Celebrate Life

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Celebrate the gift of life today—
don’t let troubles steal away your joy.
Jesus offers us abundant life,
while the devil only seeks to destroy.

There’s so much good to appreciate;
open your eyes to the blessings you’ll find.
And don’t let past disappointments cloud
today and your future that God has in mind.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 NKJV

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
For your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Psalm 138:8 NLT

“The Lord will accomplish that which concerns me;
Your (unwavering) lovingkindness endures forever—
Do not abandon the works of Your own hands.”
Psalm 138:8 AMP

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 NKJV

“‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 AMP

“Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NKJV

A Painter, and the Light of the World

The Porch of the Lord

(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 through 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 initials he would write,
revealing the heart of this painter of light.

A tour filmed in Israel, where Jesus had walked,
came alive to the viewers as he painted and talked–
of Gethsemane’s Garden, where…

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The Light Falling Upon the Ocean

The Porch of the Lord

Photo by Oi Max Photo by Oi Max

On the ocean, full of shining light, changing the colors of waves–
Oh light, where did you come from and where will you go?
From the hands of God into the deep of human souls.

In a grassland, full of dancing light, which heightens the colors of flowers–
Oh light, where did you come from and where will you go?
From the hands of God into the height of human souls.

Mitsuko Kimura

This poetry was written by Mitsuko Kimura of Japan. The words caused a friend of mine, Yoshiko Umezu, to recall an experience in her youth.  She was visiting her uncle who lived by the sea.  There on the beach, she also noticed beams of light over the ocean, which reminded her of the creation account in the Bible.  Then, being inspired by Mitsuko’s words and her own experience, she set the words to music, equally…

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The Merit of a Gospel Tract

An untold number of people haven’t resolved the human heart’s cry
to connect with the living God, knowing where they’ll go whenever they die.
And regarding their daily lives, they still have not found out
that Jesus really loves them; and following Him is what life is about.

Though television has much programming pertaining to the Lord,
there are so many other programs that people are looking toward.
The internet has become an avenue for Christianity and its sharing,
but a “gift” politely offered can personally show others Jesus’ caring.

As Christians, we can consider having an unrealized, significant impact
on the lives of many others by giving an informative Gospel tract.
Telling others what Christ means to us can be done with those we know,
but a tract can go with strangers on their way to places that we can’t go.

We can ask the Lord to lead us to hearts that He’s prepared—
then it will be much easier for a Gospel tract to be shared.
Sure, sometimes we may be turned down or be met with verbal rejection;
but others will be interested in it, taking our offer for later reflection.

There have been stories where, by a tract, a path was definitely paved
for people to find their God. From suicidal or other wrong plans, some have even been saved. And further testimonies reported were that the Gospel became more clear to those with some knowledge of Jesus, but it was their hearts that still needed to “hear.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 NIV

We read of Lydia in the book of Acts, chapter 16:
“The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”

…words of Jesus… “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” John 4:35 NKJV

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Faith IS the Victory that Overcomes the World

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While it’s true that, as shared in yesterday’s post, the Lord’s heart is full of grace towards us, it’s still His desire that we grow in faith, giving glory to Him. If you’ve not already come across it, the Andrew Wommack series, “How to Become a Water Walker,” is an excellent teaching. You can put the title into the search bar at http://www.awmi.net to find the previously-aired television programming.

Another search there, among many other inspiring testimonials, is the story of Gina Boop, where faith and the authority of the believer is exemplified.

If we’ve experienced a setback or have heard some bad news,
those are the kinds of things the devil seeks to use
to get us to say the opposite of what God has said in His Word—
that faith isn’t the victory, like we’ve always heard.
But faith IS the victory as God’s Word has proclaimed;
we will never agree for His Word to be defamed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:3-5 NKJV

“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:17-20 NKJV

…and verse 12 speaks of faith and patience in inheriting the promises…

Faith in…God’s Heart of Grace

The Porch of the Lord

White Tulips Photo by Roman Boed

Sometimes…

It’s nothing but God’s mercy and nothing but His grace
that can take over for my faith, in running the Christian race.
When I’ve exercised my faith, but find there is no trace
of a faith that will endure–then I just need the solid base…
of Christ as my life’s Savior, who’ll extend His hand of grace.

If troubles overwhelm, we need to sense the Lord’s embrace.
So think of “grace” through any circumstance; and in every case,
Christ’s love will lift you from discouragement–there is no disgrace.
Sinking, by fear of wind upon the water, Peter then looked to Jesus’ face.
“Lord, I believe–help my unbelief,” is understood by God’s heart of grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were…

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The Towering Name

The Porch of the Lord

Lake photo by Porch of the Lord Photo by Porch of the Lord

I’ve come across your path today, and I may not know your name,
But though we’re not acquainted, I’d like to speak of Jesus just the same.
He knows the details of your life–anything you’re going through;
Yes, even if you don’t know Him, He knows all about you.

I’ve found Him to be a faithful God, Who I know in a personal way.
He desires to help each person intimately–all we have to do is pray.
For those who’ve put their trust in Him, guidance becomes very sure;
His will is good and perfect, coming from a heart that’s loving and pure.

If you’re facing worries, never despair–the name of Jesusis a strong tower
To run into for help and wisdom, which flow richly from that Name’s power.
And at the name of Jesus, one day, every knee will bow;

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The Just Shall Live by Faith

“For therein (the Gospel of Christ) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17 KJV

Now that it’s just about time for “back to school”…

Have you ever wondered, “Exactly how does one live “by faith”? Or, if you feel you’ve already been at it for a while but want to glean more on the topic, I believe you’d be greatly blessed and encouraged by visiting Keith Moore’s website at http://www.moorelife.org where he’s begun a series called, “Faith School.” The setting is an old-fashioned schoolhouse room, and I think you’ll find that you enjoy his clear way of teaching.

For many years, he assisted Kenneth E. Hagin of Rhema Bible College, Tulsa, Oklahoma before beginning his own ministry.

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Trusting Jesus, the Good Shepherd

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…from Luke 15, putting the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son into a bit of the poetic…

If a man has a hundred sheep but just one has gone astray,
doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in open pasture to search for it without delay?

And when he finds it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing that it’s found.
Then, once home, celebrations of his joy with friends and neighbors abound.

In the same way, there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner who comes home
than over ninety-nine righteous persons who, wisely, never wanted to roam.

P. A. Oltrogge

You may not be “little,” but the following verse from an old song describes our security in Christ very well. And if any of us learned this song when young but got away from the Good Shepherd, we can know from Luke 15 that He’s so very happy to have us back…

I am Jesus’ little lamb,
ever glad at heart I am;
for my Shepherd gently guides me…
knows my needs and well provides me—
loves me every day the same,
even calls me by my name.

from the song, “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb”
by Henrietta Louise von Hayn

Thoughts Gathered from the 23rd Psalm

The Porch of the Lord

Photo by Roger Davies Photo by Roger Davies

The Lord is my Shepherd–my faithful guide;
And through His leading, He always will provide.
He causes me to rest in pastures so green,
Beside quiet waters that speak of the serene.

He encourages my soul if I should ever feel down,
Reminding me I’m wearing God’s “lovingkindness” crown.
Knowing the wisdom of following as Christ leads,
I walk paths of righteousness, sowing Kingdom seeds.

If at times there are valleys, with storms very dark,
I’m safe with my Shepherd–He is my strong ark.
I refuse any fear–His rod and staff keep me stable;
And before any enemy, He prepares me a table.

With divine Kingly oil, He’s anointed my head;
My cup overflows, as by His Spirit I’m led.
Of His goodness and mercy, He always will give;
And in the house of my Shepherd King, I forever will live.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Who forgives…

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