Reflections from the Master Designer

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Faces—you see them everywhere you go,
having two eyes, a mouth, and a nose, although
each one is different except for a twin—
Then personalities differ, despite being such close kin.

Just look at your arms, your feet, legs, and knees.
You’re wonderfully made, and I’ve found it to please
My creative ability—and you won’t come unglued,
for I formed you in the womb and your life then ensued.

And inside each person I have given a soul;
to carry out My plans, each life has a unique role.
If you need further evidence, just consider your own hand—
with its fingerprints designed just for you by My command.

Each snowflake is known to have its own pattern,
and assorted planets are out there, like Mars or like Saturn.
The oceans with waters I’ve given are vast—
trees, mountains, and flowers by My hand were cast.

You see, the heavens are telling the glory of God;
My handiwork’s proclaimed therein—yet it’s odd
that some in this world want to say My existence
should be denied or challenged with strong resistance.

“Man alone is master,” they proclaim, but deny
that trusting in a greater Master is really the heart’s cry.
And for those who say this world has merely evolved,
they haven’t yet realized around Whom it’s revolved.

Reflected as in a mirror, My image became more clear
when I sent My Son, Jesus, as Redeemer from sin and fear.
He spoke to mankind of the Father as you can see in My Word;
and from Genesis to Revelation, I’ve desired it all to be heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15 NASB

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 NASB

See “About the Porch”

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The Father

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“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John 1:18

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:9

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us because it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1

“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’’” John 14:9

“yet for us there is one God, The Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

Scriptures: New King James Version

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Dear Jewish Friend…

We’re meant to be family; I pray you can see
that the Jewish carpenter, Jesus, was from your family tree.
Of the house and lineage of David, as Jewish as you yourself;
yet He was God and Messiah, not a name in a Book on a shelf.

Your Torah, too, speaks about the sacrifices
necessary for what a holy God saw as mankind’s vices.
God’s people couldn’t come to the priest with righteousness of their own,
but through the slaying of an animal, a cleansing was shown.

Your devotion to God is very commendable,
yet your system of belief is not dependable
before the God of Israel’s holy face.
You see, you must recognize the One sent in your place.

No, there won’t be a Messiah by any other name
than the revealed Jesus Christ of worldwide fame.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son—
Don’t look for another Messiah to do what Jesus has already done.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 NKJV

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16 NKJV

“Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and to great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:22-23 NKJV

“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:13-16 NASB

…prophecies on the return of the Jewish people to Israel:

“Therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, ”when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.” Jeremiah 16:14-15 NASB

“Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He will lift up a standard for the nations, and will assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:11-12 NASB

“And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better (unto you) than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I (am) the Lord… For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you unto your own land.” Ezekiel 36:11; 24 KJV

…return of the Hebrew language:

“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my supplants, (even) the daughters of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.” Zephaniah 3:8-10 KJV

…the land of Israel will bloom:

”In days to come, Jacob will take root; Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.”  Isaiah 26:6 NIV

”The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and bloom.  Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy….”. Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV

Further study:
http://www.sidroth.org
http://www.Jewishvoice.org

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By this time…

…from John 11 on the death and raising of Lazarus…

“Now Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.’”

“Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, ‘Lord, by this time, there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?’”

So often in life we turn to logical courses and reason;
but now’s an opportune time—in fact, in any season,
to trust the good Lord for help that’s supernatural,
instead of leaning so heavily on mainly the factual.

In the Biblical story of Martha’s brother, Lazarus, who had died,
she seemed to sense that her brother’s death could still be defied.
Yet, when the Lord said that someone should open the cave tomb door,
she reasoned about the time that had passed and other facts in store.

“By this time” became Martha’s very predominant thought,
instead of remembering the miracles that Jesus had already wrought.
Likewise, in a crisis, we know that God can come through still;
but let’s be assured that healing and restoration are always His will.

P. A. Oltrogge

Postscript:
It’s sometimes thought that miracles are few and far between;
but, whether instant or more gradual, they’re frequently being seen.

Encouragement:
http://www.sidroth.org
http://www.johnmellor.org
http://www.awmi.net
Porch of the Lord Archive, “Lost at Sea”
and “The Supernatural Power of God”
Dodie Osteen booklet, “Healed of Cancer” at:
http://www.JoelOsteen.com

“Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’ Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’” John 11:41-44 NKJV

“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 loving kindness 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

And Mark 11:23-26

His Presence

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To Our Great God…

At Pentecost, your Spirit came, with the sound of a rushing mighty wind.
The Comforter comes to us yet today, a promise you’ll never rescind.

Often, your presence is apparent through a reassuring, inner voice.
When problems threaten to overwhelm, you encourage us still to rejoice.

You’re blessed by the praises of your people…bless the Lord, oh my soul.
I’m thankful you’ve said that all of my cares—on you, dear Lord, I can roll.

It’s good to abide in your presence, for there’s fullness of joy therein.
Thank you for provision and healing, as well as for forgiving my sin.

We praise you for your creative ability, for the beauty of bird and flower,
the mountains and other majestic things that speak to us of your power.

We’re so blessed you desire to visit with us, as you did first with Adam and Eve. All that you require of us to meet with you, Lord, is to believe in the Son and receive.

P. A. Oltrogge

“‘Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him, the Father, God, has set His seal.’ Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’” John 6:27-29 NASB

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:2-4 NKJV

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Words of Jesus in John 14:16-17 KJV

Jesus, Closer than a Brother

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

Dear Lord Jesus,

You thought of the lowly, the forgotten, the oppressed…
You thought of us all; and, through You, we are blessed.

You’re always the Good Shepherd, our Savior and friend.
If any setbacks befall us, you help things to mend.

You’re closer than a brother; and we can draw near
to You for Your assurance that there’s nothing to fear.

You loved the little children and do to this day.
For the unborn, young, or old, You’ve taught us to pray.

And also our enemies, You’ve said, are in great need
of prayers to be enlightened, that Your Word they might heed.

Obedient to Your Father, You went to Calvary’s hill.
You prayed that cup might pass, but accepted Your Father’s will.

Yes, what a friend we have in Jesus, as the hymn goes…
You died for all of mankind, and, praise God, You then arose.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.” Acts 10:40-41 NKJV

If you have a half hour, the following regards the unborn:
http://www.ilivedonparkerave.com

Blindness “Wall” Falls at Jericho

While Jesus, His disciples, and a great multitude were going out of Jericho, a beggar was there sitting by the side of the road.

He was Bartimaeus; and though blind, his hearing was fine to have heard of how Jesus’ healing ministry had flowed.

So, when, that day, Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, Himself, who was passing by…

“Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” became his earnest and heartfelt cry.

Many, among the crowd, told him to be quiet, as if, for him, there could be nothing in store.

But his plea of “Son of David, have mercy on me!” he kept shouting out all the more.

So Jesus heard Bartimaeus, then stood still, and commanded that he be called.

The persistence and “prayer” of Bartimaeus had caused the pace of Jesus’ journey temporarily to be stalled.

Bartimaeus was now beckoned, instead, with words of encouragement, “Rise, be of good cheer; He is calling you.”

Throwing aside his garment, he got up and came to Jesus, who asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Victory was breaking through…

At that point, Bartimaeus said, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight!”

“Go your way, your faith has made you well,” Jesus said; and immediately his world turned from darkness to light.

Walls had fallen down at Jericho through faith in God in an earlier, historical Biblical story.

And a “wall” of blindness fell at Jericho for Bartimaeus, when by faith in God’s mercy, he saw the Lord’s glory.

The account closes with Bartimaeus following Jesus down that outside Jericho road…

He had been confident of mercy and grace through Jesus Christ—from whom God’s marvelous light had flowed….

and still does today!

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the account from Mark 10; Referenced is the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho at Joshua 6)

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.” Hebrews 11:30 NKJV

“But you are a chosen generation, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV

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Further encouragement:
http://www.josephprince.org
http://www.billyburke.org

Remembering Billy Graham

I remember attending Billy Graham crusades when I was very young
and anticipating hearing Billy after George Beverly Shea had sung.

Cliff Barrows led the assembled choir in an always joyful way,
giving mighty praise to God before someone on stage would pray.

Then Billy would come forward; and with his powerful voice,
he’d say we needed to make a decision—God was giving us a choice.

He always pointed to the cross and what Jesus had achieved—
redemption through His shed blood on Calvary for anyone who believed.

He said we should repent of our sins and give our hearts to Christ—
that His was the only sacrifice which God says has sufficed.

He emphasized that “God loves you” and wants to be your friend,
counselor, and advocate—from beginning of life to its end.

He said this earth was not his home—that he was just passing through—
and that a home in heaven awaits every believer in Jesus Christ, too.

After many Biblical references, Billy would give an invitation.
Then, an amazing number in the place would come forward to his station.

As they came forward, a familiar song helped set so many hearts free—
“Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me.”

Today, Billy Graham is honored for faithful service to God during his life span.
May we continue to share the Gospel of Christ—God’s gracious redemptive plan.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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 NKJV

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Compassion at the Pool of Bethesda

During a feast of the Jews, we see Jesus at the healing pool of Bethesda, which was by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, that prominent city.

And He saw a certain man lying among the many others who had come to seek healing, whose infirmity had lasted thirty-eight years—and on whom no man had apparently had pity.

It was known and told that an angel came to stir the waters at a season and time at this pool of five porches, an esteemed place.

And whoever first, thereafter, made it into the water was healed of their illness—with no longer a trace.

Jesus, knowing that this individual had been crippled and infirm for a long time, asked him if he wanted to be healed.

The man replied that he had no man to help him into the waters after they were stirred. Others were always quicker, so his fate had been sealed.

Then, Jesus mercifully said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk,” stepping in for the said “no man.”

Immediately, the infirm man was made whole, got to his feet, took up his bed and walked, for health and healing has always been God’s plan.

Today, when we experience difficulties, even those long-standing, and may sometimes feel there is no one to help, not even the Lord…

remember, we still do have an advocate in Jesus, God’s Son—to get adverse things eliminated and have the good restored.

P. A. Oltrogge

”…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 NKJV

“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.”  (Words of Jesus in John 10:10 NKJV)

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NKJV

Poetic account, above, from John, chapter 5.

Miracles abounding today:
http://www.awmi.net (healing testimonies)
http://www.billyburke.org
http://www.johnmellor.org
http://www.josephprince.org

Practical health tips
by Dr. Don Colbert,
where books are sold.

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Paul’s Rough Sea Voyage and Shipwreck to an Island

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

(Having appealed to Caesar, Paul is sent to Rome…
a poetic narrative of Acts 27-28)

When it was decided to go to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners entered a ship at Adramyttium and were put to sea, to sail along Asia’s coasts.

Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment, treated Paul kindly, letting him receive care at Sidon from people who were Paul’s friends and hosts.

From Sidon, they sailed under the shelter of Cyprus due to the strong, contrary gales.

Then, over seas off of Cilicia and Pamphylia, they came to Myra, Lycia, where they were put aboard another ship bound for Italy in their forthcoming sails.

They sailed slowly many days, arriving with difficulty off Cnidus—the wind didn’t permit them to proceed.

So they sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone, passing it also with difficulty, coming to Fair Havens, a stop of need.

They’d lost a lot of time, and the weather was becoming dangerous as it was so late in the fall.

So Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it—that he perceived trouble ahead, with great damage to the cargo and ship and even to the lives of them all.

But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and captain of the ship than by anything that Paul had said.

And because the harbor wasn’t suitable for wintering, the majority reached the decision to put out to sea, going ahead.

If, somehow, they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, they could spend winter there, they thought.

So when a moderate south wind came up, they supposed they’d attained their purpose, weighed anchor, and began sailing along Crete, on the route they sought.

But before very long, a violent wind, called Euraquilo, rushed down to sea from the land.

And when the ship was caught in it, and couldn’t face the wind, they gave way to it and were driven along—totally unplanned.

Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda, they were scarcely able to get the ship’s lifeboat under control.

After they’d hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship and let down the sea anchor. Avoiding being run aground on the shallows of Syrtis was the goal.

The next day, as they were being violently storm-tossed, they began to throw the cargo overboard.

On the third day, they threw the tackle over, another thing the ship was carrying but which they could no longer afford.

Sun nor stars appeared for many days, and of the thought of being saved, they’d gradually lost hope.

After having gone without food for a long time, Paul reminded them that if they’d listened to him, with this storm and loss they wouldn’t have had to cope.

Yet he urged them to not lose courage, saying there would be no loss of life among them, but only of the ship.

He shared that this he knew by way of the appearance of an angel of God, who had come and stood before him on the trip.

The angel told Paul that he would yet stand before Caesar and that God had granted him the lives of all those sailing along.

So Paul, again, strongly encouraged them, saying that he believed God and that God’s predictions were never wrong.

He added, however, that on a certain island, they would run aground.

And after the fourteenth night in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight, some of the sailors began to sense that land ahead might soon be found.

They took soundings as they approached; and not wanting to run aground on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern, wishing for dawn’s light.

Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship, lowering the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front, but they couldn’t quite…

for Paul said to the centurion and his soldiers, “Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.”

So the soldiers cut away the ropes of the lifeboat and let it fall away before any escape could be braved.

Until the day was about to break, Paul encouraged them that not a hair of their heads would perish—that they should not be anxious, going without eating—but to take some food.

He himself took bread and gave thanks to God in their presence and began to eat. So all the others on board took food as well, encouraged and their spirits renewed.

Two hundred seventy-six persons were aboard; and when all had eaten enough, they lightened the ship by casting overboard their wheat.

When day broke, they couldn’t recognize the land but observed a certain bay with a beach. They resolved to drive the ship onto it, if they could accomplish the feat.

So, casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, loosened the ropes of the rudders, and hoisted the foresail to the wind—then headed for the beach.

But they struck a reef where two seas met and ran the vessel aground. The prow stuck fast and remained immovable. The stern began to break up by many a wave’s forceful reach.

The soldiers had planned to kill the prisoners so that none would swim away and escape; however, the centurion wanted to bring Paul safely through.

So, he kept them from those intentions and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first—the others to follow on planks from the ship or anything with which they could make do.

Thus it happened that all were brought safely to the land—they found that Malta was this particular island’s name.

There, the natives showed extraordinary kindness… Due to rain that had set in and the cold, they received them all and kindled for them a fire’s warming flames.

When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out, due to the heat, and fastened on his hand.

Seeing this, the natives expressed the thought that, likely, Paul was a murderer, lucky to escape the sea, but that death by snakebite was somehow justice served—perhaps divinely planned.

But Paul shook the creature off, back into the fire—the incident, for him, was not ill-fated.

Then the natives, who had expected him to swell up and die, suddenly changed their minds and said that with a “god” he could be equated.

In that region, there was a leading citizen, Publius, by name, at whose estate they were welcomed for three days.

The father of this man lay sick with a fever and dysentery. So Paul went in to him, laid his hands on him, and he was healed. Paul was continuing to follow his Lord Jesus’s compassionate healing ways.

When this was done, other natives on the island who had illnesses also received from Paul’s healing ministry during his stay.

The islanders honored Paul in many ways, giving him and the others much in provision before the time when they would again sail away.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness, has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said.” Acts 27:23-25 NLT