Preparing Your Heart for Christmas

1:40 PMHeather

It may be a few weeks past the end of the scheduled Bible study, but yesterday I finally finished the last lesson of Nancy Leigh DeMoss' Lies Women Believe.  Although I finished the book, if that study taught me anything it's that I will spend the rest of my earthly days unraveling the lies that entrap me.  I will always need to work on clinging to that Truth that frees us.  It's just an ongoing process, living here in my broken flesh, awaiting my Heavenly reward.

But, the end of the book leads me to my usual dilemma.  You see, I need the discipline of a regular Bible study--preferably with the accountability of a group setting.  I just don't seem to be one of those people who can go it on my own, without some sort of guidance.  So, as I climbed out of bed today, I simply prayed for wisdom about how to direct my time with God this morning.  Then, I remembered a pin from pinterest that outlined Scripture readings designed to prepare our heart for Christmas.

Now, I was too sleepy this morning to go find my lap top and look it up, but I remembered that Isaiah offers some very specific prophesy about who the Messiah would be.  That seemed like a good place to start.  Perhaps I'm not the only one who at some point may have sent out Christmas cards with this passage:

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.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
   there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
   and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
   with justice and righteousness
   from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
   will accomplish this. 
Isaiah 9:6-7

Today, I felt led to approach this passage in a whole new way.  I wanted to offer this to you today in case you, too, could gain fresh insight--a "manna" word from the Lord to feed your soul today.  Take a piece of paper, and write out the four names of the Lord, as outlined in verse 6:  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Now, sit quietly and consider what these names mean to you in your life.  Just what does it mean to YOU that your God is your Wonderful Counselor?  Or Mighty God?  Or Everlasting Father?  Or Prince of Peace?  
Here are some of my reflections.  For the Lord to be my Wonderful Counselor means that he can offer me advice, insight, direction, comfort, reassurance, and guidance about those issues that burden and baffle me today.  Like my children, or how to handle a particular problem.  I am a firm believer in seeking resources such as therapy or counseling as needed to assist you in difficult times.  But, to have the Omniscient God as your Counselor?  Well, that is pretty awesome.  

Mighty God?  Wow.  The power and strength that my God can offer me today.  Those things that defeat me and beat me down--they got nothing on my Mighty God.  Those circumstances that I tend to "get under"--God is over them with great power and strength.  Sovereign.  Omnipotent.  Ruler of all Creation.

And, oh my gravy, did my meditating on this verse today bring me some new meaning on Everlasting Father.  Just a week ago, I was enduring a pretty rough day of mourning for my dad.  The thing is--it really caught me by surprise.  My dad has been gone 21 years.  Those really sad days when I honestly just feel cheated and overcome with self-pity are few and far between.  But, it was intense.  Until today, I had never considered that my Heavenly Father is my EVERLASTING Father.  Nothing can take Him from me.  Nothing can separate Him from me.   I need never feel cheated, left behind, abandoned or grieved.  Wowzers.  Still working to wrap my brain and heart around this truth.

And, Prince of Peace.  Who doesn't need someone to pour peace on them today?  Yep, the Lord knew what this day would hold.  He knew that an hour later, I'd walk downstairs to find it raining in my breakfast nook from a leak.  He knew that I'd be running late for my PTA meeting.  He knew that I'd then be running late to the chiropractor.  He knew that I'd get that e-mail telling me the adoption report that I planned to type today would absolutely HAVE to be done today.  He knew that I would feel frazzled and thrown off, anxious about many things vying for my attention, finances, and energy.  He knew the comfort I would feel that today, I can simply cry out to ask Him to be my Prince of Peace in regard to every anxious situation.

INTENTIONAL challenge:  Just as the Lord beckoned me to meditate on this passage in a fresh way today, I encourage you to join me.  Join me in considering this ancient prophesy of the Messiah. Join me in considering how each of these names of the Lord have been fulfilled in your very life TODAY, in the circumstances and burdens that weigh on you at this time.  Consider the meaning of each name and how He has shown up in these definitions to you--as well as how you need Him to show up in new ways.  Then, just as we wait for the upcoming holiday, wait in expectation for your Wonderful Counselor, your Mighty God, your Everlasting Father, your Prince of Peace.

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