Shalom Always

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Completeness, or Shalom, means nothing missing–nothing broken;
and Shalom will always prevail where the Word of God is spoken.
As the Word dwells richly within us, and we trust the God who’s good,
any strife will be extinguished as we love as He says we should.

By the Holy Spirit’s direction, we go beyond our homes to share
Christ’s love with many others, since we have love to spare.
We’re confident in living life as we trust the Lord to guide–
blessed going out and coming in from any place where we reside.

Our homes will be an oasis of contentment all our days,
for we know that the Father is faithful to keep us in all of our ways.
And, surrounded by His Love, we’re “at home” when we’re away;
we’re sheltered under His wings, with His protection every day.

Even if circumstances would cause some outward things to shatter,
with Jesus reigning in our hearts, those things won’t really matter.
For He, truly, is our life; and He’s our guaranteed peace–
With our eyes kept fixed upon Him, our Shalom will never cease.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16 KJV

“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5 KJV

“The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” Psalm 121:8 NKJV

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 KJV

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy 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 NASB

“He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge: His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.” Psalm 91:4 NASB

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

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” Psalm 46:1-3 NASB

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10 KJV

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One Lamb, the “I Am”

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“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14 NKJV

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’”
John 8:58

“He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and he was afflicted. Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” Isaiah 53:3-7

One Lamb, the “I AM”

Complete redemption is every person’s need, and there is just One Lamb,
Who was silent before His accusers–though He was, and is, the great “I AM.”

All of us, like sheep, have gone astray, but never did this One Lamb.
He kept God’s laws perfectly, while our own “righteousness” is a sham.

One Lamb bore our sins and sicknesses; we can look to Him still today–
For as in when He walked the earth, He doesn’t want it any other way.

One Lamb, one sacrifice, alone, was sufficient on the cross at Calvary’s hill.
There’s no other than this Lamb of God–there’s no need to be seeking still.

The Almighty God Himself ordained great grace through His One Lamb;
Thank you, Jesus, for having humbled Yourself for us, despite being the great “I AM.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

“…And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment….” Isaiah 64:6

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.” Psalm 103:3

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’” John 6:35

“Again therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

“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

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” John 11:25

“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

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser.” John 15:1

Pink Sky in the Morning

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After we’ve come through the dark hours of night,
a pink sky in the morning is a magnificent sight.

In that very first light when the morning is breaking,
it uplifts and inspires—and is truly breathtaking.

Our Creator coats masterfully the sky with His paints,
and gives a song to the birds for the waking of His saints.

P. A. Oltrogge

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

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8 NIV

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24 NKJV

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV

“For lo, the winter is past. The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come. And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” Song of Solomon 2:11-12 NKJV

“…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:12-14 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

photo Unsplash

Biblical Steps…Ask, Seek, Knock

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Photo by Porch of the Lord,
Bequia Island

Let “Ask, and it will be given to you,” and “Seek, and you will find,”
and “Knock, and the door will be opened to you,” often come to mind.

God has so many possibilities, when we are thinking there are none–
The disciples were distraught at Jesus’ death ’til they beheld the risen Son.

When hope seems to have ended, remember your mighty God’s deeds.
He’s a “beyond all that we ask or think” God, who supplies beyond our needs.

So be blessed to be a blessing to others as God pours out His love.
Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights above.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen”.
Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV

“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 1:17KJV

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him? Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:7-12 NKJV

A Visit to the Woods While in the City

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Today I have responsibilities that call;
I may not be able to get to them all.

I like to think back on visits I’ve made
to peaceful wooded paths or a quiet glade.

At such places, it’s natural to pause and reflect
on the Lord, our Creator, and give Him respect.

But amidst crowded sidewalks or busy streets,
I can praise you, God, and remember our “retreats.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place
and rest a while.’….” Mark 6:31 NKJV

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 NKJV

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 NIV

Exodus 33:14; Psalm 23; Psalm 91:1-2; Psalm 119:105; John 14:27; John 20:21

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Photos by Porch of the Lord

There’s Still Light in Goshen

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The Lord was working out a major plan to set free–the captive Hebrew people of old. There would be ten plagues, so the actions of Moses and Aaron would need to be brave and bold.

When they came before Pharaoh, they had commands from the Lord on what to say or do, to warn him of, or initiate, every plague that his nation was soon to go through.

The ninth plague of darkness was so severe that the Egyptians couldn’t get around. For three days, the darkness was “felt” and thick, in the air and on the ground.

One of Egypt’s chief deities was the sun “god,” so such darkness proved the Lord’s might, to prevail over any of the “gods” of the Egyptians. Only His power could end the dark night.

But the Hebrews were under God’s protection; and, in the midst of that constant night, there was light in Goshen in their dwellings because God was in charge of their fight.

Today, people experience darkness, not of God and not a kind where you can’t visibly see, but darkness in their minds when they’ve not recognized “the door,” through which anyone’s able to go free.

Jesus pointed the way, saying, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” You can experience “Goshen” through God’s Son yet today, and you’ll have all of the light that you’ll need.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt. So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Exodus 10:21-23

“If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 KJV

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“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

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

…from the account in Daniel 6:

Due to Daniel’s outstanding capabilities, and out of concern that the king had given thought to putting him in charge over the entire kingdom, the other officials, knowing of Daniel’s reverence for God, concocted a plan to persuade the king to make an irrevocable decree—that for thirty days, whoever would pray to any god or man other than to the king, Darius, should be cast into a den of lions. After he had signed the decree and it was brought to his attention that Daniel continued in worship of his God, the king was greatly displeased with himself for having agreed to issue it; and he sought for a way to exempt Daniel. Finding no way to do that, the account continues:

“So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, ‘Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.’” Daniel 6:16

The Bible tells of the faithfulness of Daniel, yet he was thrown into a lions’ den—but God sent His angel to foil that plot of some evil-intentioned men.

The angel shut the mouths of the lions, that normally would have killed,
thereby saving Daniel’s life, which left his accusers with a plan that was unfulfilled.

That the king had fallen for their words and created the outrageous decree,
was a weak moment he quickly regretted, for he respected Daniel to a great degree.

Daniel remained steadfast in his worship of God—his prayers and praise were not diminished. We read that Daniel was delivered and prospered—and that his enemies met their own death before things were finished.

Today there are those who seek to subdue our reverence for the one and only God, too. But we should recall the example of Daniel, and how strong faith in God brought him through.

Opponents of Christianity may make their strikes against us, the Bible, and Jesus’ name. But we, too, can earnestly worship the Lord, believing for His intervention, like Daniel of lions’ den fame.

Some Bible teachers have said of this account, that it points to Jesus, as well. For the plot against Him couldn’t thwart God’s plan, leaving only of Christ’s death to tell.

No, God raised His beloved Son up—to the place of victory and greatest acclaim.
To this day, and forever, power and victory are synonymous with Jesus’ Name.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then King Darius wrote:

“To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

“Peace be multiplied to you.

“I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,

“For He is the living God,
And steadfast forever;
His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,
And His dominion shall endure to the end.
He delivers and rescues,
And He works signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

“So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

Daniel 6:25-28

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:5-11

Scriptures NKJV

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I should not be a bond-servant of Christ.”

Galatians 1:10 NASB

On Christ, the Solid Rock, I Stand

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“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalm 61:2

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Written, 1834 by
Edward Mote
Composed, 1873 by
John Stainer

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, to Timothy, a true son of the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:1-3

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Abraham’s Absolute Trust

This poetic telling is of the account in the Bible, which was written of in Genesis, chapter twenty-two. It’s the story of Abraham’s act of trust, in a most difficult thing God had asked him to do.

God called upon Abraham to take along Isaac, his much loved and only son…and journey to the land of Moriah, where, He said, a sacrifice would need to be done.

The unthinkable thing about this, was that the sacrifice Abraham was to make…was to be that of his very own son. Abraham must have felt that his heart would break.

God specifically designated Isaac as the sacrifice, leaving no room about it to doubt. So Abraham rose early the very next morning, saddled his donkey, and then set out.

He took two of his young men with him and Isaac, as God had, with certainty, decreed. Abraham had split wood to bring for burning–he would be obedient as the Lord would lead.

On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw at a distance, the designated, sacrificial site. He told the others to stay behind; he and the lad would go to worship there in the early morning light.

Abraham took the wood that was needed for the offering and strapped it upon Isaac’s back. He took the fire and a knife and they walked on together, until Isaac began to realize their lack.

“My father!” he said, and went on to say to Abraham, that the fire and the wood they had–but where was the lamb that they needed for the offering? Then Abraham answered the lad…

that God would provide for Himself the lamb, for the burnt offering that they would be needing. So Abraham and Isaac walked on again together, his absolute trust in God still leading.

Then they came to the place that God had specified, where Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood. He bound his son, Isaac, and laid him upon both, which Isaac certainly couldn’t have understood.

So Abraham stretched out his hand, with the knife to slay his son, but was stopped from doing the act…because the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, saying his fear of God was now shown as fact.

“You have not withheld your son, your only son from Me,” the Lord conveyed. Then Abraham saw a ram…caught in the thicket by his horns, it became the sacrifice–the replacement offering to the Lord by Abraham.

So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will Provide,” as it is said to this day. “In the Mount of the Lord, it will be provided.” These words remind us of one who trusted God in a great way.

A second time, the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and spoke of blessings that were yet to be…that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in heaven and as the sand on the shores of the sea.

In his seed would all the nations of the earth be blessed, because he’d obeyed the voice of the Lord. So Abraham and Isaac returned to the other men, and went to Beersheba, happy and with God’s reward.

In the same manner, many years later, God, the Father in heaven, actually did give us of His only beloved Son. He spared not His Son, so that we could have reward. When we take Jesus as Savior, our eternal life has begun.

God is the One who taught us of sowing and reaping. You see, He “sowed” His Son as the sacrifice for sin in our place. He’s expecting a great harvest of souls to be His sons and daughters. That’s a gift given to us simply by His grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

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

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

Scriptures: NASB

Shining Through with the Son

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“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” words of Jesus in John 10:10

The devil wants to rain down on our lives, turning what he can to be sour;
But we don’t let that stop us from retaining faith in Jesus’ power.

No, by the Lord’s peace, we know that there are blue skies up ahead;
Despite any storms, we trust for showers of blessing from God instead.

Jesus came and He won the battle and secured the devil’s defeat;
Now we enforce it by the Word of faith, confirming that Christ’s victory is complete.

Yes, there are many showers of blessing with rainbows rolling in…
We have fully-persuaded faith, embracing the truth that through Jesus Christ we win!

P. A. Oltrogge

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:6-8

“And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.” Romans 4:21 (KJV)

“…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Romans 14:5 (KJV)

“Loving God means keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.” 1 John 5:3-4 (NLT)

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” 1 John 5:4

“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching….” Romans 10:8

Jesus took of the sour, that we may have abundant life:

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:30 (NKJV)

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