The Rain of the Holy Spirit

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“…’Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.”
Zechariah 4:6 NKJV

It’s not by might, nor by power,
but by the Lord’s Spirit…As a spring shower
causes the sprouting of seeds in the earth—
so, also, by His Spirit, comes the “new birth.”

We look to you, Lord, for those for whom we pray…
It’s by your awakening, that they’ll find the Way.
We trust, Lord, for your Spirit to fall afresh…
You’ve said you would pour it out upon all flesh.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.”
Acts 2:16-18

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.’”
John 17:1-3 NKJV

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.”
John 17:17 NKJV

From Aversion to Conversion

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Recently I was criticized by someone I know, for believing that Jesus is Lord.

That they would do this made me sad for a while, but then my peace was restored.

God brought to my mind a hopeful thought of the caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis instead.

I then saw my critic as a “caterpillar,” whose spiritual blindness could eventually be “shed.”

For God can transform those who are opposed to Him; for instance, Saul became the Apostle Paul.

Though once a persecutor of Christians himself, he was changed and responded to God’s call.

As Saul, he consented to the stoning of Stephen, and it’s possible that Stephen’s prayer at his own death…

brought about Saul’s Damascus Road conversion. “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin,” were the last words from Stephen’s breath.

P. A. Oltrogge

(Account of Stephen’s ministry and Saul’s conversion, Acts 6-9)

It can surely be said that the Apostle Paul went from denying Christ to fully relying on Him.

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A New Creation

The Porch of the Lord

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“”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)

I like to think of the butterfly, a high-flying creation of beauty…

that once was a lowly caterpillar, but destined for the unique duty,

of submitting to the Creator’s perfect will, and a higher design.

This may be compared to the lives of believers–even yours and mine.

Once, we were living low, though we may not have thought it so…

then recognized our need to be forgiven and be transformed to grow

into new creations with a very high call–to go throughout the earth,

in order to share with others, for God, the joy of obtaining “the new birth.”

P. A. Oltrogge

” …he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”  …words of Jesus from Matthew 10:39  (NKJV)

“Jesus answered…

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Dear Jewish Friend…

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

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

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

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

P. A. Oltrogge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…return of the Hebrew language:

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

…the land of Israel will bloom:

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

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

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

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On Memorial Day

Our lives go on, so very busy each day…

Today, we want to take a moment to pray

for the families of those who died for freedom’s cause.

Their loved ones held love of country despite any of its “flaws.”

The U.S. is “the land of the free and the home of the brave”—

confirmed by the flags planted at every grave

of those who gave the ultimate and were courageous of heart.

May America continue to be blessed by God as it’s been from its start.

P. A. Oltrogge

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The Beauty and Benevolence of God through His Son, Jesus Christ

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Evidence of a creative Master is seen throughout the earth;

Jesus, who was called, the Master, came to teach us of the new birth.

Unless you are born again, He said, you won’t see the Kingdom of God.

His heart is that of a caring shepherd, who guides with staff and rod.

The beauties and wonders of creation amaze, seeming never to cease;

such things are divine reflections, which point to the Prince of Peace.

Jesus told us to consider the lilies and also the birds of the air—

that they could show us how to serenely rest within His Father’s care.

What a wonderful God we have; He taught us the beauty of serving—

Jesus was our example, sharing God’s love, though we were undeserving.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men—God’s very glory revealed.

We do have a beautiful Savior, who gave us the beauty of the lilies of the field.

P. A. Oltrogge

“All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:3-4

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

(New King James Version)

“God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners,
Spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son,
whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the Word of his power,
when he had by himself purged our sins,
sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Being made so much better than the angels,
as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
Hebrews 1:1-4

(King James Version)

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

(New King James Version)

Remembering the Hymn,
Beautiful Savior

Beautiful Savior, King of Creation,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I’d love Thee,
Truly I’d serve Thee,
Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown.

Fair are the meadows,
Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fair is the moonlight,
Bright the sparkling stars on high;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels in the sky.

Beautiful Savior,
Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!

Author Unknown, 1677
Translated by Joseph A. Seiss, 1873

“Free Indeed!”

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“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 KJV.

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

It’s impossible for me to be ensnared
by the devil and his demons, for I’ve been spared.

As a disciple of the Lord, continuing in His Word,
I can claim what Jesus said and rest assured.

“The Son has made me free, and I am free indeed!”
Since this is the promise, for which I have the deed,

the devil must flee from me, taking heed,
that I am “free indeed,” as JESUS has decreed…

AND JESUS AND I ARE FULLY AGREED!

P. A. Oltrogge

Postscript to the poem:

Since the blood of Jesus has permeated my entire being;
redemption through His blood is absolutely freeing!
And “in Him I live and move and have my being…” (from Acts 17:28)

”Christ purchased our freedom and redeemed us from the curse of the Law and it’s condemnation by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs (crucified) on a tree (cross).’”  Galatians 3:13 AMP

“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 lovingkindess and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV

“For in him we live and move and have our being, as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Acts 17:28 KJV

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:23 KJV

“Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  James 4:7 NKJV

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 RSV

”Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 NIV

A Visit to the Woods While in the City

The Porch of the Lord

Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Today I have responsibilities that call;
I may not be able to get to them all.

I like to think back on visits I’ve made
to peaceful wooded paths or a forest glade.

At such places, it’s natural to pause and reflect
on the Lord, our Creator, and give Him respect.

But amidst crowded sidewalks or busy streets,
I can praise you, God, and remember our “retreats.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’….” Mark 6:31 NKJV

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

Exodus 33:14; Psalm 23; Psalm 91:1-2; Psalm 119:105; John 14:27…

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Thoughts and Declarations

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If a thought, upon arising, says that every hope is gone,
remember that the Lord’s mercies are new at every dawn.

If moments from the past come to mind that weren’t the best,
think only of those times when you just knew that you were blessed.

And instead of sad lamenting over any “milk” that has been spilled,
think expectantly about the future and God’s promises being fulfilled.

Make prophetic declarations that will inspire you on your way.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue…you can have what you say.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV

Often referenced by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin, were Mark 11:22-24. He therefore believed in the power of our words and taught, “You can have what you say.” See http://www.rhema.org  (Faith Food Devotionals under Study Center)

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’” Mark 11:22-24 NKJV (and 25-26 on forgiveness)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 NKJV

”(The Lord) crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” from Psalm 103 NKJV

Pleasant Words

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Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 NKJv

Oh, how our souls are often in need of words that are sweet,
for it’s so very easy in life to have thoughts of defeat.

Finding words of encouragement, perhaps from a Psalm,
will go a long way in helping to keep our thoughts calm.

And the words that we ourselves speak should always be trained
to be gracious and uplifting, as God has ordained.

Pleasant words, kind words, are words that will nourish.
By them, the lives of others and our own lives will flourish.

P. A. Oltrogge

“A word filly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 AMP

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV

“Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19 NKJV

“But He (Jesus) answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NKJV

“Surely goodnesss 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 NKJV