Jesus, the Light of the World Prayer

Jesus, the Light of the World,

As we celebrate your birth may we begin to see the world in the light of the understanding you give us.
As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known, so may we worship you
in meekness of heart.

May we also remember our brothers and sisters less fortunate than ourselves in this season of giving.


Scripture Sources for Reading

Matthew 4:15-16

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, toward the sea, on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and the ones who sit in the land and shadow of death, a light has dawned on them.”

Luke 1:76-79

And so you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go on before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the merciful compassion of our God by which the dawn will visit to help us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct our feet into the way of peace.”

Luke 2:30-32

For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory to your people Israel.”

John 1:1-13

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and apart from him not one thing came into being that has come into being. In him was life, and the life was the light of humanity. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. A man came, sent from God, whose name was John. This one came for a witness, in order that he could testify about the light, so that all would believe through him. That one was not the light, but came in order that he could testify about the light. The true light, who gives light to every person, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, and the world did not recognize him. He came to his own things, and his own people did not receive him. But as many as received him—to those who believe in his name—he gave to them authority to become children of God, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a husband, but of God.

John 3:16-21

For in this way God loved the world, so that he gave his one and only Son, in order that everyone who believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world in order that he should judge the world, but in order that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not judged, but the one who does not believe has already been judged, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. And this is the judgment: that the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, in order that his deeds may be revealed, that they are done in God.

John 8:12

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 9:5

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

John 12:46-50

I have come as a light into the world, in order that everyone who believes in me will not remain in the darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I will not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not accept my words has one who judges him; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken from myself, but the Father himself who sent me has commanded me what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So the things that I say, just as the Father said to me, thus I say.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

For God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” is the one who has shined in our hearts for the enlightenment of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Hebrews 1:1-3

Although God spoke long ago in many parts and in many ways to the fathers by the prophets, in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the world, who is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, sustaining all things by the word of power.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s possession, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,

2 Peter 1:19

…and we possess as more reliable the prophetic word, to which you do well if you pay attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…

Revelation 22:16

“I, Jesus, sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

Henri Nouwen’s Advent Prayer

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness,
Send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”


A Prayer For Fathers

Heavenly Father,

You entrusted your Son Jesus, the child of Mary, to the care of Joseph, an earthly father.

Bless all fathers as they care for their families.

Give them strength and wisdom, tenderness and patience; support them in the work they have to do, protecting those who look to them, as we look to you for love and salvation, through Jesus Christ our Rock and Defender.


The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner.


Read the original source found in Luke 18:9-14:

And he also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and looked down on everyone else: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed these things with reference to himself: ‘God, I give thanks to you that I am not like other people—swindlers, unrighteous people, adulterers, or even like this tax collector! I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far away, did not want even to raise his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than that one! For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Why is Space So Big?

“The universe is a pretty big space. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So, if it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space, right?” Carl Sagan (Ellie Arroway)*

cookingDid Carl Sagan really believe that there is an objective or purpose or intention to the amount of space that exists? Was he pointing to a Higher Intelligence that values the conservation of matter?

I think he unintentionally did what is natural. We look at the universe and wonder, “Why?” Unfortunately, science is not designed to answer questions of faith. We will need to look to some other discipline for those questions.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭19:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

solar system

*The movie Contact, Eleanor Arroway quotes

(In Contact, based upon Sagan’s novel, the science vs. faith struggle is presented in an interesting way by Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. The movie gives Foster’s character, Ellie, a reasonable anger toward God and faith, then places her in a place where her own personal subjective experiential observation contradicts her scientific opinion. Sagan mistakenly equates experience and revelation. However, it is an entertaining and thought-provoking film.)


The Zion Story: Faith In Action

The following article was not written by me. I have re-published it so that it will be preserved and read by others.

Who but God would write a plot as wonderful as that of Zion’s?

From countless stories of supernatural provision, to extreme difficulties triumphed over, lives that gave all they had to see God’s work advance, miraculous demonstrations of power, graduates on every continent and literally the whole world impacted-all by a small school in Rhode Island.

It’s the saga of a 25-year-old gal from South America who simply wanted to honor the God she loved and served and who found herself involved in a vision and work that required every bit of faith and energy she had. Little did she know that her trip to America would turn out so differently than she had planned.

She was about to learn that “Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible!”
Yet to see God’s vision come to reality would require a life of sacrifice.

Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, Christine Eckman, instead of traveling to California, would end up in a place called Faith Home, on the opposite coast she set out for, a place for retired servants of the Lord.

Here she would meet and marry Rev. Reuben Gibson whose anointed Bible teachings in the Parlor developed a hunger in the hearts of the hearers and they clamored for a school to be opened.

The weeks became years, during which time, from one building, the establishment grew to four buildings. A chapel was built on the grounds; then in 1923 a Tabernacle. The cup of suffering in the well-known mural that was painted in the Tabernacle, as well as in the Temple, was inspired by the loss of Sister Gibson’s husband.

In the fall of 1924, Sister Gibson felt to open a school called the “School of the Prophets,” even though her husband had died only months before. Sister Gibson taught classes on several subjects. The first year God worked supernaturally and often classes turned into mighty demonstrations of God’s power and revelation.

Kathleen Fischer was the school’s first applicant. Her daughter, Margaret graduated in the 1930’s. Geraldine Waterman, Zion’s first missionary, went to China to preach the Gospel.

From year to year improvements were made in the different buildings. Many times a former graduate or the Alumni would supply the funds to do so. In 1936 the name of the school was changed from School of the Prophets to Zion Bible College. Years before, God had called the place Zion and given precious promises in connection with that name through His Spirit. In that year the diplomas awarded at graduation time were from Zion Bible College instead of the School of the Prophets.

Sister Gibson put every talent into the ministry and by the late 1930’s enrollment had climbed to over 90.

Such notable personalities as Mary Campbell, who would touch students for 60 years; Leonard Heroo who grew up in the Children’s home and would become president of the Institute and pastor of Zion Gospel Temple; and Buddy Hill, whose radio ministry would promote the gospel from the Zion campus for decades, would graduate in the years that followed.

As the 40’s progressed and students poured into the school, facilities were again insufficient. God had a solution and in an unusual move the Goff property that included four buildings and adjoined Faith Home became Zion’s.

The Tabernacle was now too small and it only made sense to replace it with a beautiful Temple on the corner of Broadway in front of the school. Yet the commitment never to operate according to man’s wisdom but by the prophetic word would stop that plan. Instead on a back vacant lot it would be built and only a short time later would God’s reason be revealed. Just as seen in Sister Gibson’s vision, the state eventually widened Broadway and would have destroyed the Temple in the process if it had been built there.

Before the finishing of the interior, the Glory of the Lord came down and for days the Lord moved mightily upon His people. The revival of January 1952 will live in the minds of many forever. Young and old, ministers and deacons, sinners and saints, sought God and God moved by His Spirit in a mighty revival. There were healings and gifts and calls to salvation and deliverances, as God showered His blessings upon His people. The meals were often overlooked or forgotten, the hour on the clock held little importance – for God came down in the midst and His glory filled His temple. Zion Gospel Temple was dedicated on March 19, 1952.

The three years following the dedication of the Temple were glorious years for Zion and Sister Gibson. Then, suddenly, in the midst of the very busy month of May our beloved Mother Gibson was stricken ill. The seniors were preparing for graduation and she was getting ready to march on to her eternal reward.

The following six years would bring tremendous change asLeonard Heroo became pastor of Zion Gospel Temple and Mary Campbell became principal of the school; and everyone learned what Zion was like without its beloved founder.

To add to the challenge, the state would require the demolition or removal of four of Zion’s historic buildings to make way for a widened Broadway. Finally, one by one, the Crocker, Wilbert Rich and Children’s Home buildings were demolished, until only Faith Home remained. The entire school, and especially those who had known Zion so long and had lived in the Home, gathered on that day to watch with tear-stained faces as the historic landmark was destroyed. Then, old Faith Home was gone; yet fond memories of God’s presence and workings there shall ever be remembered.

The 60’s brought the election of Leonard Heroo as Zion’s second president-definitely a man ahead of his time.

The long awaited Gibson Administration Building was constructed and dedicated on January 3, 1966, Sister Gibson’s birthday.

Only five years later to the day another event would shake Zion. On the morning of January 3, 1971, just before all the students returned from break, a fire destroyed the girls’ dorm. Only 24 hours later and 56 lives would have been in jeopardy.

Dr. Heroo was prevailed upon to close the school but faith refused to listen to man’s wisdom. Friends and alumni came to the school’s aid once again providing for what was lost. In November 1972 a brand new Cleveland Hall would open with room for 54.

The new dorm was named Cleveland Hall, honoring the Temple’s founder, Rev. Alpheus A. Cleveland. He left the Methodist Church and founded a Holiness Mission, first called Faith Church, later Church of the First Born and then Zion Gospel Tabernacle.

The late 70’s and early 80’s saw the Alumni Association, under the diligent leadership of Edward Hill, raise one million dollars to build the beautiful new Learning Center. This facility housed a chapel, classrooms and a much larger library.

Huge transition and change would again rock Zion in the mid-eighties. Dr. Heroo, due to failing health, would retire as the president of the school and pastor of Zion Gospel Temple. Mary Campbell Wilson, not long after she was married, stepped in to lead the school briefly and then in 1985 Dr. N. Benjamin Crandall was elected to lead the school and Temple.

He had barely begun his presidency when the 108 acre Barrington College campus became available. This meant the sale of the dearly beloved East Providence campus situated on six acres.

For many it was very hard to watch as a developer purchased and then demolished the Tabernacle and Gracemore buildings.

Not many people know that Sister Gibson came to the Barrington campus and claimed the property for Zion at least 45 years before God miraculously enabled Zion to acquire it. The plans for the first major building on the campus were being drawn up as Christine Eckman was on the high seas, traveling to a place unknown, not knowing what God was planning to accomplish through her life and ministry.

In 1985, Brother Crandall gathered many of the Zion family around him by the fish pond and had a memorable picture taken. In this picture are some of the pillars of Zion who held up the hands of the leaders and marched on in faith day in and day out and did great exploits for God.

As the new millennium began, Dr. Crandall would release the reins of Zion to its fifth president, George Cope, a man whose grandfather was led to Christ by a Zionian some 60 years before.

Although it’s not possible to tell the story of Zion without describing all the physical changes, it’s more of a story of people who have given their lives in service to God and this great school. People like:

Marie King, Alice Chase, Pat Gallagher, Rosemary and Swan Messerlian, Ruth and Oliver Custer, Billy White, Ray Goodwin, George Hockhousen, Albert Spader, David Johnson, Ruth Andersen, Esther Rollins, Evert Dahlstrom, Jim Pierce, Nat Saginario, Ruth Christopher, Robert Lundstrom, Eleanor Brunnetto, David Wyns, Libby Gomes, Roberta Hockhousen.

The list could go on and on. These and so many more are the heroes of Zion.

And the result of their labors?

In the past five years alone students have come from 27 different states across America.
During that same time, men and women have come from 51 different countries around the world to study here.

Today Zion has over 3,000 alumni, most of whom are actively serving the Lord. Our school can boast of one of the highest percentages of graduates involved in full time ministry of any school in America – all for the glory of God and the increase of his kingdom.

May his will be done forever without end. Zion . . .the Joy of the Whole Earth!

The Foundation of Faith laid by our founder decades ago remains the cornerstone of Zion Bible College. Faith continues to speak life to millions around the world through decades of alumni who have trained in these hallowed halls. The future is as bright as the promises of God. The vision is yet for an appointed time, it will speak and will not lie!

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