The One and Only Deity

I wrote a poem post for the blog recently; and before I send any of them out,
I try to make certain, for the readers, that there haven’t been any mistakes made throughout.

So, I must have ignored the “spell check,” for I did have an obvious spelling error.
The dictionary confirmed it, after the fact, and became my day’s bad news bearer.

I’d misspelled “deities,” probably because I usually think only of the One.
I don’t use the word, deities, very much at all, since there’s just One in Jesus,
God’s Son.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’ Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.'” Mark 12:28-30 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 14:9

“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

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life–and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us–what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” 1 John 1:1-4

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5 NKJV

Mustard Seed Faith and Great Grace

Sometimes I’ve felt my faith failing when things have been going wrong–
But then things don’t turn out so badly before so very long.

It’s because I have a Savior in Jesus, who loves me and understands;
He’s ready to rescue on my behalf before all of my faith would disband.

P. A. Oltrogge

“It is a trustworthy statement:

For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”  2 Timothy 2:11-13

“…and beginning to sink, he (Peter) cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Him, and said to him, ‘Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” (from Matthew 14:22-33)

“Hence, also, He (Jesus) is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25

“And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ And the Lord said, ‘If you had faith like a mustard seed you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.'” Luke 17:5-6

A Captivating Season

 

Photo by Kristine Paulus

Photo by Kristine Paulus

The heavens and earth exhibit countless masterpieces of the Lord’s.
His seasons have beauty and variety–each one has its own rewards.

But one that’s especially captivating is the autumn, before it’s cold.
Shades of red, orange, and gold make His artistry evident and bold.

Hearing the crunching of fallen leaves under our feet as we walk,
makes for a reflective time of year to go out with a friend and talk.

When the sun shines on a hillside covered with trees which have “turned,”
it’s a far more exquisite gift God gives than anything I may have earned.

“Fall” is a time of the welcome harvest, when thankfulness comes to mind.
There are pumpkins and apple picking and bountiful crops of every kind.

So, I thank God for His goodness and the beauty that He’s displayed;
And I thank Him that, in any season, He’s answered when I’ve prayed.

I know that I love spring and summer and the winter’s pure white snow;
but my favorite season still is autumn, with its glorious golden glow.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1

“…Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah 6:3

Photo by Walter Lim

Photo by Walter Lim

It’s Grand to Give

According to the word of the Lord, the prophet, Elijah, journeyed to a brook,
which was called Cherith, east of the Jordan; and from its waters he took.

God told him to look to the ravens, for His provision of meat and bread.
Both in the morning and in the evening, Elijah was thereby fed.

But there was no rain in the land, for Elijah had prayed for its delaying–
to prove that his was the true God, not Baal, as King Ahab was saying.

The waters of the brook didn’t last then, so he needed again to move.
God told him to go to Zarephath, where His provision again He would prove.

Elijah saw there a woman gathering sticks, a widow, as God had said.
He called to her, asking for water; and then he also asked her for bread.

She replied she had only a little flour in a bowl and a little oil in a jar.
The sticks were for a fire to cook a bread cake, which wouldn’t go very far.

She had thought she and her son would eat it and then prepare to die.
To her surprise, Elijah said that was the reason that God had sent him by.

He told her God wanted to provide for her, and her flour and oil wouldn’t fail–
sharing with him first, as a prophet of God, was all that it would entail.

So she did as Elijah had told her, serving the food first to him and then her son.
She believed and trusted in God, that their lives weren’t over and done.

Day followed day and they always had meals–her supply was not diminished.
It’s a Biblical lesson of security through faith–we’re blessed before God is finished.

During Jesus’ ministry, a little boy’s lunch, of fishes and loaves that seemed few
became enough when blessed by Him; and He blesses giving the same today, too.

P. A. Oltrogge

(from 1 Kings 17:8-16)

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want….” Psalm 23:1

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 NKJV

“The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25

More reflection on healing

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filed with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJV

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7 NASV

FIRMLY ROOTED
by J. Vetter

The other day I spent time in my back yard digging up oak trees. These oak “trees” were only three inches tall, but I was amazed to find about five inches of root below the ground. I chuckled to see the little acorn holding on to the root for dear life. Those little acorns didn’t waste time. They dug in their heels and got established. How incredible to think the two huge oak trees in our front yard actually began their lives from something as tiny as my thumb nail. Of course, there would be no way that I could even begin to dig those grown trees out.

For weeks now the Lord has been speaking to me about roots. It started with the word, “stronghold.” “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds….” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6; then the words, “firmly rooted,” from Colossians, above, and “rooted and grounded” from Ephesians, also quoted above; followed by the scripture, “Every plant which my Heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted,” Matthew 15:13. Consequently, I have followed these clues on God’s treasure hunt with great anticipation to see how it will all come together.

I began to think of how long-standing problems or diseases seemingly don’t budge very easily at times despite prayer. So we are often left with wrong thinking choices–“God is sovereign, so this situation is the will of God,” “God doesn’t care or doesn’t hear me,” or “God is not able to do this.” Just like the ground didn’t release those little oak trees without my work and effort, our minds refuse to release long-standing erroneous beliefs. And the longer they have held their ground, the harder it is to pull them out. That’s why the Word of God says we’re to renew our minds (Romans 12:2).

Perhaps there is something huge in our lives that needs to go–an addiction or a disease that seems too big or impossible to be free of. As we look to scripture, we see a beautiful example of the power Jesus had when he walked on this earth (and we are told, “As He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17). He spoke to a fig tree. The next morning, as the disciples passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots in Mark 11:20. Peter said, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away”–verse 21. Later Jesus declares, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them”–verse 24.

So we need to get out our spiritual gardening tools and get to work–we have some planting to do, but also some uprooting. Most importantly, let’s plant love. God says we are to be rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:14-19). Of course, the seed of love is the Word of God. As we meditate on scriptures such as Romans 5:8, we learn “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Let’s plant that seed a little deeper. Then we meditate on Jeremiah 31:3, and learn, “The Lord has appeared of old to me saying, ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’” Again, these seeds are getting more established. Subsequently we learn that “faith works by love,” Galatians 5:6, so suddenly faith to uproot an illness begins to spring forth. If we know we’re loved by God (and we love ourselves), it is easier to believe that God wants the best for us, and He wants to see us receive the harvest as much as we do.

Perhaps when we try to plant the good seeds, we just run into stones, hard ground. or roots. For instance. some friends of mine kept trying to landscape their yard, to no avail. Finally they called in an expert. He discovered a network of roots all over the yard. This reminded me of the warning in scripture about any root of bitterness–Hebrews 12:15. We must make certain to remove any of that out of our lives. And doubt must be resisted and uprooted, as well, so as not to cancel out our prayer of faith. “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,” Mark 11:23. And, going along with our thoughts on love, we need to have forgiven everyone. “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone….” Mark 11:25. So if we fail to prepare the ground, we won’t have much success getting the seeds to grow.

Having planted a crop of love, faith, and forgiveness, we prepare for the harvest. I like to remember the time when we lived in a rural area on two acres of land. After experiencing a year of failure due to the ground not being prepared, the following year we finally had our crop of eight-foot tall corn stalks. They were almost ready for harvest when a furious storm blew in, knocking them all down. When it blew over, I was in the garden on my hands and knees lifting up the stalks and patting the mud around each one to make them stand erect. (I believe God’s grace factored in as well over those propped-up stalks.) It was so worth it at harvest time. We enjoyed dozens and dozens of sweet, golden ears of corn.

Therefore, spiritually, we may have to get on our knees and protect the harvest even after persistently believing for a breakthrough, (“rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,” Romans 12:12); but let’s not give up–the end result is so sweet and so worth the effort!

______________________________________________

“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

Consider these scriptures on the strongest root of all…Jesus, whom we look to, the Root of Jesse:

“(The Reign of Jesse’s Offspring) There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1 NKJV

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10 NKJV

“And again, Isaiah says: ‘There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.” Romans 15:12 NKJV

An Encounter at Jacob’s Well

On His way to Galilee, Jesus went through Samaria to a city called Sychar, near land given by Jacob to Joseph, his son. Jacob’s well was there, and being wearied from His journey, Jesus sat down by the well before His traveling would be done.

While His disciples went away into the city to get food, Jesus asked a woman of Samaria there to give Him a drink that day. How He, a Jew, could ask a Samaritan woman for a drink was her immediate question, and she wondered what He would say.

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,'” He said, “you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She noted that He had nothing to draw up water with and the well was deep, so where could He have gotten such to have brought her?

She asked if He considered Himself greater than their father, Jacob, whose well it had been, but which was later left to them. Jesus said that though she drank from Jacob’s well, she’d thirst many times more; but the water He could give would keep her from ever thirsting again.

This Samaritan woman must have believed He possessed some special water, for she asked Him to give to her of that kind. Then Jesus revealed personal things about her life that could only have been known by One with divine knowledge in His mind.

At that, she said she perceived He was a prophet and raised the question of where the worship of God should best be done. Jesus said the important thing was how people should worship, which would be “in spirit and in truth,” or by hearts that were truly “won.”

He said that God, the Father, seeks people with such a heart to worship Him and that she’d worshiped what she didn’t really know. He told her that salvation was of the Jews. Though she was a Samaritan and He a Jew, He was reaching out as a friend to her and not a foe.

The woman from Samaria said she agreed that the Messiah would come and would reveal to the world all things. Then Jesus said, “I who speak to you am He,” declaring He was (is) the One from whom the fountain of water to everlasting life springs.

Amazed, she left her water jug to make her way back to the city, telling the men of how He’d known all the pages in her life’s book. “Could this be the Christ?” she was inquiring and told them that they should really go out for themselves to hear and take a look.

In the meantime, Jesus’ disciples had returned with the food they’d gone to get, and urged that He should partake with them and eat. But Jesus said He had food of which they didn’t know–to do the will of His Father; working to win the lost to God was His
bread and meat.

He said the “fields” were white unto harvest! Then came out to hear Him many who’d been alerted by this “woman at the well’s” own story. And by hearing the Lord Himself, the life-giving “water” continued to flow greatly, as it still does to all today…to God be the glory!

P. A. Oltrogge

(from John, chapter 4)

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 KJV

To Rout Doubt

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

The way the adversary attacks is through presentation of doubt.
By voicing scripture and praise to God, we can rout those worries out–

The Lord desires to heal any kind of pain that has beset you.
Remember always His great love and that He never will forget you.

Like spiritual fists are your words or songs of praise…
He who would devour won’t stick around to graze.

Forget any mistakes or disappointments of the past–
Look only to today and a blessed future’s forecast.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV

“…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead….” from Philippians 3:13-14

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion…” Psalm 103:2-4

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“But what saith it?  The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach….”  Romans 10:8 KJV

“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:11-12

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10 KJV

Let All Things Praise the Lord

Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!

Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150 NKJV