There’s Still Light in Goshen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P. A. Oltrogge

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

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

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

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

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

Triumphal Arch

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“And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.”
Genesis 9:12-17 KJV

The rainbow is a token of the covenant that God promised to fulfill.
It can be called an arch or an arc; choose whichever you will.

But an arch can be formed over a doorway–and that gracious bow
speaks of the entrance to God’s kingdom, through which anyone can go.

To enter, requires putting faith in His Son, Jesus, who said, “I am the door.”
The “door” leads to all of God’s covenant promises and life forevermore.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I am the door: If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and he will go in and out and find pasture. 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 10:9-10 NKJV

“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-15 from 11-15 NKJV

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 8:14 NKJV

“But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6 NKJV, and Hebrews 7:22, Hebrews 12:24

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” …spoken by Jesus in John 17:3 NKJV

“And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”
1 John 2:25 KJV

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” 1 John 5:11 KJV

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and are in him that is true, even in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20 KJV

The Power of Jesus’ Blood

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Matthew 1:23 KJV
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“Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Pick out and take lambs for yourselves, according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your house to strike you.’” Exodus 12:21-23
_______________

The significance of the blood of Jesus, God’s Holy and unblemished Lamb,
is questioned or rejected by some as being objectionable, or even a sham.

But the Bible speaks of its life and its shedding for the atonement of the soul. We can refer back to ancient Egypt and a lamb’s blood in a basin or bowl.

After the slaying of an unblemished lamb, the Israelites were given instruction, to dip some hyssop in the basin of blood to keep their lives from destruction….

The Pharaoh of that day, despite plagues God had sent throughout his land,
refused to let the Israelites go free, though Moses had said it was God’s command.

Despite rivers turning to blood, plagues of frogs, lice, flies, and livestock that died…boils, hail, locusts, and darkness, Pharaoh still felt their God could be defied.

Then God told Moses of the tenth plague, which would be the decisive blow–
death of the firstborn from Pharaoh’s home, and throughout the land it would go.

The Israelites, therefore, were to take the blood-dipped hyssop, using it to apply…to the lintels and doorposts of their homes, so that death would pass them by.

In the same way, Jesus’ blood must be applied to the “door” of every person’s heart, for without the shedding of blood, the wages of sin and its death won’t depart.

So, blood, which seems offensive to some, gives life eternal as God has ordained. Jesus’ blood is cleansing and powerful, to all who have been sin-stained.

And the blood of Jesus “applied” today protects against adverse things; and every Christian can claim that blood covering for the safety and security it brings.

Thank God for the “Lifeblood” of Jesus, which offers abundant life here and now…but will, one day, open for us the gates of heaven, where, before the Lord, we’ll bow.

P. A. Oltrogge

“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22 NIV

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11 NKJV

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

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV

“If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7 NKJV

Of Moses, “By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” Hebrews 11:28 NKJV

“No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”
Psalm 91:10 NKJV

“…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.” from 1 Peter 1:1-2 NKJV

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 KJV

Matthew 26:28
John 6:53-56
Revelation 12:10-12

…further reading in the book, “The Blood and the Glory,”
by Christian author, Billye Brim

Great encouragement at:
http://www.emic.org
to view the latest message by Mark Hankins
“Fill Up Your Praise Basket!”

Thomas’s Moment of Doubt

When Jesus had risen from the dead, His first appearance was to Mary Magdalene. On the evening of the same day, where the disciples were gathered, He came again upon the scene.

“Peace be with you,” He shared with them, showing them His hands and side.
“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you,” was the immediate instruction from their beloved Master, teacher, and guide.

He breathed on them, saying to receive the Holy Spirit, and that He was sending them out to declare…the forgiveness of sins through His shed blood for all with whom they would ultimately share.

Thomas hadn’t been present at that wonderful moment, so only later, was he told. His fellow disciples were saying that they, too, had seen the Lord–but Thomas’s reaction to this was cold.

“Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, Jesus again appeared to the disciples; but this time, Thomas was there. Again, Jesus greeted them with His peace but turned to Thomas with words of faith that He began to share.

“Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Of course, Thomas declared, “My Lord and my God!” He now believed with every fiber of his being. Yet Jesus wanted him (and us) to understand that believing is seeing!

Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Lord, may this teaching of Yours on faith, and faith in You, be one that’s wholeheartedly received.

Some people today, too, have doubts that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead actually took place. But be blessed to believe, as Jesus said, in the miracle of His resurrection–the unmerited gift to us of God’s love and grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the account in John 20)

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:30-31 NKJV

Consider the Birds and the Lilies

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Look at the birds of the air…
They don’t sow, reap, or gather
Their needed food into barns—
But are dependent upon God, rather.

Consider how the lilies are clothed—
They toil not, nor do they spin,
But to the heavenly Father’s care
They’re blessed to give in.

Yes, consider these,
And consider giving in,
To the message of Christ’s love
Above this world’s din.

Partake, through the Bible, from God’s table
Of spiritual food fit for a King’s heir,
And be clothed in the love of Jesus,
the finest thing you could wear.

Consider the children,
So gentle and so tender—
What kind of faith
To them will you render?

One that speaks dislike
And contempt of others—
Or one that speaks love
And draws all men to be brothers?

The heavenly Father gave Jesus
To tell of God’s care and to guide.
When we take Him as Savior, He gives love
For all others for whom He has died.

So just like the lilies
Or the birds of the air,
May people of all nations be blessed to give in
To Jesus—the way to the Father God’s care…

P. A. Oltrogge

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies….” Luke 6:27

“And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’”
Matthew 22:37-40

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious, can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.

“But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:25-34

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

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

“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

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The Leader We All Need

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Looking for a trusted leader? Then, you need to look no more,
for Jesus Christ is the leader every one of us is looking for.

Kingdoms of this world arise, and there are those that fall;
but Christ and His eternal kingdom reign preeminently over them all.

We can read of the rulers of history, both the bad or the good;
but it’s the Lordship of Jesus Christ that must be fully understood.

Sent from His Father, God, Jesus came to us as a servant,
sharing God’s love on earth in a manner that was selfless and fervent.

He emptied Himself of His position, to live and die as a man,
winning redemption for all who’ll believe, in fulfillment of God’s plan.

He spoke of His Father’s goodness, and He told us how to live.
He said that we were to love others, to serve them, and to forgive.

Jesus said that if we followed Him, we’d actually find what’s best.
He taught the importance of prayer, and that, thereby, we’d be blessed.

Looking for a trusted leader? He can be contacted from any nation.
“If anyone is in Christ, they’ve become a new creation.”

Receive, for yourself, Jesus’ leadership, the ruler who shall reign forever.
What a true and faithful King He is. Will He fail us or forsake us? Never!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 NASB

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'” Matthew 16:24-25 NKJV

“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: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13 KJV

“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

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23-24 NKJV

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NKJV

“Love never fails….” 1 Corinthians 13:8 NKJV

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” Hebrews 13:5 NKJV

“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.'” Revelation 11:15 NKJV

“And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns.'”

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True….”

“And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:6, 11, and 16 NKJV

Everything to Gain…Because of God’s Love

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Whoever desires to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Jesus makes this statement yet today to us
because God’s great love is actually behind it.

For as we surrender to God’s perfect will,
we needn’t have any apprehensions still…

since the Lord of all creation wants to guide us
to that which is best as He walks beside us.

P. A. Oltrogge
 
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'” Matthew 16:24-25 NKJV
 
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulnrss.” Lamentations 3:21-23 RSV

“…For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5 NLT

His love blesses us, and we seek to love and bless others…

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV

“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 NKJV

Cross Over to the Other Side

Photo by Josh Matthews
Jumonville Cross
Photo by Josh Matthews

A cross on a hillside beckons for our attention,
and can bring to mind something that Jesus Christ mentioned
when He and His disciples launched out for a sail–
“Let’s cross over to the other side,” were His words that didn’t fail.

Have you been on the side with those who have apprehensions,
or reject that Christ is Lord or doubt God’s intentions?
Look thoughtfully to the cross, for a strong message it bears–
God wants you to cross over to knowing that He cares.

Any other “religion” hasn’t the cross’s personal touch–
God sent His Son to die for you because He loved you that much.
There, Jesus made the sacrifice for your well-being and sins–
so you could cross to the place where new life in Him begins.

Despite a storm, His words didn’t fail in that Biblical account recorded.
They won’t fail in your destiny either, but you’ll be greatly rewarded,
as you come under the shadow of the Almighty and cross to the other side.
You’ll be so thankful you heeded the message of the wonderful cross as your guide.

P. A. Oltrogge

“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’

“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!’”

Mark 4:35-41 (NKJV)

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

John 5:24 (NIV)

“…that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Romans 6:4 (NKJV)

Have the Heart of Ruth

We read in the Bible that Ruth, of Moab, had a loyal and loving heart.
So upon the death of her Hebrew husband, she felt that she couldn’t part
from Naomi, her beloved mother-in-law, who had urged her to make her way
back to Ruth’s own parent’s home; but, instead, Ruth begged to stay.

She shared her heart, stating that where Naomi went, so, in fact, would she;
where she lodged and the God she worshiped–these would also be
what she desired for her own particular life, even to her day of dying.
To stay with her late husband’s “family” was the future on which she was relying.

Naomi allowed Ruth, then, to go with her on her Bethlehem-Judah return;
there Ruth would find a special blessing that only God could have discerned.
For there was a kinsman-redeemer through Naomi’s husband’s line,
whom Ruth would meet, while gleaning in his fields, by God-ordained design.

Related by blood, willing and able to redeem this woman, Boaz entered her life;
a prominent free man, total provision was hers, when she later became his wife.
One can easily see an analogy here to the Bible’s New Testament account that we read of God becoming Man, through Jesus Christ–the Kinsman-Redeemer He knew we would need.

Like Ruth, leave the “god” you once were told about; find shelter under the
true God’s wings. Look to the Way, the Truth, and the Life–and experience the peace that Christ brings. Don’t try to make it on your own with God, through acts of service, however kind; there’s provision for us as “the bride of Christ,” which He, the Bridegroom, wants us to find.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But Ruth said, ‘Entreat me not to leave you or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.’”
Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV

“May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.”
Ruth 2:12 NASB

“You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John 3:28-30 NASB (words of John the Baptist regarding Christ, the Bridegroom)

Other references:

Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19,20

Rejoicing to hear of those of today who have left their perception of God to find faith in Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life–

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6 NKJV