The Blessing of the Animals

IMG_0898
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

100_0164
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

100_2228
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

Dogwood

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

A Rose in the Rain

Photo by Audrey J.M.

Photo by Audrey J.M.

When facing difficulties…

Beloved, to God, you are His rose in the rain;
And don’t ever think He doesn’t feel your pain.
Trials aren’t sent to us by the Lord;
No, they’re deep rivers that He alone helps us ford.
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy,
But we’ve got God’s Word to foil the thief’s ploy.
God’s promises are sure–He never has lied;
And the desire of your heart will surely be supplied!
With our eyes on God’s Word, we persevere;
We know this fulfillment is already here!
For faith says right now what isn’t seen with our eyes,
Because we know that our God has heard our hearts’ cries.
A rose in the rain, but you’re hardy and strong—
You trust in God’s Word and in Him to Whom you belong.
There’s an answer in God for every problem we face;
So we thank You, Heavenly Father, for the answer by Your grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The righteous cry and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Psalm 34:17-19

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-12

Thoughts From the 23rd Psalm

Photo by Roger Davies

Photo by Roger Davies

The Lord is my Shepherd–my faithful guide;
And through His leading, He always will provide.
He causes me to rest in pastures so green,
Beside quiet waters that speak of the serene.

He encourages my soul if I should ever feel down,
Reminding me I’m wearing God’s “lovingkindness” crown.
Knowing the wisdom of following as Christ leads,
I walk paths of righteousness, sowing Kingdom seeds.

If at times there are valleys, with storms very dark,
I’m safe with my Shepherd–He is my strong ark.
I refuse any fear–His rod and staff keep me stable;
And before any enemy, He prepares me a table.

With divine Kingly oil, He’s anointed my head;
My cup overflows, as by His Spirit I’m led.
Of His goodness and mercy, He always will give;
And in the house of my Shepherd King, I forever will live.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:3-5 (New King James Version)

“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17 NKJV

“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.'” Revelation 5:9-11 NKJV

God’s Flower of “Brass”

Photo by Arturo Yee

Photo by Arturo Yee

The Easter lily with its trumpet-like flower
Is a pure white tribute to Christ’s cleansing power.
It heralds, through its trumpet, His resurrection–
And that now we are made clean through His life of perfection.
That’s why you see the lilies on each Easter day,
And you can “hear” the song, which they yearly play.
The winter of separation from our heavenly Father is ended.
Through all Jesus did, that relationship is mended.
The heavens are telling of the glory of God–
While other flowers join the symphony, coming up through the sod.
These proclaim His handiwork, and even the stones cry out.
The sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him we, too, can spread about.
This Jesus is the Lord of all new birth,
Being the firstborn from the dead, God’s Son of great worth.
There was none that did good, no, not one–
Until God, in His love, sent us His only Son.
Perhaps there’s a lily representing the cleansing of your soul;
If not, just surrender your heart to be on God’s roll.
Then at Easter, consider the lilies and pray all will “hear”
God’s wonderful proclamation for why they appear.

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

“But thanks be to God who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

“Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.'” Luke 19:37-40 (New King James)

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Revelation 1:5

“…There is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14:3 and Psalm 53:3