Train Ride

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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

It’s a New Day

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by J. Vetter,
Guest Contributor

Don’t you love new beginnings?

A new baby?

A new job?

A blank canvas, if you are an artist?

But do you realize YOU are a blank canvas in God’s hands and that He is the Master artist? Instead of worrying so much about what we will do each day – just think of how much more would be accomplished if we asked God to bring forth His awesome, creative gifts through us every day.

A new year often means well-intentioned resolutions. However, we usually approach them with an “I” – I want to lose weight, I will exercise more, I will stop smoking, etc. Instead, let’s anticipate the blessings of God and the creative flow of His gifting.

Many of us have just gone through a season where we received gifts. Maybe some of them were the wrong size or not really what we wanted. However, the true giver of perfect gifts is the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He also created you and knows exactly who you are and what you need.

God’s word says, “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

So if you didn’t receive the “perfect” gift at Christmas, trust the Lord to bring those precious gifts that speak of His knowledge of who you are. After all, He created you and knows even the number of hairs on your head. (That always amazes me – especially when the number changes daily!)

When you are on the lookout for God’s gifts, don’t expect them to arrive in tinsel or pretty bows. One of my favorites, at two different times, was a cardinal, (God knows how I love them) which appeared right when I needed a pick-me-up. Once, he sat quietly for a long time on the azalea bush outside our bedroom window. Another time, he flew to the tree close to our dining room window as I stood there asking the Lord to lift my discouragement.

A friend shared with me recently an incident that happened one day when she was out walking. The day was really chilly and her nose began to run. She said, “Lord, I really need a tissue.” A few minutes later, she looked up and saw a perfectly good tissue caught on a branch. I’m sure many a skeptic would say that was only a coincidence; and I can’t begin to understand how it got there, but I know she won’t forget that “gift.”

I remember the day of my grandson’s funeral – the end of a hot July in Texas – but a cool breeze danced around the gravesite as we sat there, and butterflies seemed to be led by an angelic symphony as they darted from flower to flower. My heart lifted with the certainty that this life is not the end. What a gift God’s presence was on that day.

In this new year, let’s learn to receive all the gifts God has to give, starting with the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ. If Fed Ex comes to our door with a package that requires a signature, they won’t leave it until we sign to receive it. Likewise, we need to simply sign our name, so to speak, on the gift sent from heaven.

Have you said “yes” to the greatest gift of all?

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There’s Still Light in Goshen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P. A. Oltrogge

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

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

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

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

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

Be blessed by recent services/messages
at http://www.lohchurch.org

A Star for the Magi, A Star for Us

…Though it’s a little past Christmas, some thoughts herein are good to remember as we head into the new year…

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“…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

“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)

No Greater Star…

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“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod, the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” Matthew 2:1-2 NKJV

One of the names of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is The Bright and Morning Star.
Long ago, the wise men followed “His” star when traveling from afar.

It guided them like a compass—perhaps giving light to them on their way.
The Bright and Morning Star, through God’s Spirit, is still guiding men who are wise today.

This Christmas, a distant neighbor’s roof has a large, lighted star for all to view.
Its twinkling in the darkness speaks of God’s love—always there to see us through.

Each night, I look for that star, which reminds of the presence of the Lord—
and that, for those who take Jesus as Savior, peace with God has been fully restored.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

“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 3:21-23 RSV

“‘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.’ And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”
Revelation 22:16-17

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

Scriptures NKJV

Star Gazing Leads to the Star to be Praising

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod, the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’

“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’

“Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.’

“When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

“Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” Matthew 2:1-12 NKJV

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There’s something very compelling about a brilliant star;
and that, dear Lord, is what You are…

“The Bright and Morning Star,” is one of Your titles, which inspires—
“Glory to God in the highest” was sung at Your birth by heaven’s angelic choirs.

The wise men followed the guiding light of a certain star in the sky,
which led them to You, the Bright and Morning Star—
Jesus, the Son of the Most High.

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

“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.” Luke 1:30-33 KJV

“For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2 NKJV

“Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.” Psalm 50:14 NKJV

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 NKJV

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

Photos/Pixabay

Christmas on the Porch—a Gift Idea

 

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

Consider the Birds and the Lilies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P. A. Oltrogge

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

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

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

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

“But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:25-34

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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

Photo/Pixabay