A “Picture” of Jesus’ Future

…written of Joseph and Mary, and of Jesus, after His birth:

“So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” Luke 2:39-40 NKJV

Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover every year. Jesus went with them–this was an observance to which the entire family would adhere.

At the time of this account, Jesus was just twelve years of age–very young. But His growth in the knowledge of the scriptures had already greatly begun.

Therefore, when they had finished the days there, Jesus lingered, though his parents began to make their return. In fact, they went an entire day’s journey before realizing He was missing, which they were shocked to learn.

They had assumed He was with the company; but among their relatives and acquaintances, they couldn’t find Him anywhere. This situation caused them to head back to Jerusalem to search further for Him there.

They must have been terribly concerned about this son, over whom angelic proclamations had been made. It was after three days that they finally found Him in the temple, which was where He’d stayed.

There, Jesus was seated among the teachers–listening to them and asking them questions on His own.  All who’d heard young Jesus were astonished at the understanding and answers that He had shown.

Mary and Joseph’s first reaction was amazement at this scenario involving their son.  But then Mary asked Jesus how he could have put them through such anxiety by what He had done.

Jesus asked why they had even sought Him, for being about His Father’s business was prime to Him–didn’t they know?  But they didn’t understand or fully perceive yet of His destiny and how it would grow.

Jesus was subject to them, however, and went with them for the return back to Nazareth, then.  Mary “kept all these things in her heart”…deeply there, she must have remembered that Jesus would be special among men.

After that, Jesus’ wisdom and stature and favor with God and men only increased….but His being the Son of Man and Son of God had visibly arisen…and was seen at the time of that Passover Feast.

P. A. Oltrogge

(…from Luke 2:41-52)

“And in the sixth month, the angel, Gabriel, was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’ Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:26-38 KJV

“…behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’ And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” Matthew 1:20-25 NASB, Ryrie

“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 NKJV

“Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James, and his brother John, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter responded and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good that we are here. If You want, I will make three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!'” Matthew 17:1-5 NASB

Blindness “Wall” Falls at Jericho

While Jesus, His disciples, and a great multitude were going out of Jericho, a beggar was there sitting by the side of the road.

He was Bartimaeus; and though blind, his hearing was fine to have heard of how Jesus’ healing ministry had flowed.

So, when, that day, Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, Himself, who was passing by…

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” became his earnest and heartfelt cry.

Many, among the crowd, told him to be quiet, as if, for him, there could be nothing in store.

But his plea of “Son of David, have mercy on me!” he kept shouting out all the more.

So Jesus heard Bartimaeus, then stood still, and commanded that he be called.

The persistence and “prayer” of Bartimaeus had caused the pace of Jesus’ journey temporarily to be stalled.

Bartimaeus was now beckoned, instead, with words of encouragement, “Rise, be of good cheer; He is calling you.”

Throwing aside his garment, he got up and came to Jesus, who asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Victory was breaking through…

At that point, Bartimaeus said, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight!”

“Go your way, your faith has made you well,” Jesus said; and immediately his world turned from darkness to light.

Walls had fallen down at Jericho through faith in God in an earlier, historical Biblical story.

And a “wall” of blindness fell at Jericho for Bartimaeus, when by faith in God’s mercy, he saw the Lord’s glory.

The account closes with Bartimaeus following Jesus down that outer Jericho road…

He had been confident of mercy and grace through Jesus Christ—from whom God’s marvelous light had flowed….

and still does today!

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the account from Mark 10…and referenced is the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho at Joshua 6)

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.” Hebrews 11:30 NKJV

“But you are a chosen generation, 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 NKJV

Sharing on this same Bible account, Hank and Brenda Kunneman have been impressed that today also, in 2022, Jesus is asking us the same thing, “What do you want Me to do for you?” You can hear their message on this by going to http://www.govictory.com and clicking on “Shows.” Then, scroll down to find their program, “New Level.” They pastor Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha, Nebraska, http://www.lohchurch.org.

From Butterfly to Bay

A butterfly on a flower or a beautiful blue bay…
Can you really see those exquisite things and then not say–
“There has to be a Creator to fashion things so fair,
For all the evidence needed is seen in each of them there!”

P. A. Oltrogge

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20 NLT

“For (God does not overlook sin and) the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, because that which is known about God is evident within them (in their inner consciousness), for God made it evident to them. For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship (all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made), so that they (who fail to believe and trust in Him) are without excuse and without defense. For even though they knew God (as the Creator), they did not honor Him as God or give thanks (for His wondrous creation).” Romans 1:18-21 AMP

“And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” written by the apostle Paul….1 Timothy 1:14-16 NKJV

“…who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all….” 1 Timothy 2:4-6 NKJV

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior towards man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-6 NKJV

Genesis 1:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 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; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 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. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 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. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 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.” 21 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. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

(New King James Version)

And God saw you–His very good creation….

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”  Psalm 139:13-16 NKJV

Our Ukrainian Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Our prayers for them continue to go forth…and providing aid through organizations previously mentioned on this Porch blog. Of course, http://www.samaritanspurse.org would be one established by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, from which came the video on this link…shared with permission by BGEA.

https://billygraham.org/video/choir-of-2800-ukrainians-worshiping-at-2015-festival-in-lviv/

If, for any reason, this link doesn’t work, simply go to http://www.billygraham.org and click on “TV & Radio,” then click on “Videos” (and “Load More”) where you will find it and other inspiring videos.

And Nicodemus Came Also

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus answered and said to Him, ‘How can these things be?’”
John 3:1-9 (from John 3:1-21)

And Nicodemus Came Also
(God’s continual creative flow of new birth…)

Sometimes a photograph captures a scene
of overwhelming beauty like none you have seen;
The Lord has created so many beautiful things…
for us to enjoy, with the sense of awe that they bring.

The arrival in springtime of little young lambs;
new shells on the seashore from oysters and clams…
the arrival of a baby that makes a family grow–
all are a part of the Master Designer’s creative flow.

Blossoming cherry tree branches leaning over a lake;
a rainbow after rain or the first winter snowflake…
early fog around a mountain or a newly formed stream–
all point to the Creator and His “new birth” theme.

A Rabbi named Nicodemus wondered, “How can these things be?”
when Jesus said he must be born again by water and the Spirit to be free.
Of course, Jesus meant spiritually, not physically being born twice.
Thankfully, the Bible indicates, that Nicodemus took Jesus’ advice.

Nicodemus thought for himself, being bold to question what he’d been taught–
If you can’t say with assurance your faith brings you what it ought,
then learn from the example of a Rabbi back in Jesus’ day…
Take hold of the Gospel of Christ and receive new birth as you pray.

P. A. Oltrogge

“So there arose a discourse in the multitude because of Him (Jesus). And some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, ‘Why did you not bring Him?’ The officers answered, ‘Never did a man speak the way this man speaks.’ The Pharisees, therefore, answered them, ‘You have not also been led astray, have you? No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? But the multitude which does not know the Law is accursed.’ Nicodemus said to them, (he who came to Him before being one of them), ‘Our Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?’ They answered and said to him, ‘You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.’ And everyone went to his home.”
John 7:43-53

“And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came, therefore, and took away His body. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore on account of the Jewish day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:38-42

Above scriptures: NASB, Ryrie Study Bible

“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

“Now there was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (a leader, an authority) among the Jews….” John 3:1 AMPC (This poetic account refers to Nicodemus as a Rabbi. In verse 10, Jesus calls Nicodemus “the teacher of Israel.”)

The Praise Cure

Lilian B. Yeomans, a medical doctor in the early 1900’s, told the story of a missionary, a woman who had come down with a severe case of smallpox. The following is the story of her healing from that disease.

The Lord gave this woman a vision…of two “baskets” of prayer and praise.
Each of us has such baskets, to which we contribute, in either of those ways.

So, her prayer basket on problems was very full, almost to be spilling out,
while her praise basket was only half full, due to neglect and, often, her doubt.

While prayer can be effective and fervent, there’s an enemy who opposes.
Praise to God is also of great power; and, to Him, it’s as fragrant as roses.

Dr. Yeomans called it “The Praise Cure,” to which there is no expense.
She said it would work in every case, which, by Biblical examples, makes sense.

God told the woman to fill up her praise basket, making it heavy with praise
and song. As she did that, the problem basket eventually “lifted” in her life, 
removing what had been wrong.

Though the doctor had told her to rest quietly, she’d kept up her praises and 
singing. Even nurses who were attending to her decided to join in, keeping her
bedroom ringing! 

So if on some matter, you feel distraught, with a problem that seems very hard–
turn to praise, as did that woman. The affliction ceased, and it left her unscarred.

Praise the Lord! 

P. A. Oltrogge

If you do an internet search, you can find a more detailed version of this poetic account. Look for: Mark Hankins The Praise Cure Lilian B. Yeomans

I need to remember this account often myself. Praise God for His love, compassion, goodness, mercy, presence and power in our lives. Choosing a favorite worship song blesses Him and enhances our hope and trust in Him in the midst of a difficulty.

“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.” Psalm 98:1 

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16 

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 (Scriptures NKJV)

Visit http://www.moorelife.org for “101 Things God Said About Healing” and “Thanksgiving Victory.” Also, Keith Moore’s healing songs in sheet music are available there. To hear his songs, click on “Word Supply,” then, “Music.” A favorite of mine is “Healing Compassion,” which is under “Quicken Thou Me.” Be blessed by any and all of them. If you feel in need of peace, listen to his beautiful songs on the peace of God….

No “Goliath” Too Big for Our God

“…for the battle is the Lord’s…” 1 Samuel 17:47

The Bible says that all of the Hebrew warriors’ knees were knocking
at the sight and size of the giant, Goliath, an enemy who was shocking.

None were brave enough at all to finish that giant off;
and when they saw him at a distance, Goliath would loudly scoff.

But there was a shepherd lad of courage who had fought a lion and bear–
To him, the giant, Goliath, was really nothing of a scare,

For David had the faith of one who knew that he was guarded
by the greater Lord of Hosts–and it was Him whom he regarded.

David rejected King Saul’s armor and chose to fight Goliath instead
with declarations of faith, a slingshot, and a stone to knock him dead.

That’s exactly how it went–though he had brought a total of five;
it took just one stone plus faith to make that giant not survive!

Today, in our lives, we may have never tackled a lion or a bear–
but David’s example of facing things fearful makes us be aware

That faith in God is ample for the things that we may face–
Though problems may seem looming, we can conquer them by God’s grace.
_______________________________

A postscript to this Biblical record is that we might speculate
that a further lesson is in the account that one could possibly state.
The five smooth stones that David brought show he was quite prepared
to try again, depending on how the first stone actually fared!

P. A. Oltrogge

And, like David, remembering past victories, where the Lord undertook for us, will help us in facing what may be or what seems like a greater challenge before us. So we persevere with declarations of faith in our God and His Word, and through prayer/praise on any matter.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“And He spoke a parable to them, that men ought always to pray and not lose heart….” words of Jesus in Luke 18:1

“And David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and may the Lord be with you.’” 1 Samuel 17:37

“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:47

The encouraging books, Never Run at Your Giant with Your Mouth Shut, and The Spirit of Faith, by Mark Hankins, are available at http://www.markhankins.org

Daily prayer, 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.
at http://www.govictory.com

Creative image: Pixabay

More Precious than Silver or Gold

(From Acts 3)

Peter and John went up together to the temple at the ninth hour, which was the hour of prayer. There was a man laid daily at the gate, lame from his mother’s womb, who asked charitable alms from those who entered there.

Seeing Peter and John about to enter, he asked alms of both of them, too. Then Peter, with John, looked directly into his eyes, telling him to look at them; and he began to tell the man of something better they could do.

That through faith in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he could rise and walk–a far better gift than silver or gold. Then Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. He received strength in his feet and ankle bones upon Peter’s hold. 

The exact words that Peter said to the man were “Silver and gold have I none…” Then he told him of that which he did have to give–a gift of healing, through the name of Jesus, God’s Son.

The man who’d been lame began leaping, walking, and praising God at the temple’s “Beautiful” Gate. He entered the temple with them, and Peter went on to share with the people that it was the power of Jesus’ name that had changed that lame man’s fate.

Excerpt from Acts:
“Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.  And His name, and faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.’” Acts 3:11-16 NKJV

Peter continued, saying that Christ had been crucified by them in ignorance, but that He had fulfilled all that the prophets had foretold. Now, forgiveness of sins and salvation could be theirs through Jesus–again, a gift from God far greater than silver or gold.

P. A. Oltrogge

The Greek adjective used to name the gate can be defined as ‘1. happening or coming at the right time —2. beautiful, fair, lovely’. Some scholars believe the word may refer more to ripeness than to beauty.

Lord, cause our faith to be ripe to believe we receive of Your help when we pray….(in reference to Mark 11:24)

As an important addition to this poetic account, see today’s post by Dutch Sheets:

http://www.dutchsheets.org (video)

http://www.givehim15.com (written)

Thoughts Gathered from the 23rd Psalm

“Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, 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. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” John 10:7-11 NKJV

The Lord is my Shepherd–my faithful guide;
And through His leading, He always will provide.
He causes me to rest in pastures so green,
Beside quiet waters that speak of the serene.

He encourages my soul if I should ever feel down,
Reminding me I’m wearing God’s “lovingkindness” crown.
Knowing the wisdom of following as Christ leads,
I walk paths of righteousness, sowing Kingdom seeds.

If at times there are valleys, with storms very dark,
I’m safe with my Shepherd–He is my strong ark.
I refuse any fear–His rod and staff keep me stable;
And before any enemy, He prepares me a table.

With divine Kingly oil, He’s anointed my head;
My cup overflows, as by His Spirit I’m led.
Of His goodness and mercy, He always will give;
And in the house of my Shepherd King, I forever will live.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:3-5 NKJV

“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17 NKJV

Jesus, our Good Shepherd…the Lion of the tribe of Judah and, Himself, the Lamb of God:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 NKJV

“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

“So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’

“And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’

“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

“Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.”

Revelation 5 NKJV

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23 KJV

“A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by W. Phillip Keller,
Book available at http://www.christianbook.com

…representation by pxfuel

Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
In the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where Your love will never end

Oh the deep, deep love
All I need and trust…
Is the deep, deep love of Jesus

by Samuel Trevor Francis

“For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height —to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21 NKJV

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.'” 1 Peter 4:8

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV

“…by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.

“Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.” Hebrews 7:22-28 NKJV

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.” Psalm 103:1-6 NKJV

…and from “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” by Frederick Faber:

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in God’s justice,
which is more than liberty.

There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good.
There is mercy with the Savior,
there is healing in His blood….

Was there ever kinder Shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet,
As the Savior who would have us
Come and gather at His feet?

Jesus says… “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV