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

You Must See Victory

Keep your eyes upon the victory, though the miracle shore seems far. That’s what you need to do when you’re at “where you are.”

Don’t let your eye of faith become for you, instead, an eye of fear. Nearby winds and waves distract–especially when victory is near.

A double-minded person is, himself, like a wave of the sea–driven and tossed by the wind, giving attention to adversity.

So focus on the victory “lighthouse” that’s beaming out for you. Give it greatly your attention, and the Lord will see you through.

That lighthouse, you recognize, is God’s unfailing Word. It’s the light unto your pathway, and on which you’ve believed after having heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8 NKJV

“My son, give attention to My words; incline your ear to My sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes. Keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:20-22 NKJV

“Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 NLT

“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

“Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

“But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly, You are the Son of God,'” Matthew 14:22-33 NKJV

After reading the above poem, you will not want to be lost at sea, so to speak, in situations of life, but you may be encouraged by reviewing the true account, “Lost at Sea” in the archives of this blog–a story in which the speaker found herself with very little hope but for God’s intervention.

It Was For Me…a Poem to Personalize

B74B48E4-BC3A-4BC4-BB72-AD701837A8CE
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

Blindness “Wall” Falls at Jericho

While Jesus, His disciples, and a great multitude were going out of Jericho, a beggar was there sitting by the side of the road.

He was Bartimaeus; and though blind, his hearing was fine to have heard of how Jesus’ healing ministry had flowed.

So, when, that day, Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, Himself, who was passing by…

“Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” became his earnest and heartfelt cry.

Many, among the crowd, told him to be quiet, as if, for him, there could be nothing in store.

But his plea of “Son of David, have mercy on me!” he kept shouting out all the more.

So Jesus heard Bartimaeus, then stood still, and commanded that he be called.

The persistence and “prayer” of Bartimaeus had caused the pace of Jesus’ journey temporarily to be stalled.

Bartimaeus was now beckoned, instead, with words of encouragement, “Rise, be of good cheer; He is calling you.”

Throwing aside his garment, he got up and came to Jesus, who asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Victory was breaking through…

At that point, Bartimaeus said, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight!”

“Go your way, your faith has made you well,” Jesus said; and immediately his world turned from darkness to light.

Walls had fallen down at Jericho through faith in God in an earlier, historical Biblical story.

And a “wall” of blindness fell at Jericho for Bartimaeus, when by faith in God’s mercy, he saw the Lord’s glory.

The account closes with Bartimaeus following Jesus down that outer Jericho road…

He had been confident of mercy and grace through Jesus Christ—from whom God’s marvelous light had flowed….

and still does today!

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the account from Mark 10; Referenced is the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho at Joshua 6)

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.” Hebrews 11:30 NKJV

“But you are a chosen generation, 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 NKJV

The Faith of Mary

Mary changed the course of this entire earth,
by accepting God’s plan for the virgin birth.
Her agreement with the angel’s words affirmed God’s will,
and the words that she spoke are often quoted still.
She declared herself to be God’s handmaid or servant;
in her, the Lord had found a heart that was fervent.
She had faith the Lord loved her and all of mankind;
she trusted in God’s heart and not her own mind.
She was just a young woman of a tender age,
but she stepped out in faith onto the world’s center stage.
Though startled at first by the angelic visitation,
her faith in God was strong enough to take up her station.
Likewise, it’s wise today to ask the Lord to help us find
the plans and purposes for our lives that He has in mind.
By doing so, we ensure that we’re on His sure quest,
for our loving Designer knows which plans are the best.
Jesus called His disciples to leave earthly pursuits
to follow Him and put down strong spiritual roots.
What He has for our lives can be discerned by His Word;
and through the power of the Holy Spirit, He also can be heard.
The more that we listen to Him, the more we obey,
the brighter the dawn grows to the full day.

P. A. Oltrogge

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

“And in the sixth month, the angel, Gabriel, was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’ Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.”
Luke 1:26-38 KJV

The Ship of Faith

“Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.” Luke 5:3-7 NKJV

“JESUS IS MY HEALER”–four words that please the Lord;
“Jesus is my healer” shows Him my faith’s “on board.”

“JESUS IS MY PROTECTOR,” against life’s waves and winds.
“JESUS IS MY REDEEMER,” Who’s forgiven all my sins.

“JESUS IS MY PROVIDER”–At His word, I let down my “nets;”
With each provision, Jesus reminds that I’m one whom He never forgets.

“JESUS IS MY ENCOURAGER,” against fear, unbelief, or doubt;
As in Peter’s walk on the water, I can trust the Lord’s hand will be out.

“JESUS IS MY EXAMPLE OF LOVE”–His love fills my heart’s sails,
So I may serve others, as He has said, showing that “Love never fails.”

“JESUS IS MY PEACE AND JOY”–His joy has become my strength.
“JESUS IS MY SHEPHERD,” guiding throughout my life’s length.

Or I might call him MY CAPTAIN, on watch for any rocky shoal;
And Jesus is the STRONG ANCHOR of my very soul.

“JESUS IS MY TEACHER;” May I strive to follow in His steps–
To rescue those whose lives have sunk, even to the depths.

For there isn’t anybody, who’s not welcome to come aboard;
Take Christ as Savior and join the crew of the SAIL SHIP OF THE LORD.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalm 103:1-5

And JESUS IS MY ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST:

“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:18-20 NLT

“When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches, for Thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of Thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:6-8

“My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Thy word.” Psalm 119:148

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)