16

Regarding people who lived in the region of Israel called “the Galilee of the nations” (or “the Galilee of the Gentiles”), Isaiah 9:2 (NIV) declares,

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”  Though spoken in the past tense, it was also a future hope that was specifically fulfilled when Jesus began his ministry in this region, as recorded in Matthew 4:

Matthew 4 (NKJV)
12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned
.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

2 Peter 1_19

John 3:16 says, “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.”  Randy Alcorn writes, “On a long dark night, the appearance of the morning star means daybreak is imminent. In the long dark night of suffering on earth, Jesus being seen as the morning star means the eternal morning is about to dawn. Hence, Christ as the morning star is a picture of great promise and hope.” (https://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Mar/29/jesus-venus-and-morning-star)  By believing in the authority of the Bible as God’s Word, and especially believing what it says about Jesus, we are prepared to receive the light of Christ as the “morning star” in our hearts (2 Peter 1:19).

2 Peter 1 (NKJV)
16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 22_16

The risen Lord refers to Himself as the “Morning Star” in Revelation 22:16: “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”  As the Son of God who was with the Father before the Creation of the world (John 1:1,14), Jesus Christ is the Root of David.  In the Incarnation, He was also the descendant of David.  He is the Bright and Morning Star in the hearts of all who believe in Him.

In Psalm 17:15 (NASB), David describes awakening to behold God’s face in righteousness:  “As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.”  There is no better way to “awaken the dawn”.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 3/17/2018, https://compellinglove.net/ 

Photo credits:
impactprayerministry.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/proverbs-4-18.jpg
thebottomofabottle.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/isaiah-58-8-9.jpg
mysheepknow.me/promises-of-god-in-the-bible/a-light-has-dawned/
lifeamongothertings.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/bible-verses-that-inspire-me/
blogtalkradio.com/iamprayers/2018/01/22/jesus-christ-is-our-morning-glory

Posted by: dhkrause | March 4, 2018

Truth that Makes Us Free

John 8_32

The truth will make you free – free to be all that God created you to be.  Jesus declares in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  In the ensuing discussion, Jesus emphasizes that he is especially speaking about being free from sin, free from all that contradicts God’s perfect will for our lives:

John 8 (NKJV)
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.

In Jesus’ confrontation with the Roman governor Pilate, He declares “I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.”  Pilate responded with an interesting question, “What is truth?”

John 18 (NKJV)
37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.

Psalm 119_160

Psalm 119:160 declares, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”

Jesus said in John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Job declares in Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

James 1:17-18, speaks of being born again into a new life in Christ by the word of truth: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

James 1_17-18

Jesus declares in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

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

The revelation of the truth of Jesus Christ is most clearly stated in the first 18 verses of the gospel of John.  The Word that was with God in the beginning, was incarnate as Jesus Christ, “full of grace and truth”  (John 1:14).

John 1 (NKJV)
The Eternal Word1 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’s Witness: The True Light
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

John 1_8

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

Jesus again connects knowing the truth with having eternal life in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14_6 (2)

In John 16, Jesus promises that the Spirit of truth will guide us into all truth, and will glorify Him.

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

By the word of truth we are set apart to live for God, as Jesus prayed:

John 17 (NKJV)
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 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 declares these words living 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.”

This is His invitation in Matthew 11:28-20, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 3/4/2018,https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:

https://missionventureministries.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/you-shall-know-the-truth-and-the-truth-shall-make-you-free-john-832/

https://bible-quote.deviantart.com/art/Psalm-119-160-Daily-Bible-Verse-561147399

http://howard-carter.blogspot.com/2015/02/tempted-dont-be-decieved-god-is-good.html

http://www.xedixon.com/tag/meeting-jesusgospel-of-john/

http://ibhgospel.com/shop/bible-texts/john-146-8/

 

 

Posted by: dhkrause | February 26, 2018

Mitsie Inspired by the Wind

The colors of the grass and foliage were bright and pleasing on this recent stroll.

Suddenly a strong wind arose, bending all the trees.  When the gust subsided, our cat Mitsie seemed to be inspired by the wind to show strength and energy of her own, running from one end of the yard to the other, and then racing full speed up to a high branch on our Chinese elm.

After taking these photos, I called Marla to take a look.  She chastised her saying, “That is not a good place for you to be. You are not a squirrel!”  Mitsie meowed plaintively, as if to say, “Aw, Mom…”.  Marla thought this was a cry for help to get down, but as we reached for the extension ladder, she came racing down as fast as she had climbed up.  Our little cat, more than 10 years old, is still full of surprises!

Posted by: dhkrause | February 18, 2018

Faith Leading to Glory

Faith gives God glory, and in response He reveals His glory to the faithful.  Jesus repeatedly said when healing people, “Your faith has made you well.”  (e.g. Luke 8:48, 17:19, 18:42)  Jesus said of those who believe in Him, that they would see the glory of God.  (John 11:40)  Daniel’s three friends remained true to their faith even when the king threatened to throw them into a fiery furnace, and God gloriously honored their faith.  (Daniel 3)  By faith, we receive “the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)  By faith, we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God”. (Romans 5:2)  Our faith leads to “praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7)

In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow before the image King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.  They knew this would make the king angry, but they believed God would deliver them even if they were thrown into the fiery furnace.  When they came out of the furnace unscathed, the king himself was moved to give glory to God.

Daniel 3 (1)

Daniel 3 (NIV)
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?  15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Daniel 3 (2)

 

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”

In John 11, Jesus tells Martha, the sister of Lazarus who had died four days earlier, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)  When she objected to the removing the stone from the tomb, Jesus replied, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (v. 40)

John 11_40

John 11 (NKJV)
Lazarus Raised from the Dead
38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

John 11_43-44

To the believer, the gospel “displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  God has “made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4 (NIV)
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 corinthians 4_6

As believers, we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” and “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Romans 5 (NKJV)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Faith that has been tested and proven genuine results in “praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ”.  Even now we experience “joy inexpressible and full of glory”.

1 Peter 1 (NKJV)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 2/19/2018,https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:

http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/meshach-shadrach-abednego/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88SimTF7pFo

http://www.pigeonscafe.org/if-you-believe/

https://bibleask.org/isnt-there-more-than-one-lazarus-mentioned-in-the-bible/

http://www.pictame.com/media/1227510729538014415_1719191538

 

 

Posted by: dhkrause | February 9, 2018

New Appreciation for Valentine’s Day

I am starting to appreciate Valentine’s day more these days. On this day in 2007, my son-in-law Derrick proposed to my younger daughter Karine overlooking the Golden Gate bridge. Now eleven years later, as I recently walked toward the birthday card section in Rite-Aid (great store for cards) to select something for my wife of 49 years, a card on the end display caught the corner of my eye. Upon examining it, I saw I needed to look no further, even though it was a Valentine’s Day card instead of a birthday card. It was so appropriate that I decided it could serve both purposes. Here is the card that I am happy to share.

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Posted by: dhkrause | February 5, 2018

Harbingers of Spring?

Photos from a January 26 stroll around the yard, admiring new life springing up. My cat Mitsie was with me, but she was doing more sitting than walking.

01

Above:  Lemon grass, heralding the approach of spring.

02

Above:  These leaves are joining the celebration.

03

Above:  Love the color of this geranium.

04

Above:  Lifting up their heads.

06

Above:  Standing strong together.

07

Above:  Pyracantha joining the fun.

08

Above:  Colorful collage.

09

Above:  Sweet harmony.

10

Above:  Reaching for the sky.

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Above:  Love the subtle magenta hues.

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Above:  Blossoms emerging.

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Above:  Mitsie enjoys the fresh grass – good for sitting and for munching.

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Above:  Her ears are always on the alert.

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Above:  Enjoying the sun after several overcast days.

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Above:  Something has her attention, and it’s not the cameraman.

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Above:  Profile of a happy cat.

Posted by: dhkrause | February 4, 2018

The Compelling Love of Christ

2 Corinthians 5_14-15

Jesus declared that He came to serve, and to “give His life as a ransom for many.”  In so doing, He was the ultimate example of what He asks us to be –a servant of all.  (Mark 10:44-45) His love is supremely revealed in John 3:16.  His love compels us to live our lives in gratitude for all He has done for us.  By faith in Him we become “a new creation”, ministers of reconciliation and ambassadors for Him. (2 Cor. 5:14-15, 17, 20)

Jesus describes how best to follow Him in John 15:12, “Love each other as I have loved you.”  By loving one another as He loves us, we express the essence of who God is, for “God is love”. (1 John 4:8)  He enables us to “love one another fervently with a pure heart”.  (1 Peter 1:22, 4:8)  Jesus describes the ultimate unity of believers when he prays “that they may be one just as We are one”.  (John 17:22)

The disciples had been competing for the most glorious placements near Jesus, when He explained to them what it means great in God’s kingdom.

Mark 10 (NKJV)
43  … “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

John 3_16 (4) 

The love of God for the whole world is revealed 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.”

Paul writes that “the love of Christ compels us”, knowing that He died that we might have eternal life.  We are redeemed by faith in Him and what He has done for us, and should now live in continual love and gratitude for Him.

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

Being reconciled to God through Christ, we see others with a new perspective of love. We are “a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  God has “committed to us the work of reconciliation”.  Now “we are ambassadors for Christ”, who took the burden of our sins upon Himself, “that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

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

2 Corinthians 5_17 (2)

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.

Jesus taught on friendship and love, and He set the supreme example by laying down His life for all who believe in Him.  He says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” …You are my friends if you do what I command. … This is my command: Love each other.”

John 15 (NKJV)
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

By loving one another as Jesus loves us we express the essence of who God is, for “God is love”.

1 John 4_8

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.

Peter describes how God is calling us to “love one another fervently with a pure heart”, and to use all of our gifts for God’s glory.

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.

1 Peter 4 (NKJV)
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 133_1

 John 17_22

David declares in Psalm 133:1,Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!” 
Jesus describes the ultimate unity of believers when he prays regarding His followers “that they may be one just as We are one”.  This is the supreme fulfillment of His compelling love.

John 17 (NKJV)
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, 2/3/2018, https://compellinglove.net/

Photo credits:
https://onlythebible.com/Backgrounds/2-Corinthians-5.14-15.html?id=ZGgvVVJ5ME43RVByTWJVeGlxUW5KZz09
https://www.redbubble.com/people/jlporiginals/works/26204034-breathtaking-john-3-16-sunrise-scripture?p=scarf
https://soundfaith.com/sermon-preaching-ideas/topics/creation-renewal
https://raisedtowalk.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/love-1-john-4_8.png
http://mindyhopman.com/2017/03/17/oneness-christ-community/
https://cccooperagency.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/thanksgiving-parade/

 

Posted by: dhkrause | January 31, 2018

Genesis 1 Summary with Questions

Young Biosphere Creationist View

Photo credits: http://www.rachelswork.com/computer-art 

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.  (Genesis 1:1-2)

The Hebrew phrase, “the heavens and the earth” may refer to the universe, including all the heavenly bodies and our own earth.  The earth was at first unformed, without mountains or valleys, covered completely by ocean with no light upon its surface.  We are not told how long the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters before the first day.

God said, “Let there be light”, and for the first time there was light on the surface of the ocean, beginning the cycles of day and night.  Evidently, the watery atmosphere covering the ocean was now translucent, similar to  a very overcast day.  Light was reaching the earth, but the sun was not visible.  “So the evening and the morning were the first day.”

Creation Day 1

On day 2, God created the expanse of the sky, between the waters above and the waters below.

Creation Day 2

On day 3, God gathered the waters under the sky so that dry land appeared.  From this we can infer that the earth was now formed into higher elevations and lower elevations including ocean basins.  Also on day 3, God created plants bearing seeds after their own kind.

Creation Day 3

On day 4, God established the Sun, Moon and Stars to be visible from the earth, evidently by thinning the translucent watery layer above the atmosphere to make it transparent.  Now the source of the light was visible.

Creation Day 4

On day 5, God created the fish of the sea and the birds of the air.

Creation Day 5

On day 6, God created all of the land animals.  Then God created man in His own image; “in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  Then God blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply and to have dominion over all the creatures of the earth.  Then God blessed all that He had made, and it was very good.

Creation Day 6

Day 1  – Light breaks upon the ocean Day 4 – Sources of light made visible
Day 2 – Sky, dividing waters below from waters above Day 5 – Birds and Fish
Day 3 – Land and plants Day 6 – Land animals and Man


Questions

1. Reading across the above table, do you see a relationship between days 1 and 4, 2 and 5, and 3 and 6?

2. God created both plants and animals to procreate “after their kind”.

This implies that the descendants of each basic type of animal and plant will only be of that same kind.  For example, the canine kind will always give birth to canines, and the feline kind will always give birth to felines.

How does this description compare with the evolutionary view that somehow our distant ancestors were not human?

Recent breakthroughs in DNA research and analysis support a six thousand year history of life on earth, and a worldwide flood 1500 years after the Creation.  This is brilliantly explained in Nathaniel T. Jeanson’s book, “Replacing Darwin – The New Origin of Species”, Oct. 2017, Master Books, Green Forest, AR.

3. God created man “in His own image.” How do you understand this statement?

4. When do the days begin in Genesis 1 – at Dusk or at Dawn?

The sentence, “So the evening and the morning were the [nth] day” occurs at the conclusion of each set of creative acts.  The endpoint of the cycle is designated as “morning”, as in “dawn” – the point in time when darkness is beginning to be replaced with light.  Since dawn is the endpoint of the cycle just concluded, it is also the beginning point of the next.  Therefore the days in Genesis 1 are from dawn to dawn.

Granted there was darkness on the face of the deep before God commanded light.  However, that indefinite period of time when “darkness was on the face of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” is not part of the day and night cycle described in the verses that follow:  “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.”  The regular day and night cycle begins with the advent of light – that is, with the dawn – and is consistent in length.

5. Does a straightforward reading of Genesis 1 point to a young earth or an old earth, or does it leave this question open?

This answer to this question hinges on the meanings in the original language of the words translated “the heavens and the earth” in verse 1, and “made” in verse 16.  “The heavens and the earth” can mean the whole universe including earth, sun and stars.  The Hebrew word translated “made” can also be translated “did” of “set” or “established”.  So in this view, the sun, moon, earth and stars were created in verse 1, and after an indefinite length of time, God commanded light to reach the earth, through the watery atmosphere.   Then in verse 16, God made the sun, moon and stars visible by making the atmosphere transparent.   Gorman Gray does a masterful analysis of this question in his book, “The Age of the Universe: What are the Biblical Limits?”, July, 2010, Morningstar Publications, Washougal, WA.

6. Does a straightforward reading of Genesis 1 point to a recent creation of life on earth?

Very definitely, according to the genealogies from Adam to Abraham.  Since all forms of life including man were created in the same week, they are all created recently – approximately 6,000 years ago.  This perspective is called “Young Biosphere Creationist”, as opposed to “Young Earth Creationist”.

7. What stands out most to you in Genesis chapter 1?

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