Unto YOU

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

“And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

“And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.’”

“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly host, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’”

“And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.”

“And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”

“And when eight days were completed before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.”

(From Luke 2 NASB)

A blessed Merry Christmas UNTO YOU, dear follower or friend of this blog…

P.A. Oltrogge

Choosing the Real versus the Artificial

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I remember many chilly Christmases past, as you likely do as well…
going to a local tree lot, to choose the best tree, as far as we could tell.

Some may have been too short, and some may have been too tall;
then, finally, we would discover…the best one for us of them all.

At some point, years ago, it became popular to switch to an artificial pine,
but they never truly could satisfy this old-fashioned heart of mine.

When it comes to choosing the truth about God, there really is only one way.
Jesus—the way, the truth, and the life, who came to us, first, as a baby on the hay.

You can’t make up your own version of God—an artificial “god” won’t do.
For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son…this He did for you.

So as you go about enjoying the beautiful trees of the Christmas season,
remember God’s Biblical and satisfying truth—that Jesus IS its reason.

Most trees are topped by an angel or a star, reminding us of Christ’s birth.
Rejoice, for God loves you very much; and Jesus is (the real) Lord of heaven and earth!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” John 14:6 KJV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 NLT

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Photos by Porch of the Lord

A Star for the Magi, a Star for Us

“…they went their way, and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His Mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:9-11

The Bible relates that some magi sought
a gift so priceless that it couldn’t be bought.
A star was their guide in this long-ago quest;
and it went before them, coming to rest,
over the place where God decreed it should,
designating the Christ child—and there it stood.
It must have been brilliant as it stopped above
to point out the gift of God’s divine love.
They worshiped Jesus there, going inside,
trusting that the star was their heaven-sent guide.
The child was the very reason God had brought them to this place,
and they sensed that redemption was theirs to embrace.
A Redeemer God had sent, as had been foretold—
The magi presented gifts—myrrh, frankincense, and gold.
God’s righteousness and holiness would require a sacrifice—
that justice would be met when this Child paid the price.
He would live a perfect life, fulfilling all that’s right,
and would urge all to repentance, saying He was the world’s Light.
As an individual, you may think that your life has been good—
but “falling short of God’s glory” needs to be understood.
God sent for all a Savior, an old familiar story—
only Christ’s sinless life met and satisfied that glory.
Fitting it was for a sparkling star’s light
to magnify the greatest Light on that special night.
Today God sends His Spirit to lead and be your guide—
It’s standing above the Lord’s house, inviting you to come inside.
There find the God-sent Christ for you to worship and believe.
You’ll find that He gives gifts to you—from His goodness you’ll receive!

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

“But now apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe, for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness because in the forbearance of God, He passed over the sins previously committed, for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

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“Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17
(Scriptures NASB)

Advent of a Rose

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Pixabay

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming
as men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright,
amid the cold of winter
when half spent was the night.

Isaiah ‘twas foretold it,
this Rose I have in mind.
With Mary we behold it,
the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
she bore to men a Savior
when half spent was the night.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender
with sweetness fills the air,
dispels with glorious splendor
the darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
from sin and death He saves us
and lightens every load.

This hymn originally appeared in 1599,
Translated from German by Theodore Baker 1894

“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

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

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 2:15

Scriptures NKJV

Called to forgive, to love, to serve…

What have you called me to, dear Lord?
You’ve called me to live in one accord
with You, my God, and with my fellow man.
To this I’m called—it’s Your “new command.”

To forgive, to love, and, of course, to serve…
to encourage and to bless ‘round every curve
in traveling the path on which You lead.
To this I’m called, in both word and deed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

“And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he should be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

(All scriptures NKJV)

Psalm 91, Psalm 116:1, Acts 2:1; 2:46; 4:24

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

Train Ride

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Photo/Pixabay

I was traveling on a train that had many stops it would be making…
but I knew my destination and which stop that I’d be taking.

I thought I’d ask the traveler next to me where he was going to go;
then, surprisingly, he said it wasn’t something he could know.

I thought that that was rather odd, for one needs to be quite sure,
for travelers can’t ride indefinitely on a never-ending tour.

I’d researched my destination, having heard it was a beautiful place;
but my fellow traveler’s plans were vague and uncertain in his case.

Eventually, he’d need to get off—there would come an end to the trail.
It reminded me of those who travel equally vaguely, but on a spiritual rail.

They think that any exit will get them to a final place of peace,
but they haven’t secured the ticket to where God’s love will never cease.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life…don’t travel until it’s too dark.
Secure your ticket by taking Him as Savior—then you’ll KNOW where you will disembark.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

“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.” John 14:2 NKJV

Out of the Darkness…into His Light

Jesus was teaching in the temple when some scribes and Pharisees approached,
bringing a woman caught in adultery, who they thoroughly had reproached.

Setting her down before Him, they brought up the command that she be stoned;
and what were His thoughts on that—should Moses’ law now be condoned?

Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground, as though He didn’t hear.
Soon the woman would find, through Christ, her deliverance from a death fear.

So when they persisted in asking Him, she surely was fearing the worst.
But He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

He again stooped down to write—perhaps knowledge of the sins of those accusing. They began to all leave, then, one by one, knowing their own sins they couldn’t be excusing.

Jesus stood up then, seeing only the woman, left there in the midst of the crowd. He asked her where her accusers had gone, their condemnation having been so loud.

“Has no one condemned you?” Jesus asked. “No one, Lord.” Not one of them had stayed. Then He said He didn’t either, but to go and sin no more. She received pardon despite having strayed.

After this event, Jesus declared that He was this world’s light…and that those who follow Him will not walk in darkness but, through Him, will “see” to live right.

P. A. Oltrogge

(from the account in John 8:1-12)

The Man Above All Men

“From that time Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” Matthew 16:21

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.”

“Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have glorified it and will glorify it again.'” John 12:27-28
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Artist’s sketch by Rachel Dutton

Have you met up with Jesus?
He’s your kind of Man…
Came down here from heaven,
carrying out God’s mighty plan.

He’s still here today, capturing hearts, lives, and souls,
giving all whom He touches much worthier goals.
He doesn’t actually show up in visible form,
but you’re aware of His presence when prayer becomes norm.

And some have had visions or have seen Him in dreams,
and what they remember is the love that He beams.
That’s also reflected in the words of His book;
the renowned Holy Bible is the right place to look.

You might think you know what could give you life’s best;
but those who follow His lead are on a sure quest.
He wants to increase your every potential,
but living for Him and others is essential.

Dedicating all that you have to Him is not loss–
The best in mind for you is why He died on the cross.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
1 Timothy 2:4-6

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11

“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Scriptures from the New King James Version of the Bible

 

The Shepherd’s Voice

I once saw a film clip about a shepherd of today…
It showed an imposter calling the sheep to come his way.

But the sheep went on grazing, just as if they couldn’t hear.
Then their true shepherd called… His voice, to them, was clear.

It was amazing to watch them immediately flock to his side.
Likewise, we flock to our true Shepherd, protector, and guide.

At times, a voice that is dangerous will come to us in disguise.
But the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus, and His truths make us wise.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:4-5 NKJV

“I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and I am known by my own.” John 10:14 NKJV

“The wise in heart will receive commands….”. Proverbs 10:8 NKJV

“The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.” Proverbs 13:14 NKJV

“But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” from one of the parables in Matthew 25 (verse 4)

Excellent series at http://www.moorelife.org on
“My Sheep Hear My Voice” by Keith Moore

THE Gang to Belong to…

I belong to a gang called, “The Redeemed”–
against which the devil has schemed.
He wants us to think that he always prevails;
but he can’t, for our God (who is Love) never fails!

It’s great to proclaim you’re “The Redeemed”–
that with the Father, Son, and Spirit you’re teamed.
Evil, demonic forces can come across tough;
but Jesus is Lord, and He’s more than enough.

For we’re more than conquerors through Him,
and the devil’s predicted future is grim.
Jesus came down to earth to destroy the devil’s works,
which is one of “The Redeemed” membership perks.

Christ rescued us from sin and heading the wrong way…
and gives to us guidance when we seek and pray.
He gives us a heart for other gang members,
and the “fire” to invite others whom He yet remembers.

We’re a gang that has armor to combat any foe–
We’re redeemed from the curse, so any sickness must go.
Our well-being all around is on our “gang leader’s” heart,
He always stands by us…and won’t ever depart.

In this world, we will have tribulation, Jesus said;
but we’re of good cheer for He went on ahead…
and overcame the world for those of us who believe.
Join “The Redeemed” and receive your eternal reprieve.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“…the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” (from 1 John 3:1-8)

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NKJV

“Love never fails.” (from 1Corinthians 13:8)

“He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.'” (from Hebrews 13:5)

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

Ephesians 6:10-17
Psalm 103:1-5
3 John 1:2
Psalm 91
Revelation 20:10

Hear from some of “The Redeemed”
gang members at: http://www.bvovn.com