The True Meaning of Christmas, Remembered

Here, at the Porch of the Lord, as Christmas nears…

Christmas on the Porch joyously reappears…

With a variety of Christmastime reflections on Jesus, the Messiah’s, birth–

to read this book, or share it with others, can be a gift of eternal worth.

P. A. Oltrogge

Available through http://www.christianbook.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com, and http://www.amazon.com

The Light of the Glory of the Gospel of Christ

From an account in Matthew 9:27-31

When someone’s not qualified to lead another, we say it’s “the blind leading the blind.” The Bible gives an account of such an occurrence, but of a very positive kind.

One day two blind men were following Jesus, knowing that the vision which they sought…could surely be realized through His miracles, which they had heard
He’d wrought.

“Have mercy on us, Son of David!” was their heartfelt, earnest cry for His touch.
When He entered into the house, they may have wondered if He’d even heard
them much.

But they were bold to enter the house then, where, at the time, Jesus was staying–
They were ready to receive the healing, for which they’d both been praying.

“Do you believe that I’m able to do this?” Jesus questioned the pair;
They answered Him, “Yes, Lord,” for they knew–that He’d done great miracles everywhere.

So Jesus touched their eyes, saying that according to their faith it was done;
Then their eyes were opened to see perfectly—a new life for each had begun.

Though they’d been blind, they’d helped each other, on a pathway of which they felt sure. Their faith in Jesus and readiness to receive brought about their miraculous cure.

Though Jesus charged them to let no one know, they couldn’t help sharing their story–of how Jesus Christ had given them sight, and they gave to Him all of the glory.

There have been testimonies in these days, too, of people receiving their sight–
I praise God to hear of it and for His heart to heal those who face any health fight.

There’s darkness of an even greater kind, that seeks to keep people from following Christ’s way; In such cases, they need someone who’s spiritually-sighted, to lead them to the Light of day.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:12

“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”  John 9:5

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Matthew 5:14-15

“In whose case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  2 Corinthians 4:4

“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:38

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” Proverbs 4:18

For miracle testimonies of today, just to name a few ministries, refer to:
http://www.cbn.com
http://www.awmi.net
http://www.oralroberts.com

An Encounter at Jacob’s Well

On His way to Galilee, Jesus went through Samaria to a city called Sychar, near land given by Jacob to Joseph, his son. Jacob’s well was there, and being wearied from His journey, Jesus sat down by the well before His traveling would be done.

While His disciples went away into the city to get food, Jesus asked a woman of Samaria there to give Him a drink that day. How He, a Jew, could ask a Samaritan woman for a drink was her immediate question, and she wondered what He would say.

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’” He said, “you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She noted that He had nothing to draw up water with and the well was deep, so where could He have gotten such to have brought her?

She asked if He considered Himself greater than their father, Jacob, whose well it had been, but which was later left to them. Jesus said that though she drank from Jacob’s well, she’d thirst many times more; but the water He could give would keep her from ever thirsting again.

This Samaritan woman must have believed He possessed some special water, for she asked Him to give to her of that kind. Then Jesus revealed personal things about her life that could only have been known by One with divine knowledge in His mind.

At that, she said she perceived He was a prophet and raised the question of where the worship of God should best be done. Jesus said the important thing was how people should worship, which would be “in spirit and in truth,” or by hearts that were truly “won.”

He said that God, the Father, seeks people with such a heart to worship Him and that she’d worshiped what she didn’t really know. He told her that salvation was of the Jews. Though she was a Samaritan and He a Jew, He was reaching out as a friend to her and not a foe.

The woman from Samaria said she agreed that the Messiah would come and would reveal to the world all things. Then Jesus said, “I who speak to you am He,” declaring He was (is) the One from whom the fountain of water to everlasting life springs.

Amazed, she left her water jug to make her way back to the city, telling the men of how He’d known all the pages in her life’s book. “Could this be the Christ?” she was inquiring and told them that they should really go out for themselves to hear and take a look.

In the meantime, Jesus’ disciples had returned with the food they’d gone to get, and urged that He should partake with them and eat. But Jesus said He had food of which they didn’t know–to do the will of His Father. Working to win the lost to God was His bread and meat.

He said the “fields” were white unto harvest! Then came out to hear Him many who’d been alerted by this “woman at the well’s” own story. And by hearing the Lord Himself, the life-giving “water” continued to flow greatly, as it still does to all today…to God be the glory!

P. A. Oltrogge

(from John, chapter 4)

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 KJV

It Was For Me…a Poem to Personalize

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Garden of Gethsemane
Jerusalem, Israel

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

Ravi’s Poem

From his native country of India, born over seventy years ago, came Ravi Zacharias, who, as a young man, would come to know…the real true meaning of living, having suffered from deep inner strife, before he found Jesus Christ after having almost taken his own life.

“Because I live, you will live also” were words of the loving Lord, that gave him the needed truth that there was a caring God to look toward. His life then started turning around, from the failures he’d sustained, when he prayed and studied the Bible–its words became ingrained.

A major move with his family to Canada was something that God directed; and, there, he kept trusting God’s Holy Spirit for his life to be perfected. When not at work, he sought fellowship at a church he would attend; and soon he met his Margie, who became his lifelong love and friend.

His great desire was to share the Gospel and also his personal story, of how God had rescued him from despair–for which he gave Him glory! For people from all walks of life, he pursued that mission of his heart–from war-torn Vietnam, to a great many countries that God would chart.

Often at universities, he presented the clear case for faith in Jesus Christ. He reached the doubters and questioners, telling them only Christ sufficed. His messages were shared in person and, in books, the Lord was extolled. He was loving and compassionate to all he met, yet his faith was very bold.

Ravi fervently shared the Savior and what a life entrusted to Him could be. “Because I live, you will live also” were words that he knew could set others free.

P. A. Oltrogge

Some books by Ravi Zacharias: Beyond Opinion; Can Man Live Without God; Cries of the Heart; Deliver Us From Evil; Has Christianity Failed You; I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah; Jesus Among Other Gods; Light in the Shadow of Jihad; New Birth or Rebirth; Recapture the Wonder; The End of Reason; The Grand Weaver; The Logic of God; The Lotus and the Cross; The Real Face of Atheism; Walking From East to West (Ravi’s autobiography); Why Jesus

The One Who Sent Jesus

When you believe in Jesus Christ and have settled that He’s the God who is true, you will not simply be believing in Him, but in the One who has sent Him, too. Jesus came into the world as God’s Light, so that darkness would be dispelled–that none should miss knowing their God, nor have their salvation withheld.

God desires to be a loving Father to all, but His justness will require judgment one day; Jesus did not come to judge but to save, and to teach us to be followers of His Way. All Jesus ever said or that He did, were things only from His Father that He’d heard A blessed life now and eternally are the gifts of which a Christian can be assured.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus shouted to the crowds, ‘If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know His commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells Me to say.’” John 12:44-50 (NLT)

“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 (NIV)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24 (NKJV)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NASB)

“Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.’” John 14:8-10 (NKJV)

The Children’s Bread

“And He was saying to her, ‘Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’” (Mark 7:27) These were Jesus’ words to a Syrophoenician woman, regarding the healing of her daughter… Here He was referring to healing as “the children’s bread.” She was not Jewish (“the children”) but persisted in faith, to ask for His help, which He gave.

We read in the Bible’s book of Acts that in the course of Peter’s travels, he arrived at the town of Lydda to visit with some of the saints.

There He came upon a man named Aeneas, who’d been bedridden for eight years with paralysis and its constraints.

The account tells us that Peter spoke with sure faith, saying, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you: arise, and make your bed.”

At Peter’s words, the paralyzed man immediately arose; and all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord, having seen that healing is the children’s bread.

In another instance, in Joppa, there was a disciple named Tabitha, or Dorcas, who abounded with charity for others and deeds that were kind.

Just at that time, she had fallen sick and died–a loss which was felt deeply, for she had made garments for many; and by such acts of service she was defined.

Some of the disciples heard that Peter was in nearby Lydda, so they sent two men to him to entreat him to come and not delay.

He agreed to come with the men and there, in an upper room of the house where her body was lying, Peter sent out those who wept. He knelt and prayed–then turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, arise,” at which point, death couldn’t stay.

She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. He gave her his hand and raised her up, then called those who’d been there to return. Peter presented her alive to all of them, who were so grateful and amazed.

The raising of Dorcas became known all over Joppa and many there believed, too, on the Lord and that the Name of Jesus, of whom Peter preached, was greatly to be praised.

P. A. Oltrogge

A summary from Acts 9:32-43
Also refer to Acts 10 on the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Gospel, and Acts 11:18 “And when they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, ‘Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.’”

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5

“And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.’” Matthew 8:16,17

Other examples of Peter and the other apostles extending healing in Jesus’ Name: Acts 3:1-10, 16 and Acts 5:12-16; Acts 14:8-10; Acts 19:11-12; Acts 20:9-10; Acts 28:3-5 (Paul suffered no harm himself); Acts 28:7-9

 

It’s 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.
But you’re called to leave old things you have thought
when you realize that, by Christ, your soul has 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 and properties harmed or destroyed by his influence over people.  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:

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel; Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell; They Thought for Themselves: Ten Amazing Jews by Sid Roth; Jesus Among Other Gods, The Logic of God, Walking from East to West, and others by Ravi Zacharias

Reflections from the Master Designer

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 for you by My command.

Each snowflake is made to have an intricate 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, to redeem the world from sin and fear.
He spoke to everyone 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

“All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:3-4 NKJV

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John 1:17-18 NKJV

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person; and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4 NKJV

“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

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” Luke 2:10-11 NKJV

“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”

Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection Matters

Who or what really matters, according to God’s heart? Answering that question is the most important place to start.

The redemption of every person’s soul matters to Him above all. He sent His Son to save the world because of mankind’s fall.

God, being just and holy, couldn’t overlook the sins of man. By bearing the penalty for them on our behalf, Jesus fulfilled His Father’s plan.

In ministry, He spoke of God’s love and that we should love one another–and that every born-again Christian becomes our sister or brother.

Then, loving our enemies was another command that Jesus taught. Praying for them and showing them His love is how they’re to be sought.

An awakening to Christ, the Lord, comes by the Holy Spirit’s touch. For all people to know and love His Son is what matters to God so much!

All lives and souls matter–this was proclaimed at Calvary’s cross. You mattered so greatly to God that He gave His only Son, the highest cost.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:35-36

“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 1:12-13

“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 10:10

“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

After discussion with Zacchaeus, Jesus said that salvation had come to his house, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (from Luke 19)

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth….” Job 19:25

(Scriptures NKJV)