The Heart of Christmas

FE1DD1FF-9DF8-4AF2-ACC7-37C53AFCA57D.jpeg

For God so loved the world…
Can we comprehend His very big heart?
All the way back to Adam and Eve,
He loved us from the start.

God, the Father, would send a Savior
through Jesus Christ, His Son.
Born of the virgin, Mary–
through Jesus, His plans would be done.

Jesus, the Son, would die for our sins;
He would teach us about loving and giving.
I thank God for the gift of Jesus at Christmas,
who renews my faith always for living.

P. A. Oltrogge

“May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 NASB

“All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His commandments and His testimonies.” Psalm 25:10 RSV

“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

“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

Photo/Porch of the Lord

A Very Present Help

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 KJV

Troubles come to all of us, trials are an unsolicited part of life;

but there is One who is a very present help in the midst of any kind of strife.

He’s not only present, but He’s VERY present amidst things which can be dire–

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, remember, weren’t burned though engulfed by fire.
__________

The men had refused to worship the gold idol, as King Nebuchadnezzar had decreed–

Such a decree to these men of faith was something they simply wouldn’t heed.

Anyone who disobeyed would be cast into a fiery furnace that had been stoked very hot–

At the sound of the horn, flute, harp, or lyre, all were to bow down, but these three men would not.
__________

Called before the king, he gave them another chance to obey, but they bravely made it clear…

that their God could deliver them; yet if not, they served Him only and had nothing to fear.

Then, thrown into the furnace, divine intervention left them without even the smell of fire–

Their hair wasn’t singed, nor their clothes affected, because no other “god” was higher.
__________

In the midst of the fiery furnace, a fourth “man” had appeared, among the other three.

His appearance was “like the Son of God;” and He’d loosed them and had set the men free.

Though they’d initially been bound together, Nebuchadnezzar saw them unhurt and walking separately around–

This miraculous event became proof to him that there was no God but theirs to be found.
__________

God has promised to be our sure refuge, whom we can run to for shelter from any storm–

If the “winds” of life become threatening or cold, under His wings, we’ll be protected and warm.

He’s the strength upon which we’ve come to depend; and we’re blessed by the love He supplies.

Keep looking to Jesus, your very present help. In every circumstance, that will prove to be wise.

P. A. Oltrogge

(The poetic account is derived from Daniel 3)

…trials sometimes come, but confidence in God’s love and care for us (Psalm 91:4) and the presence of His Holy Spirit within strengthen those who believe….

Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 (and through 26)

Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:1-4

A Perfect Redemption

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” Matthew 9:35 (NKJV)

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’” Matthew 8:17 (NKJV)

“…for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

Jesus, You took my infirmities, You took my pains…
Through scourges and the bleeding that came from Your veins.
That blood was spilled out for my sins, well-being, and health–
A perfect redemption from God’s Son of great wealth.
There’s no point in my bearing a cruel disease–
You’ve already done so in order to please
The Father in heaven, Who gives in a loving way,
To any who come to Him in faith when they pray.
In this matter, some have been hurt by the devil’s wiles;
But Your compassion is steadfast in the midst of such trials.
To keep my words in the past tense is what You’re telling me–
“For me, the battle’s been won!” and the devil has to flee.
I’ll continue to thank You despite how I feel
And practice faith laughter since it’s a “done deal.”
In faith, through my actions, I’ll pursue any route
That, if led by Your guidance, would assist in the way out.
But “mountains” melt like wax in Your presence, oh Lord,
And the one that’s before me must yield to Your Sword.
In remembrance of You, I’ll often take
Of the covenant meal provided for my sake.
I won’t quit in giving thanks, but see myself whole,
For You didn’t just attempt–but achieved–redemption’s goal.
A message in Your Word, a message that’s true–
“He heals all my diseases”–I know You’ve seen it through.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases….” Psalm 103:1-3

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’” 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 (NKJV)

“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22

“The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.” Psalm 97:5

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-15

“With a long life I will satisfy him, and let him behold My salvation.” Psalm 91:16

(If you’ve experienced doubts or even disappointment regarding healing, I pray you will cast the care of that over on the Lord and persevere, retaining faith for healing, for God’s Word is His will.)

Further scripture references:

In Deuteronomy 28:15-22, 27-29, 35-61 sicknesses and disease are listed as a curse of the Law. Galatians 3:13-14 states that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us….”

Exodus 15:26; Exodus 23:25-26; Psalm 91:3; Psalm 91:10; Psalm 107:19-20; Psalm 118:17; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 16:24; Proverbs 17:22; Isaiah 53:4-5; Isaiah 55:11; Isaiah 57:19; Matthew 7:11; Matthew 8:2-3; Matthew 15:30-31; Mark 11:23-26; Mark 16:15, 17-18; Luke 18:27; John 10:10; Acts 10:38; Romans 8:11; James 1:17; 1 John 4:4; 3 John:2 and others.

See http://www.rhema.org
Look for Study Center, Articles on Healing

and http://www.awmi.net
Testimonies on Healing

And http://www.josephprince.org/blog/praise-reports

F651C3B7-D716-4665-8ED4-BB6BC94E22AB

Don’t Cast Away Your Confidence

D25C7404-96A2-4E44-BFF0-E94850B8EF61

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:35-39

Turn your confidence around;
Let it now in God be found.
There are thoughts that seek to deceive,
But just let God those fears relieve.
Turn your confidence around;
Jesus’ Words are sure and sound.
Cast down any thought that things can’t change–
With God, anything can rearrange.
Turn your confidence around,
For every victory in Him is found.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:57

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:4,5

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”
2 Corinthians 2:14

And another scripture, with thoughts from a guest contributor:

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart….” Luke 18:1 NKJV

Pray always without being weary. Do not: stop or give up. Do: pray, even when you feel tired from or distressed about a problem. Do pray: when you wake up and before you fall asleep.

Keep praying, always looking for the Holy Spirit in action all day. Keep God on your heart and thank Him throughout your day.

Also…be blessed to visit http://www.jerrysavelle.org for his
featured book, “The God of the Breakthrough Will Visit Your House”

This is Eternal Life…

7F7BBA70-4A62-4B4C-9CFC-E637919476F5

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” …spoken by Jesus in John 17:3 NKJV

“And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”
1 John 2:25 KJV

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” 1 John 5:11 KJV

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and are in him that is true, even in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20 KJV

Photo/Pixabay

Thanking God for you and for all of His blessings

2B777781-C71C-4FBD-9A56-BB7891D16BD8
Photo/Harvestfieldsbaptist.com

“I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:6

“Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.” Psalm 107:22

Words of an old hymn
by Henry Alford

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God, our Maker, doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God’s own temple come,
raise the song of harvest home.

“While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.’” Luke 17:11-19

Turn Back

When I think of the healing of the ten leprous men,
and how only one man turned back, in thanks to God, out of the ten,
I’m reminded of how I often take for granted God’s care,
when I should “turn back” to the place of blessing and thank the Lord there.

Joining you in thanking God today for all of our blessings….

P. A. Oltrogge

Consider the Birds and the Lilies

FCAD6A2C-A061-4EAA-891A-5C591C41DBE7

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

B3297E2D-20CD-4922-AEC7-3EBC71291E96

8478C4A6-7DD6-4777-8310-3449BB267E47

No Other Explanation

D816B943-119F-4FA7-A9C6-7F2D08724C58

We know that sometimes, more often than we realize, things occur for which there is no explanation other than that prayer made the difference…

There are things in this world that may gain your attention,
but give greater thought to what Jesus did mention—
that life more abundant can be yours every day;
and that will increase if you take time to pray.
Give it your heart and give it your all—
remember that, for you, there’s no greater call.
The things of this world—its gadgets and inventions—
can never compete with all of God’s intentions,
which are wrought by you through prayers effective and fervent.
Impacting lives—through prayer, you’re His servant.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
James 5:16-18 NKJV

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Jesus’ words from Matthew 6, where He goes on to share “The Lord’s Prayer”

When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.
Quote by an Unknown Author

Grace Abounding

6927C5A5-2FE1-4914-89B0-8899B9499D95

“Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” Romans’ 5:20 NKJV

It’s an amazing thing to realize how deep is the Lord God’s grace;
for where sin abounded, the scripture says, grace held a larger place.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But the Law came to increase and expand (the awareness of) the trespass (by defining and unmasking sin). But where sin increased, (God’s remarkable, gracious gift of) grace (His unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased all the more.” Romans 5:20 AMP

“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

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and HIs tender mercies are over all His works.”
Psalm 145:8-9 NKJV