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)

Breakthrough Over Blues

Perhaps you’ve experienced disappointments…
I know that others and I have, too.
But when I recall precious moments I’ve had,
I can no longer stay feeling blue.

Realize this old world with its trials
can’t keep you from all that delights.
Disappointments may occur, but some very nice gifts
will come through from the Father of lights.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 KJV

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

Opportunity to grow in faith at Southwest Believer’s Convention this week at http://www.bvovn.com. “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 KJV

Expectation

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Caribbean Photo by Porch of the Lord

Recently, I heard a minister express an important thought–
which was that storms don’t last forever but eventually come to nought.

So if you’ve been walking through a storm, be encouraged by what he said.
As you continue to walk by faith, expect a rainbow to come out instead.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. And while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:1-6 NASB

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”

“That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” Ephesians 1:18-23 NIV

the name of Jesus…like the fragrance after rain…

Meditation

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

God has given us instruction that’s meant to keep us from being uptight,
which is to meditate upon His Word throughout the day and night.

If you find you’re feeling troubled, with thoughts that need to be curbed,
think, instead, upon His promises, so your peace won’t be disturbed.

Just as Jesus immediately encouraged Jairus when others said his daughter had died, we need to immediately hear His voice–over ones which say victory’s been denied.

People, thoughts, and what is felt and seen may “say” otherwise than what is said in God’s Word. If we’ve meditated upon it, however, other voices won’t discourage what, through God, we’ve already heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“How blessed is the man…(whose) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (from Psalm 1:1-3 NASB)

“Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165 KJV

“While He (Jesus) was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official (Jairus), saying, ‘Your daughter has died, why trouble the Teacher anymore?’ But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.'” (from Mark 5: 21-24 and 35-43 NASB)
(…and Jesus went on to the home of Jairus and raised his daughter up.)

“…and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!'” (from Matthew 17:1-8 NASB)

By Many Convincing Proofs…

…after His suffering, Jesus presented Himself to the apostles alive.  Thus, with any doubtful thoughts in their hearts, they’d no longer have to strive.

Gathering them together, the Messiah commanded that they shouldn’t leave…but stay in the city of Jerusalem, for, in not many days, they were about to receive…

what they had heard of from Him–the Holy Spirit’s power!  Upon receiving, they would be the Lord’s witnesses from Jerusalem and beyond, from that very hour.

After Jesus had shared this, He was lifted up from them and was received into a cloud in the sky.  As they watched, two men in white clothing stood beside them and asked the apostles why they were gazing so intently on high.

The two men went on to say that this Jesus, who was taken up from them in such a way, would come again in just the same manner, a reference to a future day.

The apostles, upon returning to Jerusalem, went to the upper room where they were staying.  With one mind, they, and some women, including Jesus’ mother, and His brothers, were all continually praying.

At that time, Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren, about one-hundred, twenty in all…and shared about the fate of Judas.  Then, it was determined that Matthias would, instead, answer the Lord’s call.

And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly, there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, which filled the house in every space!

Next, what looked like tongues of fire came to rest upon each one.  They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues of various languages before that first outpouring was done.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation all around.  “The multitude” of them came together, bewildered, at this unusual sound.

They noted that all who were speaking in their language were Galileans by birth.  Then Parthians and Medes and residents of many other areas joined in questioning it all, as well as visitors from Rome and other parts of the earth.

They were impressed, hearing them speak of the mighty deeds of God, “in a language that is mine.”  But some others mocked them, saying, “They’re just drunk with sweet wine.”

This made Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raise his voice in a bold declaration…that they were not drunk so early in the day, but this was a phenomenon of God’s own preparation.

Peter referenced the prophet, Joel:

“‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.  And I will grant wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.  And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”

Acts 2:17-21 and Joel 2:28-32

Then Peter addressed them, saying, “Men of Israel, listen to these words,” and he related the account of Jesus, the Nazarene…reminding them of the many miracles, wonders, and signs that many of them had actually seen.

Yet, by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, He was put to death by them through the hands of godless men.  However God, Himself, raised Jesus Christ, the Messiah, up again.

Peter made reference to Jesus as the promised descendant of David, who had looked ahead…to the resurrection of Christ and His exaltation to God’s right hand after that raising from the dead.

Of that resurrection, Peter said, he and the apostles were witnesses to all that had taken place; and the promise of the Holy Spirit, of which Jesus had spoken, was further evidence of God’s grace.

And all of Israel should know for certain that God made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus, whom they’d crucified.  Greatly moved, they asked Peter and the rest what they should do…their hearts were open wide.

Peter then told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.  They would also receive the Holy Spirit…all part of how a new life in Christ begins.

So, those who received his message and were baptized that day were about three thousand souls.  Further teaching from the apostles, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer now were their devoted goals.

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe…and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles that the people saw.

The believers had all things in common, sharing with one another where there was a need.  In the temple and from house to house, gladness and sincerity of heart was shared in both word and deed.

The Lord was adding daily souls being brought into His fold, as He is doing still, if truth be told.  The book of Acts continues to this day, so that “multitudes” may find the love of Jesus, as today’s Christ followers share and pray.

P.A. Oltrogge

(a poetic sketch of Acts 1 and 2)

Also referenced by Peter,  Psalm 16:8-11 and Psalm 110:1

The Living One

…from Luke 24, NASB…a poetic account…

Some of the women who had loved Jesus set out at early dawn with spices they’d prepared…in order to anoint His body.  How they might enter the tomb must have been discussed and shared.

When they discovered that the stone had been rolled away, they stepped inside the tomb and found…that Jesus’ body was not there–they were perplexed in looking around.

Suddenly, two men in dazzling clothing appeared to them–the women were terrified!  The angels had come with a message about His resurrection…and death having been defied.

“Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen….” as the women could plainly see.   Then the angels said to recall how Jesus had spoken of this very thing while still with them in Galilee.

Jesus had told them how the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men…and then be crucified; and on the third day, He would rise again.

So they remembered Jesus’ words and returned from the tomb to share with the eleven and all the rest.  But the apostles couldn’t believe them–though Peter went to see for himself about this news that was blessed.

Two of the Lord’s followers were going to Emmaus on that very third day.  They were discussing with each other the things that had happened in Jerusalem as they went their way.

Then Jesus Himself, not actually recognized by them, approached and began to travel beside them on the road.  He asked them what they’d been discussing–their demeanors reflected that they were carrying a heavy load.

One of them, named Cleopas, asked how he could have been visiting Jerusalem and not have known or heard…of the fate of Jesus, the Nazarene, –a prophet mighty in deed and word.

They said that they had hoped He would be Israel’s redeemer…meaning by His leadership or even by being its king.  But His death, instead, by crucifixion, had definitely changed everything.

Next, they shared that, on this third day, some women had gone to the tomb at dawn…and told them that, but for two angels, it was empty–His crucified body was gone.

Jesus addressed them, then, as foolish men, who were slow of heart to believe…in what the prophets had spoken of the Christ, implying that the wise would understand and receive.

Jesus went on to explain the things foretold of Him in the scriptures by Moses and other prophets, throughout.  All this while, their eyes were prevented from recognizing Who was really with them on their route.

As they approached the village of Emmaus, their traveling companion, Jesus, acted as if he might travel on, but they urged him to stay with them, for the night was almost upon.

So Jesus went in to stay with them and reclined at the table to break bread.  When He took it, blessed it, and gave it to them, their eyes were opened to see the living One, risen from the dead!

Jesus then vanished from their sight, and they reflected on how their hearts had been burning…as He spoke of how the Christ needed to suffer these things–this “stranger” had been so discerning.

At that very hour they got up to return to Jerusalem to share with the eleven what had transpired.  As they were telling these things, there came in their midst, He whom their hearts desired.

It was Jesus, Himself, the Master, saying, “Peace be unto you.”  Startled and frightened, they needed His assurance, once again, to see them through.

He asked them why they doubted and then showed them His hands and feet.  They still couldn’t believe it, for joy and amazement.  He then asked for something to eat.

After having the broiled fish that they gave, He again opened their minds to understand all that had needed to be fulfilled.  Repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His Name, starting from Jerusalem…and from there, it would build.

They were to wait until they were clothed with power from on high…. Then He led them out as far as Bethany, where He blessed them and departed from them up into the sky.

After worshipping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy that was hard for them to contain.  They were continually in the temple, praising God for their redemption, which had been made so plain…

and for their beloved King’s reign!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Why do you seek THE LIVING ONE among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen!”  Luke 24:5-6

 

 

 

As Simon Peter may have Remembered

I once said to the Master, Jesus, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”  Yet, I was forgiven by Him and blessed to be a part of His Father’s redemptive plan.

I remember when Andrew came to me with some news that truly amazed–that by way of John the Baptist, he had found the Messiah who was to be praised!

Jesus became our teacher, and we left our nets to follow Him.  This meant leaving our daily livelihood, so we weren’t simply doing so on a whim.

No, we knew that this was big.  We began to see many miracles taking place–miracles of healing, provision, and protection were wrought by Him, revealing to all God’s grace.

The lame, the blind, and the deaf were finding that the Master was always willing.  We disciples saw Him calm the sea during a storm that had been frighteningly chilling.

Another time, faith arose within me to walk towards Him upon the sea.  He quickly saved me from sinking below the depths when fear had gotten the better of me.

Once, Jesus took me with James and John on a destined mountain climb, where He was transfigured before us–Elijah and Moses appeared at the time.

I suggested that three tabernacles be built for each, not knowing just what to say.  Then a cloud came around us with a message from God on that remarkable day.

It was the voice of His Father in heaven, telling us that this was His beloved Son, and that we should listen to Jesus–His raiment was white as no launderer could have done.

Just as quickly as it had begun, the experience ended and we were alone.  We often could expect the unexpected–such was His ministry’s tone.

HIs raising of Lazarus from the dead wasn’t envisioned by any of us disciples, though.  Imagine our reaction when we saw death reversed to loose Lazarus and let him go.

I once gave the Lord the use of my boat, for Him to minister from to those on shore…only to be given back the catch of a lifetime–He gave back to us always more!

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” I declared to Him one day.  He said His Father in heaven had revealed that truth to me about the Son, who had taught us all to pray.

At the Passover meal, I was taken aback when Jesus came to me to wash my feet.  I allowed Him, though, for He said to be a part of Him, it was a duty I needed to let Him meet.

What a blessed remembrance, to have spent that time with the Lord in the upper room…before His betrayal and crucifixion and eventual resurrection from the tomb.

Of course, I felt remorse for my own denial of Him–my boasted loyalty and support having failed.  But afterwards, I came to my senses, realizing that I was one…for whom, to the cross, He’d been nailed.

We disciples were so happy when He appeared to us after His glorious resurrection–and later were so glad to spread the news that Jesus is Lord…by the promised Spirit’s direction.

I loved to tell of Him throughout the following years and was always looking toward…that time of my reunion with Him, the Master and Teacher whom we all had adored.

P. A. Oltrogge

A Participant’s Thoughts on Greeting the Coming King

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  Zechariah 9:9

We thought He would be the King of Israel, riding on a donkey, He came…

Instead, He was heading towards Calvary’s cross.  There, He would be taking the blame…

for my sins and those of the entire world–God’s gift of salvation for all.

We waved our palm branches before Him–so worthy, for He was following His Father’s call.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say?  ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?  But for this purpose I came to this hour.  Father, glorify Your name.”

“Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.'” John 12:27-28

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

Scriptures: NKJV

It Was For Me…a poem to personalize

Jesus,

In Gethsemane’s garden, You prayed to be strong
In what would overtake You in not very long.
It was for me that You were then betrayed.
It was on You that the task was laid.
As filthy rags, God saw my righteousness claimed–
Which is why You stepped in to be defamed.
It was for my sins that You went on trial.
You made the payment for everything vile.
It was for me–this undeserved attack.
It was for me You bore stripes on Your back.
It was for me that You wore the thorns,
And it was for me You bore merciless scorns.
It was for me You walked Calvary’s trail.
It was for me that You endured each nail.
It was for me that You hung in shame.
It was for me–You were taking my blame.
It was for me You painfully died.
It was for me that they pierced Your side.
You did it for me, but in three days You rose.
You did it for me that my case would be closed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Isaiah 64:6 KJV

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1 NASB

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1 NLT

Have Faith in the Power of God

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God.'” Mark 11:22

Just as raindrops in the air act as prisms, producing rainbow light,
so the moon glow through the clouds disrupts the dark of night.

Mankind has lit up buildings, using electricity as an energy source,
but Almighty God lit the many stars and set each planet on its course.

Imagine the power it takes to keep all those heavenly lights burning–
As proof of the existence of God, His lights make us discerning.

The sound of mighty ocean waves, day or night, speak of His power,
as do the majestic mountains and each uniquely-crafted flower.

Then, consider a newly-born baby or every individual’s special face…
the mighty to very small animals, the seasons and their systematic pace.

To have faith in the power of God is easy to do by just looking around
at all of the creative beauty with which this world has been crowned.

P. A. Oltrogge

See Genesis 1

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”  Romans 1:20 NKJV

Be blessed by The Greater Faith Conference 2017, http://www.moorelife.org, Session 4, “Life Energy” and Session 5, “Faith in the Power”