Reflections from the Master Designer

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Faces—you see them everywhere you go,
having two eyes, a mouth, and a nose, although
each one is different except for a twin—
Then personalities differ, despite being such close kin.

Just look at your arms, your feet, legs, and knees.
You’re wonderfully made, and I’ve found it to please
My creative ability—and you won’t come unglued,
for I formed you in the womb and your life then ensued.

And inside each person I have given a soul;
to carry out My plans, each life has a unique role.
If you need further evidence, just consider your own hand—
with its fingerprints designed just for you by My command.

Each snowflake is known to have its own pattern,
and assorted planets are out there, like Mars or like Saturn.
The oceans with waters I’ve given are vast—
trees, mountains, and flowers by My hand were cast.

You see, the heavens are telling the glory of God;
My handiwork’s proclaimed therein—yet it’s odd
that some in this world want to say My existence
should be denied or challenged with strong resistance.

“Man alone is master,” they proclaim, but deny
that trusting in a greater Master is really the heart’s cry.
And for those who say this world has merely evolved,
they haven’t yet realized around Whom it’s revolved.

Reflected as in a mirror, My image became more clear
when I sent My Son, Jesus, as Redeemer from sin and fear.
He spoke to mankind of the Father as you can see in My Word;
and from Genesis to Revelation, I’ve desired it all to be heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15 NASB

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

See “About the Porch”

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His Eye is on the Sparrow

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Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
when Jesus is my portion? My closest Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender words I hear,
and resting in His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears.
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Charles H. Gabriel, 1905

…the following spoken by the Lord Jesus:

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
(Matthew 8:26 NKJV)

(The Way, the Truth, and the Life) “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1 NKJV)

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid.”
(John 14:27 NKJV)

Dear Jewish Friend…

We’re meant to be family; I pray you can see
that the Jewish carpenter, Jesus, was from your family tree.
Of the house and lineage of David, as Jewish as you yourself;
yet He was God and Messiah, not a name in a Book on a shelf.

Your Torah, too, speaks about the sacrifices
necessary for what a holy God saw as mankind’s vices.
God’s people couldn’t come to the priest with righteousness of their own,
but through the slaying of an animal, a cleansing was shown.

Your devotion to God is very commendable,
yet your system of belief is not dependable
before the God of Israel’s holy face.
You see, you must recognize the One sent in your place.

No, there won’t be a Messiah by any other name
than the revealed Jesus Christ of worldwide fame.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son—
Don’t look for another Messiah to do what Jesus has already done.

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 3:8-10 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 26:6 NIV

”The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and bloom.  Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy….”. Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV

Further study:
http://www.sidroth.org
http://www.Jewishvoice.org

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“Free Indeed!”

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“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 KJV.

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

It’s impossible for me to be ensnared
by the devil and his demons, for I’ve been spared.

As a disciple of the Lord, continuing in His Word,
I can claim what Jesus said and rest assured.

“The Son has made me free, and I am free indeed!”
Since this is the promise, for which I have the deed,

the devil must flee from me, taking heed,
that I am “free indeed,” as JESUS has decreed…

AND JESUS AND I ARE FULLY AGREED!

P. A. Oltrogge

Postscript to the poem:

Since the blood of Jesus has permeated my entire being;
redemption through His blood is absolutely freeing!
And “in Him I live and move and have my being…” (from Acts 17:28)

”Christ purchased our freedom and redeemed us from the curse of the Law and it’s condemnation by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs (crucified) on a tree (cross).’”  Galatians 3:13 AMP

“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindess and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV

“For in him we live and move and have our being, as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Acts 17:28 KJV

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:23 KJV

“Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  James 4:7 NKJV

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 RSV

”Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Thoughts and Declarations

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If a thought, upon arising, says that every hope is gone,
remember that the Lord’s mercies are new at every dawn.

If moments from the past come to mind that weren’t the best,
think only of those times when you just knew that you were blessed.

And instead of sad lamenting over any “milk” that has been spilled,
think expectantly about the future and God’s promises being fulfilled.

Make prophetic declarations that will inspire you on your way.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue…you can have what you say.

P. A. Oltrogge

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

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV

Often referenced by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin, were Mark 11:22-24. He therefore believed in the power of our words and taught, “You can have what you say.” See http://www.rhema.org  (Faith Food Devotionals under Study Center)

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God.  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.’” Mark 11:22-24 NKJV (and 25-26 on forgiveness)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 NKJV

”(The Lord) crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” from Psalm 103 NKJV

Pleasant Words

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Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 NKJv

Oh, how our souls are often in need of words that are sweet,
for it’s so very easy in life to have thoughts of defeat.

Finding words of encouragement, perhaps from a Psalm,
will go a long way in helping to keep our thoughts calm.

And the words that we ourselves speak should always be trained
to be gracious and uplifting, as God has ordained.

Pleasant words, kind words, are words that will nourish.
By them, the lives of others and our own lives will flourish.

P. A. Oltrogge

“A word filly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 AMP

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV

“Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19 NKJV

“But He (Jesus) answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NKJV

“Surely goodnesss and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23:6 NKJV

The Greatest of These…

Something to remember about the story of Joseph, whose brothers had him sold,
is that bitterness towards them isn’t recorded in the story as told.

It relates the various trials of Joseph, being imprisoned unjustly was among the worst. Perhaps a bit of revenge was enacted when, as Egyptian ruler, he treated them harshly at first.

But when Joseph observed their attitude towards Benjamin and now how much they cared, he could no longer keep from revealing himself to them, but wanted brotherly love to be shared.

He completely forgave his brothers for the evil to him that they’d done;
and they, in turn, loved Joseph, who’d been their father’s favorite son.

Most often noted is Joseph’s great faith in God, from which he never departed;
but he was also a very gracious man, loving, and tenderhearted.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” 1Thessalonians 4:9 NKJV

“Let brotherly love continue.” Hebrews 13:1 NKJV

“Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him.”
(from the story of Joseph in Genesis 45:14-15 NLT)

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Keep the Faith…in God’s Word

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

“Get into (and stay in) agreement with God’s Word,”

is the best advice, I believe, that I have ever heard.

For instance, when the Word says that we’ve already been healed,

why do we, at times, feel that those words have been repealed?

Jesus said to speak to the mountain to see a change occur,

so He knew that we could do so, though we feel unsure.

Jesus was our example. He even spoke to the sea that roared.

The disciples were amazed thereafter when calmness was restored.

Proverbs says that in the power of the tongue are both death and life,

so speaking the Word of God will guard against trouble and strife.

To steal, kill, and destroy are the devil’s wicked desires,

but agreement with God’s Word will put out Satan’s “fires.”

Don’t look to situations where things seem to have fallen through;

but look, instead, to the Word. We can trust it to be true.

For, in life, we’re in a battle of great spiritual dimensions—

Hold fast to your faith that God always has for you only the best intentions.

P. A. Oltrogge

“…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:16-17 NKJV

Encouraging teaching/testimonies at http://www.awmi.net

Blindness “Wall” Falls at Jericho

While Jesus, His disciples, and a great multitude were going out of Jericho, a beggar was there sitting by the side of the road.

He was Bartimaeus; and though blind, his hearing was fine to have heard of how Jesus’ healing ministry had flowed.

So, when, that day, Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, Himself, who was passing by…

“Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” became his earnest and heartfelt cry.

Many, among the crowd, told him to be quiet, as if, for him, there could be nothing in store.

But his plea of “Son of David, have mercy on me!” he kept shouting out all the more.

So Jesus heard Bartimaeus, then stood still, and commanded that he be called.

The persistence and “prayer” of Bartimaeus had caused the pace of Jesus’ journey temporarily to be stalled.

Bartimaeus was now beckoned, instead, with words of encouragement, “Rise, be of good cheer; He is calling you.”

Throwing aside his garment, he got up and came to Jesus, who asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Victory was breaking through…

At that point, Bartimaeus said, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight!”

“Go your way, your faith has made you well,” Jesus said; and immediately his world turned from darkness to light.

Walls had fallen down at Jericho through faith in God in an earlier, historical Biblical story.

And a “wall” of blindness fell at Jericho for Bartimaeus, when by faith in God’s mercy, he saw the Lord’s glory.

The account closes with Bartimaeus following Jesus down that outside Jericho road…

He had been confident of mercy and grace through Jesus Christ—from whom God’s marvelous light had flowed….

and still does today!

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the account from Mark 10; Referenced is the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho at Joshua 6)

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.” Hebrews 11:30 NKJV

“But you are a chosen generation, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV

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Further encouragement:
http://www.josephprince.org
http://www.billyburke.org

Remembering Billy Graham

I remember attending Billy Graham crusades when I was very young
and anticipating hearing Billy after George Beverly Shea had sung.

Cliff Barrows led the assembled choir in an always joyful way,
giving mighty praise to God before someone on stage would pray.

Then Billy would come forward; and with his powerful voice,
he’d say we needed to make a decision—God was giving us a choice.

He always pointed to the cross and what Jesus had achieved—
redemption through His shed blood on Calvary for anyone who believed.

He said we should repent of our sins and give our hearts to Christ—
that His was the only sacrifice which God says has sufficed.

He emphasized that “God loves you” and wants to be your friend,
counselor, and advocate—from beginning of life to its end.

He said this earth was not his home—that he was just passing through—
and that a home in heaven awaits every believer in Jesus Christ, too.

After many Biblical references, Billy would give an invitation.
Then, an amazing number in the place would come forward to his station.

As they came forward, a familiar song helped set so many hearts free—
“Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me.”

Today, Billy Graham is honored for faithful service to God during his life span.
May we continue to share the Gospel of Christ—God’s gracious redemptive plan.

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.” John 3:16 NKJV

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