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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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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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

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 has 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.

Miracles abounding today:
http://www.awmi.net (healing testimonies)
http://www.billyburke.org
http://www.johnmellor.org
http://www.josephprince.org

Practical health tips
by Dr. Don Colbert,
where books are sold.

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Lord, Remember Me

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From Luke 23…

Two criminals on punishing crosses were next to the one which held the Lord.
One of the men rebuked the other, saying they were receiving a due reward…

…for the other had blasphemed Jesus, ridiculing Him as being unable to save
Himself and them, as well—words which showed no fear of God but were, instead, depraved.

The criminal who defended the Lord must have known of His ministry of peace,
saying, “This Man has done nothing wrong,” though, for Christ, there’d been no release.

Then he, with humility, asked Jesus simply to remember him at the time, later… when He would come into His kingdom—he knew, in his heart, it was eternal and greater.

“Lord, remember me”…a simple, reverent plea, but so very wise…
for Jesus gave him the promise that that day, he would be with Him in Paradise.

P. A. Oltrogge

“‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved….’” Acts 16:30-31

Our Everliving Jesus

Jesus, the Son of God, was birthed by Mary and laid in a manger.
King Herod sought to kill Him, but He was kept from danger…
for His earthly father, Joseph, having been enlightened and driven,
by instructions in a dream that the angel of the Lord had given,
took the Child and His mother away to a distant Egyptian location.
And, there, the family stayed for a specified duration.

In later years, during Jesus’ ministry, others opposed Him, too.
But no one could actually harm Him until His ministry days were through.
The devil himself confronted Jesus, with temptations to disband
from loyalty to the Godhead and to all that was divinely planned.
Jesus was obedient, however, to His Father throughout His days.
Then, even death, with its finality, couldn’t hold Him—God be praised!

Today, some seek to downplay Jesus’ divinity or worldwide fame,
or they deny acknowledging the Lordship of His name.
But His is a name that’s above all names—an everlasting name,
a name through which we’re made righteous, for He took all our blame.
And one day every knee shall bow, acknowledging all that’s been said,
of Jesus Christ as Lord of all, who is surely the Church’s head.

Some, who are doubtful, try to put Jesus completely out of thought,
abandoning the Christian truths that they were previously taught.
But His is a name which we should praise, and certainly not ignore,
for there IS no other God—Jesus said, “I am the Door.”
How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,
which God has freely offered to all people of every nation?

It is through Jesus Christ that God has sought to bless us all.
He’s the one and only Savior sent to redeem us from man’s fall.
He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end…
and about whom the scriptures most assuredly were penned.
And, thankfully, we can bring to Jesus any problem, large or small.
He’s “The Everlasting Father,” on whom we’re privileged to call.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 KJV

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58 KJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 14:6-9 NKJV

Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 NIV

“For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” Hebrews 2:2-4 NASB

“And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18 KJV

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17 NKJV

“…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV

Emmanuel

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

Emmanuel, God with us…
You see, we are not alone.
Emmanuel, God with us…
Through the birth of a Child, God’s presence was shown.
He wouldn’t leave us without knowledge of His love,
But made Himself known, coming down from above.
Emmanuel, God with us…
From God, the Father, came a Baby so mild.
Emmanuel, God with us…
God’s Son was embodied in a holy Child.
Born of a virgin, the handmaiden of the Lord—
From His life, the goodness of God would be poured.
After humble beginnings in a manger stall,
His name would become great—He would die for all,
So that any individual living on this earth
Could personally know their God of great worth.
Emmanuel, God with us…
It’s the greatest name known.
Emmanuel, God with us in Jesus,
And now we need never be alone!

P. A. Oltrogge

“In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” John 14:20

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20

“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

 

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

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May you experience an old-fashioned Christmas these days.
If you live where there’s snow, some rent and ride sleighs
to enjoy the jingling of harness bells as the horses clomp along—
then head home for hot chocolate…or spiced cider that’s strong.

Perhaps you’ll find some old-fashioned gifts under the tree.
Something homemade by a loved one is a cherished specialty.
And for those who are talented, being musically blessed,
bring out your instruments for Christmas caroling with the rest.

Even planning an old-fashioned door-to-door caroling party
is a great way to share Jesus’ birth, with voices so hearty!
Back home for old-fashioned recipes, a fireplace’s welcome glow…
then on to a Christmas Eve church service where more joy will flow!

If a church has an organ, its deep tones can exemplify
the deep love of God, greater than any gift one can buy.
For God sent His Son…a “God-fashioned,” true story,
and so up-to-date. He’s still our Savior from Glory!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.’” Luke 1:46-47 NKJV

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” Galatians 4:4-6 NKJV

“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 NKJV

Choosing the Real versus the Artificial

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I remember many chilly Christmases past, as you likely do as well…
going to a local tree lot, to choose the best tree, as far as we could tell.

Some may have been too short, and some may have been too tall;
then, finally, we would discover…the best one for us of them all.

At some point, years ago, it became popular to switch to an artificial pine,
but they never truly could satisfy this old-fashioned heart of mine.

When it comes to choosing the truth about God, there really is only one way.
Jesus—the way, the truth, and the life, who came to us, first, as a baby on the hay.

You can’t make up your own version of God—an artificial “god” won’t do.
For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son…this He did for you.

So as you go about enjoying the beautiful trees of the Christmas season,
remember God’s Biblical and satisfying truth—that Jesus IS its reason.

Most trees are topped by an angel or a star, reminding us of Christ’s birth.
Rejoice, for God loves you very much; and Jesus is (the real) Lord of heaven and earth!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” John 14:6 KJV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 NLT

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Photos by Porch of the Lord

Called to forgive, to love, to serve…

What have you called me to, dear Lord?
You’ve called me to live in one accord
with You, my God, and with my fellow man.
To this I’m called—it’s Your “new command.”

To forgive, to love, and, of course, to serve…
to encourage and to bless ‘round every curve
in traveling the path on which You lead.
To this I’m called, in both word and deed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

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

“And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he should be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

(All scriptures NKJV)

Psalm 91, Psalm 116:1, Acts 2:1; 2:46; 4:24

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Photo by Porch of the Lord