“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” To be a friend or receive from one is good; but if man’s help seems to end…
and you feel you’re at a point where every hope has been erased, then look for the Lord Himself to strengthen and uphold you by His grace!
P. A. Oltrogge
“Fear not, for I AM with you, be not dismayed, for I AM your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 4110 RSV
“Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, ‘I AM.'”
John 8:58 (Scripture quote in the poem: Proverbs 27:17)
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah….
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah”
Psalm 46:1-3 and 10-11
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4
“By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” 1 John 4:13
“The wages of sin is death,” but God, our Father, be praised… for “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ,” who from death to life was raised!
Without having been “born again,” we are subject to sin, death, and strife; but upon receiving Him, our hearts are changed, to want to walk in newness of life!
P. A. Oltrogge
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
In John 3, Jesus told Nicodemus that a person must be born again, and He said:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
You may want to do an internet search to locate “Psalm 91 New Creation Worship” to hear thoughts from Psalm 91 in a worship song…
Protection from plague, pestilence, and peril is proclaimed in this Psalm, 91:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
(New King James Version)
Let’s pray for those today who are in need of this confidence, to find Christ, the Lord….
I’m one of the earth’s many notable designs… of a workmanship the Bible so clearly defines.
We birds first appeared in Genesis, chapter one– just after God made the moon and the sun.
Creatures of the sea and winged birds of the sky, He said were good and should multiply.
Cattle and other living things, trees for shade… and man and woman, also, by Him were made.
So birds are just one kind of creativity to see, fashioned by God, who caused all things to come to be.
And Jesus Christ spoke of us birds of the air… Turn from Old Testament to New to read of Him there.
He said the Father in heaven wants more new creations to come forth before Him from all of the nations.
He shared God’s requirement, telling women and men… that because of their sin, they must be “born again.”
The way to the Father is through Him, God’s Son; and there aren’t “many ways to God,” but there is only One.
Through Christ, there’s abundant life, for God is good– and it’s His desire for people to live in loving brotherhood.
Owls are said to be wise, so here is my view… I say, thoughts that deny God as Creator aren’t true.
Without looking to the Bible, some theories have been told; but it’s the brilliance of God that caused the galaxies to unfold.
If you haven’t done much study, it’s time to give a “hoot,” and explore the Holy Bible, which no man can refute.
Can God use an owl to tell the gospel story? In a way, because all of creation speaks of His glory.
P. A. Oltrogge
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1: 1
“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” Genesis 1:14-19
“Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.’ So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” Genesis 1:20-23 (and see all of Genesis 1)
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3
“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” Psalm 33:6
“Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.” Psalm 102:25
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” John 14:6
“Then He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?'” Luke 12:22-25
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a newcreation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
If you have ever stepped in front of an amusement park mirror and have seen the distorted image of how it makes you seem to appear, you know, of course, for certain, that’s not really how you look. Likewise, the devil tries to distort your image that’s established in God’s Book.
God sees you as being loved, forgiven, victorious, prospered, and healed– so just agree with Him about the image for you that He has revealed. It isn’t at all amusing to take, as real, an image that’s wrong– so step away from the devil’s mirror to God’s, where you rightly belong.
Let your words align with the Lord’s, so the distorted image will be corrected. God’s Word is the wonderful mirror where His view of you is reflected. And His view of you is His will for you, so keep that always in mind. God’s Word is the most accurate mirror that any believer in Jesus can find.
Distortions of the Word of God may come, but we know they’re merely lies. Meditation of and embracing God’s truths will always prove to be wise. The devil may try to “reflect” some things, but you must step away to the mirror that is within God’s Word–See yourself as God sees you every day.
P. A. Oltrogge
…loved, forgiven, redeemed, and blessed with many benefits:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV
“The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’” Jeremiah 31:3
…righteous and victorious through Jesus Christ as Lord of your life:
“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17 NKJV
“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
…protected and provided for, and one who has a heart for God and others:
“No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.” Psalm 91:10 (and entire Psalm)
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 (and the entire Psalm)
“And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” Luke 12:29-33 KJV
As told in John, chapter 9, Jesus’ disciples questioned Him one day about a blind man they’d passed by who’d been born that way.
That he or his parents had sinned was their initial thought. Jesus said it was neither, but that a work of God should be wrought.
Then He spoke of doing God’s work before the coming night– and that while He was in the world, He was the world’s light.
After that, Jesus spit on the ground, to make some clay for the man, which He applied to his eyes, as the first step of God’s healing plan.
Then, washing in the pool of Siloam would turn out to be freeing. The man obeyed Jesus and washed there, and he came back seeing!
Those who’d known the man wondered if he could possibly be the same beggar they had known, who’d been blind, but now could see.
When he said, “I am the one,” they questioned him as to how… such a thing could have happened, for his total blindness to “bow.”
Well, it bowed to “the man who is called Jesus,” was his immediate reply. “Where is He?” they asked; but he didn’t know, for Jesus had passed by.
Then he was brought before the Pharisees. It was a Sabbath day. He told them, also, about the pool and Jesus having applied the clay.
Because Jesus had done this on a Sabbath, His divinity was dismissed. Keeping that law was a matter on which most of them would always insist.
Other Pharisees said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” So there was a division among them as they considered this in their minds.
Again, they questioned the formerly blind man, calling for his parents, too. The Pharisees doubted he’d been born blind and asked them if it was true.
They confirmed that he was their son who’d been blind from even day one. But how or by whom he’d been freed, they couldn’t say–“Just ask our son.”
They were afraid of being put out of the synagogue by giving laud to Christ. But their son said he only knew this–that Jesus’ healing touch had sufficed.
The synagogue leaders kept questioning him, to the extent that he, in turn, asked if they were wanting to be Jesus’ disciples–a notion which they spurned.
Calling him a disciple of Jesus, they said that they followed Moses of old. At that point, the man who’d been healed made statements that were bold:
“Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
That was enough for the Pharisees to berate him as being a sinful man. “Are you teaching us?” they said, and made him subject to a synagogue ban.
Jesus heard of this and then found him and asked him a question of His own. “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” But of that title, he hadn’t known.
So he asked the Lord who that was, so that he could, therefore, believe. Jesus said the Son of Man was Himself. (By God’s Spirit, He’d been conceived.)
“Lord, I believe,” were the heartfelt words of the man who had been born blind. Then he worshiped Jesus, who is the Son of Man and the Son of God combined!
Conclusion: “Then Jesus told him, ‘I entered this world to render judgment–to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.’ Some Pharisees who were standing by heard Him and asked, ‘Are you saying we’re blind?’ ‘If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,’ Jesus replied. ‘But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.'”
“…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)
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 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
“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
55 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. 4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30…. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'” John 6:35
“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12
I invite you to permit Me…to be your Good Shepherd, I’ve seen your sometimes unsuccessful tries. I know and see ahead the highest and best pathways In answer to every one of My children’s cries.
When lives draw to a close, I’m surely there– And the Way to enter heaven’s gate, for you, I’ll be. But don’t simply think that is all that I have to give, For your welfare here and now means so much to Me.
Just as an earthly parent wants to see that all goes well For their beloved children as they learn and grow, So I desire that to an even greater extent for you; Therefore, look to Me for the goodness of God to freely flow.
Factual it is that life presents things at times that are adverse; There is an adversary to which that word’s connected. The devil is the one who brings destruction and the curse; But I came for you to have an abundant life and to be protected.
So permit me to be your Good Shepherd– I’ve a Covenant of love and grace for you. Those who follow Me will have the Light of Life– To light the way to heaven, yes, but here on this earth, too.
P. A. Oltrogge
Jesus is the Good Shepherd!
“Jesus therefore said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.’” John 10:7-15
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (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
“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJ)
Beloved, to God, you are His rose in the rain; And don’t ever think He doesn’t feel your pain. Trials aren’t sent to us by the Lord; No, they’re deep rivers that He alone helps us ford. The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, But we’ve got God’s Word to foil the thief’s ploy. God’s promises are sure–He never has lied; And the desire of your heart will surely be supplied! With our eyes on God’s Word, we persevere; We know this fulfillment is already here! For faith says right now what isn’t seen with our eyes, Because we know that our God has heard our hearts’ cries. A rose in the rain, but you’re hardy and strong— You trust in God’s Word and in Him to Whom you belong. There’s an answer in God for every problem we face; So we thank You, Heavenly Father, for the answer by Your grace.
P. A. Oltrogge
“The righteous cry and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:17-19
“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.” spoken by Jesus in John 10:10
“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
“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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:10-20
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1