Just as He Said

After the Sabbath at the beginning of day,
Mary and others were on their way
to anoint the body of the Lord they held dear.
But they were taken aback at the tomb as they came near,
for they were greeted by an angelic being
and could hardly believe what they were seeing.
From the tomb the great stone had been rolled away,
and on it was the angel, as bright as day.
The angel pointed to the place where Jesus had been lying,
saying, “He has risen, just as He said”–truly death defying!
The women went quickly to tell His disciples, as well,
of the Risen Lord, who holds the keys to heaven and hell.
With fear and great joy, they went on their way
but met up with Jesus that first Easter day!
They fell down at His feet, giving Him praise,
rejoicing because He’d risen in three days.
He greeted them with love and said He would be
appearing again to His disciples in Galilee.
Today, in His promises, we have a share,
for He said He would meet us again in the air.
So though some are doubtful or wonder just when
Jesus will really be coming again–
Remember that He said He would rise from the dead,
and He’s coming again—just as He said!

P. A. Oltrogge

(From the account in Matthew 28)

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,
and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also.”
John 14:3

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until
the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord
Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’
Amen. Come Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”
Revelation 22:20, 21

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To the Uttermost…through Christ

“But He holds His priesthood unchangeably, because He lives on forever. Therefore, He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them. (Here is) the High Priest (perfectly adapted) to our needs, as was fitting–holy, blameless, unstained by sin, separated by sin, separated from sinners, and exalted higher than the heavens.” Hebrews 7:24-26 (The Amplified Bible)

God is able to save to the uttermost…

He’s able to reach any soul.

He’s able to love to the uttermost…

Forgiving and making them whole.

He’s able to comfort to the uttermost…

When things have gone hurtfully wrong;

He can heal broken hearts to the uttermost…

Replacing their grief with a song.

He’s able to guide to the uttermost…

Leading beside quiet waters.

He possesses all wisdom to the uttermost…

And shares it with His sons and daughters.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity….” Proverbs 2:6-7

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians1:3-4

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:18, 19

“The Lord is my strength and song….” Exodus 15:2 and Psalm 118:14

I Am Blessed

“Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they may obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Behold the ships, also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity, the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” James 3:3-6

Like a bit in a horse’s mouth directs a horse on a trail’s way,
Or as a rudder turns a ship around out upon a bay,
So our words, says the Bible, create good or bad,
Affecting whether we’re happy or whether we’re sad.
Three words that you can use to fight a melancholy spirit
Are, “I am blessed!” Say it out loud, so your own ears hear it!
To start your day with these three words will get you on the proper track;
Just don’t let circumstances cause you to take them back.
Speaking words of faith when things seem to be adverse
Are that bit or rudder needed to enforce victory over the curse.
Though the tongue is small, the Bible refers to it as being like a fire,
So set it on the course of all the good that you desire!
“I am blessed!” charges the atmosphere with God’s power and light,
And leaves no room for the powers that would bring darkness and blight.
Agreement with a friend or spouse can be a powerful thing–
Just think what agreement with Almighty God Himself can bring!
So remember, “I am blessed!” when your life seems to need a lift;
Such words and the promises of God can cause anything to shift!

P. A. Oltrogge

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

“You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you; and light will shine on your ways.” Job 22:28

“A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are the snare of his soul.” Proverbs 18:7

“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him.” Mark 11:23 (See also 24-26 on forgiving.)

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

“With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; he will be satisfied with the product of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:20, 21

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23

“I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.” Isaiah 57;19 (KJV)

“The mouth of a righteous man is a fountain of life….” Proverbs 10:11

“…the mouth of the upright will deliver them.” Proverbs 12:6

“A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words….” Proverbs 12:14

“…but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

“The one who guards his mouth preserves his life….” Proverbs 13:3

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

Other scripture references: Proverbs 14:3, Proverbs 15:2, 4, Proverbs 16:23

Why do Some Persecute Him?

He asked of Saul and He asks today,
why is it wrong when people want to pray?
And why should a book as greatly hailed
as the Bible sometimes be assailed?

How have the ten commandments done harm
to people from any town, city, or farm?
And why does it cause some to be on edge
simply because “under God” is in a pledge?

Surely, all should see the need to refrain
from torturing the unborn with brutal pain.
If some people are old or infirm,
why not let God bring their lives to term?

He asked of Saul and He asks today,
why keep a God of love away?
Why do they resist a Name so renowned
and One who has been rightly crowned?

The world has heard of His virgin birth–
He is Jesus Christ of incalculable worth.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now Saul…fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.'”
Acts 9:1-5

Reflections on the Legend of the Dogwood

Photo by Zest-pk

Photo by Zest-pk

I think that I shall never see
As lovely a “bouquet” as a dogwood tree.

Pink-flowered, or purple, or snowfall white–
They create a breathtaking sight.

They’re reflections of the Master designer–
Of all beauty He’s created, there isn’t much finer.

They do speak of the divine, for a legend they bear–
On each flower’s center, a “crown of thorns” is there.

Like the beams of a cross, the petals connect,
With rust-colored tips–of Christ’s blood they reflect.

It flowed from His veins, pierced with a spike’s metal,
Of which we’re reminded by a hole in each petal.

That dogwoods were once strong enough to be a cross is a story;
After Calvary, God took pity on them to yet speak of His glory.

But though just a story, not Biblical fact–
The legend has stuck and has made an impact.

For in springtime when blossoms of dogwoods begin,
We think not only of their beauty, but of our Savior within.

Then, too, it can be said that, after winter, when they flower,
they remind not just of the cross, but of Christ’s resurrection power!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.'” John 11:25

Photo by Nicholas Tonelli

Photo by Nicholas Tonelli

Snuggle into God’s Presence

When I was a child and had an anxious thought,
A loving parent’s presence was the first thing I sought.
When they took me into their arms, I found the very best place to snuggle;
Their loving embrace would relieve me completely of my struggle.

There’s still a child within today that sometimes is unsure;
And turning to our heavenly Father is what makes us be secure.
His arms are open wide for us–He says to cast our cares
Upon Himself, and that’s because great love is what He shares.

Many are the words of faithfulness and comfort He provides;
In His arms of shelter, we find the place where lifelong love abides.
Though I can’t see Him face to face, He says He’ll make my ears
To hear His voice, which will always bear a message to relieve my fears.

Isaiah 41:10
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you
with My righteous right hand.”

And if I have a day where it seems like I’m just drifting about,
Perhaps I need to stop and ask the Lord to help me sort things out.
What should I do each moment–each day that would be best?
I know if I stop and listen, I’ll hear a nudge towards the path most blessed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me….”
John 10:27 (NASV)

(Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV))

“In the Twinkling of an Eye”

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

At God’s appointed time, I’ll be saying goodbye.
That time is getting close, and I’ve tried to explain why.
I love you so much–please come along;
Don’t neglect Jesus for that would be wrong.
He’s preparing a party, and it will be grand.
Please don’t miss out because you don’t understand.
He’s made it so plain in the true Gospel story–
He, the Christ, is our way to Glory.
One thing’s for sure–all lives draw to a close,
So it’s best to put faith in the One who arose.
But we could see Jesus more quickly than we think
For the Bible speaks prophetically of what’s on the brink.
“In the twinkling of an eye…we shall be changed.”
Take Jesus and your place in Glory that He has arranged.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and the mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.'” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

From Butterfly to Bay

Photo by Rodney Campbell

Photo by Rodney Campbell

A butterfly on a flower or a beautiful blue bay…
Can you really see those exquisite things and then not say–
“There has to be a Creator to fashion things so fair,
For all the evidence needed is seen in each of them there!”

P. A. Oltrogge

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

Romans 1:20 (New Living Translation)

Photo by Robert Neff

Photo by Robert Neff

One Light Can Make a Difference in the Dark

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
Revelation 22:16 (New King James)

Lights-R-Us, that’s who we are,
Disciples of Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star.
The world is dark, yet here we are,
Giving off light, both near and far.
Like fireflies on a summer’s eve,
From this world’s darkness, we can give reprieve.
Guarding our hearts, so that we remain bright,
We can pierce the darkness to give men light.
As lights, we can make a difference that’s deep–
Through prayers of intercession, from hell we can keep
The souls of those who are otherwise blinded–
And telling those we meet that they should be reminded
Of redeeming love through a life lived right,
By Christ, our Lord, this world’s great Light.
Lights-R-Us, we’re following Him,
As we seek first His kingdom, our lights won’t dim.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

“Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Matthew 9:38 (New King James Version)

“To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts 26:18 (words of the Lord to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus)

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Proverbs 4:23 (New Living Translation)

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

The Lord of the Pillar of Cloud and Fire

“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

____________________________________________________

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