Out of the Ashes

The following was written some years ago but is certainly applicable today.
by Guest Contributor, J. Vetter

Only a year ago, a tornado swept through our town, and trees became missiles of destruction. They slammed against houses, fences and vehicles with an angry vengeance.

This morning I took the time to investigate the new walking trail that was built in our area. Joy crowded into my heart and it overflowed with gratitude as I recognized that the pathway had been created with the remains of those fallen trees. Then, at the end of the trail, the joy that I felt gave birth to overwhelming revelation of new life! There, amidst the trees, an outdoor chapel had been built. There was a simple wooden cross, a pulpit, and there were six wooden benches.

Even though no one was standing behind the pulpit, I heard a message spoken loudly and clearly into my spirit. It was “Never give up! Never give up!” In spite of what may look like devastation, God declares, “There will be new life – trust Me! Learn to expect the good, for I know how to bring it about. Take your eyes off the distraction of loss and begin to expect the beauty of renewal.”

The Lord has much to say about being one who overcomes. I personally believe it thrills God’s heart when we choose to allow Him to rebuild what has been devastated or broken. It may not look the same; but in fact, often it can be even better. I’m thinking, for example, of the times people have had a water pipe break or some other kind of flooding. At first, it’s just a mess, and not very many people start out being thankful. However, after the insurance company pays for new flooring and restoration, it’s easy to forget the sense of frustration about the incident.

If only we could always see a snapshot of the finished project! But wait…God has something to say about that–how about, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

I remember reading about a woman whose son was severely injured. She was praying for his healing and happened to look up and out of her kitchen window and saw a vision of him riding his bike over the lawn. Time went by, and he was healed. One day, she actually saw that exact picture of him on his bike, just as she had seen in the earlier vision.

Many a person, when keeping faith in the Lord, has found that the loss of a job has yielded an even better one or a new situation that is more satisfying for them.

Sometimes, as in a personal experience of my own, a loss can be very hard–the loss of a precious loved one. Yet, I can give thanks for having had the joy of having known and loved that one, knowing the comfort that he is with Jesus; and I have found peace through Him, which passes all understanding.

If difficulties strike, I believe we can keep our hearts from being overwhelmed. In Psalms we read, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2) From the vantage point of that “Rock,” our Lord Jesus Christ, we are able to rise above any negative circumstance.

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All’s Right with my World

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All’s right with my world, my life every day,
because You are in it, dear Lord, to stay.

When storms crash around me, I command them to cease;
and if faith takes some battering, I still have Your peace.

Whatever the circumstances, I count it all joy;
I’m more than a conqueror whom this world can’t destroy.

The blessing of God is mine now and forever;
I’m secure in a covenant that cannot be severed.

The Lord is my Shepherd, the pastures are green–
With my mind stayed on Jesus, my life is serene.

P. A. Oltrogge

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 NKJV

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Romans 8:37 NKJV

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters….Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:1, 2, and 6 NASB

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3 KJV

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

A Spiritual “Driver’s Training Course”

“We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe and therefore speak.”
2 Corinthians 4:13 KJV

If you were training a new driver who was going wrongly in reverse,
you wouldn’t wait until you saw things get worse.
You’d shout out, “Stop, put it in forward gear!”
Likewise, using words of faith in life is the right way to steer–
Not only that, it helps us to “drive away” from fear!

P. A. Oltrogge

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photo/Unsplash

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

“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

“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:23-25 NKJV

“…the just (the righteous man) shall live by faith.” (from Galatians 3:10-12, verse 11 NKJV and NASB)

“But 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 diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

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

Proverbs 18:20-21
Proverbs 21:23
Luke 18:1
Philippians 4:8

Be blessed at
http://www.faithschool.org

Thank God in Advance

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“Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the godly ones. Let Israel be glad in his maker; Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.” Psalm 149:1-3

Thank God in advance!
Let that always be your stance.
Put your measure of faith to use–
Your thankful praise to Him turns it loose!

Faith pleases God, so guard against despair;
Though possible, it’s not best to meet Him there.
If pain or problems seem to go unbroken,
Remember the words that Jesus has spoken.

When you pray for the things you’ve desired,
Believe you receive and they will be acquired.
If your breakthrough seems to be taking too long,
He’s promised you strength–you can be strong!

But keep the faith for a sure turnaround.
In trusting God’s Word, you’re on solid ground!
Thank God in advance–
Come with joyful praise or dance!

Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.
In advance, see your victory flag fully unfurled!

P. A. Oltrogge

“For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

“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. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone…” Mark 11:23, 24 (paraphrased in the poem)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

“O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving. Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods, in whose hand are the depths of the earth, the peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” Psalm 95:1-7

“And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.” 2 Samuel 6:13-15 KJV

“Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplication. The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. The Lord is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed. Be their shepherd also and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:6-9

Scriptures NASB,
or as noted
Be blessed at:
http://www.faithschool.org

A Hymn by John Newton

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23-24 NKJV

The following hymn was written in 1779 by John Newton, who also wrote “Amazing Grace.” The words of the second verse especially stood out to me.

Come, My Soul, Thy Suit (Plea) Prepare

Come, my soul, thy suit prepare;
Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He Himself has bid thee pray,
rise and ask without delay.

Thou art coming to a King;
large petitions with thee bring;
for His grace and power are such,
none can ever ask too much.

With my burden, I begin,
Lord, remove this load of sin.
Let Thy blood, for sinners spilt,
set my conscience free from guilt.

Lord, I come to Thee for rest,
take possession of my breast;
there Thy blood-bought right maintain,
and without a rival reign.

While I am a pilgrim here,
let Thy love my spirit cheer;
as my Guide, my Guard, my Friend,
lead me to my journey’s end.

Show me what I have to do;
every hour my strength renew;
let me live a life of faith;
let me die Thy people’s death.

John Newton

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

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 KJV

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

He’s Opened the Life Gate

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To God be the Glory

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Refrain
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
Oh come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

Oh perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see.

Words by Fanny Crosby
Music by William Howard Doane
Published 1875

A Life Redeemed

If you’ve never come across his story, I would like to suggest to view the true account of one of the Lord’s redeemed, Pastor Al Jandl. His personal testimony can be viewed on You Tube (choose “Testimony”)

He, along with his wife, Judy, founded Living Stones Church in Alvin, Texas. His is the story of a life that was in turmoil until Jesus helped him to resolve so many things after he came to understand and truly know and trust Him as Savior and Lord.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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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Remember Job’s Final Outcome

…spoken by the Lord, to Job:

“Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrible. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; and he does not turn back from the sword. The quiver rattles against him, the flashing spear and javelin. With shaking and rage he races over the ground; and he does not stand still at the voice of the trumpet. As often as the trumpet sounds he says, ‘Aha!’ And he scents the battle from afar, and thunder of the captains and the war cry.” Job 39:19-25

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In Job, we read a reflection by God of the horse’s boldness and might–
a description that can inspire us in our own lives in any spiritual fight.

“He laughs at fear and is not dismayed…”
We can rely on and be confident in God, rejoicing after we’ve prayed.

“From the sword, he does not turn back–”
God’s equipped us with a powerful Sword (His Word) in any attack.

We confront and resist the devil, knowing our covenant with God is in force.
Laughing at fear, continuing in praise, we know that God is our source.

“As often as the trumpet sounds,” we carry on in our spiritual race–
seeking to find, follow, and fulfill God’s will, for a final reward by His grace.

Always remember the Lord’s outcome at the ending of the story of Job–
when he, after all, was blessed very richly, despite the devil’s probe.

P. A. Oltrogge

probe — an investigation
Satan sought to investigate just how strong Job’s faith in God would be if he was visited with adversities.

“You know we call those blessed (happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God) who were steadfast and endured (difficult circumstances). You have heard of the patient endurance of Job and you have seen the Lord’s outcome (how He richly blessed Job). The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” James 5:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NASB)

“How to Find, Follow, and Fulfill God’s Will,”
Book by Andrew Wommack at awmi.net

Photo by Unsplash

What Time is it?

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“I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Psalm 34:1

When troubles disappoint, overwhelm, or sometimes shock,
Remember, then, what time it is: it’s always Praise o’clock!

As much-loved members of the Good Shepherd’s flock,
His goodness makes us praise Him all around the clock.

After praise and a mighty shout, the walls of Jericho fell down flat…
The people followed Joshua’s instructions, and that was that!

When Daniel faced the lions in their den ’til morning light,
An angel at Praise o’clock came there to keep their jaws shut tight.

Paul and Silas were imprisoned; their feet were placed in stocks.
But they just sang with all their hearts, and made that prison rock!

If your prayer is for a miracle, but it seems to be “out of stock,”
Don’t give up, don’t give in–look at the time, it’s still Praise o’clock.

Surely when the way seems hard, there’s an answer to any “block,”
For continually and forever, the correct time is Praise o’clock!

P. A. Oltrogge

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3:14:21 NKJV

“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 RSV

I am trusting and praising the Lord today, dear blog follower, that He is strengthening, helping, and upholding you.

Photo/Unsplash

No “Goliath” Too Big for our God

“…for the battle is the Lord’s…” 1 Samuel 17:47

The Bible says that all of the Hebrew warriors’ knees were knocking
At the sight and size of the giant, Goliath, an enemy who was shocking.

None were brave enough at all to finish that giant off;
And when they saw him at a distance, Goliath would loudly scoff.

But there was a shepherd lad of courage who had fought a lion and bear–
To him, the giant, Goliath, was really nothing of a scare,

For David had the faith of one who knew that he was guarded
By the greater Lord of Hosts–and it was Him whom he regarded.

David rejected King Saul’s armor and chose to fight Goliath instead
With declarations of faith, a slingshot, and a stone to knock him dead.

That’s exactly how it went–though he had brought a total of five;
It took just one stone plus faith to make that giant not survive!

Today, in our lives, we may have never tackled a lion or a bear–
But David’s example of facing things fearful makes us be aware

That faith in God is ample for the things that we may face–
Though problems may seem looming, we can conquer them by God’s grace.
_______________________________

A postscript to this Biblical record is that we might speculate
That a further lesson is in the account that one could possibly state.
The five smooth stones that David brought show he was quite prepared
To try again, depending on how the first stone actually fared!

P. A. Oltrogge

And, like David, remembering past victories, where the Lord undertook for us, will help us in facing what may be or what seems like a greater challenge before us…. So we persevere with declarations of faith in our God and with prayer.

“And He spoke a parable to them, that men ought always to pray and not lose heart….” words of Jesus in Luke 18:1 NKJV

“And David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and may the Lord be with you.’” 1 Samuel 17:37

Daily prayer, 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, U.S.
at http://www.govictory.com

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