The God of “A Great Calm”

5B2EAC40-0A64-465D-A2A9-D9826720B654
Photo Unsplash/Conrad Ziebland

“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!’”
Mark 4:35-41 NKJV

Just as this night moon is full, as pictured here,
we’ve come to the end of 2018, the fullness of the year.

In the picture, the sea and the heavenly light
made me think of the time when Jesus ended the fright

of His disciples when a storm had overtaken their boat—
and “a great calm” came about, keeping them afloat.

In heading into the new year, with its uncharted waters,
remember the authority given to God’s sons and daughters.

With the Lord’s Word and the Holy Spirit, we have nothing to fear.
We, too, can speak to “the waters” throughout the coming year.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Words of Jesus in Luke 10:19 NKJV

“Commanding Power” Booklet
by Kenneth W. Hagin
at http://www.rhema.org
($1.95)
and other books on the believer’s authority

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”
John 8:12 NKJV

A Star for the Magi, A Star for Us

…Though it’s a little past Christmas, some thoughts herein are good to remember as we head into the new year…

0C24A57B-14D7-4F42-B7CA-AA19F2AB17F7

“…they went their way, and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His Mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:9-11

The Bible relates that some magi sought
a gift so priceless that it couldn’t be bought.
A star was their guide in this long-ago quest;
and it went before them, coming to rest,
over the place where God decreed it should,
designating the Christ child—and there it stood.
It must have been brilliant as it stopped above
to point out the gift of God’s divine love.
They worshiped Jesus there, going inside,
trusting that the star was their heaven-sent guide.
The child was the very reason God had brought them to this place,
and they sensed that redemption was theirs to embrace.
A Redeemer God had sent, as had been foretold—
The magi presented gifts—myrrh, frankincense, and gold.
God’s righteousness and holiness would require a sacrifice—
that justice would be met when this Child paid the price.
He would live a perfect life, fulfilling all that’s right,
and would urge all to repentance, saying He was the world’s Light.
As an individual, you may think that your life has been good—
but “falling short of God’s glory” needs to be understood.
God sent for all a Savior, an old familiar story—
only Christ’s sinless life met and satisfied that glory.
Fitting it was for a sparkling star’s light
to magnify the greatest Light on that special night.
Today God sends His Spirit to lead and be your guide—
It’s standing above the Lord’s house, inviting you to come inside.
There find the God-sent Christ for you to worship and believe.
You’ll find that He gives gifts to you—from His goodness you’ll receive!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“But now apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe, for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness because in the forbearance of God, He passed over the sins previously committed, for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

“Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17

(Scriptures NASB)

A Blessed Merry Christmas!

295284EB-4E0B-4A71-8316-0C3B0869C48D

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 NASB

“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And, behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.’”
Luke 1:30-33 NASB

A blessed, Merry Christmas to you, dear reader,

from P. A. Oltrogge at
the Porch of the Lord

From the Manger’s Wonder…to our Wonderful Shepherd

FCEB7238-6EB7-4269-8854-E9102C953F9D
Photo/Unsplash

The shepherds, having had an encounter deep,
must have had peace to leave their sheep,
for they went with haste to Bethlehem,
to see the divine Child, God’s wondrous gem.

Peace, little lambs, your caretakers will be back.
God and the angels will keep you safe from attack.
As the Shepherd’s lambs, ourselves, we know that our first call
is the worship of the Lord Jesus, who is with us throughout all.

“…I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Amen
Words of Jesus in Matthew 28:20 KJV

P. A. Oltrogge

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Luke 2:8-20 NKJVb

Never a Blue Christmas….

Photo by Jon Curnow

A dimly lit stable or cave on that long-ago, destined night,
suddenly became a hallowed place, because of the newly arrived “Light.”

Animals were resting nearby as the baby took His first breath–
He was sent from heaven to deliver this world from the snare of sin and death.

Shepherds watching their flock by night were amazed by an angelic visitation–
telling them a Savior had been born–Christ the Lord, for people of every nation.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,”
was further proclaimed by a multitude of angels on what had taken place then.

Straightway the shepherds went to Bethlehem to worship the baby in the stall–
the One who’d been sent to live among mankind but would give His life for us all.

Death on a criminal’s cross, followed by a victorious resurrection,
were in the future of this newborn child, who would live a life of perfection.

If anything has gotten you down today, and at Christmas you’re feeling blue,
just remember that all of the love God has still shines through Jesus for you.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Luke 2:14

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

For 24/7 encouragement: http://www.bvovn.com

Photo by Jon Curnow/Flickr.com

No Greater Star…

B728E95C-0BE2-4864-B232-F57555440013

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod, the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” Matthew 2:1-2 NKJV

One of the names of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is The Bright and Morning Star.
Long ago, the wise men followed “His” star when traveling from afar.

It guided them like a compass—perhaps giving light to them on their way.
The Bright and Morning Star, through God’s Spirit, is still guiding men who are wise today.

This Christmas, a distant neighbor’s roof has a large, lighted star for all to view.
Its twinkling in the darkness speaks of God’s love—always there to see us through.

Each night, I look for that star, which reminds of the presence of the Lord—
and that, for those who take Jesus as Savior, peace with God has been fully restored.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

“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 3:21-23 RSV

“‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.’ And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”
Revelation 22:16-17

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

Scriptures NKJV

While Keeping Watch

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Luke 2:8-20 NKJV

DE7EDDDC-1C69-4210-909F-511798896867

Photo/Unsplash

Children Love to Hear of the Birth of Jesus

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Luke 2:1-7 KJV

Away in a manger, no crib for His bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head. The stars in the sky look down where He lay; the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay….

Blessed are the children who hear of Jesus’ birth.
Pray that all children will learn of Him throughout the entire earth.

P. A. Oltrogge

A273950D-EE10-4834-B13D-EBD61934D060
by David Beale/Unsplash.com

Christ, Carols, and Cookies

54D4C0A3-5B3E-440F-BA17-C30C4479D90E
Unsplash

At Christmastime, in my old country home, a much anticipated day…
was the day on which we made cookies in a traditional, old-fashioned way.

An old family recipe for Christmas hard cookies was always the trusted guide,
while carols played on the record player, and, often, snow was falling outside.

Those cookies, to this day, are favorites, though some joke about them being too hard…enough to use them for traction under car tires, if there’s ice out in the yard!

But that joke was really a myth which, by tasting, could easily be debunked. But, if preferred, there was always fresh coffee into which the cookies could be dunked!

Rolling them out to just the right thinness, yet making sure they wouldn’t be wrinkled…was an important job, as well as the jobs of cutting them out and seeing that they were sprinkled.

Red and green sugars or candied, tiny beads were applied to angels, bells, and stars. Once cooled off from having been baked in the oven, they were packed away in tins or glass jars.

Mother, grandmother, and children were busy with the project for quite long. Some of the “workers” left for the piano to play their favorite Christmas song.

All of this was done in anticipation of Christmas Eve and the following Day, when we would be celebrating the birth of Christ, who Mary had placed in a manger on some hay.

Yes, those cookie bells spoke of ringing out the message of the Savior’s birth. The star cookies reminded of the famous star that led the wise men to the King of heaven and earth.

The angel cookies depicted the angelic hosts which rejoiced on that holy night…when shepherds were amazed to hear of the good news, despite their initial fright.

On cookie-baking day, it didn’t need to be dark to turn on the lights of the tree. It was a grand time to celebrate the Light of the World, who came and still shines today and for all eternity.

P. A. Oltrogge

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
John 1:5 NLT

Anise Christmas Cookie Recipe, for those interested…makes a large batch, at least eight to ten dozen, or more. The recipe can be cut in half, or the easiest is for it to be made as one fourth.

1/2 lb. brown sugar = 1 Cup
1 lb. white sugar = 2 Cups
3/4 lb. shortening = 1 1/2 Cups
1 pint Karo dark syrup
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cardamom
16 tablespoons ground anise seed
1 tsp. soda dissolved in hot water
About 2 1/2 lbs. flour = 8-10 cups
Mix all ingredients until it gets very stiff
Roll out very thin and decorate
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes