There’s a Rainbow!

30AA718B-035E-41C4-AF53-CA3B45071DFD
Unsplash

If ever there was a subject that should be put into poetic form,
it’s that of the magnificent rainbow, which can suddenly appear after a storm.

As the sun starts shining, it’s especially vivid, after the rain has poured;
and its message comes from God, as it’s the signature of the Lord.

He said that He was setting His bow in the cloud, to always remind afresh,
of His covenant made with Noah and his sons, and every living creature of all flesh…

that never again would He send a flood to cover the entire expanse of the earth.
To all successive generations, the rainbow’s reminded of this covenant of great worth.

We remember today that Noah was a real person, who steadfastly undertook
the building of a great ark by God’s direction, no matter how, to others, that would look.

It took many decades to accomplish the task, and there never had been a flood…
Today, God is offering the safety of an ark that was “built” by Jesus’ sacrificial blood.

God is not willing for any to perish. He’s giving much time to accept His invitation
to enter into the ark of the Lord–His provision for any person of any nation.

When I see the rainbow there in the sky, I’m reminded of God’s covenant made to mankind–including the one He made for us through Jesus, the greatest covenant He wants all of us to find.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28 NKJV

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV

“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall enter the ark….” Genesis 6:18

See the first half of Genesis, chapter 6, for the causes behind God sending the earth-encompassing flood and to read of Noah finding favor with God.

For your interest:
http://www.arkencounter.com

The Creator versus the Atheists

43DA6A94-55E2-45AE-9B1B-4475A5F8F39A

Even within a city or out on a rural farm,
we’re blessed to always enjoy the vast creation’s charm.

To say, then, as some do, that there is no God
is a kind of blindness that seems, to me, so odd.

For there are many masterpieces, on which our eyes can feast–
from the starting of a snowfall to the landscape when it’s ceased.

From the city to the beauty of the peaceful countryside,
the signature of the Creator is something atheists cannot hide.

P. A. Oltrogge

570A80DD-866B-48BE-8F08-5900A157C079

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV

“For he (God, the Father) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son (Jesus) he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible….” Colossians 1:13-16 NIV written by the apostle Paul to the Christians in Colossae

Scatter Genuine Love

A clanging cymbal, a noisy gong,
that’s how a life is without love–so wrong!
If you speak of the future, possessing that gift;
know mysteries and knowledge, but don’t show love, you’re adrift.

Even if you have faith that seems to be heaping,
in God’s eyes–without love–nothing is what you’ll be reaping.
If you have faith that could remove a mountain,
without love, your life can be compared to a dried-up fountain.

If you give all your possessions to feed the poor
but have not love, you’ll always be unsure
of the mark you’ve made in this world that needs
your true love and compassion scattered as seeds.

If you give even your life, with your body being burned–
without love in your heart, there’s nothing you’ve earned.
Be patient, be kind–don’t be jealous or brag–
nor be arrogant or act unbecomingly–those things bring a snag.

Don’t let yourself be provoked, and forsake insisting upon your own way;
don’t take into account wrongs suffered in a fray.
Don’t be glad about things unpleasing to God, but be glad about what’s good.
In love–bear, believe, hope and endure all things as He would.

Other gifts will cease, but real love is enduring;
the partial will give way to a full maturing.
Now things in the mirror are dimly seen,
but, one day, all will be clear with a crystal sheen.

Faith, hope, and love–these three you can rate,
but love will always be the greatest of the great.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control–
Scatter these seeds and be a contented soul.

P. A. Oltrogge

(poetic thoughts from 1 Corinthians 13)

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

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us; an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 4:32-5:1-2

E1B600C1-D083-4897-B8D0-5FC49EEB7C8B

Lydia Becomes Part of the Royal Priesthood

“And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6
_____________

It’s recorded that the apostle Paul received a vision—of a man putting forth a request, that Paul should come over to Macedonia, so that the people there could be blessed.

So Paul, and those with him, pursued the vision, setting sail on the Aegean Sea–landing at Neapolis, they went to Philippi, a leading city of Macedonia in which to be.

On the Sabbath, they went out to a riverside, where some women were who customarily prayed. Prayer and worship were woven as fabric in Lydia’s life, while selling fabrics of purple was her trade.

She listened to that which Paul spoke to them about Jesus Christ being the Lord—then took heed in her heart that it was through Jesus, that true relationship with God is restored.

Embracing what Paul said, she went from reverencing God to knowing Him in a personal way. God had opened her heart to respond to the good news, just as anyone can do today.

Then she and her entire household were baptized, representing their being washed from sin. With joy, she invited the missionaries to her home to stay, prevailing upon them to come in.

This woman, Lydia, who sold fabric of a royal color, had found peace at the riverside that day. Through the Prince of Peace, her Lord, Jesus Christ, she’d been welcomed into His royal family to stay.

P. A. Oltrogge

73AEFCBC-0CCA-4E68-878F-A188C653E8ED

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, 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

A reference to baptism by Peter in Acts 2:38-39: “…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. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..” Isaiah 9:6

(The poetic account is based on Acts 16:9-15 about Lydia from Thyatira)

Some references to purple’s use in the Bible:

“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.” Exodus 26:1 (for the Tabernacle)

“And now send me a skilled man to work in gold, silver, brass and iron, and in purple, crimson, and violet fabrics, and who knows how to make engravings, to work with the skilled men whom I have in Judah and Jerusalem, whom David my father provided.” 2 Chronicles 2:7 (for Solomon’s Temple)

A Hard Subject

It’s a hard subject; but the truth is, it’s real.
There is a thief who is out to kill, destroy, and steal–
a being who is fallen because of his pride–
a being whose purpose is to conceal and to hide
the true God in Jesus, the Lord over all–
that’s what Satan does because of his fall.

His ways are deceptive, and he wants you to think
there isn’t heaven or hell beyond this life’s brink.
He’s supportive of “gods” of other names–
or “No God at all” is another one of his claims.
Devotion to a religion or philosophy, he’s approved–
especially those endorsing that Jesus’ Lordship be removed.

He draws those he can to reject Christ’s light,
causing more darkness over any spiritual sight.
We all need to leave old things we’ve been taught
when we realize that, by Christ, our souls have been bought.
It’s simply a gift—but you must take and receive it.
Don’t listen to the naysayer, but simply believe it.

Of all time, the Bible is the best selling book–
if you think it’s inaccurate, then take a deeper look.
Please consider studies by Christians who aren’t slacking
in showing us the evidence that gives it absolute backing.
And to be the all-time best seller of books you can buy,
it must have the backing of Someone very high.

Be sober, be vigilant, the Bible warning is strong–
Jesus is The Way—any other way is wrong.

P. A. Oltrogge

B261E63E-16A8-431E-8EE1-18BC40B25841

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.’” John 14:6 NASB

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith….” 1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV

“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 NASB

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NKJV

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12 NKJV

We absolutely know that there is a deceiver, the devil, in this world. By simply turning on the news, we hear of lives harmed or destroyed by his influence.

But God, who is love, wants everyone who will, to receive the free gift of salvation through Christ and to experience His peace.

“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

Books to consider:
Evidence That Demands a Verdict
by Josh McDowell
The Case for Christ
by Lee Strobel

Nighttime Snowfall

BC6C7287-B3F3-45ED-A7F0-FABE540F8913.jpeg
Scene/Unsplash

To this day, I love to watch the snow falling, so very peacefully at night, descending softly and serenely, glistening in the moonlight.

I remember, as children, wintry evenings, when the winds would blow…
heading down our long, country driveway, to help our father shovel snow.

We sensed the peace of the Lord outside amid the drifts so deep,
and laughed together, as we worked, before heading inside for the night to sleep.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Have you entered the treasury of snow…?” Job 38:22

“He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes.” Psalm 147:16

“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

New King James Version

There’s Still Light in Goshen

D5E7C051-B87B-4910-93DB-52674BEB3375

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

Be blessed by recent services/messages
at http://www.lohchurch.org

A Very Present Help

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 KJV

Troubles come to all of us, trials are an unsolicited part of life;

but there is One who is a very present help in the midst of any kind of strife.

He’s not only present, but He’s VERY present amidst things which can be dire–

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, remember, weren’t burned though engulfed by fire.
__________

The men had refused to worship the gold idol, as King Nebuchadnezzar had decreed–

Such a decree to these men of faith was something they simply wouldn’t heed.

Anyone who disobeyed would be cast into a fiery furnace that had been stoked very hot–

At the sound of the horn, flute, harp, or lyre, all were to bow down, but these three men would not.
__________

Called before the king, he gave them another chance to obey, but they bravely made it clear…

that their God could deliver them; yet if not, they served Him only and had nothing to fear.

Then, thrown into the furnace, divine intervention left them without even the smell of fire–

Their hair wasn’t singed, nor their clothes affected, because no other “god” was higher.
__________

In the midst of the fiery furnace, a fourth “man” had appeared, among the other three.

His appearance was “like the Son of God;” and He’d loosed them and had set the men free.

Though they’d initially been bound together, Nebuchadnezzar saw them unhurt and walking separately around–

This miraculous event became proof to him that there was no God but theirs to be found.
__________

God has promised to be our sure refuge, whom we can run to for shelter from any storm–

If the “winds” of life become threatening or cold, under His wings, we’ll be protected and warm.

He’s the strength upon which we’ve come to depend; and we’re blessed by the love He supplies.

Keep looking to Jesus, your very present help. In every circumstance, that will prove to be wise.

P. A. Oltrogge

(The poetic account is derived from Daniel 3)

…trials sometimes come, but confidence in God’s love and care for us (Psalm 91:4) and the presence of His Holy Spirit within strengthen those who believe….

Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 (and through 26)

Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:1-4

Star Gazing Leads to the Star to be Praising

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod, the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’

“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’

“Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.’

“When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

“Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” Matthew 2:1-12 NKJV

0C24A57B-14D7-4F42-B7CA-AA19F2AB17F7

There’s something very compelling about a brilliant star;
and that, dear Lord, is what You are…

“The Bright and Morning Star,” is one of Your titles, which inspires—
“Glory to God in the highest” was sung at Your birth by heaven’s angelic choirs.

The wise men followed the guiding light of a certain star in the sky,
which led them to You, the Bright and Morning Star—
Jesus, the Son of the Most High.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16 NKJV

“And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:30-33 KJV

“For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2 NKJV

“Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.” Psalm 50:14 NKJV

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 NKJV

Poinsettias for the Prince of Peace

49C7BB1B-FFC7-4A32-9B39-1D8AF8BAC563

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.

83D589AB-2EE7-4163-852F-21F573FF3580

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.

CE5AC415-3590-4F43-8EF0-6CC074D9AC94

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