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1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (the Message)

“Dear Father, just and justifier,

Thank you that your righteousness has been manifested to us. You
made this happen apart from the law, although the law and the
prophets bear witness to it, to your righteousness through faith in
Christ Jesus for all who trust in him. How just you are in making
no distinction between people on this matter, since every person
has sinned and falls short of your glory.

Thank you for justifying us by your grace as a gift, through the
redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom you put forward as an
expiation by his blood, so we can receive it by  faith.

Praise be to you, O holy God, for showing us how righteous you
really are. In your divine forbearance you have passed over former
sins, but now you have made provision for forgiveness-the
righteousness of your Son, Jesus Christ, in whom we place our
faith.

In the name of Jesus we ask all this and lay claim to the grace
which you have so generously extended. Amen.”

paraphrased by Eldon Degge, taken from Romans 3:21-26

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!

God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time.

“For I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filed with hope.”

Wait patiently for the Lord!
Wait confidently for Him!

But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength;
they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings,
they run without growing weary,
they walk without getting tired.

Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases;
His compassions never end.
They are fresh every morning;
Your faithfulness is abundant!

(1 Peter 1:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ecclesiastes  3:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 37:7, Isaiah 40:31, Philippians 3:13-14, Lamentations 3:22-23, NETBible)

“For thousands of years people have been told about God. Many take no notice. In the days long ago, God sent wise ones who explained about Himself with song and with story and with words easily understood. But many, many people closed their ears.

“At last He said, ‘I will send my Son.’ And this is what He did that first Christmas day. God became a man. He came to earth as a baby–to live and grow and laugh and suffer, just like we do. It’s hard to understand God. He’s everywhere. He’s all-powerful. We can see what he does but we cannot see Him.

“But it’s different with Jesus. We can understand Him because we know what a man looks like and feels like. The Bible explains it this way: ‘Jesus is the visible likeness of the invisible God.’

“And He did more than show us God and feel what all of us feel. He took our place on the cross. We all deserve to be punished, but Jesus took our punishment.

“So when I try to think of God and my mind staggers, then I think of Jesus. I read the Bible and see how He taught and healed and how He died so that we could be forgiven; and to make it clear how deadly sin is.

“But He didn’t just die and that was the end of it. He came back to life to prove that He is God, to rescue us and to give us new life. These days God has spoken to us by His Son.

“That’s why God sent Jesus.”

(from “Why God Sent Jesus” in Jungle Doctor’s Fables by Paul White)

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it’s hard to go through the Christmas holidays without thinking ahead to the time when Jesus will come again and destroy this old world and replace it with a brand new one. today i was reading the last few chapters in Revelation and rejoicing that Jesus did come! and that He will come again!

‘After these things I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a vast throng inheaven, saying,

‘“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
because his judgments are true and just.
For he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality,
and has avenged the blood of his servants poured out by her own hands!”

‘Then a second time the crowd shouted, “Hallelujah!” The smoke rises from her forever and ever. The twenty-four elders and the four living creaturesthrew themselves to the ground and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne, saying: “Amen! Hallelujah!”

‘Then a voice came from the throne, saying:

‘“Praise our God
all you his servants,
and all you who fear Him,
both the small and the great!”

‘Then I heard what sounded like the voice of a vast throng, like the roar of many waters and like loud crashes of thunder. They were shouting:

‘“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God, the All-Powerful, reigns!
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him glory,
because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.

‘She was permitted to be dressed in bright, clean, fine linen” (for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints).’

(Revelation 19:1-8, NETBible)

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“Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
How awesome is the Lord Most High,
the great King over all the earth!
He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feel.
He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom He loved.”

“Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns.’
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the Lord, for He comes,
He comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in His truth.”

(from Psalm 47 & 96)

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and that is what Christmas is really about. there is no way you can think about the Baby born in Bethlehem without thinking about that Man who died on the cross for your sins and the King who rules and reigns and will come again one day.

“While the earth continues to exist, planting time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease. I will place my rainbow in the clouds, and it will become a guarantee of the covenant between me and the earth. When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will notice it and remember the perpetual covenant between me and all living things that are on the earth.” ~ Genesis 8:22, 9:13,16a, 17b