Where the Spirit of the Lord is…

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“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
2 Corinthians 3:17 NKJV

So grateful, as we see the fireworks displayed,
that this is a land founded by people who prayed…

So many who recognized that this world’s true King—
is Jesus, the Christ—Lord above everything.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty;
and it’s through God’s beloved Son that men are truly free.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'” John 8:31-32 NKJV

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 NKJV

“…no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.”
1 Corinthians 12:3 KJV

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” spoken by Jesus in Luke 4:18-19 KJV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” spoken by Jesus in John 3:16-17 KJV

A Hornets’ Nest

by L. Mudrak
Guest Contributor

On and after Memorial Day, we think about those who gave their lives for our freedom, and we want to thank those who are still serving. They protect us from the harm of other nations that don’t have good intentions.

The following devotional by Ken Claar speaks of the protection our God gives us every day. We may have good days and bad days, but God is there.
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When I was young, my brother and I used to visit our grandparents. They lived in a rural area near a narrow railroad track. We used to walk along it and explore.

One day, when I was six years old, I heard a strange sound and went over into a thicket of bushes and blackberry vines to investigate. The sound was coming from a hornets’ nest. In my panic to get away, I became trapped in the spiny vines.

My brother, who was 12, rushed in and untangled me from the vines, ignoring all the stings he was getting. He freed me and took me to Grandma’s house, where I was treated for the stings. After I had been cared for, we discovered that my brother had ended up with twice as many stings as I had and still had hornets in his jacket attacking his arms.

Though my brother has since passed on, I am reminded that I still have a protector in Christ. Jesus freely went to His death to save us. And He still helps us whenever we get into a “nest of hornets” that we can’t seem to escape. Psalm 37:24 is God’s promise and our hope for those blackberry-vine days.

“Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:24 NIV
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Years ago, I was picking damson plums at our neighbor’s house. I managed to get stung by bees or wasps (or whatever they were). My face swelled up and I couldn’t see past my swollen cheeks, so I had to take a day off work. I looked a mess, especially since I had just gotten a perm. Yes, my hair was swollen, as well as my face!

Perhaps you feel like you’re in the middle of a hornets’ nest of problems. Your God is there for you, to take the stings of people’s words and/or actions. He loves you, and He’ll take the pain from you. Choices we make sometimes put us in harm’s way, but we always have a protector who never gives up on rescuing us.

“I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears…
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”
Psalm 34:4,7 and see the entire Psalm
Also be blessed by Psalm 91

Abba, Father

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Have you experienced some wounds that are deep?
Trust your Abba, Father–His promises He’ll keep…

He redeems you from distress or any kind of destruction.
Look to Him and listen for His wisdom and instruction.

He’s stated that He’s numbered even the hairs upon your head.
He’ll give to you renewed hope as you seek to be Spirit-led.

With love and with compassion, He heals the brokenhearted;
His faithfulness to care for His children has never departed.

Cast all your care upon Him–then, you’ll have nothing to fear.
As you draw close to Him, He’s promised to also draw near.

God’s plans for you are of well-being, and not of things bad.
He’s your loving Abba, Father–the very best Dad!

P. A. Oltrogge

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18 NLT

“Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Proverbs 30:5 NIV

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV

“But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all your works.” Psalm 73:28 NKJV

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you….” James 4:8 NKJV

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God; that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-8 NKJV

“For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV

“Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” Matthew 19:14 NIV

“And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me, nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.'” words of Jesus to His Father in Mark 14:36 NKJV (His obedience to and trust of His Father’s plan brought us eternal life.)

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.'” Romans 8:15 NKJV

“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” Galatians 4:6 NIV

“But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: Ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7 KJV

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” Psalm 107:19-22 NKJV

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24 NKJV

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23 RSV

“…For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5 NLT

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16 NKJV

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
words of Jesus Christ in Luke 4:17-19 KJV

Scatter Genuine Love

A clanging cymbal, a noisy gong,
that’s how a life is without love–so wrong!
If you speak of the future, possessing that gift,
know mysteries and knowledge, but don’t show love, you’re adrift.

Even if you have faith that seems to be heaping,
in God’s eyes–without love–nothing is what you’ll be reaping.
If you have faith that could remove a mountain,
without love, your life can be compared to a dried-up fountain.

If you give all your possessions to feed the poor
but have not love, you’ll always be unsure
of the mark you’ve made in this world that needs
your true love and compassion scattered as seeds.

If you give even your life, with your body being burned–
without love in your heart, there’s nothing you’ve earned.
Be patient, be kind–don’t be jealous or brag–
nor be arrogant or act unbecomingly–those things bring a snag.

Don’t let yourself be provoked, and forsake insisting upon your own way;
don’t take into account wrongs suffered in a fray.
Don’t be glad about things unpleasing to God, but be glad about what’s good.
In love–bear, believe, hope and endure all things as He would.

Other gifts will cease, but real love is enduring;
the partial will give way to a full maturing.
Now things in the mirror are dimly seen,
but, one day, all will be clear with a crystal sheen.

Faith, hope, and love–these three you can rate,
but love will always be the greatest of the great.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control–
Scatter these seeds and be a contented soul.

P. A. Oltrogge

(poetic thoughts from 1 Corinthians 13)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” words of Jesus in John 13:34-35

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us; an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 4:32-5:1-2

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor….Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12: 9, 10, 21 (and all of the chapter)

Scriptures NASB

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The Invitation

Due to copyrights, I can’t simply reprint a portion from Reinhard Bonnke’s book, Living a Life of Fire. He’s now in heaven; but since he cared so greatly about the soul of every individual, I believe he would be glad of the sharing of this incident, related in his book. I attempt here to tell it mainly in my own words for the benefit of those who may not have time to read the entire book.

Reinhard’s father, Hermann Bonnke, had served in the German army during World War II, though he had not liked seeing the rise of the new head of Germany. He never joined the Nazi party. Amazingly, he did not know of or learn of the atrocities committed towards the Jewish people in the concentration camps until nearing the very end, close to the time of the German defeat, when the war was being brought to a close by the allied forces. That was especially grievous for him to learn of because as a believer, he regarded the Jews as the chosen people through whom God had revealed the Messiah, Jesus, the Savior of all mankind.

While in a British prison barracks himself, then, for German soldiers, one day he had been excused from work detail due to not feeling well. As he lay in his bunk, with great despair and remorse, he repented to the Lord for having served in Germany’s army and told Him that for the rest of his life, he would dedicate it to serving Him. Suddenly, he heard a door open and some footsteps coming his way, so he rolled from the bunk to stand, in order to meet whoever it might be.

There, in a pure white robe, with Middle Eastern sandals on His feet, walking toward him was a Man, smiling, with His hands out as if to embrace him. When Hermann reached for His hand, he saw that it had been punctured completely through, by the force of a Roman nail. It was Jesus, and He said to him, “Hermann, I am so glad you are coming!” But just as quickly as He had arrived, He vanished before Hermann’s eyes.

Why that supernatural incident occurred, we can only speculate. To our minds, it might have been because he was in such despair over what he had been a part of, albeit unknowingly. Perhaps it was due to his own or due to the prayers of others. However, of course, it was a treasured moment that remained with Reinhard’s father forever. After he was released from prison, he did become a pastor for the rest of his life.

I retell this story, in case you feel despair over anything you’ve done, (you can be forgiven), or if you feel despair over some other kind of circumstance, or even the present state of world problems–remember what we have to look forward to. Every believer in Jesus can think of the wedding feast or marriage supper of the Lamb, (Rev. 19:9) to which we’ve been invited. We can picture Jesus saying the same thing to us if we’ve received Him as our Savior and Lord (whom we’re privileged to serve while here on our earthly journey), and have accepted His invitation to that great occasion.

Therefore today, if you are a believer, insert your own name, and hear Jesus saying to you, “_________, I am so glad you are coming!”

P. A. Oltrogge
(Inspired by the autobiography
of Reinhard Bonnke)

Fully-Persuaded Faith

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Give glory to God that He IS coming through,
despite what circumstances may be “saying” to you.

Intervention, grace, and the favor of God are ours
because of His love, goodness, and unsurpassable powers.

Men ought always to pray and not to faint—
Stay fully persuaded in your faith in Him, dear saint.

P. A. Oltrogge

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”
Romans 4:20-22 KJV

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint…”
Luke 18:1 KJV

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”
from Hebrews 12:2 KJV

Be blessed by the daily programming and free book offer:
A Better Way to Pray by Andrew Wommack
at http://www.awmi.net
(Click on the moving banners at the top right of the site
for information on receiving the book.)

A Father’s Love

The Prodigal Son, a parable Jesus told….

Once there was a man who had two sons fully grown,
and the younger asked for his inheritance to go off on his own.
So the father divided his wealth and the younger son went away,
while the older one was loyal to his father and knew that he would stay.

In a distant land, the younger squandered all of his part of the estate.
He lived in a wild and unwise manner, and poverty became his fate.
A famine occurred in that country, and he couldn’t get ahead;
he was hired to take care of swine and longed to eat what they were fed.

At that time, he came to his senses and remembered his father’s care–
even his father’s servants had always had meals that were generous fare.
So he thought out what he would say about the restoration he desired.
“I’m no longer worthy to be my father’s son–I’ll just ask to be one who’s hired.”

He then traveled back to his home, and the father saw him when still far away–
then ran to embrace and kiss him, before even hearing what he had to say.
The son repented of all he’d done, telling all that had been on his mind;
and there he found compassion and a heart that was only kind.

The father called to his servants to clothe the young man with all of the best–
the best robe, ring, and sandals—even with a banquet, he’d be blessed.
A celebration was called for everyone, for this was a time to rejoice!
But out in the fields, the older son stopped, having heard his father’s voice.

At the sound of the merriment, he inquired of the servants of what had just transpired. They told him that his brother was home, and that a celebration was what his father desired. He became angry then and wasn’t willing to even go inside, but his father came out to entreat him–he wanted him to be alongside.

The older son said, “…For so many years I’ve been serving you, and I’ve never neglected a command….” He complained that he felt what his brother deserved was his father’s reprimand. “My child, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours,” the father said. But they needed to rejoice for this son now lived. “This brother of yours was dead–

He was lost and has been found,” he said–much like a Shepherd rejoices to find
a lost sheep that had strayed far from the fold but had always remained on His mind.

P. A. Oltrogge

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From Luke 15:11-32

“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.” words of Jesus in John 10:14-15

Train Ride

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I was traveling on a train that had many stops it would be making…
but I knew my destination and which stop that I’d be taking.

I thought I’d ask the traveler next to me where he was going to go;
then, surprisingly, he said it wasn’t something he could know.

I thought that that was rather odd, for one needs to be quite sure,
for travelers can’t ride indefinitely on a never-ending tour.

I’d researched my destination, having heard it was a beautiful place;
but my fellow traveler’s plans were vague and uncertain in his case.

Eventually, he’d need to get off—there would come an end to the trail.
It reminded me of those who travel equally vaguely, but on a spiritual rail.

They think that any exit will get them to a final place of peace,
but they haven’t secured the ticket to where God’s love will never cease.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life…don’t travel until it’s too dark.
Secure your ticket by taking Him as Savior—then you’ll KNOW where you will disembark.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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 NKJV

“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

For those who like to have a good book along to read on a journey,
the Holy Bible is the very top of the list. An inspiring one
also is Living a Life of Fire, the autobiography
of Reinhard Bonnke, bearer of good news to Africa and the world.
Available at http://www.christianbook.com or other book sources.

A Word of Encouragement

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“And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?’ And they stood still, looking sad. And one of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?’” Luke 24:17-18

“And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Luke 24:27 (NASB)

(from the account, after Jesus’ death and burial, of the walk to Emmaus by Cleopas and another, who met the risen Lord on their walk, verses 13-32)

There’s nothing like ENCOURAGEMENT when the way seems hard–
There’s nothing like its bolstering to keep a day (or life) from being scarred.

A word of praise can be depended upon to keep enthusiasm or creativity flowing,
causing a downcast countenance to be one that’s actually “glowing.”

There’s nothing like a caring friend who sends a note or gives a call.
There’s nothing like an encouraging word to keep us from a downfall.

There is an enemy in the world, who wants to ruin God-given potential,
which is why a word of praise from someone is often vital and essential.

Cleopas, while on the road to Emmaus, was talking with his friend
about the recent discouraging facts–on Christ’s life having come to an end.

Then later, when they were joined by Jesus, the Lord opened up their eyes
to the truth of His resurrection–likewise, we need the truth that God supplies.

Of course, the Lord is always there for us, speaking by His Spirit and His Word–but through friends or even strangers, He can also often be “heard.”

So, as you look around to start your day, be attentive if God is showing to you
someone who needs encouragement–let His supportive words be flowing through you.

P. A. Oltrogge

Like the wind that fills the sails of a boat, enabling it to glide upon the sea, a word of encouragement in our lives is so important to you and me.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

“Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:31 and 37 (NKJV)

Painting/Robert Zund