Angels On Assignment

When Joseph, betrothed to the virgin, Mary, learned that she was pregnant, a situation troubling for him to understand,

an angel, in a dream, revealed to him that the child had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, for the Savior’s birth, which God had planned.

At Jesus’ birth, in Bethlehem, then, the skies were filled with rejoicing angels of great number,

appearing to shepherds, keeping watch over their flock, amid people’s nighttime slumber.

Again, in a dream, an angel spoke to Joseph, to flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s attack,

until he would tell him, at a later time, when and where it would be safe for them to come back.

As an adult, and after His baptism by John, Jesus experienced a time of temptation.

He fasted in the wilderness amid the devil’s taunts. Then angels ministered to Him after its duration.

Much later, at prayer in Gethsemane’s garden, Jesus began to feel very great distress

about fulfilling His Father’s will at the cross.   So His Father sent an angel there to bless,

strengthen, and comfort Him…as the time for His trial and crucifixion had begun to loom.

Perhaps the angel reminded Jesus that He would be raised up—in victory over the tomb.

Scripture states that Jesus endured the cross because, ahead, He could see the joy—

He would be loved as our Redeemer…from the devil’s works, which He had come to destroy.

Upon His resurrection, heaven sent angels to greet early mourners at the tomb’s site,

to tell them that Jesus had been raised from the dead, dispelling any sorrow they’d had or fright.

Then, we read in Acts, of when Simon Peter, the Lord’s disciple, had been wrongfully jailed,

that God sent an angel to work a jailbreak, proving that Peter’s brethren’s prayers hadn’t failed.

And the apostle, Paul, was on a ship to Rome, sailing in a turbulent storm at sea—

when an angel appeared to him with a message, that no loss of life would there be.

Angels are noted throughout scripture. They minister to the heirs of salvation.

As believers, we are recipients of their aid, and they serve throughout every nation.

I thank the Lord for their service, for their presence as we walk life’s many trails.

I can think of times past when I sensed their protection. Through faith, prayer, and their help, God’s Kingdom never fails.

P. A. Oltrogge

References: Matthew 1:18-24; Matthew 2; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:9-12; Luke 22:41-44; Hebrews 12:2; 1 John 3:8; Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:11-13; Acts 12; Acts 27:23-25; Hebrews 1:13-14

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’” Luke 2:10-12 NKJV

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

”He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8 NKJV

“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:13-14 NKJV

“For He shall give His angels charge over you , to keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11 NKJV

He is the Everlasting God

To whom will you compare me?
Who is my equal? asks the Holy One.

59FB6344-1A84-41EC-A613-F0B19310CFE7

Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.
O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.

He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:25-31 NLT

4341CCE2-B08A-4B7E-8A56-47BE41FC0D81

Trusting Jesus, the Good Shepherd

15E717B7-8835-4FD6-B51F-BE636E68E35C

…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 of them has gone astray,
doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness to search for the one lost 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

Book Recommendation:
A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23
by W. Phillip Keller

Father, thank You for what Your Son has done…

Father,

I thank You for Your answers even before my prayers have begun…
because of what Your Son, Jesus Christ, has done.

I’m seated in the heavenly places—my victory’s been won…
because of what Your Son, the Lord Jesus, has done.

At Calvary’s cross, the curse was defeated. All fear I now can shun…
because of what Your Son, the Messiah, has done.

Not by my own merit, but by the blood from His veins that had run,
I can come before You boldly because of what He’s done.

Regarding the name of Jesus—a greater name, there’s none,
because He so pleased You as a perfectly obedient Son.

And, one day, when my race on earth has been completely run,
I’ll be immediately in Your presence because of what Your Son has done.

P. A. Oltrogge

5DFEDEE7-A2BA-416B-AB57-6644805C1969

“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” 2 Peter 1:16-18

“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.” Words of Jesus in Matthew 6:7-8

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:15-21

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespassses, 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

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:17-19

“So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6

“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 4:16

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8

“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

Scriptures NKJV

The Wonderful Works of Jesus

A man with deafness and a speech impediment was in need of Jesus’ touch.
Those who brought him begged the Lord to heal him, being confident of such.

Jesus led him, then, away from the crowd so that they could be alone.
He put His fingers into the man’s ears—the beginning of his hearing tone.

Jesus spit upon His own fingers and touched the man’s tongue as well.
“Ephphatha,” (“Be opened!”) He said, looking up to heaven—then the man instantly heard clear as a bell!

The man’s tongue was also freed—his speech became perfectly clear.
Jesus told the crowd not to spread the story, but they couldn’t help tell that the man could now speak and hear.

“Everything Jesus does is wonderful,” they shared, in relating this event.
The deaf could hear, the dumb could speak. God’s goodness was being displayed wherever Jesus went!

P. A. Oltrogge

From Mark 7:31-37

“Everything He does is wonderful! He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”
Mark 7:37 NLT

A Gentile Woman’s Plea

A woman from Canaan, who’d heard of Jesus, came to Him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, oh Lord, Son of David,” and she fell at His feet.

Her little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit; and she knew that only Jesus could cause it to retreat.

Jesus didn’t answer right away; but as she was a Gentile, He told her that He needed, first, to feed those of His own family—the Jews.

At that, it might have seemed that His final answer to her, a Canaanite woman, was to refuse.

He said it wouldn’t be right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs, after she’d repeated, “Lord, help me!”

Though the disciples had said that Jesus should send her away, her vision remained strong of seeing her daughter being set free.

She replied to the Lord that even the dogs were allowed to eat the crumbs that had fallen under the table, from food that the children had been fed.

Jesus noted her faith, through those words, and told her to go home—the demon was gone. Upon doing so, she found her daughter there peacefully lying in bed.

“Oh, woman, your faith is great,” He had said, and that it would be done for her as she’d desired.

Just hearing of the compassionate things He’d done for others caused her to worship and have faith that was tenacious and inspired.

P. A. Oltrogge

(From Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30)

“But He answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’” Matthew 15:24

“Yes, Lord, but even the dogs feed on the crumbs….” Matthew 15:27

The Lord’s Commission to His disciples before His ascension:
“…but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.’” Acts 1:8

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

Scriptures NASB

Mark 7 refers to the woman as
a Syrian from the region of Phoenicia

Breakthrough over the Blues

64D0A8A1-8100-4A0F-9771-CE6800F38AF5
Photo/Porch of the Lord

Perhaps you’ve experienced disappointments…
I know that others and I have, too.
But when I recall precious moments I’ve had,
I can no longer stay feeling blue.

Realize this old world with its trials
can’t keep you from all that delights.
Disappointments may occur, but some very nice gifts
will come through from the Father of lights.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 KJV

The One Who Sent Jesus

When you believe in Jesus Christ and have settled that He’s the God who is true, you will not simply be believing in Him, but in the One who has sent Him, too. Jesus came into the world as God’s Light, so that darkness would be dispelled–that none should miss knowing their God, nor have their salvation withheld.

God desires to be a loving Father to all, but His justness will require judgment one day; Jesus did not come to judge but to save, and to teach us to be followers of His Way. All Jesus ever said or that He did, were things only from His Father that He’d heard. A blessed life now and eternally are the gifts of which a Christian can be assured.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus shouted to the crowds, ‘If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know His commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells Me to say.’” John 12:44-50 (NLT)

“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 (NIV)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24 (NKJV)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NASB)

“Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ 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’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.’” John 14:8-10 (NKJV)

Even in this, Jesus said, ”Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23 KJV

Photo by Porch of the Lord

Receive the Lord’s Peace

6BD3B1DE-9F0A-4B5D-AAEB-8EAAEBE79F2E.jpeg

Are you facing difficult problems which seem insurmountable at length?
Then it’s time to agree with God that, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

You may not, initially, feel joy and strength when you’re first confessing it,
but this affirmation can build in your life as the Lord Himself is blessing it.

And, “Peace be with you,” were the words that the risen Savior said
when He amazingly appeared to His disciples after His resurrection from the dead.

In His message of the beatitudes, Jesus listed ways that we can be blessed.
Therefore, be a peacemaker, even to yourself…and, in Jesus Christ, find rest.

P. A. Oltrogge

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” John 20:19

“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.” John 14:27

“…But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6

Scriptures NKJV

Beauty is in the Eye of God, the Beholder

The story of a “different” duckling was one that, as children, most of us had read…This duckling was ridiculed because of his appearance–so much so, that he finally fled.

He then went through various experiences, away from the home he originally knew; but all of those experiences were bitter and caused him to keep feeling “blue.”

As the story progressed, he came upon a flock of magnificent swans, while downcast, who welcomed him as a most beautiful swan; and there he found happiness at last.

We learn, in reading the Bible, that God doesn’t look at how you outwardly appear–You may feel you haven’t much value, yet you’re a distinctive “swan” in His mirror.

And if blessed with what man defines as great beauty, God still looks within to start…His search for a person who is devoted to Him, humble, but courageous of heart.

Remember, too, that when God sees you, He sees the righteousness of His own Son; and He has promised to perfect the good work in you that, through Christ, He has begun.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For Thou dist form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 KJV

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him, for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

E81C9596-ECCC-4663-9867-34BE1D3959AD