mmmm Celebrating Christmas with Festive Food from All Nations mmmm
Sydney is enjoying sunny days and warm weather in the first month of Summer.
Perfect for Christmas parties with family, friends and colleagues.
We in the Western World are extremely fortunate to celebrate in peace and freedom.
Unfortunately not everyone on Earth lives freely or peacefully.
Let us remember the victims of terrorism and persecution.
Earlier this week, a Christian Church in Pakistan was bombed by IS terrorists :
A sad & constant reminder that innocent Christians still face persecution this Christmas.
Recently, President Trump announced that the USA recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital .
This provocative statement sparked immediate protests across the world .
Even Bethlehem (in Palestinian territory) was the scene of violent protests .
What’s so special about Bethlehem?
Bethlehem was the birthplace of the Messiah* as prophesied by Micah in the Bible:
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.
He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach the ends of the earth.
Micah chapter 5, verses 2 & 4 (5:2,4)
*Messiah (translated as Christ in the New Testament):
A future king of Israel descended from King David (former shepherd and author of Psalm 23).
This verse is quoted in Matthew – the 1st book in the New Testament .
The famous Christmas story reveals that Jesus was born in Bethlehem .
The 3 Wise Men asked King Herod, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews?” .
King Herod asked the Jewish chief priests and the teachers of the law .
They replied, “Bethlehem” and referred to Micah’s prophecy quoted above .
The 3 Wise Men travelled to Bethlehem in search of the Messiah .
When they found Jesus, they bowed down and worshipped him .
The New Testament clearly identifies Jesus as the Messiah.
Matthew begins with a genealogy linking Jesus with King David .
This family tree traces the ancestors of Jesus all the way back to David and Abraham.
Jesus identified himself as the Good Shepherd looking after sheep .
This bears striking resemblance to Psalm 23 and the Micah prophecy above.
Jesus said that he was willing to die to protect the sheep .
Jesus did actually die on a cross to bring salvation for the whole world.
So the Christmas story is not limited to the Jewish people in Israel.
Christmas is Good News for everyone in every nation on Earth!
God loved the world & gave us Jesus so that we may have Eternal Life .
The promise of Salvation is what persecuted Christians cling to.
God’s love shown through Jesus gives comfort to those who are suffering.
The hope of Eternal Life reminds us that life on Earth is only temporary.
Whatever pain we’re currently experiencing will not last forever.
The joy of Christmas is knowing that we’re on the journey to our real home.
Our real home is with Jesus in the New Jerusalem – the heavenly city .
The earthly Jerusalem is currently divided and a flashpoint for conflict.
This city is being bitterly fought over by the Israelis and the Islamic world.
The REAL Jerusalem is in Heaven with Father God where there is eternal peace.
What do you hope for this Christmas?
Are you looking for Peace in a world of terrorism and war?
Have you discovered the Joy of Salvation available exclusively from Jesus?
For followers: do those around you know about the Good Shepherd you trust?
 SBS News (17/12/17): IS claims deadly pre-Christmas suicide bombing of Pakistan church
 BBC News (06/12/17): Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, says Donald Trump
 Reuters (10/12/17): Anti-Trump protests in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco & Indonesia
 NBC News (07/12/17): Tear Gas fired at Palestinian protesters in Bethlehem
 Matthew 2:6
 Matthew 2:1
 Matthew 2:2
 Matthew 2:4
 Matthew 2:7-10
 Matthew 2:11
 Matthew 1:1-17
 John 10:11-16
 John 10:11 & 15
 John 3:16
 Revelation 21-22
mmmm Bible mmmm
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