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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A Rose in the Rain

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When facing difficulties… And for any men reading this, you could be compared to a hickory or oak tree, some of the strongest woods to weather storms…

Beloved, to God, you are His rose in the rain;
and don’t ever think He doesn’t feel your pain.
Trials aren’t sent to us by the Lord—
no, they’re deep rivers that He alone helps us ford.

The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy,
but we’ve got God’s Word to foil the thief’s ploy.
God’s promises are sure—He never has lied;
and the desire of your heart will surely be supplied!

With our eyes on God’s Word, we persevere;
we know this fulfillment is already here!
For faith says right now what isn’t seen with our eyes,
because we know that our God has heard our hearts’ cries.

A rose in the rain, but you’re hardy and strong—
you trust in God’s Word and in Him to Whom you belong.
There’s an answer in God for every problem we face;
so we thank You, Heavenly Father, for the answer by Your grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“The righteous cry and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:17-19 NASB

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:10-12 NASB

Lift Up Your Voice

I don’t know what this day will bring;
but this I know—God wants me to sing…

If there are problems and hope seems dim,
I can look to Jesus and worship Him.

P. A. Oltrogge

An old, familiar hymn to sing:

“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit; oh, what needless pain we bear—
all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

“Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

“Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee. Thou wilt find a solace there.”

by Joseph M. Scriven
written 1855

“Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.” 1 Chronicles 13:8

“All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You; they shall sing praises to Your name.” Psalm 66:4

On Paul and Silas:
“And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed.

“And the keeper of the prison, awakening from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.’

“Then he called for a light, ran in and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

“And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” Acts 16:23-34

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

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”
Psalm 150:6

(All scripture NKJV)

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Jacob’s Encounter with a Heavenly Visitor

“As he (Jacob) slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather, Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.’”

“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it! But he was also afraid and said, ‘What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, The very gateway to heaven!’”

Genesis 28:12-17 NLT

verse 19: “He named that place Bethel (which means ‘house of God’)….”

“Then he (Jesus) said, ‘I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth!’”

John 1:51 NLT

…and from Genesis 31-33:

After twenty years of service to Laban, the Lord told Jacob to take his family and livestock and return to his father, Isaac’s, land.

At a place, which he called Mahanaim, the angels of God met Jacob while he was journeying as God had planned.

“This is God’s camp,” he declared. Despite having seen angelic support, he was worried and sent messengers before him to meet Esau, his brother.

Due to cheating Esau of the patriarchal blessing years before, he had great fears about Esau and himself getting along with one another.

He prayed to God about his fears, seeking His mercy, and decided to offer, for the sake of peace, some herds of his livestock to Esau, each one as a gift.

But God would cause Esau to greet his brother with a heart of love—not bringing up or even thinking of their earlier rift.

Having sent his animals, servants, and family before him, Jacob was alone for the night.

At that point, Jacob had an unusual encounter with a Man with whom he wrestled until the morning light.

Not prevailing, the Man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, putting it out of joint—then urged him to let Him go, for it was break of day.

Jacob, however, would not let Him go, he said, unless He would bestow a blessing that he could take away.

The heavenly visitor asked his name. And “Jacob,” (one who supplants) was his name that he related.

Because he had “wrestled with God and men and prevailed,” his name would no longer be Jacob, but would be Israel, (to have power, as a prince) the visitor stated.

Jacob, too, asked the Man His name, which He didn’t offer—only asking him why he would inquire about it; but He blessed him there.

Jacob called the place, Peniel, for he knew that he had seen God face to face, yet his life had been spared.

In our own lives, we may “wrestle” with God, our own self-will resisting submission to Him, though at any time, He could conquer us.

If we fully understood His love and goodness, we would never resist submission to His will, for He only desires to “conquer” us to bless us…

Trust in the Lord, follow His leading…and be blessed!

P. A. Oltrogge

Laban pursued Jacob after he left but God intercepted any friction by speaking to Laban in a nighttime dream. So Laban wound up making a covenant with him, and Jacob’s reunion with Esau was not disastrous as he had feared—things turned out well for him.

We should remember that the angels are with us, too, as they were with Jacob, and that we can turn to the Lord with any problem, reminding Him of His promises, just as Jacob ultimately did in this account.

Many believe that “the Man” Jacob wrestled with could well have been Jesus Himself, temporarily in a human form, rather than an angel, for Jacob said he had seen God face to face.

In Genesis 32:9, Jacob prayed to the God of his grandfather, Abraham, and the God of his father, Isaac. But after wrestling with God, he addressed Him as God, the God of Israel (Genesis 33:20).

”Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”. Psalm 62:8 NKJV

“He took his brother by the heel in the womb,
And in his strength he struggled with God.
Yes, he struggled with the Angel, and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from Him.
He found Him in Bethel,
And there He spoke to us—
That is, the Lord God of hosts.
The Lord is His memorable name.
So you, by the help of your God, return;
Observe mercy and justice,
And wait on your God continually.”

Hosea 12:3-6 NKJV

“…As he (Jacob) approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept. Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, ‘Who are these people with you?’ ‘These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,’ Jacob replied.” (Jacob then introduces his entire family.)

“‘And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?’ Esau asked. Jacob replied, ‘They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.’ ‘My brother, I have plenty,’ Esau answered. ‘Keep what you have for yourself.’ But Jacob insisted, ‘No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough. And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift.” (From Genesis 33 NLT)

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The Rise of a Miracle

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A sunrise doesn’t occur ‘til after many hours of night,
…but then it begins to appear with ever-increasing might!

Likewise, that very miracle which seems to be delayed,
will dawn for you if you don’t lose faith in the promises God has made.

Remember your part is believing with your heart, with your voice confessing—
that you’ve spoken to the mountain in Jesus’ name—it can’t stand in the way of your blessing.

An important fact to remember and voice is that the devil is defeated.
Whenever a negative thought casts doubt, that fact should be firmly repeated.

So, patience, praise, and the joy of the Lord are needed in the nighttime hour
before that miracle dawn breaks forth. At work within us is God’s power.

P. A. Oltrogge

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

“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:23-25

“How blessed is the man…(whose) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (from Psalm 1:1-3 NASB)

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

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.” Psalm 5:11

“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.” Psalm 27:6

(Praise to God for His awesome works) (To the Chief Musician. A song. A Psalm.). “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!” Psalm 66:1

(All scriptures New King James Version)

Living in Expectancy

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NKJV

Dear Father in Heaven,

You’ve told us that we should be bold in coming to Your throne of grace;
so, Father, as Your child, I come boldly to that place.

Jesus taught us to pray, and we thank You for our daily bread;
yet there’s something I’d like to add for the hours in the day ahead…

“Give us this day our daily”…miracles, is that for which I ask.
You’re a miracle-working God; I know You’re more than up to the task!

“On earth as it is in heaven,” is prayed for Your will to be done,
which is an appeal to see Your goodness, as stated perfectly by Your Son.

I wonder if a day went by, when Jesus was ministering on earth as a man,
where His disciples didn’t see the miraculous within the day’s span.

If so, it might have been because of a lack of faith to expect.
To be expectant of daily miracles, is something I shouldn’t neglect.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah” Psalm 68:19 NKJV

Matthew 6:8-13 The Lord’s Prayer

“There are only two ways you can live: by faith or by sight.”
Quote/Keith Moore

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Celebrate Life

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Celebrate the gift of life today—
don’t let troubles steal away your joy.
Jesus offers us abundant life,
while the devil only seeks to destroy.

There’s so much good to appreciate;
open your eyes to the blessings you’ll find.
And don’t let past disappointments cloud
today and your future that God has in mind.

P. A. Oltrogge

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

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 NKJV

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
For your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Psalm 138:8 NLT

“The Lord will accomplish that which concerns me;
Your (unwavering) lovingkindness endures forever—
Do not abandon the works of Your own hands.”
Psalm 138:8 AMP

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 NKJV

“‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 AMP

“Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NKJV

The Merit of a Gospel Tract

An untold number of people haven’t resolved the human heart’s cry
to connect with the living God, knowing where they’ll go whenever they die.
And regarding their daily lives, they still have not found out
that Jesus really loves them; and following Him is what life is about.

Though television has much programming pertaining to the Lord,
there are so many other programs that people are looking toward.
The internet has become an avenue for Christianity and its sharing,
but a “gift” politely offered can personally show others Jesus’ caring.

As Christians, we can consider having an unrealized, significant impact
on the lives of many others by giving an informative Gospel tract.
Telling others what Christ means to us can be done with those we know,
but a tract can go with strangers on their way to places that we can’t go.

We can ask the Lord to lead us to hearts that He’s prepared—
then it will be much easier for a Gospel tract to be shared.
Sure, sometimes we may be turned down or be met with verbal rejection;
but others will be interested in it, taking our offer for later reflection.

There have been stories where, by a tract, a path was definitely paved
for people to find their God. From suicidal or other wrong plans, some have even been saved. And further testimonies reported were that the Gospel became more clear to those with some knowledge of Jesus, but it was their hearts that still needed to “hear.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 NIV

We read of Lydia in the book of Acts, chapter 16:
“The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”

…words of Jesus… “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” John 4:35 NKJV

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Faith IS the Victory that Overcomes the World

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While it’s true that, as shared in yesterday’s post, the Lord’s heart is full of grace towards us, it’s still His desire that we grow in faith, giving glory to Him. If you’ve not already come across it, the Andrew Wommack series, “How to Become a Water Walker,” is an excellent teaching. You can put the title into the search bar at http://www.awmi.net to find the previously-aired television programming.

Another search there, among many other inspiring testimonials, is the story of Gina Boop, where faith and the authority of the believer is exemplified.

If we’ve experienced a setback or have heard some bad news,
those are the kinds of things the devil seeks to use
to get us to say the opposite of what God has said in His Word—
that faith isn’t the victory, like we’ve always heard.
But faith IS the victory as God’s Word has proclaimed;
we will never agree for His Word to be defamed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:3-5 NKJV

“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:17-20 NKJV

…and verse 12 speaks of faith and patience in inheriting the promises…