And Nicodemus Came Also

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus answered and said to Him, ‘How can these things be?’”
John 3:1-9 (from John 3:1-21)

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And Nicodemus Came Also
(God’s continual creative flow of new birth…)

Sometimes a photograph captures a scene
of overwhelming beauty like none you have seen;
The Lord has created so many beautiful things…
for us to enjoy, with the sense of awe that they bring.

The arrival in springtime of little young lambs;
new shells on the seashore from oysters and clams…
the arrival of a baby that makes a family grow–
all are a part of the Master Designer’s creative flow.

Blossoming cherry tree branches leaning over a lake;
a rainbow after rain or the first winter snowflake…
early fog around a mountain or a newly formed stream–
all point to the Creator and His “new birth” theme.

A Rabbi named Nicodemus wondered, “How can these things be?”
when Jesus said he must be born again by water and the Spirit to be free.
Of course, Jesus meant spiritually, not physically being born twice.
Thankfully, the Bible indicates, that Nicodemus took Jesus’ advice.

Nicodemus thought for himself, being bold to question what he’d been taught–
If you can’t say with assurance your faith brings you what it ought,
then learn from the example of a Rabbi back in Jesus’ day…
Take hold of the Gospel of Christ and receive new birth as you pray.

P. A. Oltrogge

“So there arose a discourse in the multitude because of Him (Jesus). And some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, ‘Why did you not bring Him?’ The officers answered, ‘Never did a man speak the way this man speaks.’ The Pharisees, therefore, answered them, ‘You have not also been led astray, have you? No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? But the multitude which does not know the Law is accursed.’ Nicodemus said to them, (he who came to Him before being one of them), ‘Our Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?’ They answered and said to him, ‘You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.’ And everyone went to his home.”
John 7:43-53

“And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came, therefore, and took away His body. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 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 19:38-42

“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

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The Creator versus the Atheists

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Even within a city or out on a rural farm,
we’re blessed to always enjoy the vast creation’s charm.

To say, then, as some do, that there is no God
is a kind of blindness that seems, to me, so odd.

For there are many masterpieces, on which our eyes can feast–
from the starting of a snowfall to the landscape when it’s ceased.

From the city to the beauty of the peaceful countryside,
the signature of the Creator is something atheists cannot hide.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV

“For he (God, the Father) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son (Jesus) he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible….” Colossians 1:13-16 NIV written by the apostle Paul to the Christians in Colossae

Poinsettias for the Prince of Peace

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At the Christmas season, with decorations inside and out,
the poinsettias reflect what it’s all about.
Clean as the whiteness of a lamb or a dove–
the purity of ivory petals speaks of the Child sent from above.

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Pink reflects cheer and the joy that was proclaimed
by the angels about the Christ child–Jesus, He’s named.
Crimson red speaks of blood that was shed for mankind
by Jesus Christ upon the cross–our salvation defined.

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The lives of those who receive Him gain a new lease
in finding faith for living through this Prince of Peace.
So, in seeing the poinsettias, rejoice for the reason
that His birth in Bethlehem is what gave us this season.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:9-11 KJV

“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

Photos/Pixabay

Consider the Birds and the Lilies

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Look at the birds of the air…
They don’t sow, reap, or gather
Their needed food into barns—
But are dependent upon God, rather.

Consider how the lilies are clothed—
They toil not, nor do they spin,
But to the heavenly Father’s care
They’re blessed to give in.

Yes, consider these,
And consider giving in,
To the message of Christ’s love
Above this world’s din.

Partake, through the Bible, from God’s table
Of spiritual food fit for a King’s heir,
And be clothed in the love of Jesus,
the finest thing you could wear.

Consider the children,
So gentle and so tender—
What kind of faith
To them will you render?

One that speaks dislike
And contempt of others—
Or one that speaks love
And draws all men to be brothers?

The heavenly Father gave Jesus
To tell of God’s care and to guide.
When we take Him as Savior, He gives love
For all others for whom He has died.

So just like the lilies
Or the birds of the air,
May people of all nations be blessed to give in
To Jesus—the way to the Father God’s care…

P. A. Oltrogge

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies….” Luke 6:27

“And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’”
Matthew 22:37-40

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious, can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.

“But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:25-34

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Of More Value

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The beauty of a peacock’s fanned-out feathers is a unique display
of one of God’s masterful designs, among the many which are seen each day.

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Notice this delicate, little hummingbird and its shade of shimmering blue—
Only the Lord Himself could have adorned it with such a brilliant hue.

And consider the magnificent body, soul, and spirit He’s given you…
The privilege of spending time with Him is such an important thing to do.

Jesus emphasized that, certainly, we are of more value than the birds,
which makes us eager to meet with Him daily, esteeming His words.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
Matthew 6:26 NKJV

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 NkJV

“For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7 NKJV

“All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:3-4 NKJV

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

Photos/Pixabay

Pink Sky in the Morning

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After we’ve come through the dark hours of night,
a pink sky in the morning is a magnificent sight.

In that very first light when the morning is breaking,
it uplifts and inspires—and is truly breathtaking.

Our Creator coats masterfully the sky with His paints,
and gives a song to the birds for the waking of His saints.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 NASB

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24 NKJV

“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 3:22-23 RSV

“For lo, the winter is past. The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come. And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” Song of Solomon 2:11-12 NKJV

“…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:12-14 NKJV

Celebrate Life

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Pixabay

Celebrate the gift of life today—
don’t let troubles steal away your joy.
Jesus offers us abundant life,
while the devil only seeks to destroy.

There’s so much good to appreciate;
open your eyes to the blessings you’ll find.
And don’t let past disappointments cloud
today and your future that God has in mind.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB

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

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
For your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Psalm 138:8 NLT

“The Lord will accomplish that which concerns me;
Your (unwavering) lovingkindness endures forever—
Do not abandon the works of Your own hands.”
Psalm 138:8 AMP

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 NKJV

“‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 AMP

“Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NKJV

Reflections from the Master Designer

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Faces—you see them everywhere you go,
having two eyes, a mouth, and a nose, although
each one is different except for a twin—
Then personalities differ, despite being such close kin.

Just look at your arms, your feet, legs, and knees.
You’re wonderfully made, and I’ve found it to please
My creative ability—and you won’t come unglued,
for I formed you in the womb and your life then ensued.

And inside each person I have given a soul;
to carry out My plans, each life has a unique role.
If you need further evidence, just consider your own hand—
with its fingerprints designed just for you by My command.

Each snowflake is known to have its own pattern,
and assorted planets are out there, like Mars or like Saturn.
The oceans with waters I’ve given are vast—
trees, mountains, and flowers by My hand were cast.

You see, the heavens are telling the glory of God;
My handiwork’s proclaimed therein—yet it’s odd
that some in this world want to say My existence
should be denied or challenged with strong resistance.

“Man alone is master,” they proclaim, but deny
that trusting in a greater Master is really the heart’s cry.
And for those who say this world has merely evolved,
they haven’t yet realized around Whom it’s revolved.

Reflected as in a mirror, My image became more clear
when I sent My Son, Jesus, as Redeemer from sin and fear.
He spoke to mankind of the Father as you can see in My Word;
and from Genesis to Revelation, I’ve desired it all to be heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15 NASB

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 NASB

See “About the Porch”

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Photos/Pexels

The Father

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“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John 1:18

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:9

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us because it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1

“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’’” John 14:9

“yet for us there is one God, The Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

Scriptures: New King James Version

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His Eye is on the Sparrow

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Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
when Jesus is my portion? My closest Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender words I hear,
and resting in His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears.
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Charles H. Gabriel, 1905

…the following spoken by the Lord Jesus:

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
(Matthew 8:26 NKJV)

(The Way, the Truth, and the Life) “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1 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.”
(John 14:27 NKJV)