On Memorial Day

Our lives go on, so very busy each day…

Today, we want to take a moment to pray

for the families of those who died for freedom’s cause.

Their loved ones held love of country despite any of its “flaws.”

The U.S. is “the land of the free and the home of the brave”—

confirmed by the flags planted at every grave

of those who gave the ultimate and were courageous of heart.

May America continue to be blessed by God as it’s been from its start.

P. A. Oltrogge

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The Beauty and Benevolence of God through His Son, Jesus Christ

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Evidence of a creative Master is seen throughout the earth;

Jesus, who was called, the Master, came to teach us of the new birth.

Unless you are born again, He said, you won’t see the Kingdom of God.

His heart is that of a caring shepherd, who guides with staff and rod.

The beauties and wonders of creation amaze, seeming never to cease;

such things are divine reflections, which point to the Prince of Peace.

Jesus told us to consider the lilies and also the birds of the air—

that they could show us how to serenely rest within His Father’s care.

What a wonderful God we have; He taught us the beauty of serving—

Jesus was our example, sharing God’s love, though we were undeserving.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men—God’s very glory revealed.

We do have a beautiful Savior, who gave us the beauty of the lilies of the field.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

“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.” John 1:14

(New King James Version)

“God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners,
Spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son,
whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the Word of his power,
when he had by himself purged our sins,
sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Being made so much better than the angels,
as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
Hebrews 1:1-4

(King James Version)

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

(New King James Version)

Remembering the Hymn,
Beautiful Savior

Beautiful Savior, King of Creation,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I’d love Thee,
Truly I’d serve Thee,
Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown.

Fair are the meadows,
Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fair is the moonlight,
Bright the sparkling stars on high;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels in the sky.

Beautiful Savior,
Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!

Author Unknown, 1677
Translated by Joseph A. Seiss, 1873

“Free Indeed!”

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“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 KJV.

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

It’s impossible for me to be ensnared
by the devil and his demons, for I’ve been spared.

As a disciple of the Lord, continuing in His Word,
I can claim what Jesus said and rest assured.

“The Son has made me free, and I am free indeed!”
Since this is the promise, for which I have the deed,

the devil must flee from me, taking heed,
that I am “free indeed,” as JESUS has decreed…

AND JESUS AND I ARE FULLY AGREED!

P. A. Oltrogge

Postscript to the poem:

Since the blood of Jesus has permeated my entire being;
redemption through His blood is absolutely freeing!
And “in Him I live and move and have my being…” (from Acts 17:28)

”Christ purchased our freedom and redeemed us from the curse of the Law and it’s condemnation by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs (crucified) on a tree (cross).’”  Galatians 3:13 AMP

“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindess and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV

“For in him we live and move and have our being, as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Acts 17:28 KJV

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:23 KJV

“Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  James 4:7 NKJV

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 RSV

”Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 NIV

A Visit to the Woods While in the City

The Porch of the Lord

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…

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Thoughts and Declarations

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If a thought, upon arising, says that every hope is gone,
remember that the Lord’s mercies are new at every dawn.

If moments from the past come to mind that weren’t the best,
think only of those times when you just knew that you were blessed.

And instead of sad lamenting over any “milk” that has been spilled,
think expectantly about the future and God’s promises being fulfilled.

Make prophetic declarations that will inspire you on your way.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue…you can have what you say.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV

Often referenced by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin, were Mark 11:22-24. He therefore believed in the power of our words and taught, “You can have what you say.” See http://www.rhema.org  (Faith Food Devotionals under Study Center)

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’” Mark 11:22-24 NKJV (and 25-26 on forgiveness)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 NKJV

”(The Lord) crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” from Psalm 103 NKJV

Pleasant Words

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Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 NKJV

Oh, how our souls are often in need of words that are sweet,
for it’s so very easy in life to have thoughts of defeat.

Finding words of encouragement, perhaps from a Psalm,
will go a long way in helping to keep our thoughts calm.

And the words that we ourselves speak should always be trained
to be gracious and uplifting, as God has ordained.

Pleasant words, kind words, are words that will nourish.
By them, the lives of others and our own lives will flourish.

P. A. Oltrogge

“A word filly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 AMP

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV

“Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19 NKJV

“But He (Jesus) answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NKJV

“Surely goodnesss and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23:6 NKJV

God is Good, All the Time

…from Luke 13:10-17

In this account, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues; and it was on a Sabbath day.

A woman was there who, for eighteen years, had had a sickness caused by a spirit—she was bound by Satan that way.

She was bent double and was totally unable to straighten up at all.

But she made her way over to Jesus, upon His invitation and call.

“Woman, you are freed from your sickness,” He said, laying His hands upon her—immediately she became erect.

She began to glorify God that Jesus’ ministry had had such a powerful effect!

But due to rigid adherence to the Torah, a synagogue official could only “see” the Law.

Jesus should not have healed on the Sabbath, he said. All he could see was this “flaw.”

In the face of such a miracle, he still, obviously, wasn’t persuaded.

His only desire seemed to be that Jesus’ act of love should be degraded.

Jesus then called him a hypocrite, saying that he, and the other synagogue officials, would untie their own oxen or donkeys on the Sabbath to lead them to some waters.

How much more, then, was it right for Him to heal, even though on a Sabbath, this woman, who was one of Abraham’s daughters.

After Jesus had said these things, his opponents were put to shame…

while, for the glorious things He was doing for others, the people were giving Him great acclaim.

As believers, we, too, are heirs of Abraham; and on any night or day…

the Lord, who never slumbers or sleeps, will hear and answer us whenever we pray.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:29 NASB

“…He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:3-4 NASB

Pathways Walked With Mom

The Porch of the Lord

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

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By this time…

…from John 11 on the death and raising of Lazarus…

“Now Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.’”

“Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 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.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?’”

So often in life we turn to logical courses and reason;
but now’s an opportune time—in fact, in any season,
to trust the good Lord for help that’s supernatural,
instead of leaning so heavily on mainly the factual.

In the Biblical story of Martha’s brother, Lazarus, who had died,
she seemed to sense that her brother’s death could still be defied.
Yet, when the Lord said that someone should open the cave tomb door,
she reasoned about the time that had passed and other facts in store.

“By this time” became Martha’s very predominant thought,
instead of remembering the miracles that Jesus had already wrought.
Likewise, in a crisis, we know that God can come through still;
but let’s be assured that healing and restoration are always His will.

P. A. Oltrogge

Postscript:
It’s sometimes thought that miracles are few and far between;
but, whether instant or more gradual, they’re frequently being seen.

Encouragement:
http://www.sidroth.org
http://www.johnmellor.org
http://www.awmi.net
Porch of the Lord Archive, “Lost at Sea”
and “The Supernatural Power of God”
Dodie Osteen booklet, “Healed of Cancer” at:
http://www.JoelOsteen.com

“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. 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.’ Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ 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 11:41-44 NKJV

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV

And Mark 11:23-26