Choosing the Right Mirror

If you have ever stepped in front of an amusement park mirror
and have seen the distorted image of how it makes you seem to appear,
you know, of course, for certain, that’s not really how you look.
Likewise, the devil tries to distort your image that’s established in God’s Book.

God sees you as being loved, forgiven, victorious, prospered, and healed–
so just agree with Him about the image for you that He has revealed.
It isn’t at all amusing to take, as real, an image that’s wrong–
so step away from the devil’s mirror to God’s, where you rightly belong.

Let your words align with the Lord’s, so the distorted image will be corrected.
God’s Word is the wonderful mirror where His view of you is reflected.
And His view of you is His will for you, so keep that always in mind.
God’s Word is the most accurate mirror that any believer in Jesus can find.

Distortions of the Word of God may come, but we know they’re merely lies.
Meditation of and embracing God’s truths will always prove to be wise.
The devil may try to “reflect” some things, but you must step away
to the mirror that is within God’s Word–See yourself as God sees you every day.

P. A. Oltrogge

…loved, forgiven, redeemed, and blessed with many benefits:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV

“The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’” Jeremiah 31:3

…righteous and victorious through Jesus Christ as Lord of your life:

“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17 NKJV

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV

…protected and provided for, and one who has a heart for God and others:

“No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.” Psalm 91:10 (and entire Psalm)

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 (and the entire Psalm)

“And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” Luke 12:29-33 KJV

Additionally, today’s devotional at http://www.josephprince.org is excellent to read and consider, “A Picture of a Blessed Man.”

A Work of God near the Pool of Siloam

As told in John, chapter 9, Jesus’ disciples questioned Him one day
about a blind man they’d passed by who’d been born that way.

That he or his parents had sinned was their initial thought.
Jesus said it was neither, but that a work of God should be wrought.

Then He spoke of doing God’s work before the coming night–
and that while He was in the world, He was the world’s light.

After that, Jesus spit on the ground, to make some clay for the man,
which He applied to his eyes, as the first step of God’s healing plan.

Then, washing in the pool of Siloam would turn out to be freeing.
The man obeyed Jesus and washed there, and he came back seeing!

Those who’d known the man wondered if he could possibly be
the same beggar they had known, who’d been blind, but now could see.

When he said, “I am the one,” they questioned him as to how…
such a thing could have happened, for his total blindness to “bow.”

Well, it bowed to “the man who is called Jesus,” was his immediate reply.
“Where is He?” they asked; but he didn’t know, for Jesus had passed by.

Then he was brought before the Pharisees.  It was a Sabbath day.
He told them, also, about the pool and Jesus having applied the clay.

Because Jesus had done this on a Sabbath, His divinity was dismissed.
Keeping that law was a matter on which most of them would always insist.

Other Pharisees said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?”
So there was a division among them as they considered this in their minds.

Again, they questioned the formerly blind man, calling for his parents, too.
The Pharisees doubted he’d been born blind and asked them if it was true.

They confirmed that he was their son who’d been blind from even day one.
But how or by whom he’d been freed, they couldn’t say–“Just ask our son.”

They were afraid of being put out of the synagogue by giving laud to Christ.
But their son said he only knew this–that Jesus’ healing touch had sufficed.

The synagogue leaders kept questioning him, to the extent that he, in turn,
asked if they were wanting to be Jesus’ disciples–a notion which they spurned.

Calling him a disciple of Jesus, they said that they followed Moses of old.
At that point, the man who’d been healed made statements that were bold:

“Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes.  We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him.  Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.  If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

That was enough for the Pharisees to berate him as being a sinful man.
“Are you teaching us?” they said, and made him subject to a synagogue ban.

Jesus heard of this and then found him and asked him a question of His own.
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  But of that title, he hadn’t known.

So he asked the Lord who that was, so that he could, therefore, believe.
Jesus said the Son of Man was Himself.  (By God’s Spirit, He’d been conceived.)

“Lord, I believe,” were the heartfelt words of the man who had been born blind.
Then he worshiped Jesus, who is the Son of Man and the Son of God combined!

Conclusion:
“Then Jesus told him, ‘I entered this world to render judgment–to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.’  Some Pharisees who were standing by heard Him and asked, ‘Are you saying we’re blind?’  ‘If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,’ Jesus replied.  ‘But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.'”

(Scriptures from John 9, NKJV and NLT)

P. A. Oltrogge

The Compassion of the Lord

Isaiah 55 ESV

55 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
    and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30….
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'”  John 6:35

An Invitation from Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

I invite you to permit Me…to be your Good Shepherd,
I’ve seen your sometimes unsuccessful tries.
I know and see ahead the highest and best pathways
In answer to every one of My children’s cries.

When lives draw to a close, I’m surely there–
And the Way to enter heaven’s gate, for you, I’ll be.
But don’t simply think that is all that I have to give,
For your welfare here and now means so much to Me.

Just as an earthly parent wants to see that all goes well
For their beloved children as they learn and grow,
So I desire that to an even greater extent for you;
Therefore, look to Me for the goodness of God to freely flow.

Factual it is that life presents things at times that are adverse;
There is an adversary to which that word’s connected.
The devil is the one who brings destruction and the curse;
But I came for you to have an abundant life and to be protected.

So permit me to be your Good Shepherd–
I’ve a Covenant of love and grace for you.
Those who follow Me will have the Light of Life–
To light the way to heaven, yes, but here on this earth, too.

P. A. Oltrogge

Jesus is the Good Shepherd!

“Jesus therefore said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.’” John 10:7-15

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

“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!’” Psalm 91:1-2 

“No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.” Psalm 91:10 and all of Psalm 91

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJ)

Reference: See “About the Porch”

A Rose in the Rain

When facing difficulties…

Beloved, to God, you are His rose in the rain;
And don’t ever think He doesn’t feel your pain.
Trials aren’t sent to us by the Lord;
No, they’re deep rivers that He alone helps us ford.
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy,
But we’ve got God’s Word to foil the thief’s ploy.
God’s promises are sure–He never has lied;
And the desire of your heart will surely be supplied!
With our eyes on God’s Word, we persevere;
We know this fulfillment is already here!
For faith says right now what isn’t seen with our eyes,
Because we know that our God has heard our hearts’ cries.
A rose in the rain, but you’re hardy and strong—
You trust in God’s Word and in Him to Whom you belong.
There’s an answer in God for every problem we face;
So we thank You, Heavenly Father, for the answer by Your grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The righteous cry and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Psalm 34:17-19

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” spoken by Jesus in John 10:10

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:10-20

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Looking to Jesus, our King of Kings

I’m so glad God’s given us His Holy Word, though many seek its exclusion.
Is it any wonder, then, when we hear their views, which have obvious confusion?

They see evil as good and wrong as right, rejecting the Bible as their guide.
They need to recognize Jesus as Lord and turn from the one who has lied.

Then there are those who do revere God, but who haven’t yet found the way…
the truth, and the life, revealed through Christ–for them, we also pray.

It’s evident that there are just two kingdoms–one of darkness and one of Light.
It truly is the time of decision–men must choose to be on the side that’s right.

So, we pray for their awakening by God’s Spirit and for the restoration…
of common sense, love for and obedience to God, in this and every nation.

God’s Word proclaims that, in the last days, He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh.
With that promise of His grace, we persevere–with faith renewed and hope afresh.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.” Acts 2:16-18

“…’Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.”
Zechariah 4:6

“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

And in John 8:42-47, Jesus speaks of the devil as being “a liar and the father of it.”

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” …said by Jesus in John 10:10

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

An Ark So Strong

So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.” Genesis 6:14 NIV

God has raised up many ministries to encourage
that, as a believer, you can build yourself an ark–
through faith in His Word and its promises to you,
in a world that has increasingly gotten dark.

Psalm 91 is a well-tested, protective psalm,
that we can claim as a shelter and a shield.
Many don’t consider that God’s Word could be so sure
and have let it become a Sword they only hesitantly wield.

“No evil will befall you…He gives His angels charge over you,”
and “With long life He will satisfy you,” are yours to claim–
Confession of God’s Word, and the Name and the blood of Jesus,
are the weapons, in a storm, that will conquer and tame.

But don’t wait for storms to develop in your life–
Make His promises your regular confession every day.
Abide in His Word, His presence, and dwell secure,
for these are the “Ark” whereby danger is kept away.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” Proverbs 1:33 NKJV

“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings and in quiet resting places.” Isaiah 32:18 NKJV

“The horse is prepared against the day of battle; but safety is of the Lord.”
Proverbs 21:31 KJV

“I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!’”
from Psalm 91 — verse 2

Recommend: today’s message at:

http://www.dutchsheets.org (video)

http://www.givehim15.com (written)

Further messages/testimonies:
http://www.kcm.org
http://www.govictory.com
http://www.josephprince.org
http://www.rhema.org
http://www.lenmink.com
http://www.moorelife.org
http://www.awmi.net
http://www.covenantfamily.cc

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

Reflections on the Legend of the Dogwood

I think that I shall never see
as lovely a “bouquet” as a dogwood tree.

Pink-flowered, or purple, or snowfall white–
In town or in a forest, they’re a breathtaking sight.

They’re reflections of the Master designer–
Of all beauty He’s created, there isn’t much finer.

They do speak of the divine, for a legend they bear–
On each flower’s center, a “crown of thorns” is there.

Like the beams of a cross, the petals connect,
having rust-colored tips–of Christ’s blood they reflect.

It flowed from His veins, pierced with a spike’s metal,
of which we’re reminded by a hole in each petal.

That dogwoods were once strong enough to be a cross is a story;
After Calvary, God took pity on them to yet speak of His glory.

But though just a story, not Biblical fact–
the legend has stuck and has made an impact.

For in springtime when blossoms of dogwoods begin,
we think, not only of their beauty, but of our Savior within.

Then, too, it can be said that, after winter, when they flower,
they remind not just of the cross, but of Christ’s resurrection power!

P. A. Oltrogge

“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11 AMP

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die….’” John 11:25-26 NASB

While I’ve endeavored to present some of God’s truths in a poetic way, I believe you would be blessed in referring, once again, to the detailed messages done by Bible teacher, Dutch Sheets. As always, today’s message is informative and valuable.

http://www.dutchsheets.org (video)

http://www.givehim15.com (written)

Photos/Unsplash

Timothy’s Ministry

The following is told by Marian, a woman who has been ministering for many years to the homeless people in Chicago. She began doing so, actually, after and due to the death of her young son, Timothy. You can also read her account of how “Timothy’s Ministry” came into being at http://www.timothysministry.org under “Stories.”

Hi Everyone! SHARING A STORY

I just wanted to share a story of how God provides in such miraculous ways. This is how God always has come through since the beginning!

A couple of weeks ago, I sent out an e-mail requesting just two items (although they were unusual and kind of big items and I couldn’t imagine who might donate, but decided it wouldn’t hurt to ask). I asked for: 1) A laptop and 2) A used car.

Sara, who sadly is completely homeless, told me she would be so grateful to have a laptop so that she could use it at the library for her personal research. I asked for a car for John who was once homeless, but has been living in subsidized housing and had been working delivering pizzas for the past year with his very old car which finally died. John had asked me that same day if I could possibly ‘ask in my e-mail’ for a car. He said he had saved some money and could pay something toward it, Honestly, I was hesitant to ask for a car in one of my e-mails, because I thought that people have been so generous so how could I ask for a car? (Just my own thoughts…but not God’s thoughts).

Out of all of the hundreds of people on my contact list, one woman (Pam) immediately replied and offered her used laptop which she said had already been cleaned up and ready to give away. The day after the donation of the laptop, I began to wonder about the car and thought to myself that God always seems to bring in whatever we need and doesn’t just do things ‘half-way’…but certainly there were no expectations on my part because, after all, it was such a big item and I’ve never asked for a car in 16 years!. But, later that SAME day, my friend Sue (who does not receive or read my e-mails) called me out of the blue and said, “Marian, sorry to bother you, just a quick question…I’m with my daughter cleaning out my Dad’s house and I already told her you wouldn’t have a need for this but she keeps insisting, ‘Just call Marian and ask’, so, we just want to ask if you think there is anyone in your group who could use a mini-van in good condition?” Whatt!!!?? I told her about my e-mail from 2 days before and we both knew THIS was God! It’s always like this, not 10 offers of laptops or 4 cars, but always just exactly what we need and God found a way to remind through the car offer that it wasn’t anything I did (sending the e-mail) this was.just a gift from Our Father in Heaven!!!

Sara was so happy yesterday talking about how much she is enjoying her time at the library with her laptop; and John was ecstatic with the hugest smile on his face! He said “I had been praying about a car because I really need to work and the restaurant owner was holding the job open for me!!” Over the years, John has always been so happy and willing to deliver small items to people who could not get to us because of health issues (large grocery bags, small appliances, etc.) He was saying yesterday, ‘Now I can bring larger deliveries to people with a mini-van!) Although John had saved up money and was willing to pay something for the car, my friend would not accept any money and said he could use his money for oil changes, etc. All I can say is, ALWAYS take everything to God even and especially when it doesn’t seem like a possible request! All things are possible with God!

(Shared by: P. A. Oltrogge,
Porch of the Lord)

He, a Rose

” I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.” Song of Solomon 2:1

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” Luke 12:27

________________________________________________________________

The variety of flowers God created are such a feast for our eyes–
And, besides their beauty, most have a pleasing fragrance that will arise.

No wonder Jesus said that we should consider the lilies of the field–
Their essence is a tribute to His Father’s care to which they yield.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross arose, as a pleasing fragrance, to the Father’s throne–
An aroma so pleasing that Christ now, as the rose of Sharon, is known.

Yes, like a rose, that was crushed and associated with thorns upon His head,
Jesus paid for our redemption through scourges and His sacred veins that bled.

All who are in Christ give sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him as well,
To remind those who are saved of heaven, and to warn those unaware of hell.

So consider how the lilies are clothed, and therefore put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
For His sacrifice on your behalf is the one that the Bible says sufficed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Romans 13:14

“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 KJV

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2

“But thanks be to God, Who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” Acts 10:38-43

Praise God, it was for you that He arose!