Wonderful Counselor 3

Isaiah 9:1-2

Ernest Hemingway has the main character in the book “The Sun Also Rises” make the comment that there is nothing there in the dark that isn’t there in the light. But in some ways I must disagree. When we exist in darkness, whether we are talking about physical dark or spiritual dark, there are things there that we could be better off without.

Darkness, the physical absence of light, can increase a person’s feelings of being alone. Darkness can increase depression. And spiritual darkness – that separation from God or that separation from wisdom and love – can cause a person to be truly empty. To combat this we need light. A bright room helps ward off feelings of isolation and fear. And spiritual light, drawing near to God, can completely change your soul.

Part of Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah talked about the removal of the spiritual pall that was over all the people. How do both of these verses begin?

Christmas celebrations frequently use a great deal of candles or lamps. And this passage is part of that tradition. The light of the candles reminds us of the great gift of light that is Jesus Christ. Jesus came to be a light of wisdom and a light of God’s love for all people. Through his teachings we are given the direction, the light of wisdom, we need to help us comprehend God and to help us obey God’s command.

Through his life and sacrifice Jesus became a beacon of love for all in need. He shines the light of love for all of us to see that we might be drawn into this wonderful relationship with God.

We no longer need to live in the gloom of hopelessness. We no longer need to fear the spiritual death that sin can bring. Our days of sorrow are at an end.

Instead we have the wonderful gift of Jesus. He has come to be our counselor, the giver of great hope to all people. He is our companion and guide, that source of strength and refuge in troubled times.

And his love for us, God’s love, is a bright and wonderful light that can shine on our lives and chase away the gloom and darkness of ignorance and loneliness. Let this Christmas season be a time of light to you. Stand in the glorious glow of God’s love.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Is there any darkness in your life that needs the light of Christ?

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday the 10/2 Grow for this week only contains three installments. We wish for all a very joyous holiday and many thanks to God. – Peggy and Roger

Wonderful Counselor 2

Hebrews 1:1-3

When I was a teen-ager my family visited Germany to see my brother who was stationed there in the army. I had a year of German classes under my belt when we went. Because I could speak enough German to pass in many circumstances, at age 14 I became the representative of the family as we dealt with ordering food, finding directions, and paying for hotels.

The Book of Hebrews explains the holiness and purpose of Jesus in very plain language. How is Jesus different than what was experienced in the past? How is Jesus described?

For thousands of years God spoke to His chosen people through the words and writings of the prophets. Names like Isaiah, Joel, Daniel, and Ezekiel all come to mind. These were attempts on God’s part to communicate with His children, to persuade them to change their ways and to understand just who God was.

With the birth of Jesus the communication changed. God was able to communicate directly. He was no longer working through an interpreter, but was speaking in a language all could understand.

Jesus was God in human form. Starting as a newborn baby, then growing up through childhood and into adulthood, Christ was completely human. But (and this is beyond our comprehension) he was also completely divine. He was God.

As the author of Hebrews puts it, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.”

Although he seemed to be no more than any other person, although he seemed limited by human characteristics like anyone else, still Jesus was able to be God among us. Just as I was simply a teen-ager but still able to play an important part in our daily activities, Jesus – although human – was still able to be God.

By living among mortals Jesus was able to be that wonderful counselor to those in need. He could teach in ways that everyone could comprehend. He could understand people as well, empathizing with their struggles and hardships. Whatever we go through in life – the fears and doubts, the pain and sorrows – Jesus has experienced them himself. Therefore, God has experienced our troubles too.

As that human gift to God’s beloved children Jesus is able to be the close companion, that guide, that source of advice and strength that we need so often. With Christ as our counselor we are assured that God understands us. Through Christ we can connect directly to our heavenly Father.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What do you want God to understand about you?

Wonderful Counselor 1

Isaiah 9:6-7

The season of Advent is the season of waiting, expecting and anticipating. It reminds us of the long wait that the world had for the coming of the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah predicted the coming of this great Savior. But the question was, who would this Messiah be?

This passage from Isaiah answers the question. Who is the Messiah? What all is said of this Messiah?

More than two-thousand years after that first Christmas we know who the Savior was. The Son of God, as predicted here, was born to set everyone free from sin and oppression. This was a tremendous gift from God. It was a perfect act of perfect love meant to bring us into the presence of the Almighty.

This small infant born in such unassuming circumstances would become the fulfillment of this familiar prophecy. Jesus was the wonderful Counselor. He was the Mighty God, everlasting Father and the Prince of peace. But what do all of these terms mean to us?

As a counselor Jesus is that companion and advisor who accompanies us on our journey in life. This concept separates belief in Christ with all the other religions. Our God is not a deity who looks down from the heavens at us as if we were small creatures under his inspection. Rather, God is among us, beside us, with us. He is that companion who is there to assist and comfort by being ever present.

We can turn to Jesus as we can turn to any counselor, seeking immediate help and advice. Christ is beside us always to offer guidance and strength. God is present at all times and we are not alone.

And this counselor of ours, able to take his place among us mortals, is still a powerful force. Our world may be divided into nations, each with its own authority. But the government of life is on the shoulders of Christ our King.

His kingdom is forever and encompasses all who live. Jesus rules us with justice and righteousness, now and forever. And that great Savior, that perfect expression of God’s love, is beside us as an everlasting companion.

Our wait is over because it never was. Jesus is there for us when we are ready to accept him and embrace him as our counselor and guide. And this is the reason for celebrating Christmas, remembering that God came down in human form to be among those He loved so much.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What name would you give to describe Jesus?