An Invitation from Jesus, the Good Shepherd

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.'” John 8:12

I invite you to permit Me…to be your Good Shepherd,
I’ve seen your sometimes unsuccessful tries.
I know and see ahead the highest and best pathways
In answer to every one of My children’s cries.

When lives draw to a close, I’m surely there–
And the Way to enter heaven’s gate, for you, I’ll be.
But don’t simply think that is all that I have to give,
For your welfare here and now means so much to Me.

Just as an earthly parent wants to see that all goes well
For their beloved children as they learn and grow,
So I desire that to an even greater extent for you;
Therefore, look to Me for the goodness of God to freely flow.

Factual it is that life presents things at times that are adverse;
There is an adversary to which that word’s connected.
The devil is the one who brings destruction and the curse;
But I came for you to have an abundant life and to be protected.

So permit me to be your Good Shepherd–
I’ve a Covenant of love and grace for you.
Those who follow Me will have the Light of Life–
To light the way to heaven, yes, but here on this earth, too.

P. A. Oltrogge

Jesus is the Good Shepherd!

“Jesus therefore said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.'” John 10:7-15

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!'” Psalm 91:1-2

“No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.” Psalm 91:10 and all of Psalm 91

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJ)

Reference: See “About the Porch”

Cross Over to the Other Side

Photo by Josh Matthews

Photo by Josh Matthews

A cross on a hillside beckons for our attention,
And can bring to mind something that Christ Jesus did mention
When He and His disciples launched out for a sail–
“Let’s cross over to the other side,” were His words that didn’t fail.

Have you been on the side with those who have apprehensions,
Or reject that Christ is Lord or doubt God’s intentions?
Look thoughtfully to the cross, for a strong message it bears–
God wants you to cross over to knowing that He cares.

Any other “religion” hasn’t the cross’s personal touch–
God sent His Son to die for you because He loved you that much.
There, Jesus made the sacrifice for your well-being and sins–
So you could cross to the place where new life in Him begins.

Despite a storm, His words didn’t fail in that Biblical account recorded.
They won’t fail in your destiny either, but you’ll be greatly rewarded,
As you come under the shadow of the Almighty and cross to the other side.
You’ll be so thankful you heeded the message of the wonderful cross as your guide.

P. A. Oltrogge

“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’

“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!'”

Mark 4:35-41 (NKJV)

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24 (NIV)

“…that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4 (NKJV)

Less than Perfect

“The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” (Words of Jesus in John 10:10)

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17

Dear Lord,

When life’s been less than perfect, I’ve sometimes struggled to understand.
Your power could have prevented, and sent something far more grand.
But then one day You reminded me about diamonds in the rough–
How You can take and polish things that seem to be so tough.

Your love will always work to heal when things at times go wrong,
Yet You desire to see us look to Your Word, which makes us strong.
We live by faith and are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, our Lord;
And it’s in believing in Your love for us that we reap a rich reward.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me….” Psalm 138:8 (NKJ)

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

“To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 3:21

“And they overcame him (the thief/devil) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.” Revelation 12:11

In some matters that seem adverse to us, it’s good to remember how God worked uniquely in the life of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, later to become a great ruler in Egypt:

“And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (words of Joseph in Genesis 50:20)

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake, we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39 (NKJV)

A Painter, and the Light of the World

(Likely, you’ll recognize the identity of this person of whom I’m writing.
If not, then I hope you’ll enjoy this brief “story” of an artist’s life.)

From a majestic mountain to a quiet glade,
Paintings that featured light were this artist’s trade.
Inviting, lighted cottages by peaceful lakes or streams,
Became sweet reflections of all of our dreams.

Churches, gardens, or a bridge that was quaint,
Came into being by his brushes and paint.
A cabin in the woods; a lighthouse by the sea;
An American flag waving in the land of the free…

And famous landmarks or an old-fashioned street
Were the many scenes that made his gallery complete.
Hidden in his paintings were names he would write,
Revealing the heart of this painter of light.

A tour filmed in Israel, where Jesus had walked,
Came alive to us all as he painted and talked–
Of Gethsemane’s Garden, where Jesus had prayed
That the way of the cross might not have to be paid.

His artistry placed the cross of Jesus Christ high,
Which spoke of God’s love against a splendorous sky.
He spread the Lord’s peace, through scriptures quoted
By his kind voice; and, in books, they were noted.

An impact for good was made by this man–
A big splash on this world was his part in God’s plan.
But don’t look to the imperfect artist, he had said,
Just look to the cross of Christ instead.

P. A. Oltrogge

Photo by Ian Carroll

Photo by Ian Carroll

“The Lord is my light and my salvation….” Psalm 27:1

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.'” John 8:12

“But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

Pathways Walked With Mom

Pathways of love,
pathways where you guided–
sweet memories of those pathways,
dear Mother, you’ve provided.

Much like a gardener,
you tended to my care–
weeding out some tendencies,
while cultivating those that were fair.

And if there were problems
at school or at play,
the pathway to Mom’s door
would help them go away.

Best of all, we walked pathways
which caused my spirit to be fed
with the truths in God’s Word,
so that by His Spirit I’d be led.

Now as I go about, on my own pathways since I’ve grown,
I’m grateful for the pathways that together we’d known.

P. A. Oltrogge

(The white stone borders along the flowers in this photo brought to mind the concept of the pathways in the poem. Hope you enjoy the blooms in the photo, which was taken by my daughter!)

Photo by B. Oltrogge

Photo by B. Oltrogge

Planting the Seed of God’s Word

Expect a reversal as you speak My Word;
You’re taking dominion, and “things” will have heard.
Say unto this “mountain,” and it shall be removed–
I’ve given mankind dominion and, by you, that can be proved.
Be it health or finances or a personal concern,
It’s saying what I’ve said that will cause things to turn.
My Word bears repeating, and the angels take heed–
And they assist, because of it, in working upon your need.
But allow time to develop–and for change to work in your heart,
Through My incorruptible seed alone–let stones and thorns depart.
Yes, tend to that seed in your heart as required
To cause mature growth and the harvest desired.
“Talk is cheap,” is sometimes said,
But talking My Word is rich instead.
You will meet with resistance–but you must “hold fast.”
With My Word in your heart, the trouble can’t last.
Call the things that are not as though they were so–
Say it how I see it, and your faith will grow.
Gradual signs of reversal, or in a more rapid way–
Sowing My Word bountifully will bring your harvest day!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the foul of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.'” Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV)

“And He was saying, ‘The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts up and grows–how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.'” Mark 4:26-29

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” 1 Peter 1:23 (KJV)

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” Romans 4:17 (KJV)

“And Jesus answered saying to them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions.'” Mark 11:22-25

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

“Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14 (New King James)

Joshua 1:8
Psalm 103:19-20
Psalm 107:20
Mark 4:14-20
Luke 10:19
Luke 17:5-6
Luke 17:21
John 10:10
2 Corinthians 1:20
Hebrews 4:2

(reference “About the Porch”)