Prayer to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord

“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

…if you’ve not already done so….

After you’ve acknowledged that you, like all, have sinned, then repent and simply receive the free gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, to become one of God’s own children….

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith….” from Romans 3:21-26

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


Dear Heavenly Father,

I come to you in the name of Jesus…

who said, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37), so I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in and I thank You for it.

It’s written in Romans: “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Romans 10:8-13

I am calling on Your Name, so I know you have saved me now.

I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  I believe that He was raised from the dead for my justification, and I confess Him now as my Savior and Lord.

Because Your Word says, “With the heart, one believes unto righteousness,” and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ…and I am saved!  “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Thank You, Lord!

“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

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’” Matthew 16:24-25 

“Therefore, also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him, the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

The Name of the Lord Jesus

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10 NASB

Whenever there’s a “darkest hour,”

the name of Jesus is our strong tower.

When things are rough and are looking bleak,

it’s then that faith must confidently speak.

All things are possible with our God…

He makes flowers to rise through the stubborn sod.

God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear–

the message from Him is to be of good cheer!

We often want to be able to see the victory first,

but faith sees a good outcome when things seem at their worst.

Look past any image that speaks of defeat.

See (and say) it as God sees it–your victory’s complete!

P. A. Oltrogge

“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 

“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26 

“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

“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

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….” …from Hebrews 12:1-3

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’” …from Mark 11:20-26

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.  And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:1-5

“Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 (NASB)

Scriptures NKJV or as noted

Be blessed to watch Terri and George Pearsons this week, at “Today on TV,” “Freedom from Fear,” encouraging us to keep our eyes on Jesus, standing against any fear, at http://www.kcm.org

There’s a Song in the Air

…we’re only a little past Christmas and Epiphany (the visit of the wise men), so I’m sharing still a lovely hymn….

There’s a song in the air; there’s a star in the sky…
There’s a mother’s sweet prayer, and a baby’s low cry.
And the star rains its fire, while angelic choirs sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!

There’s a tumult of joy, o’er the wonderful birth,
for a virgin’s sweet baby is the Lord of the earth.
Lo, the star rains its fire while angelic choirs sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!

In the light of that star, angels sang of His worth,
and their song from afar has swept over the earth.
Every hearth is aflame, as we join in and sing,
in the homes of the nations that Jesus is King!

We rejoice in His light as we echo the song
that was heard in the night from the heavenly throng.
The shepherds rejoiced and also made known
that the Savior had arrived from God’s heavenly throne.

Josiah G. Holland/Karl P. Harrington

Since this was authored long ago, I adjusted the song somewhat to a bit more modern thought… It is a beautiful Christmas hymn.

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“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!’

“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.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.” …from Luke 2

…and of the journey of the wise men, we read:

“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

“…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.” Matthew 2:9-11

“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. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:12-14

…a few more poetic thoughts:

In the Light of His Star

In the light of a brilliant star that was shining in the East…was found the prophesied Savior and our great High Priest.

There’s only one Mediator between God and man–Jesus, our Redeemer, who was sent to us by God’s plan.

Mankind needed to be saved from this world’s evil foe. Now Christ’s redeeming blood makes sins as white as snow.

For guidance to the Messiah, God had used a star. Wise men came to worship Christ–they’d seen it from afar.

Those who see their need for the redemption that Christ brings…do worship Him, as well–our Mighty God and King of Kings!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 KJV

“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

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all….” 1 Timothy 2:1-6

“…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

“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 He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:16

Scriptures: NKJV or as noted

There’s Still Light in Goshen

…on this first day of January, we’re reminded that there’s still Light in Goshen….

The Lord was working out a major plan to set free–the captive Hebrew people of old. There would be ten plagues, so the actions of Moses and Aaron would need to be brave and bold.

When they came before Pharaoh, they had commands from the Lord on what to say or do, to warn him of, or initiate, every plague that his nation was soon to go through.

The ninth plague of darkness was so severe that the Egyptians couldn’t get around. For three days, the darkness was “felt” and thick, in the air and on the ground.

One of Egypt’s chief deities was the sun “god,” so such darkness proved the Lord’s might, to prevail over any of the “gods” of the Egyptians. Only His power could end the dark night.

But the Hebrews were under God’s protection; and, in the midst of that constant night, there was light in Goshen in their dwellings because God was in charge of their fight.

Today, people experience darkness, not of God and not a kind where you can’t visibly see, but darkness in their minds when they’ve not recognized “the door,” through which anyone’s able to go free.

Jesus pointed the way, saying, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” You can experience “Goshen” through God’s Son yet today, and you’ll have all of the light that you’ll need.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Exodus 10:21-23 NKJV

“If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 KJV

“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 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

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

Happy New Year!

Snowy, Northbrook, IL,
Photo shared with permission of http://www.frankhubeny.blog

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As we step into 2023, the now present, new year,

with the Lord as our Shepherd, we’ll have nothing to fear.

In fact, we remember, Jesus told us to be of good cheer…

He has overcome the world, and it’s His voice, we’ll hear.

“My sheep hear my voice.”  Jesus, You will lead the way.

“I am with you always.”  We’re listening for what You’ll say.

Lead us on pathways, Lord, to show acts of Your love and grace…

after we’ve made time spent with You priority, seeking Your face.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow us each and every day…

You’ve assured our petitions are heard and answered when we pray.

Help us not to be anxious, but, instead, to sense Your peace.

Your mercies never come to an end–Your love will never cease!

P. A. Oltrogge

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulnrss.” Lamentations 3:21-23 RSV

“…and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:3

“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

“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

When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’  Psalm 27:8

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, oh Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 KJV

“Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 NASB

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.'” Mark 11:22-24 (and the following two verses on the importance of forgiving)

“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

“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

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want… Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:1, 6

Scriptures: NKJV or as noted

Our confession is…

Teacher and minister Mark Hankins has shared that you can’t rise above your confession…that is, if you confess that you’re down, discouraged, can’t win…then you won’t be able to rise above that, unless you change what you are saying. Often, as he reads healing confessions, for instance, he’ll say, “Our confession is…”  (then, he goes on to confess (agree with) the Word of God and its truth by quoting a particular scripture).
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I’m victorious in every matter through my Lord, Jesus Christ.  There hasn’t been a problem in which the Lord’s faithfulness hasn’t sufficed.

Victory in Jesus, through His sacrificial blood and through His name…and through God’s precious promises, is that which I, as a believer, claim.

Just as those who mined for gold in California once “staked their claim,” I claim the “gold” of victory that is found through the Word, Jesus’ blood, and Jesus’ name!

P. A. Oltrogge

“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

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6, 7

“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

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”  Lamentations 3:22-24 KJV

“…but the mouth of the upright will deliver them.” Proverbs 12:6 (Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 12:14; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 13:3; Proverbs 15:4; Proverbs 18:20-21; Proverbs 21:23 and others)

“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 KJV

Scriptures: NKJV or as noted

The book, The Spirit of Faith and many other encouraging books and materials are available at: http://www.markhankins.org

And the booklet, Our Covenant with God, by Kenneth Copeland, explains how Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb that established your covenant with God:

“Your covenant with God, sealed in the blood of His Son, is a powerful agreement that makes you joint heirs with Him. Not only does this covenant assure that He will be your God forever, but it provides, as His beloved child, a faithful and loving Father who will never leave you nor forsake you. Discover how, as a child of the Most High God, the power of sin has been broken, THE BLESSING is yours, and your victory is assured!”

…available at http://www.kcm.org

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

“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

“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

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

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

Emmanuel, God with Us

Emmanuel, God with us…
You see, we are not alone.
Emmanuel, God with us…
Through the birth of a Child, God’s presence was shown.
He wouldn’t leave us without knowledge of His love,
But made Himself known, coming down from above.
Emmanuel, God with us…
From God, the Father, came a Baby so mild.
Emmanuel, God with us…
God’s Son was embodied in a holy Child.
Born of a virgin, the handmaiden of the Lord—
From His life, the goodness of God would be poured.
After humble beginnings in a manger stall,
His name would become great—He would die for all,
So that any individual living on this earth
Could personally know their God of great worth.
Emmanuel, God with us…
It’s the greatest name known.
Emmanuel, God with us in Jesus,
And now we need never be alone!

P. A. Oltrogge

“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.” John 10:10

“In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” John 14:20

“And Jesus came up 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 the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20

“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

“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

Cherished “Christmas of my Childhood” Memories

We always met at our grade school on an often snowy Christmas Eve, anticipating the gifts back home that we knew we would receive.

But thoughts, really, were on the Lord Jesus and the amazing story, that we would be telling of God sending us His Son amidst angelic glory.

We each had a part we had practiced for the yearly Christmas Eve service–those who may have had a bigger role were sometimes a little bit nervous.

The atmosphere was one of warmth, though, but so respectful of the divine–at my church very many years ago, these Christmas memories of mine.

We stepped outside the school and crossed over the connecting street, to the large decorated church sanctuary where everyone would meet.

To us children, the lights and nativity were always greatly impressive. Beautifully-ornamented, tall Christmas trees made the night so festive.

Boys wearing new suits and ties and the girls in fine dresses sewn, began to sing the great Christmas carols, backed by the organ’s deep tone.

Often a solo was sung–one of the most endearing was “O Holy Night,” which spoke of the guiding star and its sweetly gleaming light.

This song told of the wise men who came from a distant Orient land, and how we were meant to love each other, as God had always planned.

“The weary world rejoices” were words that carol would recall, and that Jesus Christ had been born to us in a lowly manger stall.

“His law is love and His gospel is peace.” I remember the song so well, along with the serenity felt, as we heard the old church steeple bell.

Some of the children had the roles of shepherds or of the wise men to play. Of course, there were Mary and Joseph by the Baby in the hay.

We were depicting the humble place where that great King had arrived–the Giver of everything good in life that could ever be wanted or derived.

“Joy to the World” was sung with robust joy to the pipe organ music’s final beats, after which we returned to our classrooms for sacks of nuts and other treats.

Heading home in the car with our families to continue the Christmas Eve fest, we knew it was because of Jesus, that our lives were truly blessed.

Perhaps this reminds of your own childhood. If not, come now to join in its peace; God wants you in His family forever, to abide in His love that will never cease.

P. A. Oltrogge

O Holy Night

The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
’til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices,
O night divine, O night when Christ was born,
O night divine, O night, O night divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
with glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
in all our trials, born to be our friend.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger;
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother;
and in His Name, all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we;
let all within us praise His holy Name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever;
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
O night divine, O night, O night divine!

(music by Adolphe Adam
words by Placide Cappeau)