No Greater Star

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod, the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” Matthew 2:1-2 NKJV

One of the names of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is The Bright and Morning Star.
Long ago, the wise men followed “His” star when traveling from afar.

It guided them like a compass—perhaps giving light to them on their way.
The Bright and Morning Star, through God’s Spirit, is still guiding men who are wise today.

This Christmas, a distant neighbor’s roof has a large, lighted star for all to view.
Its twinkling in the darkness speaks of God’s love—always there to see us through.

Each night, I look for that star, which reminds of the presence of the Lord—
and that, for those who take Jesus as Savior, peace with God has been fully restored.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1 

“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

“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 3:21-23 RSV

“‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.’ And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”
Revelation 22:16-17

“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

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

There is no greater name than that of Jesus:

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” Psalm 50:15

Call upon His name….

Scriptures NKJV

The Manger

Jesus…

It’s a funny thing, but I never saw
Why You might have been laid in a bed of straw.
That’s where the animals came to feed,
And that was representative of our daily need
Of the Bread of Life, which, Jesus, You are.
We’re drawn to Your Word like wise men to a star.
To all people the angels proclaimed tidings of great joy,
By pointing to the birth of that God-indwelt boy,
Who lay down in the manger where the animals were fed.
Jesus–the Word was God–You’re our daily bread.

P. A. Oltrogge

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son, and she wrapped him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:4-7

Like a Shepherd

“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs,
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”

Isaiah 40:11

While shepherds watched their flock by night,
an angel appeared, and God’s glory shone bright.
The angel told the shepherds to not be afraid
since a proclamation of great joy was being made!
A Savior for all people was born, who was Christ the Lord!
And then more angels praised God for the Baby adored.
Straightway to Bethlehem the shepherds went
to see this One Whom God had sent.
To everyone they saw, they made known what was told
of God’s gift, Who was cut from the shepherd’s mold.
He would have a flock–the Good Shepherd He would be-
He would die for that flock, both for you and for me.
To rescue and die for the lambs–no greater love
could have been sent to us from above.
If you’re not yet His lamb, be aware there is danger–
we have need of the Good Shepherd, once a babe in a manger.
Just receive Him as Savior–then learn of His great care
in shepherding your life as you come to Him in prayer.
At Christ’s birth, we were blessed, and God’s message came then—
of “peace on earth and good will toward men!”

P. A. Oltrogge

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even 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

“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.” John 10:9-11

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 (King James Version)

The Shepherds

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.

Luke 2:8-12 NKJV

It’s become more widely told today
that these were specific shepherds,
who’d been watching over their flock
in the outlying fields by night.

They’d been trained in the special care
of those lambs that were destined–
to become sacrificial temple lambs,
which were to be kept pure and free from blight.

To a designated place used for this purpose,
the ewes who were carrying young,
were brought by these guardian shepherds,
as the place for them to give birth.

Once born, a pure lamb was wrapped immediately
in the protective swaddling cloths.
Jesus, God’s sacrificial Lamb, too, was so wrapped,
illustrating His destiny and signifying His great worth.

“Behold the Lamb of God,” John the Baptist, later, said of Him,
“Who takes away the sin of the world.”
Jesus was crucified on a cross, died, and was buried,
but rose up victoriously from the dead.

Son of God and Son of Man…
Jesus, our Messiah, became the fulfillment of God’s redemption plan.
Born to bear the penalty for your sins and mine,
He had become man, to die on the cross in our stead.

P. A. Oltrogge

Whether you have thought of Jesus having been born in a stable or a cave, it was for you that He was born and that His life He gave….

“(The Lamb Of God) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”
John 1:29 NKJV

“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:3-5 NKJV

“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

Internet search: Mark Bailey Decision Magazine Migdal Eder or other such articles which refer to the Tower of the Flock (cave-like ground-floor room)

Unto YOU

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made [f]widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

(From Luke 2 NKJV)

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“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 King James Version

A blessed Merry Christmas UNTO YOU, dear follower or friend of this blog…

P. A. Oltrogge

A Christmas Concert of Praise

Greetings dear followers and friends of this blog,

As a “gift,” by way of suggestion, you may enjoy taking in a wonderful Christmas concert from December, 2020, or a previous year (with full orchestra) by doing an internet search for: You Tube Alistair Begg Christmas Concert, A Parkside Christmas, presented by Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Have a very blessed Christmas!

P. A. Oltrogge

Son of the Highest, Son of Man

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth have been from of old,
From everlasting.”
Micah 5:2 NLT

From destined Bethlehem Ephrathah, a town that was very small,
would come the One who would be Ruler of Israel and the Lord of all.

The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, a virgin humble and mild,
who God the Father had chosen to bear the Messiah—Jesus, His Holy Child.

Coming forth from the family of Judah, Jesus’ birth was lauded that night,
by rejoicing angelic voices, as the world’s Savior from sin’s blight.

His goings forth, the prophet Micah said, were actually “from of old–
from everlasting,”
 as He preexisted with God the Father, if the truth be told.

After His birth, Mary laid Him down in a manger—a depiction very sweet.
But He was Immanuel, the eternal Mighty God, sent to bring about Satan’s defeat.

P. A. Oltrogge

…this writing inspired by a devotional written by Kenneth E. Hagin,
Founder, Rhema Bible Training College

Joseph, betrothed to Mary, was troubled, having learned she was with child, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying…

“‘Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:20-23 NKJV

Prior to this, Mary had been visited:

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’

“But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’

“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’
And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’

“Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”

Luke 1:26-38 NKJV

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”

Luke 2:7-14 NKJV

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11 NKJV

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 NKJV

“The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—“. Acts 10:36 NKJV

Artwork print
Pixabay

A Heavenly Christmas

I wonder how Christmas celebrations in heaven today would actually be.

Perhaps there are extraordinary garlands and a most brilliant Christmas tree!

Surely, the angels who lauded Jesus’ birth to shepherds in the field back then

are still singing the beautiful chorus of “Peace on earth, good will to men!”

Those shepherds who first heard the message are now in the presence of the Lord, 

along with many faithful Christians who have gone on to their eternal reward.

Mary and Joseph, the chosen couple, would remember the time of Christ’s birth—

what a role they had in providing tender care for the Redeemer of the earth!

Beautiful carols, written over the centuries, must be so gloriously sung,

the saints joining in with grateful praise—people of every nation and tongue!

Love, joy, and peace would surround overwhelmingly in that heavenly place—

Christmas, or any season in heaven, will be the richest experience of God’s grace.

The wise men who traveled from afar, and fell down in worship of the Child, 

are there in heaven, for they recognized Him, as the King who’d been born undefiled.

And, oh, The Bright and Morning Star—Jesus Himself, would tower over heaven’s Christmas tree. 

He, who was crucified on a “tree” long ago, reigns in victory throughout eternity!

P. A. Oltrogge

Noting these scriptures after, and because of, Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross, also known as “the tree”…

“Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.” Acts 13:29

“(The Just Live by Faith) For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13-14

“…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”
1 Peter 2:24

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16

Scriptures NKJV

Star gazing leads to the Star to be praising

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod, the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’

“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ 

“Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.’ 

“When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

“Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” Matthew 2:1-12 NKJV

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There’s something very compelling about a brilliant star;
and that, dear Lord, is what You are…

“The Bright and Morning Star,” is one of Your titles, which inspires—
“Glory to God in the highest” was sung at Your birth by heaven’s angelic choirs.

The wise men followed the guiding light of a certain star in the sky,
which led them to You, the Bright and Morning Star—
Jesus, the Son of the Most High.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16 NKJV

“And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:30-33 KJV

“For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2 NKJV

“Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.” Psalm 50:14 NKJV

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 NKJV

If interested, http://www.answersingenesis.org has information about the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn today, an event which is reminding many of the Biblical star that guided the wise men from the East. The star that led them may have no scientific explanation but that it was specially brought about by God.

The First Noel

The first Noel the angel did say 
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; 
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep, 
on a cold winter’s night that was so deep. 


Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, 
born is the King of Israel….

A familiar carol that’s sung every Christmas is “The First Noel,”

about an angel coming from heaven, with the greatest news to tell.

The King of Israel and Savior of the world that day had been born.

He’d come to bring us God’s peace, though He would meet with scorn.

He aimed to please His Father in heaven, seeking only His will,

even to the point of death on a cross, in order that He would fulfill

His Father’s desire for us to have relationship with Him as well.

Of that greatest birth, the first Noel, He’s now appointed us to tell….

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel…born is the King of Israel!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe, wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

(From Luke 2 NKJV)

Years later,, during His ministry as an adult, Jesus gave this commission:

And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.  He who has believed (in Me) and has been baptized will be saved (from the penalty of God’s wrath and judgment); but he who has not believed will be condemned.'”  Mark 16:15-16 AMP

And the Apostle, Paul, wrote to the Romans:

“Therefore there is now no condemnation (no guilty verdict, no punishment) for those who are in Christ Jesus (who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior).”  Romans 8:1 AMP

Of the first Noel, the good news of great joy, rings every Christmas bell!