Worth Repeating…

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Regarding Psalm 107, on God’s compassion to help—one example is verse 20…

“He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”

Interwoven throughout the Psalm are words that are key instructions:

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

So, these are the words to focus on then…

when deliverance from a particular trial seems like something you’ll never see…

Don’t quit, but say, “Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness, and for Your wonderful works…to me!”

P. A. Oltrogge

…or you may want to insert the name of anyone for whom you’re praying….

Psalm 107

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,

And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.

Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.

And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—

Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,

Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.

Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.

Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.

He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters,

They see the works of the Lord,
And His wonders in the deep.

For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
Which lifts up the waves of the sea.

They mount up to the heavens,
They go down again to the depths;
Their soul melts because of trouble.

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
And are at their wits’ end.

Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.

He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.

Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

He turns rivers into a wilderness,
And the watersprings into dry ground;

A fruitful land into barrenness,
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.

He turns a wilderness into pools of water,
And dry land into watersprings.

There He makes the hungry dwell,
That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,

And sow fields and plant vineyards,
That they may yield a fruitful harvest.

He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly;
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

When they are diminished and brought low
Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,

He pours contempt on princes,
And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;

Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction,
And makes their families like a flock.

The righteous see it and rejoice,
And all iniquity stops its mouth.

Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

New King James Version

A Morning Walk with Jesus

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“For the Lord is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in Thee!” Psalm 84:11-12

Early this morning, I got up from the night’s rest
and stole quietly out to find day at its best.

It renewed and inspired to greet God’s morning sun,
and it spoke of His glory before my day had begun.

I thought of this verse, how He’s a sun and a shield;
it’s in looking to Him that I’m guarded and healed.

He gives grace and glory–all good things are mine–
I just “receive” from His bountiful source of “Son” shine.

P. A. Oltrogge

“…Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” Matthew 17:1-2

“…a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!’” (verse 5)

“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.” Mark 11:24

Snuggle into God’s Presence

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When I was a child and had an anxious thought,
A loving parent’s presence was the first thing I sought.

When they took me into their arms, I found the very best place to snuggle;
Their loving embrace would relieve me completely of my struggle.

There’s still a child within today that sometimes is unsure;
And turning to our heavenly Father is what makes us be secure.

His arms are open wide for us–He says to cast our cares
Upon Himself, and that’s because great love is what He shares.

Many are the words of faithfulness and comfort He provides;
In His arms of shelter, we find the place where lifelong love abides.

Though I can’t see Him face to face, He says He’ll make my ears
To hear His voice, which will always bear a message to relieve my fears.

Isaiah 41:10
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you
with My righteous right hand.”

And if I have a day where it seems like I’m just drifting about,
Perhaps I need to stop and ask the Lord to help me sort things out.

What should I do each moment–each day that would be best?
I know if I stop and listen, I’ll hear a nudge towards the path most blessed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me….”
John 10:27 NASB

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you….” James 4:8 NKJV

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” Psalm 103:12-13 NLT

For an insightful series on fellowship with God:
See Faith School, Week 11, “By Faith, Enoch”
http://www.moorelife.org

The Life and Ministry of Jesus–God’s Gift to Us

I think that it could be said about Jesus that, even as their twelve-year old son, when Mary and Joseph found Him sharing in the temple, His ministering had already begun.

His first recorded, actual miracle was at the wedding where He turned water into wine. That’s when His connection to His heavenly Father really began to shine.

He called twelve men to be His disciples–to learn from Him and follow His ways. He taught them through parables and the scriptures, and made them mindful of thanksgiving and praise.

Jesus performed many miracles–from provision to healing, and raising some people from the dead. He said to forgive your enemies–not retaliating, but praying for and loving them instead.

On this day, we begin the Lenten season, remembering His sacrifice on behalf of our sins. He was the perfect Lamb of God on the cross; it’s through Him that new life begins.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, and old things have passed away. That’s a free gift of God for all to receive. If you haven’t yet received it, then let this be your day.

P. A. Oltrogge

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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

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

Matthew 5:43-48
Luke 2:41-52
John 2:1-11
John 21:25

Yours is a Wonderful Life

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I have posted this at Christmas previously, but wanted to share it again for any time of year and for anyone who might be discouraged.

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If your world seems to be in turmoil, and you’re experiencing trouble or strife, it would be beneficial to remember the Christmas tale, “It’s a Wonderful Life!”

Is there a “Mr. Potter” in your days, who has been greedy and domineering, while you’ve been working hard to do what’s right…and to be God-fearing?

If things have come to a head, and you think there’s no way through, remember how the angel, Clarence, showed George Bailey a thing or two.

George had to rescue him from drowning, which took his mind off his own woes. Then Clarence “showed” him Bedford Falls, if it hadn’t had him to fight its foes.

Instead of a family-friendly town, it had become degraded, far below…the standard of a great place to live, through which good things could flow.

And the people who were important to him had lives that weren’t complete, simply because he hadn’t been there in Bedford Falls for them to meet.

At the end of the visitation by the angel, George realized the joy of just being alive. Likewise, we’ve got God and the angels despite problems with which we strive.

George’s friends came through, as well, with appreciation for things he’d done. As the Bible says, God will complete the work in us that He’s already begun.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3-6 NKJV

“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 10:10 NKJV

“Are they (the angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14 NKJV

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.’” Psalm 91:1-2 NKJV

Photo/Unsplash

Feast or Famine?

“…man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” from Deuteronomy 8:3

There’s famine in the world today, though there’s “Bread” that is abounding;
so many walk with uncertainty when personal concerns become confounding.

They’re out the door to earn their living to buy life’s necessities and more;
but the “Bread” they’re missing in their lives can’t be purchased at any store.

Instead, it’s there in the Bible, where Jesus’ words of nourishment are found,
that feed our spirits about the blessings with which God wants us to be crowned.

Not only for things that we may desire, but there are blessings of a still greater kind–peace amidst troubles, faith that endures, and love of others comes to mind.

Never taking the time to read it, or ever searching out a church where it’s taught, can all make up for a very draining day, or for times when they’ll feel distraught.

Let’s pray all the more for those around us, even believers–and those who are not yet–to realize they don’t have to starve any more–there’s a hearty feast of “Bread” they can get.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’” John 6:35 NKJV

When the poem says, “even believers,” it’s simply meant that the writer or any person who has already received the Bread of Life, Jesus, will benefit by coming to Him daily, through His Word, not neglecting it.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV

See John 1:1-18 —
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

postscript to this poem:

There are some places on this earth
where there are shortages or it’s not been translated;
Pray for the people there, and for those working to bring
this great “Bread” for which they’ve waited.
(see http://www.wycliffe.org where you can
learn of those working as Bible translators)

Remembering Billy Graham

It’s been a little over a year since Billy Graham went to his home in heaven on February 21, 2018. I’m taking a moment to think of him and his life once again…

I remember attending Billy Graham crusades when I was very young
and anticipating hearing Billy after George Beverly Shea had sung.

Cliff Barrows led the assembled choir in an always joyful way,
giving mighty praise to God before someone on stage would pray.

Then Billy Graham would come forward; and with his powerful voice,
he’d say we needed to make a decision—God was giving us a choice.

He always pointed to the cross and what Jesus had achieved—
redemption through His shed blood on Calvary for anyone who believed.

He said we should repent of our sins and give our hearts to Christ—
that His was the only sacrifice which God says has sufficed.

He emphasized that “God loves you” and wants to be your friend,
counselor, and advocate—from beginning of life to its end.

He said this earth was not his home—that he was just passing through—
and that a home in heaven awaits every believer in Jesus Christ, too.

After many Biblical references, Billy would give an invitation.
Then, an amazing number in the place would come forward to his station.

As they came forward, a familiar song helped set so many hearts free—
“Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me.”

Today, Billy Graham is honored for faithful service to God during his life span. May we continue to share the Gospel of Christ—God’s gracious redemptive plan.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“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

Book Recommendation:
Redeemed by Will Graham,
grandson of Billy Graham

Jesus, the Son, from the Kingdom of Heaven

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Peter, James, and John went up with Jesus to a mountaintop and, there, were witness to…

an experience like no other that Jesus had ever led them to view.

Their Master Teacher was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun.

His clothing became white as the light or snow, like no launderer on earth could have done.

They then saw Him conversing with Moses and Elijah, who had supernaturally appeared.

God spoke from out of a bright cloud that overshadowed them. Falling down, the disciples feared.

“This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Hear Him,” were the words that God, the Father, came to declare.

Thereafter, Jesus touched them, telling them to not be afraid. Then they stood up and found that only Jesus was there.

Clearly, they’d seen that Jesus was the Son of God Almighty, with all that that could mean…

Yet, later, we see Peter being approached by some men in Capernaum at a different Biblical scene.

The men were collectors of the temple tax and questioned Peter as to whether his Teacher would pay.

Peter said that He would—then entered the house where Jesus was, to see what He would say.

Jesus knew what Peter was going to ask but first questioned him, on from whom the kings of the earth drew tax collection.

Was it from their sons or was it from strangers, Jesus asked. Peter chose “strangers” as the obvious selection.

“So the sons are free,” Jesus was emphasizing, so that Peter would have firm realization…

that, as the Son of His Father, God, He had special status or privilege, as magnificently shown at the transfiguration.

Jesus really didn’t need to pay, but with humility and not wanting to offend, he sent Peter out to go down to the sea.

There, by casting in a hook and taking the first fish that he caught—in its mouth, he would find a coin to cover the exact fee.

As a disciple of Christ, Peter, too, was free. Yet, Jesus paid the temple tax for them both in this Matthew, chapter 17, story.

In even greater humility, He went to the cross, where He paid for all who’ll believe, so that they, too, can be free, as a son or daughter of the King…of glory!

P. A. Oltrogge

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:4-7

“So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” John 2:18-22

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’. They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’” John 8:31-36

“Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” John 20:16-17

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Also, Mark 9, the transfiguration account

(Scriptures NKJV)

There’s a Rainbow!

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If ever there was a subject that should be put into poetic form,
it’s that of the magnificent rainbow, which can suddenly appear after a storm.

As the sun starts shining, it’s especially vivid, after the rain has poured;
and its message comes from God, as it’s the signature of the Lord.

He said that He was setting His bow in the cloud, to always remind afresh,
of His covenant made with Noah and his sons, and every living creature of all flesh…

that never again would He send a flood to cover the entire expanse of the earth.
To all successive generations, the rainbow’s reminded of this covenant of great worth.

We remember today that Noah was a real person, who steadfastly undertook
the building of a great ark by God’s direction, no matter how, to others, that would look.

It took many decades to accomplish the task, and there never had been a flood…
Today, God is offering the safety of an ark that was “built” by Jesus’ sacrificial blood.

God is not willing for any to perish. He’s giving much time to accept His invitation
to enter into the ark of the Lord–His provision for any person of any nation.

When I see the rainbow there in the sky, I’m reminded of God’s covenant made to mankind–including the one He made for us through Jesus, the greatest covenant He wants all of us to find.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28 NKJV

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV

“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall enter the ark….” Genesis 6:18

See the first half of Genesis, chapter 6, for the causes behind God sending the earth-encompassing flood and to read of Noah finding favor with God.

For your interest:
http://www.arkencounter.com

The Creator versus the Atheists

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Even within a city or out on a rural farm,
we’re blessed to always enjoy the vast creation’s charm.

To say, then, as some do, that there is no God
is a kind of blindness that seems, to me, so odd.

For there are many masterpieces, on which our eyes can feast–
from the starting of a snowfall to the landscape when it’s ceased.

From the city to the beauty of the peaceful countryside,
the signature of the Creator is something atheists cannot hide.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV

“For he (God, the Father) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son (Jesus) he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible….” Colossians 1:13-16 NIV written by the apostle Paul to the Christians in Colossae