Take courage today

Jesus told His disciples to go ahead of Him to the other side of the sea.

He had sent the crowds away and, for a time of prayer, He needed to be free.

When Jesus came walking upon the water in the fourth watch of the night,

the disciples, in their boat, thought they were seeing a ghost and cried out in fright.

They had already been disturbed that night, having been battered by waves—

the wind was contrary. Here, we’ll see another instance where “Jesus saves!”

Jesus told them to take courage—that it was Him and that there was nothing to fear.

Some translations of this account say that He told them to be of good cheer!

Having witnessed the Lord’s miracles, Peter wanted to be a disciple of faith, as Jesus had taught,

and join the Lord on the water. Stepping out of the boat, he actually walked on the sea, but then became distraught.

Initially, his confidence had been high, so when the Lord told him to come, he boldly went ahead.

The Bible indicates, though, that he took his eyes off of Jesus by noticing the wind, instead.

It says that he “saw” the wind, meaning that it was whipping up the water to a greater degree.

Looking away from Jesus, the Fearless One, even for just that moment, caused Peter’s courage to flee.

Jesus reached out quickly and rescued Peter, but questioned him as to why he had succumbed to doubt.

As they entered the boat, the wind stopped; and the disciples, in awe, worshiped the Lord as they continued on their route.

We, too, today, must ever look to Jesus, remembering His great love for us and the mighty miracles that He can perform.

We have testimonies today—as well as those told in the Bible—of His ability to bring us out, in victory, through any kind of storm.

P. A. Oltrogge

(From Matthew 14:22-32)

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Picture this…

Picture great crowds, coming to be taught…
Picture the sick, whom others had brought.
Picture them healed, through miracles wrought,
By Jesus, God’s Son, Whom so many had sought.

Picture a day where the sun was getting low.
“Hear” the disciples saying they just didn’t know…
How the people would eat—and should be told to go;
But picture a lad with loaves and fish that would grow.

“Listen” to Jesus say, “Bring them here to me…”
Picture loaves and fish multiplied by His decree,
With five thousand being fed, at a cost that was free,
And full baskets left over before the disciples put out to sea.

Picture Jesus sending the multitudes away,
Going up to the mountain by Himself to pray–-
Then joining the disciples, through water and spray,
On the fourth watch of the night, just before day.

Picture Peter bravely wanting to join the Lord,
Picture him boldly stepping overboard;
Then see his faith waver as sea and wind roared–
Picture him sinking but, by Christ, being restored.

Picture your own life and remember these things;
Remember that “greatness” to small things Christ brings.
Look to the Lord for your faith to take wings,
As you walk on life’s waters with the King of Kings.

P. A. Oltrogge

From Matthew 14:14-31

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Photo/Porch of the Lord

Compassion at the Pool of Bethesda

During a feast of the Jews, we see Jesus at the healing pool of Bethesda, which was by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, that prominent city.

And He saw a certain man lying among the many others who had come to seek healing, whose infirmity had lasted thirty-eight years—and on whom no man had apparently had pity.

It was known and told that an angel came to stir the waters at a season and time at this pool of five porches, an esteemed place.

And whoever first, thereafter, made it into the water was healed of their illness—with no longer a trace.

Jesus, knowing that this individual had been crippled and infirm for a long time, asked him if he wanted to be healed.

The man replied that he had no man to help him into the waters after they were stirred. Others were always quicker, so his fate had been sealed.

Then, Jesus mercifully said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk,” stepping in for the said “no man.”

Immediately, the infirm man was made whole, got to his feet, took up his bed and walked, for health and healing have always been God’s plan.

Today, when we experience difficulties, even those long-standing, and may sometimes feel there is no one to help, not even the Lord…

remember, we still do have an advocate in Jesus, God’s Son—to get adverse things eliminated and have the good restored.

P. A. Oltrogge

”…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38 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.” (Words of Jesus in John 10:10 NKJV)

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NKJV

Poetic account, above, from John, chapter 5.

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From Out of the Miry Clay

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“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps firm.” Psalm 40:2

…just a little contemplation on what I envision the Lord might say to someone who just placed their faith in Him…

To My mind, your life without Me was like being in miry clay;
But I kept My hope that you’d respond to My love one day.
Where you had been didn’t matter so much,
For I knew that you were in need of My touch.
Ever so gently I drew you away–
I knew this would happen if you would just pray.
By the power of My Spirit you opened your heart,
And now, through My grace, you have gotten a new start.
That person you were has actually died;
A new life’s begun due to “Christ crucified.”

So rejoice in My love as I do in yours.
Share it with others despite troubles or wars,
For I have room for so many through heaven’s open doors.
And from out of heaven’s windows, My love surely pours–
Down to the miry clay–or wherever it may
Find people and lead them out to My way.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me.”
Galatians 2:20
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“He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge. His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”
Psalm 91:4

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”
Matthew 23:37 (New King James)

Be willing to come to Christ and be blessed….

The God of Another Chance

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We should be trained about the importance…
of following “the inward witness,”
which is so vital to our well-being
and to our spiritual fitness.

If we believe in the goodness of God
and that our Shepherd knows what’s best,
then it follows that by praying and following His lead,
we’ll be on a most certain quest.

To put it in God’s words, you are His son,
when you’re someone who’s Spirit led.
Make it your desire to do the will of the Father;
and, with the faith food of His Word, be fed.

Wait for peace regarding decisions;
never go against what God has said in His Word.
It’s a lamp to your feet and a light to your path,
whereby your success is established and assured.

Does your life seem to be off balance,
and that things aren’t turning out right?
Could it be that you’ve not been walking by faith,
but, instead, just by your own sight?

Wise men (and women and even children)
still seek the Lord today, it’s said.
Thankfully, He’s the God of another chance,
so seek Him strongly in the days ahead.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.”
Isaiah 55:6 NASB

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Romans 8:14 NASB

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” John 1:12 KJV

“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

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Psalm 119:105 KJV

“The entrance of Your words gives light…” Psalm 119:130 NKJV

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:4-7 KJV

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
Lamentations 3:22-24 NRSV

More on the inward witness at http://www.rhema.org
Search Faith/Health Food Devotionals

The Tomb that Became Glorious

“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 19:40-42

from John 20….

At a new tomb, a garden tomb, a great stone had been rolled away–
Just to show that the victorious Jesus Christ didn’t stay!
Briefly, His body, in linen, with spices, had been placed therein,
But lasting death, for this Man, was not destined to win!

That morning, Mary Magdalene came while it was not yet dawn–
Then ran to get Simon Peter when she found that Christ’s body was gone.
Upon hearing this, Peter and John went out and came unto the tomb;
Only the linen wrappings were lying there within its room.

They went away then after they’d seen for themselves what she had said;
They hadn’t understood Jesus’ words, that He would rise again from the dead. But Mary remained outside the tomb, and while she was weeping, she looked inside again to find two angels, their posts keeping.

“Woman, why are you weeping?” was the question they put to her–
She replied that her Lord’s body was taken–by whom or where, she wasn’t sure.
Turning around, she saw a “gardener,” but didn’t yet recognize
That standing there was the beloved Christ, before her very eyes.

When He said, “Mary,” her eyes were opened to every familiar feature
Of the One she loved, and for whom she’d wept, “Rabboni,” the Master and Teacher. He had yet to ascend to His Father–so, therefore, He bid Mary go,
To tell the brethren of His ascension–He wanted them all to know!

We, too, can go from the garden tomb, a place that had seen God’s glory,
To tell all the world of what Christ has done–this world’s greatest love story.
“I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God,” Jesus said–
They’re still words that speak of “Family” to those who’ll believe that He rose
from the dead.

At that garden tomb, a much greater “stone” had actually been rolled away…
Of death and darkness, now removed, to reveal the Light of Jesus Christ’s Way!

P. A. Oltrogge

“So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” John 20:8-9

“For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, ‘The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.’ But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.” Mark 9:30-32

Other references: Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:22-23; Matthew 27:62-64; John 2:16-22; John 10:17-18

“And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelations 1:5,6

“I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelations 1:18

Scriptures: NASB

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A Lamp to my feet, a Light to my path…

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I can’t start my day, Lord Jesus, without first turning to You.
I need Your promised help to be able to see things through.

I need to know You’ll be walking with me, steadying me on my feet,
to handle any challenges today that I might possibly meet.

Of course, I know Your assurances, as written to us in Your Word;
but folding my hands in prayer to You reassures me that You’ve heard.

I’m relying on You for strength and peace and a faith that won’t retreat.
On paths my feet will tread, may I “see” beside my own, Your sandaled feet.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Psalm 119:105 KJV

“Hold thou me up and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.” Psalm 119:117 KJV

“Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.”
Proverbs 3:23 KJV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 NIV

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 NLT

“I indeed baptize you with water, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Said of Jesus by John the Baptist)
Matthew 3:11 NKJV

Greeting the Dawn

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

Our yard had a bench, so I there took a seat
and looked towards the glistening fields of wheat.

The sun was just rising, increasing its glow,
coming up from the horizon for a grand “daybreak” show.

The chirping of the birds had already started.
One squirrel chased another—across the lawn, they darted.

The flower beds looked like worlds of their own,
where sunlight and dewdrops together had grown.

The cat prowled through the flowers and around the birdbath,
then scooted over to explore what might be down the stone path.

Her kittens awoke, frisked about, and climbed trees,
playing with branches that swayed in the breeze.

Such blessings God gives us but not everyone sees,
because some are still sleeping while the dawn flees.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night….” Psalm 92:1-2 NKJV

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 NIV

“I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word.” Psalm 119:147 NKJV

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” Lamentations 3:22-24 NRSV

The Children’s Bread

“And He was saying to her, ‘Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’” (Mark 7:27) These were Jesus’ words to a Syrophoenician woman, regarding the healing of her daughter… Here He was referring to healing as “the children’s bread.” She was not Jewish (“the children”) but persisted in faith, to ask for His help, which He gave.

We read in the Bible’s book of Acts that in the course of Peter’s travels, he arrived at the town of Lydda to visit with some of the saints.

There He came upon a man named Aeneas, who’d been bedridden for eight years with paralysis and its constraints.

The account tells us that Peter spoke with sure faith, saying, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you: arise, and make your bed.”

At Peter’s words, the paralyzed man immediately arose; and all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord, having seen that healing is the children’s bread.

In another instance, in Joppa, there was a disciple named Tabitha, or Dorcas, who abounded with charity for others and deeds that were kind.

Just at that time, she had fallen sick and died–a loss which was felt deeply, for she had made garments for many; and by such acts of service she was defined.

Some of the disciples heard that Peter was in nearby Lydda, so they sent two men to him to entreat him to come and not delay.

He agreed to come with the men and there, in an upper room of the house where her body was lying, Peter sent out those who wept. He knelt and prayed–then turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, arise,” at which point, death couldn’t stay.

She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. He gave her his hand and raised her up, then called those who’d been there to return. Peter presented her alive to all of them, who were so grateful and amazed.

The raising of Dorcas became known all over Joppa and many there believed, too, on the Lord and that the Name of Jesus, of whom Peter preached, was greatly to be praised.

P. A. Oltrogge

A poetic summary from Acts 9:32-43

Also refer to Acts 10 on the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Gospel, and Acts 11:18 “And when they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, ‘Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.’”

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

“And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.’” Matthew 8:16,17

Other examples of Peter and the other apostles extending healing in Jesus’ Name: Acts 3:1-10, 16 and Acts 5:12-16; Acts 14:8-10; Acts 19:11-12; Acts 20:9-10; Acts 28:3-5 (Paul suffered no harm himself); Acts 28:7-9

Healing encouragement:
http://www.kcm.org
http://www.sandrakennedy.org
http://www.billyburke.org
http://www.oralroberts.com
http://www.awmi.net

The Shepherd’s Voice

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I once saw a film clip about a shepherd of today.
It showed an imposter calling for the sheep to come his way.

But the sheep went on grazing, just as if they couldn’t hear.
Then their true shepherd called; His voice, to them, was clear.

It was amazing to watch them immediately flock to his side.
Likewise, we flock to our true Shepherd, protector, and guide.

At times, a voice that is dangerous will come to us in disguise.
But the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus, and His truths make us wise.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:4-5

“I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and I am known by my own.” John 10:14

“…For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

“The wise in heart will receive commands….” Proverbs 10:8

“The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.” Proverbs 13:14

“But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” from one of the parables in Matthew 25 (verse 4)

Scriptures NKJV

Excellent series at http://www.moorelife.org on
“My Sheep Hear My Voice” by Keith Moore