Life’s Goodbyes

Over the years, life brings to us many goodbyes, which is why it’s so important that we become wise, gaining life and death perspectives, as seen through Jesus’ eyes.  He’s Savior, Lord, and King–and He never lies.

He wants us to understand before our lives are done, that there’s a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.  He said heaven could be ours–that it’s a beautiful place–reserved for those who trust in Him and is offered by God’s grace.

“Absent from the body…present with the Lord” is the promise and future that we can look toward, for when the time comes for us to leave the earth.  This is for anyone who has received Him through “the new birth.”

Life in this world is certainly a temporary thing; but, thank God, through Christ’s redemptive work, death has lost its sting.  Seeing Jesus face to face and reunions with loved ones gone…will, one day, follow our own “goodbyes,” a glorious new dawn!

P. A. Oltrogge

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)

“…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His Word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior; to Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” Titus 1:2-3 (NASB)

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.”  John 14:2 (NKJV)

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’” Luke 23:43 (NKJV)

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate.  The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.”  Matthew 7:13 (NLT)

See the story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16.

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” John 3:3 (NASB)

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:12-13 (NASB)

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

“We are confident, I say, and willing to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  2 Corinthians 5:8 (NKJV)

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  1 Corinthians 15:55 (NASB)

A Heart that’s Guided by God

“…then He (Jesus) said, ‘Behold, I have come to do thy will.’ He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God….” Hebrews 10:9-12 NASB

In the dark of night in Gethsemane’s garden, Jesus fell on His face to pray,
seeking possible release for Himself from a most difficult and painful way–
that His Father in heaven had revealed to Him on why He’d come as a Man.
He was to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, according to God’s plan.

To any one of us, death on a cross would be something we would shun; 
yet Jesus was able to say He would do it, so that God’s will could be done.
Being in agony, His sweat became like great drops of blood that fell.
He knew that the way of the cross would provide escape for us from hell.

And a great part of the atonement is bodily healing, just as Jesus had shown.
Abundant life is ours through Him, who sits at the right hand of the Father’s throne.
Jesus was our great example…of listening for and following God’s perfect will.
In setting aside our will to follow God’s, it’s His good purposes that we’ll fulfill.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’ He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.'” Matthew 26:36-39 NKJV

Before that time in Gethsemane, we read of what Jesus said:

“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?’” Mark 8:34-36 NKJV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

“…seek His will in all you do….” is written of the above scripture in the New Living Translation

Encouragement on healing at http://www.rhema.org in the book, “Bodily Healing and the Atonement,” by Dr. T. J. McCrossan, reedited and reprinted by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin and Dr. Roy Hicks

Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

in Matthew 15 and Mark 7, we read of a woman whose daughter was demon-possessed:

Great crowds of people came to see Jesus and to hear His every word…

and to possibly receive of the mighty miracles of which they all had heard.

In Matthew 15, we read of a Gentile woman of Tyre and Sidon who came.

Great was her hope to receive, for her daughter, even of crumbs, through Jesus’ name.

When Jesus said that He’d been sent only to the sheep of Israel who were lost,

she spoke with courage–refusing the thought that her daughter should remain storm-tossed.

“Oh, woman, great is your faith.  Let it be to you as you desire,” Jesus said.

Likewise, in a trial, we can believe…to see God’s grace to help us through instead.

P. A. Oltrogge

Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Matthew 15:25-28

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus….

Hebrews 3:1

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

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful….Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.

Hebrews 10:23, 35-36

Take courage today

Jesus told His disciples to go ahead of Him to the other side of the sea.

He had sent the crowds away and, for a time of prayer, He needed to be free.

When Jesus came walking upon the water in the fourth watch of the night,

the disciples, in their boat, thought they were seeing a ghost and cried out in fright.

They had already been disturbed that night, having been battered by waves—

the wind was contrary. Here, we’ll see another instance where “Jesus saves!”

Jesus told them to take courage—that it was Him and that there was nothing to fear.

Some translations of this account say that He told them to be of good cheer!

Having witnessed the Lord’s miracles, Peter wanted to be a disciple of faith, as Jesus had taught,

and join the Lord on the water. Stepping out of the boat, he actually walked on the sea, but then became distraught.

Initially, his confidence had been high, so when the Lord told him to come, he boldly went ahead.

The Bible indicates, though, that he took his eyes off of Jesus by noticing the wind, instead.

It says that he “saw” the wind, meaning that it was whipping up the water to a greater degree. 

Looking away from Jesus, the Fearless One, even for just that moment, caused Peter’s courage to flee.

Jesus reached out quickly and rescued Peter, but questioned him as to why he had succumbed to doubt. 

As they entered the boat, the wind stopped; and the disciples, in awe, worshiped the Lord as they continued on their route.

We, too, today, must ever look to Jesus, remembering His great love for us and the mighty miracles that He can perform.

We have testimonies today—as well as those told in the Bible—of His ability to bring us out, in victory, through any kind of storm.

P. A. Oltrogge

(From Matthew 14:22-32)

Biblical Steps…Ask, Seek, Knock

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

On Any Night or Day

Before reading this poem, “God is Good, All the Time,” I want to recommend a most encouraging true account told in the book, Healed Overnight by Amy Keesee Freudiger. You can read an overview of her book when you visit Amy’s website at http://www.HealedOvernight.com

God is Good, All the Time

…from Luke 13:10-17

In this account, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues; and it was on a Sabbath day.

A woman was there who, for eighteen years, had had a sickness caused by a spirit—she was bound by Satan that way.

She was bent double and was totally unable to straighten up at all.

But she made her way over to Jesus, upon His invitation and call.

“Woman, you are freed from your sickness,” He said, laying His hands upon her—immediately she became erect.

She began to glorify God that Jesus’ ministry had had such a powerful effect!

But due to rigid adherence to the Torah, a synagogue official could only “see” the Law.

Jesus should not have healed on the Sabbath, he indicated. All he could see was this “flaw.”

In the face of such a miracle, he still, obviously, wasn’t persuaded.

His only desire seemed to be that Jesus’ act of love should be degraded.

Jesus then called him a hypocrite, saying that he, and the other synagogue officials, would untie their own oxen or donkeys on the Sabbath to lead them to some waters.

How much more, then, was it right for Him to heal, even though on a Sabbath, this woman, who was one of Abraham’s daughters.

After Jesus had said these things, his opponents were put to shame…

while, for the glorious things He was doing for others, the people were giving Him great acclaim.

As believers, we, too, are heirs of Abraham; and on any night or day…

the Lord, who never slumbers or sleeps, will hear and answer us whenever we pray.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:29 NASB

“…He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:3-4 NASB

Triumphant Hope in Jesus

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6, 7

“Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now we know in part, but then I shall know fully, just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

(A poem on renewal of hope after experiencing loss or a setback to faith.)

You came through difficult days–at times you felt vulnerable and disappointed.
But, remember, you’re a child of God, and you’re still very much anointed.

Philippians 4:13 says you can do all things you’re called to do–
Just keep your eyes fixed on Jesus–that’s Hebrews 12:2.

God is totally for you–His Word has made it clear.
Don’t let past adversities cause you to doubt or fear.

We don’t fight against flesh and blood, but it’s a spiritual battle we wage;
Holding fast to your confidence is vital–it’s not time to disengage.

“Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.”

That’s an old familiar hymn sung down through the years;
And you have carried on so bravely, though sometimes there were tears.

As you continue in God’s Word, it will be a lamp unto your feet
And a light unto your path, bringing fellowship that’s sweet.

In studying the Bible, you’ve come to understand
That all that is good is from the Father’s hand.

Jesus went about healing, showing the Father’s true heart.
He commanded the waves to be calm and the winds to depart.

The Old Testament account of Joseph tells of much that he withstood;
But from what was meant for evil, God brought forth only good.

So keep listening to the Holy Spirit and using God’s Word as you pray;
It’s the trustworthy sword of our armor–don’t let the enemy have any other say.

Plead the blood of Jesus…For our well-being, He was scarred;
Stay strong in your precious faith in His Word, knowing it will guard.

A beautiful chapter of promise is Psalm ninety-one;
We can claim it at each daybreak and even when the day is done.

Surely, you’ve gone through a hard place; but you’ll find by remaining bold
And confident in the Lord, Jesus Christ, your faith will be greater than gold.

“In the world you have tribulation, but…I have overcome the world,” Jesus said.
Stand firm in that truth and you will find that God has wonderful things still ahead.

P. A. Oltrogge

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine; and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came; and the winds blew, and burst against the house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.” Matthew 7:24, 25

“…rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.” Romans 12:12

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19-20

“Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” James 1:17

“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

“But thanks be to God who always leads us in His triumph in Christ….”
2 Corinthians 2:14

Psalm 91 (entire Psalm)

“that being justified by His grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7

Book or CD recommendation at http://www.billyebrim.org under “Store,” …”The Authority of the Believer and How to Use It” and other insightful materials.

Photo/Unsplash by David Marcu
Piatra Craiului Mountains, Romania

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

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases….” Psalm 103:1-3

Hear testimonies of the works of Jesus today…or receive prayer, M-F, 9:30 a.m. ET; 8:30 a.m. CT at http://www.govictory.com (Morning Prayer)

Refer also to archived post, “Immersion in God’s Word,” or to other sites, such as http://www.moorelife.org, http://www.awmi.net, and others previously mentioned on this blog.

The Creator of the Ends of the Earth

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.

Isaiah 40:28-29 NKJV

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God….

Psalm 42:1-2 NKJV

Photos/Unsplash: Top, Gleason Falls, Hillsborough, NH, U.S., by Forest Simon
Bottom, Rocky Mountain State Park, Estes Park, U.S., by Steve Adams

On the Porch of the Lord

A place of refreshment, the porch of the Lord…
Pull up a chair, take in spiritual air.
Jesus always has time, and His is the power–
Receive there His touch in this end-time hour.
Like Mary, take time to sit at His feet;
Come to His porch for relief from life’s heat.
Only one thing is needful and truly can please–
His Word and His presence, felt on each breeze.
He offers living water, quenching everyone’s thirst;
And that’s yours there daily, by seeking Him first.
There’s joy on His porch, with your sisters and brothers,
As you find your needs met while caring about others.
The healing and peace which only Christ can bring
Are found there at all times—an everlasting spring.
Taste there His love, so generously poured;
Your “cup will run over” on the porch of the Lord.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things; But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:38-42 NKJV

“But one thing is needful…” verse 42, KJV

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Psalm 23:5 KJV

(See Porch of the Lord website for Sonja Lovas photo link)