The poem below was written by a 14-year-old boy who was dying from a brain tumor. He died on December 14, 1997.

"I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,

With tiny lights like heaven's stars reflecting in the snow.

The site is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear.

For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

"I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,

But the sound of music can't compare with the choir up here.

I have no words to tell you the joy their voices bring,

For it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.

"I know how much you miss me. I see the pain inside your heart.

But I am not so far away; we really are not apart.

So be happy for me, dear ones. You know I hold you dear,

And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

"I send you a special gift from my heavenly home above.

I send you each a memory of my undying love.

Love is a gift more precious than pure gold.

It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

"Please love and keep each other as my father used to do,

For I can't count the blessings of love he has for each of you.

So have a Merry Christmas, and wipe away that tear.

Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year."

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Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever

Proverb11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; he that winneth souls is wise.

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Let's take a look at the book of II Peter for just a minute -

After mentioning the 7 Christian qualities of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, and love (1:5-8) --- and coupling these with the believers need for total reliance on the Scripture (1:19-21) -- preparing the believer to live in the physical and spiritual culture in which he finds himself -

Peter ends with this strong admonishment:

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ....."

II Peter 3:18

A necessity – YES - but, how?

Let's look at a few practical thoughts.

In some ways, the Christian life is similar to the natural life. (Let's notice three of these.)

1. It Begins With A Birth:

Needed -"Discipleship"

When a baby is born, it must be fed and cared for. In time, it grows, gains strength, and learns to walk. This process of growth continues until the baby reaches adulthood. Growing in knowledge can last for many years, even for most of one's life.

The Christian life also begins with a birth. A newborn Christian needs care and feeding in order to grow in the Lord. Sadly, some Christians grow little and never reach maturity. When this happens, it usually reflects neglect of the proper growing conditions -little or no Discipleship -

2. A Proper Home Environment:

Needed -"The Local Church"

A newborn baby is not left outside in the cold to fend for itself. It must be clothed, loved, fed, and cared for. A baby would do as well outside on a cold winter day as a new Christian will do in a cold, sinful world. A new Christian belongs in a warm, loving, spiritual church.

3. Growing To Maturity:

Needed -"Personal Responsibility"

The natural growth process is for a baby to mature into a responsible adult. In the same way, a Christian needs to learn to contribute to his own spiritual growth. He needs to feed upon the word of God, pray, worship the Lord daily, and be active in the Lord's service.

Let's practice "growing" every day this week and help someone else "along the way".

Dr. David Wood

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