A Time of Budding

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Photo/Unsplash

Yes, there is a life inside the womb,
Where it was meant to be safe
But a multitude have met doom–
A delicate bud created to bloom
To be a beautiful flower, but was cast away;
Yet many have been spared because you did pray.
And I have My “angels” going around
Rescuing those women who haven’t yet found
That the one inside is special and gifted–
Not a burden that needs to be lifted.
An awakening can bud–a turning around,
So all the unborn can be brought forth sound.
And “parents” who’ve aborted these and may know little of Me
Can repent and then I will set them free
To go on and find a better day;
For I remove sins far and away.
And what of those who performed the deed?
These also I’d forgive if they would realize their need
To repent for this taking of humanity,
And what a sad realization it would be.
Tears of remorse can so overwhelm–
Remember, I forgive all sins in My Realm.
But for those who faced the world and stood
For these little ones when no one else would,
I won’t forget the things you’ve done
At the time the battle is truly won.
For I am the Giver of Life on this earth,
Declaring the value of each person’s worth.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:13-16

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you….” Jeremiah 1:5

“From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:17

…the poem above is the writer’s reflection on possible thoughts of the Creator…

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Unsplash

Our Father of Forgiveness

A subject that Jesus taught, and that He made so perfectly clear,
was the need to forgive others—God’s standard, to which we’re to adhere.

By word and by His example, especially on the cross, this was displayed
when forgiveness, of even His enemies, was the kindness for which Jesus prayed.

Jesus had warned that if we ever felt this was something too difficult to do,
then, He said, of our trespasses, that “neither will your Father in heaven forgive you.”

Obviously, our merciful God has forgiveness at the very core of His heart.
If there is someone you haven’t forgiven, therefore, forgive, letting withholding of Christian love depart.

Then, you’ll be confident, with Christ as your Savior, when you go to enter heaven…that you’ve forgiven others, along your life’s journey, as Jesus said, even “seventy times seven.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26

“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him, up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:21-22

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 3:43-45

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” Luke 23:34 KJV

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” Psalm 103:8

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Pexels

Rooted in His Love

By J. Vetter,
Guest Contributor

Remember when an exciting story gripped your attention and you could barely put the book down? Cooperating with the Holy Spirit is so similar. We don’t always know how an adventure will turn out; but with each step, there is greater anticipation of something beautiful developing. A landscaping venture became that story for me!

It started with the decision to tear out our struggling honeysuckle vine, which covered an arbor in our backyard. This vine had served faithfully the seventeen years we had lived in our home and, no doubt, many years before. It produced a few, sweet-smelling flowers every year; but I had to face the truth—it was weary and ready to call it quits.

I had no clue how huge the main root would be. My husband began and continued to dig through the grass for over four feet to get to the end. As he followed the root’s path, my mind began to follow another path—roots spoken of in the Bible. The first thought that came to mind was that we are to be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love (Ephesians 3:17). And the longer we walk in His love, the deeper our roots are established. His love can travel along that root, even during times of drought or pain, revealing the goodness of God, giving us hope that all will work out.

However, another root is spoken of in scripture, mentioned in Hebrews 12:15–the harmful root of bitterness. As I thought about each of those two roots, I thought about how each one can be difficult to pull out when deeply rooted, which would be good in the case of love but not good in the case of bitterness.

Having dug up the long root, my husband held it up next to him, and I took a picture of it. Spiritually, this represented to me any root of bitterness being removed from our family.

End of story, I thought! Not yet!

A few days later, our adult grandson, Micah, brought us a Mimosa tree, which had been given to him by a family he was helping to get ready to move. It was in a large pot, and he wanted to plant it in our yard. I was slow to catch on to the story that God was wanting to write, and I said, no. I didn’t want to dig up the yard, because my belief was that the tree might not even make it.

Then I went online and looked up Mimosa trees. I read that they have sweet-smelling flowers that attract butterflies. I discovered that they were expensive to buy. My heart immediately grasped the new plan, and I was filled with joy. We were to plant it where the old honeysuckle vine had been removed. Micah dug around the tree, planted lantana, and encircled it with white rock. At first, it looked weak and spindly, but it survived the extremely cold winter and is now flourishing.

To me, this represented replacing the bitter with the sweet in our family. I’m waiting for the blossoms and butterflies; but, by faith, I see them. And I see the finished beauty of a family that is strongly rooted and grounded in God’s love!

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Pixabay

We’re Blessed Today Because of Jesus

A reflection on Good Friday and the resurrection of Jesus Christ…

“Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. ‘Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,’ he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last.” Mark 15:36-37 (NIV)

He was betrayed in a garden
For purpose of our pardon…

Then brought, as a Lamb,
To a “trial” that was a sham…

Spit upon and crowned
With thorns that they found…

He was whipped on His back,
And endured each loud crack…

Made to carry the cross,
Despite His strength’s loss…

His hands and feet were nailed down
On a cross, rugged and brown…

His bleeding and His pain
Were meant for all our gain…

Wine vinegar for His thirst
On a sponge, was among the worst…

Of the things He did endure
For a motive, which was so pure…

He knew His Father so loved the world,
That He took the mocking that was hurled…

Then, being obedient unto death,
He took His final breath…

From the cross unto the tomb,
It all became a kind of womb…

For, from it, Christ emerged
In victory–all our sins were purged…

So that now whosoever will
May freely have their fill…

Of His Living Water that’s yet presented
For any person who has repented…

Christ still gives, with a love that doesn’t cease;
A simple prayer will bring you His peace.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

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This Jesus…

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“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths, reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.’ And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.” Acts 17:1-4

This Jesus…
Who suffered and died
and rose again from the dead–
This Jesus is the Christ,
the Chief Cornerstone and Head
of His Church.

Through this Jesus…
our lives can take on
a whole new scope…
The Father has provided us new birth
into a living hope.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”
1 Peter 1:3 NIV

“Therefore, it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’”
1 Peter 2:6 NKJV

Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Ephesians 2:19; 1 Peter 2:6,7

The above image of Jesus
used by permission of Bob Berran
at http://www.bobberran.com
See his Online Store to
purchase reprints of
various sizes.

Meditation of the Heart

“May 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

The Bible is very explicit about the importance of the words that we speak.
But keeping the meditation of our hearts acceptable to God is something we should also seek.

Are the meditations of your heart more like grumbling and negativity in recent days? Think, instead, on God’s promises, thanking Him, and rejoicing in Him always!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NKJV

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2 NKJV

Postscript:

Complaining is draining;
Praising is life-raising!

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

He, a Rose

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“I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.” Song of Solomon 2:1

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” Luke 12:27
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The variety of flowers God created are such a feast for our eyes–
And, besides their beauty, most have a pleasing fragrance that will arise.

No wonder Jesus said that we should consider the lilies of the field–
Their essence is a tribute to His Father’s care, to which they yield.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross arose, as a pleasing fragrance, to the Father’s throne–
An aroma so pleasing that Christ now, as the rose of Sharon, is known.

Yes, like a rose, that was crushed and associated with thorns upon His head,
Jesus paid for our redemption through scourges and His sacred veins that bled.

All who are in Christ give sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him as well,
To remind those who are saved of heaven, and to warn those unaware of hell.

So consider how the lilies are clothed, and therefore put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
For His sacrifice on your behalf is the one that the Bible says sufficed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Romans 13:14

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2

“But thanks be to God, Who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” Acts 10:38-43

Praise God, it was for you that He arose!

Fellowship in the Light

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“We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.”

Living in the Light

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”

1 John 1 NLT

Some people haven’t yet recognized their need for Jesus, the Savior,
and that, without Him, they’ve not received cleansing in God’s eyes.

But to miss what is clearly established in the Bible
by the Creator God, who is holy, will surely prove to be unwise.

We’re just fooling ourselves if we claim that we have no sin.
The Lord, who sees everything, searches hearts and sees what is therein.

But if we’ve received the Lord and abide in His light, rewarding fellowship will be ours, forgiveness of sins, and a future that’s eternally bright.

P. A. Oltrogge