Mighty God

behold-banner-02Scripture Passage: Isaiah 9:6

“Unto us is born a CHILD and His name shall be called… Mighty God!”

Some have suggested that this simply means ”a godlike person“ or hero. But Isaiah meant more than that, for he had already spoken of the Messiah doing what no other person had been able to do (e.g., 9:2-5). Isaiah understood that the Messiah was to be God in some sense of the term.

In the Old Testament, the root word for God is EL — expressing a personal understanding and relationship with that aspect of God’s character. This word refers to God as the God of might.

He is the Mighty God. Because of His name, I don’t have to be afraid. If you know Jesus Christ as Savior, there is no reason to fear man or circumstances. He is Lord over all.

Every believer can have confidence in Jesus this Christmas because of the implications of His being called Mighty God. You can be assured that …

A. Our Mighty God is Working In You.

Philippians 2:13: “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Isn’t it good to know that, when you’re frustrated with where you are and some of the habits you can’t kick or how sometimes you can’t control your anger, that God is working in you right now? Because Jesus came, God came near enough to work within us.

• How do you need for God to work in your life today?

B. Our Mighty God is Working For You.

There’s something deep within us all that wants to find – and to know – Jesus. That was what drove the ones we know as wise men, or kings or magi, toward Jesus.

Isaiah 40:29-31: “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

It is wonderful to know that we have an advocate in Jesus – especially in moments where we don’t think we can keep going.

• Why is it important to move in the direction of Jesus, especially when it seems like the world is against us?

C. Our Mighty God is Working Through You.

Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

• How will you allow Jesus to work through you in the new year?

Remember: We do not serve a weak Lord! The first century world missed Jesus because they were looking for a King. The 21st Century world is missing Jesus because they are looking for a baby! God is not a God you can control or manipulate. That should make us stand in awe of Him, and also help us to walk with confidence into the new year.

Prince of Peace

behold-banner-02Scripture Passage: Isaiah 9:6

It is easy to get so busy and distracted at Christmas that we lose joy and miss the real meaning of Christmas. In reality, Christmas is about the fact that we can’t get it right — so, God intervened. The purpose of a holiday or holy day, like Christmas, is to reboot and refocus our lives on what is most important, on the truths we hold dear.

Talk about what keeps you dazed and out of breath at Christmas.

Isaiah referred to Jesus as the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). We often miss the peace of God because we misunderstand what the peace of God is. His peace is different from that which the world offers.

How do you define peace?

The peace of God is more than not fighting and more than not working. We often think that having a period of calm or getting a break from work is peace. But, this kind of peace is always short-lived.

The peace of God addresses the true source of the problem. G.K. Chesterton summed up what’s wrong with the world in a response to a request to write an op ed on the topic. Chesterton simply wrote, “I am.”

Augustine wrote, “God made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Him.” Peace is God found only in Him.

According to Philippians 4:4-8 …

• the peace of God is focused on us.
• the peace of God will guard (to garrison) us.
• the peace of God surpasses all comprehension.

The peace of God did not come to settle your circumstances, the peace of God came to settle your soul.

We receive God’s peace when we turn from worry to worship. We must shift our focus from ourselves and our problems to God. Why worship?

1. Worship reminds us that God is in control.

2. Worship reminds us that God is close — He is near (Heb. 13:5).

3. Worship reminds us that God is personal. He wants to hear from us, to interact with us, to have fellowship with us.

4. Worship reminds us that God is good. We can trust that He is at work on our behalf.

What steps can you take this Christmas to reboot and refocus on the true meaning of Christmas?

Everlasting Father

behold-banner-02Scripture Passage: Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Why is He called Everlasting Father? That is really perplexing for some who accept that Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor and a Mighty God. But how can He be called Father?

Jesus as our Everlasting Father means:

1. We have a Savior who is eternal.

When Jesus was born there was also a Christmas journey. We are told about it in the Gospel of Luke in particular. We are told about the journey of Joseph and Mary to the city of Bethlehem.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus Christ was born He made the journey all the way from heaven to this earth. It was a journey that carried Him out of eternity into time. It was a journey in which the Lord of All Creation took on the flesh of His creation. He didn’t cease being God, but He began to be human also.

We must understand when we see the pictures and movies of the Baby Jesus this time of year that He did not come into being in that manger. He existed before then. Jesus is the Great I AM.

2. We have a Savior who offers us access to eternity.

Not only is Jesus eternal, but because He came, we have access to eternity with Him.

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Without Jesus there can be no eternal life for any of us. He paid for your eternal life on the cross. He originated your access. Jesus is the pioneer of salvation and eternal life for us.

Because Jesus came at Christmas, you and I have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him.

Things to Talk About

• What is your favorite Christmas memory of all time?

• What’s been the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

• How does knowing Jesus is our source and originator change how you relate to and worship Him?

• Have you decided to secure your eternity through Jesus Christ? If not, what has stopped you?

• Take some time by yourself and as a family to pray and thank your Eternal Father for His lavish love and sacrifice this Christmas season.

Understanding the Names of Jesus

behold-banner-02Scripture Passage: Isaiah 9: 1-6

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Do you need wisdom this Christmas?  Are you struggling to understand how or why something happened in your life?

Well, we have a God of wisdom and no matter how difficult circumstances may seem. God’s Wisdom always results in a perfect plan, with perfect timing, and TOTAL victory.

Exhibit A: The Fulfillment of Prophecy Demonstrates God’s Perfect Plan

Jesus came just as prophesied and fulfilled every promise made! But it didn’t happen like THEY thought it would happen at all.

Isaiah 9:1-6 assures us that even though times are difficult, the child King will win the victory through an epic plan. He will have the ultimate strategy to accomplish these promises.

God has a plan, but it is not like our plan. And many times we’re not going to understand God’s plan until we’re looking at it in the rear view mirror. Maybe not until Heaven. But we can absolutely trust that He is at work right in the middle of the hardest moments!

Never underestimate what God is doing when things are not going according to plan. Because God has a plan even in the midst of chaos, we can find great comfort that He’s in control. We don’t have to walk in confusion wondering whether He cares. He is the Wonderful Counselor.

Exhibit B: The Seven-Century Gap Demonstrates God’s Perfect Timing

Shortly after this prophecy, Assyria conquered Israel – the Northern Kingdom. This is exactly what the prophecy said would happen. They destroyed the temple, carried off the people into exile, and enslaved them. A few decades later, the same thing happened to the Southern Kingdom (Judah). Then Assyria control is transitioned to Babylonian control which transitions to Persian control. Later Persia gives way to Greece, Greece gives way to Rome, and 700 years pass. Nothing resembling the fulfillment occurs.

As time goes on, they don’t see any end in sight, so a lot of them stop looking and start looking elsewhere. They give up. They pursue other deities and plans.

But at JUST THE RIGHT TIME, these promises begin to unfold.

We need to look at the Gospels as the last part of the Old Testament rather than the first part of the New Testament. The coming of Christ is really the culmination of the promises in the Old Testament!

Exhibit C: The Light In the Darkness Demonstrates God’s Total Victory

Look back at v. 2: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”

This evidence is something you haven’t just read about in the Bible. You see it when you witness God do something extraordinary in the MIDST of trials. He often doesn’t solve the whole problem, but He reminds us that He is working in the midst of the darkness by shining a great light through answered prayer, through miracles, and through the work of His people as His representatives.

We tend to think of situations in polarized terms: there are good situations and bad situations. But all through the Scriptures, we see how God can take bad situations and turn them around and use them for His glory. And it’s not even that ONE DAY God will show up. Very often, in the midst of the heartache and pain, God is working if we will look. He might even use us in the plan!

Christmas represents a glimpse of the mystery of God’s amazing, wonderful plan to save His people in a way that doesn’t immediately pull us out of the struggle, but saves us in the midst of the struggle. But you can walk in victory RIGHT NOW because He is a Wonderful Counselor. You can rest in the amazing wisdom of God. God is more powerful than the greatest battles you face!

Discussion Questions:

• Will I choose to hold to the promise God has made even though I cannot see it at all, or will I just move on to try and solve my own problems.

• When things are dark and your plans don’t match up with God’s, what are you going to do?

• Are you willing to trust God when you don’t understand, or are you going to count on your OWN intellect?