Lydia Becomes Part of the Royal Priesthood

“And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:6
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It’s recorded that the apostle Paul received a vision—of a man putting forth a request, that Paul should come over to Macedonia, so that the people there could be blessed.

So Paul, and those with him, pursued the vision, setting sail on the Aegean Sea–landing at Neapolis, they went to Philippi, a leading city of Macedonia in which to be.

On the Sabbath, they went out to a riverside, where some women were who customarily prayed. Prayer and worship were woven as fabric in Lydia’s life, while selling fabrics of purple was her trade.

She listened to that which Paul spoke to them about Jesus Christ being the Lord—then took heed in her heart that it was through Jesus, that true relationship with God is restored.

Embracing what Paul said, she went from reverencing God to knowing Him in a personal way. God had opened her heart to respond to the good news, just as anyone can do today.

Then she and her entire household were baptized, representing their being washed from sin. With joy, she invited the missionaries to her home to stay, prevailing upon them to come in.

This woman, Lydia, who sold fabric of a royal color, had found peace at the riverside that day. Through the Prince of Peace, her Lord, Jesus Christ, she’d been welcomed into His royal family to stay.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

A reference to baptism by Peter in Acts 2:38-39: “…Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..” Isaiah 9:6

(The poetic account is based on Acts 16:9-15 about Lydia from Thyatira)

Some references to purple’s use in the Bible:

“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.” Exodus 26:1 (for the Tabernacle)

“And now send me a skilled man to work in gold, silver, brass and iron, and in purple, crimson, and violet fabrics, and who knows how to make engravings, to work with the skilled men whom I have in Judah and Jerusalem, whom David my father provided.” 2 Chronicles 2:7 (for Solomon’s Temple)

His Strength is Our Strength

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Unsplash/Lake Louise, Canada

Thank you, God, for sending Jesus for us all…
To pay the ransom for our souls–redeeming us from man’s fall.

Thank you, God, for mighty angels that are mine;
And thank you–for this earthly body made so fine.

Thank you, Father, for my heart’s strong and steady beat;
And thank you for good health–from my head down to my feet.

Thank you that you’re there, if I come under attack;
Thank you, Good Shepherd, that you’ve always got my back.

Thank you that I can look for miracle answers to come my way
For problems that seem difficult, for you hear me when I pray.

Thank you, Jesus, for your promise of a blessed, abundant life;
Thank you, too, that you taught us to keep from strife.

Thank you for giving servants who teach your Word for these days;
Thank you for their anointing and that they emphasize your praise.

Thank you, Lord, that as I sow Kingdom seeds to you,
A goodly harvest is produced in everything I do.

P. A. Oltrogge

“The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:19

“Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7 KJV

“Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.” Joel 3:10 KJV

“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NKJV

“The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.”
Psalm 29:11 NIV

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” Psalm 139:14 NKJV

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. The Lord is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed. Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; be their shepherd also and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:6-9

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11

“My flesh and my heart may fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

“With a long life I will satisfy him, and let him behold My salvation.” Psalm 91:16

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

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

“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.” John 10:10-11

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-3 KJV

An Increase of the Fruit of the Spirit

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Unsplash

As Christians, we often confess our faith in God in various situations or for various things, but…

There’s a confession we can make that’s good for those with whom we come in contact and good for one’s own soul…

…that the fruit of the Spirit in us is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

What an important goal of faith in Christ that is…

and it will be the evidence to those around us that we are His.

P. A. Oltrogge

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:3 NASB

A Hard Subject

It’s a hard subject; but the truth is, it’s real.
There is a thief who is out to kill, destroy, and steal–
a being who is fallen because of his pride–
a being who’s purposed to conceal and to hide
the true God in Jesus, the Lord over all–
that’s what Satan does because of his fall.

His ways are deceptive, and he wants you to think
there isn’t heaven or hell beyond this life’s brink.
He’s supportive of “gods” of other names–
or “No God at all” is another one of his claims.
Devotion to a religion or philosophy, he’s approved–
especially those endorsing that Jesus’ Lordship be removed.

He draws those he can to reject Christ’s light,
causing more darkness over any spiritual sight.
We all need to leave old things we’ve been taught
when we realize that, by Christ, our souls have been bought.
It’s simply a gift—but you must take and receive it.
Don’t listen to the naysayer, but simply believe it.

Of all time, the Bible is the best selling book–
if you think it’s inaccurate, then take a deeper look.
Please consider studies by Christians who aren’t slacking
in showing us the evidence that gives it absolute backing.
And to be the all-time best seller of books you can buy,
it must have the backing of Someone very high.

Be sober, be vigilant, the Bible warning is strong–
Jesus is The Way—any other way is wrong.

P. A. Oltrogge

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“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.’” John 14:6 NASB

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith….” 1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV

“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.” John 10: 9, 10 NASB

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NKJV

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

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12 NKJV

We absolutely know that there is a deceiver, the devil, in this world. By simply turning on the news, we hear of lives harmed or destroyed by his influence.

But God, who is love, wants everyone who will, to receive the free gift of salvation through Christ and to experience His peace.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Words of Jesus in John 14:27 NKJV

Books to consider:
Evidence That Demands a Verdict
by Josh McDowell
The Case for Christ
by Lee Strobel

What time is it?

“I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Psalm 34:1

When troubles disappoint, overwhelm, or sometimes shock,
Remember, then, what time it is: it’s always Praise o’clock!

As much-loved members of the Good Shepherd’s flock,
His goodness makes us praise Him all around the clock.

After praise and a mighty shout, the walls of Jericho fell down flat…
The people followed Joshua’s instructions, and that was that!

When Daniel faced the lions in their den til morning light,
An angel at Praise o’clock came there to keep their jaws shut tight.

Paul and Silas were imprisoned; their feet were placed in stocks.
But they just sang with all their hearts, and made that prison rock!

If your prayer is for a miracle, but it seems to be “out of stock,”
Don’t give up, don’t give in–look at the time, it’s still Praise o’clock.

Surely when the way seems hard, there’s an answer to any “block,”
For continually and forever, the correct time is Praise o’clock!

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

Faith for God’s Promises

You can be blessed by watching/listening to Keith Moore at The Greater Faith Conference, 2019, live from Faith Life Church, Sarasota, Florida, at 7:00 p.m. (EST) each evening this week. You can also watch the messages at any time that would be more convenient for you as a rebroadcast at http://www.moorelife.org. Part 1, Possessing the Promise Land, is already available at the website.

Praying for you as a Porch blog follower/friend. God bless you!

P. A. Oltrogge

All’s right with my world…

All’s right with my world, my life every day
because You are in it, dear Lord, to stay.

When storms crash around me, I command them to cease;
and if faith takes some battering, I still have Your peace.

Whatever the circumstances, I count it all joy;
I’m more than a conqueror whom this world can’t destroy.

The blessing of God is mine now and forever;
I’m secure in a covenant that cannot be severed.

The Lord is my Shepherd, the pastures are green–
With my mind stayed on Jesus, my life is serene.

P. A. Oltrogge

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 NKJV

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Romans 8:37 NKJV

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters….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 23:1, 2, and 6 NASB

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

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

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No Shrinking/Shy Violets

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BUT MORE THAN CONQUERORS!

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Romans 8:37

“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

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
Proverbs 28:1

“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

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

“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)

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For you are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

Scriptures: New King James Version

Seeing Ourselves in the Story of Zacchaeus

“And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received Him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:1-10 KJV

Sometimes….

Like Zacchaeus, do we find ourselves “up a tree,”
feeling strained about whether or not we can see
Jesus, the Lord, in the midst of our day,
even though we really took no time to pray?

Mercifully, Jesus calls us to quickly come down–
We sense His smile and not a frown;
He wants to come to where we live
to share counsel and love that He has to give.

Short in stature, Zacchaeus was,
“Short on time” is our daily buzz…
If we seek Christ’s presence before the day’s start
we’ll have greater courage to not lose heart.

P. A. Oltrogge

Of course, this account is really about Jesus’ love and saving grace for Zacchaeus, who was wanting to see Him. But the thoughts expressed above came to mind from the story because it seemed a good reminder that if our day is going to be busy, even a brief time of prayer, seeking the Lord’s wisdom/guidance for the day and listening to hear from Him, is wise. When we don’t do that, it can be much easier to become discouraged or choose paths that might not be the Lord’s best.

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35 KJV

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6 NKJV

“Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there.” Acts 16:7 NLT

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 KJV

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

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” Luke 18:1 NKJV

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” 2 Corinthians 4:1 NKJV

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9 NKJV

“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26 NKJV

Nighttime Snowfall

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Scene/Unsplash

To this day, I love to watch the snow falling, so very peacefully at night, descending softly and serenely, glistening in the moonlight.

I remember, as children, wintry evenings, when the winds would blow…
heading down our long, country driveway, to help our father shovel snow.

We sensed the peace of the Lord outside amid the drifts so deep,
and laughed together, as we worked, before heading inside for the night to sleep.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Have you entered the treasury of snow…?” Job 38:22

“He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes.” Psalm 147:16

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Words of Jesus in John 14:27

New King James Version