Thomas’s Moment of Doubt

When Jesus had risen from the dead, His first appearance was to Mary Magdalene. On the evening of the same day, where the disciples were gathered, He came again upon the scene.

“Peace be with you,” He shared with them, showing them His hands and side.
“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you,” was the immediate instruction from their beloved Master, teacher, and guide.

He breathed on them, saying to receive the Holy Spirit, and that He was sending them out to declare…the forgiveness of sins through His shed blood for all with whom they would ultimately share.

Thomas hadn’t been present at that wonderful moment, so only later, was he told. His fellow disciples were saying that they, too, had seen the Lord–but Thomas’s reaction to this was cold.

“Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, Jesus again appeared to the disciples; but this time, Thomas was there. Again, Jesus greeted them with His peace but turned to Thomas with words of faith that He began to share.

“Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Of course, Thomas declared, “My Lord and my God!” He now believed with every fiber of his being. Yet Jesus wanted him (and us) to understand that believing is seeing!

Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Lord, may this teaching of Yours on faith, and faith in You, be one that’s wholeheartedly received.

Some people today, too, have doubts that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead actually took place. But be blessed to believe, as Jesus said, in the miracle of His resurrection–the unmerited gift to us of God’s love and grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the account in John 20)

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:30-31 NKJV

Consider the Birds and the Lilies

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Look at the birds of the air…
They don’t sow, reap, or gather
Their needed food into barns—
But are dependent upon God, rather.

Consider how the lilies are clothed—
They toil not, nor do they spin,
But to the heavenly Father’s care
They’re blessed to give in.

Yes, consider these,
And consider giving in,
To the message of Christ’s love
Above this world’s din.

Partake, through the Bible, from God’s table
Of spiritual food fit for a King’s heir,
And be clothed in the love of Jesus,
the finest thing you could wear.

Consider the children,
So gentle and so tender—
What kind of faith
To them will you render?

One that speaks dislike
And contempt of others—
Or one that speaks love
And draws all men to be brothers?

The heavenly Father gave Jesus
To tell of God’s care and to guide.
When we take Him as Savior, He gives love
For all others for whom He has died.

So just like the lilies
Or the birds of the air,
May people of all nations be blessed to give in
To Jesus—the way to the Father God’s care…

P. A. Oltrogge

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies….” Luke 6:27

“And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’”
Matthew 22:37-40

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious, can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.

“But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:25-34

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

Meditation

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God has given us instruction that’s meant to keep us from being uptight,
which is to meditate upon His Word throughout the day and night.

If you find you’re feeling troubled, with thoughts that need to be curbed,
think, instead, upon His promises, so your peace won’t be disturbed.

Just as Jesus immediately encouraged Jairus when others said his daughter had died, we need to immediately hear His voice–over ones which say victory’s been denied.

People, thoughts, and what is felt and seen may “say” otherwise than what is said in God’s Word. If we’ve meditated upon it, however, other voices won’t discourage what, through God, we’ve already heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“How blessed is the man…(whose) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (from Psalm 1:1-3 NASB)

“Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165 KJV

“While He (Jesus) was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official (Jairus), saying, ‘Your daughter has died, why trouble the Teacher anymore?’ But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.’” (from Mark 5: 21-24 and 35-43 NASB)

(…and Jesus went on to the home of Jairus and raised his daughter up.)

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 KJV

“…and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!’” (from Matthew 17:1-8 NASB)

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Prayer and Praise

This morning’s post focused mainly on prayer. I would like to repeat the entire archived poem this evening as it focuses a bit more on knowing we have received answers to our prayers. Refer to the earlier post for the relating scriptures, but I’ve added a couple of new ones here. For greater encouragement on PRAISE and the importance of our confession of faith in the Word of God and the blood of Jesus, be blessed to visit the on-line latest service of today, March 15, at http://www.EMIC.org by Mark Hankins, “Fill Up Your Praise Basket!”

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 NKJV

Shut away where no one sees,
those who pray are down on their knees.
It’s a very high call, but only I know
of what they do since there’s nothing to show
until a later event or final outcome
shows “something” was done–that’s where it came from.

With confidence to the throne of grace they draw near,
to receive mercy and grace to help–they know I’ll hear.
At times it may seem like a lonely place,
but they’ve learned to love to seek My face.
My eyes are toward them, My ears hear their cry.
They know My promises–it’s impossible for Me to lie.

According to 1 John 5, verses fourteen and fifteen,
they pray and then know–there’s no in between.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” 1 John 5:14-15

“Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart.” Luke 18:1 AMP

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10 NKJV

Someone has said, “Don’t worry that you’re not strong enough before you begin. It’s in the journey that God makes you strong.”

And in Isaiah 58:11, we read, “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

National Day of Prayer

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“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

“…the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” (from James 5:13-18)

Poetic thoughts on prayer:

With confidence to the throne of grace we draw near,
to receive mercy and grace to help–we know You’ll hear.
At times it may seem like a lonely place,
but we’ve learned to love to seek Your face.
Your eyes are toward us, Your ears hear our cry.
We know Your promises–it’s impossible for You to lie.

“And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” 1 John 5:14, 15

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 34:15

“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

“…it is impossible for God to lie…” (from Hebrews 6:18)

“…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago.” Titus 1:2

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret, will repay you.” Matthew 6:6

More Precious than Silver and Gold

(From Acts 3)

Peter and John went up together to the temple at the ninth hour, which was the hour of prayer. There was a man laid daily at the gate, lame from his mother’s womb, who asked charitable alms from those who entered there.

Seeing Peter and John about to enter, he asked alms of both of them, too. Then Peter, with John, looked directly into his eyes, telling him to look at them; and he began to tell the man of something better they could do.

That through faith in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he could rise and walk–a far better gift than silver or gold. Then Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. He received strength in his feet and ankle bones upon Peter’s hold.

The words that Peter said to the man were “Silver and gold have I none…” And he told him of that which he did have to give–a gift of healing, through the name of Jesus, God’s Son.

The man who’d been lame began leaping, walking, and praising God at the temple’s “Beautiful” Gate. He entered the temple with them, and Peter went on to share with the people that it was the power of Jesus’ name that had changed that lame man’s fate.

Excerpt from Acts:

“Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, and faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.’” Acts 3:11-16 NKJV

Peter continued, saying that Christ had been crucified by them in ignorance, but that He had fulfilled all that the prophets had foretold. Now, forgiveness of sins and salvation could be theirs through Jesus–again, a gift from God far greater than silver or gold.

P. A. Oltrogge

Psalm 91 (protection from pestilence/plague)

Psalm 103 (forgiveness of all sins; healing of all diseases)

You may want to do an internet search for messages
regarding this by Joseph Prince.

In This Lenten Season

The sweetness of the song of a bird outside that stopped to rest in a tree,
was a little sign of love God brought by my window, sharing His creation with me.

He does send the birds to cheer us…before we start the daily tasks we face,
and every spring breeze or flower that buds reminds us of His grace.

Better than the actions of a loving parent, watching over children on their way, God doesn’t just come alongside us, but lives within us, by His Spirit, each day.

With tenderness and compassion, He answers His children’s every call.
And we answer His call, too, by telling others that Jesus died and rose for us all.

P. A. Oltrogge

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

“There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” John 1:9-12

Some ways in which to share God’s love:
http://www.samaritanspurse.org,
http://www.danitaschildren.org

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“Robin in the Garden”
photo by M. Rivenci
Unsplash

God’s All-Encompassing Grace

There’s protection in these days from plague, danger, storm and flood;
and it’s found through faith in Jesus Christ and the mention of His blood.
Remember to use the authority that God has given you–
resist the devil before, or even as, adverse things try to break through.

We’re to imitate our Lord, who commanded the stormy sea, “Be still!”
It’s not a time to doubt He’ll back you up–but to know He will!
Psalm 91 and other covenant promises of God are yours to claim–
you’ve got His power; you’ve got His authority; and you’ve got His mighty Name!

The gift of righteousness through Christ is yours, most importantly to know of all.
The more we realize this, the more we’ll believe we receive answers when we call.
Despite our failings, when God sees us, He sees the righteousness of His own Son; and the Bible says God will perfect the good work in us that He’s begun.

We gain in faith through hearing God’s Word, our sure foundational base,
which helps us to grow strong in assurance–about His all-encompassing grace.
Just trust Him now though it’s not been taught to the necessary extent;
His blood, His Name, His Word, His authority–for our well-being these were meant!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33

“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ (right up to the time of His return), developing (that good work) and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” Philippians 1:6 (AMP)

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.’” Luke 10:19-20 (KJV)

“Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18

“So be subject to God. Resist the devil (stand firm against him), and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (AMP)

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!’” Psalm 91:1-2

“No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.” Psalm 91:10 and all of Psalm 91

Hebrews 12:24; Hebrews 13:20-21 (the blood of Jesus)

Acts 3:6; Acts 3:16; Acts 4:7, 10, 12, 17, 18 (the name of Jesus)

Ephesians 6:10-17 (the armor of God)

“Only believe!”

(from Mark 5:36 and Luke 8:50)

for growing in the above:
http://www.faithschool.org
http://www.awmi.net
http://www.josephprince.org

If troubles have hit, we can still give glory to God, trusting that He is bringing us through/out of them.

“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

Peace, Love, and Joy

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Conservatory photo by Porch of the Lord

Words of Jesus:

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:9-17 NLT

It is Written…

“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, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit….”

(from Ephesians 6:10-20 on the whole armor of God)

After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights…
(From the account in Matthew 4)

The devil tempted Jesus, in the wilderness, to turn some stones into bread;

then he tempted Him to leap from the temple pinnacle, plotting for Him to be dead.

Finally, he tempted Jesus to fall down and worship him–the vilest being…

But Jesus used three important words and scripture to send the devil fleeing.

“It is written,” Jesus rebuked him and sent him off through the use of scripture.

And we must do the same today, so the devil gets the picture–

that we stand by our God’s Word as the truth that’s absolute.

“It is written,” plus God’s Word, is Biblical rule the devil can’t refute.

He may, as he did with Jesus, use scripture himself in a twisted way;

but resist him and he will flee–God’s Word tells us that he won’t stay.

Satan couldn’t get Jesus to fall in one matter, so he presented a second and third;

but Jesus defeated the temptations through the authority of God’s Word.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'” Matthew 4:10

“Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
James 4:7

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18

“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

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

“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

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20
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“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’

“Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'”

Luke 4:16-21

“…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and abides forever….” 1 Peter 1:23

(Scriptures NKJV)

Temptation account recorded in
Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 4

Further reference:
http://www.kcm.org
http://www.awmi.net