Purity of Heart and Speech

Help me, Father in heaven, to be mindful of what Your Word has said–that my words shouldn’t be critical of others, but they should bless instead. If someone’s ways seem contrary to mine, or if they’ve hurt me in some way, every person is still made in Your image–I must show love towards them and pray.

A forest spring doesn’t flow with waters that are both bitter and fresh; likewise, help me in “keeping under” any wrong attitudes of my flesh. A fig tree doesn’t produce olives, and figs don’t come from a grapevine; neither should judgmental words towards others come from these lips of mine.

The same lips that praise my God, should speak with His love; and I should be kind, in turn. Purity, being peace loving and gentle, willing to yield to others, are things that I must learn. With humility that’s gleaned from Your wisdom, I’ll avoid jealousy and selfish ambition, for You’ve said that disorder and evil of every kind come from either condition.

I should be full of Your mercy, showing no favoritism, and always be sincere–Planting seeds of peace, I’ll reap a harvest of righteousness–all truths that You’ve made clear.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.” words of Jesus in Luke 6:31

“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

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. For the Scriptures say, ‘If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.’” 1 Peter 3:9-12 NLT

A New Creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

I like to think of the butterfly, a high-flying creation of beauty…

that once was a lowly caterpillar, but destined for the unique duty,

of submitting to the Creator’s perfect will, and a higher design.

This may be compared to the lives of believers–even yours and mine.

Once, we were living low, though we may not have thought it so…

then recognized our need to be forgiven and be transformed to grow

into new creations with a very high call–to go throughout the earth,

in order to share with others, for God, the joy of obtaining “the new birth.”

P. A. Oltrogge

” …he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”  …words of Jesus from Matthew 10:39  (NKJV)

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.’”  John 3:3 (NASB)

” ..’Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.’”  …Jesus’ words from Mark 16:15 (NKJV)

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and are in him that is true, even in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20 (KJV)

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (RSV)

Be blessed to read of praise reports at http://www.josephprince.org under “Blog” and then “Praise reports” for great encouragement regarding many situations of life. I’m thanking the Lord, that His goodness and mercy are following you this day. His banner over you is love….

Faith in our Father in Heaven

We walk by faith and not by sight–

with thanks to God, that He’s making things right.

For God, there is nothing that is too hard.

Rely on that truth in any regard.

Pray and obey, as the Lord leads;

meditate on His Word, from which wisdom proceeds.

It may take some time to see right come about…

Just remember He’s faithful and reject any doubt.

There are times in our lives that seem dark and bad,

but keep trusting God, our Father. He’s the very best Dad!

P. A. Oltrogge

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. Galatians 4:4-7 NLT

…the magnificence of His creation…

photo/Unsplash…a park in Bucharest, Romania

Jesus, Closer than a Brother

Dear Lord Jesus,

You thought of the lowly, the forgotten, the oppressed…
You thought of us all; and, through You, we are blessed.

You’re always the Good Shepherd, our Savior and friend.
If any setbacks befall us, You help things to mend.

You’re closer than a brother; and we can draw near…
to You for Your assurance that there’s nothing to fear.

You loved the little children and do to this day.
For the unborn, the young, or the old, You’ve taught us to pray.

And also our enemies, You’ve said, are in great need
of prayers to be enlightened, that Your Word they might heed.

Obedient to Your Father, You went to Calvary’s hill.
You prayed that cup might pass, but accepted Your Father’s will.

Yes, what a friend we have in Jesus, as the hymn goes…
You died for all of mankind, and, praise God, You then arose.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'” Matthew 11:28-29 NLT

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11

“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.'” Matthew 26:39

“And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.'” Luke 23:33

“Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.” Acts 10:40-41

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” John 20:17

Scriptures: New King James Version, or as noted.

If you have a half hour, the following regards the unborn:
http://www.ilivedonparkerave.comv

Philip and the Ethiopian

The earliest believers suffered persecution–a man of God, Stephen, was put to death. Though scattered, they continued to share about Jesus, the Master, who gives to all of us breath.

We read on…of the evangelist, Philip, in the book of Acts and chapter eight. His desire to share about Jesus was greater than any fears he might have had for his own fate.

He’d gone to the city of Samaria and preached there, doing many miraculous signs. He had cast out demons and healed the lame, leaving a very joyful city behind.

Having heard of the new believers in Samaria, Peter and John had arrived as well. They prayed and laid hands on the believers–and upon them, the Holy Spirit fell.

An angel of the Lord then instructed Philip, to head south on the desert road…that ran from Jerusalem to Gaza, where he saw a man soon, and his journey slowed….

Philip walked alongside the man’s chariot, at the Holy Spirit’s leading. This man was the treasurer of Ethiopia, and from the book of Isaiah, he was reading.

He’d been to Jerusalem to worship and was on his journey from there of return. But, obviously, he had a hunger about God, and Philip was to help him learn.

“Do you understand what you’re reading?” Philip asked, wanting to be his guide. The man replied that he needed help, and invited him to come up and sit alongside.

This was the passage of scripture he’d been reading:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”

The Ethiopian asked Philip for clarification as to whom this text referred. Then Philip told him the good news of Jesus, the Savior–the first time that he clearly had heard.

Philip undoubtedly told him about baptism in water and of the Holy Spirit being outpoured.  The man believed the gospel, and his own baptism was what he then eagerly looked toward.

As they rode along, they came to some water and stopped, because this man recognized…that it was the perfect opportunity for them to get out so he could immediately be baptized.

Regarding it, Philip said, ‘”If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”–so there was no reason for delay.

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip supernaturally away.  The Ethiopian never saw him again, but he went home rejoicing in the Lord that day.

P. A. Oltrogge

Above scripture: Acts 8:32-33 NKJV

And then he (Jesus) told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

Mark 16:15-20 NLT

Snow Poem

There’s a quietness…the air is brisk;

and now it’s getting thick with snow

as I take a walk along the street,

with nowhere necessary today to go.

Heard in the distance are joyful shouts

of some children who are out at play.

Predictions are…the snow will be deep—

the schools have been called off today.

Cars are few out on the streets;

and those that are out are going slowly.

The beauty of the snowfall makes one think,

for the moment, only of its presence wholly.

“Have you entered the treasury of snow?”

That was a question God asked of Job.

“He gives snow like wool,” is from the Psalms.

The neighborhood seems to be in a “snow globe.”

Underneath my plush-lined boots,

the snow keeps crunching as I walk.

Heading back to my front porch,

I meet some neighbors and stop to talk.

They invite me to come inside for coffee,

where the fireplace in their home is glowing.

It’s a perfect time for fellowship

on a day set aside because it’s snowing.

P. A. Oltrogge

Scripture references:
Job 38:22
Psalm 147:16

…and for any concerns today:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

The Wonderful Works of Jesus

A man with deafness and a speech impediment was in need of Jesus’ touch.
Those who brought him begged the Lord to heal him, being confident of such.

Jesus led him, then, away from the crowd so that they could be alone.
He put His fingers into the man’s ears—the beginning of his hearing tone.

Jesus spit upon His own fingers and touched the man’s tongue as well.
“Ephphatha,” (“Be opened!”) He said, looking up to heaven—then the man instantly heard, clear as a bell!

The man’s tongue was also freed—his speech became perfectly clear.
Jesus told the crowd not to spread the story, but they couldn’t help tell that the man could now speak and hear.

“Everything Jesus does is wonderful,” they shared, in relating this event.
The deaf could hear, the dumb could speak. God’s goodness was being displayed wherever Jesus went!

P. A. Oltrogge

From Mark 7:31-37

“Everything He does is wonderful! He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”
Mark 7:37 NLT

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases….” Psalm 103:1-3

Hear testimonies of the works of Jesus today…or receive prayer, M-F, 9:30 a.m. ET; 8:30 a.m. CT at http://www.govictory.com (Morning Prayer)

Refer also to archived post, “Immersion in God’s Word,” or to other sites, such as http://www.moorelife.org, http://www.awmi.net, and others previously mentioned on this blog.

The Creator of the Ends of the Earth

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.

Isaiah 40:28-29 NKJV

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God….

Psalm 42:1-2 NKJV

Photos/Unsplash: Top, Gleason Falls, Hillsborough, NH, U.S., by Forest Simon
Bottom, Rocky Mountain State Park, Estes Park, U.S., by Steve Adams

To Become a Child of God

A statement that’s sometimes made, which needs to be corrected…is “We are all God’s children.” Not true–but by those words, it seems to be suggested.

That we’re all created by God is a fact that’s certainly true. But to become a child of God requires something every person must personally do.

“But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave He the right or power…to become the children of God”–an offer that, when accepted, becomes your most blessed hour.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, that a man must be born again. He had visited the Lord in the night, having seen the miracles He’d wrought among men.

And Jesus told a group of Pharisees plainly that they were of the devil, their father. If they were already God’s children, then why did He die for them or even bother?

No, He was sent to die for the sins of anyone living here on the earth–the firstborn among many brethren, Christ became Man through the virgin birth.

Obedient to His Father’s plan, Jesus paid the ransom for our restoration…to relationship with the Holy One–for those who believe, from out of every nation.

“I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God,” Jesus said. They’re still words that speak of “Family” to those who’ll believe that He rose from the dead.

No, we can’t all be called God’s children until we’ve put faith in His Son. That’s the defining moment when a new life, as God’s child, has begun.

P. A. Oltrogge

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name…. John 1:12

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name…. John 1:12 KJV

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:1-3

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…and see all of John 3

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”  John 20:17

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.   Romans 8:29

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He 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. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”  John 8:42-47

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:12-17

Scriptures: New King James Version, or as noted

On the Porch of the Lord

A place of refreshment, the porch of the Lord…
Pull up a chair, take in spiritual air.
Jesus always has time, and His is the power–
Receive there His touch in this end-time hour.
Like Mary, take time to sit at His feet;
Come to His porch for relief from life’s heat.
Only one thing is needful and truly can please–
His Word and His presence, felt on each breeze.
He offers living water, quenching everyone’s thirst;
And that’s yours there daily, by seeking Him first.
There’s joy on His porch, with your sisters and brothers,
As you find your needs met while caring about others.
The healing and peace which only Christ can bring
Are found there at all times—an everlasting spring.
Taste there His love, so generously poured;
Your “cup will run over” on the porch of the Lord.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things; But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:38-42 NKJV

“But one thing is needful…” verse 42, KJV

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Psalm 23:5 KJV

(See Porch of the Lord website for Sonja Lovas photo link)