“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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 NASB
At God’s appointed time, I’ll be saying goodbye. That time is getting close, and I’ve tried to explain why. I love you so much–please come along; Don’t neglect Jesus for that would be wrong. He’s preparing a party, and it will be grand. Please don’t miss out because you don’t understand. He’s made it so plain in the true Gospel story– He, the Christ, is our way to Glory. One thing’s for sure–all lives draw to a close, so it’s best to put faith in the One who arose. But we could see Jesus more quickly than we think for the Bible speaks prophetically of what’s on the brink. “In the twinkling of an eye…we shall be changed.” Take Jesus and your place in Glory that He has arranged.
P. A. Oltrogge
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and the mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 NASB
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” words of Jesus in John 14:2-3 NKJV
Recommended reading: “The Last Hour, An Israeli Insider Looks at the End Times” Book by Amir Tsarfati, available at http://www.christianbook.com and other book sources
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 through 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.”
Through the beauty of a flower, we see our great God’s creative heart. Or the birth of a baby is an expression of another awesome part of His endless creativity and His giving to us of others to love… Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights above.
Praise and thanks to our beautiful Savior, Jesus, the King of Creation… We trust You, placing our hand in Your loving hand through every situation. Help us to share Your love with people who are near to us or far… telling them that You’re the Lord of all, the Bright and Morning Star.
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
“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….” Hebrews 1:1-3 NKJV
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17 NKJV
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 KJV
“The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—” Acts 10:36 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.'” John 14:9-11 NKJV
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
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)
The Bible shares many different instances where Jesus healed–each one very compelling. In Luke 14, we read of Jesus healing a man with “dropsy,” which is an old term used to describe abnormal swelling.
In coming for dinner to the home of a leader of the Pharisees, Jesus well knew…that healing would be considered “work” to them–which they believed that He, on a Sabbath, shouldn’t do.
So He first put the question to them–whether, on a Sabbath, healing was permitted in the law. After they refused to answer, He touched the man who was afflicted with dropsy; and he received of healing virtue for that bodily flaw.
He sent the man away and asked those remaining a new question–as to which one of them wouldn’t do the same. If on a Sabbath, their son or even their animal fell into a pit, wouldn’t he work to get him, or it, out, despite their “We don’t work on the Sabbath” claim?
In other recorded accounts, too, Jesus healed on a Sabbath day, showing what God, the Father, certainly permitted–which was always extending God’s love and compassion, to which He, the Son of God, was steadfastly committed.
P. A. Oltrogge
“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John 1:16-18 NKJV
“Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.” Psalm 103:3 God’s Word states we are healed by Jesus’ stripes…He still heals today any type of malady or disorder.
“The commandments, ‘Never commit adultery; never murder; never steal; never have wrong desires,’ and every other commandment are summed up in this statement: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ Love never does anything that is harmful to a neighbor. Therefore, love fulfills Moses’ Teachings.
“You know the times in which we are living. It’s time for you to wake up. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first became believers.” Romans 13:9-11 GW
See the Biblical account of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21
“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
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17
“And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.'” Mark 2:27-28
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
I’m one of the earth’s many notable designs… of a workmanship the Bible so clearly defines.
We birds first appeared in Genesis, chapter one– just after God made the moon and the sun.
Creatures of the sea and winged birds of the sky, He said were good and should multiply.
Cattle and other living things, trees for shade… and man and woman, also, by Him were made.
So birds are just one kind of creativity to see, fashioned by God, who caused all things to come to be.
And Jesus Christ spoke of us birds of the air… Turn from Old Testament to New to read of Him there.
He said the Father in heaven wants more new creations to come forth before Him from all of the nations.
He shared God’s requirement, telling women and men… that because of their sin, they must be “born again.”
The way to the Father is through Him, God’s Son; and there aren’t “many ways to God,” but there is only One.
Through Christ, there’s abundant life, for God is good– and it’s His desire for people to live in loving brotherhood.
Owls are said to be wise, so here is my view… I say, thoughts that deny God as Creator aren’t true.
Without looking to the Bible, some theories have been told; but it’s the brilliance of God that caused the galaxies to unfold.
If you haven’t done much study, it’s time to give a “hoot,” and explore the Holy Bible, which no man can refute.
Can God use an owl to tell the gospel story? In a way, because all of creation speaks of His glory.
P. A. Oltrogge
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1: 1
“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” Genesis 1:14-19
“Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.’ So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” Genesis 1:20-23 (and see all of Genesis 1)
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3
“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” Psalm 33:6
“Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.” Psalm 102:25
“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
“Then He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?'” Luke 12:22-25
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
“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
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a newcreation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
The following is another account of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus….
After the Sabbath at the beginning of day, Mary and others were on their way to anoint the body of the Lord they held dear. But they were taken aback at the tomb as they came near, for they were greeted by an angelic being and could hardly believe what they were seeing. From the tomb the great stone had been rolled away, and on it was the angel, as bright as day. The angel pointed to where Jesus’ body had been lying, saying, “He has risen, just as He said”–truly death defying! The women went quickly to tell His disciples, as well, of the Risen Lord, who holds the keys to heaven and hell. With fear and great joy, they went on their way but met up with Jesus that first Easter day! They fell down at His feet, giving Him praise, rejoicing because He’d risen in three days. He greeted them with love and said He would be appearing again to His disciples in Galilee. Today, in His promises, we have a share, for He said He would meet us again in the air. So though some are doubtful or wonder just when Jesus will really be coming again– Remember that He said He would rise from the dead, and He’s coming again—just as He said!
P. A. Oltrogge
(From the account in Matthew 28)
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also.” John 14:3
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:4-5
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” Revelation 22:20, 21
The variety of flowers God created are such a feast for our eyes– And, besides their beauty, most have a pleasing fragrance that will arise.
No wonder Jesus said that we should consider the lilies of the field– Their essence is a tribute to His Father’s care to which they yield.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross arose, as a pleasing fragrance, to the Father’s throne– An aroma so pleasing that Christ now, as the rose of Sharon, is known.
Yes, like a rose, that was crushed and associated with thorns upon His head, Jesus paid for our redemption through scourges and His sacred veins that bled.
All who are in Christ give sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him as well, To remind those who are saved of heaven, and to warn those unaware of hell.
So consider how the lilies are clothed, and therefore put on the Lord Jesus Christ, For His sacrifice on your behalf is the one that the Bible says sufficed.
P. A. Oltrogge
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Romans 13:14
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
“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 5:1-2
“But thanks be to God, Who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” Acts 10:38-43
“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 19:40-42
from John 20….
At a new tomb, a garden tomb, a great stone had been rolled away– Just to show that the victorious Jesus Christ didn’t stay! Briefly, His body, in linen, with spices, had been placed therein, But lasting death, for this Man, was not destined to win!
That morning, Mary Magdalene came while it was not yet dawn– Then ran to get Simon Peter when she found that Christ’s body was gone. Upon hearing this, Peter and John went out and came unto the tomb; Only the linen wrappings were lying there within its room.
They went away then after they’d seen for themselves what she had said; They hadn’t understood Jesus’ words, that He would rise again from the dead. But Mary remained outside the tomb, and while she was weeping, she looked inside again to find two angels, their posts keeping.
“Woman, why are you weeping?” was the question they put to her– She replied that her Lord’s body was taken–by whom or where, she wasn’t sure. Turning around, she saw a “gardener,” but didn’t yet recognize That standing there was the beloved Christ, before her very eyes.
When He said, “Mary,” her eyes were opened to every familiar feature Of the One she loved, and for whom she’d wept, “Rabboni,” the Master and Teacher. He had yet to ascend to His Father–so, therefore, He bid Mary go, To tell the brethren of His ascension–He wanted them all to know!
We, too, can go from the garden tomb, a place that had seen God’s glory, To tell all the world of what Christ has done–this world’s greatest love story. “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God,” Jesus said– They’re still words that speak of “Family” to those who’ll believe that He rose from the dead.
At that garden tomb, a much greater “stone” had actually been rolled away… Of death and darkness, now removed, to reveal the Light of Jesus Christ’s Way!
P. A. Oltrogge
“So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” John 20:8-9
“For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, ‘The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.’ But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.” Mark 9:30-32
Other references: Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:22-23; Matthew 27:62-64; John 2:16-22; John 10:17-18
“And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelations 1:5,6
“I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelations 1:18