On the Porch of the Lord

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A place of refreshment, the porch of the Lord…
Pull up a chair, take in spiritual air.
Jesus always has time, and His is the power–
Receive there His touch in this end-time hour.
Like Mary, take time to sit at His feet;
Come to His porch for relief from life’s heat.
Only one thing is needful and truly can please–
His Word and His presence, felt on each breeze.
He offers living water, quenching everyone’s thirst;
And that’s yours there daily, by seeking Him first.
There’s joy on His porch, with your sisters and brothers,
As you find your needs met while caring about others.
The healing and peace which only Christ can bring
Are found there at all times—an everlasting spring.
Taste there His love, so generously poured;
Your “cup will run over” on the porch of the Lord.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things; But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'” Luke 10:38-42 NKJV

“But one thing is needful…” verse 42, KJV

A Glorious Choice

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First Easter by Pauline Voorhees Eikenberry

First Easter by Pauline Voorhees Eikenberry

Jesus Christ of Nazareth had taken His destined place
On a cruel cross upon a hill–for the task He’d been born to face.
His sinless life had made Him the chosen Lamb of God–
Though now He sits at God’s right hand and bears a Shepherd’s rod.
Three days after Christ’s burial, and just at the brink of dawn,
Some, in love, had come to the tomb and had found that His body was gone.
But the pain of their grief concerning His death had then given way
To amazing angelic tidings on that glorious Resurrection day!
Jesus, the Man on the center cross, on the hill of crucifixion had been
The focus of God’s judgement upon all of mankind’s sin.
But now, with joy, the angels reminded that just as He had said,
Jesus, God’s Son, had risen in victory, up from the dead!
His Father’s gracious plan of redemption for all people had been met;
And all of their faults or sins, a holy God could now forget!
There’s just one requirement remaining; and it’s your choice–
To believe in your heart He’s Savior, and confess it with your voice.
Angels rejoice in heaven over one sinner who’ll repent,
And put their faith in Jesus Christ–the One Whom God has sent.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Romans 10:10 (New King James)

“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:10 (New American Standard)

“For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
2 Corinthians 6:2 (New King James)

“Therefore, I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Isaiah 53:12 (New King James)

Resurrection references: Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler

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Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Pauline Voorhees Eikenberry

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Pauline Voorhees Eikenberry

A rich young ruler, with eternal concerns, made a mental list–
Then sought out Christ to see if there was anything he’d missed.
In contemplating heaven, he hoped he’d done God’s will
By following His laws, from his youth, but wondered still.

He addressed Christ as a good teacher, but didn’t realize
That Christ wasn’t just a good teacher, but God before his very eyes.
He asked the Lord what he could do to aid him on eternity’s quest,
And Jesus confirmed that to keep the commandments is best.

The young man replied he’d done that from as early as he could recall–
Then Jesus told him of his need to follow Him and surrender all.
His wealth and possessions had become too strong of a hold
And kept him from seeing the purity of God’s desires–true gold.

With sadness, the ruler left because he couldn’t see the reward.
He hadn’t yet grasped the higher life offered through Christ, the Lord.
You see, making Christ your Lord doesn’t actually cost–in fact, it pays,
With dividends of God’s blessings throughout all your days.

The greatest blessing of all is getting to know God as you should–
A loving heavenly Father whose care and plans for you are good.
Then, committing your life and resources, in faith, as He leads
Will help you to reach exactly those He knows of who have needs.

God knows that when possessions become your highest treasure,
You’ll fail to find the things that He knows are of greater measure.
Christ looks for our faith and love for Him and where our loyalty lies;
Let’s not fail to see that investment in His Kingdom is certainly wise.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now behold, one came and said to him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But, if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

Matthew 19:16-22 (New King James)

Samson—of the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11

“And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”
Hebrews 11:32-34 NASB

I thought about the Bible’s Samson, and what one could basically say,

regarding his life and mission in a poetic way…

His future parents were visited by the angel of the Lord, who foretold his birth,

saying that Israel’s deliverance from the Philistines would begin through him, a Nazirite of worth.

As foretold, he was born and blessed of the Lord, and then we also read…

of the Spirit of God coming upon him at times, with the mighty strength that he would need.

An early event recorded is his favoring of a certain Philistine woman to be his wife…

though his parents tried to dissuade him, saying one of their own people could better bless his life.

But she did become his bride—scripture says it was “of the Lord” in this unusual case.

The Lord was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines, for their dominion over Israel was in place.

Killing a young lion with his bare hands, throwing a wedding feast at which a riddle was told—

then came a clash with the Philistines after the riddle was “solved.” Through Samson, their defeat was beginning to unfold.

Deprived of his wife, he caught three hundred foxes, by which he set fire to the Philistines’ vineyards, groves, and grain.

At that, they retaliated, causing her death, at which Samson fought them again, making his readiness to confront them even more plain.

The Philistines encamped in Judah, then. To prevent attack, three thousand of Judah’s men went out with new ropes to have him bound…

and hand him over to the Philistines. Samson allowed them to bind him but broke free, killing a thousand Philistines in just one round.

He commended himself for the triumph, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps…I have slain a thousand men.”

But he was overcome at the end of the conquest with extreme thirst then…

So he cried out to the Lord for water, saying, “YOU have given this great deliverance by the hand of your servant…”

He continued, asking God if he was going to let him die without needed water—his plea being fervent.

Out of a hollow place came a spring—the requested water that God provided.

In looking to the Lord, strength was restored; his thirst was quenched and his distress subsided.

And the strength that was given to him by God far surpassed the normal for lifting any heavy weight.

From Gaza to the top of the mountain opposite Hebron, he uprooted and carried on his shoulders, one night, the doors of the Gaza city gate.

He judged Israel for a span of twenty years, according to Judges 15 and 16;

but despite having had strength to have killed a lion, weakness in his personal life was seen.

Most often remembered about Samson’s life is that of Delilah’s snare,

where he told her the secret of his strength, which was in a Nazirite’s vow to keep his uncut hair.

Several times she had inquired, hoping to set a trap, yet Samson had always broken free.

But, in the last case, the Lord departed from him. He was caught—his eyes were put out, and he could no longer see.

He fervently called upon God when he was mocked by his enemies and bound.

And, in a final act, he slew three thousand Philistines—God restored his strength that had been renowned.

One lesson from his life which could be stated is that we shouldn’t be distracted…

from consecration to God—so that, in these times, by living for Him, others will be spiritually impacted.

Surely, Samson knew of the calling on his life from God and that he was to be mindful of His help throughout his days.

God used him mightily, as had been prophesied, for deliverance from the Philistines in an initial phase.

So, grant us a surge of inner strength, Lord, at those times we feel we’ve failed…

for you offer forgiveness and redemption to all for whom to the cross you were nailed.

P. A. Oltrogge

from Judges, chapters 13-16

It’s been said that Samson’s life, though he was an imperfect man, in some ways, pointed to the greatest deliverer (at that time, yet to come) Jesus Christ. Some of these parallels were:

Parents of both had divine visitations, foretelling the birth of a son. Both sons were to be consecrated to God for life.

Samson’s mother had been barren. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was a virgin, so for both, the births of their sons were divine interventions.

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson for strength to do battle and strength to even kill a lion with his bare hands. Likewise, Jesus defeated the enemy, Satan, with no man-made weapons, but the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him.

As Samson uprooted and carried the doors of the city gate to the top of a high place, so Jesus carried the cross to Calvary’s hill, establishing and being the gate to heaven through His finished work on the cross.

Samson was handed over, at one point, to the Philistines by his own people. Jesus was delivered to His enemies by one of His own, a disciple. Samson broke free from the new ropes. Jesus broke out of a new, garden tomb, being raised from the dead.

Samson was blinded and mocked by his enemies. Jesus was blindfolded and mocked by His enemies. (Luke 22:64)

Samson’s arms were outstretched between pillars to destroy Israel’s enemies in his death, while Jesus’ arms were outstretched on the cross in His dying, to pull down and defeat the devil and death itself.

Consider the Birds and the Lilies

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Look at the birds of the air…
They don’t sow, reap, or gather
Their needed food into barns—
But are dependent upon God, rather.

Consider how the lilies are clothed—
They toil not, nor do they spin,
But to the heavenly Father’s care
They’re blessed to give in.

Yes, consider these,
And consider giving in,
To the message of Christ’s love
Above this world’s din.

Partake, through the Bible, from God’s table
Of spiritual food fit for a King’s heir,
And be clothed in the love of Jesus,
the finest thing you could wear.

Consider the children,
So gentle and so tender—
What kind of faith
To them will you render?

One that speaks dislike
And contempt of others—
Or one that speaks love
And draws all men to be brothers?

The heavenly Father gave Jesus
To tell of God’s care and to guide.
When we take Him as Savior, He gives love
For all others for whom He has died.

So just like the lilies
Or the birds of the air,
May people of all nations be blessed to give in
To Jesus—the way to the Father God’s care…

P. A. Oltrogge

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies….” Luke 6:27

“And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’”
Matthew 22:37-40

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious, can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.

“But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:25-34

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Of More Value

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The beauty of a peacock’s fanned-out feathers is a unique display
of one of God’s masterful designs, among the many which are seen each day.

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Notice this delicate, little hummingbird and its shade of shimmering blue—
Only the Lord Himself could have adorned it with such a brilliant hue.

And consider the magnificent body, soul, and spirit He’s given you…
The privilege of spending time with Him is such an important thing to do.

Jesus emphasized that, certainly, we are of more value than the birds,
which makes us eager to meet with Him daily, esteeming His words.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
Matthew 6:26 NKJV

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 NkJV

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

“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.” John 1:3-4 NKJV

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 KJV

Photos/Pixabay

No Other Explanation

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We know that sometimes, more often than we realize, things occur for which there is no explanation other than that prayer made the difference…

There are things in this world that may gain your attention,
but give greater thought to what Jesus did mention—
that life more abundant can be yours every day;
and that will increase if you take time to pray.
Give it your heart and give it your all—
remember that, for you, there’s no greater call.
The things of this world—its gadgets and inventions—
can never compete with all of God’s intentions,
which are wrought by you through prayers effective and fervent.
Impacting lives—through prayer, you’re His servant.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
James 5:16-18 NKJV

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Jesus’ words from Matthew 6, where He goes on to share “The Lord’s Prayer”

When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.
Quote by an Unknown Author

Grace Abounding

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“Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” Romans’ 5:20 NKJV

It’s an amazing thing to realize how deep is the Lord God’s grace;
for where sin abounded, the scripture says, grace held a larger place.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But the Law came to increase and expand (the awareness of) the trespass (by defining and unmasking sin). But where sin increased, (God’s remarkable, gracious gift of) grace (His unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased all the more.” Romans 5:20 AMP

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior towards man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Titus 3:4-6 NKJV

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and HIs tender mercies are over all His works.”
Psalm 145:8-9 NKJV

A Sure Thing

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Don’t just know about Him only in your head,
but be “born again” as Jesus has said.
It isn’t just the date you were born on this earth
that matters as much as your spiritual rebirth.

It’s simply a gift–so easy to claim,
by praying to receive that gift in His Name.
No other Name but Jesus cancels sin;
just open your heart and ask Him to come in.

Make sure that you’ve done this in your own heart.
It’s faith there that counts–churchgoing’s just a start.
Please don’t let pride or tradition keep
you or those you care about from a love that’s so deep.

Don’t look to “new age” or deceptive ways of thinking,
for they’re no foundation–but sand that is sinking.
And though it is good to think in positive ways,
such thoughts without Jesus won’t get you through life’s maze.

God’s set before us such an easy choice–
your salvation through Jesus will make angels rejoice!
And you won’t need to be concerned about daily bread–
you’ll be all right always if you’ll stay spiritually fed.

Another simple thing is to give ten percent–
God will return back to you far more than you sent.
For others are in need and churches must reach
more human beings with this Gospel we preach.

Jesus, Bread of Life, our Friend and our Guide–
thank you, as well, for your promises to provide.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into 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 do not know where it comes from and where it is going, so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’” John 3:1-8 (from John 3:1-21)

“But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John 1:12-12 (King James Version)

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.’”
Acts 4:8-12

“But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Luke 11:42 (King James Version)

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:18

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Photo/Pixabay

A Rose in the Rain

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When facing difficulties… And for any men reading this, you could be compared to a hickory or oak tree, some of the strongest woods to weather storms…

Beloved, to God, you are His rose in the rain;
and don’t ever think He doesn’t feel your pain.
Trials aren’t sent to us by the Lord—
no, they’re deep rivers that He alone helps us ford.

The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy,
but we’ve got God’s Word to foil the thief’s ploy.
God’s promises are sure—He never has lied;
and the desire of your heart will surely be supplied!

With our eyes on God’s Word, we persevere;
we know this fulfillment is already here!
For faith says right now what isn’t seen with our eyes,
because we know that our God has heard our hearts’ cries.

A rose in the rain, but you’re hardy and strong—
you trust in God’s Word and in Him to Whom you belong.
There’s an answer in God for every problem we face;
so we thank You, Heavenly Father, for the answer by Your grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“The righteous cry and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:17-19 NASB

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:10-12 NASB

Blessed are…

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“And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.

“Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

“Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:1-16 NASB

In Need of the Savior

An unconverted man or woman can do foolish or even grave things,
for they haven’t any idea of the kind of life that Jesus Christ brings.

Really, without the Lord, their thinking is faulty and incomplete.
They’re so in need of the Savior that they have yet to meet.

Some have had to forgive harm that was done to them by an unconverted soul.
It’s only through forgiveness that one who’s been hurt can begin to feel whole.

And that forgiveness, in certain cases, has caused a turnaround…
for the unconverted to become a new creation in Christ—their life no longer “bound.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
John 8:36 KJV

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“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods, do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” Luke 6:27-35 NKJV

To Cast and Not to Cast

The Porch of the Lord

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“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV

I cast all my cares upon You, Lord,
for worry is something I can’t afford.

I’ll take Your peace, instead of stress;
Your thoughts towards me are always to bless.

Oh, what a compassionate God we have.
His love for us is like healing salve.

Cast your cares on Jesus–His peace in trade;
then leave them there once you have prayed.

Now, keep your confidence–don’t cast it away.
Hold fast to your faith in Him each day.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” Hebrews 10:35 KJV

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast…

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