Remembering Billy Graham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P. A. Oltrogge

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

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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

Our Everliving Jesus

Jesus, the Son of God, was birthed by Mary and laid in a manger.
King Herod sought to kill Him, but He was kept from danger…
for His earthly father, Joseph, having been enlightened and driven,
by instructions in a dream that the angel of the Lord had given,
took the Child and His mother away to a distant Egyptian location.
And, there, the family stayed for a specified duration.

In later years, during Jesus’ ministry, others opposed Him, too.
But no one could actually harm Him until His ministry days were through.
The devil himself confronted Jesus, with temptations to disband
from loyalty to the Godhead and to all that was divinely planned.
Jesus was obedient, however, to His Father throughout His days.
Then, even death, with its finality, couldn’t hold Him—God be praised!

Today, some seek to downplay Jesus’ divinity or worldwide fame,
or they deny acknowledging the Lordship of His name.
But His is a name that’s above all names—an everlasting name,
a name through which we’re made righteous, for He took all our blame.
And one day every knee shall bow, acknowledging all that’s been said,
of Jesus Christ as Lord of all, who is surely the Church’s head.

Some, who are doubtful, try to put Jesus completely out of thought,
abandoning the Christian truths that they were previously taught.
But His is a name which we should praise, and certainly not ignore,
for there IS no other God—Jesus said, “I am the Door.”
How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,
which God has freely offered to all people of every nation?

It is through Jesus Christ that God has sought to bless us all.
He’s the one and only Savior sent to redeem us from man’s fall.
He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end…
and about whom the scriptures most assuredly were penned.
And, thankfully, we can bring to Jesus any problem, large or small.
He’s “The Everlasting Father,” on whom we’re privileged to call.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 KJV

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58 KJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ 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’?” John 14:6-9 NKJV

Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 NIV

“For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” Hebrews 2:2-4 NASB

“And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18 KJV

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17 NKJV

“…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV

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

Train Ride

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Photo/Pixabay

I was traveling on a train that had many stops it would be making…
but I knew my destination and which stop that I’d be taking.

I thought I’d ask the traveler next to me where he was going to go;
then, surprisingly, he said it wasn’t something he could know.

I thought that that was rather odd, for one needs to be quite sure,
for travelers can’t ride indefinitely on a never-ending tour.

I’d researched my destination, having heard it was a beautiful place;
but my fellow traveler’s plans were vague and uncertain in his case.

Eventually, he’d need to get off—there would come an end to the trail.
It reminded me of those who travel equally vaguely, but on a spiritual rail.

They think that any exit will get them to a final place of peace,
but they haven’t secured the ticket to where God’s love will never cease.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life…don’t travel until it’s too dark.
Secure your ticket by taking Him as Savior—then you’ll KNOW where you will disembark.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6 NKJV

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 NKJV

The Night is Coming

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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