Come To God As A Counselor

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I’ll bet you have “go-to” people in your life. The ones you immediately call when you need computer help, relationship insights, household or car repairs, Bible questions, or even cooking instructions. 

We love having these go-to people in our lives, but I’m also going to guess that none of us has someone who possesses all of these go-to skills. After all, all of us are only human, with limitations and deficiencies. 

We’ve learned that in prayer we can come to God as a Father—calling Him our Abba Father. We can also come to God as a Brother—knowing that Jesus has walked every path we will ever walk, and He intercedes to the Father on our behalf. 

In fact, we saw last week that Jesus was never at a loss of what to say, what path to take, or what prayer to pray. He spoke what He did, and did what He did, and prayed what He did because of the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

This is the same Holy Spirit that is in us as Christians. It’s because of this that we can come to God as a Counselor. The Holy Spirit is THE Go-To Resource for everything! 

Jesus said that both He and our Father love to give us the Holy Spirit as our Counselor, and then the Holy Spirit loves to reveal our Father and our Brother to us (Luke 11:13; John 14:26, 16:15; Galatians 4:6; Matthew 16:17). 

Andrew Murray wrote, “Prayer is simply the breathing of the Spirit in us; power in prayer comes from the power of the Spirit in us as we wait on Him. Failure in prayer is the result of a spirit that is not yielded to the Spirit of God.” 

What does it mean to yield to the Holy Spirit? It means that we don’t look for other go-to people for certain situations, but we trust the Spirit to be the Go-To Resource for everything. This is what Jesus did. 

As Jesus relied on the Counselor, so must we. As the Counselor helped Jesus, so He will help us. 

Let’s break this down. 

First, Jesus was never at a loss of what words to say, and the Holy Spirit will give us the right words to say as well (John 12:49; Matthew 10:19-20; Luke 1:67; Acts 2:14). 

Second, Jesus was never at a loss of what path to take, and neither do we have to experience any confusion about what to do and when to do it (Matthew 4:1; Luke 2:27; Acts 16:6-10).

Finally, Jesus was never at a loss of what prayer to pray, and so too will the Holy Spirit help us go deeper into our prayer time (Luke 10:21; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 3:14-21). 

In addition, there is not one issue we will ever face that God hasn’t already addressed for us in Scripture (Ephesians 3:4-5). We see Jesus being totally reliant on Scripture (Luke 4:4, 8, 12). In an identical way, the Holy Spirit will help illuminate and apply the Scripture to our lives (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:13). 

Let me repeat this vital truth: The Holy Spirit is THE Go-To Resource for everything!

  • We are vulnerable to temptation without the help of our Go-To Counselor. 
  • We are limited in our understanding of Scripture without the help of our Go-To Counselor.
  • We have a shallow prayer life without the help of our Go-To Counselor. 
  • We will be frequently confused about words to use or paths to take without the help of our Go-To Counselor. 

Let us learn to rely on our Counselor, as we keep our eyes on our Brother, and as we go together to our Father in childlike prayer. This is what leads to true intimate conversation! 

If you’ve missed any of the other messages in our prayer series Intimate Conversation, please click here. 

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Links & Quotes

When Jesus says, “I need you,” will you be able to say, “I’m ready for You”? Here is a great example of a man who stayed ready year after year for that precise moment when Jesus said, “It’s time.” Please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Pastors, I was challenged by the insight from T.M. Moore, and I hope you will take a couple of minutes to read the full post and even subscribe to his regular emails. “John Calvin explained that one of the marks of a true church is that the Word of God is faithfully proclaimed and heard. He did not consider a church to be fulfilling its mission simply by sound preaching. Sound preaching had to be coupled with sound hearing and obedience, for only as believers do the Word to they receive it as God intends.

“In this, Calvin and Columbanus are in agreement: ‘While we preach often we improve slowly; often are we offended, seldom patient, often conquered, seldom conquerors, often led astray, seldom wise. Then what will help us, like weak and unskilled fighters whose weapons turn and wound them, while it is no credit to hear these things, but to accomplish them? For the law does not make holy by hearing, but doubtless by performance; each should honour the Lord, not simply by words and bodily toil, but by ripeness of character and purity of heart’ (Sermon II).”

Come To God As A Father

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Jesus told us numerous times that we can come to God as our Father. 

Have you ever played a word association game? For instance, if I said “winter” you might say “shoveling” (or kids might say “sledding”). If I said “summer” you might say “vacation.” But I think the word “father” may bring up a lot of very different feelings or images. Some may have fond memories of the word “father” while others may think:

  • playful but not a good provider 
  • disciplinarian 
  • hard to please 
  • absent
  • unavailable 

Even if our human fathers were good, they were still flawed. Jesus said this about us, “If you parents, that even know how to give good things to your kids are evil, how much more amazing is the goodness and love of God” (Matthew 7:11). But Jesus had something entirely different in mind for us when He told us we could come to God as our Father. And, sadly, it’s a level of intimacy that many have never known. 

All of us could only experience limited intimacy with our earthly fathers, but with our Heavenly Father we can have unlimited and unimaginable intimacy! 

When Jesus was teaching us to pray in Matthew 6:6-9, there are two thoughts that stand out to me about coming to God as our Father. First, Jesus tells us that we don’t have to use any special language. When He said some people babble in prayer, Jesus was saying they were using a language that was unnatural to them—they weren’t being themselves. 

Our Heavenly Father wants us to come to Him as children: full of innocence, and wonder, and expectation, and imagination!

Second, I notice that three times Jesus calls God “your Father,” but when He begins His model prayer He says, “Our Father.” Think of that: Jesus is saying we can approach God the same way He approached His Father! 

In His intense prayer time just before His crucifixion, Jesus used the phrase “Abba Father” to express His intimacy. This phrase is used two other times in the New Testament. Both of these times it’s telling us that we can approach our Heavenly Father the same way Jesus did (see Mark 14:36; Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:15). 

The Romans understood the weight that was associated with the practice of adoption. They knew that a father chose that child to be a part of his family, giving that child full acceptance into the family. Marvin Vincent noted,

“We have but a faint conception of the force with which such an illustration would speak to one familiar with the Roman practice; how it would serve to impress upon him the assurance that the adopted son of God becomes, in a peculiar and intimate sense, one with the heavenly Father.”

In writing to the Romans, Paul reminds them that for those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation—nothing holding them back from God’s presence. He also said that God has fully adopted us into His family, and that the Holy Spirit was now in us, encouraging us to call God “Abba Father” just as Jesus did (Romans 8:1, 14-16). 

Check out these two final thoughts from Jesus: He encourages us to approach God as innocent children, and He praises Our Father for then intimately confiding in His children—

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. … I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” (Matthew 18:3, 11:25) 

No matter what your relationship was with your earthly father, Jesus encourages us to approach our Heavenly Father in innocence, wonder, expectation, imagination, and intimacy. This is what God desires in His relationship with you! 

If you’ve missed any of the messages in our series Intimate Conversation, you can find them all by clicking here. 

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Links & Quotes

God made you uniquely YOU on purpose. So you can ask Him to show you why He put you together as He did—with all of the gifts that make you YOU. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

In my Halley’s Study Bible, I read this commentary on Matthew 24-25—

“It is best not to be too dogmatic about the events surrounding [Christ’s] second coming. But if language is a vehicle of thought at all, it certainly takes a good deal of explaining and interpreting to make anything else out of Jesus’ words than that He Himself looked forward to His coming again as a definite historical event in which He will personally and literally appear to gather to Himself and to eternal glory those who have been redeemed by His blood.

“And it is best not to cloud the hope of His coming with too detailed a theory as to what is going to happen when He comes. Some people may be disappointed if Jesus does not follow the schedule they have mapped out for Him.”

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.” —Ronald Reagan

“We are not called to punish the people for whom Jesus was already punished.” —Kevin Berry

Daniel B. Wallace, a New Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote, “If you could stack up all handwritten manuscripts of the New Testament—Greek, Syriac, Latin, Coptic, all languages—how tall would the stack be? … I have said in many lectures that it would be the equivalent of c. 4 & 1/2 Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other. How did I come up with that number?” Check out his post to read how he calculated this astounding number. This is just another link in the chain of evidence for the historicity of the Bible.

I shared this commentary on YouVersion this week: We are made in God’s likeness. Ever since sin entered the world, man’s sinful nature is to flip this around—to make God in our likeness. Literally to say, “This is what I want God to be. I want Him to approve what I want.”

“Pure humor is the most difficult of all of comedy. Late night humor is funny because it is mean. It is relatively easy to be crude, cynical, and sarcastic. It comes naturally to our fallen natures to criticize, tease, mock, and scoff. It’s much harder to make people laugh by lifting others up.” —Dick Brogden, in his book Proverbs: Amplified and Applied, commenting on Proverbs 1:22

“Let The Reader Understand”

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

When Jesus said, “Let the reader understand,” He was saying He wants us to be able to understand and apply every Scripture we read. Check out this teaching video—

Here are the resources I mentioned in this video:

And although I didn’t mention it in the video, you can check out five different kinds of Bible studies I have shared here and here. 

I’m excited to hear about your Bible study journey. If you have questions or other resources to share, please get in touch with me or leave a comment below. 

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How To Honor Our King

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Merry Christmas! 

When the Magi came to Jesus at His first advent they brought gifts. Isaiah also prophesies all peoples bringing gifts at the second advent of Jesus. Have you ever wondered what gift is appropriate for the King of kings? Fortunately, the Bible tells us the gift He is happy to receive from you! 

Check out the Bible verses I mention: 

If you’ve missed any of the messages in this Advent series, you can find a list of all of those messages by clicking here. 

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Verifiable Facts About The Birth Of Jesus

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Check out the resources I mention in this video:

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Elevated To Serve

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Check out the resources I mention in this video:

  • The story of the 10 disciples being upset with the other two disciples is found in Matthew 20:20-28 
  • The story of Jesus taking on the position of a servant to wash the disciples’ feet is found in John 13:3-5, 14-17 
  • The chapter I quote from in my book is called ‘The Wrong Ladder’
  • Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple

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The Amazement Of Jesus

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

The word amazement shows up numerous times throughout the Gospels. As you might expect, it’s almost always associated with something Jesus said or did. He would heal someone, calm a storm, silence His detractors, or teach persuasively, and the people stood amazed! 

But there are two instances where Jesus Himself is amazed.

The first time is when a Roman centurion sends a message to Jesus by way of a servant. This centurion asks Jesus to speak a word of healing over another one of his servants. He says that just a word from Jesus will be sufficient, and he doesn’t need Jesus to personally come to his house. 

When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. “Turning to those who were following Him, He said, ‘I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’” (Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:9). 

Because of this centurion’s faith, his servant was immediately healed! 

The second time Jesus was amazed was when He was visiting His hometown. There He discovered people with whom He had grown up that refused to believe that He was who He claimed to be. As a result, Jesus “was amazed at their unbelief” (Mark 6:6). 

So either Jesus is amazed at our faith in Him, or He is amazed at our unbelief in Him. When I have faith in Jesus—when I believe He is who He says He is, and that He is willing to do what He says He will do—He is amazed at my faith and can do miracles on my behalf. But when I doubt, when I allow my unbelief to seize my heart, I exclude myself from the miracles He wants to do.

Jesus will be amazed at you. Will He be amazed at your faith in Him? Or will He be amazed at your unbelief in His power that is waiting to be released on your behalf? I pray that Jesus will always be amazed at our faith in Him.

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The Prince Of Peace

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Last week we saw the dark times in which Micah lived as he prophesied the advent of the Messiah. Israel was both surrounded by enemies as well as lots of practices within their borders that were heartbreaking to God. Many times, our lives can feel the same way: enemies of God all around us and our own turmoil and doubts inside our hearts and minds.      

In this dark, hopeless time, the Messiah came as our Great Shepherd. Take a look at what this Shepherd brings us:

He will stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will live securely, for then His greatness will reach to the ends of the Earth. And He will be their peace. (Micah 5:4-5)

We see this idea of Jesus our Great Shepherd bringing peace to our hearts in the New Testament as well: 

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21) 

This peace is also implied in Psalm 23:1 when David wrote, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.” That phrase “I shall not be in want” really captures the definition of peace. 

The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. An easy-to-remember definition of shalom is “nothing lost, nothing missing.” Our Great Shepherd makes sure nothing is lost or missing that would cause us anxiety or doubt, so we can have total peace—we can have shalom!

Jesus said the devil’s agenda was for everything to be lost or missing—“the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”—but our Great Shepherd’s agenda is for there to be nothing lost or missing—“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). 

Isaiah, who was prophesying at the same time as Micah, sounded a similar note:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel. … And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6) 

When this Great Shepherd was born in Bethlehem, the shepherds in the field were the first to hear the good news. Notice what the angels announced: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14). 

Who has God’s favor? Those with faith in Him: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). So those with faith in God have God’s favor. 

Faith in what? In all that Jesus purchased for us by His blood shed on the Cross: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). 

Check this out: The root word of shalom is a word that means, “It is finished.” These are the exact same words our Price of Peace announced from the Cross! Jesus finished the work that brings us peace from the turmoil and anxiety of sin! 

Faith comes from believing that God has made the promise of peace, that God has fulfilled the promise of peace through Jesus, and that God is bringing us to His eternal peace. So now our lives of peace in a world of turmoil can serve as a testimony to others. 

Jesus called His followers to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) but we cannot do this while we are experiencing anxiety or doubts. To be peacemakers we must be full of peace because of our relationship with the Prince of Peace, who has ensured that nothing is lost and nothing is missing! 

If you feel anxious, remember that Bethlehem is your proof that the Prince of Peace has come to remove doubts, anxiety, fear, and inner turmoil. Let every pang of anxiety be immediately a call to run to the Prince of Peace. He has paid an incalculable price to purchase your peace, so don’t leave this gift unopened and unused. A dark, anxious world is looking for peace. Know the author of shalom so that you can introduce others to this Prince of Peace. 

If you’ve missed any of the message in this series, please check them out by clicking here. 

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