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.
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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

Of such is the kingdom of God

I wrote a poem once about Christmas in heaven and how that might actually be…

imagining the beautiful carols sung there or heaven’s magnificent Christmas tree.

But I missed picturing the children of abortion there, opening the gifts that God, their Father, would give.

God’s greatest gift to them, however, is that there, in heaven, they can experience, in a new way, what it is to live.

So many children, torn from their mother’s womb, never got to see the light of day;

but some have escaped that cruel blow because of those who speak up for them and because of those who pray.

Life in heaven must be glorious, but one wonders what their lives might have accomplished on earth…

Let’s earnestly pray for those considering abortion to, rather, choose the blessed path of giving birth.

Lord, cause the darkness that pushes abortion to be pushed away itself, instead.

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of God,” are loving words of life that Jesus said.

P. A. Oltrogge

Wonderful true story on this topic:
http://www.ilivedonparkerave.com

“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God,'” Mark 10:13-14 NKJv

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” From Jeremiah 1:5

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.”
From Psalm 139:13-16

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Look unto the Hills

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“I will lift up my eyes to the hills–
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2

Lord, you are the source of my help on any given day.
You made the heavens and the earth–On you, my hope will stay.
I will look even to the hills–On their horizon, I’ll always see,
through the eye of faith, my Savior, heading down with help for me.

P. A. Oltrogge

“He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.”

Psalm 121:3-8 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.”

words of Jesus in John 14:27 NKJV

Dear Child of Mine

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Read My Word daily,
dear child of Mine,
for I have a plan
for your life that’s fine.

Blessed and happy
I want you to be…
Every good and perfect gift
comes down to you through Me.

I’ve seen your sorrows,
and I’ve seen your tears.
Look to Me as your Father
and abandon any fears.

Don’t worry about anything…
instead, just pray.
Then you’ll hear My voice;
I’ll shepherd your way.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Psalm 23:1 KJV

and see Jeremiah 29:11-13,
James 1:17, John 10:27

Snow Poem

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There’s a quietness…the air is brisk;

and now it’s getting thick with snow

as I take a walk along the street,

with nowhere necessary today to go.

Heard in the distance are joyful shouts

of some children who are out at play.

Predictions are…the snow will be deep—

the schools have been called off today.

Cars are few out on the streets;

and those that are out are going slowly.

The beauty of the snowfall makes one think,

for the moment, only of its presence wholly.

“Have you entered the treasury of snow?”

That was a question God asked of Job.

“He gives snow like wool,” is from the Psalms.

The neighborhood seems to be in a “snow globe.”

Underneath my plush-lined boots,

the snow keeps crunching as I walk.

Heading back to my front porch,

I meet some neighbors and stop to talk.

They invite me to come inside for coffee,

where the fireplace in their home is glowing.

It’s a perfect time for fellowship

on a day set aside because it’s snowing.

P. A. Oltrogge

Scripture references:
Job 38:22
Psalm 147:16

There’s still light in Goshen

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The Lord was working out a major plan to set free–the captive Hebrew people of old. There would be ten plagues, so the actions of Moses and Aaron would need to be brave and bold.

When they came before Pharaoh, they had commands from the Lord on what to say or do, to warn him of, or initiate, every plague that his nation was soon to go through.

The ninth plague of darkness was so severe that the Egyptians couldn’t get around. For three days, the darkness was “felt” and thick, in the air and on the ground.

One of Egypt’s chief deities was the sun “god,” so such darkness proved the Lord’s might, to prevail over any of the “gods” of the Egyptians. Only His power could end the dark night.

But the Hebrews were under God’s protection; and, in the midst of that constant night, there was light in Goshen in their dwellings because God was in charge of their fight.

Today, people experience darkness, not of God and not a kind where you can’t visibly see, but darkness in their minds when they’ve not recognized “the door,” through which anyone’s able to go free.

Jesus pointed the way, saying, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” You can experience “Goshen” through God’s Son yet today, and you’ll have all of the light that you’ll need.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt. So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Exodus 10:21-23

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

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.’” John 10:9-10

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

Peter, the Bold

“Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee.’ But he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you are saying.’

“And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ But again he denied with an oath, ‘I do not know the Man!’

“And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.’ Then he began to curse and swear, saying, ‘I do not know the Man!’

“Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So he went out and wept bitterly.”

Matthew 26:69-75 NKJV

Have you made what seems to be, or is, a very colossal mistake
and now have feelings of condemnation that you just can’t seem to shake?

Then it’s good to look at Peter, who three times denied Jesus, the Master and Teacher…but, after repenting, went on to live for Him, becoming a bold and effective preacher.

So, too, you must believe that for any wrong steps you’ve taken,
God has a redemptive resurrection hour, to which He wants you to awaken.

If you feel that you “missed God,” and that your hopes and prayers can’t have mattered, remember that Jesus went about rescuing those whose lives had also, in some way, been shattered.

P. A. Oltrogge

…from Peter’s message in Acts 2:

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’

A Vital Church Grows

“And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

Acts 2:38-41

Multitude-Minded

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“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’”

Luke 2:8-14 KJV

Think about that…a multitude of angels appeared in the skies to proclaim…
the good news of Jesus’ birth and the blessing that had arrived through His Name.

Peace and good will toward men from God were declared by the heavenly host.
Likewise, we’re to share the good news of the Savior by the power and leading of the Holy Ghost.

We can be led to share with just one individual, as Jesus often did, being compassionate and kind. But He told us to go into all the world with the Gospel, for the multitudes are greatly on God’s mind.

To reach the multitudes may seem overwhelming, but we have a heavenly shield. Remember Elisha prayed for his servant, and heaven’s horses and chariots of fire were revealed.

“For He shall give His angels charge over you” is a promise that we can claim today. We know that there was a multitude of them in the skies on that very first “Christmas Day.”

Jesus’ ministry would touch great multitudes of people living upon the earth.
So it was fitting for God to send a multitude of angels to declare His Son, the Messiah’s, great worth.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’

“So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

2 Kings 6:14-17 NKJV

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us.”

Matthew 1:23 KJV

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.“

Psalm 84:11-12 NKJV

“For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways.”

Psalm 91:11 NKJV

“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

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”

Matthew 9:36 NKJV

“And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.”

Matthew 19:2

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV

“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.’”

…from Acts 2:17-21 NKJV

For informational videos on
the Christmas story from the
Greek New Testament:
http://www.renner.org

The Innkeeper

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.”
Luke 2:1-5 NKJV

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A couple stopped at our Bethlehem inn, having come from quite a distance away. But due to the census, I had no rooms left at all in which any more people could stay.

The husband declared that his wife was ready, at any moment, to give birth. So I thought of the stable to offer them, hoping it might be of, at least, some worth.

There just was something about them, and my wife had sensed it, too. But because of the incoming crowds that day, there was nothing else we could do.

My wife took over some swaddling cloths and things she’d kept for a baby’s birth. She overheard the soon-to-be parents speak of their expected child’s great worth.

Later, in the inn, we thought that we heard the sound of a baby’s cry… That evening, we saw a group of shepherds there, who, for some reason, had stopped by.

We finally got some rest for the night–the inn was full with those who’d traveled far; and I turned and looked out the window, where I saw the most brilliant star….

It’s said you can entertain angels, without being fully aware… So I wondered if Someone greater than angels was connected with that special couple there.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:7 NKJV

Photo by Porch of the Lord

…from Christmas on the Porch, the book, available at http://www.amazon.com and http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Darkness Defeated by the Light of the World

“In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.

“God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

John 1:1-14 NLT

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Jesus is the very Word of God, giving life to every created thing.
The darkness can never extinguish the light of Him of whom we sing.

Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, the Word became flesh…
to dwell among us, offering salvation, so that every life might begin afresh.

He’s the Light unto our path—the Way, the Truth, and the Life—
and the Prince of Peace unto a world that’s been tainted by sin and strife.

His life brought the Light of the World to all—forever Jesus Christ will reign.
Because He defeated death, “To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 NKJV

“I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NKJV

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him, who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
1 Peter 2: 9-10 NKJV

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 NKJV

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

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NKJV

“(The Word Becomes Flesh) 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 NKJV