Category Archives: Jesus Christ

I Need a Counsellor!

There I said it!  I need a Counsellor! But forget the Dr Phil’s or the Oprah Winfrey’s! I need Someone who really truly knows me and really knows what is best. I need a Counsellor who fully and completely understands where I have been, and the experiences that have shaped me, the people I have encountered, the mess that I have experienced and to see how all of that combined has shaped me for what I truly am today.  I also need a Counsellor who will know what is ahead of me so He can shape me and direct me where I need to go and to do what I need to do. I need this Counsellor because the world that I live in is really complex and complicated…and the world around me is screaming for hope. There are times when I feel like I am at the end of my rope. I need someone who will understand me.

One of the beautiful Old Testament names foretold about Jesus is that of “Wonderful Counsellor”. Jesus would hold that title. He would be that Wonderful Counsellor to anyone and everyone who would look to Him in faith.

So what is it that make Jesus the “Wonderful Counsellor”?
First off…Jesus is…is the Very Wisdom of God 

1 Corinthians 1:24 “Christ [is]…the wisdom of God…” and Colossians 2:3 [In Him]…are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…”  Isaiah 28:29 The Lord of Hosts is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.”  

The perfect source for wisdom…is the Source of all wisdom…Jesus Himself! He is far more qualified than any human counsellor to speak into my life than any other so-called professional in the world. He knows all about human nature, He created me. He knows me. So why would we even bother going anywhere else until I have first of all come to Him.

Second, Jesus…Offers His WisdomHe offers us His Counsel, His Word, His wisdom…

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach…”

Life is complicated, relationships are tenuous, each situation is beyond understanding.  But Jesus offers His wisdom to us, and He give it to us liberally.

Third, Jesus…Completely Understands your struggles…When going through a difficult time, have you ever had someone say, “I understand what you are going through…”?  It seems so empty to hear and also to say…unless of course they have truly been through the exact situation. Otherwise, how can they possibly understand our problems. Every situations is so complex, so different from each other. It doesn’t matter what your struggle is…Jesus gets it… He understands it. He can perfectly and completely relate to you. 

Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.”

Jesus, wisdom incarnate, completely understands…He knows exactly what you are going through. When you come to Him in need of counsel He fully knows your situation. He knows your heart and mind. He knows where you have been, where you are and where you are going. 

Fourthly, Jesus Lovingly CARES For You…Because He loves you…He has your best interests at heart.

1 Peter 5:7 “God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to Him.”

Some counsellors only care as long as you can pay the bill. Not Jesus! He cares about you as a person. He cares about your character, your spiritual growth and your emotional welfare. He cares about the pain you suffer. He considers you of great value and worth. Matthew 6:26 Jesus said:

Look at the birds of the sky: they don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?

He thinks so much of you that He sent His Son to die for you…to rescue you from your pain and suffering…to give you new hope, new life and salvation. God lovingly cares for YOU!

He cares so much that He will help you with your problems. He will help you deal with them. That’s why He is called Wonderful Counsellor. He’s not going to leave us to fend for ourselves. You have probably heard it said, “God helps those who help themselves.” The truth of the matter is when you have reached the bottom…”God helps those who can’t help themselves.” When you see no way out…God steps in…if you call on Him.

Matthew 11:28Come to Me, all who labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

That’s a promise! He will not turn His back on us…nor abandon us. God cares for us! Make an appointment with the Wonderful Counsellor today. In fact, make regular appointments to sit down with Him. Open your heart up to Him. Tell Him what is going on in your life. Believe me…there is no heartache that He can not mend. There is no problem He can not solve…because He is the Wonderful Counsellor! Then…follow His instruction.

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“A Great Deliverer!”

In the grand narrative of the history of God’s people…as we see it unfolding in Exodus…the power of God is on display! If there is anything God’s people need to know is the fact that God is able to deliver them! When circumstances are too great and out of our own control…and back is against the proverbial wall…God is in control! Though His people have been in captivity in Egypt for 430 years…God has not forgotten them…nor has He forgotten His promises. In fact, since the beginning of the book God has been moving to fulfill His promise to make them a great nation. In order to do that…He would have to DELIVER them from the slavery in Egypt and take them toward the land of promise! LIFE IS A JOURNEY and God knows where it is going! The parallel for you and I is to see that we too are…ON A JOURNEY. Just as God had been faithfully working out the fulfillment of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is doing and has done the same for you and me.

REMEMBER…In Exodus…the people of Israel had become so great in number that a new Pharaoh, one that did not know Joseph, had committed them to forced labor and ordered the killing of all the Hebrew baby boys. God protected one of those boys, Moses, allowed him to be raised for 40 years in Pharaoh’s house, and then sent him to the wilderness for another 40 years to prepare him for his God-assigned task of leading God’s people out of the land of Egypt. God called Moses…He commissioned Moses out of the burning bush to lead His people. From Exodus 5-11 there have been signs & plagues…God orchestrated events to get Pharaoh’s attention. To ultimately demonstrate to Pharaoh, and Egypt and all of God’s people for every generation…that He is the One in control. He is the One who is orchestrating these events. The One to deliver! We come to Exodus 12. A point of new beginning…the dawning of a new day…the beginning of a new life!

1. GOD IS ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING MOMENTOUS…v.1-4
When we look at the signs and plagues in the preceding chapters…Aaron’s rod turning into a serpent then devouring the rods of Egypt’s sorcerers, the water turning to blood, the lice and the flies, then the livestock dying, boils, hail and locusts and then darkness…all significant displays of God’s power. But now there is evidence that He is going to do something even bigger…momentous…look at v.1-2.

“Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Exodus 12:1

God changes the calendar year for them to remember what He has done! This is a starting point! It is interesting to note that the different cultures of the day had varying starts to the New Year. Some began the year in the fall others began in the spring…the Canaanite cultures typically had fall starts to the year. So it could be that God really wanted to set His people apart from who they would

The Jewish people in OT would have two calendars…a CIVIL calendar beginning in our September and a RELIGIOUS calendar beginning in our March-April…
All of worship would come from this point of deliverance! Your worship too!
This is a pivotal moment in their history…it is the beginning of their religious calendar…they would look back to this event that God is going to do…it would be an important marker in their history! In other words, God is saying to His people…YOU ARE NEVER TO FORGET THIS!

How God’s people first became a people…begins with a lamb. Abraham and his son were journeying up Mt. Moriah to sacrifice to God. Abraham thought it was to be Isaac and Isaac wondered where the lamb to be sacrificed was.  Isaac asked “Where is the Lamb?” to which his father replied “God will provide a lamb.” And then centuries later, John the Baptist would point to Jesus and say: “Behold the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

We can be so forgetful of the Lamb. God is the source of everything about our lives. Every thing He has done for us points us back to Himself. The lamb is the centre-point of this chapter. No lamb, no Passover, no lamb means death. No lamb means no freedom, no lamb means no Promised Land. Never are we to forget what He has done to bring us freedom from sins bondage!

“No lamb means no passover, no lamb means death, no lamb means no freedom, no freedom means no Promised Land.

2. GOD DELIVERS ACCORDING TO HIS PLAN… (Exodus 12:5-11)
NOTE: the details of God’s plan…He gave them instructions on HOW He would deliver them. They were to follow the plan…they were not delivering themselves…they could not do whatever they wanted to deliver themselves…they had to follow the plan God set out for them. God was delivering them, and they were to follow/obey Him completely.

When we find ourselves in a difficult situation are we willing to follow God’s will rather than your own will? Will you trust His plan for your deliverance!  Will we trust Him to do what is right? Even if we do not understand His ways and His timing?

Here is the PLAN (Exodus 12:3-11) : A lamb would be chosen. That lamb would be without blemish…no spots, defects, or disease, just a perfect little lamb. This lamb will be kept till the 14th day of the month and then it will be killed at twilight. The blood of the lamb was then put on the the doorposts and the lintel of the house. This would be known as the Feast of Passover. “The Lord’s Passover” celebrated every year as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and deliverance from bondage and slavery. NEVER FORGETTING!

3. GOD DELIVERS FROM SLAVERY AND DEATH… (Exodus 12:12-13)
In Exodus 12:12-13 God tells them exactly how this sacrificial lamb would deliver the people. Note: no one is exempt…all are to be judged. “All the firstborn” = every Egyptian, Hebrew, man and animal. Yahweh, the one true God, the God of Israel, was bringing judgment upon the land of Egypt. Everyone in Egypt, Israelites and Egyptians alike, was guilty of sin against the true God. Romans 3:23 His coming judgment would be swift and severe. ALL HAVE SINNED! Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.

Want to be delivered? The only way to avoid God’s judgment was faith in Yahweh that resulted in obedience to His substitutionary plan. THEY HAD TO TRUST GOD’S SUBSTITUTIONARY PLAN! The Israelites had to follow God’s directions completely, the key step being the application of the blood to the doorposts of their houses. It was not the blood of the animal that saved the Israelites  (See: Hebrews 9:12-13; 10:4The blood on the doorposts showed that the people had accepted God’s plan for rescue and trust in His word. After all, the sight of dried blood by itself had no power to deter death. It was only as the dried blood painted on the top and sides of the door was a testimony to the faith of the inhabitants in Yahweh that it had its efficacy. Thus the statement, ‘When I see the blood, I will pass over you‘ i.e. God was saying: “I will spare all those who show that they have placed their faith in me.”

The thing that brought deliverance to the children of Israel was FAITH in their one, true, covenant-keeping God, and obedience to His command to apply the blood of the substitute (goat/lamb) to the doorposts of their houses. As we also see in these verses, God was distinguishing Himself from the false gods of the Egyptians. Israel’s faith was in the true God.

NOTE: This was not the people saving themselves…this was God’s plan. The power to execute the plan was God’s power. The result of God’s deliverance could only take place as He would bring it about. The people had simply to obey Him from a heart of faith.

4. GOD RECEIVES THE GLORY FOR HIS GREAT DELIVERANCE! Exodus 12:14, 17, 24-27
This day would be memorialized! God delivered His people out of Egypt…word travelled! The Red Sea deliverance ….all of this is a testimony of God’s mighty power went throughout the lands.  Just read about what Rahab would later have to testify in Jericho (Joshua 2:10). God gets the glory!

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU AND I?
We are just like the Hebrew people in bondage in Egypt…we are in bondage to sin and death…all of us, there is none righteous no not one. We are stuck in our trespasses and sins.  We all have a natural inclination to sin. And it it that sin that separates us from God…and as a result we face His wrath!

But then God did something momentous…something that we will never forget! Jesus is the perfect sinless spotless Lamb of God 2 Cor. 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” Being the Lamb of God…His blood was shed to cover your sin! To deliver you from God’s wrath! Ephesians 2:3 “…by nature were children of wrath”
God receives glory through our lives as evidence of His salvation is seen and declared to others.

Have you received God’s deliverance…salvation…through the blood of His Son, the spotless Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ? Do others see evidence of the power of the one, true God in your life as you walk in faith, surrender and obedience to Him?

“The King of Grace”

Matthew 1:1-17behold-your-king

I have heard it said that when writing a book you want to catch the reader in the first few lines.  Most books have that line that grabs the readers imaginations or else they put it down and may never read it.  But Matthew, under the inspiration of God chooses to start his book of the Christ…with a genealogy!

Many Bible readers generally skip over genealogies…you know the seemingly endless list of names, often difficult to pronounce and seemingly unimportant names of people who lived long, long ago…But for Matthew, the Gospel writer, it was vitally important. His sole desire throughout his gospel record was to point to Jesus as the rightful King.

If someone is going to be a king their royalty will depend on their royal lineage. They must be able to prove their right to the throne. This lineage that Matthew begins with…shows the kingly line of Jesus Christ.

As a genealogy…it shows that Jesus Christ is an actual part of human history….no one can question this fact. But it also shows that all of Jewish history from Abraham was preparing for His birth…God in His divine providence ruled and overruled time and time again to accomplish His great purpose…in bringing His Son into the world.
Someone has referred to this section as “The Skeletons in God’s Closet” Because it ain’t pretty! From Matthew’s listing…we see God’s beautiful hand of grace! Jesus was sent by a God of grace to be a King of grace! He was not going to be a rock star king! Nor a king of the law nor a king of iron force…but instead a King of Grace! His royal credentials speak of royal grace! And the people He chose to be His ancestral line…reveal the wonder of His grace!..Let me tell you today…this gives me hope…in fact it gives hope to every sinner!

GOD in His Grace PROVIDED A KING…through a line…I WOULD NOT HAVE CHOSEN…
I must confess through my idealistic eyes…I would not have chosen many  on this list. But God did! Just for a moment follow along in Matthew 1:1-17 and pick out some of the well known names. These people were known for  unfaithfulness, immorality, idolatry and apostasy (walking away from God)…and yet God deals with them by grace.

Abrahamwas a liar…and Isaac learned real well from his daddy and was a liar too…and the apple did not fall far from the tree because Jacob…was a schemer and a cheat and a swindler. Judah…While Joseph was resisting temptation and living a blessed and holy life in Egypt, Judah was hanging out with his daughter-in-law Tamar, who was disguised as a prostitute and he had relations with her and got her pregnant. So their son Perez was illegitimate…born out of immorality. Goodness gracious…look al three are included as part of Jesus’ ancestors! Wow! Do you see where we’re going here?

Now, they weren’t all bad guys. Boaz was a very honourable man even though he married a Moabite woman who the Jewish Law forbid him to marry.  Some of the kings were pretty good…David was a man after God’s own heart, but if truth be told…he was a murderer and he did commit adultery with Bathsheba who is also noted here in Jesus’ lineage.

And we may say with our self righteous judgement…it’s just not the lineage that I would have chosen. I would have chosen…you know pretty people. The best and the brightest. People who look good on a royal resume.  Kind of like when Israel chose Saul to be the first king of Israel. They chose him because he looked like a king!  He was handsome and stood head and shoulders above the rest. All in all he looked  like a king. But make note… Israel chose him to be king…God didn’t.  God instead chose David. A little ruddy shepherd boy that wasn’t even worth bringing in from the field to see the prophet. But doesn’t that show God’s goodness and mercy?

Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t just choose the best and the brightest?
He chooses to work through the weak, imperfect things of this world that we might see His grace/strength. God’s glory shines through this motley group of people…that’s the way that God works. People who were in no way qualified to be in the human lineage of the Son of God…

LESSON #1 God’s Choice is Not My Choice…
God’s ways are higher…than my ways…(Isaiah 55:8-9) you and I may look at the exterior…and maybe we are quick to make a judgement…but God is the One who looks at the heart…God is the One who looks at the heart He is the Potter who makes His vessel the instrument of His grace!

LESSON #2…GOD in His Grace…Chooses to Work Through Imperfect People…
Jacob is a great example. Known for his deceitful scheming, yet it is through Jacob that God would lead and sovereignly rule and overrule in his life to bring him to the point of submitting to God.
Just look at all the imperfect examples of faith full believers in Hebrews 11…
LESSON #3…GOD in His Grace…Chooses to Use the Weak Things of the World…
All of these men listed were sinful and often known for some kind of weakness or unfaithfulness But God was continually faithful to them…and His grace was always with them, even when they were in trouble or even in times when God was rebuking them. (See: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
LESSON #4…God in His Grace…Chooses to Use the Outcast…
Tamar…(v.3) In Genesis 38  Tamar, the recently widowed daughter in law of Judah, acted as a prostitute and tricked her father-in-law Judah into making her pregnant so that she could continue the line of her husband. Despite her prostitution and the incest…God’s grace fell on her and her son to be born as well as Judah.
Rahab…(v.5) In Joshua 2 also was a prostitute and a Gentile, a foreigner, living in Jericho. But she, in faith courageously rescued the 2 Hebrew spies. Not sure how she came to faith but somehow she knew about God and His people. By faith she knew she had better intervene on behalf of her family. She would marry Salmon and become the mother of Boaz, who would become king David’s great grandfather.
Ruth…(v.5) – She too was another foreigner, a Moabite and was under the Old Testament curse against Moabites found in Deuteronomy 23:3No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever”. She was a descendent of the incestuous Lot. But we love Ruth. Her story of faith and commitment God has resounded for generations!
Bathsheba…(v.6) was the woman involved in David’s scandalous affair and cover-up. She would become the mother of the next king, Solomon.
So as you can see in this list you have some great people…but you have people with a scandalous past. You have men, women, adulterers, prostitutes, heroes, and Gentiles. And Jesus is the Saviour of them all. “Right from the start, Matthew is telling us that Jesus is immersed in the grit and the grime of fallen humanity…” To the world Jesus’ way seems foolish…but to those who are being saved it is the power of God! (1 Corinthians 1)

So what? God in His grace…took a lineage of broken, sinful, imperfect people and outcasts and used them for His purposes and His glory. He can do the same thing with us today. He can take worthless broken vessels like you and me and cleanse us with His blood and fill us with His presence and use us for His purposes and for His glory. No matter who you are, people like you are already part of Jesus’ story. Right from the start, God chooses the most sinful, broken, and unlikely people – people like you and me. (See Matthew 9:13) Tell me Matthew didn’t have this foremost in his heart  as he walked with his Master and listened to Him speak and reach the last of people!
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSE1. AWE-Some wonder…this is our Jesus!  The King of Grace! It makes me want to sing of His grace…His love and mercy!
2. KNOW that God includes you and me…the fact that God uses these imperfect, weak people reminds you and I that God will take us and use us for His own purposes. Jesus Christ is the friend of sinners who did not come to call the righteous but sinners…to call the Zaccheus’ the Simon Peter’s, James’ and John. Reflected in His choice of disciples! JESUS CHRIST IS THE KING OF GRACE!