The gift that keeps on giving - Greg Laurie - www.worldnetdaily.com and www.harvest.org

In my last article I wrote about the real gift of Christmas, not the ones we will find under our Christmas trees. Not Christmas PRESENTS but rather His Christmas PRESENCE.

This is the gift God has given to us. It's revealed to us in Isaiah chapter 9, written some 700 years before Jesus was born, where we find vital insight into the name, purpose and work of Jesus:

''For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'' (Isaiah 9:6)

When you stop and think about it, each of these titles of Jesus deal with an important area of our lives. These are like five gifts for us to open today. Let's look at each one individually.

First, His name is WONDERFUL. This takes care of the dullness out of life.

The word ''wonderful'' comes from the word "wonder." Bertrand Russell claimed that at least half of the sins of mankind were caused by the fear of boredom, and yet we have more gadgets to keep us from being bored than ever before. We have TV, HDTV, CD'S, DVD'S, MP3's and MP3CD's. We have our cell phones, digital cameras and personal communicators. We have our computers and our PDA's. We have our Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, Nanos, iPods, video iPods, and on and on. Yet so many people will say, ''I'm BORED!''

Whatever camera, computer, cell phone or other gadget you get, remember this: A newer version of will soon arrive that has more mega pixels, or is smaller, or faster, or has better battery life. In fact, in time, your Christmas gifts will mostly be forgotten!

The gifts under the Christmas tree are a metaphor for life itself. There is nothing this world has to offer that will fill that void in your life.

What you begin to realize is that even after you've played with all the best toys, been to all the best places, met all the best people, sampled all the best pleasures, there is still that emptiness, that boredom, that haunts you.

In contrast to the fleeting things of this world, Jesus is wonderful. As I contemplate the fact that God Almighty made this sacrifice for me, I am filled with a sense of awe, wonder, gratitude, and finally worship! Knowing the wonderful Lord Jesus personally takes the dullness out of life.

Second, His name is COUNSELOR. This takes care of the decisions of life.

Life is filled with many important decisions we all must make. Some people turn to the local bar where they pour out their troubles to anyone who will listen. Others will spend thousands on therapy and prescription drugs looking for answers. Even others will desperately turn to so-called psychics for direction. But did you know that God wants to give personal counsel and direction to you? The fact that Jesus Christ is called Counselor is a reminder that He indeed has a plan for each of our lives (Jer. 29:11-12).

The problems and decisions of life do not have to overwhelm or frighten us. God reminds us in His word, ''If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who will give it'' (James 1:5). God has given us His Word so we might learn to think and act Biblically. Everything you need to know about God and life in general is found in Scripture.

''All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.'' (2 Tim 3:16-17) Third, His name is MIGHTY GOD. That takes care of the demands of life.

It's important to realize that Jesus Christ was not just a ''good man'' but the ''God man.'' His name in Scripture is ''Immanuel,'' meaning ''God is with us.''

Jesus claimed to be God many times. In fact, one of the very reasons they crucified Him was because He ''continually made Himself equal with God'' (John 5:18). This is why Thomas, seeing the risen Lord said, ''My Lord and my God" (John 20:28).

As the Mighty God, Jesus has unlimited power.

Power is an appealing thing. If you are a guy, you usually want more of it: a faster car or computer, the ability to bench-press more, etc. In fact, the history of mankind has been the story of discovering and using power. First it was ''man power,'' then ''steam power,'' then ''nuclear power.'' However, what we seem to lack is ''will power.'' Man is able to harness the powers of the known universe, but he can't control himself!

The good news is that we have a ''MIGHTY God'' who gives us the power to live the Christian life.

Some say it's very hard to be a Christian, but I would disagree with that. It's IMPOSSIBLE to be a Christian – that is, without the POWER of Jesus Christ in your life. You might say, ''I can't break free from addictions, worrying, vices, immorality,'' but the Bible says ''you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you'' (Phil 4:13).

Fourth, He is the EVERLASTING FATHER. That takes care of the future of life.

We know life is not merely what we experience here and now on earth. Because Jesus was born, crucified and resurrected, we can have hope, even a hope beyond the grave.

This hope of an ''Everlasting Father'' also resonates with those who never had an earthly father. With so many broken homes today and ''absentee fathers,'' this is a great comfort. It has been for me. My Heavenly Father has always been there for me.

After His resurrection, Jesus said to Mary, ''I go to My Father and your Father.'' Because Jesus both died and rose again, He has given us access to God the Father, 24/7. You don't need a priest, or Mary – you can go to the Father through Jesus!

Finally, His Name is PRINCE OF PEACE. That takes care of the disturbances of life.

In the storms of life we all long for peace within. In a troubled and violent world Jesus comes offering us peace.

We remember the message of the angels to the shepherds, ''Glory to God in the highest, and PEACE ON EARTH,'' but where is this peace the angels promised?

The message of the angels could better be translated, ''Peace on earth among men with whom God is well-pleased.

Mankind has brought violence, unrest, and war on this planet, but Jesus offers you His peace in these uncertain times:

''I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again.'' (John 14:27-28)

Do you have this peace Jesus spoke of? The Bible describes it as the ''peace that passes all understanding'' (Phil 4:7). If you don't, you should understand that before you can have the peace of God you must have peace with God.

Christmas is not so much about giving a gift as it is about RECEIVING A GIFT. The Gift of GOD HIMSELF, taking residence in your heart, giving you peace and hope of eternal life.

Yes, this ''Mighty God'' wants to be your ''Everlasting Father.'' He wants to show you how wonderful He is as He counsels you and floods your life with His peace that passes all human understanding.

God offers this gift to you. Receive it this Christmas! It is the only gift that keeps on giving.


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