The Shepherd’s Voice

I once saw a film clip about a shepherd of today…
It showed an imposter calling the sheep to come his way.

But the sheep went on grazing, just as if they couldn’t hear.
Then their true shepherd called… His voice, to them, was clear.

It was amazing to watch them immediately flock to his side.
Likewise, we flock to our true Shepherd, protector, and guide.

At times, a voice that is dangerous will come to us in disguise.
But the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus, and His truths make us wise.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:4-5 NKJV

“I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and I am known by my own.” John 10:14 NKJV

“The wise in heart will receive commands….”. Proverbs 10:8 NKJV

“The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.” Proverbs 13:14 NKJV

“But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” from one of the parables in Matthew 25 (verse 4)

Excellent series at http://www.moorelife.org on
“My Sheep Hear My Voice” by Keith Moore

The Night is Coming

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

And they straightway left their nets and followed him.

And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” Matthew 4:17-22 KJV

……………………………………………..

We’re serving in the Lord’s harvest fields while it’s still the day,
for in sharing the good news of His Gospel, we all have a part to play.

By direction of the Holy Spirit, God’s worldwide missions abound;
and through Christian teamwork, we’re notably gaining ground.

The night is coming up when no more work will be able to be done.
God desires that we find our place of service to Jesus Christ, His Son.

You call ordinary people today, Lord, as you called ordinary fishermen back then. We’re blessed as we go about sharing your love while being “fishers of men.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then will come the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored, others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” John 4:34-40 NKJV

Jesus said…
“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9;4-5 NKJV

“Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:38 NKJV

“A faithful man will abound with blessings….”. Proverbs 28:20 NKJV

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NKJV

“I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing.”
Ezekiel 34:26 NKJV

Some great Christian teamwork
anyone can be a part of at:
http://www.bvovn.com

The Exalted Lord Jesus

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Photo by Porch of the Lord, Caribbean flowers

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.”

1 Chronicles 29:11

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“And He put all things under His (Jesus’) feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church; which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Ephesians 1:2 and 1:22

“…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

Acts 10:38

For God so loved the world that He gave Jesus Christ, His only Son,
to be our personal Savior and Lord, the Exalted One.

Scriptures NKJV

A Psalm to Take to Heart

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

Psalm 91 NASB

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!”

For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day;

Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not approach you.

You will only look on with your eyes, and see the recompense of the wicked.

For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place.

No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.

They will bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down,

“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.

“With a long life I will satisfy him, and let him behold My salvation.”

The Power and Authority of the Creator in the Name of Jesus

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners,
spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the word of his power,
when he had by himself purged our sins,
sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Being made so much better than the angels,
as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
Hebrews 1:1-4 KJV

How impressive and powerful are these words that we read about God’s Son, who has been “appointed heir of all things,” and “by whom” God’s creation of the worlds was done!

How awesome to think that Jesus is the brightness or reflection of God, the Father’s, glory–and that He is His express image, as was demonstrated in many a true Biblical story.

He upholds all things by the word of His power, yet He humbled Himself to purge us of sin. Then He “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Thus, it’s through faith in Jesus that we win.

Being made so much better than the angels, the greatness of His Name is inherited from the Father, a Name more excellent than theirs. And it’s every believer’s inherited right to use the Name of Jesus, to receive answers to their prayers.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

Written after reading a devotional on this topic by Kenneth E. Hagin, founder of Rhema Bible College, Tulsa, OK

By Many Convincing Proofs…

…after His suffering, Jesus presented Himself to the apostles alive.  Thus, with any doubtful thoughts in their hearts, they’d no longer have to strive.

Gathering them together, the Messiah commanded that they shouldn’t leave…but stay in the city of Jerusalem, for, in not many days, they were about to receive…

what they had heard of from Him–the Holy Spirit’s power!  Upon receiving, they would be the Lord’s witnesses from Jerusalem and beyond, from that very hour.

After Jesus had shared this, He was lifted up from them and was received into a cloud in the sky.  As they watched, two men in white clothing stood beside them and asked the apostles why they were gazing so intently on high.

The two men went on to say that this Jesus, who was taken up from them in such a way, would come again in just the same manner, a reference to a future day.

The apostles, upon returning to Jerusalem, went to the upper room where they were staying.  With one mind, they, and some women, including Jesus’ mother, and His brothers, were all continually praying.

At that time, Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren, about one-hundred, twenty in all…and shared about the fate of Judas.  Then, it was determined that Matthias would, instead, answer the Lord’s call.

And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly, there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, which filled the house in every space!

Next, what looked like tongues of fire came to rest upon each one.  They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues of various languages before that first outpouring was done.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation all around.  “The multitude” of them came together, bewildered, at this unusual sound.

They noted that all who were speaking in their language were Galileans by birth.  Then Parthians and Medes and residents of many other areas joined in questioning it all, as well as visitors from Rome and other parts of the earth.

They were impressed, hearing them speak of the mighty deeds of God, “in a language that is mine.”  But some others mocked them, saying, “They’re just drunk with sweet wine.”

This made Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raise his voice in a bold declaration…that they were not drunk so early in the day, but this was a phenomenon of God’s own preparation.

Peter referenced the prophet, Joel:

“‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.  And I will grant wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.  And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”

Acts 2:17-21 and Joel 2:28-32

Then Peter addressed them, saying, “Men of Israel, listen to these words,” and he related the account of Jesus, the Nazarene…reminding them of the many miracles, wonders, and signs that many of them had actually seen.

Yet, by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, He was put to death by them through the hands of godless men.  However God, Himself, raised Jesus Christ, the Messiah, up again.

Peter made reference to Jesus as the promised descendant of David, who had looked ahead…to the resurrection of Christ and His exaltation to God’s right hand after that raising from the dead.

Of that resurrection, Peter said, he and the apostles were witnesses to all that had taken place; and the promise of the Holy Spirit, of which Jesus had spoken, was further evidence of God’s grace.

And all of Israel should know for certain that God made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus, whom they’d crucified.  Greatly moved, they asked Peter and the rest what they should do…their hearts were open wide.

Peter then told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.  They would also receive the Holy Spirit…all part of how a new life in Christ begins.

So, those who received his message and were baptized that day were about three thousand souls.  Further teaching from the apostles, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer now were their devoted goals.

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe…and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles that the people saw.

The believers had all things in common, sharing with one another where there was a need.  In the temple and from house to house, gladness and sincerity of heart was shared in both word and deed.

The Lord was adding daily souls being brought into His fold, as He is doing still, if truth be told.  The book of Acts continues to this day, so that “multitudes” may find the love of Jesus, as today’s Christ followers share and pray.

P.A. Oltrogge

(a poetic sketch of Acts 1 and 2)

Also referenced by Peter,  Psalm 16:8-11 and Psalm 110:1

The Living One

…from Luke 24, NASB…a poetic account…

Some of the women who had loved Jesus set out at early dawn with spices they’d prepared…in order to anoint His body.  How they might enter the tomb must have been discussed and shared.

When they discovered that the stone had been rolled away, they stepped inside the tomb and found…that Jesus’ body was not there–they were perplexed in looking around.

Suddenly, two men in dazzling clothing appeared to them–the women were terrified!  The angels had come with a message about His resurrection…and death having been defied.

“Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen….” as the women could plainly see.   Then the angels said to recall how Jesus had spoken of this very thing while still with them in Galilee.

Jesus had told them how the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men…and then be crucified; and on the third day, He would rise again.

So they remembered Jesus’ words and returned from the tomb to share with the eleven and all the rest.  But the apostles couldn’t believe them–though Peter went to see for himself about this news that was blessed.

Two of the Lord’s followers were going to Emmaus on that very third day.  They were discussing with each other the things that had happened in Jerusalem as they went their way.

Then Jesus Himself, not actually recognized by them, approached and began to travel beside them on the road.  He asked them what they’d been discussing–their demeanors reflected that they were carrying a heavy load.

One of them, named Cleopas, asked how he could have been visiting Jerusalem and not have known or heard…of the fate of Jesus, the Nazarene, –a prophet mighty in deed and word.

They said that they had hoped He would be Israel’s redeemer…meaning by His leadership or even by being its king.  But His death, instead, by crucifixion, had definitely changed everything.

Next, they shared that, on this third day, some women had gone to the tomb at dawn…and told them that, but for two angels, it was empty–His crucified body was gone.

Jesus addressed them, then, as foolish men, who were slow of heart to believe…in what the prophets had spoken of the Christ, implying that the wise would understand and receive.

Jesus went on to explain the things foretold of Him in the scriptures by Moses and other prophets, throughout.  All this while, their eyes were prevented from recognizing Who was really with them on their route.

As they approached the village of Emmaus, their traveling companion, Jesus, acted as if he might travel on, but they urged him to stay with them, for the night was almost upon.

So Jesus went in to stay with them and reclined at the table to break bread.  When He took it, blessed it, and gave it to them, their eyes were opened to see the living One, risen from the dead!

Jesus then vanished from their sight, and they reflected on how their hearts had been burning…as He spoke of how the Christ needed to suffer these things–this “stranger” had been so discerning.

At that very hour they got up to return to Jerusalem to share with the eleven what had transpired.  As they were telling these things, there came in their midst, He whom their hearts desired.

It was Jesus, Himself, the Master, saying, “Peace be unto you.”  Startled and frightened, they needed His assurance, once again, to see them through.

He asked them why they doubted and then showed them His hands and feet.  They still couldn’t believe it, for joy and amazement.  He then asked for something to eat.

After having the broiled fish that they gave, He again opened their minds to understand all that had needed to be fulfilled.  Repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His Name, starting from Jerusalem…and from there, it would build.

They were to wait until they were clothed with power from on high…. Then He led them out as far as Bethany, where He blessed them and departed from them up into the sky.

After worshipping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy that was hard for them to contain.  They were continually in the temple, praising God for their redemption, which had been made so plain…

and for their beloved King’s reign!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Why do you seek THE LIVING ONE among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen!”  Luke 24:5-6

 

 

 

As Simon Peter may have Remembered

I once said to the Master, Jesus, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”  Yet, I was forgiven by Him and blessed to be a part of His Father’s redemptive plan.

I remember when Andrew came to me with some news that truly amazed–that by way of John the Baptist, he had found the Messiah who was to be praised!

Jesus became our teacher, and we left our nets to follow Him.  This meant leaving our daily livelihood, so we weren’t simply doing so on a whim.

No, we knew that this was big.  We began to see many miracles taking place–miracles of healing, provision, and protection were wrought by Him, revealing to all God’s grace.

The lame, the blind, and the deaf were finding that the Master was always willing.  We disciples saw Him calm the sea during a storm that had been frighteningly chilling.

Another time, faith arose within me to walk towards Him upon the sea.  He quickly saved me from sinking below the depths when fear had gotten the better of me.

Once, Jesus took me with James and John on a destined mountain climb, where He was transfigured before us–Elijah and Moses appeared at the time.

I suggested that three tabernacles be built for each, not knowing just what to say.  Then a cloud came around us with a message from God on that remarkable day.

It was the voice of His Father in heaven, telling us that this was His beloved Son, and that we should listen to Jesus–His raiment was white as no launderer could have done.

Just as quickly as it had begun, the experience ended and we were alone.  We often could expect the unexpected–such was His ministry’s tone.

HIs raising of Lazarus from the dead wasn’t envisioned by any of us disciples, though.  Imagine our reaction when we saw death reversed to loose Lazarus and let him go.

I once gave the Lord the use of my boat, for Him to minister from to those on shore…only to be given back the catch of a lifetime–He gave back to us always more!

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” I declared to Him one day.  He said His Father in heaven had revealed that truth to me about the Son, who had taught us all to pray.

At the Passover meal, I was taken aback when Jesus came to me to wash my feet.  I allowed Him, though, for He said to be a part of Him, it was a duty I needed to let Him meet.

What a blessed remembrance, to have spent that time with the Lord in the upper room…before His betrayal and crucifixion and eventual resurrection from the tomb.

Of course, I felt remorse for my own denial of Him–my boasted loyalty and support having failed.  But afterwards, I came to my senses, realizing that I was one…for whom, to the cross, He’d been nailed.

We disciples were so happy when He appeared to us after His glorious resurrection–and later were so glad to spread the news that Jesus is Lord…by the promised Spirit’s direction.

I loved to tell of Him throughout the following years and was always looking toward…that time of my reunion with Him, the Master and Teacher whom we all had adored.

P. A. Oltrogge

A Participant’s Thoughts on Greeting the Coming King

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  Zechariah 9:9

We thought He would be the King of Israel, riding on a donkey, He came…

Instead, He was heading towards Calvary’s cross.  There, He would be taking the blame…

for my sins and those of the entire world–God’s gift of salvation for all.

We waved our palm branches before Him–so worthy, for He was following His Father’s call.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say?  ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?  But for this purpose I came to this hour.  Father, glorify Your name.”

“Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.'” John 12:27-28

“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.”  John 3:16

Scriptures: NKJV

The Lord’s Magnificent Rainbow

Caribbean Photo by Porch of the Lord

Caribbean Photo by Porch of the Lord

Lord, how I love to see the rainbow.
It seems one of the closest things
to You directly speaking to us upon earth
of Your faithfulness–the reminder it brings.

And who but You could have created its design,
with pastels or bright colors displayed,
in a beautiful arch in the heavens,
following the life-giving rains that You’ve made.

It’s always magnificent–the sight of a rainbow;
and a double one is especially thrilling.
Though it usually doesn’t last for a very long time,
it reminds of a covenant You’re still fulfilling.

Though the rainbow fades, leaving only a memory,
it speaks, too, of Your love, that doesn’t fade–
for You gave your Son, Jesus, as Savior for us all.
Those who believe, find the greatest covenant You’ve made.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then God said, ‘I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.’ Then God said to Noah, ‘Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.'” Genesis 9:14-17 NLT

“He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.” Psalm 147:8 NLT

(The Lord will restore His people) Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture.” Zechariah 10:11 NLT

“Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:3 NLT

“(Patience and Endurance) Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.” James 5:7 NLT

…written of Jesus: “And he said to them, ‘This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.'” Mark 14:24 NLT

“In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people–an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.'” 1 Corinthians 11:25 NLT

“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6 NLT