II Peter 2:20 ” If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.”

So why do Believers fall away…even after experiencing the saving grace and mercy of Jesus?  Is the pull of the world too strong, or is their confidence in this new-found faith too frail?  Has the self-centered human nature triumphed over  the newly gained eternal perspective?  And why does Peter tell us they are worse off than before they knew Jesus…could it be that they may spend eternity lamenting their decision?

John 5:7 ” ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ “

Something bad happens to us… what’s the first thing we usually do?  We blame someone or thing for it.  Blaming others rather than taking responsibility for the circumstances we find ourselves in is something we do rather well.  I remember a saying that was popular years ago…”The devil made me do it!”  No, the devil didn’t make you do anything…it’s all on you.

Jeremiah 14:7 ” Although our sins testify against us, O Lord, do something for the sake of Your name. For our backsliding is great; we have sinned against You.”

Backsliding…slipping from good behavior to bad.  Most times it’s slow and insidious…our waywardness creeping steadily towards what’s wrong…and before we realize it, we’re caught up in evil.  Rarely do we see a Believer blatantly plunge into the deep end of wickedness without regard of the consequences for themselves and their relationship with God.  Backsliding is rationalizing away God and putting ourselves in control…and that never ends well.

Psalm 32: 1 ” Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”

The Bundt cake would not come out of the pan.  My young Granddaughter and I were baking a birthday cake for baby Jesus on Christmas Eve.  Try as I might, the cake was stuck…so I resorted to a knife to pry it out.  What plopped out on the plate was anything but a pretty cake.  It was cracked , marred, and missing a few pieces here and there. But suddenly, this flawed cake become an illustration and teaching tool for us all in the kitchen that afternoon.  When we come to Jesus,  we can look just as  ragged and messed up as that poor cake. But Jesus comes and covers over all our sins…just like the fluffy pure white frosting we used to ice the cake. And soon that cake was beautiful…all the imperfections hidden…all our sins now forgiven.

Isaiah 9:6 ” For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Jesus the Messiah has come to earth for you and me this Christmas Day. He offers mercy and love, peace and comfort, salvation and eternal life in place of the pain, loss, and hopelessness that may be in your life today.  Allow Him to come into your life and change you from the inside out…taking all the negatives and transforming them into hope for the future. A Blessed Christmas to all of you!

Matthew 2:11 ” On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”

The Magi came seeking the Messiah, and bringing with them, gifts…but very special gifts.  These gifts were expensive luxuries of the day…fit for royal presents.  But beyond that, they were also very symbolic in their meanings.   The burning of frankincense symbolized prayers rising to heaven like the fragrant  smoke it gave off… the prayers of Jesus interceding for us at the right hand of the Father.  The myrrh was used for burials and symbolized death…Jesus’s death on the Cross for us.  Finally, the gold was given to symbolize His royal status…and also for the very practical reason –  His parents would soon need finances as they escaped to Egypt to flee from King Herod.

Isaiah 60: 3 ” Nations will come to Your light, and Kings to the brightness of Your dawn.”

The Magi traveled from afar…following the brightest star in the constellation they had ever witnessed.  They knew  that at the end of their journey they would find Him…the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  And even today men still seek Him…Jesus Messiah.

Luke 2: 10-12 ” But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ “

On that dark night the heavens were suddenly split apart by the biggest light show ever seen.  The entire heavenly host sang in unison, praising God and the birth of His Son Jesus.  All this pomp and ceremony to the most unlikely group of people…the shepherds.  God chose the social outcasts…those considered unclean by the Priests due to their routine handling of dead animals to be the very first to know about the birth of Jesus.  Yes, the Lord chose very common people to tell this wonderful news to…people like you and me.

Matthew 2: 4-5 ” When he had called together all the people’s Chief Priests and Teachers of the Law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea.’ they replied…”

When King Herod needed information, he went to the source.  That’s why he called in the  most intelligent and learned Jewish historians of the day…who in turn quoted the Prophet Micah as to the birth place of the Messiah.  But we also have that same source today at our disposal, for the future has been foretold to us.  And in Revelation 22:20 it is made quite plain…”Yes, I am coming soon.”

Luke 2:4 ” So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

Caesar Augustus had decreed a census of the entire Roman world…and so everyone had to travel to their home town to register.  If it hadn’t been for that, Joseph probably wouldn’t have subjected his very pregnant wife, Mary, to the long, hard journey on bumpy roads.  But God used a godless Roman King to fulfill His ultimate purpose  and plan.  What we see as just common, ordinary, unrelated threads in our life, God is using to weave a tapestry of unbelievable beauty according to His will.

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