Out of the Ashes

The following was written some years ago but is certainly applicable today.
by Guest Contributor, J. Vetter

Only a year ago, a tornado swept through our town, and trees became missiles of destruction. They slammed against houses, fences and vehicles with an angry vengeance.

This morning I took the time to investigate the new walking trail that was built in our area. Joy crowded into my heart and it overflowed with gratitude as I recognized that the pathway had been created with the remains of those fallen trees. Then, at the end of the trail, the joy that I felt gave birth to overwhelming revelation of new life! There, amidst the trees, an outdoor chapel had been built. There was a simple wooden cross, a pulpit, and there were six wooden benches.

Even though no one was standing behind the pulpit, I heard a message spoken loudly and clearly into my spirit. It was “Never give up! Never give up!” In spite of what may look like devastation, God declares, “There will be new life – trust Me! Learn to expect the good, for I know how to bring it about. Take your eyes off the distraction of loss and begin to expect the beauty of renewal.”

The Lord has much to say about being one who overcomes. I personally believe it thrills God’s heart when we choose to allow Him to rebuild what has been devastated or broken. It may not look the same; but in fact, often it can be even better. I’m thinking, for example, of the times people have had a water pipe break or some other kind of flooding. At first, it’s just a mess, and not very many people start out being thankful. However, after the insurance company pays for new flooring and restoration, it’s easy to forget the sense of frustration about the incident.

If only we could always see a snapshot of the finished project! But wait…God has something to say about that–how about, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

I remember reading about a woman whose son was severely injured. She was praying for his healing and happened to look up and out of her kitchen window and saw a vision of him riding his bike over the lawn. Time went by, and he was healed. One day, she actually saw that exact picture of him on his bike, just as she had seen in the earlier vision.

Many a person, when keeping faith in the Lord, has found that the loss of a job has yielded an even better one or a new situation that is more satisfying for them.

Sometimes, as in a personal experience of my own, a loss can be very hard–the loss of a precious loved one. Yet, I can give thanks for having had the joy of having known and loved that one, knowing the comfort that he is with Jesus; and I have found peace through Him, which passes all understanding.

If difficulties strike, I believe we can keep our hearts from being overwhelmed. In Psalms we read, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2) From the vantage point of that “Rock,” our Lord Jesus Christ, we are able to rise above any negative circumstance.

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A Life Redeemed

If you’ve never come across his story, I would like to suggest to view the true account of one of the Lord’s redeemed, Pastor Al Jandl. His personal testimony can be viewed on You Tube (choose “Testimony”)

He, along with his wife, Judy, founded Living Stones Church in Alvin, Texas. His is the story of a life that was in turmoil until Jesus helped him to resolve so many things after he came to understand and truly know and trust Him as Savior and Lord.

P. A. Oltrogge

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

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Look Unto the Hills

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“I will lift up my eyes to the hills–
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2

Lord, you are the source of my help on any given day.
You made the heavens and the earth–On you, my hope will stay.
I will look even to the hills–On their horizon, I’ll always see,
through the eye of faith, my Savior, heading down with help for me.

P. A. Oltrogge

“He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.”
Psalm 121:3-8 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.”
words of Jesus in John 14:27 NKJV

There’s Still Light in Goshen

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The Lord was working out a major plan to set free–the captive Hebrew people of old. There would be ten plagues, so the actions of Moses and Aaron would need to be brave and bold.

When they came before Pharaoh, they had commands from the Lord on what to say or do, to warn him of, or initiate, every plague that his nation was soon to go through.

The ninth plague of darkness was so severe that the Egyptians couldn’t get around. For three days, the darkness was “felt” and thick, in the air and on the ground.

One of Egypt’s chief deities was the sun “god,” so such darkness proved the Lord’s might, to prevail over any of the “gods” of the Egyptians. Only His power could end the dark night.

But the Hebrews were under God’s protection; and, in the midst of that constant night, there was light in Goshen in their dwellings because God was in charge of their fight.

Today, people experience darkness, not of God and not a kind where you can’t visibly see, but darkness in their minds when they’ve not recognized “the door,” through which anyone’s able to go free.

Jesus pointed the way, saying, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” You can experience “Goshen” through God’s Son yet today, and you’ll have all of the light that you’ll need.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt. So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Exodus 10:21-23

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

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.’” John 10:9-10

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

Look unto the Hills

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“I will lift up my eyes to the hills–
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2

Lord, you are the source of my help on any given day.
You made the heavens and the earth–On you, my hope will stay.
I will look even to the hills–On their horizon, I’ll always see,
through the eye of faith, my Savior, heading down with help for me.

P. A. Oltrogge

“He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.”

Psalm 121:3-8 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.”

words of Jesus in John 14:27 NKJV

There’s still light in Goshen

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The Lord was working out a major plan to set free–the captive Hebrew people of old. There would be ten plagues, so the actions of Moses and Aaron would need to be brave and bold.

When they came before Pharaoh, they had commands from the Lord on what to say or do, to warn him of, or initiate, every plague that his nation was soon to go through.

The ninth plague of darkness was so severe that the Egyptians couldn’t get around. For three days, the darkness was “felt” and thick, in the air and on the ground.

One of Egypt’s chief deities was the sun “god,” so such darkness proved the Lord’s might, to prevail over any of the “gods” of the Egyptians. Only His power could end the dark night.

But the Hebrews were under God’s protection; and, in the midst of that constant night, there was light in Goshen in their dwellings because God was in charge of their fight.

Today, people experience darkness, not of God and not a kind where you can’t visibly see, but darkness in their minds when they’ve not recognized “the door,” through which anyone’s able to go free.

Jesus pointed the way, saying, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” You can experience “Goshen” through God’s Son yet today, and you’ll have all of the light that you’ll need.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt. So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Exodus 10:21-23

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

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.’” John 10:9-10

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

This Jesus…

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

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

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

P. A. Oltrogge

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

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

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

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

Jesus, His Name, our Anchor

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For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:

“I will certainly bless you,
and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”

Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.
Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:13-20 NLT

In calm times of life or in a storm, a strong anchor is what I need.
The name of Jesus is that anchor—demons have to take heed.

By quiet waters or a turbulent sea, my anchor firmly holds.
Sure and steadfast is my hope as every moment unfolds.

In the order of Melchizedek, Jesus is my High Priest FOREVER.
His covering of love gives me confidence in whatever I endeavor.

God has given us His promise and oath. It’s impossible for Him to lie.
We have covenant with Him through Jesus Christ—the Son of the Most High.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’” Luke 1:30-33 NASB

“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.” Hebrews 4:14-15 NKJV

“And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath, (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him:

“The Lord has sworn and will not relent.
‘You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek’”),

by so much more, Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”

Hebrews 7:20-28 NKJV

“…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” from Colossians 1:27

Highly recommended:
“The Name of Jesus” book by Kenneth E. Hagin
under Bookstore at http://www.rhema.org

Picture this…

Picture great crowds, coming to be taught…
Picture the sick, whom others had brought.
Picture them healed, through miracles wrought,
By Jesus, God’s Son, Whom so many had sought.

Picture a day where the sun was getting low.
“Hear” the disciples saying they just didn’t know…
How the people would eat—and should be told to go;
But picture a lad with loaves and fish that would grow.

“Listen” to Jesus say, “Bring them here to me…”
Picture loaves and fish multiplied by His decree,
With five thousand being fed, at a cost that was free,
And full baskets left over before the disciples put out to sea.

Picture Jesus sending the multitudes away,
Going up to the mountain by Himself to pray–-
Then joining the disciples, through water and spray,
On the fourth watch of the night, just before day.

Picture Peter bravely wanting to join the Lord,
Picture him boldly stepping overboard;
Then see his faith waver as sea and wind roared–
Picture him sinking but, by Christ, being restored.

Picture your own life and remember these things;
Remember that “greatness” to small things Christ brings.
Look to the Lord for your faith to take wings,
As you walk on life’s waters with the King of Kings.

P. A. Oltrogge

From Matthew 14:14-31

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Photo/Porch of the Lord

Compassion at the Pool of Bethesda

During a feast of the Jews, we see Jesus at the healing pool of Bethesda, which was by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, that prominent city.

And He saw a certain man lying among the many others who had come to seek healing, whose infirmity had lasted thirty-eight years—and on whom no man had apparently had pity.

It was known and told that an angel came to stir the waters at a season and time at this pool of five porches, an esteemed place.

And whoever first, thereafter, made it into the water was healed of their illness—with no longer a trace.

Jesus, knowing that this individual had been crippled and infirm for a long time, asked him if he wanted to be healed.

The man replied that he had no man to help him into the waters after they were stirred. Others were always quicker, so his fate had been sealed.

Then, Jesus mercifully said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk,” stepping in for the said “no man.”

Immediately, the infirm man was made whole, got to his feet, took up his bed and walked, for health and healing have always been God’s plan.

Today, when we experience difficulties, even those long-standing, and may sometimes feel there is no one to help, not even the Lord…

remember, we still do have an advocate in Jesus, God’s Son—to get adverse things eliminated and have the good restored.

P. A. Oltrogge

”…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38 NKJV

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (Words of Jesus in John 10:10 NKJV)

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NKJV

Poetic account, above, from John, chapter 5.

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