Night of Betrayal

…a Lenten poem:

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.” John 18:1-6 NKJV

On the night of His betrayal, Jesus permitted Himself to be found.
In the presence of the great I AM, the “pursuing” soldiers fell to the ground.

After they revived, He let them lead Him to that for which He’d been born.
Willing to do His Father’s will, He yielded to undeserved scorn.

Whippings, mocking, thorns, and then being nailed to Calvary’s cross—
All of this He endured as a Shepherd, so that sheep need not be lost.

P. A. Oltrogge

“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Luke 19:10 NKJV

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
John 10:11 NKJV

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:17-18 NKJV

“…We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3

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As we forgive our debtors…

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13 KJV

Jesus taught His disciples, and us, not to look at the “speck” in the eye of another, when we have a “log” in our own eye–greater than that in the eye of our brother.

To have truly forgiven others is important, He said, when we stand praying…
to a God who’s forgiven all of our sins. We should also forgive, without delaying.

Just as Jesus, on the cross, said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” His heart and forgiveness, even for those who opposed Him, we must demonstrate, too.

Regarding this, Peter asked if he should forgive his brother of offenses, at most, seven times. Jesus replied “seventy times seven” should be our attitude, even if the number climbs.

Jesus then told of a king, who settled accounts with a servant who’d owed him much. He had compassion on him and forgave it all, indicating we also should do such.

This servant then went out and found a fellow servant who owed him a debt, as well. Yet he didn’t, likewise, show mercy–only anger, and cast the man into a prison cell.

But, as in the story, if we don’t forgive, with the same mercy God’s given us by grace, He won’t be pleased; and it will hold us back in the course that He’s given us to race.

So pray for the power of His love if you’ve experienced things hard to forgive and forget. Then, you’ll enjoy His peace within as you race on…to make your best run yet!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” Mark 11:25-26

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Luke 23:33-34 KJV

“Then came Peter to Him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:21-23 KJV and 24-35

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-3

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And Nicodemus Came Also

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus answered and said to Him, ‘How can these things be?’”
John 3:1-9 (from John 3:1-21)

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And Nicodemus Came Also
(God’s continual creative flow of new birth…)

Sometimes a photograph captures a scene
of overwhelming beauty like none you have seen;
The Lord has created so many beautiful things…
for us to enjoy, with the sense of awe that they bring.

The arrival in springtime of little young lambs;
new shells on the seashore from oysters and clams…
the arrival of a baby that makes a family grow–
all are a part of the Master Designer’s creative flow.

Blossoming cherry tree branches leaning over a lake;
a rainbow after rain or the first winter snowflake…
early fog around a mountain or a newly formed stream–
all point to the Creator and His “new birth” theme.

A Rabbi named Nicodemus wondered, “How can these things be?”
when Jesus said he must be born again by water and the Spirit to be free.
Of course, Jesus meant spiritually, not physically being born twice.
Thankfully, the Bible indicates, that Nicodemus took Jesus’ advice.

Nicodemus thought for himself, being bold to question what he’d been taught–
If you can’t say with assurance your faith brings you what it ought,
then learn from the example of a Rabbi back in Jesus’ day…
Take hold of the Gospel of Christ and receive new birth as you pray.

P. A. Oltrogge

“So there arose a discourse in the multitude because of Him (Jesus). And some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, ‘Why did you not bring Him?’ The officers answered, ‘Never did a man speak the way this man speaks.’ The Pharisees, therefore, answered them, ‘You have not also been led astray, have you? No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? But the multitude which does not know the Law is accursed.’ Nicodemus said to them, (he who came to Him before being one of them), ‘Our Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?’ They answered and said to him, ‘You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.’ And everyone went to his home.”
John 7:43-53

“And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came, therefore, and took away His body. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore on account of the Jewish day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:38-42

“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

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The Mountaintop

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Thank You, Jesus, that because of You, I’m up on the mountaintop,
where faith, hope, love, and amazing miracles never stop.

You don’t want me to be downcast, as if stuck in a valley below.
You’re seated at God’s right hand, from which all blessings flow.

I’m seated with You, too, You’ve said about me in Your Word—
far above the devil’s dominion. My victory has been assured.

You always lead me in triumph—You’re the Way Maker, for sure.
Your goodness and mercy, Good Shepherd, will forever endure.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand, in the heavenly places, FAR ABOVE all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:18-23 NASB

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come, He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10 NASB

“Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV

The poem was written after reading a message
by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin,
Founder, Rhema Bible College
http://www.rhema.org
“Come Out of the Valley,” Book written by
his son, Rev. Kenneth W. Hagin

The “Foolishness” of the Message of the Cross

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The symbol of the cross is seen throughout the world.
Yet, at its life-saving message, contempt is sometimes hurled.
Many say that it’s foolish and that, to them, it doesn’t make sense.
For if God is loving, they think they should be able to dispense
with its message of Christ being Savior as the one way to God’s heart.
But that is its true meaning which God, the Father, still seeks to impart.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son….”
It’s through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that our salvation was won.
Life blessed and “more abundant” can also be ours, Jesus said–
not only for eternity, but for “today” and every new day ahead.
We can do philanthropic deeds, but they won’t carry enough weight.
We must accept Christ’s sacrifice to secure entrance at heaven’s gate.

This isn’t always accepted by some who’ve earned higher learning,
but it’s through study of the scriptures, that one comes to be discerning.
Sometimes it takes a demonstration, by the Holy Spirit, of God’s power
to convince them of Christ’s Lordship; and it’s then, that faith will flower.
The message of the cross is that God loved us beyond measure–
May those who find it “foolish” find, instead, their greatest treasure.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us, who are being saved, it is the power of God. For it is written:

‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent, I will frustrate.’

“Where is the wise person? Where is the leader of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 NIV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

“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. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:9-11 NKJV

http://www.billyburke.org
http://www.awmi.net
http://www.expectedendministries.org

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