Blessed are…

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“And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.

“Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

“Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:1-16 NASB

In Need of the Savior

An unconverted man or woman can do foolish or even grave things,
for they haven’t any idea of the kind of life that Jesus Christ brings.

Really, without the Lord, their thinking is faulty and incomplete.
They’re so in need of the Savior that they have yet to meet.

Some have had to forgive harm that was done to them by an unconverted soul.
It’s only through forgiveness that one who’s been hurt can begin to feel whole.

And that forgiveness, in certain cases, has caused a turnaround…
for the unconverted to become a new creation in Christ—their life no longer “bound.”

P. A. Oltrogge

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

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“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods, do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” Luke 6:27-35 NKJV

To Cast and Not to Cast

The Porch of the Lord

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“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV

I cast all my cares upon You, Lord,
for worry is something I can’t afford.

I’ll take Your peace, instead of stress;
Your thoughts towards me are always to bless.

Oh, what a compassionate God we have.
His love for us is like healing salve.

Cast your cares on Jesus–His peace in trade;
then leave them there once you have prayed.

Now, keep your confidence–don’t cast it away.
Hold fast to your faith in Him each day.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” Hebrews 10:35 KJV

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast…

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As White as Snow

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“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
These are gracious words that the Lord has said, and only He would know,
whatever sins have been in your life that you have come to regret.
What peace it is to know that God will forgive…and will also forget.

We read in the Bible of Peter, James, and John being led up by Jesus on a mount, where His clothing became radiant—white, like snow, it’s told in that account.
This spoke of His glory and was a demonstration that He was the Holy One—God’s voice, coming out of a cloud, said to listen to Jesus, His beloved Son.

This brings to my mind the garment of salvation that makes us white as snow.
In Him, we become new creations—sinners cleansed by His blood’s outflow.
To any who take Him as Savior, the One who died for sin on the cross in their place—any guilty stains are thoroughly lifted; no sinful spot can leave a trace.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now after six days, Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up on a high mount apart by themselves, and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.” Mark 9:2-4 NKJV

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 NIV

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’” Matthew 26:27-28 NKJV

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12 NKJV

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NASB

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17 NASB

Psalm 103:12
John 1:29
Hebrews 1:1-4
1 John 2:1-2

Without a Prayer

The Porch of the Lord

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How can anyone make the decision not to pray unto the great “I AM,”

who wants to be their Good Shepherd and care for them as His lamb?

Jesus humbly came to earth, as told in the cherished Christmas story,

simply to share God’s love, leaving His home up in Glory

He demonstrated unconditional love, serving those upon earth

and told all of us about our need to experience “the new birth.”

Likewise, we can be blessed…by serving as He leads,

knowing we have peace with God through Him–not by our own deeds.

For by grace we have been saved–His grace has been poured out.

Please don’t be deceived by demonic spirits who spread doubt.

The thief (who is the devil) comes only to kill, destroy, and steal…

Jesus came to die for our sins and, as  Divine Physician, to heal.

I can’t imagine the void in a life…

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Pink Sky in the Morning

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After we’ve come through the dark hours of night,
a pink sky in the morning is a magnificent sight.

In that very first light when the morning is breaking,
it uplifts and inspires—and is truly breathtaking.

Our Creator coats masterfully the sky with His paints,
and gives a song to the birds for the waking of His saints.

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 NASB

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24 NKJV

“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

“For lo, the winter is past. The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come. And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” Song of Solomon 2:11-12 NKJV

“…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:12-14 NKJV

Poetry for Autumn

The Porch of the Lord

Photo by Kimberly Vardeman Photo by Kimberly Vardeman

A Captivating Season

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…

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Lift Up Your Voice

I don’t know what this day will bring;
but this I know—God wants me to sing…

If there are problems and hope seems dim,
I can look to Jesus and worship Him.

P. A. Oltrogge

An old, familiar hymn to sing:

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit; oh, what needless pain we bear—
all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

“Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

“Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee. Thou wilt find a solace there.”

by Joseph M. Scriven
written 1855

“Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.” 1 Chronicles 13:8

“All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; they shall sing praises to Your name.” Psalm 66:4

On Paul and Silas:
“And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed.

“And the keeper of the prison, awakening from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.’

“Then he called for a light, ran in and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

“And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” Acts 16:23-34

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”
Psalm 150:6

(All scripture NKJV)

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Excerpt from Colossians

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“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.

“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

“Who is the image of the invisible God; the firstborn of every creature:

“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

“And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

“In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight;

“If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel….”

Colossians 1:8-23 KJV

A Word of Encouragement

The Porch of the Lord

“And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?’ And they stood still, looking sad. And one of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?'” Luke 24:17-18 (NASB)

“And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Luke 24:27 (NASB) (from the account, after Jesus’ death and burial, of the walk to Emmaus by Cleopas and another, who met the risen Lord on their walk, verses 13-32)

There’s nothing like ENCOURAGEMENT when the way seems hard–

There’s nothing like its bolstering to keep a day (or life) from being scarred.

A word of praise can be depended upon to keep enthusiasm or creativity flowing,

causing a…

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