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Wonderful Counselor

We are beginning our Christmas series this Sunday and will spend the month of December looking at four phrases in Isaiah 9:6 that describe the promised Child that would be born; the Son that would be given. There is much to be gained from thinking these phrases through and I look forward to hearing them preached each week that remains in December.

I have the opportunity to look at the first of them with you: Wonderful Counselor. I’ve recently been involved with our staff in some training in Biblical Counseling. The working definition of counseling that we have used is “a conversation where one party with questions, problems and trouble seeks assistance from someone they believe has answers, solutions and help.” I have had the privilege of counseling many people. They come to me because they perceive me to be someone with answers…with solutions. And they hope that I can help them in their dilemma. I’m honored by their confidence and willingness to meet with me. I know it’s helpful to meet with someone that you can see face to face and to talk things through with, but I am happier to point their attention to Jesus because while I may be able to pray and study and research answers, they will find what they truly need in the person of Jesus. That’s no pat answer or simplistic phrase. It’s fundamentally what this title speaks to.

Jesus, as a counselor, is wonderful. We’ve lost the magnitude of that word thanks to Hollywood. The word wonderful refers to that which is extraordinary or astonishing, even miraculous. Even some of the movies that we have watched come out lately are designed after fictional stories from “Marvel” comics. What those people can do is astonishing and extraordinary. I want to encourage you to remember that the only one who is truly like that is Jesus. Just ask the man at the pool of Bethesda who was healed because Jesus said so or the blind man that Jesus gave sight to by making mud and putting it on his eyes. Or check in with Lazarus who had been dead for several days when Jesus showed up at his tomb and said, “come out!” The power that Jesus wields is nothing short of miraculous because He is God, come in the flesh.  

All that wonderful power could be intimidating, even frightening. But Jesus is also our counselor. It is He who said “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) I love the tenderness in those words. It’s inviting…comforting…soothing. That is exactly why the crowds came to Him. They never questioned whether His astonishing power would be used against them. They knew that if they came to Him, He would do what was best for them; He would comfort them. He would teach them how to live in a way that would honor God.

We can do the same today. I know that we cannot come and hear Jesus preach or have Him physically lay His hands on us for healing. But I also know that when He left this earth He promised to be with us until the end of the age. If you are not a follower of Jesus, this may sound a bit odd to you, but I ask you to come to Him and seek His power to free you from your bondage to sin and make you a child of God. If you are a follower of Jesus, I encourage you to lean into Him more closely this week. Purposely off load your cares and your heavy burdens on Him and watch Him do what needs to be done in your life to enable you to walk with God. He is your Wonderful Counselor.

Posted by David Wilson with

What Causes Conflict

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This Sunday, Pastor David is going to be wrapping up our short series called “A Harvest of Peace” by preaching on “The Heart of Conflict.” In this series so far, we’ve discussed the ultimate conflict that human beings have with God that leads to conflicts that we have with one another. We’ve looked at how to confront one another biblically and lovingly. This week, we’re going to take a look at what causes conflict and what we can do about it.

            In this post, I’d like to highlight a point that Pastor David will be touching on this week, and that’s the truth that conflict is a humility issue. One of the main reasons that we have conflict with others is that we are only focused on our own desires and interests without considering others. We have conflict with one another because we fail to obey the admonition of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:3-8. Let’s take a look at those verses.

 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

 Selfish ambition is at the root of so many conflicts. Rather than following the example of our Savior and “taking on the form of a servant,” we are so quick to put our interests above those of others. We want to be right. We want to be first. We want our way or the highway.

 But in contrast to this, we see Jesus, who is God in the flesh, emptying Himself and being humbled by becoming obedient to the point of death. Can you imagine a greater display of humility than this? The eternal God became a man not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45). He served us by dying a “death on the cross” to “pay the ransom for many.”

 So when we’re tempted to assert our interests above those of our brothers and sisters in Christ, remember that Jesus is the one who truly deserved to put His interests above ours, yet He chose the cross. Let us take up our crosses daily and follow after Him, and choose to walk in the humility that severs the root of conflict.

Posted by Nate Weis with

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