Christmas is…

Christmas is all about God becoming Man, by a birth that was heaven-sent.
The birth of mankind’s Savior is what Christmas has always meant.

Jesus Christ, God’s holy infant, slept in a stable on a bed of hay,
which demonstrated that genuine humility is always the Lord’s way.

This newborn baby would grow up to be the greatest teacher of all time.
It’s of His life and redemptive work that the joyous Christmas bells chime.

Mary and Joseph were chosen as parents to nurture God’s very own Son—
to guard and protect Him carefully until their guidance over Him was done.

Then Jesus began to follow what His Heavenly Father was conveying—
and His Father’s will was reflected in the things He began doing and saying.

He taught by Word and example, but eventually was led to a hill,
where something more lowly than His birth in a stable was awaiting Him still.

From the stable to a criminal’s cross, the Spirit of God was His guide.
Christmas is Christ—He was born for us all, and for all of us He died.

But a joyous resurrection came about—He’d vanquished all of His foes!
Now we, too, can walk in newness of life because Jesus Christ arose.

The little town of Bethlehem is where Christ’s ministry began…
Foretold and fulfilled, Christ accomplished for us God’s redemptive plan.

So share, “A blessed Merry Christmas!” greeting, honoring the Biblical scene…
of the beautiful Nativity of Christ, something “Happy Holidays” can never mean.

P. A. Oltrogge

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Pixabay

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

Poinsettias for the Prince of Peace

The Porch of the Lord

Photo by Naotake Murayama Photo by Naotake Murayama

At the Christmas season, with decorations inside and out,
The poinsettias reflect what it’s all about.
Clean as the whiteness of a lamb or a dove–
The purity of ivory petals speaks of the Child sent from above.

Pink reflects cheer and the joy that was proclaimed
By the angels about the Christ child–Jesus, He’s named.
Crimson red speaks of blood that was shed for mankind
By Jesus Christ upon the cross–our salvation defined.

The lives of those who receive Him gain a new lease
In finding faith for living through this Prince of Peace.
So, in seeing the poinsettias, rejoice for the reason
That His birth in Bethlehem is what gave us this season.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel…

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Choosing the Real versus the Artificial

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I remember many chilly Christmases past, as you likely do as well…
going to a local tree lot, to choose the best tree, as far as we could tell.

Some may have been too short, and some may have been too tall;
then, finally, we would discover…the best one for us of them all.

At some point, years ago, it became popular to switch to an artificial pine,
but they never truly could satisfy this old-fashioned heart of mine.

When it comes to choosing the truth about God, there really is only one way.
Jesus—the way, the truth, and the life, who came to us, first, as a baby on the hay.

You can’t make up your own version of God—an artificial “god” won’t do.
For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son…this He did for you.

So as you go about enjoying the beautiful trees of the Christmas season,
remember God’s Biblical and satisfying truth—that Jesus IS its reason.

Most trees are topped by an angel or a star, reminding us of Christ’s birth.
Rejoice, for God loves you very much; and Jesus is (the real) Lord of heaven and earth!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” John 14:6 KJV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 NLT

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Photos by Porch of the Lord

A Star for the Magi, a Star for Us

“…they went their way, and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His Mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:9-11

The Bible relates that some magi sought
a gift so priceless that it couldn’t be bought.
A star was their guide in this long-ago quest;
and it went before them, coming to rest,
over the place where God decreed it should,
designating the Christ child—and there it stood.
It must have been brilliant as it stopped above
to point out the gift of God’s divine love.
They worshiped Jesus there, going inside,
trusting that the star was their heaven-sent guide.
The child was the very reason God had brought them to this place,
and they sensed that redemption was theirs to embrace.
A Redeemer God had sent, as had been foretold—
The magi presented gifts—myrrh, frankincense, and gold.
God’s righteousness and holiness would require a sacrifice—
that justice would be met when this Child paid the price.
He would live a perfect life, fulfilling all that’s right,
and would urge all to repentance, saying He was the world’s Light.
As an individual, you may think that your life has been good—
but “falling short of God’s glory” needs to be understood.
God sent for all a Savior, an old familiar story—
only Christ’s sinless life met and satisfied that glory.
Fitting it was for a sparkling star’s light
to magnify the greatest Light on that special night.
Today God sends His Spirit to lead and be your guide—
It’s standing above the Lord’s house, inviting you to come inside.
There find the God-sent Christ for you to worship and believe.
You’ll find that He gives gifts to you—from His goodness you’ll receive!

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

“But now apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe, for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness because in the forbearance of God, He passed over the sins previously committed, for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

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“Every good thing bestowed 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
(Scriptures NASB)

Advent of a Rose

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Pixabay

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming
as men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright,
amid the cold of winter
when half spent was the night.

Isaiah ‘twas foretold it,
this Rose I have in mind.
With Mary we behold it,
the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
she bore to men a Savior
when half spent was the night.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender
with sweetness fills the air,
dispels with glorious splendor
the darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
from sin and death He saves us
and lightens every load.

This hymn originally appeared in 1599,
Translated from German by Theodore Baker 1894

“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.’”
John 8:12

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 2:15

Scriptures NKJV

Foretold and Fulfilled

The Porch of the Lord

Prophecies and fulfillment (Old and New Testaments) on the birth and life of Jesus Christ

In (Genesis 12:3 and 22:18) the Lord told Abraham that by His design,
the blessing of the Messiah would come from his (Abraham’s) own line. (Matthew 1:1)

The Messiah’s mother would be a virgin–Immanuel, He’d be called. (Isaiah 7:14)
By an angel in a dream, to Joseph, this was confirmed and recalled. (Matthew 1:18-23)

(Genesis 17:19 and Numbers 24:17) reference Isaac and Jacob, these two–
(Matthew 1:2,16) shows Jesus Christ as a descendent of theirs, so this became true.

(Micah 5:2) prophesies Bethlehem Ephrathah as the town of Jesus’ birth.
(Luke 2:1-7) tells how that came about, making it a place of special worth.

In (Hosea 11:1) is the prophetic, “Out of Egypt, I called My son.”
In (Matthew 2:13-15) an angel warned Joseph to take Mary and the Child to Egypt, to protect God’s…

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Called to forgive, to love, to serve…

What have you called me to, dear Lord?
You’ve called me to live in one accord
with You, my God, and with my fellow man.
To this I’m called—it’s Your “new command.”

To forgive, to love, and, of course, to serve…
to encourage and to bless ‘round every curve
in traveling the path on which You lead.
To this I’m called, in both word and deed.

P. A. Oltrogge

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

“And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he should be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

(All scriptures NKJV)

Psalm 91, Psalm 116:1, Acts 2:1; 2:46; 4:24

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Photo by Porch of the Lord