He Upholds all Things by the Word of His Power

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“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 New King James Version

The God’s Word translation reads “He holds everything together by His powerful words….”

Does something in your life need to be upheld or held together? Trust the One, who holds all things together….

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The “Foolishness” of the Message of the Cross

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The symbol of the cross is seen throughout the world.
Yet, at its life-saving message, contempt is sometimes hurled.
Many say that it’s foolish and that, to them, it doesn’t make sense.
For if God is loving, they think they should be able to dispense
with its message of Christ being Savior as the one way to God’s heart.
But that is its true meaning which God, the Father, still seeks to impart.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son….”
It’s through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that our salvation was won.
Life blessed and “more abundant” can also be ours, Jesus said–
not only for eternity, but for “today” and every new day ahead.
We can do philanthropic deeds, but they won’t carry enough weight.
We must accept Christ’s sacrifice to secure entrance at heaven’s gate.

This isn’t always accepted by some who’ve earned higher learning,
but it’s through study of the scriptures, that one comes to be discerning.
Sometimes it takes a demonstration, by the Holy Spirit, of God’s power
to convince them of Christ’s Lordship; and it’s then, that faith will flower.
The message of the cross is that God loved us beyond measure–
May those who find it “foolish” find, instead, their greatest treasure.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us, who are being saved, it is the power of God. For it is written:

‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent, I will frustrate.’

“Where is the wise person? Where is the leader of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 NIV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:9-11 NKJV

http://www.billyburke.org
http://www.awmi.net
http://www.expectedendministries.org

Cast Your Burden Upon the Lord

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Regarding any difficulty, a prayer…

I don’t know how, Father, that You can take care of this;

but if I were to doubt Your Word, I would be remiss.

I can remind You of a chosen promise, as found in Your Word.

It prospers as You send it forth over any anxious thoughts I’ve heard.

For any matter that requires my patience, I leave it in Your hands.

I don’t know how You work miracles—I only know they’re in Your plans.

Jesus Christ, the same—yesterday, today, and forever…

There’s no weapon formed against me that Your power cannot sever.

Thank You, Father, that You’ve already taken care of things.

That’s what Your Word says, and that’s what faith in its integrity brings.

P. A. oltrogge

“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 NASB

“…I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” 1 Corinthians 14:15 NKJV

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 NKJV

“Then said the Lord unto me, ‘Thou hast well seen; For I will hasten my word to perform it.’” Jeremiah 1:12 KJV

“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.” Luke 10:19 NKJV

“‘No weapon that has been made to be used against you will succeed. You will have an answer for anyone who accuses you. This is the inheritance of the Lord’s servants. Their victory comes from Me,’ declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17 GW

“Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks.” Philippians 4:6 GW

“Turn all your anxiety over to God because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 GW

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 GW

“Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV

A Bit of the Irish

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“Top of the morning” to you, on this St. Patrick’s Day!
May all of God’s wonderful blessings graciously come your way.

It’s said that St. Patrick used the shamrock, which has leaves of three,
as an illustration to the Irish people of God’s holy Trinity.

Just as a shamrock is composed of three separate leaves, yet is one–
the almighty God of the Bible is the Father, Holy Spirit, and the Son.

Shamrocks have been associated with “luck,” but God’s promises are sure.
While shamrocks cannot last, God’s loving kindness will forever endure.

Today is a day when many will turn to thoughts of the Emerald Isle;
but may we daily be sure to turn our thoughts to the Lord for a while.

And on a day when some may be thinking of “wearing the green,”
may the people of God reflect His joy, which is the best thing to be seen.

P. A. Oltrogge

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7 KJV

Of the Word, Jesus, it’s written: “And the Word was made 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 KJV

Mark 12:28-30; John 14:6; John 14:9; 1 John 1:1-4; John 1:1-5

Worth Repeating…

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Regarding Psalm 107, on God’s compassion to help—one example is verse 20…

“He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”

Interwoven throughout the Psalm are words that are key instructions:

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

So, these are the words to focus on then…

when deliverance from a particular trial seems like something you’ll never see…

Don’t quit, but say, “Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness, and for Your wonderful works…to me!”

P. A. Oltrogge

…or you may want to insert the name of anyone for whom you’re praying….

Psalm 107

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,

And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.

Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.

And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—

Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,

Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.

Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.

Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.

He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters,

They see the works of the Lord,
And His wonders in the deep.

For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
Which lifts up the waves of the sea.

They mount up to the heavens,
They go down again to the depths;
Their soul melts because of trouble.

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
And are at their wits’ end.

Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.

He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.

Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

He turns rivers into a wilderness,
And the watersprings into dry ground;

A fruitful land into barrenness,
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.

He turns a wilderness into pools of water,
And dry land into watersprings.

There He makes the hungry dwell,
That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,

And sow fields and plant vineyards,
That they may yield a fruitful harvest.

He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly;
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

When they are diminished and brought low
Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,

He pours contempt on princes,
And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;

Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction,
And makes their families like a flock.

The righteous see it and rejoice,
And all iniquity stops its mouth.

Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

New King James Version

A Morning Walk with Jesus

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“For the Lord is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in Thee!” Psalm 84:11-12

Early this morning, I got up from the night’s rest
and stole quietly out to find day at its best.

It renewed and inspired to greet God’s morning sun,
and it spoke of His glory before my day had begun.

I thought of this verse, how He’s a sun and a shield;
it’s in looking to Him that I’m guarded and healed.

He gives grace and glory–all good things are mine–
I just “receive” from His bountiful source of “Son” shine.

P. A. Oltrogge

“…Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” Matthew 17:1-2

“…a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!’” (verse 5)

“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.” Mark 11:24

Strengthened by Grace

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

“…for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace….” Hebrews 13:9

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2

“You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1

Snuggle into God’s Presence

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When I was a child and had an anxious thought,
A loving parent’s presence was the first thing I sought.

When they took me into their arms, I found the very best place to snuggle;
Their loving embrace would relieve me completely of my struggle.

There’s still a child within today that sometimes is unsure;
And turning to our heavenly Father is what makes us be secure.

His arms are open wide for us–He says to cast our cares
Upon Himself, and that’s because great love is what He shares.

Many are the words of faithfulness and comfort He provides;
In His arms of shelter, we find the place where lifelong love abides.

Though I can’t see Him face to face, He says He’ll make my ears
To hear His voice, which will always bear a message to relieve my fears.

Isaiah 41:10
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you
with My righteous right hand.”

And if I have a day where it seems like I’m just drifting about,
Perhaps I need to stop and ask the Lord to help me sort things out.

What should I do each moment–each day that would be best?
I know if I stop and listen, I’ll hear a nudge towards the path most blessed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me….”
John 10:27 NASB

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you….” James 4:8 NKJV

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” Psalm 103:12-13 NLT

For an insightful series on fellowship with God:
See Faith School, Week 11, “By Faith, Enoch”
http://www.moorelife.org

The Life and Ministry of Jesus–God’s Gift to Us

I think that it could be said about Jesus that, even as their twelve-year old son, when Mary and Joseph found Him sharing in the temple, His ministering had already begun.

His first recorded, actual miracle was at the wedding where He turned water into wine. That’s when His connection to His heavenly Father really began to shine.

He called twelve men to be His disciples–to learn from Him and follow His ways. He taught them through parables and the scriptures, and made them mindful of thanksgiving and praise.

Jesus performed many miracles–from provision to healing, and raising some people from the dead. He said to forgive your enemies–not retaliating, but praying for and loving them instead.

On this day, we begin the Lenten season, remembering His sacrifice on behalf of our sins. He was the perfect Lamb of God on the cross; it’s through Him that new life begins.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, and old things have passed away. That’s a free gift of God for all to receive. If you haven’t yet received it, then let this be your day.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“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

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

Matthew 5:43-48
Luke 2:41-52
John 2:1-11
John 21:25

Yours is a Wonderful Life

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I have posted this at Christmas previously, but wanted to share it again for any time of year and for anyone who might be discouraged.

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If your world seems to be in turmoil, and you’re experiencing trouble or strife, it would be beneficial to remember the Christmas tale, “It’s a Wonderful Life!”

Is there a “Mr. Potter” in your days, who has been greedy and domineering, while you’ve been working hard to do what’s right…and to be God-fearing?

If things have come to a head, and you think there’s no way through, remember how the angel, Clarence, showed George Bailey a thing or two.

George had to rescue him from drowning, which took his mind off his own woes. Then Clarence “showed” him Bedford Falls, if it hadn’t had him to fight its foes.

Instead of a family-friendly town, it had become degraded, far below…the standard of a great place to live, through which good things could flow.

And the people who were important to him had lives that weren’t complete, simply because he hadn’t been there in Bedford Falls for them to meet.

At the end of the visitation by the angel, George realized the joy of just being alive. Likewise, we’ve got God and the angels despite problems with which we strive.

George’s friends came through, as well, with appreciation for things he’d done. As the Bible says, God will complete the work in us that He’s already begun.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3-6 NKJV

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV

“Are they (the angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14 NKJV

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.’” Psalm 91:1-2 NKJV

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