Hard to believe?

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Pixabay

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.

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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Dear Jewish Friend…

We’re meant to be family; I pray you can see
that the Jewish carpenter, Jesus, was from your family tree.
Of the house and lineage of David, as Jewish as you yourself;
yet He was God and Messiah, not a name in a Book on a shelf.

Your Torah, too, speaks about the sacrifices
necessary for what a holy God saw as mankind’s vices.
God’s people couldn’t come to the priest with righteousness of their own,
but through the slaying of an animal, a cleansing was shown.

Your devotion to God is very commendable,
yet your system of belief is not dependable
before the God of Israel’s holy face.
You see, you must recognize the One sent in your place.

No, there won’t be a Messiah by any other name
than the revealed Jesus Christ of worldwide fame.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son—
Don’t look for another Messiah to do what Jesus has already done.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 NKJV

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16 NKJV

“Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and to great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:22-23 NKJV

“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:13-16 NASB

…prophecies on the return of the Jewish people to Israel:

“Therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, ”when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.” Jeremiah 16:14-15 NASB

“Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He will lift up a standard for the nations, and will assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:11-12 NASB

“And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better (unto you) than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I (am) the Lord… For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you unto your own land.” Ezekiel 36:11; 24 KJV

…return of the Hebrew language:

“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my supplants, (even) the daughters of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.” Zephaniah 3:8-10 KJV

…the land of Israel will bloom:

”In days to come, Jacob will take root; Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.”  Isaiah 26:6 NIV

”The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and bloom.  Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy….”. Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV

Further study:
http://www.sidroth.org
http://www.Jewishvoice.org

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Photo/Pixabay

Remembering Billy Graham

I remember attending Billy Graham crusades when I was very young
and anticipating hearing Billy after George Beverly Shea had sung.

Cliff Barrows led the assembled choir in an always joyful way,
giving mighty praise to God before someone on stage would pray.

Then Billy would come forward; and with his powerful voice,
he’d say we needed to make a decision—God was giving us a choice.

He always pointed to the cross and what Jesus had achieved—
redemption through His shed blood on Calvary for anyone who believed.

He said we should repent of our sins and give our hearts to Christ—
that His was the only sacrifice which God says has sufficed.

He emphasized that “God loves you” and wants to be your friend,
counselor, and advocate—from beginning of life to its end.

He said this earth was not his home—that he was just passing through—
and that a home in heaven awaits every believer in Jesus Christ, too.

After many Biblical references, Billy would give an invitation.
Then, an amazing number in the place would come forward to his station.

As they came forward, a familiar song helped set so many hearts free—
“Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me.”

Today, Billy Graham is honored for faithful service to God during his life span.
May we continue to share the Gospel of Christ—God’s gracious redemptive plan.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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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Passing through…

God had parted the night clouds and, there, ever so bright,
was a beautiful, full moon seen through my bedroom window one night.

It was actually almost morning when it came into view.
It made me think of how God’s power and love also break through.

There are “clouds” or “deep waters” in life that can often overwhelm,
unless we look to Jesus Christ as being at our life’s “helm.”

So think of your life’s “sailship” as strong through any “night,”
for He’s on board to part deep waters and is your ever-guiding Light.

P. A. Oltrogge

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…
For I am the !ord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….”
Isaiah 43:2, 3 NKJV

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” John 8:12 NKJV

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

Lord, Remember Me

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From Luke 23…

Two criminals on punishing crosses were next to the one which held the Lord.
One of the men rebuked the other, saying they were receiving a due reward…

…for the other had blasphemed Jesus, ridiculing Him as being unable to save
Himself and them, as well—words which showed no fear of God but were, instead, depraved.

The criminal who defended the Lord must have known of His ministry of peace,
saying, “This Man has done nothing wrong,” though, for Christ, there’d been no release.

Then he, with humility, asked Jesus simply to remember him at the time, later… when He would come into His kingdom—he knew, in his heart, it was eternal and greater.

“Lord, remember me”…a simple, reverent plea, but so very wise…
for Jesus gave him the promise that that day, he would be with Him in Paradise.

P. A. Oltrogge

“‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved….’” Acts 16:30-31

Unto YOU

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

“And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

“And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.’”

“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly host, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’”

“And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.”

“And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”

“And when eight days were completed before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.”

(From Luke 2 NASB)

A blessed Merry Christmas UNTO YOU, dear follower or friend of this blog…

P.A. Oltrogge

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

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Pixabay

May you experience an old-fashioned Christmas these days.
If you live where there’s snow, some rent and ride sleighs
to enjoy the jingling of harness bells as the horses clomp along—
then head home for hot chocolate…or spiced cider that’s strong.

Perhaps you’ll find some old-fashioned gifts under the tree.
Something homemade by a loved one is a cherished specialty.
And for those who are talented, being musically blessed,
bring out your instruments for Christmas caroling with the rest.

Even planning an old-fashioned door-to-door caroling party
is a great way to share Jesus’ birth, with voices so hearty!
Back home for old-fashioned recipes, a fireplace’s welcome glow…
then on to a Christmas Eve church service where more joy will flow!

If a church has an organ, its deep tones can exemplify
the deep love of God, greater than any gift one can buy.
For God sent His Son…a “God-fashioned,” true story,
and so up-to-date. He’s still our Savior from Glory!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.’” Luke 1:46-47 NKJV

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” Galatians 4:4-6 NKJV

“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 NKJV

Christmas is…

Christmas is all about God becoming Man, by a birth that was heaven-sent.
The birth of mankind’s Savior is what Christmas has always meant.

Jesus Christ, God’s holy infant, slept in a stable on a bed of hay,
which demonstrated that genuine humility is always the Lord’s way.

This newborn baby would grow up to be the greatest teacher of all time.
It’s of His life and redemptive work that the joyous Christmas bells chime.

Mary and Joseph were chosen as parents to nurture God’s very own Son—
to guard and protect Him carefully until their guidance over Him was done.

Then Jesus began to follow what His Heavenly Father was conveying—
and His Father’s will was reflected in the things He began doing and saying.

He taught by Word and example, but eventually was led to a hill,
where something more lowly than His birth in a stable was awaiting Him still.

From the stable to a criminal’s cross, the Spirit of God was His guide.
Christmas is Christ—He was born for us all, and for all of us He died.

But a joyous resurrection came about—He’d vanquished all of His foes!
Now we, too, can walk in newness of life because Jesus Christ arose.

The little town of Bethlehem is where Christ’s ministry began…
Foretold and fulfilled, Christ accomplished for us God’s redemptive plan.

So share, “A blessed Merry Christmas!” greeting, honoring the Biblical scene…
of the beautiful Nativity of Christ, something “Happy Holidays” can never mean.

P. A. Oltrogge

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Pixabay

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12 KJV

Choosing the Real versus the Artificial

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I remember many chilly Christmases past, as you likely do as well…
going to a local tree lot, to choose the best tree, as far as we could tell.

Some may have been too short, and some may have been too tall;
then, finally, we would discover…the best one for us of them all.

At some point, years ago, it became popular to switch to an artificial pine,
but they never truly could satisfy this old-fashioned heart of mine.

When it comes to choosing the truth about God, there really is only one way.
Jesus—the way, the truth, and the life, who came to us, first, as a baby on the hay.

You can’t make up your own version of God—an artificial “god” won’t do.
For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son…this He did for you.

So as you go about enjoying the beautiful trees of the Christmas season,
remember God’s Biblical and satisfying truth—that Jesus IS its reason.

Most trees are topped by an angel or a star, reminding us of Christ’s birth.
Rejoice, for God loves you very much; and Jesus is (the real) Lord of heaven and earth!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” John 14:6 KJV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 NLT

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Photos by Porch of the Lord