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Devotionals

Unwrapping The Gifts From Jesus This Christmas

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828ministries.com H3'ed 12/24/12
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For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -- Isaiah 9: 6 (NLT)

 

The Prophet Isaiah, prophesying hundreds of years before a child in swaddling clothes would lie in a manger in Bethlehem described for us who our Savior was to be to us. This one seemingly regular birth would cause Kings to travel the earth to pay homage, shepherds to forever praise God, and evil such as King Herod to blindly panic. All of history would be forever changed. Realize that the public ministry of Jesus Christ was only three years long yet it changed everything we know, forever. For unto us a Savior was born!

 

The key verse from the Isaiah prophecy reveals four aspects of who Jesus is that should provide us with some comfort and power today. It should provide us comfort in that we have the Spirit of Jesus Christ living inside of us. That means that we have untapped potential and power through Him who saved us. We hear all the time about living the empowered or abundant Christian life but like so many other Christianisms, the true meaning escape us in our day to day life. It is like God gave us these four gifts. Four presents derived from the first Christmas, prophesied by Isaiah centuries earlier. But we leave them under the tree; thank God and never open them. Sometimes I think that people believe Christians are supposed to suffer while on this earth straining towards the better life that awaits us in heaven. That somehow this life is meant to be spent in misery. Not only does that cheapen the sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary but it cheapens the gifts He gave us when He first came into this world. So let's unwrap the gifts today and see what God has given us"

 

The first present is that Jesus Christ is our wonderful counselor. The world system values counseling too. I am a trained and certified counselor in the secular world. The training we received taught us that the best counseling is where we say the least. That we are there to direct or nudge the counselee in the right direction but that our true role is one of passivity. That they have the right of self actualization and that the counseling process has more merit when they are able to "figure things out" themselves. The spectrum of theory runs the gamut too. You have Rogerian counseling on one side that merely reflects back to the patient what it is that they have already said but offers nothing in the way of guidance. On the other end you have rational emotive therapy where the counselor literally screams at the patient to get them to stop dwelling on the negative events in their lives. That is not the counselor we have in Jesus Christ. Where secular counseling seeks to affirm the person, Jesus will always affirm God. Because there is nothing within us that will solve our problems. It is only through God that we can overcome:

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full. -- John 10: 10 (NIV)

 

Most people who enter into secular counseling do not come out of it living life to the full. The world system teaches us how to cope with our problems. To cope means to learn how to live with them. Maybe that is why we have such a problem giving them up to Christ. Jesus does not want you to live with your problems beloved -- He wants to take them from you! He sees us when we circle the same mountain year after year. Saved by the precious blood of Christ but crawling into heaven bound and shackled to that one thing we just cannot seem to get victory over. It does not have to be so! We have a counselor that far exceeds our comprehension of counseling! He is not an ordinary counselor -- He is a wonderful counselor! Wonderful is a word used so often we probably cheapen the definition in our own minds but it means amazing, excellent and astonishing! If we would ever learn to allow Christ to be the wonderful counselor in our lives we will indeed be astonished at the results! The world system encourages us to talk about our problems. A lot of clinical value is placed in talking about what it is that bothers us but what we speak into we breathe life into. The sad truth is that most of the time we need to STOP talking about it. We have spoken about it since it started. We have talked about it with our family and friends, with our pastors and clergy, with our counselors and professionals -- yet we still circle the same mountain. Why? Because we keep talking about it! Take it to the wonderful counselor today and tell Him that you are done talking about it -- give it to Him today. But be prepared because God is not in the advice business. The counseling we will receive from God is not in the form of affirming self. It is in the form of affirming God -- through His Word. Too often we approach the wonderful counselor as if He is a worldly therapist. We listen to His counsel but do not necessarily implement it at all. Here is the important distinction for us today. In the world, counsel is advice but when it comes to Jesus Christ -- counsel is the way we need to live. It is not an opinion. The first gift we see under our tree in the manger is the most wonderful counselor we can ever ask for or need and He lives inside of us.

 

The second gift for us to unwrap is the fact that Jesus Christ is the mighty God. In the Old Testament the nations surrounding Israel worshipped gods that were made of wood or stone. An amusing story involves the Philistine god Dagon. It seems the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant from Israel and decided to place it in Dagon's temple. When they came back the next day their god had fallen on his face so they stood him up again but the next day it was worse:

 

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