Hard to believe?

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Some view the Bible as just literature, or stories hard to believe,
the writers having used allegory or metaphor within its spiritual weave.

Noah, the predicted flood, and the building of the ark—
to proclaim that really happened, they say, clearly misses the mark.

For Jonah to be swallowed by a great fish seems a fairy tale—
to say that actually occurred is simply beyond the pale.

Daniel was unharmed, though locked up with hungry lions overnight?
To not doubt such a story, one couldn’t be too bright.

Three men walked out of a fiery furnace, but they weren’t even singed—
to believe that event, your mind must have become unhinged.

Jesus is pictured using parables or allegories in order to convey
Kingdom truths made simpler, such as the prodigal who’d gone astray.

Referring to Himself, Jesus uses metaphors, like, “I am the door.”
“I am the true vine” or “I am the bread of life” are a couple more.

To those seeing only literary styles, believers have this to say—
Faith is a force, and it and the Holy Spirit must come into play.

Realize…there’s a real deceiver at work upon this earth,
who seeks to destroy the Bible’s incorruptibility and worth.

That’s why we find scriptures warning, “Don’t be deceived!”
Satan has webs of deception that he’s regularly weaved.

He’d rather the Bible be read just as a literary work to explore,
but not too deeply, though, in hopes that you’ll ignore…

Jesus, your personal Savior and the Savior of all mankind—
Jesus Christ is “the door” Satan doesn’t want you to find.

P. A. Oltrogge

“(Jesus the Good Shepherd) 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 be saved, and 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.’”
John 10:7-10 NKJV

“…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 before you in good health. He (Jesus) is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief 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.” …from Acts 4:1-12 NASB

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

“Let no one in any way deceive you….Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” …from 2 Thessalonians 2 NASB

“Do not be deceived, evil company corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 NASB

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” James 1:16 NKJV

There is much evidence available in today’s world on the truth of the Bible and Jesus as Lord through research, books, internet testimonies, and Biblical messages. Avail yourself of those and, most of all, read the Bible and ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you personally by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lord of all Creation

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“The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:9 NKJV

Sometimes a part of creation may catch your eye…
creatures that are bold or others that are shy.

Some keep us company, like a good dog or cat…
they can be a calming friend with whom to “chat.”

The flowers of the field, the birds of the air…
Jesus noted over all of them His Father’s care.

The Lord is so creative, and YOU are His design…
unique and special to Him and, through Him, you shine!

P. A. Oltrogge

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 NASB

“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 NASB

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Blessed in the U.S.A.

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Raised on a farm in the beautiful U.S.A.,
we depended on God and learned how to pray.

Farm animals and crops, like soybeans or corn,
were tended to daily from the early morn.

The crops were abundant in the fertile soil,
and the joy of the Lord gave ease to any toil.

Fresh fruits and vegetables were always canned
from the family garden that was yearly planned.

Still, there was time in summer to swim at a pool—
a sharing neighbor kept our whole family cool.

A trip uptown for the Fourth of July parade
was patriotic fun, with fireworks later displayed.

And competing in family softball, out on the lawn,
was enjoyed by all before summer would be gone.

Sundays were blessed, praising Jesus, our King;
and during the week, of Him, we still would sing.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
The more that people come to know Him…
the more we’ll be in one accord,
with brotherly love being outpoured!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” 1 John 3:23

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
(Scriptures NASB)

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah”. Psalm 68:19 NKJV

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By His Grace

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Jesus…

I’ve come to a situation that’s difficult to face,
so I ask of you, Lord, to sustain me with your grace.

Send down your grace…much of it may be needed
before this problem’s “flooding” will have receded.

But if it’s prolonged, I’ll keep drawing from your supply
of divine grace upon grace to help me get by.

Thanks for bountiful grace, poured into my being.
I’ve found it’s your grace that is absolutely freeing.

P. A. Oltrogge

“From his fulness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16 NRSV

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Reflections from the Master Designer

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Faces—you see them everywhere you go,
having two eyes, a mouth, and a nose, although
each one is different except for a twin—
Then personalities differ, despite being such close kin.

Just look at your arms, your feet, legs, and knees.
You’re wonderfully made, and I’ve found it to please
My creative ability—and you won’t come unglued,
for I formed you in the womb and your life then ensued.

And inside each person I have given a soul;
to carry out My plans, each life has a unique role.
If you need further evidence, just consider your own hand—
with its fingerprints designed just for you by My command.

Each snowflake is known to have its own pattern,
and assorted planets are out there, like Mars or like Saturn.
The oceans with waters I’ve given are vast—
trees, mountains, and flowers by My hand were cast.

You see, the heavens are telling the glory of God;
My handiwork’s proclaimed therein—yet it’s odd
that some in this world want to say My existence
should be denied or challenged with strong resistance.

“Man alone is master,” they proclaim, but deny
that trusting in a greater Master is really the heart’s cry.
And for those who say this world has merely evolved,
they haven’t yet realized around Whom it’s revolved.

Reflected as in a mirror, My image became more clear
when I sent My Son, Jesus, as Redeemer from sin and fear.
He spoke to mankind of the Father as you can see in My Word;
and from Genesis to Revelation, I’ve desired it all to be heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15 NASB

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 NASB

See “About the Porch”

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His Eye is on the Sparrow

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Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
when Jesus is my portion? My closest Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender words I hear,
and resting in His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears.
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Charles H. Gabriel, 1905

…the following spoken by the Lord Jesus:

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
(Matthew 8:26 NKJV)

(The Way, the Truth, and the Life) “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1 NKJV)

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid.”
(John 14:27 NKJV)

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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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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“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