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

More Precious Than Silver or Gold

(From Acts 3)

Peter and John went up together to the temple at the ninth hour, which was the hour of prayer. There was a man laid daily at the gate, lame from his mother’s womb, who asked charitable alms from those who entered there.

Seeing Peter and John about to enter, he asked alms of both of them, too. Then Peter, with John, looked directly into his eyes, telling him to look at them; and he began to tell the man of something else that they could do.

That through faith in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he could rise and walk–a far better gift than silver or gold. Then Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. He received strength in his feet and ankle bones upon Peter’s hold.

The exact words that Peter said to the man were “Silver and gold have I none…” Then he’d told him of that which he did have to give–a gift of healing, through the name of Jesus, God’s Son.

The man who’d been lame began leaping, walking, and praising God at the temple’s “Beautiful” Gate. He entered the temple with them, and Peter went on to share with the people that it was the power of Jesus’ name that had changed that lame man’s fate.

Excerpt from Acts:
“Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, and faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.'” Acts 3:11-16

Peter continued, saying that Christ had been crucified by them in ignorance, but that He had fulfilled all that the prophets had foretold. Now, forgiveness of sins and salvation could be theirs through Jesus–again, a gift from God far greater than silver or gold.

P. A. Oltrogge

Scriptures, New King James Version

You can read of a similar miracle, which took place in our time in Jos, Nigeria, and other miracles at http://www.oralroberts.com. Other encouragement on healing at http://www.awmi.net, http://www.kcm.org.

As Simon Peter may have Remembered

I once said to the Master, Jesus, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”  Yet, I was forgiven by Him and blessed to be a part of His Father’s redemptive plan.

I remember when Andrew came to me with some news that truly amazed–that by way of John the Baptist, he had found the Messiah who was to be praised!

Jesus became our teacher, and we left our nets to follow Him.  This meant leaving our daily livelihood, so we weren’t simply doing so on a whim.

No, we knew that this was big.  We began to see many miracles taking place–miracles of healing, provision, and protection were wrought by Him, revealing to all God’s grace.

The lame, the blind, and the deaf were finding that the Master was always willing.  We disciples saw Him calm the sea during a storm that had been frighteningly chilling.

Another time, faith arose within me to walk towards Him upon the sea.  He quickly saved me from sinking below the depths when fear had gotten the better of me.

Once, Jesus took me with James and John on a destined mountain climb, where He was transfigured before us–Elijah and Moses appeared at the time.

I suggested that three tabernacles be built for each, not knowing just what to say.  Then a cloud came around us with a message from God on that remarkable day.

It was the voice of His Father in heaven, telling us that this was His beloved Son, and that we should listen to Jesus–His raiment was white as no launderer could have done.

Just as quickly as it had begun, the experience ended and we were alone.  We often could expect the unexpected–such was His ministry’s tone.

HIs raising of Lazarus from the dead wasn’t envisioned by any of us disciples, though.  Imagine our reaction when we saw death reversed to loose Lazarus and let him go.

I once gave the Lord the use of my boat, for Him to minister from to those on shore…only to be given back the catch of a lifetime–He gave back to us always more!

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” I declared to Him one day.  He said His Father in heaven had revealed that truth to me about the Son, who had taught us all to pray.

At the Passover meal, I was taken aback when Jesus came to me to wash my feet.  I allowed Him, though, for He said to be a part of Him, it was a duty I needed to let Him meet.

What a blessed remembrance, to have spent that time with the Lord in the upper room…before His betrayal and crucifixion and eventual resurrection from the tomb.

Of course, I felt remorse for my own denial of Him–my boasted loyalty and support having failed.  But afterwards, I came to my senses, realizing that I was one…for whom, to the cross, He’d been nailed.

We disciples were so happy when He appeared to us after His glorious resurrection–and later were so glad to spread the news that Jesus is Lord…by the promised Spirit’s direction.

I loved to tell of Him throughout the following years and was always looking toward…that time of my reunion with Him, the Master and Teacher whom we all had adored.

P. A. Oltrogge

On an Evening Walk Outside of Bethlehem

I was taking an evening walk, when I saw some shepherds in a field.
Then I saw a light surround them–they trembled, their fear revealed.
The light grew brighter, and it became an even more glorious light.
Then I realized that we were all seeing an angel on that night

He came and stood before the shepherds–I was able to hear him some…
something about there being good news and that a Savior had come.
Next, to my absolute amazement, suddenly the night sky was filled
with what looked like an army of angels–a scene with which I was thrilled!

They shared a message of peace on earth, with their voices raised,
proclaiming now good will toward men and that God be praised!
They greatly were rejoicing, but then suddenly disappeared from sight–
Later, in town, the shepherds confirmed to me all that I’d seen that night.

They said they’d gone on, as well, to locate the One of whom they were told…
just a newborn baby in a manger, but the divine Child for them to behold!

P.A. Oltrogge

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying. ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” Luke 2:13-14 KJV

“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others–the armies of heaven–praising God and saying ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'” Luke 2:13-14 NLT

Without a Prayer

How can anyone make the decision not to pray unto the great “I AM,”

who wants to be their Good Shepherd and care for them as His lamb?

Jesus humbly came to earth, as told in the cherished Christmas story,

simply to share God’s love, leaving His home up in Glory

He demonstrated unconditional love, serving those upon earth

and told all of us about our need to experience “the new birth.”

Likewise, we can be blessed…by serving as He leads,

knowing we have peace with God through Him–not by our own deeds.

For by grace we have been saved–His grace has been poured out.

Please don’t be deceived by demonic spirits who spread doubt.

The thief (who is the devil) comes only to kill, destroy, and steal…

Jesus came to die for our sins and, as  Divine Physician, to heal.

I can’t imagine the void in a life of one who can’t seem to pray

to the Father in heaven through Jesus Christ, who had so much to say…

on the goodness of God and how, just like lambs, we can always depend–

upon the Good Shepherd’s love for us, from beginning of life to its end.

So don’t be caught without a prayer, one day, before the throne of God–

Put your faith in our Savior and Shepherd, who bears both staff and rod.

Jesus not only was God’s sacrificial Lamb but also trusted, as a lamb,

his Father in heaven, who, from a burning bush had said to Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“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.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”  John 10:9-11 NKJV

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

“And God said unto Moses, ‘I Am That I Am,’ and He said, ‘Thus shall thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.'”  Exodus 3:14 KJV

“Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58 NKJV

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

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it,but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  (From John 3:1-21) NASB

The Tomb That Became Glorious

““And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore on account of the Jewish day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:40-42

from John 20….

At a new tomb, a garden tomb, a great stone had been rolled away–
Just to show that the Almighty Jesus Christ didn’t stay!
Briefly, His body, in linen, with spices, had been placed therein,
But lasting death, for this Man, was not destined to win!

That morning Mary Magdalene came while it was not yet dawn–
Then ran to get Simon Peter when she found that Christ’s body was gone.
Upon hearing this, Peter and John went out and came unto the tomb;
Only the linen wrappings were lying there within its room.

They went away, believing, after they’d seen for themselves what she’d said;
Until then, they hadn’t understood the Scriptures that He must rise again from the dead. Then Mary remained outside the tomb, and while she was weeping, she looked inside again to find two angels, their posts keeping.

“Woman, why are you weeping?” was the question they put to her–
She replied that her Lord’s body was taken–by whom or where, she wasn’t sure.
Turning around, she saw a “gardener,” but didn’t yet recognize
That standing there was the beloved Christ, before her very eyes.

When He said, “Mary,” her eyes were opened to every familiar feature
Of the One she loved, and for whom she’d wept, “Rabboni,” the Master and Teacher.
He had yet to ascend to His Father–so, therefore, He bid Mary go,
To tell the brethren of His ascension–He wanted them all to know!

We, too, can go from the garden tomb, a place that had seen God’s glory,
To tell all the world of what Christ has done–this world’s greatest love story.
“I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God,” Jesus said–
They’re still words that speak of “Family” to those who’ll believe that He rose
from the dead.

At that garden tomb, a much greater “stone” had actually been rolled away…
Of death and darkness, now removed, to reveal the Light of Jesus Christ’s Way!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed–for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.” John 20:8-9 New Living Bible

“And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelations 1:5, 6 NASB

“I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelations 1:18 NASB