A Word of Encouragement

A66ADD41-D0B0-4984-9AC5-66CEDDA55A2F

“And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?’ And they stood still, looking sad. And one of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?’” Luke 24:17-18

“And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Luke 24:27 (NASB)

(from the account, after Jesus’ death and burial, of the walk to Emmaus by Cleopas and another, who met the risen Lord on their walk, verses 13-32)

There’s nothing like ENCOURAGEMENT when the way seems hard–
There’s nothing like its bolstering to keep a day (or life) from being scarred.

A word of praise can be depended upon to keep enthusiasm or creativity flowing,
causing a downcast countenance to be one that’s actually “glowing.”

There’s nothing like a caring friend who sends a note or gives a call.
There’s nothing like an encouraging word to keep us from a downfall.

There is an enemy in the world, who wants to ruin God-given potential,
which is why a word of praise from someone is often vital and essential.

Cleopas, while on the road to Emmaus, was talking with his friend
about the recent discouraging facts–on Christ’s life having come to an end.

Then later, when they were joined by Jesus, the Lord opened up their eyes
to the truth of His resurrection–likewise, we need the truth that God supplies.

Of course, the Lord is always there for us, speaking by His Spirit and His Word–but through friends or even strangers, He can also often be “heard.”

So, as you look around to start your day, be attentive if God is showing to you
someone who needs encouragement–let His supportive words be flowing through you.

P. A. Oltrogge

Like the wind that fills the sails of a boat, enabling it to glide upon the sea, a word of encouragement in our lives is so important to you and me.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

“Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:31 and 37 (NKJV)

Painting/Robert Zund

Your Stronghold in Times of Trouble

0777BB17-2107-4C1B-A0FD-506DF813CA65

If a dream of your heart has fallen apart, and you can only see the rubble,
remember the Lord is a refuge for you and a stronghold in times of trouble.

Hold firmly to Christ, your Redeemer, who Himself was resurrected.
Regarding that which concerns you, God has promised it will be perfected.

As a Christian, you have a covenant with God, by the blood of His dear Son. Give the matter over to Him, in faith, knowing that His resurrection power has begun.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
Psalm 9:9 NIV

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, oh Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 NKJV

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV

“…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 1:6 NKJV

“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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.” (the believer) from Romans 8:11 NLT

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.

DAF3B6B5-3662-437C-9970-2E5D1E5EC92B

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

295CE19F-706F-460E-B0AC-3CD1F5F8F730

Look unto the Hills

B21ACDED-986F-48D4-B8CD-B08FB438462B

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills–
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2

Lord, you are the source of my help on any given day.
You made the heavens and the earth–On you, my hope will stay.
I will look even to the hills–On their horizon, I’ll always see,
through the eye of faith, my Savior, heading down with help for me.

P. A. Oltrogge

“He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.”

Psalm 121:3-8 NKJV

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

words of Jesus in John 14:27 NKJV

Jesus, His Name, our Anchor

670C4EE3-10FE-4AEE-B73A-F82EFD4167EC

For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:

“I will certainly bless you,
and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”

Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.
Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:13-20 NLT

In calm times of life or in a storm, a strong anchor is what I need.
The name of Jesus is that anchor—demons have to take heed.

By quiet waters or a turbulent sea, my anchor firmly holds.
Sure and steadfast is my hope as every moment unfolds.

In the order of Melchizedek, Jesus is my High Priest FOREVER.
His covering of love gives me confidence in whatever I endeavor.

God has given us His promise and oath. It’s impossible for Him to lie.
We have covenant with Him through Jesus Christ—the Son of the Most High.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’” Luke 1:30-33 NASB

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:14-15 NKJV

“And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath, (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him:

“The Lord has sworn and will not relent.
‘You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek’”),

by so much more, Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”

Hebrews 7:20-28 NKJV

“…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” from Colossians 1:27

Highly recommended:
“The Name of Jesus” book by Kenneth E. Hagin
under Bookstore at http://www.rhema.org

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

100_3735
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.

9CD33BAB-250B-4897-9A46-94EC3C7D6B12

The God of Another Chance

AE8B7076-BC55-4523-8938-6E3B20EE54D3

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