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

Yours is a Wonderful Life

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I have posted this at Christmas previously, but wanted to share it again for any time of year and for anyone who might be discouraged.

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If your world seems to be in turmoil, and you’re experiencing trouble or strife, it would be beneficial to remember the Christmas tale, “It’s a Wonderful Life!”

Is there a “Mr. Potter” in your days, who has been greedy and domineering, while you’ve been working hard to do what’s right…and to be God-fearing?

If things have come to a head, and you think there’s no way through, remember how the angel, Clarence, showed George Bailey a thing or two.

George had to rescue him from drowning, which took his mind off his own woes. Then Clarence “showed” him Bedford Falls, if it hadn’t had him to fight its foes.

Instead of a family-friendly town, it had become degraded, far below…the standard of a great place to live, through which good things could flow.

And the people who were important to him had lives that weren’t complete, simply because he hadn’t been there in Bedford Falls for them to meet.

At the end of the visitation by the angel, George realized the joy of just being alive. Likewise, we’ve got God and the angels despite problems with which we strive.

George’s friends came through, as well, with appreciation for things he’d done. As the Bible says, God will complete the work in us that He’s already begun.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3-6 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.” John 10:10 NKJV

“Are they (the angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14 NKJV

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.’” Psalm 91:1-2 NKJV

Photo/Unsplash

Jesus, the Son, from the Kingdom of Heaven

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Peter, James, and John went up with Jesus to a mountaintop and, there, were witness to…

an experience like no other that Jesus had ever led them to view.

Their Master Teacher was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun.

His clothing became white as the light or snow, like no launderer on earth could have done.

They then saw Him conversing with Moses and Elijah, who had supernaturally appeared.

God spoke from out of a bright cloud that overshadowed them. Falling down, the disciples feared.

“This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Hear Him,” were the words that God, the Father, came to declare.

Thereafter, Jesus touched them, telling them to not be afraid. Then they stood up and found that only Jesus was there.

Clearly, they’d seen that Jesus was the Son of God Almighty, with all that that could mean…

Yet, later, we see Peter being approached by some men in Capernaum at a different Biblical scene.

The men were collectors of the temple tax and questioned Peter as to whether his Teacher would pay.

Peter said that He would—then entered the house where Jesus was, to see what He would say.

Jesus knew what Peter was going to ask but first questioned him, on from whom the kings of the earth drew tax collection.

Was it from their sons or was it from strangers, Jesus asked. Peter chose “strangers” as the obvious selection.

“So the sons are free,” Jesus was emphasizing, so that Peter would have firm realization…

that, as the Son of His Father, God, He had special status or privilege, as magnificently shown at the transfiguration.

Jesus really didn’t need to pay, but with humility and not wanting to offend, he sent Peter out to go down to the sea.

There, by casting in a hook and taking the first fish that he caught—in its mouth, he would find a coin to cover the exact fee.

As a disciple of Christ, Peter, too, was free. Yet, Jesus paid the temple tax for them both in this Matthew, chapter 17, story.

In even greater humility, He went to the cross, where He paid for all who’ll believe, so that they, too, can be free, as a son or daughter of the King…of glory!

P. A. Oltrogge

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26

“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!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:4-7

“So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” John 2:18-22

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’. They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’” John 8:31-36

“Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” John 20:16-17

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Also, Mark 9, the transfiguration account

(Scriptures NKJV)

There’s a Rainbow!

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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

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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

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“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