And Nicodemus Came Also

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus answered and said to Him, ‘How can these things be?’”
John 3:1-9 (from John 3:1-21)

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And Nicodemus Came Also
(God’s continual creative flow of new birth…)

Sometimes a photograph captures a scene
of overwhelming beauty like none you have seen;
The Lord has created so many beautiful things…
for us to enjoy, with the sense of awe that they bring.

The arrival in springtime of little young lambs;
new shells on the seashore from oysters and clams…
the arrival of a baby that makes a family grow–
all are a part of the Master Designer’s creative flow.

Blossoming cherry tree branches leaning over a lake;
a rainbow after rain or the first winter snowflake…
early fog around a mountain or a newly formed stream–
all point to the Creator and His “new birth” theme.

A Rabbi named Nicodemus wondered, “How can these things be?”
when Jesus said he must be born again by water and the Spirit to be free.
Of course, Jesus meant spiritually, not physically being born twice.
Thankfully, the Bible indicates, that Nicodemus took Jesus’ advice.

Nicodemus thought for himself, being bold to question what he’d been taught–
If you can’t say with assurance your faith brings you what it ought,
then learn from the example of a Rabbi back in Jesus’ day…
Take hold of the Gospel of Christ and receive new birth as you pray.

P. A. Oltrogge

“So there arose a discourse in the multitude because of Him (Jesus). And some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, ‘Why did you not bring Him?’ The officers answered, ‘Never did a man speak the way this man speaks.’ The Pharisees, therefore, answered them, ‘You have not also been led astray, have you? No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? But the multitude which does not know the Law is accursed.’ Nicodemus said to them, (he who came to Him before being one of them), ‘Our Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?’ They answered and said to him, ‘You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.’ And everyone went to his home.”
John 7:43-53

“And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came, therefore, and took away His body. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore on account of the Jewish day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:38-42

“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

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The Mountaintop

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Thank You, Jesus, that because of You, I’m up on the mountaintop,
where faith, hope, love, and amazing miracles never stop.

You don’t want me to be downcast, as if stuck in a valley below.
You’re seated at God’s right hand, from which all blessings flow.

I’m seated with You, too, You’ve said about me in Your Word—
far above the devil’s dominion. My victory has been assured.

You always lead me in triumph—You’re the Way Maker, for sure.
Your goodness and mercy, Good Shepherd, will forever endure.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand, in the heavenly places, FAR ABOVE all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:18-23 NASB

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come, He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10 NASB

“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

The poem was written after reading a message
by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin,
Founder, Rhema Bible College
http://www.rhema.org
“Come Out of the Valley,” Book written by
his son, Rev. Kenneth W. Hagin

Meditation on God’s Medication

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“ALL their flesh” is a thorough description
of that which is covered by the Lord’s prescription.

A stronger medicine, you cannot find—
let God’s healing Word permeate your heart and mind.

P. A. Oltrogge

Proverbs 4:20-24

My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.

Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;

For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.

Put away from you a deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.

New King James Version (NKJV)
______________________

My son,

pay attention to my words.
Open your ears to what I say.

Do not lose sight of these things.
Keep them deep within your heart

because they are life to those who find them
and they heal the whole body.

Guard your heart more than anything else,
because the source of your life flows from it.

Remove dishonesty from your mouth.
Put deceptive speech far away from your lips.

God’s Word Translation (GW)

Booklets that reinforce this:
“God’s Prescription for Divine Health”
by Gloria Copeland,
http://www.kcm.org
“God’s Creative Power for Healing”
by Charles Capps
http://www.cappsministries.com

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