The Promise of God’s Enduring Mercy

These days, it seems that we’re sailing through a very turbulent sea,
and no one knows how long the storm may last from which we need to break free.

But it’s GOD’S MERCY that endures forever, and His steadfast love will never fail. Remember Emmanuel, God is with us, and His mercy endures through any stormy gale.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23 RSV

“Then he (Jesus) arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39 NKJV

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34 NKJV

“(Thanksgiving to the Lord for His Great Works of Deliverance) Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 107:1 NKJV

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let Israel now say,
‘His mercy endures forever.’
Let the house of Aaron now say,
‘His mercy endures forever.’
Let those who fear the Lord now say,
‘His mercy endures forever.'”
Psalm 118:1-4 NKJV

Thanksgiving to God for His Enduring Mercy

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

Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever:

To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who made great lights,
For His mercy endures forever—

The sun to rule by day,
For His mercy endures forever;

The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His mercy endures forever.

To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn,
For His mercy endures forever;

And brought out Israel from among them,
For His mercy endures forever;

With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm,
For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who divided the Red Sea in two,
For His mercy endures forever;

And made Israel pass through the midst of it,
For His mercy endures forever;

But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who struck down great kings,
For His mercy endures forever;

And slew famous kings,
For His mercy endures forever—

Sihon king of the Amorites,
For His mercy endures forever;

And Og king of Bashan,
For His mercy endures forever—

And gave their land as a heritage,
For His mercy endures forever;

A heritage to Israel His servant,
For His mercy endures forever.

Who remembered us in our lowly state,
For His mercy endures forever;

And rescued us from our enemies,
For His mercy endures forever;

Who gives food to all flesh,
For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven!
For His mercy endures forever.”

Psalm 136:1-26 NKJV

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

A Paralytic and Four Faithful Friends

Jesus had been back to Capernaum for some days, and the news of this became known. Many people gathered at the house to hear Him speak, and the crowd had really grown. In fact, there were so many who wanted to come inside that you couldn’t get near the door. But there was a paralytic, with four friends who had a goal–to hear Jesus say, “Restore!”

So fervent were they in their earnest goal, that though it didn’t seem possible to get through, they weren’t downcast, but instead looked up–gaining entrance through the roof was what they’d do. Their faith in the Lord, their tenacity to attain, moved them to hoist their friend and his pallet up. They made a rooftop hole and let him down to the Lord–it didn’t matter to them to interrupt.

Jesus, seeing their faith, immediately was moved. “Son, your sins are forgiven,” He then said. This prompted thoughts in some scribes who were there, that He was blasphemous and clearly misled. Jesus knew in His spirit the things they were reasoning and confronted them before they could talk. He asked which was easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk”?

But so that they would know He really did have this authority, He further went on to say–that the man who’d been paralyzed should get up and take his pallet and be free to go on his way. Immediately, the man arose and picked up his pallet and walked out in the sight of all who were there. The people were amazed and glorified God, saying they’d never seen anything like this anywhere.

After that, Jesus went out to the shore of the sea, which can bring to mind the “waves” of God’s grace. The people followed Jesus to the shore, as well, and He continued to teach them at that place. A fitting scene it was to conclude this narrative, for God’s grace does come in wave upon wave. If a problem seems insurmountable, look up, not down–He’ll help you, just be bold and be brave.

P. A. Oltrogge

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

“Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.”
Psalm 43:5

“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33

Scriptures NKJV
From the Biblical account in Mark 2:1-13

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Washed with the Word and the Living Water

It’s emphasized that frequent washing of hands will bolster our protection.
A friend said that while she does so, she makes the Lord’s prayer her focus and reflection.

“Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name,” begins the prayer.
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”–there’s no virus there.

Then, the prayer continues regarding daily bread and our sins that He’d forgive. It includes forgiving others, guarding against temptation, and being delivered from the evil of the world in which we live.

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.”
It doesn’t take too long to say this prayer with every hand-washing endeavor.

If rushed for time, even a portion of the Lord’s prayer can be one’s thought.
As you wash your hands, think of His peace and use the prayer that Jesus taught.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth.” John 17:17

“He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 NKJV

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV

The Our Father or The Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6,
quotes from KJV

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Shut In

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
James 5;16-18 NKJV

As we join in prayer regarding the current crisis and praise God for His coming parting of the Red Sea, so to speak, (as one example), we might consider a few more Biblical accounts where God’s people were shut in:

We read in Genesis about the great flood–Noah and his family survived in an ark for many nights and days. As a preacher of righteousness, he must have warned others to turn to God; but the people didn’t change their ways. He had been obedient to God in building the ark, in anticipation of the coming flood. Today, there’s an “Ark” into which anyone can enter, through repentance and by faith in Jesus’ blood.

Moses had gone before the Egyptian Pharaoh, saying that God wanted the Israelites to be released. But Pharaoh still hadn’t complied with “Let My people go,” so the plagues over Egypt hadn’t ceased. Therefore, a final plague of death transpired–a heavy blow to Egypt in the midst of the night. But the blood of an unblemished lamb, applied around their doors, kept God’s people safe inside until the morning light.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were cast into a furnace that was ablaze. That came about because they wouldn’t bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, in order to give it praise. Their faith in God to deliver created an amazing scene, whereby the king saw that they’d become unbound. And there was a fourth “Man” with them in the fire, with whom they were walking around. They came out of the furnace unharmed, their bodies and clothes were unaffected. Then Nebuchadnezzar revered their God, who had kept them so miraculously protected.

Daniel worshiped the Lord God only, and for doing so, was cast into a lions’ den. In refusing to comply with Darius’s rule, he was obeying God, rather than obeying men. That den would have been a place, in which, anyone shut in should have died. But God sent His angel to shut the lions’ mouths, for He was on this worshiper’s side!

Lazarus died and was shut inside of a tomb, but his resurrection caused the Lord to be glorified. And Jesus’ own resurrection from death and the tomb proclaimed God’s Good News that is being spread worldwide!

Paul and Silas were shut inside of a prison–praise to God was their only weapon of choice. Then God sent an earthquake to set them free, because they had chosen, wisely, to rejoice! They went from being jailed to being guests in the jailer’s home and recipients of his care. The jailer had become their brother in Christ–what an answer to their praises and prayer!

So being shut in, in these Biblical accounts, brought about some great and mighty things. If we find we’re shut in, ourselves, today, let’s expect to see the good from God that it brings.

P. A. Oltrogge

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

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Thomas’s Moment of Doubt

When Jesus had risen from the dead, His first appearance was to Mary Magdalene. On the evening of the same day, where the disciples were gathered, He came again upon the scene.

“Peace be with you,” He shared with them, showing them His hands and side.
“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you,” was the immediate instruction from their beloved Master, teacher, and guide.

He breathed on them, saying to receive the Holy Spirit, and that He was sending them out to declare…the forgiveness of sins through His shed blood for all with whom they would ultimately share.

Thomas hadn’t been present at that wonderful moment, so only later, was he told. His fellow disciples were saying that they, too, had seen the Lord–but Thomas’s reaction to this was cold.

“Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, Jesus again appeared to the disciples; but this time, Thomas was there. Again, Jesus greeted them with His peace but turned to Thomas with words of faith that He began to share.

“Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Of course, Thomas declared, “My Lord and my God!” He now believed with every fiber of his being. Yet Jesus wanted him (and us) to understand that believing is seeing!

Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Lord, may this teaching of Yours on faith, and faith in You, be one that’s wholeheartedly received.

Some people today, too, have doubts that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead actually took place. But be blessed to believe, as Jesus said, in the miracle of His resurrection–the unmerited gift to us of God’s love and grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the account in John 20)

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:30-31 NKJV

Meditation

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God has given us instruction that’s meant to keep us from being uptight,
which is to meditate upon His Word throughout the day and night.

If you find you’re feeling troubled, with thoughts that need to be curbed,
think, instead, upon His promises, so your peace won’t be disturbed.

Just as Jesus immediately encouraged Jairus when others said his daughter had died, we need to immediately hear His voice–over ones which say victory’s been denied.

People, thoughts, and what is felt and seen may “say” otherwise than what is said in God’s Word. If we’ve meditated upon it, however, other voices won’t discourage what, through God, we’ve already heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“How blessed is the man…(whose) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (from Psalm 1:1-3 NASB)

“Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165 KJV

“While He (Jesus) was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official (Jairus), saying, ‘Your daughter has died, why trouble the Teacher anymore?’ But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.’” (from Mark 5: 21-24 and 35-43 NASB)

(…and Jesus went on to the home of Jairus and raised his daughter up.)

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 KJV

“…and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!’” (from Matthew 17:1-8 NASB)

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More Precious than Silver and Gold

(From Acts 3)

Peter and John went up together to the temple at the ninth hour, which was the hour of prayer. There was a man laid daily at the gate, lame from his mother’s womb, who asked charitable alms from those who entered there.

Seeing Peter and John about to enter, he asked alms of both of them, too. Then Peter, with John, looked directly into his eyes, telling him to look at them; and he began to tell the man of something better they could do.

That through faith in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he could rise and walk–a far better gift than silver or gold. Then Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. He received strength in his feet and ankle bones upon Peter’s hold.

The words that Peter said to the man were “Silver and gold have I none…” And he told him of that which he did have to give–a gift of healing, through the name of Jesus, God’s Son.

The man who’d been lame began leaping, walking, and praising God at the temple’s “Beautiful” Gate. He entered the temple with them, and Peter went on to share with the people that it was the power of Jesus’ name that had changed that lame man’s fate.

Excerpt from Acts:

“Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, and faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.’” Acts 3:11-16 NKJV

Peter continued, saying that Christ had been crucified by them in ignorance, but that He had fulfilled all that the prophets had foretold. Now, forgiveness of sins and salvation could be theirs through Jesus–again, a gift from God far greater than silver or gold.

P. A. Oltrogge

Psalm 91 (protection from pestilence/plague)

Psalm 103 (forgiveness of all sins; healing of all diseases)

You may want to do an internet search for messages
regarding this by Joseph Prince.

The Benefit of Blinders

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I’m hoping that this poem makes a little bit of sense–
I’m reminded today that it’s not good to be tense.
But it’s best to look to Jesus in situations big or small,
for He’s the problem solver, we know, after all.

I’m thinking of those who race horses and know a lot about
keeping a horse calm, despite the crowds that shout,
and from distraction by other horses that are running in a race–
they use blinders to keep the horse focused to better win first place.

I want to look to Jesus only and keep thanking the Lord,
for faith pleases Him; and those who seek Him find reward.
“The battle is the Lord’s” was David’s decree against the giant–
faith in the Almighty made a “Goliath” problem be compliant.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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 12:1-2

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-6

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

(Blinders, also known as blinkers, have been shown to help some horses stay focused in a race.)

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