Thoughts Gathered from the 23rd Psalm

Photo by Roger Davies/Flickr

Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will go in and out and find pasture. 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. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” John 10:7-11 NKJV

The Lord is my Shepherd–my faithful guide;
And through His leading, He always will provide.
He causes me to rest in pastures so green,
Beside quiet waters that speak of the serene.

He encourages my soul if I should ever feel down,
Reminding me I’m wearing God’s “lovingkindness” crown.
Knowing the wisdom of following as Christ leads,
I walk paths of righteousness, sowing Kingdom seeds.

If at times there are valleys, with storms very dark,
I’m safe with my Shepherd–He is my strong ark.
I refuse any fear–His rod and staff keep me stable;
And before any enemy, He prepares me a table.

With divine Kingly oil, He’s anointed my head;
My cup overflows, as by His Spirit I’m led.
Of His goodness and mercy, He always will give;
And in the house of my Shepherd King, I forever will live.

P. A. Oltrogge

“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 103:3-5 NKJV

“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

“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’” Revelation 5:9-11 NKJV

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23 KJV

“A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by W. Phillip Keller,
Book available at http://www.christianbook.com

For click-on photo link
to photographer, see original
archived post of 6/4/15.

Faith Working through Love, by Giving

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 shifting shadow.” James 1:17

Even as young children, the Lord wants us to see,
that giving a tithe honors God and is not an exacting fee.
Realizing that every good gift is from above,
makes it easy for us to return again, in love,
that which has already been given from our Lord.
To accomplish His work–We really can afford
to do this–it never will be detrimental.
But, instead, for further blessing, it’s instrumental.
Just as Jesus lauded the heartfelt giving of the widow who gave two mites,
our trust and understanding of giving is something in which God delights.

P. A. Oltrogge

“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” Malachi 3:10

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” Matthew 23:23 

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” Luke 11:42

“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and he saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’” Luke 21:1-4

“Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

“Let him who is taught the Word share in all good things with him who teaches.” Galatians 6:6 NKJV

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 NKJV

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (from Matthew 6:25-34)

“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35 NKJV

“When someone belongs to Christ Jesus, it is not important if they are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith—the kind of faith that works through love.” Galatians 5:6 ERV

“Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” Psalm 41:1 NKJV

“And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by Elijah.” 1 Kings 17:16 KJV (from the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath)

“One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?’” John 6:8-9 NKJV (from John 6:6-14, the story of the feeding of five thousand through the offering of a young lad with five barley loaves and two small fish)

Visit: http://www.govictory.com/theprosperouslife for encouraging videos on this topic.

Consider “God Owns my Business” by Stanley Tam, available at http://www.christianbook.com

Blessed to be in His Rest

Father,

Your Word reveals that, as believers in Christ, we’re living under Your blessing.

So, rather than talking about problems, it’s Your promises that we should be confessing.

“The hills melted like wax in Your presence,” so any of our difficulties are resolved.

Casting our cares upon You, with thanksgiving, is vital for the solutions, that’s involved.

Thank You for the promise of a place for us in heaven that, one day, will be ours.

But for abundant life now and needs that are met—we thank You for Your blessing showers!

Because of Your known faithfulness, we can trust that Your plans for us are best.

We have peace and faith, knowing that it’s Your desire for us…to always enter into Your rest.

Praise the Lord!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Come to Me, all you 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 of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9 NKJV

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

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

“The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.” Psalm 97:5 KJV

“I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, For You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities…” Psalm 31:7 NKJV

Don’t hold on, with anxiety, to problems, but hold on, with thanksgiving, to the Lord’s promises. Knowing and using our authority over the devil, seeking God’s will, and believing we receive when we pray are important to remember. Praying in the Spirit, also, is a means of praying for a situation when we don’t know how, thereby casting our care upon the Lord:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

Today’s Daily Grace Inspirations, “He is With You,” at http://www.josephprince.org tells of a time in Joseph’s life when it was a struggle for him to remain “at rest” when his son had been injured and hospitalized. But, as Joseph often refers to it, the blessing of taking holy Communion turned concern for his son’s healing around.

The Authority of the Believer

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19 NKJV

God’s ministers so often have wisdom that can point out essentials to our Christian walk. Recently, Mark Hankins noted something Jesus shared that wasn’t merely “talk.”

Jesus said that He was giving us AUTHORITY over “ALL the power of the enemy.” That’s a high degree! Jesus wasn’t just saying that this authority was “available” if you might be interested–NO, He was giving us a VITAL KEY.

When we experience a trial, we must take authority over the problem at hand. The devil and his demonic beings must flee, for God has put us in command.

If things don’t seem to budge, remember–the devil doesn’t want to be arrested. But we must stand confident in the authority Jesus won for us, and with which we’ve been invested.

P. A. Oltrogge

Jesus secured the devil’s defeat, which we must enforce, by taking authority over him…

“Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NKJV

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-12 NKJV

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:18-20 NKJV

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed[ the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” Colossians 2:13-15 NLT

Visit: http://www.markhankins.org to find many fortifying materials, including “The Believer’s Authority.” Of that, he writes:

“It is time for us as believers to take our place In Christ and exercise the authority that God has delegated to us. We must take steps to possess all that God has promised. We have been made for mastery. You’ve been deputized.”

Other ministries which also offer teaching on the believer’s authority: http://www.rhema.org, http://www.kcm.org, http://www.awmi.net

In God’s Vineyard

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5

Jesus, You are the True Vine, to which I’m blessed to have a strong connection.
It’s through Your truths and the Holy Spirit You sent, that I find wisdom and direction.

Before learning to trust Your guidance, I attempted some plans of my own.
But they only showed me my need to draw close–to You at Your heavenly throne.

There, You’d waited patiently for me, to learn more about You and abide…
in the peace of Your presence in order to bear fruit, by which Your Father is glorified.

It’s written in Your Word, that I’m seated with You, together in the heavenly places;
I’m an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ, so I receive of divine daily graces.

“Much fruit” are actually the words that this portion of scripture has detailed;
You will perfect a good work in me, so I won’t be a branch that has failed.

Without You, I can do nothing; but, by drawing from the Vine, I become able
to tell of the One who changed water into wine–the best at the wedding table.

Many other miracles can come to mind as I think back on all that I’ve read:
Parables shared and words that were prophetic are among the things that You said.

In and through You, I’m the kind of branch that remains and continues to thrive,
sharing through kind deeds and words about Jesus, our God, who is very much alive!

P. A. Oltrogge

“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:6-11

“You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.” John 15:3-4
(New Living Translation)

“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

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

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7

“The spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:16-17

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 KJV

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 KJV

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Be blessed at http://www.awmi.net where you’ll find “Destiny Stories” of those who’ve attended Charis Bible College, including the destiny story of its founder, Andrew Wommack. Click on “Watch” on the left-hand side of the site, then scroll down to view the various stories, or to find Andrew’s. God bless and guide you personally as you continue to draw from Jesus, the True Vine.

Meditation

God has given us instruction that’s meant to keep us from being uptight,
which is to meditate upon His Word throughout the day and night.

If you find you’re feeling troubled, with thoughts that need to be curbed,
think, instead, upon His promises, so your peace won’t be disturbed.

Just as Jesus immediately encouraged Jairus when others said his daughter had died, we need to immediately hear His voice–over ones which say victory’s been denied.

People, thoughts, and what is felt and seen may “say” otherwise than what is said in God’s Word. If we’ve meditated upon it, however, other voices won’t discourage what, through God, we’ve already heard.

P. A. Oltrogge

“How blessed is the man…(whose) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (from Psalm 1:1-3 NASB)

“Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165 KJV

“While He (Jesus) was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official (Jairus), saying, ‘Your daughter has died, why trouble the Teacher anymore?’ But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.’” (from Mark 5: 21-24 and 35-43 NASB)

(…and Jesus went on to the home of Jairus and raised his daughter up.)

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 KJV

“…and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!’” (from Matthew 17:1-8 NASB)

“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

Have Faith in the Power of God

So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God.’” Mark 11:22

Raindrops in the air act as prisms, producing rainbow light,
and the moon glow through the clouds disrupts the dark of night.

Mankind has lit up buildings, using electricity as an energy source,
but Almighty God lit the many stars and set each planet on its course.

Imagine the power it takes to keep all those heavenly lights burning–
As proof of the existence of God, His lights make us discerning.

The sound of mighty ocean waves, day or night, speak of His power,
as do the majestic mountains and each uniquely-crafted flower.

Then, consider a newly-born baby or every individual’s special face…
the mighty to very small animals, the seasons and their systematic pace.

To have faith in the power of God is easy to do by just looking around
at all of the creative beauty with which this world has been crowned.

P. A. Oltrogge

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5

“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” Genesis 1:14-19 (and all of Genesis 1)

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”  Romans 1:20

Scriptures: NKJV

This post inspired by a message at http://www.moorelife.org

Photo/Unsplash

A Paralytic and Four Faithful Friends

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. This prompted thoughts in some scribes who were there, that He was blasphemous and clearly misled. Jesus knew in His spirit the things they were reasoning and confronted them before they could talk. He asked which was easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk.”

But so that they would know He really did have this authority, He further went on to say–that the man who’d been paralyzed should get up and take his pallet and be free to go on his way. Immediately, the man arose and picked up his pallet and walked out in the sight of all who were there. The people were amazed and glorified God, saying they’d never seen anything like this anywhere.

After that, Jesus went out to the shore of the sea, which can bring to mind the “waves” of God’s grace. The people followed Jesus to the shore, as well, and He continued to teach them at that place. A fitting scene it was to conclude this narrative, for God’s grace does come in wave upon wave. If a problem seems insurmountable, look up, not down–He’ll help you, just be bold and be brave.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.”
Psalm 43:5

“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33

Scriptures NKJV
From the Biblical account in Mark 2:1-13

Powerful Prayers for Peter

Herod began to persecute those who believed in Jesus, it’s told in the twelfth chapter of Acts. James was martyred by the sword and Peter was seized, though there had been no criminal facts.

The church was offering up constant prayer for Peter–imprisoned by Herod Agrippa, the king. So in the dark of the night, God sent an angel to visit Peter there, who was asleep despite everything.

Four squads of soldiers had been assigned to him; and he was chained as he slept that night. A soldier on each side of him and guards were there, who were keeping the prison door barred tight.

Suddenly, the angel of the Lord stood by Peter, and a light shone inside the prison cell. The angel struck him on his side and raised him up; and from Peter’s hands, the heavy prison chains fell.

At the angel’s instruction, Peter dressed quickly to follow him–though it all seemed to be unreal. They went past the first and second guard posts. “This must be a ‘vision,’” was how it made him feel.

They came to the iron gate that led to the city, which simply opened to them of its own accord–then went out and down one street, and the angel departed. What a rescue from an angel of the Lord!

Peter came to his senses, realizing it had actually happened–he’d escaped Herod and leaders of the Jews. He proceeded on to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where they’d fervently prayed for this news.

Peter knocked at the door of the gate to the house, and a girl by the name of Rhoda came to see who was there. In her joy at hearing his voice, she ran to tell the others it was Peter, and that God had answered prayer.

They just couldn’t believe her, so Peter had to continue to knock, until they opened the door themselves to see… that God, indeed, had heard their prayers for Peter, and had sent His angel–to miraculously set him free!

At dawn, back at the prison, there was a commotion among the soldiers, as to how Peter’s captivity was defied. After a search was endeavored, Herod ordered the soldiers’ deaths; but the Bible records that he, too, soon afterward died…

“But the word of God grew and multiplied!”

P. A. Oltrogge

(From the account in Acts 12)

“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” Acts 12:5

“Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart…” Luke 18:1

Book recommendation: “Releasing the Ability of God Through Prayer” by Charles Capps at the Bookstore at http://www.cappsministries.com where are found many other excellent books, articles, and materials.

The Weight of the World

Who can bear the weight of the world in these present days?
Only the Lord God Almighty–to Him belongs all praise.

Praying in the Spirit daily, as often as we can,
is surely one of the best things to do, in this end-time span.

But being bold to stand for what’s right against any evil oppression
is important, too–the world needs to hear our Christian faith confession.

There’s a wealth of opportunities now that God is bringing about…
for men to find the truth in Him, forsaking their unbelief or doubt.

Through every available voice, God’s Word is being preached
until the time that He declares the entire world has been reached.

The Bible says that God will pour out His Spirit upon all of mankind.
Life through His Son, Jesus Christ, is the gift He wants everyone to find.

God chose to lay upon Him, at the cross, the iniquity of us all…
We pray for multitudes to hear the gospel and respond to its gracious call.

P. A. Oltrogge

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  Isaiah 53:6 KJV

“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

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” …spoken by Jesus in John 17:3

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

“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.” …spoken by Jesus in John 16:33

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4

The God’s Word translation reads “He holds everything together by His powerful words….”

Does something in your life need to be upheld or held together? Keep trusting in God, who holds all things together….

Scriptures NKJV except as noted

And Matthew 9:38; Luke 10:2; John 17:17; Acts 2:16-18

Earth Photo/Unsplash