There’s a Rainbow!

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If ever there was a subject that should be put into poetic form,
it’s that of the magnificent rainbow, which can suddenly appear after a storm.

As the sun starts shining, it’s especially vivid, after the rain has poured;
and its message comes from God, as it’s the signature of the Lord.

He said that He was setting His bow in the cloud, to always remind afresh,
of His covenant made with Noah and his sons, and every living creature of all flesh…

that never again would He send a flood to cover the entire expanse of the earth.
To all successive generations, the rainbow’s reminded of this covenant of great worth.

We remember today that Noah was a real person, who steadfastly undertook
the building of a great ark by God’s direction, no matter how, to others, that would look.

It took many decades to accomplish the task, and there never had been a flood…
Today, God is offering the safety of an ark that was “built” by Jesus’ sacrificial blood.

God is not willing for any to perish. He’s giving much time to accept His invitation
to enter into the ark of the Lord–His provision for any person of any nation.

When I see the rainbow there in the sky, I’m reminded of God’s covenant made to mankind–including the one He made for us through Jesus, the greatest covenant He wants all of us to find.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28 NKJV

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV

“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall enter the ark….” Genesis 6:18

See the first half of Genesis, chapter 6, for the causes behind God sending the earth-encompassing flood and to read of Noah finding favor with God.

For your interest:
http://www.arkencounter.com

The Creator versus the Atheists

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Even within a city or out on a rural farm,
we’re blessed to always enjoy the vast creation’s charm.

To say, then, as some do, that there is no God
is a kind of blindness that seems, to me, so odd.

For there are many masterpieces, on which our eyes can feast–
from the starting of a snowfall to the landscape when it’s ceased.

From the city to the beauty of the peaceful countryside,
the signature of the Creator is something atheists cannot hide.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV

“For he (God, the Father) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son (Jesus) he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible….” Colossians 1:13-16 NIV written by the apostle Paul to the Christians in Colossae

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

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As You Love Yourself

“Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no greater commandment than these.” Mark 12:29-32

We’re to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, the Lord has said…
but, sometimes, we’re critical of ourselves and unforgiving, instead.

Being right with God isn’t by our own deeds but through what Jesus has done…
He who is doing a good work in us will complete what He’s already begun.

To those who are in Christ Jesus, there’s no condemnation from the Father above. He’s merciful, forgiving, sympathetic with our weaknesses–and thinks we’re worthy of His love.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2-6

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 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 4:14-16

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10

(Scriptures NKJV)

Love’s Daily Occurrence

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Precious memories are truly a beautiful thing,
but it’s the presence of a loved one that makes us sing.
I keep that in mind when I think of the Lord–
in seeking His presence, I’ll be renewed and restored.

It’s time spent with Him, sharing my love with Jesus,
that touches His heart, too, and greatly pleases.
He surely loves those who think upon His name,
and of the things He has done in Bible-event fame–

But personal time with Him daily and meditating on His Word
are the things that will make me live fully assured.
Then it becomes easy to follow where He leads,
with that overflow of mutual love to meet God-seen needs.

P. A. Oltrogge

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV

“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7 NIV

“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.” Psalm 91:14-16 NASB

“He said to him, the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ (with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend.) Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that he should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know everything; You know that I love you’ (that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend.) Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.” John 21:17 AMP

Lydia Becomes Part of the Royal Priesthood

“And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6
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It’s recorded that the apostle Paul received a vision—of a man putting forth a request, that Paul should come over to Macedonia, so that the people there could be blessed.

So Paul, and those with him, pursued the vision, setting sail on the Aegean Sea–landing at Neapolis, they went to Philippi, a leading city of Macedonia in which to be.

On the Sabbath, they went out to a riverside, where some women were who customarily prayed. Prayer and worship were woven as fabric in Lydia’s life, while selling fabrics of purple was her trade.

She listened to that which Paul spoke to them about Jesus Christ being the Lord—then took heed in her heart that it was through Jesus, that true relationship with God is restored.

Embracing what Paul said, she went from reverencing God to knowing Him in a personal way. God had opened her heart to respond to the good news, just as anyone can do today.

Then she and her entire household were baptized, representing their being washed from sin. With joy, she invited the missionaries to her home to stay, prevailing upon them to come in.

This woman, Lydia, who sold fabric of a royal color, had found peace at the riverside that day. Through the Prince of Peace, her Lord, Jesus Christ, she’d been welcomed into His royal family to stay.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, 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

A reference to baptism by Peter in Acts 2:38-39: “…Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..” Isaiah 9:6

(The poetic account is based on Acts 16:9-15 about Lydia from Thyatira)

Some references to purple’s use in the Bible:

“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.” Exodus 26:1 (for the Tabernacle)

“And now send me a skilled man to work in gold, silver, brass and iron, and in purple, crimson, and violet fabrics, and who knows how to make engravings, to work with the skilled men whom I have in Judah and Jerusalem, whom David my father provided.” 2 Chronicles 2:7 (for Solomon’s Temple)

An Increase of the Fruit of the Spirit

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As Christians, we often confess our faith in God in various situations or for various things, but…

There’s a confession we can make that’s good for those with whom we come in contact and good for one’s own soul…

…that the fruit of the Spirit in us is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

What an important goal of faith in Christ that is…

and it will be the evidence to those around us that we are His.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:3 NASB

A Hard Subject

It’s a hard subject; but the truth is, it’s real.
There is a thief who is out to kill, destroy, and steal–
a being who is fallen because of his pride–
a being whose purpose is to conceal and to hide
the true God in Jesus, the Lord over all–
that’s what Satan does because of his fall.

His ways are deceptive, and he wants you to think
there isn’t heaven or hell beyond this life’s brink.
He’s supportive of “gods” of other names–
or “No God at all” is another one of his claims.
Devotion to a religion or philosophy, he’s approved–
especially those endorsing that Jesus’ Lordship be removed.

He draws those he can to reject Christ’s light,
causing more darkness over any spiritual sight.
We all need to leave old things we’ve been taught
when we realize that, by Christ, our souls have been bought.
It’s simply a gift—but you must take and receive it.
Don’t listen to the naysayer, but simply believe it.

Of all time, the Bible is the best selling book–
if you think it’s inaccurate, then take a deeper look.
Please consider studies by Christians who aren’t slacking
in showing us the evidence that gives it absolute backing.
And to be the all-time best seller of books you can buy,
it must have the backing of Someone very high.

Be sober, be vigilant, the Bible warning is strong–
Jesus is The Way—any other way is wrong.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.’” John 14:6 NASB

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith….” 1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.” John 10: 9, 10 NASB

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NKJV

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12 NKJV

We absolutely know that there is a deceiver, the devil, in this world. By simply turning on the news, we hear of lives harmed or destroyed by his influence.

But God, who is love, wants everyone who will, to receive the free gift of salvation through Christ and to experience His peace.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Words of Jesus in John 14:27 NKJV

Books to consider:
Evidence That Demands a Verdict
by Josh McDowell
The Case for Christ
by Lee Strobel

What time is it?

“I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Psalm 34:1

When troubles disappoint, overwhelm, or sometimes shock,
Remember, then, what time it is: it’s always Praise o’clock!

As much-loved members of the Good Shepherd’s flock,
His goodness makes us praise Him all around the clock.

After praise and a mighty shout, the walls of Jericho fell down flat…
The people followed Joshua’s instructions, and that was that!

When Daniel faced the lions in their den til morning light,
An angel at Praise o’clock came there to keep their jaws shut tight.

Paul and Silas were imprisoned; their feet were placed in stocks.
But they just sang with all their hearts, and made that prison rock!

If your prayer is for a miracle, but it seems to be “out of stock,”
Don’t give up, don’t give in–look at the time, it’s still Praise o’clock.

Surely when the way seems hard, there’s an answer to any “block,”
For continually and forever, the correct time is Praise o’clock!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 RSV

All’s right with my world…

All’s right with my world, my life every day
because You are in it, dear Lord, to stay.

When storms crash around me, I command them to cease;
and if faith takes some battering, I still have Your peace.

Whatever the circumstances, I count it all joy;
I’m more than a conqueror whom this world can’t destroy.

The blessing of God is mine now and forever;
I’m secure in a covenant that cannot be severed.

The Lord is my Shepherd, the pastures are green–
With my mind stayed on Jesus, my life is serene.

P. A. Oltrogge

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 NKJV

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

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters….Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:1, 2, and 6 NASB

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3 KJV

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

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