Blessing and Judgment by the Hand of the Lord

The Porch of the Lord

I believe you, God, for every good and perfect gift;
For doubting that would cause me to be adrift
On the devil’s sea of unbelief,
With its dangerous waters and treacherous reef.
Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light.
I believe Your Word and reject any fright.
You’ve promised to shepherd me each new day–
With Your rod and Your staff, You’ll lead the way.
You’re the Light of the World, I can’t go wrong–
I can do all things in Him Who makes me strong.
Strong I am, and it’s easy to receive–
For You have said, just pray and believe.
Your help is sure, and You’ve said I can command
Judgment on the adversary from Your mighty hand!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or…

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A Psalm to Take to Heart

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

Psalm 91 NASB

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most high will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”

For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day;

Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not approach you.

You will only look on with your eyes, and see the recompense of the wicked.

For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place.

No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.

They will bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down,

“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.

“With a long life I will satisfy him, and let him behold My salvation.”

Be Not Dismayed

IMG_0748Photo by Porch of the Lord…a view towards Montserrat from English Harbor, Antiqua

…the Lord’s peace to you today…

“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 RSV
 

A Paralytic and Four Faithful Friends

The Porch of the Lord

Jesus had been back to Capernaum for some days, and the news of this became known; Many people gathered at the house to hear Him speak, and the crowd had really grown. In fact, there were so many who wanted to come inside that you couldn’t get near the door; But there was a paralytic, with four friends who had a goal–to hear Jesus say, “Restore!”

So fervent were they in their earnest goal, that though it didn’t seem possible to get through, they weren’t downcast, but instead looked up–gaining entrance through the roof was what they’d do. Their faith in the Lord, their tenacity to attain, moved them to hoist their friend and his pallet up; They made a rooftop hole and let him down to the Lord–it didn’t matter to them to interrupt.

Jesus, seeing their faith, immediately was moved. “Son, your sins are forgiven,” He then said…

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The Power and Authority of the Creator in the Name of Jesus

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Photo by Porch of the Lord

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners,
spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the word of his power,
when he had by himself purged our sins,
sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Being made so much better than the angels,
as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
Hebrews 1:1-4 KJV

How impressive and powerful are these words that we read about God’s Son, who has been “appointed heir of all things,” and “by whom” God’s creation of the worlds was done!

How awesome to think that Jesus is the brightness or reflection of God, the Father’s, glory–and that He is His express image, as was demonstrated in many a true Biblical story.

He upholds all things by the word of His power, yet He humbled Himself to purge us of sin. Then He “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Thus, it’s through faith in Jesus that we win.

Being made so much better than the angels, the greatness of His Name is inherited from the Father, a Name more excellent than theirs. And it’s every believer’s inherited right to use the Name of Jesus, to receive answers to their prayers.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

Written after reading a devotional on this topic by Kenneth E. Hagin, founder of Rhema Bible College, Tulsa, OK

More Precious Than Silver or Gold

(From Acts 3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P. A. Oltrogge

Scriptures, New King James Version

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

Under His Wings

by J. Vetter, Guest Contributor

Mama duck paced anxiously to and fro on the edge of our pool.  Her five babies clustered together and swam like Olympic hopefuls, unable to discover their way out.

Finally, when it seemed like they would not be able to escape on their own, we tried to scoop them out with our pool net.  However, when we approached, Mama flew off.  After a thirty minute struggle, all five babies huddled together on the grass.  Where is Mom?  Do I call DPS (Duck Protective Services) to report a mother who abandoned her children?

Sure enough, after huddling together for a while, they ended up back in the pool.  We were ready for bed, and it was ready to storm.  The thought of leaving them alone with thunder and lightning was disheartening.

“Lord, how can I pray?  Can I believe for your protection over them?”  Instantly, the scripture from Matthew 23:37 came to mind.  “O, Jerusalem…how often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”  Also, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.”  (Psalm 27:10)

So I committed those little ones to Him and resisted worry as much as possible.  My husband woke me up the next morning with the news.  “The mother duck is here, and the babies are all out of the pool.”

With so much in the news to threaten our peace, this scenario affords a glimpse into the heart of God.  It is not the size of our circumstance, but the size of our God we need to consider.  Snuggle in–His wings are big enough to cover you.

J. Vetter

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him will I trust.’

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you shall take refuge. His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”

Psalm 91:1-4 NKJV

The Trustworthy One

100_3735…photo by Porch of the Lord

This is the day that the Lord has made…

May His perfect peace be yours as your mind is stayed

upon the Lord Jesus, and His great love for you.

In an imperfect world, He’s always faithful and true.

P. A. Oltrogge

“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24 NKJV

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  Isaiah 26:3 KJV

“Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”  Psalm 36:5 NKJV

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  Psalm 27:13 NKJV

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope, without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23 NKJV

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:9 NKJV

Reference to Jesus, called, “Faithful and True” in Revelation 19:11

…above photo from Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

By Many Convincing Proofs…

…after His suffering, Jesus presented Himself to the apostles alive.  Thus, with any doubtful thoughts in their hearts, they’d no longer have to strive.

Gathering them together, the Messiah commanded that they shouldn’t leave…but stay in the city of Jerusalem, for, in not many days, they were about to receive…

what they had heard of from Him–the Holy Spirit’s power!  Upon receiving, they would be the Lord’s witnesses from Jerusalem and beyond, from that very hour.

After Jesus had shared this, He was lifted up from them and was received into a cloud in the sky.  As they watched, two men in white clothing stood beside them and asked the apostles why they were gazing so intently on high.

The two men went on to say that this Jesus, who was taken up from them in such a way, would come again in just the same manner, a reference to a future day.

The apostles, upon returning to Jerusalem, went to the upper room where they were staying.  With one mind, they, and some women, including Jesus’ mother, and His brothers, were all continually praying.

At that time, Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren, about one-hundred, twenty in all…and shared about the fate of Judas.  Then, it was determined that Matthias would, instead, answer the Lord’s call.

And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly, there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, which filled the house in every space!

Next, what looked like tongues of fire came to rest upon each one.  They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues of various languages before that first outpouring was done.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation all around.  “The multitude” of them came together, bewildered, at this unusual sound.

They noted that all who were speaking in their language were Galileans by birth.  Then Parthians and Medes and residents of many other areas joined in questioning it all, as well as visitors from Rome and other parts of the earth.

They were impressed, hearing them speak of the mighty deeds of God, “in a language that is mine.”  But some others mocked them, saying, “They’re just drunk with sweet wine.”

This made Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raise his voice in a bold declaration…that they were not drunk so early in the day, but this was a phenomenon of God’s own preparation.

Peter referenced the prophet, Joel:

“‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.  And I will grant wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.  And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”

Acts 2:17-21 and Joel 2:28-32

Then Peter addressed them, saying, “Men of Israel, listen to these words,” and he related the account of Jesus, the Nazarene…reminding them of the many miracles, wonders, and signs that many of them had actually seen.

Yet, by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, He was put to death by them through the hands of godless men.  However God, Himself, raised Jesus Christ, the Messiah, up again.

Peter made reference to Jesus as the promised descendant of David, who had looked ahead…to the resurrection of Christ and His exaltation to God’s right hand after that raising from the dead.

Of that resurrection, Peter said, he and the apostles were witnesses to all that had taken place; and the promise of the Holy Spirit, of which Jesus had spoken, was further evidence of God’s grace.

And all of Israel should know for certain that God made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus, whom they’d crucified.  Greatly moved, they asked Peter and the rest what they should do…their hearts were open wide.

Peter then told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.  They would also receive the Holy Spirit…all part of how a new life in Christ begins.

So, those who received his message and were baptized that day were about three thousand souls.  Further teaching from the apostles, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer now were their devoted goals.

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe…and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles that the people saw.

The believers had all things in common, sharing with one another where there was a need.  In the temple and from house to house, gladness and sincerity of heart was shared in both word and deed.

The Lord was adding daily souls being brought into His fold, as He is doing still, if truth be told.  The book of Acts continues to this day, so that “multitudes” may find the love of Jesus, as today’s Christ followers share and pray.

P.A. Oltrogge

(a poetic sketch of Acts 1 and 2)

Also referenced by Peter,  Psalm 16:8-11 and Psalm 110:1