A Walk through Bethlehem

In the wintry month of December, during the Christmas season each year,
a nearby church creatively causes the town of Bethlehem to appear.

Not as Bethlehem is seen today, but, instead, how it might have been,
with people of different trades at work; and there’s even the sold-out inn.

Watching a person making pottery or someone doing basket weaving,
or kneading dough for some bread makes you feel you are there and not make-believing.

An actual camel with a rider and some shepherds watching over their sheep…
add to the atmosphere of old Bethlehem as the night turns dark and deep.

“Angels” in white, with golden sashes, and “wise men” in rich-looking attire
also walk among the visitors, who can warm up at a carefully-tended fire.

Hot cider or chocolate are provided, and Christmas carolers are heard…
here and there on the “Bethlehem” grounds, reflecting the joy of God’s Word.

The highlight is the blessed manger scene—or the nativity, as it’s called—
featuring Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus, with whom we’re most enthralled.

Little children, as well as adults, walk away with hearts that are fully amazed…at having taken a walk down Bethlehem’s streets—to ponder the Lord’s birth—God, our Father, be praised!

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!”

Luke 2:13-14

P. A. Oltrogge

“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.” (from the message to the shepherds in Luke 2:10-12)

349B87CA-B5FC-49D4-8B1C-B16236894FE5

Fully-persuaded Faith

F651C3B7-D716-4665-8ED4-BB6BC94E22AB

Give glory to God that He IS coming through,
despite what circumstances may be “saying” to you.

Intervention, grace, and the favor of God are ours
because of His love, goodness, and unsurpassable powers.

Men ought always to pray and not to faint—
Stay fully persuaded in your faith in Him, dear saint.

P. A. Oltrogge

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:20-22 KJV

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint…”

Luke 18:1 KJV

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”

from Hebrews 12:2 KJV

Be blessed
at Faith School
http://www.moorelife.org

Poinsettias for the Prince of Peace

49C7BB1B-FFC7-4A32-9B39-1D8AF8BAC563

At the Christmas season, with decorations inside and out,
the poinsettias reflect what it’s all about.
Clean as the whiteness of a lamb or a dove–
the purity of ivory petals speaks of the Child sent from above.

83D589AB-2EE7-4163-852F-21F573FF3580

Pink reflects cheer and the joy that was proclaimed
by the angels about the Christ child–Jesus, He’s named.
Crimson red speaks of blood that was shed for mankind
by Jesus Christ upon the cross–our salvation defined.

CE5AC415-3590-4F43-8EF0-6CC074D9AC94

The lives of those who receive Him gain a new lease
in finding faith for living through this Prince of Peace.
So, in seeing the poinsettias, rejoice for the reason
that His birth in Bethlehem is what gave us this season.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:9-11 KJV

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” John 1:12 KJV

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His Name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

…from Christmas on the Porch, the book, available at http://www.amazon.com and http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Son of the Highest, Son of Man

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth have been from of old,
From everlasting.”
Micah 5:2 NLT

From destined Bethlehem Ephrathah, a town that was very small,
would come the One who would be Ruler of Israel and the Lord of all.

The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, a virgin humble and mild,
whom God the Father had chosen to bear the Messiah—Jesus, His Holy Child.

Coming forth from the family of Judah, Jesus’ birth was lauded that night,
by rejoicing angelic voices, as the world’s Savior from sin’s blight.

His goings forth, the prophet Micah said, were actually “from of old–
from everlasting,”
as He preexisted with God the Father, truth be told.

After His birth, Mary laid Him down in a manger—a depiction very sweet.
But He was Immanuel, the eternal Mighty God, sent to bring about Satan’s defeat.

P. A. Oltrogge

…this writing inspired by a devotional written by Kenneth E. Hagin,
Founder, Rhema Bible Training College

BC811330-EEFF-41D5-9650-D9B9486BF656

Joseph, betrothed to Mary, was troubled, having learned she was with child, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying…

“‘Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:20-23 NKJV

Prior to this, Mary had been visited:

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’

“But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’

“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’
And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’

“Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”

Luke 1:26-38 NKJV

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 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.’

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”

Luke 2:7-14 NKJV

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11 NKJV

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 NKJV

“The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—“. Acts 10:36 NKJV

Artwork print
Pixabay

Two Significant Births

The Hebrew people had prayed for a deliverer to be their long-promised King.
While living under Roman rule, they looked for the answer that God would bring.

Then it came to pass that two little babies were born in the same time span.
The lives of each one of them would be major in God’s great redemptive plan.

One would be a prophet named John, the baptizer, and was the son of Zacharias, the priest. The other was Jesus, who would be the focus and celebration of God’s greatest Passover Feast.

John’s mother, Elizabeth, had longed for a child and rejoiced at the birth of her son.
And Jesus’ mother, Mary, told the angel who came that God’s will for her should be done.

The angel, Gabriel, had first appeared to Zacharias and told him what to name his son…John, “The Lord is gracious,” a preparer of the way for the Messiah, God’s Anointed One.

When betrothed, Mary’s Joseph had gained assurance from God, by having been visited in a dream too. Mary stayed with her cousin, Elizabeth, for a time before her own baby would become due.

These four parents realized, through faith, the significance of those entrusted to their care. A messenger of God, and Immanuel, “God With Us,” were birthed in answer to prayer.

P. A. Oltrogge

(from Luke 1 and Matthew 1:18-25)

Written of Jesus:

“And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father, David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’ Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:30-38 KJV

Written of John:

“And his father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying… ‘And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’” Luke 1:67 and 76-79 NASB

…from Christmas on the Porch, the book, available at http://www.Amazon.com and http://www.barnesandnoble.com

D8347E75-EFA8-45D4-BEFF-F47524FABFB3

This I know…

Featured

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

“Then my enemies will be turned back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.” Psalm 56:9

In any situation that you may be in,
these words remind that God wants you to win.
This I know, that God is for me…
lifts you above the things that are “stormy.”

P. A. Oltrogge

Jesus loves me, this I know,
for the Bible tells me so.
Yes, Jesus loves me…

“In the same way, the Spirit helps our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 NASB

“With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18 NASB

A Visit to Israel

B74B48E4-BC3A-4BC4-BB72-AD701837A8CE
Garden of Gethsemane
Jerusalem, Israel

The historic country of Israel is where Jesus once walked and taught,
as well as having been the place where His many miracles were wrought.

Today, His followers make pilgrimages there, believing that they will find,
a sensing still of His presence and memories of a very special kind.

They want to walk where the Lord Jesus walked and sail on Galilee’s sea,
visit Calvary’s site—then go to where His empty tomb is said to be.

They picture Jesus turning water into wine or observing the Passover feast, teaching the Beatitudes on the mountain, or causing fish and loaves to be increased.

This land is where the Lord healed lepers or those who were blind or lame;
and Jerusalem is where He told His disciples to wait to receive of the Holy Spirit’s flame.

The city of Jerusalem, over which Jesus wept, was a prominent city of His day;
and its importance to the heart of God has certainly not diminished today.

Jesus wept for those who didn’t recognize that, through Him, scripture was being fulfilled. God had sent Him to be the solid rock of one’s life, upon which every believer should build.

Today, many of Jewish descent are returning to make their home in this land,
all of which was foretold in prophecy, fulfilling what God has planned.

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 3:9-10 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 27:6 NIV

18EE5F74-5B71-44A8-9935-BB33765EBC16

For further interest:
http://www.jerusalemprayerteam.org
http://www.levitt.com
http://www.savinglivesinisrael.org

Christmas on the Porch—2019

Cover Art for Christmas on the Porch, by P.A. Oltrogge

Cover art for Christmas on the Porch, by P.A. Oltrogge

Christmas will soon be here; and the Porch of the Lord book, Christmas on the Porch, has been updated with Christmas poems from the 2018 season that have now found their places within its pages, along with the Bethlehem star. This can be a great “coffee table” book or one to share and give away as a gift—a gift that reflects the true meaning of Christmas.

If you missed giving a copy to someone last year or would simply be interested in having the new collection of Christmas poetry for yourself, the updated book is presently available at http://www.amazon.com and also at http://www.barnesandnoble.com.

Have a blessed Advent and Christmas season, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

P. A. Oltrogge

FCE87785-0AEE-4E1B-A48A-F86D6B950810

This Jesus…

3744CEC6-63C2-4555-8511-7036F04D174E

“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths, reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.’ And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.” Acts 17:1-4

This Jesus…
Who suffered and died
and rose again from the dead–
This Jesus is the Christ,
the Chief Cornerstone and Head
of His Church.

Through this Jesus…
our lives can take on
a whole new scope…
The Father has provided us new birth
into a living hope.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”
1 Peter 1:3 NIV

“Therefore, it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’”
1 Peter 2:6 NKJV

Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Ephesians 2:19; 1 Peter 2:6,7

The above image of Jesus
used by permission of Bob Berran
at http://www.bobberran.com
See his Online Store to
purchase reprints of
various sizes.

Thanksgiving Every Day

7B98176A-8757-4ADC-9D8D-56CE9D3DCE4D

“I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:6

“Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.” Psalm 107:22

Words of an old hymn
by Henry Alford

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God, our Maker, doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God’s own temple come,
raise the song of harvest home.

“While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.’” Luke 17:11-19

Turn Back

When I think of the healing of the ten leprous men,
and how only one man turned back, in thanks to God, out of the ten,
I’m reminded of how I often take for granted God’s care,
when I should “turn back” to the place of blessing and thank the Lord there.

Joining you in thanking God today for all of our blessings and for His help and solutions to come for any concerns we may have on our hearts.

P. A. Oltrogge