In the Beauty of the Lilies

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When problems arise,
considering the various lilies is wise.

Just as God so clothes them,
likewise, it’s from Him, that our provision will stem.

Knowing that, to worry, we would often be inclined,
Jesus’ guidance, for us, was not to have an anxious mind.

Simply reflecting on the beauty of the lilies can bring peace,
reassured that the care of our loving Heavenly Father won’t cease.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Words of Jesus from Luke 12:27-31 NKJV

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Photos/Pixabay

Out of the darkness into His light…

Jesus was teaching in the temple when some scribes and Pharisees approached,
bringing a woman caught in adultery, who they thoroughly had reproached.

Setting her down before Him, they brought up the command that she be stoned;
and what were His thoughts on that—should Moses’ law now be condoned?

Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground, as though He didn’t hear.
Soon the woman would find, through Christ, her deliverance from a death fear.

So when they persisted in asking Him, she surely was fearing the worst.
But He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

He again stooped down to write—perhaps knowledge of the sins of those accusing. They began to all leave, then, one by one, knowing their own sins they couldn’t be excusing.

Jesus stood up then, seeing only the woman, left there in the midst of the crowd. He asked her where her accusers had gone, their condemnation having been so loud.

“Has no one condemned you?” Jesus asked. “No one, Lord.” Not one of them had stayed. Then He said He didn’t either, but to go and sin no more. She received pardon despite having strayed.

After this event, Jesus declared that He was this world’s light…and that those who follow Him will not walk in darkness but, through Him, will “see” to live right.

P. A. Oltrogge

(from the account in John 8:1-12)

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Photo/Unsplash

The Perfect Will of God

Photo by Porch of the Lord
Photo/Porch of the Lord

Every day when, or even before, we greet the first rays of the morning sun,
we can pray that God’s perfect will, for that particular day, will be done.

“Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven,” Jesus said to pray.
In your own life, that will ensure that you’ll be walking on the right pathway.

“Not My will, but Thine be done,” Jesus prayed—another way of saying,
that you trust the Father’s wisdom in any matter about which you’re praying.

And for your nation’s government, trust this same prayer to have effect,
ultimately, in making the kind of wise decisions that God would select.

Of course, not everything that may follow our prayers can be called God’s will,
for there’s an enemy, in this world, who is out to steal, destroy, and kill.

But that’s exactly why our prayers are needed, because of the spiritual warfare. We’re told that the whole armor of God is the equipment that we’re to wear.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
…from Ephesians 6

“Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven”…Lord, in our lives and in our government. We pray that any legislation, proposed or established, that is not right in Your eyes will come to nought, in Jesus’ Name…Amen

and the entire Lord’s Prayer….

Where there’s smoke…

It’s factual that where there’s smoke, there can be a fire;
but, spiritually speaking, where there’s “smoke,” there can be a liar.

Realize this, and if you have some problems that seem to be “smoking,”
blanket them with praise to God, their “power” revoking.

If any remaining embers “speak” of worry or of fear,
CRUSH them with words or songs of praise—
let that be all that you hear.

P. A. Oltrogge

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:19-20

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised.)” Hebrews 10:23 KJV

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

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13

In John 8:44, Jesus said of the devil:

“…there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

Let the Word of the Lord be the only thing “burning” within your heart:

“And they said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the scriptures to us?’”
Luke 24:32

(Scriptures NKJV)

A Time of Budding

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Photo/Unsplash

Yes, there is a life inside the womb,
Where it was meant to be safe
But a multitude have met doom–
A delicate bud created to bloom
To be a beautiful flower, but was cast away;
Yet many have been spared because you did pray.
And I have My “angels” going around
Rescuing those women who haven’t yet found
That the one inside is special and gifted–
Not a burden that needs to be lifted.
An awakening can bud–a turning around,
So all the unborn can be brought forth sound.
And “parents” who’ve aborted these and may know little of Me
Can repent and then I will set them free
To go on and find a better day;
For I remove sins far and away.
And what of those who performed the deed?
These also I’d forgive if they would realize their need
To repent for this taking of humanity,
And what a sad realization it would be.
Tears of remorse can so overwhelm–
Remember, I forgive all sins in My Realm.
But for those who faced the world and stood
For these little ones when no one else would,
I won’t forget the things you’ve done
At the time the battle is truly won.
For I am the Giver of Life on this earth,
Declaring the value of each person’s worth.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:13-16

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you….” Jeremiah 1:5

“From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:17

…the poem above is the writer’s reflection on possible thoughts of the Creator…

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Unsplash

Our Father of Forgiveness

A subject that Jesus taught, and that He made so perfectly clear,
was the need to forgive others—God’s standard, to which we’re to adhere.

By word and by His example, especially on the cross, this was displayed
when forgiveness, of even His enemies, was the kindness for which Jesus prayed.

Jesus had warned that if we ever felt this was something too difficult to do,
then, He said, of our trespasses, that “neither will your Father in heaven forgive you.”

Obviously, our merciful God has forgiveness at the very core of His heart.
If there is someone you haven’t forgiven, therefore, forgive, letting withholding of Christian love depart.

Then, you’ll be confident, with Christ as your Savior, when you go to enter heaven…that you’ve forgiven others, along your life’s journey, as Jesus said, even “seventy times seven.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26

“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him, up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:21-22

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 3:43-45

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” Luke 23:34 KJV

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” Psalm 103:8

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Pexels

Rooted in His Love

By J. Vetter,
Guest Contributor

Remember when an exciting story gripped your attention and you could barely put the book down? Cooperating with the Holy Spirit is so similar. We don’t always know how an adventure will turn out; but with each step, there is greater anticipation of something beautiful developing. A landscaping venture became that story for me!

It started with the decision to tear out our struggling honeysuckle vine, which covered an arbor in our backyard. This vine had served faithfully the seventeen years we had lived in our home and, no doubt, many years before. It produced a few, sweet-smelling flowers every year; but I had to face the truth—it was weary and ready to call it quits.

I had no clue how huge the main root would be. My husband began and continued to dig through the grass for over four feet to get to the end. As he followed the root’s path, my mind began to follow another path—roots spoken of in the Bible. The first thought that came to mind was that we are to be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love (Ephesians 3:17). And the longer we walk in His love, the deeper our roots are established. His love can travel along that root, even during times of drought or pain, revealing the goodness of God, giving us hope that all will work out.

However, another root is spoken of in scripture, mentioned in Hebrews 12:15–the harmful root of bitterness. As I thought about each of those two roots, I thought about how each one can be difficult to pull out when deeply rooted, which would be good in the case of love but not good in the case of bitterness.

Having dug up the long root, my husband held it up next to him, and I took a picture of it. Spiritually, this represented to me any root of bitterness being removed from our family.

End of story, I thought! Not yet!

A few days later, our adult grandson, Micah, brought us a Mimosa tree, which had been given to him by a family he was helping to get ready to move. It was in a large pot, and he wanted to plant it in our yard. I was slow to catch on to the story that God was wanting to write, and I said, no. I didn’t want to dig up the yard, because my belief was that the tree might not even make it.

Then I went online and looked up Mimosa trees. I read that they have sweet-smelling flowers that attract butterflies. I discovered that they were expensive to buy. My heart immediately grasped the new plan, and I was filled with joy. We were to plant it where the old honeysuckle vine had been removed. Micah dug around the tree, planted lantana, and encircled it with white rock. At first, it looked weak and spindly, but it survived the extremely cold winter and is now flourishing.

To me, this represented replacing the bitter with the sweet in our family. I’m waiting for the blossoms and butterflies; but, by faith, I see them. And I see the finished beauty of a family that is strongly rooted and grounded in God’s love!

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Pixabay

We’re Blessed Today Because of Jesus

A reflection on Good Friday and the resurrection of Jesus Christ…

“Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. ‘Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,’ he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last.” Mark 15:36-37 (NIV)

He was betrayed in a garden
For purpose of our pardon…

Then brought, as a Lamb,
To a “trial” that was a sham…

Spit upon and crowned
With thorns that they found…

He was whipped on His back,
And endured each loud crack…

Made to carry the cross,
Despite His strength’s loss…

His hands and feet were nailed down
On a cross, rugged and brown…

His bleeding and His pain
Were meant for all our gain…

Wine vinegar for His thirst
On a sponge, was among the worst…

Of the things He did endure
For a motive, which was so pure…

He knew His Father so loved the world,
That He took the mocking that was hurled…

Then, being obedient unto death,
He took His final breath…

From the cross unto the tomb,
It all became a kind of womb…

For, from it, Christ emerged
In victory–all our sins were purged…

So that now whosoever will
May freely have their fill…

Of His Living Water that’s yet presented
For any person who has repented…

Christ still gives, with a love that doesn’t cease;
A simple prayer will bring you His peace.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

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