Will you hear God’s call?
December 21, 2018
"His name shall be called Immanu' El (with us God)" for you Hebrew fans. (Isa. 9:6) and Emmanuel for you Greek fans (Mt. 1:23). Because God came in human form, as a baby, rather than appear as a super-hero like Superman, or the Black Panther we fully comprehend what the biblical writer to the Hebrews wrote, "We have a high priest who is able to identify, and sympathize with our daily walk. He was tested in all ways, yet did not fail." (Heb. 4:15) Those nails on the cross, on my behalf, were tortuous! Because He did not fail, I can always trust Him; I can go to Him in prayer and know He cares and can empathize with me. I imagine Him looking me in the eye and saying, "billy, I know … I know." What a blessing!
I believe the prophet Isaiah wanted us to be on a "first name basis." So, He added: "He shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace." I don't care how successful or unsuccessful we may be. If our engine isn't "firing on all eight," he has given us a Wonderful Counselor to walk with us and to guide us.
With all the power that created the universe, He will ever be with us, never letting us down. He rules a kingdom of peace. When Jesus came, He invited us all to "come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy laden … and I will give you rest. Learn from my teaching. It is kind and gentle. I am meek and lowly in heart and you will find rest unto your souls." (Matt 11:28-30) I know this speaks to some like me who were tired before the Christmas season began.
Jesus did "not leave us as orphans." (Jn. 14:16-18) His Holy Spirit continues to be in and with us giving guidance that is always true and never fails. He ultimately and always has our best interest at heart. He is the "Wonderful Counselor" who will lead us in a kingdom of peace.
One of my two favorite carols is “Immanuel” by Michael Card. I invite you to find it and listen to the words. Here’s a few: “The glory of the nations a light for all to see. That hope for all who will embrace His warm reality. For all those who live in the shadow of death. A glorious light has dawned. For all those who stumble in the darkness, behold your light has come.”
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Lee Strobel, once a great skeptic and now author of, "The Case For Christ" penned these words: "There was a time when I didn't believe there was a Christ in Christmas. But, I did what the Shepherds did. When the angels announced to them that the Savior of Life had been born … what did they do? They went and checked it out. I checked it out as a skeptic."
One of my two favorite carols is "Immanuel" by Michael Card. I invite you to find it and listen to the words. Here's a few: "The glory of the nations a light for all to see. That hope for all who will embrace His warm reality. For all those who live in the shadow of death. A glorious light has dawned. For all those who stumble in the darkness, behold your light has come." Are you facing grave illness? Is death near you or someone close? Don't miss the chorus: "Immanuel our God is with us. And if God is with us who could stand against us? Our God is with us Immanuel." I leave you with Michael's last words: "So what will be Your answer? Will You hear the call?"
Pastor Bill Baltz is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.