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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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)

The Blessing of the Animals

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

In this world of great variety, the Lord’s signature is made very plain,
from the spots upon a leopard to a majestic horse’s mane.
He made many creatures to live on land, while others need the seas.
Some soar high into the skies, but seek to nestle in the trees.

Many animals need a caretaker and a home on ranch or farm–
cattle or sheep, as examples, need protection from outside harm.
They’re among God’s provisions for man, and there’s also the ocean store.
Fishermen find their livelihoods there, off of any good coast or shore.

And getting a glance of sea creations, like the dolphins or the whales,
is a rewarding sight to be appreciated on an outing in a boat that sails.
Children are eager to tell you of their enjoyment of the animals at a zoo–
elephants, giraffes, lions, zebras, monkeys, and bears–just to name a few.

Horses largely have been tamed, but have run wild upon some plains.
Many a man, woman, or youth has loved holding a horse’s reins.
Some people still need and appreciate them for the work they can perform,
while others love to race them and see their ability to “outperform.”

Dogs of a great many varieties are true companions, or work as aides
to people who have special needs, and to police, fire, or military brigades.
Down through the years there have been stories that often can astound
of a dog’s relationship with its master and how their love and loyalty abound.

Kittens are enjoyed, especially, by children who love to watch them play.
Cats are company, as well, with their own distinct character and way.
Then there are the smaller things, like the bees, bugs, or butterflies–
Beauty is in their fine details, and the study of them can be wise.

Those who love the animals may be fond of one particular kind,
or they may be the type who likes almost any animal that comes to mind.
So greatly we appreciate all the many creatures that we know–
It’s hard to think that there’s just one to call God’s “Best of Show.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast….” Proverbs 12:10 KJV

“The righteous care for the needs of their animals….”. (NIV)

The Exalted Lord Jesus

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Photo by Porch of the Lord, Caribbean flowers

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.”

1 Chronicles 29:11

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“And He put all things under His (Jesus’) feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church; which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Ephesians 1:2 and 1:22

“…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

For God so loved the world that He gave Jesus Christ, His only Son,
to be our personal Savior and Lord, the Exalted One.

Scriptures NKJV

The Power and Authority of the Creator in the Name of Jesus

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners,
spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the word of his power,
when he had by himself purged our sins,
sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Being made so much better than the angels,
as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
Hebrews 1:1-4 KJV

How impressive and powerful are these words that we read about God’s Son, who has been “appointed heir of all things,” and “by whom” God’s creation of the worlds was done!

How awesome to think that Jesus is the brightness or reflection of God, the Father’s, glory–and that He is His express image, as was demonstrated in many a true Biblical story.

He upholds all things by the word of His power, yet He humbled Himself to purge us of sin. Then He “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Thus, it’s through faith in Jesus that we win.

Being made so much better than the angels, the greatness of His Name is inherited from the Father, a Name more excellent than theirs. And it’s every believer’s inherited right to use the Name of Jesus, to receive answers to their prayers.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

Written after reading a devotional on this topic by Kenneth E. Hagin, founder of Rhema Bible College, Tulsa, OK

The Lord’s Magnificent Rainbow

Caribbean Photo by Porch of the Lord

Caribbean Photo by Porch of the Lord

Lord, how I love to see the rainbow.
It seems one of the closest things
to You directly speaking to us upon earth
of Your faithfulness–the reminder it brings.

And who but You could have created its design,
with pastels or bright colors displayed,
in a beautiful arch in the heavens,
following the life-giving rains that You’ve made.

It’s always magnificent–the sight of a rainbow;
and a double one is especially thrilling.
Though it usually doesn’t last for a very long time,
it reminds of a covenant You’re still fulfilling.

Though the rainbow fades, leaving only a memory,
it speaks, too, of Your love, that doesn’t fade–
for You gave your Son, Jesus, as Savior for us all.
Those who believe, find the greatest covenant You’ve made.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then God said, ‘I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.’ Then God said to Noah, ‘Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.'” Genesis 9:14-17 NLT

“He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.” Psalm 147:8 NLT

(The Lord will restore His people) Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture.” Zechariah 10:11 NLT

“Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:3 NLT

“(Patience and Endurance) Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.” James 5:7 NLT

…written of Jesus: “And he said to them, ‘This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.'” Mark 14:24 NLT

“In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people–an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.'” 1 Corinthians 11:25 NLT

“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6 NLT

The Greatest Light of Heaven

Christian Postcard

…photo by Matt Gillman

The beautiful sun that’s shining at the start of a gorgeous day

is welcomed by us all and always brightens our work or play.

Life seems to have so much to offer–we want to take it all in.

But the promise in a beautiful day can obscure the thought within

that reminds to consider the Son of God and what He said of sin.

Jesus told the world of our need of a Savior because of the Holy One–

His Father in heaven, who, on evil and good, gives of His rain and sun.

Days of sunshine or fun cause many to think only of the here and now;

but Jesus said that His was the Life to which we should make our vow.

Actually, our lives are doubly blessed when we put faith in God’s Son–

Upon doing that, it becomes true that real, abundant life has begun.

Saul was on the way to Damascus when he encountered an extraordinary light–

It was the light of Jesus from heaven, through which his life was made right.

So don’t be deceived by bright thoughts of the future that don’t include the Lord.

It’s in losing your life that you’ll find it and have an exceedingly great reward.

P. A. Oltrogge

“As he (Saul) was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting…'” Acts 9:3-5

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'” John 14:6

“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

“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven, for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44-45

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'” Matthew 16:24-26

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

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

“And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” Revelation 21:23

All scripture above: (NASB)

On the Legend of the Dogwood

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Photo by Audrey

I think that I shall never see
As lovely a “bouquet” as a dogwood tree.

Pink-flowered, or purple, or snowfall white–
They create a breathtaking sight.

They’re reflections of the Master designer–
Of all beauty He’s created, there isn’t much finer.

They do speak of the divine, for a legend they bear–
On each flower’s center, a “crown of thorns” is there.

Like the beams of a cross, the petals connect,
With rust-colored tips–of Christ’s blood they reflect.

It flowed from His veins, pierced with a spike’s metal,
Of which we’re reminded by a hole in each petal.

That dogwoods were once strong enough to be a cross is a story;
After Calvary, God took pity on them to yet speak of His glory.

But though just a story, not Biblical fact–
The legend has stuck and has made an impact.

For in springtime when blossoms of dogwoods begin,
We think not only of their beauty, but of our Savior within.

Then, too, it can be said that, after winter, when they flower,
they remind not just of the cross, but of Christ’s resurrection power!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.’” John 11:25

Pathways Walked With Mom

Pathways of love,
pathways where you guided–
sweet memories of those pathways,
dear Mother, you’ve provided.

Much like a gardener,
you tended to my care–
weeding out some tendencies,
while cultivating those that were fair.

And if there were problems
at school or at play,
the pathway to Mom’s door
would help them go away.

Best of all, we walked pathways
which caused my spirit to be fed
with the truths in God’s Word,
so that by His Spirit I’d be led.

Now as I go about, on my own pathways since I’ve grown,
I’m grateful for the pathways that together we’d known.

P. A. Oltrogge

(The white stone borders along the flowers in this photo brought to mind the concept of the pathways in the poem. Hope you enjoy the blooms in the photo, which was taken by my daughter!)

Photo by B. Oltrogge

Photo by B. Oltrogge