A Visit to the Woods While in the City

Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Today I have responsibilities that call;
I may not be able to get to them all.

I like to think back on visits I’ve made
to peaceful wooded paths or a forest glade.

At such places, it’s natural to pause and reflect
on the Lord, our Creator, and give Him respect.

But amidst crowded sidewalks or busy streets,
I can praise you, God, and remember our “retreats.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’….” Mark 6:31 NKJV

“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.” Matthew 11:28-29

Exodus 33:14; Psalm 23; Psalm 91:1-2; Psalm 119:105; John 14:27; John 20:21

Something to Consider

Photo by Matt MacGillivray

Photo by Matt MacGillivray

Consider the Birds and the Lilies

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

What Powers Your “Faith Train”

Photo by John Seb Barber

Photo by John Seb Barber

Come into the Lord’s presence with thanksgiving in your heart and enter His courts with praise. Trust in Him at all times to direct your paths, as you acknowledge Him in all of your ways.

Don’t allow praise and thanks to be your faith train’s “caboose,” because the “engine” of your faith is praise! Waiting to thank Him until you “see” (the answer to your prayer) will only bring about delays.

“At all times,” your Father in heaven desires to have fellowship with you. You were created to bring Him that pleasure. He’s the trustworthy Engineer and Conductor of your life. Friendship with Him is your greatest treasure.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving. And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4 NKJV

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Psalm 34:1 NKJV

“Trust in Him at all times, you people. Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” Psalm 62:8 NKJV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7 NKJV

This poem was written after hearing a message on the effects of praise at http://www.awmi.net

Multiplied Blessings to you…

Photo by Becky Cortino

Photo by Becky Cortino

“May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” Jude 1:2

The farm where I grew up had one of these snowball bushes, and the beautiful blossoms multiplied yearly. The dictionary states that to “snowball” means “to increase, accelerate, expand, or multiply at a rapidly accelerating rate.” I pray the Lord will multiply His blessings to you in that way!

May His healing compassion be yours in any area of your life where you have needs. Be blessed by this song:

(From http://www.moorelife.org (“Free Downloads,” then “Music” and “Healing Compassion” under “Quicken Thou Me”)

P. A. Oltrogge

The Rebuilding of the Temple

A very brief synopsis from the account in the book of Ezra….

By the edict of Cyrus, who became ruler of the Persian empire, the Lord let all the exiles go free–to return to their own land in Jerusalem, where Solomon’s Temple had once stood grandly for all to see.

“Building a house for God in Jerusalem,” Cyrus said, was his task, which he passed on to them that day. He also gave back to the people the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken away.

Led by Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and by Jeshua, the priest, they enthusiastically set out. Upon arrival in Jerusalem, they located the Temple’s original site, where nothing but some rubble was scattered about.

When the Assyrians had captured the Israelites in the north, they had then settled some newcomers in the land. These were Samaritans, who hadn’t wanted the Jews to come back there again, or ever see them take command.

But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and others built an altar and offered sacrifices to the God of Israel, as the law of Moses said that they should. This was of greatest importance before the Temple would ultimately be rebuilt with stone and cedar wood.

The cedar would be shipped from Lebanon, as it had been done for King Solomon many years before. Then, according to their ability, the people gave gold, silver, priestly garments, and other offerings to this project to restore.

The Levites were appointed to oversee the work; but everyone, even the priests, helped to lay the foundation. They then sang, “The Lord is good and His love for Israel is eternal”–a song of God’s love for their nation.

Problems developed in dealing with the Samaritans, who, at first, offered to help with all they had to do. They claimed to worship the same God; but Zerubbabel refused their help, for he knew that simply wasn’t true.

The people of Judah had been exiled to Babylon as God’s punishment for their waywardness previously this way–when they’d mixed with others who worshiped false “gods”–so they weren’t about again to go astray.

At Zerubbabel’s refusal, the Samaritans became angry, stirred up trouble, and work on the Temple ceased. This lasted fifteen years, until prophecies and encouragement from God’s prophets, Zechariah and Haggai, were at that time released.

Zerubbabel and Jeshua knew this was their approval to begin again, as far as they could see. When challenged again by those who opposed it, King Darius researched the edict of Cyrus–then also gave his generous endorsement decree.

So Solomon’s Temple was finally resurrected. Though not as magnificent, it was welcomed after so many years. The people came to it for Passover, and the priests and Levites resumed duties, after it was dedicated to God with joyful cheers.

If you’ve a project for God that’s somehow stalled, be strong, and remember this story to help keep things going. Not all may support or understand what God has put in your heart, but it’s God’s vision that needs to keep growing.

P. A. Oltrogge

Gentile neighbors were to help the Jewish people through their donations before they left (Ezra 1:4-6) Two groups of the people went. The first group returned with Zerubbabel and restored the Temple. The second group returned with Ezra, who instructed the people in godliness. Fifteen years is an approximate number of years the work ceased after it was started. Jeshua is also written as Joshua, son of Jozadak.

In ventures in your own life, it’s best to be sure that any potential partners who say that your God and theirs are the same–actually do know the one true God and Messiah–Jesus Christ being His Name.

Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple for dedication to the Lord. (Luke 2:22) Later, He was found in the Temple (Luke 2:46) and He taught in its courts. (Matthew 21:14-15; Matthew 21:23; Matthew 26:55; Mark 11:11; Mark 12:35; Luke 2:46; Luke 19:47; Luke 21:37-38; John 7:14,28; John 8:2,20) His presence was its glory. Jesus also ministered to the descendants of the early Samaritans spoken of in the poem, and gave us the beloved story of “the good Samaritan.” The apostles also preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Samaritans. (Acts 8:25)

Jesus… Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases

If you’ve experienced a “blight,”
which tempts you to lean towards fright,

“Only believe” that it cannot stay,
when you’ve used your faith to pray.

So even if it’s “there,”
don’t take up the care….

God’s healing words are bright–
it’s going to be all right.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O 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 loving kindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalm 103:1-5

“While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’ As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe.’” (from the account of the healing of the daughter of Jairus, in Mark 5:21-43.)

for further encouragement on healing or other areas requiring faith: