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”

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 Power of Jesus’ Blood

“Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Pick out and take lambs for yourselves, according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your house to strike you.'” Exodus 12:21-23
——————

The significance of the blood of Jesus, God’s Holy and unblemished Lamb, is questioned or rejected by some as being objectionable, or even a sham.

But the Bible speaks of its life and its shedding for the atonement of the soul. We can refer back to ancient Egypt and a lamb’s blood in a basin or bowl.

After the slaying of an unblemished lamb, the Israelites were given instruction, to dip some hyssop in the basin of blood to keep their lives from destruction….

The Pharaoh of that day, despite plagues God had sent throughout his land, refused to let the Israelites go free–which Moses told him was God’s command.

Despite rivers turning to blood, plagues of frogs, lice, flies, and livestock that died…boils, hail, locusts, and darkness, Pharaoh still felt their God could be defied.

Then God told Moses of the tenth plague, which would be the decisive blow–death of the firstborn from Pharaoh’s home, and throughout the land it would go.

The Israelites, therefore, were to take the blood-dipped hyssop, using it to apply…to the lintels and doorposts of their homes, in order that death would pass them by.

In the same way, Jesus’ blood must be applied to the “door” of every person’s heart, for without the shedding of blood, the wages of sin and its death won’t depart.

So, blood, which seems offensive to some, gives life eternal as God has ordained. Jesus’ blood is cleansing and powerful, to all who have been sin-stained.

Surely, the blood of Jesus “applied” today protects against adverse things; and every Christian can claim that blood covering for the safety and security it brings.

Thank God for the “Lifeblood” of Jesus, which offers abundant life here and now, but will, one day, open for us the gates of heaven, where, before our Lord, we’ll bow.

P. A. Oltrogge

“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22 NIV

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11 NKJV

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NKJV

“If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7 NKJV

“And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” Revelation 12:11 NLT

Of Moses, “By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” Hebrews 11:28 NKJV

“…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.” from 1Peter 1:1-2 NKJV

…further reading in the book, “The Blood and the Glory,” by Billye Brim

Photo by Porch of the Lord

Photo by Porch of the Lord

A Lesson from a Syrian on “No Other Name”

Recently I heard a testimony of a Syrian man, who’d escaped from that war-torn land. He spoke of how his faith in Jesus protected his family when bombs were dropping on every hand.

Then he told of their escape to Greece by way of a harrowing passage over the sea. Again, he said, his constant prayers to Jesus were his family’s security.

In both instances, he said, they felt the hand of God, bringing them safely through. In the interview, he added a prayer request for his country and for all of the world, too.

How easy it is for some to express doubts about the Bible and Jesus Christ when not in a dangerous hour–while those in the throes of war do call upon Him, for there is no higher power.

We all, in fact, are in the middle of a war–a spiritual battle for every soul’s fate. Deception is rampant, but God’s still offering grace. May all know Christ as Savior, for the hour is late.

P. A. Oltrogge

From Acts 4: Peter said, regarding the name of Jesus Christ… “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NASB

From Ephesians 1: Paul prayed… “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:17-23 NASB

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

“…safety is of the Lord.” From Proverbs 21:31 KJV

On an Evening Walk Outside of Bethlehem

I was taking an evening walk, when I saw some shepherds in a field.
Then I saw a light surround them–they trembled, their fear revealed.
The light grew brighter, and it became an even more glorious light.
Then I realized that we were all seeing an angel on that night

He came and stood before the shepherds–I was able to hear him some…
something about there being good news and that a Savior had come.
Next, to my absolute amazement, suddenly the night sky was filled
with what looked like an army of angels–a scene with which I was thrilled!

They shared a message of peace on earth, with their voices raised,
proclaiming now good will toward men and that God be praised!
They greatly were rejoicing, but then suddenly disappeared from sight–
Later, in town, the shepherds confirmed to me all that I’d seen that night.

They said they’d gone on, as well, to locate the One of whom they were told…
just a newborn baby in a manger, but a divine Child for them to behold!

P.A. Oltrogge

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying. ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” Luke 2:13-14 KJV

“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others–the armies of heaven–praising God and saying ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'” Luke 2:13-14 NLT