Worth Repeating…

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Regarding Psalm 107, on God’s compassion to help—one example is verse 20…

“He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”

Interwoven throughout the Psalm are words that are key instructions:

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

So, these are the words to focus on then…

when deliverance from a particular trial seems like something you’ll never see…

Don’t quit, but say, “Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness, and for Your wonderful works…to me!”

P. A. Oltrogge

…or you may want to insert the name of anyone for whom you’re praying….

Psalm 107

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,

And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.

Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.

And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—

Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,

Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.

Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.

Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.

He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters,

They see the works of the Lord,
And His wonders in the deep.

For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
Which lifts up the waves of the sea.

They mount up to the heavens,
They go down again to the depths;
Their soul melts because of trouble.

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
And are at their wits’ end.

Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.

He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.

Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

He turns rivers into a wilderness,
And the watersprings into dry ground;

A fruitful land into barrenness,
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.

He turns a wilderness into pools of water,
And dry land into watersprings.

There He makes the hungry dwell,
That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,

And sow fields and plant vineyards,
That they may yield a fruitful harvest.

He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly;
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

When they are diminished and brought low
Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,

He pours contempt on princes,
And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;

Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction,
And makes their families like a flock.

The righteous see it and rejoice,
And all iniquity stops its mouth.

Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

New King James Version

Is Anything Too Hard for God?

“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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:29-30

Since Jesus said His yoke is easy and that His burden is light,
I shouldn’t let things that seem worrisome keep me up in the night.

I need to cast on Jesus all of my worries and cares instead,
for He lovingly said that He has numbered the very hairs of my head.

If I’m worrying, I’m saying that God isn’t really big enough
to handle or resolve problems that, to my mind, seem so tough.

Can’t He who created your own brain know better what to do?
Consider that and believe that it’s His ability that will see you through.

Why not fully release to God the things that you’ve prayed about?
Put all your confidence in Him and leave no room at all for doubt.

When he who tempts with fear is urging you to be distraught,
just say, “I’ve cast my cares on Jesus,” by the faith that He has taught.

Then go ahead and rest in His love–know it is done and give Him praise.
Remember He leads in green pastures where His sheep may safely graze.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-8 NKJV

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27 NKJV

“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26 NKJV

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

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures….” Psalm 23:1-2 NKJV

Deliverance from Snares

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!’ For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence.” Psalm 91:1-3 NASB

A strong confidence in God will cause adverse things to shatter.
In any situation, remember, that faith is the victory in the matter.

So don’t let worries trouble you or rob you of your sleep.
Give them over to your Good Shepherd and be a confident sheep.

The One who’s most able to deliver you from any kind of snare
is the One on whom the Bible says we’re to cast our every care.

Look to Jesus and worship Him, giving your thanks and praise.
Then you will find His mighty power released and ready to amaze.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV

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

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me.”
John 10:14 NASB

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 NKJV

Stay in agreement with God’s Word.

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Photo/Unsplash

The Lord of the Pillar of Cloud and Fire

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“Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:20-22

“And with a pillar of cloud Thou didst lead them by day and with a pillar of fire by night to light for them the way in which they were to go.” Nehemiah 9:12
____________________________________________________

Moses, a Hebrew by birth, was called by God to lead His Hebrew people out
from the ancient land of Egypt to a prayed-for promised land route.

Through his obedience and God’s powerful hand, their burdened lives as slaves
came to be changed forever because the good Lord hears and saves.

God had heard their desperate cries–and had seen the severe oppression.
After many God-sent plagues, Pharaoh finally made his concession.

So hardhearted had he been, that it had taken a very mighty blow
to his own and all Egyptian families before he would let God’s people go.

Many pestilences had been tried–including frogs and boils on man and beast–
hail, insects, darkness, and finally, death of firstborns of the greatest man’s home to the least.

That was the deciding plague, which caused the barrier to the Hebrews’ freedom to be broken– while they, in Goshen, were spared, for blood on their doorposts had “spoken.”

Yes, blood from an unblemished lamb on each lintel and doorpost was spread–
This proclaimed that their lives should be preserved because of a lamb that had bled.

They had shared the first Passover meal–a feast remembered to this day,
which points to God’s sacrificial lamb in Christ–now the Good Shepherd
who leads our way.

After the Passover, God guided His people with a pillar of cloud in their sight. And for gains through night-time travel, He led by a pillar of fire for needed light.

Quick to regret, Pharaoh pursued the former captives to the brink of the great Red Sea. But the angel of God and God’s pillar of cloud kept the Hebrews secure and free.

This protection and time were needed, for Moses to stretch forth his hand.
The Lord swept back the sea with a wind all night, creating for the Hebrews dry land.

God’s people then made their way safely, with walls of water on each side–
They followed the leadership of Moses, casting any fears they might have had aside.

God brought Pharaoh’s army into confusion; then the Lord gave Moses the instruction…to stretch forth his hand again, which made way for the pursuers’ destruction.

From out of the pillar of cloud, God caused the Egyptian’s chariot wheels to sway. The waters turned back and drowned them all, giving the Hebrews victory that day.

Protection and guidance were provided back then through God’s pillar of cloud and fire. Therefore, let’s seek the same Lord of those ancient days who calls us to a life that’s higher.

Today a “promised land” is yours through the leading of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Abundant life now and an eternal home with God is freely offered to everyone.

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the Old Testament account in the book of Exodus)

New Testament references:

“And Peter said to them ‘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.’” Acts 2:38

Words of Jesus:

“…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” John 10:10

“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28 KJV

“…and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said…And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” John 17: 1. 4

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

The Church’s One Foundation

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Writers who prayed in years gone by have been, actually, some of the best.
Many times, their words became hymns, with which Christians were then blessed.

Those melodies and words still come forth as God’s Spirit brings them to mind,
bringing encouragement to our walk of faith, or matters of faith defined.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The Church’s One Foundation”
by Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord, to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end.
Though there be those that hate her.
False sons within her pale,
Against both foe and traitor
She ever shall prevail.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping;
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.

Mid toil and tribulation
And tumult of her war
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore,
Til with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

From The Lutheran Hymnal
Author: Samuel J. Stone, 1866
Composer: Samuel S. Wesley, 1864

Christ Our Cornerstone
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22 NKJV

Train Ride

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I was traveling on a train that had many stops it would be making…
but I knew my destination and which stop that I’d be taking.

I thought I’d ask the traveler next to me where he was going to go;
then, surprisingly, he said it wasn’t something he could know.

I thought that that was rather odd, for one needs to be quite sure,
for travelers can’t ride indefinitely on a never-ending tour.

I’d researched my destination, having heard it was a beautiful place;
but my fellow traveler’s plans were vague and uncertain in his case.

Eventually, he’d need to get off—there would come an end to the trail.
It reminded me of those who travel equally vaguely, but on a spiritual rail.

They think that any exit will get them to a final place of peace,
but they haven’t secured the ticket to where God’s love will never cease.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life…don’t travel until it’s too dark.
Secure your ticket by taking Him as Savior—then you’ll KNOW where you will disembark.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6 NKJV

“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

HE Strengthens Me

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I’ve got some mountains to climb

and I need to feel prime…

So I thought of that script,

which says that I’m equipped:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

He strengthens me; HE strengthens me…

With each step forward, He strengthens me;

with each step up, He strengthens me.

If I suffer a setback, He strengthens me.

If I feel weak, I’ll resist being distraught…

No, “He strengthens me” must be my thought,

for that is what the scriptures have taught.

This confidence I have, for I’m blood-bought.

So, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might,”

just as David found strength in God for a Goliath fight!

P. A. Oltrogge

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19 NLT

“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NKJV

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

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28 NASB

“(The Armor of God) Finally, Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10 NASB

“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands….’” 1 Samuel 17:45-46 NASB

“For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall.”
2 Samuel 22:30 and Psalm 18:29 NKJV

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Photos/Pixabay

Postscript:
Whatever you have to do,
the Lord will see you through!

It’s a New Day

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by J. Vetter,
Guest Contributor

Don’t you love new beginnings?

A new baby?

A new job?

A blank canvas, if you are an artist?

But do you realize YOU are a blank canvas in God’s hands and that He is the Master artist? Instead of worrying so much about what we will do each day – just think of how much more would be accomplished if we asked God to bring forth His awesome, creative gifts through us every day.

A new year often means well-intentioned resolutions. However, we usually approach them with an “I” – I want to lose weight, I will exercise more, I will stop smoking, etc. Instead, let’s anticipate the blessings of God and the creative flow of His gifting.

Many of us have just gone through a season where we received gifts. Maybe some of them were the wrong size or not really what we wanted. However, the true giver of perfect gifts is the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He also created you and knows exactly who you are and what you need.

God’s word says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17 NKJV

So if you didn’t receive the “perfect” gift at Christmas, trust the Lord to bring those precious gifts that speak of His knowledge of who you are. After all, He created you and knows even the number of hairs on your head. (That always amazes me – especially when the number changes daily!)

When you are on the lookout for God’s gifts, don’t expect them to arrive in tinsel or pretty bows. One of my favorites, at two different times, was a cardinal, (God knows how I love them) which appeared right when I needed a pick-me-up. Once, he sat quietly for a long time on the azalea bush outside our bedroom window. Another time, he flew to the tree close to our dining room window as I stood there asking the Lord to lift my discouragement.

A friend shared with me recently an incident that happened one day when she was out walking. The day was really chilly and her nose began to run. She said, “Lord, I really need a tissue.” A few minutes later, she looked up and saw a perfectly good tissue caught on a branch. I’m sure many a skeptic would say that was only a coincidence; and I can’t begin to understand how it got there, but I know she won’t forget that “gift.”

I remember the day of my grandson’s funeral – the end of a hot July in Texas – but a cool breeze danced around the gravesite as we sat there, and butterflies seemed to be led by an angelic symphony as they darted from flower to flower. My heart lifted with the certainty that this life is not the end. What a gift God’s presence was on that day.

In this new year, let’s learn to receive all the gifts God has to give, starting with the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ. If Fed Ex comes to our door with a package that requires a signature, they won’t leave it until we sign to receive it. Likewise, we need to simply sign our name, so to speak, on the gift sent from heaven.

Have you said “yes” to the greatest gift of all?

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Poinsettias for the Prince of Peace

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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.

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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.

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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

Photos/Pixabay

Consider the Birds and the Lilies

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Look at the birds of the air…
They don’t sow, reap, or gather
Their needed food into barns—
But are dependent upon God, rather.

Consider how the lilies are clothed—
They toil not, nor do they spin,
But to the heavenly Father’s care
They’re blessed to give in.

Yes, consider these,
And consider giving in,
To the message of Christ’s love
Above this world’s din.

Partake, through the Bible, from God’s table
Of spiritual food fit for a King’s heir,
And be clothed in the love of Jesus,
the finest thing you could wear.

Consider the children,
So gentle and so tender—
What kind of faith
To them will you render?

One that speaks dislike
And contempt of others—
Or one that speaks love
And draws all men to be brothers?

The heavenly Father gave Jesus
To tell of God’s care and to guide.
When we take Him as Savior, He gives love
For all others for whom He has died.

So just like the lilies
Or the birds of the air,
May people of all nations be blessed to give in
To Jesus—the way to the Father God’s care…

P. A. Oltrogge

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies….” Luke 6:27

“And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’”
Matthew 22:37-40

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious, can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.

“But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:25-34

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