All we like sheep…

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;

Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;

The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned every one, to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV

“For indeed, Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”

from 1 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

Angels On Assignment

When Joseph, betrothed to the virgin, Mary, learned that she was pregnant, a situation troubling for him to understand,

an angel, in a dream, revealed to him that the child had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, for the Savior’s birth, which God had planned.

At Jesus’ birth, in Bethlehem, then, the skies were filled with rejoicing angels of great number,

appearing to shepherds, keeping watch over their flock, amid people’s nighttime slumber.

Again, in a dream, an angel spoke to Joseph, to flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s attack,

until he would tell him, at a later time, when and where it would be safe for them to come back.

As an adult, and after His baptism by John, Jesus experienced a time of temptation.

He fasted in the wilderness amid the devil’s taunts. Then angels ministered to Him after its duration.

Much later, at prayer in Gethsemane’s garden, Jesus began to feel very great distress

about fulfilling His Father’s will at the cross.   So His Father sent an angel there to bless,

strengthen, and comfort Him…as the time for His trial and crucifixion had begun to loom.

Perhaps the angel reminded Jesus that He would be raised up—in victory over the tomb.

Scripture states that Jesus endured the cross because, ahead, He could see the joy—

He would be loved as our Redeemer…from the devil’s works, which He had come to destroy.

Upon His resurrection, heaven sent angels to greet early mourners at the tomb’s site,

to tell them that Jesus had been raised from the dead, dispelling any sorrow they’d had or fright.

Then, we read in Acts, of when Simon Peter, the Lord’s disciple, had been wrongfully jailed,

that God sent an angel to work a jailbreak, proving that Peter’s brethren’s prayers hadn’t failed.

And the apostle, Paul, was on a ship to Rome, sailing in a turbulent storm at sea—

when an angel appeared to him with a message, that no loss of life would there be.

Angels are noted throughout scripture. They minister to the heirs of salvation.

As believers, we are recipients of their aid, and they serve throughout every nation.

I thank the Lord for their service, for their presence as we walk life’s many trails.

I can think of times past when I sensed their protection. Through faith, prayer, and their help, God’s Kingdom never fails.

P. A. Oltrogge

References: Matthew 1:18-24; Matthew 2; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:9-12; Luke 22:41-44; Hebrews 12:2; 1 John 3:8; Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:11-13; Acts 12; Acts 27:23-25; Hebrews 1:13-14

“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.’” Luke 2:10-12 NKJV

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

”He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8 NKJV

“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:13-14 NKJV

“For He shall give His angels charge over you , to keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11 NKJV

He is the Everlasting God

To whom will you compare me?
Who is my equal? asks the Holy One.

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Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.
O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.

He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:25-31 NLT

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Trusting Jesus, the Good Shepherd

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…from Luke 15, putting the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son into a bit of the poetic…

If a man has a hundred sheep but just one of them has gone astray,
doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness to search for the one lost without delay?

And when he finds it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing that it’s found.
Then, once home, celebrations of his joy with friends and neighbors abound.

In the same way, there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner who comes home
than over ninety-nine righteous persons who, wisely, never wanted to roam.

P. A. Oltrogge

You may not be “little,” but the following verse from an old song describes our security in Christ very well. And if any of us learned this song when young but got away from the Good Shepherd, we can know from Luke 15 that He’s so very happy to have us back…

I am Jesus’ little lamb,
ever glad at heart I am;
for my Shepherd gently guides me…
knows my needs and well provides me—
loves me every day the same,
even calls me by my name.

from the song, “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb”
by Henrietta Louise von Hayn

Book Recommendation:
A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23
by W. Phillip Keller

The Value of God’s Word

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold,
even the finest gold.

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They are sweeter than honey,
even honey dripping from the comb.

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They are a warning to your servant,
a great reward for those who obey them.

For the choir director, A Psalm of David,
Psalm 19:7-11 NLT

Your Harvest in Due Season

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If you’re experiencing a problem that’s keeping you from sleep,

remember, then, God’s promises, so trustworthy and deep.

In following the Lord—if you don’t despair, in due season, you’ll reap

from the seed of God’s Word planted in your heart, a harvest that’s steep.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9 KJV

“It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.” Proverbs 10:22 NASB

To take the devil’s thoughts of doubt will cause a faith EROSION;
but, as God’s child, believe, instead, that there will be a blessing EXPLOSION!

(of healing, provision, favor, love, or whatever the need)

Then, look up…

In the last days, perilous times will come—the New Testament has warned.
Yet, incredibly, those words, by nonbelievers, have been ignored or scorned.

The increase of catastrophic news events and evil deeds inflicted
should be convincing to men and women of what the Bible has predicted.

Then, there’s the focus on Israel, such a small piece of land;
yet it’s dear to the heart of God and is sustained by His mighty hand.

As believers, we can “look up,” for our redemption draws nigh…
The same resurrected Lord Jesus is coming back, who ascended into the sky.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But know this, that in the last days, perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people, turn away!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8 NKJV

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:25-28 KJV

“Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” Isaiah 66:8 NIV
Israel recognized on May 14, 1948

“And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed.” 2 Samuel 7:10 NIV

“And I will bring my people Israel back from exile.” Amos 9:14 NIV

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.” Psalm 125:2 NKJV

“And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:50-53 NKJV

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:8-11 NKJV

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Though we don’t know the timing of future events, we can, in the meantime, pray and speak the peace of Christ wherever we go….

By Your Truth

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“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” John 17:17 NKJV

Are you concerned about someone, for whom you care very much–
that they seem to be busy with just their own concerns and such?

Then, this may be a scripture to pray over their name…
Jesus prayed this for His disciples; you can also pray it, the same.

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” What better way
to agree with God’s Word, in faith, that they’ll comprehend what He has to say.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” Psalm 25:8-10 NASB

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’” John 8:31-32 NASB

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.”
Oswald Chambers