Poinsettias for the Prince of Peace

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At the Christmas season, with decorations inside and out,
the poinsettias reflect what it’s all about.
Clean as the whiteness of a lamb or a dove–
the purity of ivory petals speaks of the Child sent from above.

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Pink reflects cheer and the joy that was proclaimed
by the angels about the Christ child–Jesus, He’s named.
Crimson red speaks of blood that was shed for mankind
by Jesus Christ upon the cross–our salvation defined.

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The lives of those who receive Him gain a new lease
in finding faith for living through this Prince of Peace.
So, in seeing the poinsettias, rejoice for the reason
that His birth in Bethlehem is what gave us this season.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:9-11 KJV

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” John 1:12 KJV

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Christmas on the Porch—a Gift Idea

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Christmas on the Porch

Christmas is almost here, and the Porch of the Lord is offering you a “stocking stuffer!”

…a book of Christmas poetry by P. A. Oltrogge, for you to share the true message and meaning of Christmas with others—family, friends, acquaintances, or anyone who comes to mind. It is a new release, and its title is Christmas on the Porch.

Featuring a new Christmas poem written especially for the book, Christmas on the Porch is a treasury of seasonal poems from the Porch of the Lord. Friends of the blog will recognize their familiar Christmas favorites, collected in print for the first time.

You can obtain a copy of the book at BarnesandNoble.com or at Amazon.com. You can also order a copy, printed on request, through Barnes and Noble stores.

A blessed Advent and Christmas season to you,

P. A. Oltrogge

A Sure Thing

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Don’t just know about Him only in your head,
but be “born again” as Jesus has said.
It isn’t just the date you were born on this earth
that matters as much as your spiritual rebirth.

It’s simply a gift–so easy to claim,
by praying to receive that gift in His Name.
No other Name but Jesus cancels sin;
just open your heart and ask Him to come in.

Make sure that you’ve done this in your own heart.
It’s faith there that counts–churchgoing’s just a start.
Please don’t let pride or tradition keep
you or those you care about from a love that’s so deep.

Don’t look to “new age” or deceptive ways of thinking,
for they’re no foundation–but sand that is sinking.
And though it is good to think in positive ways,
such thoughts without Jesus won’t get you through life’s maze.

God’s set before us such an easy choice–
your salvation through Jesus will make angels rejoice!
And you won’t need to be concerned about daily bread–
you’ll be all right always if you’ll stay spiritually fed.

Another simple thing is to give ten percent–
God will return back to you far more than you sent.
For others are in need and churches must reach
more human beings with this Gospel we preach.

Jesus, Bread of Life, our Friend and our Guide–
thank you, as well, for your promises to provide.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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.’” John 3:1-8 (from John 3:1-21)

“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 1:12-12 (King James Version)

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 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 very cornerstone. 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 4:8-12

“But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Luke 11:42 (King James Version)

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:18

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

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Jacob’s Encounter with a Heavenly Visitor

“As he (Jacob) slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather, Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.’”

“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it! But he was also afraid and said, ‘What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, The very gateway to heaven!’”

Genesis 28:12-17 NLT

verse 19: “He named that place Bethel (which means ‘house of God’)….”

“Then he (Jesus) said, ‘I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth!’”

John 1:51 NLT

…and from Genesis 31-33:

After twenty years of service to Laban, the Lord told Jacob to take his family and livestock and return to his father, Isaac’s, land.

At a place, which he called Mahanaim, the angels of God met Jacob while he was journeying as God had planned.

“This is God’s camp,” he declared. Despite having seen angelic support, he was worried and sent messengers before him to meet Esau, his brother.

Due to cheating Esau of the patriarchal blessing years before, he had great fears about Esau and himself getting along with one another.

He prayed to God about his fears, seeking His mercy, and decided to offer, for the sake of peace, some herds of his livestock to Esau, each one as a gift.

But God would cause Esau to greet his brother with a heart of love—not bringing up or even thinking of their earlier rift.

Having sent his animals, servants, and family before him, Jacob was alone for the night.

At that point, Jacob had an unusual encounter with a Man with whom he wrestled until the morning light.

Not prevailing, the Man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, putting it out of joint—then urged him to let Him go, for it was break of day.

Jacob, however, would not let Him go, he said, unless He would bestow a blessing that he could take away.

The heavenly visitor asked his name. And “Jacob,” (one who supplants) was his name that he related.

Because he had “wrestled with God and men and prevailed,” his name would no longer be Jacob, but would be Israel, (to have power, as a prince) the visitor stated.

Jacob, too, asked the Man His name, which He didn’t offer—only asking him why he would inquire about it; but He blessed him there.

Jacob called the place, Peniel, for he knew that he had seen God face to face, yet his life had been spared.

In our own lives, we may “wrestle” with God, our own self-will resisting submission to Him, though at any time, He could conquer us.

If we fully understood His love and goodness, we would never resist submission to His will, for He only desires to “conquer” us to bless us…

Trust in the Lord, follow His leading…and be blessed!

P. A. Oltrogge

Laban pursued Jacob after he left but God intercepted any friction by speaking to Laban in a nighttime dream. So Laban wound up making a covenant with him, and Jacob’s reunion with Esau was not disastrous as he had feared—things turned out well for him.

We should remember that the angels are with us, too, as they were with Jacob, and that we can turn to the Lord with any problem, reminding Him of His promises, just as Jacob ultimately did in this account.

Many believe that “the Man” Jacob wrestled with could well have been Jesus Himself, temporarily in a human form, rather than an angel, for Jacob said he had seen God face to face.

In Genesis 32:9, Jacob prayed to the God of his grandfather, Abraham, and the God of his father, Isaac. But after wrestling with God, he addressed Him as God, the God of Israel (Genesis 33:20).

”Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”. Psalm 62:8 NKJV

“He took his brother by the heel in the womb,
And in his strength he struggled with God.
Yes, he struggled with the Angel, and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from Him.
He found Him in Bethel,
And there He spoke to us—
That is, the Lord God of hosts.
The Lord is His memorable name.
So you, by the help of your God, return;
Observe mercy and justice,
And wait on your God continually.”

Hosea 12:3-6 NKJV

“…As he (Jacob) approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept. Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, ‘Who are these people with you?’ ‘These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,’ Jacob replied.” (Jacob then introduces his entire family.)

“‘And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?’ Esau asked. Jacob replied, ‘They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.’ ‘My brother, I have plenty,’ Esau answered. ‘Keep what you have for yourself.’ But Jacob insisted, ‘No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough. And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift.” (From Genesis 33 NLT)

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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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Jesus Stops an Outer Storm and an Inner One

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Photo from the movie, “Jesus”

At evening, Jesus and His disciples were headed to the Gadarenes, across the sea. A storm arose and began to fill the boat with the wind-whipped waters of the Galilee.

Jesus was asleep in the stern in the midst of it all when His disciples cried out with fear. “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?”—their lack of faith being made clear.

Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, saying, “Peace, be still!” Then the disciples were amazed to see the wind and the waves conform to His will.

After the Lord questioned them why it was that they had no faith, they wondered aloud together. “Who could this be?” to have such authority over the power of wind, sea, and weather.

At their arrival at the Gadarenes, they would see the Lord do a work of another kind. There, Jesus was met immediately by a man who had an unclean spirit and whom no man could bind.

He stayed among the tombs and mountains and would cut himself with stones, crying out both day and night. Even shackles and chains couldn’t hold him, but he’d break them, due to an evil, inner might.

Seeing Jesus from afar, this man ran to Him and worshipped Him, and then he said… “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” He indicated fear of what was ahead.

Jesus told the unclean spirit to come out of the man and asked its name, which was Legion. “For we are many,” it said, and begged Jesus earnestly not to send them out of that region.

Then all the demons begged Jesus to permit them to enter a herd of about two thousand swine, which were feeding in the mountains there. At once, Jesus gave permission. The demons entered the pigs, which then ran violently down a steep place to drown in the sea, giving those who saw it a troubling scare.

The men who had fed the swine fled and told others in the city and country what had transpired. So, many came to see for themselves and were shocked to find, clothed and in his right mind, the madman whose life had been so degraded and mired.

Afraid, they pleaded with Jesus to depart from there, even though such a great deliverance had been shown. The man who’d been delivered very much wanted to leave with and follow Him, but Jesus said that, instead, his story should become more known.

He told him to go home and tell his friends of God’s compassion on him and what great things the Lord had done… So he departed and began to share in Decapolis, and the people marveled as he spoke about his life-changing encounter with Jesus, God’s Son.

P. A. Oltrogge

…from Mark 4-5

You are Greatly Loved

If you have ever experienced the loss of someone whom you loved—
while you’re blessed to know that now they’re with the Lord above,
you still, at times, do feel an intense strain of the heart
because you just long to be with them, instead of being apart.

So, I thought of how God, who “so loved the world,” paid our sin debt
by sending His only Son, Jesus, to die for each of us, and yet…
Some haven’t really recognized the truth of that reconciliation,
so they remain separated from Him despite the Gospel’s invitation.

On an individual basis, God wants to fellowship with you and me.
And since He’s the very author of love, it’s His desire that we all see
how He wants to be reunited, not being separated, remaining apart.
May every individual realize this and invite the Lord into their heart.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20 NKJV

“But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 AMP

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

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Reflections from the Master Designer

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Faces—you see them everywhere you go,
having two eyes, a mouth, and a nose, although
each one is different except for a twin—
Then personalities differ, despite being such close kin.

Just look at your arms, your feet, legs, and knees.
You’re wonderfully made, and I’ve found it to please
My creative ability—and you won’t come unglued,
for I formed you in the womb and your life then ensued.

And inside each person I have given a soul;
to carry out My plans, each life has a unique role.
If you need further evidence, just consider your own hand—
with its fingerprints designed just for you by My command.

Each snowflake is known to have its own pattern,
and assorted planets are out there, like Mars or like Saturn.
The oceans with waters I’ve given are vast—
trees, mountains, and flowers by My hand were cast.

You see, the heavens are telling the glory of God;
My handiwork’s proclaimed therein—yet it’s odd
that some in this world want to say My existence
should be denied or challenged with strong resistance.

“Man alone is master,” they proclaim, but deny
that trusting in a greater Master is really the heart’s cry.
And for those who say this world has merely evolved,
they haven’t yet realized around Whom it’s revolved.

Reflected as in a mirror, My image became more clear
when I sent My Son, Jesus, as Redeemer from sin and fear.
He spoke to mankind of the Father as you can see in My Word;
and from Genesis to Revelation, I’ve desired it all to be heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15 NASB

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 NASB

See “About the Porch”

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Photos/Pexels

Dear Jewish Friend…

We’re meant to be family; I pray you can see
that the Jewish carpenter, Jesus, was from your family tree.
Of the house and lineage of David, as Jewish as you yourself;
yet He was God and Messiah, not a name in a Book on a shelf.

Your Torah, too, speaks about the sacrifices
necessary for what a holy God saw as mankind’s vices.
God’s people couldn’t come to the priest with righteousness of their own,
but through the slaying of an animal, a cleansing was shown.

Your devotion to God is very commendable,
yet your system of belief is not dependable
before the God of Israel’s holy face.
You see, you must recognize the One sent in your place.

No, there won’t be a Messiah by any other name
than the revealed Jesus Christ of worldwide fame.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son—
Don’t look for another Messiah to do what Jesus has already done.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 NKJV

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16 NKJV

“Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and to great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:22-23 NKJV

“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:13-16 NASB

…prophecies on the return of the Jewish people to Israel:

“Therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, ”when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.” Jeremiah 16:14-15 NASB

“Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He will lift up a standard for the nations, and will assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:11-12 NASB

“And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better (unto you) than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I (am) the Lord… For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you unto your own land.” Ezekiel 36:11; 24 KJV

…return of the Hebrew language:

“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my supplants, (even) the daughters of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.” Zephaniah 3:8-10 KJV

…the land of Israel will bloom:

”In days to come, Jacob will take root; Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.”  Isaiah 26:6 NIV

”The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and bloom.  Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy….”. Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV

Further study:
http://www.sidroth.org
http://www.Jewishvoice.org

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Photo/Pixabay

Remembering Billy Graham

I remember attending Billy Graham crusades when I was very young
and anticipating hearing Billy after George Beverly Shea had sung.

Cliff Barrows led the assembled choir in an always joyful way,
giving mighty praise to God before someone on stage would pray.

Then Billy would come forward; and with his powerful voice,
he’d say we needed to make a decision—God was giving us a choice.

He always pointed to the cross and what Jesus had achieved—
redemption through His shed blood on Calvary for anyone who believed.

He said we should repent of our sins and give our hearts to Christ—
that His was the only sacrifice which God says has sufficed.

He emphasized that “God loves you” and wants to be your friend,
counselor, and advocate—from beginning of life to its end.

He said this earth was not his home—that he was just passing through—
and that a home in heaven awaits every believer in Jesus Christ, too.

After many Biblical references, Billy would give an invitation.
Then, an amazing number in the place would come forward to his station.

As they came forward, a familiar song helped set so many hearts free—
“Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me.”

Today, Billy Graham is honored for faithful service to God during his life span.
May we continue to share the Gospel of Christ—God’s gracious redemptive plan.

P. A. Oltrogge

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

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