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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

That Joy-Filled Name

By T. Ray Rachels
Dec. 18, 2011

Christmas is many things — lights, tree, gifts, candles. But above all these things is Jesus. He’s the reason for the season. The phrase may sound trite; but if you forget that truth, Christmas becomes just a holiday featuring Santa Claus.

Centuries before Jesus’ birth, Isaiah told of His coming:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6,7, ESV).

These words are a message from God to people who needed a dream of something better than bondage, loneliness, isolation and defeat. Isaiah says that your disappointment in every earthly government and its leaders will be replaced by the confident word from God that His Son, Jesus, will come to set right all wrongs and give hope that His rule will ultimately bring us together as one people.

The names Isaiah uses to describe Jesus serve to heighten our expectations.

Wonderful Counselor

In the early days of the automobile, Henry Ford went on several well-publicized camping trips with friends, including Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone. According to one story, as they drove along, they came upon a man standing beside a disabled car, and they stopped to see if they could be of some help.

“Do any of you know how to fix a Ford?” the man asked.

One of Ford’s friends pointed at him and said, “This old fellow knows something about Fords.”

Ford rolled up his sleeves and soon had the car running.

Thanking Ford, the man said as he listened to the motor, “It sounds better than it ever did.” Little did he know that the man who fixed his car was the man who designed it.

There are countless reasons why life breaks down. All of us, at one time or another, have found ourselves standing beside our troubles, wondering if anybody could help fix what’s wrong. There is Someone — a Wonderful Counselor — in whose image you are made, and from whose wisdom you can draw. His name is Jesus.

Mighty God

I was heading home on side streets and found myself caught in a traffic jam. Then I noticed on the next block a gigantic plume of water rising high in the air. A fire hydrant had broken, and the underground pressure sent a water geyser shooting up and across the street, forming a perfect arch. The sun was shining, too, and sent its rays directly into the mist, creating a sensational rainbow.

So there I sat looking incredulously into a perfect rainbow water bridge over the middle of the next street. Cars ahead were turning to avoid the spray. I thought to myself, I’ve never ridden underneath a rainbow before and probably will never get another chance. I shouted “Whoopee!” as I drove into a good drenching.

It is a cleansing, exhilarating moment when we see power unleashed, even in a broken fire hydrant. And so with the “Mighty God,” His refreshing glory always has a rainbow, purposefully designed by Him, for those with faith enough to risk a spiritual drenching. It is by faith that we move into the wonders of God’s might and power.

Matthew Henry said, “As He has wisdom, so He has strength. He is able to save to the utmost; and such is the work of the Mediator, that no less a power than the Mighty God could accomplish it.”

Everlasting Father

The Interpreter’s Bible says that it is Christ’s fatherly care of His people and tenderness toward them that is everlasting. He has a constant care for those who are His!

When my son Lance was 16, he got his feathers ruffled at the dinner table when I told him to count me out on one of his projects at school. He had missed deadlines, the work was long overdue, he seemed as if he couldn’t care less, and by now that was my feeling, too.

“Why do you even expect me to help you at this late date?” I asked. “You’ve goofed off for a whole semester, and now that the heat’s on, you want somebody to come through for you.”

We talked some more, then my son said to me, “I don’t know why. I guess the only reason I’m asking is because you’re my dad!”

He could have given me a thousand other reasons that would not have worked, but his appeal hit home. What he needed from me was fatherly care and tenderness toward his needs, not stubborn resistance.

Our Heavenly Father is perfect in His response of care and tenderness to us. Thankfully, He never shuts His ear to our requests. He is a Friend and Father with a love for us that neither time nor death can destroy.

Prince of Peace

Real peace comes to the person who has the boldness to see and believe that God has given a confirmation of heaven’s family ties to us through His Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Scripture is filled with this very promise:

“For He Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14, NASB).

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NIV).

“An angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:21).

His name is something you can count on, and the authority of all that it means brings wisdom, power, tenderness and peace to His people.

T. RAY RACHELS is an executive presbyter of the Assemblies of God. He served as superintendent of the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God for 22 years.

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