The Living One

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…from Luke 24, NASB…a poetic account…

Some of the women who had loved Jesus set out at early dawn with spices they’d prepared…in order to anoint His body. How they might enter the tomb must have been discussed and shared.

When they discovered that the stone had been rolled away, they stepped inside the tomb and found…that Jesus’ body was not there–they were perplexed in looking around.

Suddenly, two men in dazzling clothing appeared to them–the women were terrified! The angels had come with a message about His resurrection…and death having been defied.

“Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen….” as the women could plainly see. Then the angels said to recall how Jesus had spoken of this very thing while still with them in Galilee.

Jesus had told them how the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men…and then be crucified; and on the third day, He would rise again.

So they remembered Jesus’ words and returned from the tomb to share with the eleven and all the rest. But the apostles couldn’t believe them–though Peter went to see for himself about this news that was blessed.

Two of the Lord’s followers were going to Emmaus on that very third day. They were discussing with each other the things that had happened in Jerusalem as they went their way.

Then Jesus Himself, not actually recognized by them, approached and began to travel beside them on the road. He asked them what they’d been discussing–their demeanors reflected that they were carrying a heavy load.

One of them, named Cleopas, asked how he could have been visiting Jerusalem and not have known or heard…of the fate of Jesus, the Nazarene, –a prophet mighty in deed and word.

They said that they had hoped He would be Israel’s redeemer…meaning by His leadership or even by being its king. But His death, instead, by crucifixion, had definitely changed everything.

Next, they shared that, on this third day, some women had gone to the tomb at dawn…and told them that, but for having seen there a vision of two angels, it was empty–His crucified body was gone.

Jesus addressed them, then, as foolish men, who were slow of heart to believe…in what the prophets had spoken of the Christ, implying that the wise would understand and receive.

Jesus went on to explain the things foretold of Him in the scriptures by Moses and other prophets, throughout. All this while, their eyes were prevented from recognizing Who was really with them on their route.

As they approached the village of Emmaus, their traveling companion, Jesus, acted as if he might travel on, but they urged him to stay with them, for the night was almost upon.

So Jesus went in to stay with them and reclined at the table to break bread. When He took it, blessed it, and gave it to them, their eyes were opened to see the living One, risen from the dead!

Jesus then vanished from their sight, and they reflected on how their hearts had been burning…as He spoke of how the Christ needed to suffer these things–this “stranger” had been so discerning.

At that very hour they got up to return to Jerusalem to share with the eleven what had transpired. As they were telling these things, there came in their midst, He whom their hearts desired.

It was Jesus, Himself, the Master, saying, “Peace be unto you.” Startled and frightened, they needed His assurance, once again, to see them through.

He asked them why they doubted and then showed them His hands and feet. They still couldn’t believe it, for joy and amazement. He then asked for something to eat.

After having the broiled fish that they gave, He again opened their minds to understand all that had needed to be fulfilled. Repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His Name, starting from Jerusalem…and from there, it would build.

They were to wait until they were clothed with power from on high…. Then He led them out as far as Bethany, where He blessed them and departed from them up into the sky.

After worshipping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy that was hard for them to contain. They were continually in the temple, praising God for their redemption, which had been made so plain…

and for their beloved King’s reign!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Why do you seek THE LIVING ONE among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen!” Luke 24:5-6

The Trial of Jesus Christ

He was brought before Pilate by God’s divine plan;
Pilate said, “I find no guilt in this man.”
Questioned before Herod, Christ gave no reply,
for He knew in His heart He was destined to die.

Then brought back to Pilate once more to stand–
Pilate still found no guilt justifying a crucifixion demand.
But the crowd was insistent–their voices prevailed;
and God’s Sacrificial Lamb was thereby unveiled.

Led away with two criminals while women mourned
to a place called, “The Skull,” where He would be scorned–
There, He was lifted, nailed to a cross’s wood,
though His service to God had been perfect and good.

An inscription said, “This is the King of the Jews.”
He came to lay down His life–it was His role to choose.
He was taunted by soldiers and a criminal in despair,
saying if He was the Christ, He could come down from there.

The other criminal feared God, saying their misdeeds were strong,
“But this man has done nothing wrong.”
A promise of Paradise and a cry from Christ’s voice–
“It is finished!” Thus, we can take Him as Savior by our choice.

Darkness had fallen, the temple veil tore in two–
“Certainly, this man was innocent,” the Centurion said, too.
So went the trial of an innocent man;
but He was God and our Messiah by His Father’s divine plan.

P. A. Oltrogge

from Luke, Chapter 23
and John 19:30

“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will but as You will.’”
Matthew 26:39 (New King James)

“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” John 10:17, 18 (New American Standard)

The day that Jesus was crucified, as Simon of Cyrene may have related it…

Like other people, I’d heard some stories about the man named Jesus.
He’d done unheard-of miracles and had lived a life that was upright and clean.

So, I never thought I’d arrive in Jerusalem at such a terrible time,
of seeing Him being brutally led to His own crucifixion…that was the scene.

It seemed incomprehensible that His acts of compassion
were being “rewarded” with this punishment to which He was going.

I could see that He was becoming too weak to bear the heavy cross;
He’d obviously been scourged, and blood from the stripes was flowing.

Suddenly, I was pressed into service by some of the Roman soldiers.
I was ordered to carry His cross, in His stead, as His strength was depleted.

Had He done something criminal that I hadn’t heard of in His recent past?
I didn’t know, but the mocking and reviling were being repeated.

Of course, I didn’t appreciate being singled out for such a despicable task.
It seemed obvious to me that I’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But something in the eyes of this Jesus, who staggered beside me,
reflected kindness; and I sensed something noble or majestic—nothing of crime.

After reaching the destination, I couldn’t bear to watch the proceedings.
If He’d been wrongly accused, there was nothing I could have done to stop the event.

So I left; but, later, darkness came over the land, and an earthquake caused tombs to open. Some people were reported as having been raised from the dead after the temple curtain was rent.

After all that had happened, a centurion and other guards declared that, truly, Jesus was the Son of God. Perhaps my unchosen role in this—being singled out—had, instead, been a divine appointment.

A great many people were recipients of Jesus’ ministry, and believed that He was who He said He was. That day lives large in my memory; and His disciples are saying that His Name is God’s healing and saving ointment.

P. A. Oltrogge

One of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, regarding a man made well by the name of Jesus, spoke to the rulers, elders, and scribes gathered in Jerusalem:

“…let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:10-12 NASB

An Example Poured Out

From His grand and glorious home in heaven—a place of comfortable rest,

Jesus came down to this earth on a mission, so that mankind could be blessed.

During the last supper with His disciples, likewise, He got up from a comfortable place, to give Himself to serving.

Just as He would be stripped and crucified soon, so He set aside His garments, girding Himself with a towel, to cleanse the undeserving.

Pouring water into a basin, He began to wash and wipe the disciples’ feet.

But Peter failed to understand this requirement that Jesus was wanting to meet.

“Never shall you wash my feet!” were his immediate words—an outflow from Peter’s heart.

But Jesus said to Peter that unless He washed them, then, with Him, he would have no part.

At that, Peter told the Lord to wash not only his feet, but also his hands and his head.

So sincere was Peter’s desire to please Him, that he quickly permitted Him to do so instead.

Jesus continued, speaking of being made clean, but said that not all of them were clean.

In his relationship with the Lord, Judas would betray Him, letting Satan come between.

When Jesus revealed that a disciple would betray Him, the others wondered which one this meant.

By giving Judas the dipped bread—said to be a custom of graciousness, it’s been thought that Jesus was giving him a chance to repent.

But Judas turned away from the Lord and went out into the dark of night—

as many still choose darkness today, sadly, resisting Jesus’ love and Light.

Just as Peter would have had no part with Christ, likewise, it’s the same today…

If anyone doesn’t receive the cleansing from Jesus’ poured-out blood, which takes our sins away,

they will have no part with Christ, our Lord and Savior, who, by His example, taught…

that we, also, should serve one another with love and humility, having received the redemption that He bought.

Jesus loved His disciples to the end; He died for us all, having laid aside His glory.

And, as at that Passover meal, when His task was finished, He sat down…but now He’s seated at His Father’s right hand, in completion of this true redemption story!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined at table again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher, and Lord, and you are right for so I am. If I, then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’” John 13:12-17 NASB

“Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35 NASB

“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:27-28 NASB

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” (words of Peter from Acts 2:32-36 NASB)

Jesus’ blood, the cleansing flood…

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The Way to Please God…

So many religions speak of various ways
to address pleasing God all of your days.

Five times a day, you could be down on your knees,
with prayers to the god you hope to please.

But, really, these things are ritual merely
and can’t please Him, no matter if done so very sincerely.

But there is a way to come to God,
and it’s by looking to the road that Jesus has trod.

He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
He paved the way for you through much strife…

released upon Him as He went to the cross,
where He suffered in pain so you wouldn’t be lost

to the God who loves you and calls to you now
to embrace His Son, Jesus, to Whom, one day, every knee will bow.

But only grace, through faith, is involved—all works are in vain.
Through Jesus’ righteousness, our salvation is made plain.

You may want to fall to your knees when you recognize all that was done
by a God who loved so greatly, He gave His only Son.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“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

“Therefore, also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him, the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:9-11

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

It Was for Me…a Poem to Personalize

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Jesus,

In Gethsemane’s garden, You prayed to be strong
in what would overtake You in not very long.

It was for me that You were then betrayed.
It was on You that the task was laid.

As filthy rags, God saw my righteousness claimed–
which is why You stepped in to be defamed.

It was for my sins that You went on trial.
You made the payment for everything vile.

It was for me–this undeserved attack.
It was for me You bore stripes on Your back.

It was for me that You wore the thorns,
and it was for me You bore merciless scorns.

It was for me You walked Calvary’s trail.
It was for me that You endured each nail.

It was for me that You hung in shame.
It was for me–You were taking my blame.

It was for me You painfully died.
It was for me that they pierced Your side.

You did it for me, but in three days You rose.
You did it for me that my case would be closed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Isaiah 64:6 KJV

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1 NASB

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1 NLT

Revelation’s Ride of the King

The following poetic thoughts were patterned after an old, historic poem. Though this Porch poem was written several years ago, it is still relevant with each passing day…

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
of the soon return of the King we revere.
In this present year with which we strive,
not a person is now alive
who knows the exact year, day, or hour, but it’s near.

Jesus plainly said that as the signs appear
on the world stage in obvious sight,
we should have our lamps lit with plenty of oil,
as if on a church tower as a signal light–
both to guide others and serve as our key
when He on the opposite shore will be.

Ready to ride, but first keep us from harm,
He will catch away His children through city and farm–
yes, those with His Word, who’ve been up and armed.
When Jesus descends from Heaven with a shout,
there will be no more time for those who claim doubt.

The dead in Christ will be raised up first.
Then believers still alive will leave the earth
to meet the Lord with them in the air,
while others will be left in the tribulation’s snare.

Some misunderstand and say, “None will be left out,”
but that thought is simply a satanic route
to keep you from seeing that God’s beautiful plan
of salvation was meant for each woman and man.

He lovingly yearns for you to come home–
don’t be like the prodigal son who would roam.
For, as in the garden of Eden, the lying voice
of Satan tells you to make your own choice:
“Surely, God didn’t say Christ was THE WAY–
There are many paths to God—think of Him another day.”

But if this life’s pursuits are all you’ve perceived,
You’ll find, in the end, that you’ve been deceived.
It’s a deceptive lie if you think this is all,
when God’s given each one of us a much higher call–
to love Him and others–then join Christ one day,
bringing all whom we can for an eternal stay.

To put faith in so-called prophets of merit
or even in good things you’ve done,
won’t gain you the heaven you hope to inherit–
since THE DOOR is the sinless Christ, God’s Son.

His blood sacrifice made on the cross
is the only assurance against heaven’s loss.
There won’t be a Messiah by any other name,
but Jesus Christ of world-renowned fame.
You’re sure of these things, you ask, by what right?
It’s all found in the Bible, which gives us the light.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good,
offering adoption as His children and true brotherhood.
Blessed beyond measure you’ll surely be
both now and for eternity.

So receive the Lord–it’s simple to pray.
Repent of your sins and turn to Christ’s way.
For as in the time of Noah, it’s now–
what God says is wrong, we must disavow.

The days will get darker in this world of sin;
but Christ is the “Ark,” and He’s urging us to come in.
Things are happening fast upon the world’s scene—
it’s time to embrace what God really did mean.

A hurry of hoofs from a heavenly street,
and the fate of all souls will then be complete.
Revelation tells us that Christ will appear
on a white horse to reign down here,
with a shout of victory and not of fear–
a voice piercing this world’s darkness,
the voice of Him Who is “the Way” and “the Door.”
His Word shall echo forevermore!

For, borne on the night-wind of the past,
through all earth’s history, to the last,
in the hour of darkness and peril and need,
the people who know Him and have listened to hear
for the hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
heed the end-time message of the King we revere!

P. A. Oltrogge

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

“And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written. ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’” Revelation 19:11-16

“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

“Jesus therefore said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door, if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.’” John 10:7-9

“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9

For faith in these times, visit:
http://www.moorelife.org
Faith School, “By Faith, Noah”
(Week 13)

“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.

You, too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” Luke 12:35,40

Night of Betrayal

…a Lenten poem:

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.” John 18:1-6 NKJV

On the night of His betrayal, Jesus permitted Himself to be found.
In the presence of the great I AM, the “pursuing” soldiers fell to the ground.

After they revived, He let them lead Him to that for which He’d been born.
Willing to do His Father’s will, He yielded to undeserved scorn.

Whippings, mocking, thorns, and then being nailed to Calvary’s cross—
All of this He endured as a Shepherd, so that sheep need not be lost.

P. A. Oltrogge

“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Luke 19:10 NKJV

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
John 10:11 NKJV

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:17-18 NKJV

“…We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3

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And Nicodemus Came Also

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus answered and said to Him, ‘How can these things be?’”
John 3:1-9 (from John 3:1-21)

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And Nicodemus Came Also
(God’s continual creative flow of new birth…)

Sometimes a photograph captures a scene
of overwhelming beauty like none you have seen;
The Lord has created so many beautiful things…
for us to enjoy, with the sense of awe that they bring.

The arrival in springtime of little young lambs;
new shells on the seashore from oysters and clams…
the arrival of a baby that makes a family grow–
all are a part of the Master Designer’s creative flow.

Blossoming cherry tree branches leaning over a lake;
a rainbow after rain or the first winter snowflake…
early fog around a mountain or a newly formed stream–
all point to the Creator and His “new birth” theme.

A Rabbi named Nicodemus wondered, “How can these things be?”
when Jesus said he must be born again by water and the Spirit to be free.
Of course, Jesus meant spiritually, not physically being born twice.
Thankfully, the Bible indicates, that Nicodemus took Jesus’ advice.

Nicodemus thought for himself, being bold to question what he’d been taught–
If you can’t say with assurance your faith brings you what it ought,
then learn from the example of a Rabbi back in Jesus’ day…
Take hold of the Gospel of Christ and receive new birth as you pray.

P. A. Oltrogge

“So there arose a discourse in the multitude because of Him (Jesus). And some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, ‘Why did you not bring Him?’ The officers answered, ‘Never did a man speak the way this man speaks.’ The Pharisees, therefore, answered them, ‘You have not also been led astray, have you? No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? But the multitude which does not know the Law is accursed.’ Nicodemus said to them, (he who came to Him before being one of them), ‘Our Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?’ They answered and said to him, ‘You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.’ And everyone went to his home.”
John 7:43-53

“And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came, therefore, and took away His body. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore on account of the Jewish day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:38-42

“Therefore, 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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The Life and Ministry of Jesus–God’s Gift to Us

I think that it could be said about Jesus that, even as their twelve-year old son, when Mary and Joseph found Him sharing in the temple, His ministering had already begun.

His first recorded, actual miracle was at the wedding where He turned water into wine. That’s when His connection to His heavenly Father really began to shine.

He called twelve men to be His disciples–to learn from Him and follow His ways. He taught them through parables and the scriptures, and made them mindful of thanksgiving and praise.

Jesus performed many miracles–from provision to healing, and raising some people from the dead. He said to forgive your enemies–not retaliating, but praying for and loving them instead.

On this day, we begin the Lenten season, remembering His sacrifice on behalf of our sins. He was the perfect Lamb of God on the cross; it’s through Him that new life begins.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, and old things have passed away. That’s a free gift of God for all to receive. If you haven’t yet received it, then let this be your day.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“Therefore, 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

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

Matthew 5:43-48
Luke 2:41-52
John 2:1-11
John 21:25