Everlasting Father

“ . . . And He will be called . . . Everlasting Father . . .” Isaiah 9:6

We have spent the last couple of weeks peeling away the outer wrappings of some of the gifts God gave us in Jesus. I pray that as you discover the value of the contents, your heart will be drawn to dig even deeper! We are barely scratching the surface, but as you pursue an intimate relationship with the Son of God, His gift of the Wonderful Counselor “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I [Jesus] have said to you” (John 14:26).

One of the Holy Spirit’s jobs as our Counselor is to teach and reveal the deep things of God to each of us. Remember,

“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” 1 Corinthians 2:12

He desires you to KNOW, dear one. Our ignorance only keeps us from receiving His blessing.

Today we peer at the third name of God associated with Jesus’ birth in Isaiah 9:6. Christ opened the way for us to know and experience God as Everlasting Father. Recall the familiar words of John 14:6:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is our only way to know God as Father. To belong to the Father, we must know and belong to the Son. John 14:7 adds these words, “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.”

God desires for you to know Him intimately as Father. Perhaps that thought doesn’t offer you much comfort. The stamp of sin on this broken world leaves many painful relationships in its wake. But regardless of the images the word father may bring to mind, allow yourself to contemplate the ideal dad.

Strong . . . Protector . . . Compassionate . . . Loving . . . Merciful . . .

Beloved, God is the Father you’ve always longed for.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Scripture paints a picture of God as the Father who will never leave, no matter how bad things get. And unlike our earthly fathers, Mighty God is always strong enough to save us from the messes we’ve made. Nothing, however, thrills my heart like the words of that last sentence, “He will take great delight in you.” Don’t we all, if we’re going to be honest, long to be the object of someone’s delight? To know that we, above all else, are their source of pleasure and joy? Dear one, Scripture teaches that God takes great delight in you.

Whether or not we can draw the image from our own childhood experience, we can all conjure up a picture of a devoted parent cradling a beloved child, quieting restless cries with loving murmurs and whispered songs. Images of a mother seem to flow more freely, yet the sight of a father assuming that role brings a special tenderness to the heart. We are moved as strength chooses to display itself through gentleness. Dear one, that’s exactly how your heavenly Father embraces you.

Has it ever occurred to you that as God holds you in His capable hands, He rejoices over YOU with singing? Longing to quiet you with His love, He has gently lifted you into His lap to still your restless heart and sing songs of joy over your life. Yet many of us squirm and pull away from Him like a rebellious toddler, refusing to allow Him the joy of simply being with us. We have stuff to do, after all. Who has time to merely sit and be held?

Yet the result of yielding to His gentle embrace is the imparting of His strength in our need. Many of us miss the blessing of God’s commandment to us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” We get so busy trying to make things happen in our own lives, we forget that He often asks for us to be still, believe, and let Him work on our behalf. Our willful rebellion keeps us from becoming recipients of His blessing.

God’s intention when He sent us Jesus was that He would be the “firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). If you have put your faith in Jesus, committing your life to follow Him, you also are a child of God. As one of His children, an inheritance awaits you.

“. . . we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:3-7

In Christ, you are an heir to the kingdom of heaven. Take up your inheritance, dear one.


Mighty God

“ . . . And he will be called . . . Mighty God  . . . “ Isaiah 9:6

The birthday of our Lord is quickly approaching! I pray this Christmas will open for you a new revelation of who Jesus really is. He is so much more than I ever thought He was. I hope you will also discover that Jesus is full of delightful surprises. He won’t just meet your expectations. He exceeds them!

Last week, we saw that Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection paved the way for the Wonderful Counselor to come, the third person of the Divine Trinity. Adam’s choice to step outside of God’s will withdrew the Spirit’s presence from mankind and left us disconnected from God, but Christ’s atoning sacrifice for our sin released Him to dwell in man once more. The fellowship of the Garden has been restored! God now resides within all who believe in Jesus by His Spirit, sealing us as His own, and guiding us along the path of His will. Our obedience keeps us from quenching the Spirit and allows Him to do His job!

God’s perfect counsel in our lives isn’t the only gift Jesus gave us. The outpouring of God’s Spirit on mankind also opened up another new way we can know and experience God. Acts 1:8 teaches,

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Dear one, the manifestation of God’s power accompanies the advent of the Holy Spirit! The might of God comes to rest within us, enabling us to become something entirely new. The ordinary becomes extraordinary as the natural meets the divine. The impossible becomes possible, and we become living, breathing witnesses of His grandeur “to the ends of the earth.”

We often gaze back at the wonders of the Old Testament with envy. How awesome it would be to see the waters of the Red Sea pile up revealing dry ground! To witness water bursting forth from a rock to quench our thirst! To experience God’s daily provision as bread literally fell from the sky . . . even to walk the desert for forty years in shoes that did not wear out.

Pretty amazing, I admit. But our longing for the days of old often ignores the great reality that accompanied the Israelites through those miracles: they were miserable. Even with the glory of God revealed before their very eyes, they doubted Him. They turned away from Him and rebelled. They grumbled against God, saying, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt!” (Exodus 16:3)

They saw visible evidence of His presence, and yet they still rebelled. How could they have been so callous toward God? They had a heart condition, one that Christ came to heal and restore.

God still desires to do wondrous works in the lives of His people. However, with the coming of Jesus, the focus of His power has been redirected. He has set His gaze on restoring the deceitful, human heart.

Beloved, the miracles of today are no longer limited to the external works of old—the parting of seas, or even the calming of storms witnessed in Jesus’ day. A far greater miracle awaits those who will yield to the work of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus, God now raises the dead!

Ephesians 1:19-20 describes “his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

Beloved, if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, the same power that raised Christ from the dead now resides in you. And it’s available to you. In fact, God is just waiting for you to choose to use it so He can show Himself mighty on your behalf. He seeks to work within your very being, fixing what’s been broken and recreating you into someone completely new—the “you” He created you to be.

Most of us simply refuse to admit that we’re broken and in need of healing. Our pride convinces us that we carry no chains from our past and we have no need to seek God for His healing power. Would you open your heart to the possibility that you have been deceived? Would you consider that a miraculous work bearing your name awaits you from the hand of God? A wondrous gift that will release you from chains you can’t yet recognize you carry?

Trust Him with your heart, dear one. Offer it to Him and give Him permission to do His mighty work. You will be amazed at what He shows you.

And as the heavy chains you’ve carried fall broken to the ground, you will discover a new and wondrous joy . . . a joy you did not know you could feel. And your heart will leap in celebration as a new understanding of freedom in Christ is revealed. You will likely fall to your knees and beg His forgiveness because you waited so long.

Beloved, allow God to show Himself mighty in you!

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21


Wonderful Counselor

“. . . And He will be called Wonderful Counselor . . . “ Isaiah 9:6

Have you ever wished you could have your own, personal adviser? Someone who had all the answers, could help you avoid pitfalls, and would lead you on the path to prosperity? Allow me to introduce you to one of the amazing gifts God gave us through His Son. Meet the Wonderful Counselor.

As my pastor so eloquently reminded us last Sunday, God’s gift to us in the manger cannot be separated from His purpose accomplished through the cross. Even the angels’ announcement proclaiming Jesus’ birth to the shepherds foretold His fate. “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

Jesus came to the earth to save. He was born to die, a perfect sacrifice that would overcome the power of sin and death and unite us again in sweet fellowship with the God who made us. Not only would His death and resurrection provide for the forgiveness of our sin, but His return to the Father would usher in the release of the Wonderful Counselor.

As Jesus was nearing the end of His earthly ministry, He tried to prepare His disciples for His departure. As you may imagine, they didn’t take it well. I mean, would you? Jesus, the Son of God had lived among them. They repeatedly witnessed the miraculous as God’s power revealed itself throughout His ministry, proving Him to be the long-awaited Christ . . . chains were broken, sick were healed, water turned to wine, and loaves multiplied. It doesn’t get any better than that! Jesus could not possibly leave them now.

 But in John 16:7, Jesus spoke these words:

“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

Jesus taught that what the Counselor would open up for us surpassed what Jesus could do for us if He remained. We often think how much easier the Disciples had it. They could see Jesus face to face! They could touch Him and hear His voice as He spoke. While we struggle so much with our faith, they had the assurance of His presence among them to wipe away their doubt. Yet Jesus claims that we have the greater gift!

What does the Counselor offer that the person of Jesus could not? Jesus explained further in John 14:16-18.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

No, we don’t have the physical person of Jesus walking beside us. What we have is the presence and power of Jesus dwelling within us! We’re no longer limited by the physical boundaries of our location. He is wherever we are because He dwells inside us. And Scripture assures us that we will have Him forever. Once He’s made His home in us, He will never leave.

Jesus didn’t leave us as orphans, dear one. He abides in us as the Counselor, the Spirit of truth. Listen to what He desires to do in your life.

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” John 16:13-14

Jesus promised that the Counselor will guide us into all truth. Do you understand what that means? The Counselor will not only give us understanding of God’s Word, but He’s also available to warn us away from deception! His job is to steer us along the path of God’s will, thwarting the enemy’s plans to harm us and leading us safely through to God’s blessing. He speaks what He hears from Christ and makes it known to us. And verse 13 assures us that He will even tell us what is yet to come!

Beloved, are you listening? Are you following Him on your path to blessing?

Through the birth and death of Jesus, a priceless gift arrived, the Wonderful Counselor sent to dwell within the hearts of all who would believe. Is He guiding you? Surrender your life to His leadership and join the early disciples in witnessing the miraculous. What He has for you is beyond anything you could imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9)!



To Us a Son is Given

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6

December ushers in one of my very favorite seasons. The holidays have elicited wonder in me for as long as I can remember. As lights were hung and holly and evergreens made their way inside our home, the joy flickering in my heart told me that this time of year was special. Christmas simply felt different than the rest of the year.

As a child, I looked forward to its advent with great anticipation. The arrival of Jesus’ birthday marked a season of celebration! I loved the family gatherings that accompanied Christmas, complete with caroling, special foods, and holiday smells.

Nothing held quite as much awe, however, as the sight of the gifts spilling out from under the tree. Extended family gathered in our home for Christmas, and large numbers of people meant a large number of gifts! Packages and ribbons beckoned our exploration, and I joined my brothers to examine the name tags, searching for the owner of each new possession. Joy would ripple through me when I found my name. This one’s for me.

And hope would rise to the surface. Perhaps this is the one I have been waiting for!

Do you remember how it felt to experience Christmas with the heart of a child? Can you recall the sensation of sugarplums dancing in your belly, a delightful mingling of anticipation and hope?

For many of us, much of the wonder of the holidays has been replaced by routine, busyness, and—let’s face it—work! Some no longer even experience the thrill of surprise on Christmas morning, as the gifts bearing their names were purchased and wrapped by their own hands. And Jesus, the One whom we gather to celebrate, is almost forgotten, worked into our festivities with brief mentions and a visit to church on Christmas Eve.

Perhaps we’ve been missing something. Could it be that Christmas still holds something worth anticipating, offering joy, hope, and wonder to more than just children? Have we, as adults, been missing the awe that accompanies the unveiling of the gifts the Christ-child came to bring?

Consider this lesson Jesus taught His disciples during His earthly ministry:

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-3

Jesus said that unless we approach Him with the heart of a child, we will miss His kingdom—the eternal kingdom He will establish when He returns, and the blessings of membership in that kingdom lived out on earth until He does. Jesus came to the earth to draw us to Him in divine relationship and reveal the glory of what’s to come. He came so people like you and me could know Him and experience a foretaste of heaven.

Have you tasted it? You are meant to!

What if we approached Jesus this Christmas as the all-surpassing gift Scripture claims He is? What if we opened our hearts to believe like a little child? Let’s invite the wonder and anticipation of Christmas to return! There are gifts bearing your name awaiting your attention under the tree.

We will spend the next four weeks unwrapping the gift God gave us in His Son. Our focus will be the four names given to Jesus in His prophetic birth announcement proclaimed to us in Isaiah 9:6—Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

Throughout Scripture, the names of God appear as the people experienced that aspect of His character. These names, appearing in association with Jesus’ birth, tell us that we are now able to experience God in these ways through Jesus. His birth opened the way to a whole new experience of God!

Dear one, the entire season of Christmas we celebrate is a gift given for you. Jesus is the all-surpassing gift that will exceed your expectations when approached with a humble, expectant heart. What’s more, He’s the gift that keeps on giving!

This season, let’s renew our hearts with a fresh revelation of the true gift of Christmas: Jesus. Allow your heart to open with the wonder of an expectant child, approaching each gift He offers with hope and anticipation. Beloved, these gifts are what you’ve been waiting for all your life!