There’s a Rainbow!

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If ever there was a subject that should be put into poetic form,
it’s that of the magnificent rainbow, which can suddenly appear after a storm.

As the sun starts shining, it’s especially vivid, after the rain has poured;
and its message comes from God, as it’s the signature of the Lord.

He said that He was setting His bow in the cloud, to always remind afresh,
of His covenant made with Noah and his sons, and every living creature of all flesh…

that never again would He send a flood to cover the entire expanse of the earth.
To all successive generations, the rainbow’s reminded of this covenant of great worth.

We remember today that Noah was a real person, who steadfastly undertook
the building of a great ark by God’s direction, no matter how, to others, that would look.

It took many decades to accomplish the task, and there never had been a flood…
Today, God is offering the safety of an ark that was “built” by Jesus’ sacrificial blood.

God is not willing for any to perish. He’s giving much time to accept His invitation
to enter into the ark of the Lord–His provision for any person of any nation.

When I see the rainbow there in the sky, I’m reminded of God’s covenant made to mankind–including the one He made for us through Jesus, the greatest covenant He wants all of us to find.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28 NKJV

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV

“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall enter the ark….” Genesis 6:18

See the first half of Genesis, chapter 6, for the causes behind God sending the earth-encompassing flood and to read of Noah finding favor with God.

For your interest:
http://www.arkencounter.com

The Creator versus the Atheists

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Even within a city or out on a rural farm,
we’re blessed to always enjoy the vast creation’s charm.

To say, then, as some do, that there is no God
is a kind of blindness that seems, to me, so odd.

For there are many masterpieces, on which our eyes can feast–
from the starting of a snowfall to the landscape when it’s ceased.

From the city to the beauty of the peaceful countryside,
the signature of the Creator is something atheists cannot hide.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV

“For he (God, the Father) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son (Jesus) he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible….” Colossians 1:13-16 NIV written by the apostle Paul to the Christians in Colossae

Scatter Genuine Love

A clanging cymbal, a noisy gong,
that’s how a life is without love–so wrong!
If you speak of the future, possessing that gift;
know mysteries and knowledge, but don’t show love, you’re adrift.

Even if you have faith that seems to be heaping,
in God’s eyes–without love–nothing is what you’ll be reaping.
If you have faith that could remove a mountain,
without love, your life can be compared to a dried-up fountain.

If you give all your possessions to feed the poor
but have not love, you’ll always be unsure
of the mark you’ve made in this world that needs
your true love and compassion scattered as seeds.

If you give even your life, with your body being burned–
without love in your heart, there’s nothing you’ve earned.
Be patient, be kind–don’t be jealous or brag–
nor be arrogant or act unbecomingly–those things bring a snag.

Don’t let yourself be provoked, and forsake insisting upon your own way;
don’t take into account wrongs suffered in a fray.
Don’t be glad about things unpleasing to God, but be glad about what’s good.
In love–bear, believe, hope and endure all things as He would.

Other gifts will cease, but real love is enduring;
the partial will give way to a full maturing.
Now things in the mirror are dimly seen,
but, one day, all will be clear with a crystal sheen.

Faith, hope, and love–these three you can rate,
but love will always be the greatest of the great.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control–
Scatter these seeds and be a contented soul.

P. A. Oltrogge

(poetic thoughts from 1 Corinthians 13)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” words of Jesus in John 13:34-35

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us; an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 4:32-5:1-2

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Lydia Becomes Part of the Royal Priesthood

“And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6
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It’s recorded that the apostle Paul received a vision—of a man putting forth a request, that Paul should come over to Macedonia, so that the people there could be blessed.

So Paul, and those with him, pursued the vision, setting sail on the Aegean Sea–landing at Neapolis, they went to Philippi, a leading city of Macedonia in which to be.

On the Sabbath, they went out to a riverside, where some women were who customarily prayed. Prayer and worship were woven as fabric in Lydia’s life, while selling fabrics of purple was her trade.

She listened to that which Paul spoke to them about Jesus Christ being the Lord—then took heed in her heart that it was through Jesus, that true relationship with God is restored.

Embracing what Paul said, she went from reverencing God to knowing Him in a personal way. God had opened her heart to respond to the good news, just as anyone can do today.

Then she and her entire household were baptized, representing their being washed from sin. With joy, she invited the missionaries to her home to stay, prevailing upon them to come in.

This woman, Lydia, who sold fabric of a royal color, had found peace at the riverside that day. Through the Prince of Peace, her Lord, Jesus Christ, she’d been welcomed into His royal family to stay.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

A reference to baptism by Peter in Acts 2:38-39: “…Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..” Isaiah 9:6

(The poetic account is based on Acts 16:9-15 about Lydia from Thyatira)

Some references to purple’s use in the Bible:

“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.” Exodus 26:1 (for the Tabernacle)

“And now send me a skilled man to work in gold, silver, brass and iron, and in purple, crimson, and violet fabrics, and who knows how to make engravings, to work with the skilled men whom I have in Judah and Jerusalem, whom David my father provided.” 2 Chronicles 2:7 (for Solomon’s Temple)

A Hard Subject

It’s a hard subject; but the truth is, it’s real.
There is a thief who is out to kill, destroy, and steal–
a being who is fallen because of his pride–
a being who’s purposed to conceal and to hide
the true God in Jesus, the Lord over all–
that’s what Satan does because of his fall.

His ways are deceptive, and he wants you to think
there isn’t heaven or hell beyond this life’s brink.
He’s supportive of “gods” of other names–
or “No God at all” is another one of his claims.
Devotion to a religion or philosophy, he’s approved–
especially those endorsing that Jesus’ Lordship be removed.

He draws those he can to reject Christ’s light,
causing more darkness over any spiritual sight.
We all need to leave old things we’ve been taught
when we realize that, by Christ, our souls have been bought.
It’s simply a gift—but you must take and receive it.
Don’t listen to the naysayer, but simply believe it.

Of all time, the Bible is the best selling book–
if you think it’s inaccurate, then take a deeper look.
Please consider studies by Christians who aren’t slacking
in showing us the evidence that gives it absolute backing.
And to be the all-time best seller of books you can buy,
it must have the backing of Someone very high.

Be sober, be vigilant, the Bible warning is strong–
Jesus is The Way—any other way is wrong.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“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 NASB

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith….” 1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.” John 10: 9, 10 NASB

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

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12 NKJV

We absolutely know that there is a deceiver, the devil, in this world. By simply turning on the news, we hear of lives harmed or destroyed by his influence.

But God, who is love, wants everyone who will, to receive the free gift of salvation through Christ and to experience His peace.

“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.”
Words of Jesus in John 14:27 NKJV

Books to consider:
Evidence That Demands a Verdict
by Josh McDowell
The Case for Christ
by Lee Strobel

Nighttime Snowfall

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Scene/Unsplash

To this day, I love to watch the snow falling, so very peacefully at night, descending softly and serenely, glistening in the moonlight.

I remember, as children, wintry evenings, when the winds would blow…
heading down our long, country driveway, to help our father shovel snow.

We sensed the peace of the Lord outside amid the drifts so deep,
and laughed together, as we worked, before heading inside for the night to sleep.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Have you entered the treasury of snow…?” Job 38:22

“He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes.” Psalm 147:16

“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.”
Words of Jesus in John 14:27

New King James Version

Paul’s Rough Sea Voyage and Shipwreck to an Island

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

I’ve shared this Biblical poetic account previously, but would like to add, if you’ve not yet come across it, recommendation of the book, by Robert Cornuke, “The Lost Shipwreck of Paul.” In it, the author takes you on his captivating journey to Malta to research the actual location of Paul’s shipwreck and any possible remains of the ancient Roman anchors mentioned in the Biblical account. The book is available at Amazon.com, where you can also find many positive reviews of it.

(Having appealed to Caesar, Paul is sent to Rome…
a poetic narrative of Acts 27-28)

When it was decided to go to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners entered a ship at Adramyttium and were put to sea, to sail along Asia’s coasts.

Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment, treated Paul kindly, letting him receive care at Sidon from people who were Paul’s friends and hosts.

From Sidon, they sailed under the shelter of Cyprus due to the strong, contrary gales.

Then, over seas off of Cilicia and Pamphylia, they came to Myra, Lycia, where they were put aboard another ship bound for Italy in their forthcoming sails.

They sailed slowly many days, arriving with difficulty off Cnidus—the wind didn’t permit them to proceed.

So they sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone, passing it also with difficulty, coming to Fair Havens, a stop of need.

They’d lost a lot of time, and the weather was becoming dangerous as it was so late in the fall.

So Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it—that he perceived trouble ahead, with great damage to the cargo and ship and even to the lives of them all.

But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and captain of the ship than by anything that Paul had said.

And because the harbor wasn’t suitable for wintering, the majority reached the decision to put out to sea, going ahead.

If, somehow, they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, they could spend winter there, they thought.

So when a moderate south wind came up, they supposed they’d attained their purpose, weighed anchor, and began sailing along Crete, on the route they sought.

But before very long, a violent wind, called Euraquilo, rushed down to sea from the land.

And when the ship was caught in it, and couldn’t face the wind, they gave way to it and were driven along—totally unplanned.

Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda, they were scarcely able to get the ship’s lifeboat under control.

After they’d hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship and let down the sea anchor. Avoiding being run aground on the shallows of Syrtis was the goal.

The next day, as they were being violently storm-tossed, they began to throw the cargo overboard.

On the third day, they threw the tackle over, another thing the ship was carrying but which they could no longer afford.

Sun nor stars appeared for many days, and of the thought of being saved, they’d gradually lost hope.

After having gone without food for a long time, Paul reminded them that if they’d listened to him, with this storm and loss they wouldn’t have had to cope.

Yet he urged them to not lose courage, saying there would be no loss of life among them, but only of the ship.

He shared that this he knew by way of the appearance of an angel of God, who had come and stood before him on the trip.

The angel told Paul that he would yet stand before Caesar and that God had granted him the lives of all those sailing along.

So Paul, again, strongly encouraged them, saying that he believed God and that God’s predictions were never wrong.

He added, however, that on a certain island, they would run aground.

And after the fourteenth night in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight, some of the sailors began to sense that land ahead might soon be found.

They took soundings as they approached; and not wanting to run aground on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern, wishing for dawn’s light.

Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship, lowering the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front, but they couldn’t quite…

for Paul said to the centurion and his soldiers, “Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.”

So the soldiers cut away the ropes of the lifeboat and let it fall away before any escape could be braved.

Until the day was about to break, Paul encouraged them that not a hair of their heads would perish—that they should not be anxious, going without eating—but to take some food.

He himself took bread and gave thanks to God in their presence and began to eat. So all the others on board took food as well, encouraged and their spirits renewed.

Two hundred seventy-six persons were aboard; and when all had eaten enough, they lightened the ship by casting overboard their wheat.

When day broke, they couldn’t recognize the land but observed a certain bay with a beach. They resolved to drive the ship onto it, if they could accomplish the feat.

So, casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, loosened the ropes of the rudders, and hoisted the foresail to the wind—then headed for the beach.

But they struck a reef where two seas met and ran the vessel aground. The prow stuck fast and remained immovable. The stern began to break up by many a wave’s forceful reach.

The soldiers had planned to kill the prisoners so that none would swim away and escape; however, the centurion wanted to bring Paul safely through.

So, he kept them from those intentions and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first—the others to follow on planks from the ship or anything with which they could make do.

Thus it happened that all were brought safely to the land—they found that Malta was this particular island’s name.

There, the natives showed extraordinary kindness… Due to rain that had set in and the cold, they received them all and kindled for them a fire’s warming flames.

When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out, due to the heat, and fastened on his hand.

Seeing this, the natives expressed the thought that, likely, Paul was a murderer, lucky to escape the sea, but that death by snakebite was somehow justice served—perhaps divinely planned.

But Paul shook the creature off, back into the fire—the incident, for him, was not ill-fated.

Then the natives, who had expected him to swell up and die, suddenly changed their minds and said that with a “god” he could be equated.

In that region, there was a leading citizen, Publius, by name, at whose estate they were welcomed for three days.

The father of this man lay sick with a fever and dysentery. So Paul went in to him, laid his hands on him, and he was healed. Paul was continuing to follow his Lord Jesus’s compassionate healing ways.

When this was done, other natives on the island who had illnesses also received from Paul’s healing ministry during his stay.

The islanders honored Paul in many ways, giving him and the others much in provision before the time when they would again sail away.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness, has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said.” Acts 27:23-25 NLT

The Lord of the Pillar of Cloud and Fire

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“Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:20-22

“And with a pillar of cloud Thou didst lead them by day and with a pillar of fire by night to light for them the way in which they were to go.” Nehemiah 9:12
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Moses, a Hebrew by birth, was called by God to lead His Hebrew people out
from the ancient land of Egypt to a prayed-for promised land route.

Through his obedience and God’s powerful hand, their burdened lives as slaves
came to be changed forever because the good Lord hears and saves.

God had heard their desperate cries–and had seen the severe oppression.
After many God-sent plagues, Pharaoh finally made his concession.

So hardhearted had he been, that it had taken a very mighty blow
to his own and all Egyptian families before he would let God’s people go.

Many pestilences had been tried–including frogs and boils on man and beast–
hail, insects, darkness, and finally, death of firstborns of the greatest man’s home to the least.

That was the deciding plague, which caused the barrier to the Hebrews’ freedom to be broken– while they, in Goshen, were spared, for blood on their doorposts had “spoken.”

Yes, blood from an unblemished lamb on each lintel and doorpost was spread–
This proclaimed that their lives should be preserved because of a lamb that had bled.

They had shared the first Passover meal–a feast remembered to this day,
which points to God’s sacrificial lamb in Christ–now the Good Shepherd
who leads our way.

After the Passover, God guided His people with a pillar of cloud in their sight. And for gains through night-time travel, He led by a pillar of fire for needed light.

Quick to regret, Pharaoh pursued the former captives to the brink of the great Red Sea. But the angel of God and God’s pillar of cloud kept the Hebrews secure and free.

This protection and time were needed, for Moses to stretch forth his hand.
The Lord swept back the sea with a wind all night, creating for the Hebrews dry land.

God’s people then made their way safely, with walls of water on each side–
They followed the leadership of Moses, casting any fears they might have had aside.

God brought Pharaoh’s army into confusion; then the Lord gave Moses the instruction…to stretch forth his hand again, which made way for the pursuers’ destruction.

From out of the pillar of cloud, God caused the Egyptian’s chariot wheels to sway. The waters turned back and drowned them all, giving the Hebrews victory that day.

Protection and guidance were provided back then through God’s pillar of cloud and fire. Therefore, let’s seek the same Lord of those ancient days who calls us to a life that’s higher.

Today a “promised land” is yours through the leading of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Abundant life now and an eternal home with God is freely offered to everyone.

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the Old Testament account in the book of Exodus)

New Testament references:

“And Peter said to them ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38

Words of Jesus:

“…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” John 10:10

“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28 KJV

“…and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said…And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” John 17: 1. 4

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2

Train Ride

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I was traveling on a train that had many stops it would be making…
but I knew my destination and which stop that I’d be taking.

I thought I’d ask the traveler next to me where he was going to go;
then, surprisingly, he said it wasn’t something he could know.

I thought that that was rather odd, for one needs to be quite sure,
for travelers can’t ride indefinitely on a never-ending tour.

I’d researched my destination, having heard it was a beautiful place;
but my fellow traveler’s plans were vague and uncertain in his case.

Eventually, he’d need to get off—there would come an end to the trail.
It reminded me of those who travel equally vaguely, but on a spiritual rail.

They think that any exit will get them to a final place of peace,
but they haven’t secured the ticket to where God’s love will never cease.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life…don’t travel until it’s too dark.
Secure your ticket by taking Him as Savior—then you’ll KNOW where you will disembark.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6 NKJV

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 NKJV

There’s Still Light in Goshen

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The Lord was working out a major plan to set free–the captive Hebrew people of old. There would be ten plagues, so the actions of Moses and Aaron would need to be brave and bold.

When they came before Pharaoh, they had commands from the Lord on what to say or do, to warn him of, or initiate, every plague that his nation was soon to go through.

The ninth plague of darkness was so severe that the Egyptians couldn’t get around. For three days, the darkness was “felt” and thick, in the air and on the ground.

One of Egypt’s chief deities was the sun “god,” so such darkness proved the Lord’s might, to prevail over any of the “gods” of the Egyptians. Only His power could end the dark night.

But the Hebrews were under God’s protection; and, in the midst of that constant night, there was light in Goshen in their dwellings because God was in charge of their fight.

Today, people experience darkness, not of God and not a kind where you can’t visibly see, but darkness in their minds when they’ve not recognized “the door,” through which anyone’s able to go free.

Jesus pointed the way, saying, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” You can experience “Goshen” through God’s Son yet today, and you’ll have all of the light that you’ll need.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt. So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Exodus 10:21-23

“If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 KJV

“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

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.’” John 10:9-10

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

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