The Seventy Times Seven Club

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There’s a Club called Seventy Times Seven, of which I am a member.
I don’t always display the Christ-likeness that God would have me remember.

Just as I must forgive my brother, so I must ask him to forgive me.
Foremostly, I ask the Lord. It’s through forgiveness that we remain free.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’

Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.‘“

Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

“Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight….”
Psalm 51:4 NKJV

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV

Psalm 103
“Bless the Lord, O my soul…Who forgives all your iniquities…” verse 1, 3

“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” verse 10-12

“As we forgive our debtors…” Archived poem
on Matthew 18

You’ve Never Seen Anything Like It

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“But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV

Verse 10 goes on to say, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” So, the text is referring to the glorious Gospel revealed through the Holy Spirit (see all of chapter 2).

But the 9th verse does make me think of the almost hard-to-comprehend beauty, glory, and peace of our heavenly home and destination. Thus, these thoughts:

Eye hath not seen, nor ear yet heard,
neither our hearts, says God’s Holy Word,
have envisioned the things which the Lord has in store
for all those who will meet Him on heaven’s shore.
A river like crystal and a Main Street of gold
are just some of the beauty that we will behold.
But, then, best of all, at last we will view—
our Savior, Jesus Christ, Faithful and True.
Though we face trials down here on this earth,
they’re nothing compared to heaven’s great worth.
You’re more than a conqueror—He gives you His grace,
both now and in eternity’s unfathomable place.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” Revelation 19:11 NASB

“The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun, or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” Revelation 21:19-23 NASB

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1 KJV

“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 KJV

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” Romans 8:18-19 NKJV

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 NKJV

Regarding a House Divided

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IN THIS TEMPLE
AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE
FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION
THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
IS ENSHRINED FOREVER

I’m remembering today that…

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Yet, that’s what frequently seems to be happening in America, my land.

Every American should have the right to peacefully express their views,
without being threatened by others who are often ready to accuse.

Quoting Jesus, Abraham Lincoln emphasized the words above;
and it was only after a civil war that the nation could focus on love.

Jesus taught that hate and murder are really the same in God’s eyes.
May any who feel hate abandon it, thereby proving themselves to be wise.

Each person is made in the image of God, it says in the book of James;
and blessing God but cursing our fellow man isn’t right, it also proclaims.

We should be peace loving and gentle and be willing to yield to others
in this land whose founders envisioned living as American “sisters and brothers.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.’” Matthew 12:25 NKJV and similarly in Luke 11:17

“And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Mark 3:25 NKJV

“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say,’You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.” Words of Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22 NRSV

“People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.”

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”

“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”
James 3:7-18 NLT

“…He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources for he is a liar and the father of it.” Words of Jesus in John 8:44 NKJV

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
1 John 3:14-16 NKJV

It’s the right time now—not just at Christmas, to pray the words of the old Christmas carol that “the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.” The last words, of course, were proclaimed by the angels—God’s message to mankind on the birth of our needed Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jacob’s Encounter with a Heavenly Visitor

“As he (Jacob) slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather, Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.’”

“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it! But he was also afraid and said, ‘What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, The very gateway to heaven!’”

Genesis 28:12-17 NLT

verse 19: “He named that place Bethel (which means ‘house of God’)….”

“Then he (Jesus) said, ‘I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth!’”

John 1:51 NLT

…and from Genesis 31-33:

After twenty years of service to Laban, the Lord told Jacob to take his family and livestock and return to his father, Isaac’s, land.

At a place, which he called Mahanaim, the angels of God met Jacob while he was journeying as God had planned.

“This is God’s camp,” he declared. Despite having seen angelic support, he was worried and sent messengers before him to meet Esau, his brother.

Due to cheating Esau of the patriarchal blessing years before, he had great fears about Esau and himself getting along with one another.

He prayed to God about his fears, seeking His mercy, and decided to offer, for the sake of peace, some herds of his livestock to Esau, each one as a gift.

But God would cause Esau to greet his brother with a heart of love—not bringing up or even thinking of their earlier rift.

Having sent his animals, servants, and family before him, Jacob was alone for the night.

At that point, Jacob had an unusual encounter with a Man with whom he wrestled until the morning light.

Not prevailing, the Man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, putting it out of joint—then urged him to let Him go, for it was break of day.

Jacob, however, would not let Him go, he said, unless He would bestow a blessing that he could take away.

The heavenly visitor asked his name. And “Jacob,” (one who supplants) was his name that he related.

Because he had “wrestled with God and men and prevailed,” his name would no longer be Jacob, but would be Israel, (to have power, as a prince) the visitor stated.

Jacob, too, asked the Man His name, which He didn’t offer—only asking him why he would inquire about it; but He blessed him there.

Jacob called the place, Peniel, for he knew that he had seen God face to face, yet his life had been spared.

In our own lives, we may “wrestle” with God, our own self-will resisting submission to Him, though at any time, He could conquer us.

If we fully understood His love and goodness, we would never resist submission to His will, for He only desires to “conquer” us to bless us…

Trust in the Lord, follow His leading…and be blessed!

P. A. Oltrogge

Laban pursued Jacob after he left but God intercepted any friction by speaking to Laban in a nighttime dream. So Laban wound up making a covenant with him, and Jacob’s reunion with Esau was not disastrous as he had feared—things turned out well for him.

We should remember that the angels are with us, too, as they were with Jacob, and that we can turn to the Lord with any problem, reminding Him of His promises, just as Jacob ultimately did in this account.

Many believe that “the Man” Jacob wrestled with could well have been Jesus Himself, temporarily in a human form, rather than an angel, for Jacob said he had seen God face to face.

In Genesis 32:9, Jacob prayed to the God of his grandfather, Abraham, and the God of his father, Isaac. But after wrestling with God, he addressed Him as God, the God of Israel (Genesis 33:20).

”Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”. Psalm 62:8 NKJV

“He took his brother by the heel in the womb,
And in his strength he struggled with God.
Yes, he struggled with the Angel, and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from Him.
He found Him in Bethel,
And there He spoke to us—
That is, the Lord God of hosts.
The Lord is His memorable name.
So you, by the help of your God, return;
Observe mercy and justice,
And wait on your God continually.”

Hosea 12:3-6 NKJV

“…As he (Jacob) approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept. Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, ‘Who are these people with you?’ ‘These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,’ Jacob replied.” (Jacob then introduces his entire family.)

“‘And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?’ Esau asked. Jacob replied, ‘They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.’ ‘My brother, I have plenty,’ Esau answered. ‘Keep what you have for yourself.’ But Jacob insisted, ‘No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough. And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift.” (From Genesis 33 NLT)

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The Lord’s Prayer

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“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father, who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

“In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen”

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 6:6-15 NKJV

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”

“And if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 6:9-15 KJV

The Merit of a Gospel Tract

An untold number of people haven’t resolved the human heart’s cry
to connect with the living God, knowing where they’ll go whenever they die.
And regarding their daily lives, they still have not found out
that Jesus really loves them; and following Him is what life is about.

Though television has much programming pertaining to the Lord,
there are so many other programs that people are looking toward.
The internet has become an avenue for Christianity and its sharing,
but a “gift” politely offered can personally show others Jesus’ caring.

As Christians, we can consider having an unrealized, significant impact
on the lives of many others by giving an informative Gospel tract.
Telling others what Christ means to us can be done with those we know,
but a tract can go with strangers on their way to places that we can’t go.

We can ask the Lord to lead us to hearts that He’s prepared—
then it will be much easier for a Gospel tract to be shared.
Sure, sometimes we may be turned down or be met with verbal rejection;
but others will be interested in it, taking our offer for later reflection.

There have been stories where, by a tract, a path was definitely paved
for people to find their God. From suicidal or other wrong plans, some have even been saved. And further testimonies reported were that the Gospel became more clear to those with some knowledge of Jesus, but it was their hearts that still needed to “hear.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 NIV

We read of Lydia in the book of Acts, chapter 16:
“The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”

…words of Jesus… “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” John 4:35 NKJV

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Faith IS the Victory that Overcomes the World

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While it’s true that, as shared in yesterday’s post, the Lord’s heart is full of grace towards us, it’s still His desire that we grow in faith, giving glory to Him. If you’ve not already come across it, the Andrew Wommack series, “How to Become a Water Walker,” is an excellent teaching. You can put the title into the search bar at http://www.awmi.net to find the previously-aired television programming.

Another search there, among many other inspiring testimonials, is the story of Gina Boop, where faith and the authority of the believer is exemplified.

If we’ve experienced a setback or have heard some bad news,
those are the kinds of things the devil seeks to use
to get us to say the opposite of what God has said in His Word—
that faith isn’t the victory, like we’ve always heard.
But faith IS the victory as God’s Word has proclaimed;
we will never agree for His Word to be defamed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:3-5 NKJV

“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:17-20 NKJV

…and verse 12 speaks of faith and patience in inheriting the promises…

Trusting Jesus, the Good Shepherd

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

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

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

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

P. A. Oltrogge

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

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

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

An Example Poured Out

From His grand and glorious home in heaven—a place of comfortable rest,

Jesus came down to this earth on a mission, so that mankind could be blessed.

During the last supper with His disciples, likewise, He got up from a comfortable place, to give Himself to serving.

Just as He would be stripped and crucified soon, so He set aside His garments, girding Himself with a towel, to cleanse the undeserving.

Pouring water into a basin, He began to wash and wipe the disciples’ feet.

But Peter failed to understand this requirement that Jesus was wanting to meet.

“Never shall you wash my feet!” were his immediate words—an outflow from Peter’s heart.

But Jesus said to Peter that unless He washed them, then, with Him, he would have no part.

At that, Peter told the Lord to wash not only his feet, but also his hands and his head.

So sincere was Peter’s desire to please Him, that he quickly permitted Him to do so instead.

Jesus continued, speaking of being made clean, but said that not all of them were clean.

In his relationship with the Lord, Judas would betray Him, letting Satan come between.

When Jesus revealed that a disciple would betray Him, the others wondered which one this meant.

By giving Judas the dipped bread—said to be a custom of graciousness, it’s been thought that Jesus was giving him a chance to repent.

But Judas turned away from the Lord and went out into the dark of night—

as many still choose darkness today, sadly, resisting Jesus’ love and Light.

Just as Peter would have had no part with Christ, likewise, it’s the same today…

If anyone doesn’t receive the cleansing from Jesus’ poured-out blood, which takes our sins away,

they will have no part with Christ, our Lord and Savior, who, by His example, taught…

that we, also, should serve one another with love and humility, having received the redemption that He bought.

Jesus loved His disciples to the end; He died for us all, having laid aside His glory.

And, as at that Passover meal, when His task was finished, He sat down…but now He’s seated at His Father’s right hand, in completion of this true redemption story!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined at table again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher, and Lord, and you are right for so I am. If I, then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’” John 13:12-17 NASB

“Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35 NASB

“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:27-28 NASB

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” (words of Peter from Acts 2:32-36 NASB)

Jesus’ blood, the cleansing flood…

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