An Example Poured Out

From His grand and glorious home in heaven—a place of comfortable rest,

Jesus came down to this earth on a mission, so that mankind could be blessed.

During the last supper with His disciples, likewise, He got up from a comfortable place, to give Himself to serving.

Just as He would be stripped and crucified soon, so He set aside His garments, girding Himself with a towel, to cleanse the undeserving.

Pouring water into a basin, He began to wash and wipe the disciples’ feet.

But Peter failed to understand this requirement that Jesus was wanting to meet.

“Never shall you wash my feet!” were his immediate words—an outflow from Peter’s heart.

But Jesus said to Peter that unless He washed them, then, with Him, he would have no part.

At that, Peter told the Lord to wash not only his feet, but also his hands and his head.

So sincere was Peter’s desire to please Him, that he quickly permitted Him to do so instead.

Jesus continued, speaking of being made clean, but said that not all of them were clean.

In his relationship with the Lord, Judas would betray Him, letting Satan come between.

When Jesus revealed that a disciple would betray Him, the others wondered which one this meant.

By giving Judas the dipped bread—said to be a custom of graciousness, it’s been thought that Jesus was giving him a chance to repent.

But Judas turned away from the Lord and went out into the dark of night—

as many still choose darkness today, sadly, resisting Jesus’ love and Light.

Just as Peter would have had no part with Christ, likewise, it’s the same today…

If anyone doesn’t receive the cleansing from Jesus’ poured-out blood, which takes our sins away,

they will have no part with Christ, our Lord and Savior, who, by His example, taught…

that we, also, should serve one another with love and humility, having received the redemption that He bought.

Jesus loved His disciples to the end; He died for us all, having laid aside His glory.

And, as at that Passover meal, when His task was finished, He sat down…but now He’s seated at His Father’s right hand, in completion of this true redemption story!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined at table again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher, and Lord, and you are right for so I am. If I, then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’” John 13:12-17 NASB

“Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35 NASB

“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:27-28 NASB

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” (words of Peter from Acts 2:32-36 NASB)

Jesus’ blood, the cleansing flood…

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Jesus Stops an Outer Storm and an Inner One

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Photo from the movie, “Jesus”

At evening, Jesus and His disciples were headed to the Gadarenes, across the sea. A storm arose and began to fill the boat with the wind-whipped waters of the Galilee.

Jesus was asleep in the stern in the midst of it all when His disciples cried out with fear. “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?”—their lack of faith being made clear.

Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, saying, “Peace, be still!” Then the disciples were amazed to see the wind and the waves conform to His will.

After the Lord questioned them why it was that they had no faith, they wondered aloud together. “Who could this be?” to have such authority over the power of wind, sea, and weather.

At their arrival at the Gadarenes, they would see the Lord do a work of another kind. There, Jesus was met immediately by a man who had an unclean spirit and whom no man could bind.

He stayed among the tombs and mountains and would cut himself with stones, crying out both day and night. Even shackles and chains couldn’t hold him, but he’d break them, due to an evil, inner might.

Seeing Jesus from afar, this man ran to Him and worshipped Him, and then he said… “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” He indicated fear of what was ahead.

Jesus told the unclean spirit to come out of the man and asked its name, which was Legion. “For we are many,” it said, and begged Jesus earnestly not to send them out of that region.

Then all the demons begged Jesus to permit them to enter a herd of about two thousand swine, which were feeding in the mountains there. At once, Jesus gave permission. The demons entered the pigs, which then ran violently down a steep place to drown in the sea, giving those who saw it a troubling scare.

The men who had fed the swine fled and told others in the city and country what had transpired. So, many came to see for themselves and were shocked to find, clothed and in his right mind, the madman whose life had been so degraded and mired.

Afraid, they pleaded with Jesus to depart from there, even though such a great deliverance had been shown. The man who’d been delivered very much wanted to leave with and follow Him, but Jesus said that, instead, his story should become more known.

He told him to go home and tell his friends of God’s compassion on him and what great things the Lord had done… So he departed and began to share in Decapolis, and the people marveled as he spoke about his life-changing encounter with Jesus, God’s Son.

P. A. Oltrogge

…from Mark 4-5

You are Greatly Loved

If you have ever experienced the loss of someone whom you loved—
while you’re blessed to know that now they’re with the Lord above,
you still, at times, do feel an intense strain of the heart
because you just long to be with them, instead of being apart.

So, I thought of how God, who “so loved the world,” paid our sin debt
by sending His only Son, Jesus, to die for each of us, and yet…
Some haven’t really recognized the truth of that reconciliation,
so they remain separated from Him despite the Gospel’s invitation.

On an individual basis, God wants to fellowship with you and me.
And since He’s the very author of love, it’s His desire that we all see
how He wants to be reunited, not being separated, remaining apart.
May every individual realize this and invite the Lord into their heart.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20 NKJV

“But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 AMP

“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 NKJV

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I Believe in Miracles

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I believe in miracles, is a good thing to frequently say,
especially when we know the Lord wants us to have confidence after we pray.

I believe in miracles, though things can seem contrary or dark.
I believe in miracles, even when the “kindling” isn’t showing a spark.

I believe in miracles…of provision, protection, and to see healings.
I believe in miracles, shows we’re not giving in simply to feelings.

I believe in miracles, as shown in the Bible through and through.
I believe in miracles, knowing they’re meant for believers today, too.

I believe in miracles, though afflictions can be harsh and persistent.
I believe in miracles; therefore, my faith can be equally insistent.

I believe in miracles, even when patience is sometimes needed.
I believe in miracles, can keep us strong until adversity’s receded.

I believe in miracles, because I’ve had some God-given ones prior.
I believe in miracles, are words that encourage and lift us higher.

And I believe in Jesus, the miracle worker, who was called a Nazarene.
With our expectation in Him, miracles are sure to come on the scene.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” …words of Jesus in John 14:1

“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen Ephesians 3:20-21

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him….” from Mark 11:23-26

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:7-8

(Scriptures NKJV)

Hard to believe?

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Some view the Bible as just literature, or stories hard to believe,
the writers having used allegory or metaphor within its spiritual weave.

Noah, the predicted flood, and the building of the ark—
to proclaim that really happened, they say, clearly misses the mark.

For Jonah to be swallowed by a great fish seems a fairy tale—
to say that actually occurred is simply beyond the pale.

Daniel was unharmed, though locked up with hungry lions overnight?
To not doubt such a story, one couldn’t be too bright.

Three men walked out of a fiery furnace, but they weren’t even singed—
to believe that event, your mind must have become unhinged.

Jesus is pictured using parables or allegories in order to convey
Kingdom truths made simpler, such as the prodigal who’d gone astray.

Referring to Himself, Jesus uses metaphors, like, “I am the door.”
“I am the true vine” or “I am the bread of life” are a couple more.

To those seeing only literary styles, believers have this to say—
Faith is a force, and it and the Holy Spirit must come into play.

Realize…there’s a real deceiver at work upon this earth,
who seeks to destroy the Bible’s incorruptibility and worth.

That’s why we find scriptures warning, “Don’t be deceived!”
Satan has webs of deception that he’s regularly weaved.

He’d rather the Bible be read just as a literary work to explore,
but not too deeply, though, in hopes that you’ll ignore…

Jesus, your personal Savior and the Savior of all mankind—
Jesus Christ is “the door” Satan doesn’t want you to find.

P. A. Oltrogge

“(Jesus the Good Shepherd) Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.’”
John 10:7-10 NKJV

“…let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands before you in good health. He (Jesus) is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone. 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.” …from Acts 4:1-12 NASB

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

“Let no one in any way deceive you….Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” …from 2 Thessalonians 2 NASB

“Do not be deceived, evil company corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 NASB

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” James 1:16 NKJV

There is much evidence available in today’s world on the truth of the Bible and Jesus as Lord through research, books, internet testimonies, and Biblical messages. Avail yourself of those and, most of all, read the Bible and ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you personally by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Blessed in the U.S.A.

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Raised on a farm in the beautiful U.S.A.,
we depended on God and learned how to pray.

Farm animals and crops, like soybeans or corn,
were tended to daily from the early morn.

The crops were abundant in the fertile soil,
and the joy of the Lord gave ease to any toil.

Fresh fruits and vegetables were always canned
from the family garden that was yearly planned.

Still, there was time in summer to swim at a pool—
a sharing neighbor kept our whole family cool.

A trip uptown for the Fourth of July parade
was patriotic fun, with fireworks later displayed.

And competing in family softball, out on the lawn,
was enjoyed by all before summer would be gone.

Sundays were blessed, praising Jesus, our King;
and during the week, of Him, we still would sing.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
The more that people come to know Him…
the more we’ll be in one accord,
with brotherly love being outpoured!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” 1 John 3:23

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
(Scriptures NASB)

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah”. Psalm 68:19 NKJV

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Photos/Pixabay

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

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)

His Presence

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To Our Great God…

At Pentecost, your Spirit came, with the sound of a rushing mighty wind.
The Comforter comes to us yet today, a promise you’ll never rescind.

Often, your presence is apparent through a reassuring, inner voice.
When problems threaten to overwhelm, you encourage us still to rejoice.

You’re blessed by the praises of your people…bless the Lord, oh my soul.
I’m thankful you’ve said that all of my cares—on you, dear Lord, I can roll.

It’s good to abide in your presence, for there’s fullness of joy therein.
Thank you for provision and healing, as well as for forgiving my sin.

We praise you for your creative ability, for the beauty of bird and flower,
the mountains and other majestic things that speak to us of your power.

We’re so blessed you desire to visit with us, as you did first with Adam and Eve. All that you require of us to meet with you, Lord, is to believe in the Son and receive.

P. A. Oltrogge

“‘Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him, the Father, God, has set His seal.’ Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’” John 6:27-29 NASB

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:2-4 NKJV

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Words of Jesus in John 14:16-17 KJV

The Greatest of These…

Something to remember about the story of Joseph, whose brothers had him sold,
is that bitterness towards them isn’t recorded in the story as told.

It relates the various trials of Joseph, being imprisoned unjustly was among the worst. Perhaps a bit of revenge was enacted when, as Egyptian ruler, he treated them harshly at first.

But when Joseph observed their attitude towards Benjamin and now how much they cared, he could no longer keep from revealing himself to them, but wanted brotherly love to be shared.

He completely forgave his brothers for the evil to him that they’d done;
and they, in turn, loved Joseph, who’d been their father’s favorite son.

Most often noted is Joseph’s great faith in God, from which he never departed;
but he was also a very gracious man, loving, and tenderhearted.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” 1Thessalonians 4:9 NKJV

“Let brotherly love continue.” Hebrews 13:1 NKJV

“Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him.”
(from the story of Joseph in Genesis 45:14-15 NLT)

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