Thursday, March 31, 2011

Your Everlasting Father

Dear Friends,

And His name will be called . . . Everlasting Father.  ~ Isaiah 9:6

Christ - the Everlasting Father!  This is what Jesus of Nazareth was talking about when He claimed deity.  In the unity of the Godhead, He claimed equality with the Father.  I had never thought of Christ as a “Father forever” until I read this verse!  I do not comprehend how the Son can be the Father, but neither do I need to.  The thought, however, brings me wondrous comfort.  I understand that Christ will do for His children in eternity what a perfect earthly father will do for his own as long as he lives.  The father image is used figuratively as both a protector and benefactor.

One of the problems we are wrestling with today is the breakup of the family structure.  We live in a “world without fathers.”  Many children lack a father who provides care, concern, and a protective nurturing relationship that draws an appreciative “Abba Father” -  “my own dear Daddy” - from them.  We need to preach biblical fatherhood, using the model of our Heavenly Father.

One day as I was speaking at a single parents’ gathering, three women, all in their thirties, came up to me.  All were alcoholics and one had a daughter who was involved with drugs.  All were in tears.  “Do you give hugs?” one asked wistfully.  I put my arms around her in response!  Then I sat down and told them about their Everlasting Father and assured them that “underneath (and all around) are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27)!

In Him,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Drawing Your Strength from God

Dear Friends.

And His name will be called . . . Mighty God. ~ Isaiah 9:6

All of us need a hero.  The modern term for hero is model.  Isaiah told us that the child to be born would be called the Mighty God - a hero of a God, strong, and powerful.  This tells us we have a God we can rely upon with assurance.  He is so mighty that He has defeated both the Devil and death.  We know that the last enemy is death; it would catch us all, but God has been pleased to battle on our behalf and has swallowed up death in victory.  When Jesus died, death swallowed Him up for a while, but when He rose again, He swallowed up death once and for all (see 1 Cor. 15:54)!

He is my Hero and my mighty Model, and I must learn to draw my strength from Him!

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercies,
To multiplied trials He’s multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we’ve come to the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving has only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

In Him,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wonderful Counselor

Dear Friends,

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor. ~ Isaiah 9:6

Our Lord Jesus Christ is called Wonderful.  In Christ are hidden invaluable wonderful treasures (see Col. 2:3).  Christ is called Wonderful, because He has inconceivable methods of assisting us!  He is a wonder of a Counselor!  The counsel He gives will be above the counsel of ordinary men.  It will be the counsel of Yahweh, because He is Yahweh.  Isaiah 28:29 tells us of “the Lord of hosts,/Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.”  The child who shall be called such wonderful names will give exceptional counsel to a confused world, said Isaiah.  “Never has man spoken as this man!” echoed an astonished multitude in the Messiah’s day!

We have to learn to get our counsel from God.  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” says the psalmist (Ps. 1:1).  Before we telephone in despair to a friend, spill our physical and emotional pain in the doctor’s office, or shout our problem from the housetops in the frantic hope that help will appear, we need to go to God!  Are you worried?  Go to God!  Depressed, sick, frightened?  Go to God.  Are you dejected?  Go to God.  My friend who helped me to find my faith did the best thing for me; she taught me to look to God for counsel.  She herself was so knowledgeable that it was hard for me to look elsewhere.  But she was wise enough to teach me that she was not as wise as my wonderful Counselor.

A young pastor’s wife wrote a troubled letter to her mother, who was also a pastor’s wife.  Her mother withheld her reply.  “She knows where to go,” she said.  “Jesus is a wise Counselor - He will be able to help her far better than I.”  Wise words!

In Him,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

God Offers You Help in Your Time of Need

Dear Friends,

And the government will be upon His shoulder. ~ Isaiah 9:6

The image in this verse reflects the custom of carrying long, heavy, frequently used keys over the shoulder.  The symbolism is extensive.  The very act says “authority”!  The priest who exercised such authority had command of the royal chambers and a right to admit or refuse people to the Royal Presence.  Referring to Eliakim, High Priest of Israel, Isaiah says, “The key of the house of David/ I will lay on his shoulder;/ So he shall open” (Is. 22:22).  John, in Revelation 3:7, describes the risen, ascended, glorified Lord Jesus as our High Priest: “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.”

God invested all priestly authority in Jesus Christ, His Son.  It is Jesus who has the keys!  The government is upon His shoulder!

And what does all this mean to you and me?  It means Jesus Christ has command of the Royal Chambers - and the right to admit us into the Royal Presence.  That is why Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The Scriptures say we have a High Priest (see Heb. 4:14).  You can know you have such a High Priest if He “has” you!  Has He forgiven your sin?  If not, He has the right to refuse your entrance to the King’s chambers; but if so, then you can be assured that when you draw nigh to the throne, there will be grace to help.

In Him,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hope is Just a Prayer Away

Dear Friends,

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. ~ Isaiah 9:2

Are you living in the darkness of divorce, death, depression, or difficult circumstances? Are you in need of a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel? Isaiah promises that even in darkness, even in death itself, there is good ground for hope, for the power of God is able to restore life to His people even when they appear to be already dead!

Have you given up seeing light brought to bear in a “dark” church situation?  Are there factions splitting people apart from each other into dark debates and despondency?  There’s a great light shining!  There’s a great light because a great Savior came.  “Among them hath the light shined” (Is. 9:2, KJV).  Among whom?  This prediction was fulfilled when Christ preached along the Galilean seacoast (see Matt. 4:16); the light brought promise of deliverance for Israel. A new day had come!

The Savior is a great source of comfort to us too.  Many live in the darkness of divorce or in the shadow of death.  Some watch a loved one slowly disintegrate before their eyes.  Others, in seemingly “perfect” circumstances, live in the deepest darkness of all - depression that nothing seems to penetrate!  Listen to the Good News!  There’s light at the end of the tunnel - look up and see Jesus standing there!  Hear what He says: “I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Walking in His Light,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor