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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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

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

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

That’s Perfect

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“God is my strength and power: and He makes my way perfect.”
2 Samuel 22:33

“As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
For who is God, except the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
And makes my way perfect.”
Psalm 18:30-32

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:17-19

“But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:14-17

“The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.” Hebrews 7:28 NLT

“…Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:27-28

New King James Version

Biblical Steps…Ask, Seek, Knock

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Photo by Porch of the Lord,
Bequia Island

Let “Ask, and it will be given to you,” and “Seek, and you will find,”
and “Knock, and the door will be opened to you,” often come to mind.

God has so many possibilities, when we are thinking there are none–
The disciples were distraught at Jesus’ death ’til they beheld the risen Son.

When hope seems to have ended, remember your mighty God’s deeds.
He’s a “beyond all that we ask or think” God, who supplies beyond our needs.

So be blessed to be a blessing to others as God pours out His love.
Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights above.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen”.
Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17KJV

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him? Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:7-12 NKJV

Abraham’s Absolute Trust

This poetic telling is of the account in the Bible, which was written of in Genesis, chapter twenty-two. It’s the story of Abraham’s act of trust, in a most difficult thing God had asked him to do.

God called upon Abraham to take along Isaac, his much loved and only son…and journey to the land of Moriah, where, He said, a sacrifice would need to be done.

The unthinkable thing about this, was that the sacrifice Abraham was to make…was to be that of his very own son. Abraham must have felt that his heart would break.

God specifically designated Isaac as the sacrifice, leaving no room about it to doubt. So Abraham rose early the very next morning, saddled his donkey, and then set out.

He took two of his young men with him and Isaac, as God had, with certainty, decreed. Abraham had split wood to bring for burning–he would be obedient as the Lord would lead.

On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw at a distance, the designated, sacrificial site. He told the others to stay behind; he and the lad would go to worship there in the early morning light.

Abraham took the wood that was needed for the offering and strapped it upon Isaac’s back. He took the fire and a knife and they walked on together, until Isaac began to realize their lack.

“My father!” he said, and went on to say to Abraham, that the fire and the wood they had–but where was the lamb that they needed for the offering? Then Abraham answered the lad…

that God would provide for Himself the lamb, for the burnt offering that they would be needing. So Abraham and Isaac walked on again together, his absolute trust in God still leading.

Then they came to the place that God had specified, where Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood. He bound his son, Isaac, and laid him upon both, which Isaac certainly couldn’t have understood.

So Abraham stretched out his hand, with the knife to slay his son, but was stopped from doing the act…because the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, saying his fear of God was now shown as fact.

“You have not withheld your son, your only son from Me,” the Lord conveyed. Then Abraham saw a ram…caught in the thicket by his horns, it became the sacrifice–the replacement offering to the Lord by Abraham.

So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will Provide,” as it is said to this day. “In the Mount of the Lord, it will be provided.” These words remind us of one who trusted God in a great way.

A second time, the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and spoke of blessings that were yet to be…that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in heaven and as the sand on the shores of the sea.

In his seed would all the nations of the earth be blessed, because he’d obeyed the voice of the Lord. So Abraham and Isaac returned to the other men, and went to Beersheba, happy and with God’s reward.

In the same manner, many years later, God, the Father in heaven, actually did give us of His only beloved Son. He spared not His Son, so that we could have reward. When we take Jesus as Savior, our eternal life has begun.

God is the One who taught us of sowing and reaping. You see, He “sowed” His Son as the sacrifice for sin in our place. He’s expecting a great harvest of souls to be His sons and daughters. That’s a gift given to us simply by His grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

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

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

Scriptures: NASB

Breakthrough over the Blues

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Photo/Porch of the Lord

Perhaps you’ve experienced disappointments…
I know that others and I have, too.
But when I recall precious moments I’ve had,
I can no longer stay feeling blue.

Realize this old world with its trials
can’t keep you from all that delights.
Disappointments may occur, but some very nice gifts
will come through from the Father of lights.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 KJV

Meet Nurse Georgee (Part 1)

The following true account is told in a book written by Georgia Cohen, a nurse with a boldness to share her faith in Jesus with her patients. This particular story is reprinted, with her permission, from her book, Nurse Georgee—and she is “Nurse Georgee.” Except for her name, names have been changed to protect privacy. Due to its length, it will be posted in two parts.

P. A. Oltrogge

The following is Part 1.

Big John—I Saw Jesus

Yelling at the top of his lungs, John screamed, “Nurse Georgee, get in here!” All the nursing staff raced with me to John’s room. We all had been involved in his CPR and knew it was a miracle that John was still alive. What solicited John’s screaming? Was he again experiencing chest pain? “John…John…what’s wrong?”

John was a 40 year old man, flown by helicopter to us from West Virginia. His condition was extremely unstable, necessitating transfer to a big city hospital. The life-flight crew remained in charge, barking orders at Ruthie and me as they leaped from the helicopter. “Lead the way. We have to stay with John until he is in CCU. His heart stopped five times during flight. Run as fast as you can.”

Ruthie and I were yelling, “Emergency! Move it! Out of the way!” to everyone in our path, as we raced like marathon runners to the CCU finish line. Ruthie and I literally threw ourselves against the two, large, mahogany doors that led to the entrance to CCU. The noise from the doors hitting the walls as they opened was deafening. All CCU staff immediately came to attention as we raced into John’s new home. Within minutes, John was hooked up to the CCU monitor, had a Swan-Ganz catheter inserted with new IVs hanging, and new CPR patches applied to his chest. John presented as a perfect text book picture. We were ready and able for anything that might happen, or so we thought.

The life-flight crew was now gone. John was resting as comfortable as possible with his blood pressure stabilized at 118/80. His heart rate, at 88, continued to have some extra beats (PVC’s), with intermittent short runs of ventricular tachycardia (VT). The atmosphere in his room was now one of serenity. Formally introducing myself, I oriented John to his new home. While bathing John, I sensed that the Lord was asking me to talk to John about his relationship with God. Okay, Lord, I will do it, you gave me another chance with Joe. Thank you for this opportunity. “John, has anyone ever introduced you to Jesus?”

Scratching his head with a somewhat puzzled look on his face, John slowly responded, “No, I don’t reckon anybody ever has.”

“John, may I introduce you to Jesus?”

“Sure.”

Sharing with John for only a minute or two what Jesus did in my life, John interrupted me.

“Now wait a minute, Nurse Georgee. I just don’t know about this Jesus. I have never been to church. In fact, I have never even seen a Bible. I just don’t know about Jesus.”

“John, that’s okay.”

“Nurse Georgee, you don’t know what I have done. Don’t get me wrong. I have been laying here thinking about my life. I want to change. I don’t want to beat my wife up anymore. I have been in terrible fights with the guys. I need to think about some things. I just don’t know about this Jesus.”

“John, that’s fine. If and when you are ready to talk about Jesus, you know where I am.”

John fell asleep for about an hour. Alarms started blaring, and the monitor showed that John was in VT, with a heart rate of 196, which increased rapidly into ventricular fibrillation. All CCU staff responded immediately with the typical CPR. Chest compressions, proper ventilation and shocking John’s heart all seemed to be to no avail. We were losing him, and fast. Even the IV pressors didn’t help raise his blood pressure, which was nearly nonexistent. According to his monitor, John was flat-lining. No heart rate, no blood pressure, and no response to the repeated shocking at even 400 joules of electricity. We refused to give up. I don’t remember how long we worked on John. It seemed like an eternity. The flat-line was ingrained in John’s monitor and was not disappearing. No rhythm was in sight. Just as we were about to call it quits, John’s monitor revealed a rhythm. John was coming back, unconscious, but back and breathing on his own.

Report time was rapidly approaching. Gathering my nurse’s notes, my mind was racing with John’s last words to me. “I just don’t know about this Jesus.” Report went well; however, it was longer than usual. I had a few loose ends to tie up before leaving for home. After getting my purse, I gave John’s monitor one last glance. All seemed well. Breathing a sigh of relief, I was off. Placing my hand on the big doors to CCU, I was stopped dead in my tracks. John’s loud, demanding voice echoed throughout CCU.

“NURSE GEORGEE…E…E…NURSE GEORGEE…E…E, get in here.” Immediately, I turned and ran to John’s room. I heard my name bouncing off the walls surrounding CCU.

“John, I’m here. What’s wrong?”

(Continued in Part 2)

Our Father of Forgiveness

A subject that Jesus taught, and that He made so perfectly clear,
was the need to forgive others—God’s standard, to which we’re to adhere.

By word and by His example, especially on the cross, this was displayed
when forgiveness, of even His enemies, was the kindness for which Jesus prayed.

Jesus had warned that if we ever felt this was something too difficult to do,
then, He said, of our trespasses, that “neither will your Father in heaven forgive you.”

Obviously, our merciful God has forgiveness at the very core of His heart.
If there is someone you haven’t forgiven, therefore, forgive, letting withholding of Christian love depart.

Then, you’ll be confident, with Christ as your Savior, when you go to enter heaven…that you’ve forgiven others, along your life’s journey, as Jesus said, even “seventy times seven.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26

“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him, up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:21-22

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 3:43-45

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” Luke 23:34 KJV

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” Psalm 103:8

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