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Christmas 2015

What chaos our world is in today!  We are completing the seventh year under the most wicked president to have ever served our country. He has tried his best, morally, economically and spiritually to ruin this nation. The only reason America is not totally destroyed is because:

“… the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Daniel 4:25

Common sense has left our nation. Courage has departed in preference to popularity and economic security. Politics has taken precedence in sports, business and religion. 

In all of the turmoil surrounding our nation, we enter another Christmas. There will be fewer “manger scenes” because of the ACLU. There will be fewer scripture displays because of political cowardice. The truth has not changed and it still brings joy and comfort to God’s children. The “lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12) has not changed and never seems to grow tired of being spread about.

When Christ came the first time, Israel, God’s people were in bondage to an idolatrous, cruel Roman government.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, good will toward men.” Luke 2:8-14

Isn’t it ironic that God sent His angels to announce the greatest event that had ever occurred until that time to “shepherds?” Does it not seem logical that this great news would have been announced in the Temple at Jerusalem? What about the high priests and the Pharisees and Sadducees? Should not this great august body of scholars be the first in line to get the good news? The greatest story ever told is told to a few poor shepherds out in a field!

If the news of Christ’s birth was not first told in the Temple, then surely the angels would announce it in the chambers of the local government or State house. God chose not either Rome’s or Israel’s political leaders.

What about the University of Jerusalem? The seat of scholastic achievement surely would get the news first. Is it not odd that God bypassed scholarship for shepherds?

Maybe the news should go first to the Chamber of Commerce and the business leaders of this great city. Surely the Ministerial Alliance would be made aware of the One Who was sent to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21.) None of these were included.

Angels were sent from heaven to announce the greatest event ever to take place on earth until that day and they were sent to a “shepherd!” A shepherd, of all people, the most common of individuals. Comparable to the “roughneck” in the oilfield, a “shrimper” on the coast, a “lumberjack” in the Northwest, an “ironworker” up north, the “cowboy” on the ranch…the everyday, hardworking guy who is the backbone of any society.

Actually, the shepherd was the ideal individual to whom to announce the birth of Jesus. Christ, Himself, was recognized as “the good Shepherd,” (John 10:11) “that great Shepherd” (Hebrews 13:20) and “the chief Shepherd.” (1 Peter 5:4) All His life, Jesus was associated with shepherds, but there was another connection with the shepherds even more important. The first time John the Baptist observed Jesus coming toward him, he announced:

“…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

Jesus Christ Who shed His blood as a sacrificial lamb to pay the debt for our sins is the One and the Same Who gave His life for His sheep.

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

This is the same Jesus who said:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” 
John 14:1-3

Regardless of how bad the situation seems, our Lord and Saviour is coming back!

Keep Looking Up!

Leland Maples 

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