Pleasant Words

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Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 NKJV

Oh, how our souls are often in need of words that are sweet,
for it’s so very easy in life to have thoughts of defeat.

Finding words of encouragement, perhaps from a Psalm,
will go a long way in helping to keep our thoughts calm.

And the words that we ourselves speak should always be trained
to be gracious and uplifting, as God has ordained.

Pleasant words, kind words, are words that will nourish.
By them, the lives of others and our own lives will flourish.

P. A. Oltrogge

“A word filly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 AMP

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV

“Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19 NKJV

“But He (Jesus) answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NKJV

“Surely goodnesss and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 NKJV

It’s Grand to Give

According to the word of the Lord, the prophet, Elijah, journeyed to a brook,
which was called Cherith, east of the Jordan; and from its waters he took.

God told him to look to the ravens, for His provision of meat and bread.
Both in the morning and in the evening, Elijah was thereby fed.

But there was no rain in the land, for Elijah had prayed for its delaying–
to prove that his was the true God, not Baal, as King Ahab was saying.

The waters of the brook didn’t last then, so he needed again to move.
God told him to go to Zarephath, where His provision again He would prove.

Elijah saw there a woman gathering sticks, a widow, as God had said.
He called to her, asking for water; and then he also asked her for bread.

She replied she had only a little flour in a bowl and a little oil in a jar.
The sticks were for a fire to cook a bread cake, which wouldn’t go very far.

She had thought she and her son would eat it and then prepare to die.
To her surprise, Elijah said that was the reason that God had sent him by.

He told her God wanted to provide for her, and her flour and oil wouldn’t fail–
sharing with him first, as a prophet of God, was all that it would entail.

So she did as Elijah had told her, serving the food first to him and then her son.
She believed and trusted in God, that their lives weren’t over and done.

Day followed day and they always had meals–her supply was not diminished.
It’s a Biblical lesson of security through faith–we’re blessed before God is finished.

During Jesus’ ministry, a little boy’s lunch, of fishes and loaves that seemed few
became enough when blessed by Him; and He blesses giving the same today, too.

P. A. Oltrogge

(from 1 Kings 17:8-16)

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want….” Psalm 23:1

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 NKJV

“The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25

Oral Roberts often referred, and now his son,
Richard, as well, to seedtime and harvest.
It is one ministry through which many have
seen a “harvest” after planting into its “soil.”
Richard is offering a free book, “Thrive,” this month at
http://www.oralroberts.com

There are also many other ministries that are “good ground”
(proclaiming the Gospel) in which to sow seed, mixing
faith with your giving. The Biblical account about
the widow of Zarephath, above, is an example of the
faithfulness of God in our lives when we give into the Gospel.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22

(All scriptures NASB, except for the one in Luke)

The Power of His Resurrection

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“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…”
Philippians 3:10

“…the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come….” Ephesians 1:19-21

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His 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 of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:4-9

”Many, O Lord my God, are your wonderful works which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 40:5

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

Scriptures: NKJV

The Living One

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…from Luke 24, NASB…a poetic account…

Some of the women who had loved Jesus set out at early dawn with spices they’d prepared…in order to anoint His body. How they might enter the tomb must have been discussed and shared.

When they discovered that the stone had been rolled away, they stepped inside the tomb and found…that Jesus’ body was not there–they were perplexed in looking around.

Suddenly, two men in dazzling clothing appeared to them–the women were terrified! The angels had come with a message about His resurrection…and death having been defied.

“Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen….” as the women could plainly see. Then the angels said to recall how Jesus had spoken of this very thing while still with them in Galilee.

Jesus had told them how the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men…and then be crucified; and on the third day, He would rise again.

So they remembered Jesus’ words and returned from the tomb to share with the eleven and all the rest. But the apostles couldn’t believe them–though Peter went to see for himself about this news that was blessed.

Two of the Lord’s followers were going to Emmaus on that very third day. They were discussing with each other the things that had happened in Jerusalem as they went their way.

Then Jesus Himself, not actually recognized by them, approached and began to travel beside them on the road. He asked them what they’d been discussing–their demeanors reflected that they were carrying a heavy load.

One of them, named Cleopas, asked how he could have been visiting Jerusalem and not have known or heard…of the fate of Jesus, the Nazarene, –a prophet mighty in deed and word.

They said that they had hoped He would be Israel’s redeemer…meaning by His leadership or even by being its king. But His death, instead, by crucifixion, had definitely changed everything.

Next, they shared that, on this third day, some women had gone to the tomb at dawn…and told them that, but for having seen there a vision of two angels, it was empty–His crucified body was gone.

Jesus addressed them, then, as foolish men, who were slow of heart to believe…in what the prophets had spoken of the Christ, implying that the wise would understand and receive.

Jesus went on to explain the things foretold of Him in the scriptures by Moses and other prophets, throughout. All this while, their eyes were prevented from recognizing Who was really with them on their route.

As they approached the village of Emmaus, their traveling companion, Jesus, acted as if he might travel on, but they urged him to stay with them, for the night was almost upon.

So Jesus went in to stay with them and reclined at the table to break bread. When He took it, blessed it, and gave it to them, their eyes were opened to see the living One, risen from the dead!

Jesus then vanished from their sight, and they reflected on how their hearts had been burning…as He spoke of how the Christ needed to suffer these things–this “stranger” had been so discerning.

At that very hour they got up to return to Jerusalem to share with the eleven what had transpired. As they were telling these things, there came in their midst, He whom their hearts desired.

It was Jesus, Himself, the Master, saying, “Peace be unto you.” Startled and frightened, they needed His assurance, once again, to see them through.

He asked them why they doubted and then showed them His hands and feet. They still couldn’t believe it, for joy and amazement. He then asked for something to eat.

After having the broiled fish that they gave, He again opened their minds to understand all that had needed to be fulfilled. Repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His Name, starting from Jerusalem…and from there, it would build.

They were to wait until they were clothed with power from on high…. Then He led them out as far as Bethany, where He blessed them and departed from them up into the sky.

After worshipping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy that was hard for them to contain. They were continually in the temple, praising God for their redemption, which had been made so plain…

and for their beloved King’s reign!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Why do you seek THE LIVING ONE among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen!” Luke 24:5-6

The Trial of Jesus Christ

He was brought before Pilate by God’s divine plan;
Pilate said, “I find no guilt in this man.”
Questioned before Herod, Christ gave no reply,
for He knew in His heart He was destined to die.

Then brought back to Pilate once more to stand–
Pilate still found no guilt justifying a crucifixion demand.
But the crowd was insistent–their voices prevailed;
and God’s Sacrificial Lamb was thereby unveiled.

Led away with two criminals while women mourned
to a place called, “The Skull,” where He would be scorned–
There, He was lifted, nailed to a cross’s wood,
though His service to God had been perfect and good.

An inscription said, “This is the King of the Jews.”
He came to lay down His life–it was His role to choose.
He was taunted by soldiers and a criminal in despair,
saying if He was the Christ, He could come down from there.

The other criminal feared God, saying their misdeeds were strong,
“But this man has done nothing wrong.”
A promise of Paradise and a cry from Christ’s voice–
“It is finished!” Thus, we can take Him as Savior by our choice.

Darkness had fallen, the temple veil tore in two–
“Certainly, this man was innocent,” the Centurion said, too.
So went the trial of an innocent man;
but He was God and our Messiah by His Father’s divine plan.

P. A. Oltrogge

from Luke, Chapter 23
and John 19:30

“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will but as You will.’”
Matthew 26:39 (New King James)

“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” John 10:17, 18 (New American Standard)

The day that Jesus was crucified, as Simon of Cyrene may have related it…

Like other people, I’d heard some stories about the man named Jesus.
He’d done unheard-of miracles and had lived a life that was upright and clean.

So, I never thought I’d arrive in Jerusalem at such a terrible time,
of seeing Him being brutally led to His own crucifixion…that was the scene.

It seemed incomprehensible that His acts of compassion
were being “rewarded” with this punishment to which He was going.

I could see that He was becoming too weak to bear the heavy cross;
He’d obviously been scourged, and blood from the stripes was flowing.

Suddenly, I was pressed into service by some of the Roman soldiers.
I was ordered to carry His cross, in His stead, as His strength was depleted.

Had He done something criminal that I hadn’t heard of in His recent past?
I didn’t know, but the mocking and reviling were being repeated.

Of course, I didn’t appreciate being singled out for such a despicable task.
It seemed obvious to me that I’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But something in the eyes of this Jesus, who staggered beside me,
reflected kindness; and I sensed something noble or majestic—nothing of crime.

After reaching the destination, I couldn’t bear to watch the proceedings.
If He’d been wrongly accused, there was nothing I could have done to stop the event.

So I left; but, later, darkness came over the land, and an earthquake caused tombs to open. Some people were reported as having been raised from the dead after the temple curtain was rent.

After all that had happened, a centurion and other guards declared that, truly, Jesus was the Son of God. Perhaps my unchosen role in this—being singled out—had, instead, been a divine appointment.

A great many people were recipients of Jesus’ ministry, and believed that He was who He said He was. That day lives large in my memory; and His disciples are saying that His Name is God’s healing and saving ointment.

P. A. Oltrogge

One of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, regarding a man made well by the name of Jesus, spoke to the rulers, elders, and scribes gathered in Jerusalem:

“…let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:10-12 NASB

An Example Poured Out

From His grand and glorious home in heaven—a place of comfortable rest,

Jesus came down to this earth on a mission, so that mankind could be blessed.

During the last supper with His disciples, likewise, He got up from a comfortable place, to give Himself to serving.

Just as He would be stripped and crucified soon, so He set aside His garments, girding Himself with a towel, to cleanse the undeserving.

Pouring water into a basin, He began to wash and wipe the disciples’ feet.

But Peter failed to understand this requirement that Jesus was wanting to meet.

“Never shall you wash my feet!” were his immediate words—an outflow from Peter’s heart.

But Jesus said to Peter that unless He washed them, then, with Him, he would have no part.

At that, Peter told the Lord to wash not only his feet, but also his hands and his head.

So sincere was Peter’s desire to please Him, that he quickly permitted Him to do so instead.

Jesus continued, speaking of being made clean, but said that not all of them were clean.

In his relationship with the Lord, Judas would betray Him, letting Satan come between.

When Jesus revealed that a disciple would betray Him, the others wondered which one this meant.

By giving Judas the dipped bread—said to be a custom of graciousness, it’s been thought that Jesus was giving him a chance to repent.

But Judas turned away from the Lord and went out into the dark of night—

as many still choose darkness today, sadly, resisting Jesus’ love and Light.

Just as Peter would have had no part with Christ, likewise, it’s the same today…

If anyone doesn’t receive the cleansing from Jesus’ poured-out blood, which takes our sins away,

they will have no part with Christ, our Lord and Savior, who, by His example, taught…

that we, also, should serve one another with love and humility, having received the redemption that He bought.

Jesus loved His disciples to the end; He died for us all, having laid aside His glory.

And, as at that Passover meal, when His task was finished, He sat down…but now He’s seated at His Father’s right hand, in completion of this true redemption story!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined at table again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher, and Lord, and you are right for so I am. If I, then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’” John 13:12-17 NASB

“Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35 NASB

“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:27-28 NASB

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” (words of Peter from Acts 2:32-36 NASB)

Jesus’ blood, the cleansing flood…

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The Way to Please God…

So many religions speak of various ways
to address pleasing God all of your days.

Five times a day, you could be down on your knees,
with prayers to the god you hope to please.

But, really, these things are ritual merely
and can’t please Him, no matter if done so very sincerely.

But there is a way to come to God,
and it’s by looking to the road that Jesus has trod.

He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
He paved the way for you through much strife…

released upon Him as He went to the cross,
where He suffered in pain so you wouldn’t be lost

to the God who loves you and calls to you now
to embrace His Son, Jesus, to Whom, one day, every knee will bow.

But only grace, through faith, is involved—all works are in vain.
Through Jesus’ righteousness, our salvation is made plain.

You may want to fall to your knees when you recognize all that was done
by a God who loved so greatly, He gave His only Son.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.’” John 14:6

“Therefore, also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him, the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:9-11

“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, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Hosanna to Jesus, our King

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“And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.” Leviticus 23:40 NKJV

“Thus I will bless you while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.” Psalm 63:4 NKJV

from John, chapter 12:

Jesus came to Bethany, where He’d recently raised Lazarus from the dead;
so a supper was prepared and served, where He, Lazarus, and others were fed.
Lovingly, Mary took costly perfume of pure nard and anointed Jesus’ feet.
She then wiped them with her hair, a gesture Jesus lauded as sweet.

Judas rebuked it as being wasteful; but Jesus knew that which was lying ahead–
it was an anointing upon His body before His crucifixion and resurrection from the dead. A great multitude of the Jewish people came out, to the town of Bethany that day, to see Jesus, and Lazarus, too–as news of his resurrection had traveled a long way.

The chief priests didn’t like this at all, and putting Lazarus to death was their thought. They were losing many because of this miracle, which Jesus’ power had wrought. The next day, those who had been at the feast learned Jerusalem was then on Jesus’ route. They took branches from the palm trees to wave–“Hosanna!” was the chorus they began to shout.

Further, they also cried out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; even the King of Israel!” They thought an earthly King was what history would record. Humble and riding on a requested donkey that had never been ridden before, Jesus entered Jerusalem, amidst their praise, knowing what was really in store.

For just outside of Jerusalem, on a hill called Golgatha, a cross would hold
the precious body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and another Kingdom’s story would unfold. There He would sacrificially die for all mankind, bearing all of their disgrace. But in three days, He would rise and return to His Father in Heaven, in order to prepare us a place.

You see, Jesus Christ IS the King of Kings, as sung in the glorifying Hallelujah Chorus. Those who are His, praise Him still with joy–both now and in the Eternal Kingdom yet before us.

P. A. Oltrogge

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 NKJV

Excerpt from Handel’s “Messiah,” “The Hallelujah Chorus”

“For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
The kingdom of this world
Is become the Kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign forever and ever,
Forever and ever, forever and ever;
King of kings, and Lord of lords!”

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” Revelation 7:9-10 NKJV

It Was for Me…a Poem to Personalize

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Jesus,

In Gethsemane’s garden, You prayed to be strong
in what would overtake You in not very long.

It was for me that You were then betrayed.
It was on You that the task was laid.

As filthy rags, God saw my righteousness claimed–
which is why You stepped in to be defamed.

It was for my sins that You went on trial.
You made the payment for everything vile.

It was for me–this undeserved attack.
It was for me You bore stripes on Your back.

It was for me that You wore the thorns,
and it was for me You bore merciless scorns.

It was for me You walked Calvary’s trail.
It was for me that You endured each nail.

It was for me that You hung in shame.
It was for me–You were taking my blame.

It was for me You painfully died.
It was for me that they pierced Your side.

You did it for me, but in three days You rose.
You did it for me that my case would be closed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Isaiah 64:6 KJV

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1 NASB

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1 NLT