The Night is Coming

IMG_0711
Photo by Porch of the Lord

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

And they straightway left their nets and followed him.

And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” Matthew 4:17-22 KJV

……………………………………………..

We’re serving in the Lord’s harvest fields while it’s still the day,
for in sharing the good news of His Gospel, we all have a part to play.

By direction of the Holy Spirit, God’s worldwide missions abound;
and through Christian teamwork, we’re notably gaining ground.

The night is coming up when no more work will be able to be done.
God desires that we find our place of service to Jesus Christ, His Son.

You call ordinary people today, Lord, as you called ordinary fishermen back then. We’re blessed as we go about sharing your love while being “fishers of men.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then will come the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored, others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” John 4:34-40 NKJV

Jesus said…
“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9;4-5 NKJV

“Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:38 NKJV

“A faithful man will abound with blessings….”. Proverbs 28:20 NKJV

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NKJV

“I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing.”
Ezekiel 34:26 NKJV

Some great Christian teamwork
anyone can be a part of at:
http://www.bvovn.com

THE Gang to Belong to…

I belong to a gang called, “The Redeemed”–
against which the devil has schemed.
He wants us to think that he always prevails;
but he can’t, for our God (who is Love) never fails!

It’s great to proclaim you’re “The Redeemed”–
that with the Father, Son, and Spirit you’re teamed.
Evil, demonic forces can come across tough;
but Jesus is Lord, and He’s more than enough.

For we’re more than conquerors through Him,
and the devil’s predicted future is grim.
Jesus came down to earth to destroy the devil’s works,
which is one of “The Redeemed” membership perks.

Christ rescued us from sin and heading the wrong way…
and gives to us guidance when we seek and pray.
He gives us a heart for other gang members,
and the “fire” to invite others whom He yet remembers.

We’re a gang that has armor to combat any foe–
We’re redeemed from the curse, so any sickness must go.
Our well-being all around is on our “gang leader’s” heart,
He always stands by us…and won’t ever depart.

In this world, we will have tribulation, Jesus said;
but we’re of good cheer for He went on ahead…
and overcame the world for those of us who believe.
Join “The Redeemed” and receive your eternal reprieve.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“…the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” (from 1 John 3:1-8)

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NKJV

“Love never fails.” (from 1Corinthians 13:8)

“He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.'” (from Hebrews 13:5)

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

Ephesians 6:10-17
Psalm 103:1-5
3 John 1:2
Psalm 91
Revelation 20:10

Hear from some of “The Redeemed”
gang members at: http://www.bvovn.com

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

The Beginning of Wisdom

Far above the many things we value, there is one thing…

Of Highest Value

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17

There are many things to value–family, friends, one’s home, possessions, and such.
But there’s one thing in this life to value that, though they’re good, the others cannot touch.

The Word of God abides forever, and it was given to abide inside your heart.
If you’ve neglected it or never considered it much, today’s the perfect day to start.

Without it, people experience a void in their lives that they can’t easily explain;
but when the value of it is recognized, they desire to forsake all to have its gain.

Through it, we have a divine connection with our loving God who sent His Son,
that none would miss the blessings now and forever, that by Christ’s death were won.

The Word of God brings wisdom, peace, and guidance; and by it, we’re refreshed and energized. It leads us into the kingdom of heaven and is like a treasure or beautiful pearl, so greatly prized.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Matthew 13:44

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went out and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Matthew 13:45

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (and Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7)

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because ‘All flesh is as grass, and the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ Now this is the word, which by the gospel was preached to you.” 1 Peter 1:22-25 NKJV

Photo by Tito and Eva Marie Balangue

Photo by Tito and Eva Marie Balangue

The Sea of Galilee

Photo by Zachi Evenor

Photo by Zachi Evenor

…also called Kinnereth, Lake of Gennesaret, and Sea of or Lake Tiberias

I’ve not ever visited the Holy Land of Israel or viewed Galilee’s beautiful sea,
but I can visualize the prominence of its waters in Jesus’ life and ministry.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John made their living there–then suddenly were called
to follow the Messiah, after which they experienced some miraculous catches hauled.

Near to its shores, five thousand men, and women and children, were divinely fed
through a little boy’s blessed lunch of just two fish and only five loaves of bread.

After leaving Nazareth, Jesus settled in Capernaum, which lies beside its waters;
and Mary, of Magdala, a seaside town, became one of God’s beloved daughters.

We know that Jesus walked on its waves; and Peter did, too, to some degree.
Another time, the disciples called on Jesus to save them when it became a raging sea.

Jesus told His disciples to cross over it at times in following His Father’s direction.
And from a mountain above it, He shared The Beatitudes–a major spiritual reflection.

You may not have seen the Sea of Galilee, that Jesus and the disciples traveled along;
but you can experience the Spirit’s “living water,” which is God’s gift to make us strong.

P. A. Oltrogge

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
John 16:7 KJV

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. Acts 1:8 and all of Acts 2

When Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. Acts 10:44-45

So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! Luke 11:9-13

For more on this, go to: http://www.awmi.net,
Look for Teaching Articles and then Holy Spirit

Focus

by J. Vetter
Guest Contributor

Have you seen those inkblot pictures where you are to pick out the face of Jesus? Depending on where your eyes focus, suddenly He becomes clear–then you wonder why you didn’t see Him at first because you can’t see anything but Jesus! The beginning of “faith” is always to see Jesus. How do we begin? First, have you truly encountered Him? Sometimes the road to real faith is to ask real questions.

For instance, when Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again,” I like the honest response that Nicodemus gave. “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” As Jesus converses with Nicodemus, He speaks one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. “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)

We aren’t specifically told in scripture if Nicodemus truly understood, at that time, what Jesus spoke. But in John 19:38-42, he accompanies Joseph of Arimathea in taking away Jesus’ body after His crucifixion and brings myrrh and aloes for the burial, which certainly seems to indicate he believed on Him. My question to you is, “Have you been born again?” Is your faith picture coming into focus? Have you gotten to the place where you can say, “Yes, I see Him”?

I remember so clearly the day I met Jesus. It was at Easter, and I truly needed an Easter resurrection in my life. I thought that I believed in Jesus, but I needed something more–something viable to give me strength and direction. I went to hear my neighbor’s son-in-law speak at a local church. I saw and heard people praying for one another. I felt love in that place, and I heard a compelling message from this young man about leaving his wealthy family’s brick business to go into the inner city and work with children, some of whom came from poor backgrounds.

The next day, I called my own Methodist pastor, and he came to visit. I found myself spilling out my doubts about the Bible and asking him how we can really know that Jesus rose from the dead. I remember thinking I shouldn’t be saying this to a pastor! He just smiled at me and said, “I’ll pray for you, and the Holy Spirit will show you.” He said a meaningful, though not lengthy, prayer for me and left. Immediately, I picked up my Bible; and when I read the words in the book of John about Jesus, suddenly, I knew they were true. There was a distinct “light” present at that moment and the feeling of love like I had never experienced. For about two weeks, the trees were greener, the sky brighter, and the whole world was bathed in love.

After we are reconciled to the Father’s love through Jesus, we begin to focus on loving Him and loving others, thereby beginning to bear fruit. At this point, it is the Word we focus on–still asking honest questions, because God’s Word tells us in James 1:5, “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.” Often, the very question you’ve asked will suddenly be answered as you are focusing on the Word.

Remember, it is the Holy Spirit who illuminates the Word, or words people speak, to bring something you are asking for into focus. For instance, some years ago when we were planning to make a move from one state to another, I felt like the Lord said that we were to sell our home “by owner.” As the time got closer to our scheduled move, I began to get somewhat anxious, so I asked the Lord for a confirmation that we really were supposed to sell by owner. Then one day while I was reading my Bible, Hebrews 10:37 was quickened to me, “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.” Now the true meaning of that verse is that Jesus is coming back, but the Holy Spirit used it to speak to me to stay the course–that the buyer for our home would come in a little while. After that, I had peace until the day a real estate agent came and put in an offer. The contract he brought had a closing date that worked out perfectly with the date of the closing on the house in the new location.

If we focus on circumstances or ourselves, we can get discouraged. We’re pretty good at pointing out all our inadequacies and problems, and the devil, who torments, comes quickly to agree with such things. So, I love to often pray, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done.”

Of course, there are those times when our circumstances seem insurmountable–when we can’t see the end and have no clue as to how God will redeem a situation. That is a time to focus on hope. In Hebrews 6:19, the New King James Bible says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus….” It is our soul (mind, will and emotions) that needs to be stabilized. Just think about it–by faith, we can cast an anchor to where Jesus dwells; and then our soul doesn’t drift, but remains steady. We can pray like the psalmist, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

There are times when our vision gets blurred. Our future looks fuzzy or unclear. It’s time to praise God and go back to the “map”–the Word of God. I remember a shopping trip to a mall once. As I stepped into the area where the automatic doors opened, I had this impression from the Lord,”You could have just been a step away and prayed for the doors to open, but they wouldn’t have opened because you needed to get into the right position.” Suddenly, I realized prayer is not demanding my own way–but stepping into the presence of God and cooperating with Him.

Have you seen Jesus? Are you focusing on Him? If so, then others will see Jesus in you.

The Man Above All Men

Have you met up with Jesus? He’s your kind of Man.
Came down here from heaven, carrying out God’s mighty plan.
He’s still here today, capturing hearts, lives, and souls,
giving all whom He touches much worthier goals.

He doesn’t actually show up in visible form;
but you’re aware of His presence when prayer becomes norm.
And some have had visions or have seen Him in dreams,
and what they remember is the love that He beams.

That’s also reflected in the Words of His book–
the renowned Holy Bible is the right place to look.
You might think you know what could give you life’s best,
but those who follow His lead are on a sure quest.

He wants to increase your every potential,
but living for Him and others is essential.
Dedicating all that you have to Him is not loss–
the best in mind for you is why He died on the cross.

P. A. Oltrogge

With Others in Mind

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:43-48

Demonstrating that in order to be “the greatest,” Jesus washed His disciples’ feet.
He was living His life’s course in a manner He wanted His followers to also meet.

We’re to serve family and friends, but also those we find it difficult to like at all;
Loving those who love us is natural, Jesus said, but it’s not our only call.

He said to “love your enemies,” or those with whom it’s hard to find common ground.
He wants us to pray for and recognize all who need to feel a love that’s sound.

For it’s in giving, He emphasized, that God’s greatest purposes are achieved;
A life that ‘s focused on others, as He leads, is how His truest blessings are received.

And, really, it’s so freeing to forget about obtaining what we think we need or might desire;
Running our race, with a heart for those around us, ensures the fulfillment that’s
much higher.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 HCSB

“Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:5

“…Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” John 13:12-15

“But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11

Of Highest Value

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17

There are many things to value–family, friends, one’s home, possessions and such.
But there’s one thing in this life to value that, though they’re good, the others cannot touch.

The Word of God abides forever, and it was given to abide inside your heart.
If you’ve neglected it or never considered it much, today’s the perfect day to start.

Without it, people experience a void in their lives that they can’t easily explain;
but when the value of it is recognized, they desire to forsake all to have its gain.

Through it, we have a divine connection with our loving God who sent His Son,
that none would miss the blessings now and forever, that by Christ’s death were won.

The Word of God brings wisdom, peace, and guidance; and by it, we’re refreshed and energized. It leads us into the kingdom of heaven and is like a treasure or beautiful pearl, so greatly prized.

P. A. Oltrogge


“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Matthew 13:44

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went out and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Matthew 13:45

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, and the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word, which by the gospel was preached to you.” 1 Peter 1:22-25 NKJV

From we who’ve believed, to those who yet need to receive…

Knowing God means so much to us; therefore, we want to bear witness
to others we may meet–about Jesus and spiritual fitness.

These days there are websites abounding with true-life testimonies
to the reality of Jesus–which are so different from religious ceremonies.

Please consider searching out ministries available on the internet–
“The Porch of the Lord” is a place to start, but there are many others yet.

They tell of things, such as Easter, when we celebrate the risen Lord–
through Christ’s death and resurrection, our relationship with God was restored.

In our natural minds, we may question that there should have been this need;
but God is just and holy–an understanding we must heed.

He wouldn’t have left us here on this earth without a manual to know
that He’s for real; and through it, the Holy Bible, our faith is able to grow.

It’s easy to open your heart to Jesus, extending an invitation
for Him to dwell therein–the Bible says that then you’re “a new creation.”

We pray that you’ll come to trust, in the Father’s Son sent from above;
your life is very special to Him–may His Spirit help you to sense His great love.

P. A. Oltrogge

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:9-19

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

http://www.kcm.org
http://www.lenmink.com
http://www.covenantfamily.cc
http://www.porchofthelord.wordpress.com

Have you “seen” Jesus?

In Jerusalem, there was a devout man named Simeon, back in New Testament days,
Who’d been waiting for the promised Messiah, in order to give Him praise.

The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon and had revealed that he wouldn’t die
Until he would get to see that One, who was the object of his heart’s cry.

One day the Spirit led him to the Temple and there he saw a child,
Whom He knew, by the Spirit’s prompting, to be the One born undefiled.

Mary and Joseph were amazed to hear what Simeon then said about their boy–
Jesus would cause many in Israel to fall, but to many others He would bring joy.

Simeon warned that many would oppose Him–the deepest thoughts of hearts would be revealed; A sword would pierce Mary’s very soul–a reference to the cross,
to which He’d yield.

Simeon said Jesus was sent as a sign from God, to reveal Himself and be a light
To every nation upon the earth — “the glory of God’s people Israel” was His birthright.

Just as Simeon was speaking with Mary and Joseph, another given to prophecy
came by–Anna, who never left the temple, but stayed day and night, raised her
praises high….

How about you? Have you “seen” the Savior, as these people did who were old?
Assurance and peace was theirs, having seen Jesus, whose life became the greatest story ever told!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; For my eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou has prepared in the presence of all peoples. A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.”
Luke 2:28-32

(Luke 2:21-38 for the entire account of Simeon and Anna)