You’ve Never Seen Anything Like It

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Pixabay

“But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV

Verse 10 goes on to say, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” So, the text is referring to the glorious Gospel revealed through the Holy Spirit (see all of chapter 2).

But the 9th verse does make me think of the almost hard-to-comprehend beauty, glory, and peace of our heavenly home and destination. Thus, these thoughts:

Eye hath not seen, nor ear yet heard,
neither our hearts, says God’s Holy Word,
have envisioned the things which the Lord has in store
for all those who will meet Him on heaven’s shore.
A river like crystal and a Main Street of gold
are just some of the beauty that we will behold.
But, then, best of all, at last we will view—
our Savior, Jesus Christ, Faithful and True.
Though we face trials down here on this earth,
they’re nothing compared to heaven’s great worth.
You’re more than a conqueror—He gives you His grace,
both now and in eternity’s unfathomable place.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” Revelation 19:11 NASB

“The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun, or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” Revelation 21:19-23 NASB

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1 KJV

“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 KJV

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” Romans 8:18-19 NKJV

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

Regarding a House Divided

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Photo/Pixabay

IN THIS TEMPLE
AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE
FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION
THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
IS ENSHRINED FOREVER

I’m remembering today that…

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Yet, that’s what frequently seems to be happening in America, my land.

Every American should have the right to peacefully express their views,
without being threatened by others who are often ready to accuse.

Quoting Jesus, Abraham Lincoln emphasized the words above;
and it was only after a civil war that the nation could focus on love.

Jesus taught that hate and murder are really the same in God’s eyes.
May any who feel hate abandon it, thereby proving themselves to be wise.

Each person is made in the image of God, it says in the book of James;
and blessing God but cursing our fellow man isn’t right, it also proclaims.

We should be peace loving and gentle and be willing to yield to others
in this land whose founders envisioned living as American “sisters and brothers.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.’” Matthew 12:25 NKJV and similarly in Luke 11:17

“And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Mark 3:25 NKJV

“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say,’You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.” Words of Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22 NRSV

“People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.”

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”

“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”
James 3:7-18 NLT

“…He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources for he is a liar and the father of it.” Words of Jesus in John 8:44 NKJV

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
1 John 3:14-16 NKJV

It’s the right time now—not just at Christmas, to pray the words of the old Christmas carol that “the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.” The last words, of course, were proclaimed by the angels—God’s message to mankind on the birth of our needed Savior, Jesus Christ.

An Example Poured Out

From His grand and glorious home in heaven—a place of comfortable rest,

Jesus came down to this earth on a mission, so that mankind could be blessed.

During the last supper with His disciples, likewise, He got up from a comfortable place, to give Himself to serving.

Just as He would be stripped and crucified soon, so He set aside His garments, girding Himself with a towel, to cleanse the undeserving.

Pouring water into a basin, He began to wash and wipe the disciples’ feet.

But Peter failed to understand this requirement that Jesus was wanting to meet.

“Never shall you wash my feet!” were his immediate words—an outflow from Peter’s heart.

But Jesus said to Peter that unless He washed them, then, with Him, he would have no part.

At that, Peter told the Lord to wash not only his feet, but also his hands and his head.

So sincere was Peter’s desire to please Him, that he quickly permitted Him to do so instead.

Jesus continued, speaking of being made clean, but said that not all of them were clean.

In his relationship with the Lord, Judas would betray Him, letting Satan come between.

When Jesus revealed that a disciple would betray Him, the others wondered which one this meant.

By giving Judas the dipped bread—said to be a custom of graciousness, it’s been thought that Jesus was giving him a chance to repent.

But Judas turned away from the Lord and went out into the dark of night—

as many still choose darkness today, sadly, resisting Jesus’ love and Light.

Just as Peter would have had no part with Christ, likewise, it’s the same today…

If anyone doesn’t receive the cleansing from Jesus’ poured-out blood, which takes our sins away,

they will have no part with Christ, our Lord and Savior, who, by His example, taught…

that we, also, should serve one another with love and humility, having received the redemption that He bought.

Jesus loved His disciples to the end; He died for us all, having laid aside His glory.

And, as at that Passover meal, when His task was finished, He sat down…but now He’s seated at His Father’s right hand, in completion of this true redemption story!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined at table again, He said to them, ‘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. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’” John 13:12-17 NASB

“Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35 NASB

“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:27-28 NASB

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” (words of Peter from Acts 2:32-36 NASB)

Jesus’ blood, the cleansing flood…

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Jesus Stops an Outer Storm and an Inner One

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Photo from the movie, “Jesus”

At evening, Jesus and His disciples were headed to the Gadarenes, across the sea. A storm arose and began to fill the boat with the wind-whipped waters of the Galilee.

Jesus was asleep in the stern in the midst of it all when His disciples cried out with fear. “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?”—their lack of faith being made clear.

Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, saying, “Peace, be still!” Then the disciples were amazed to see the wind and the waves conform to His will.

After the Lord questioned them why it was that they had no faith, they wondered aloud together. “Who could this be?” to have such authority over the power of wind, sea, and weather.

At their arrival at the Gadarenes, they would see the Lord do a work of another kind. There, Jesus was met immediately by a man who had an unclean spirit and whom no man could bind.

He stayed among the tombs and mountains and would cut himself with stones, crying out both day and night. Even shackles and chains couldn’t hold him, but he’d break them, due to an evil, inner might.

Seeing Jesus from afar, this man ran to Him and worshipped Him, and then he said… “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” He indicated fear of what was ahead.

Jesus told the unclean spirit to come out of the man and asked its name, which was Legion. “For we are many,” it said, and begged Jesus earnestly not to send them out of that region.

Then all the demons begged Jesus to permit them to enter a herd of about two thousand swine, which were feeding in the mountains there. At once, Jesus gave permission. The demons entered the pigs, which then ran violently down a steep place to drown in the sea, giving those who saw it a troubling scare.

The men who had fed the swine fled and told others in the city and country what had transpired. So, many came to see for themselves and were shocked to find, clothed and in his right mind, the madman whose life had been so degraded and mired.

Afraid, they pleaded with Jesus to depart from there, even though such a great deliverance had been shown. The man who’d been delivered very much wanted to leave with and follow Him, but Jesus said that, instead, his story should become more known.

He told him to go home and tell his friends of God’s compassion on him and what great things the Lord had done… So he departed and began to share in Decapolis, and the people marveled as he spoke about his life-changing encounter with Jesus, God’s Son.

P. A. Oltrogge

…from Mark 4-5

You are Greatly Loved

If you have ever experienced the loss of someone whom you loved—
while you’re blessed to know that now they’re with the Lord above,
you still, at times, do feel an intense strain of the heart
because you just long to be with them, instead of being apart.

So, I thought of how God, who “so loved the world,” paid our sin debt
by sending His only Son, Jesus, to die for each of us, and yet…
Some haven’t really recognized the truth of that reconciliation,
so they remain separated from Him despite the Gospel’s invitation.

On an individual basis, God wants to fellowship with you and me.
And since He’s the very author of love, it’s His desire that we all see
how He wants to be reunited, not being separated, remaining apart.
May every individual realize this and invite the Lord into their heart.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20 NKJV

“But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 AMP

“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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Blessed in the U.S.A.

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Raised on a farm in the beautiful U.S.A.,
we depended on God and learned how to pray.

Farm animals and crops, like soybeans or corn,
were tended to daily from the early morn.

The crops were abundant in the fertile soil,
and the joy of the Lord gave ease to any toil.

Fresh fruits and vegetables were always canned
from the family garden that was yearly planned.

Still, there was time in summer to swim at a pool—
a sharing neighbor kept our whole family cool.

A trip uptown for the Fourth of July parade
was patriotic fun, with fireworks later displayed.

And competing in family softball, out on the lawn,
was enjoyed by all before summer would be gone.

Sundays were blessed, praising Jesus, our King;
and during the week, of Him, we still would sing.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
The more that people come to know Him…
the more we’ll be in one accord,
with brotherly love being outpoured!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” 1 John 3:23

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
(Scriptures NASB)

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah”. Psalm 68:19 NKJV

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Photos/Pixabay

Respite on the Porch

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Pixabay

It’s my hope that a visit to the Porch of the Lord may sometimes come to mind
when you’ve had a rough day or, perhaps, when someone’s been unkind.

Or, then again, that you may think to go there for an encouraging start
on any given new day, seeking the Lord, heart to heart.

The best thing about it are the Lord’s words quoted there.
May you see and hear Him talking with you, while you’re resting
in a Porch chair.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:27-29 NASB

Reflections from the Master Designer

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Faces—you see them everywhere you go,
having two eyes, a mouth, and a nose, although
each one is different except for a twin—
Then personalities differ, despite being such close kin.

Just look at your arms, your feet, legs, and knees.
You’re wonderfully made, and I’ve found it to please
My creative ability—and you won’t come unglued,
for I formed you in the womb and your life then ensued.

And inside each person I have given a soul;
to carry out My plans, each life has a unique role.
If you need further evidence, just consider your own hand—
with its fingerprints designed just for you by My command.

Each snowflake is known to have its own pattern,
and assorted planets are out there, like Mars or like Saturn.
The oceans with waters I’ve given are vast—
trees, mountains, and flowers by My hand were cast.

You see, the heavens are telling the glory of God;
My handiwork’s proclaimed therein—yet it’s odd
that some in this world want to say My existence
should be denied or challenged with strong resistance.

“Man alone is master,” they proclaim, but deny
that trusting in a greater Master is really the heart’s cry.
And for those who say this world has merely evolved,
they haven’t yet realized around Whom it’s revolved.

Reflected as in a mirror, My image became more clear
when I sent My Son, Jesus, as Redeemer from sin and fear.
He spoke to mankind of the Father as you can see in My Word;
and from Genesis to Revelation, I’ve desired it all to be heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15 NASB

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 NASB

See “About the Porch”

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Photos/Pexels

The Father

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“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John 1:18

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:9

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us because it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1

“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21

“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 14:9

“yet for us there is one God, The Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

Scriptures: New King James Version

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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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