Copyright by Robert C. Rogers.
My shepherd is the Lord,
There is nothing that I lack.
He leads me by river fords,
On green pastures I lay back.
He makes my life new
And leads me on right paths.
Dark valleys I get through
With His rod and His staff.
A table for me You prepare
Before those that I oppose.
Your pour oil upon my hair;
My cup fills up and overflows.
You follow me with goodness and grace
For the rest of my earthly days.
I will dwell in my Heavenly place
By Your city forever amazed.
Copyright by Bob Rogers.
Precious Jesus, I meditate on the day of Your death.
Your hands were bound behind Your back
Your mouth was silent before Pilate
Your ears heard the words “Crucify!”
Your head was crowned with thorns
Your back was bloodied with the whip
Your back bore the cross to Calvary
Your hands and feet were nailed to the cross
Your tongue spoke words of forgiveness
Your side was pierced
Your heart was broken
Your work was finished.
Darkness covered the land and blood covered my sin,
the day the Lamb of God was sacrificed.
I cannot take away Your pain
I cannot pay You for my gain
I cannot be sacrificed in Your place
I can only receive Your gift of grace.
O crucified Son of Man, I worship You. You were arrested that I might be set free. You were falsely accused that I might be acquitted. You paid the price on the cross that I might be redeemed. When Easter morning dawned, and You walked out of that grave, I was given life!
Therefore, even as You walked out of the darkness, Jesus, may I walk in the light. You took the nails in Your hands and feet, may I use my hands and feet to bless others in Your name. You were silent before Your accusers; may I confess my sin as I proclaim Your name, the name of the Risen Son of God, Jesus Christ my Lord!
Copyright by Bob Rogers.
Lord, these are dark times. At times, it is so bad that I feel like darkness is my only friend.1 Lord, why have you allowed Your light to be covered? How can I see You when I can’t even see myself in the darkness? Lord, light my lamp; God, dispel my darkness.2 Until dawn comes, remind me as I weep through the night, that joy is coming in the morning.3
Biblical references: 1 Psalm 88:18; 2 Psalm 18:28; 3 Psalm 30:5
Copyright by Bob Rogers.
Lord, we despair under the dark clouds of suffering. We cannot see You or feel Your presence. Yet, we believe there is a light behind those clouds, because we have seen it before. Give us faith to hold on and trust You in the dark, until the day that the clouds part and Your light shines through again. In the name of Jesus, the light of the world, I pray. Amen.
Article copyright 2016 by Bob Rogers
Barbara Robinson writes in her book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, about a Sunday School Christmas pageant. One child heard from Isaiah 9:6 that the Christ child’s name would be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Wide-eyed, she responded, “He’d never get out of the first grade if he had to write all that.”
Perhaps we need to return to this familiar prophetic title with the same wonder of a child. We will see:
As Wonderful Counselor, Christ takes away our gloom.
As Mighty God, Christ takes away our doom.
As Everlasting Father, Christ adopts us all.
As Prince of Peace, Christ takes down the wall.
In the verses before Isaiah 9:6, we see how meaningful this really is…
I. Wonderful Counselor takes away our gloom
Isaiah 9:1 says “the gloom of the distressed will not be like that of the former times.” In this world, we often live in gloom and sorrow, but Christ takes it away. Our Wonderful Counselor listens with compassion, helps us see matters in a new light, confronts us with the truth, and guides us in the right way.
II. Mighty God takes away our doom
Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Because of our sin, we are living in the land of death, headed to a sinner’s hell. But the Christ child is more than a sweet baby; He is God in flesh, and able to save us from our sins by His sacrifice on the cross. He came to earth, so that we may go to heaven.
III. Everlasting Father adopts us all
Isaiah 9:4 speaks of the oppression and burdens of the people, who have no one to protect them. But God is a good Father, and His Son Jesus has come to adopt us all. When I say, “adopts us all,” I don’t mean to imply universal salvation; I’m speaking poetically of all who trust the blood of Christ, and then are adopted into God’s family, as if we were blood brothers and sisters. “I will not leave you as orphans,” Jesus promised in John 14:18.
IV. Prince of Peace takes down the wall
Isaiah 9:5 speaks of the blood of war, from which Christ came to bring peace. He takes down the wall of sin (Isaiah 59:2), so that nothing separates us from God (Romans 8:38-39). He takes down the wall that separates us from our brothers and sisters in Christ: “For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14).
When missionary Don Richardson was trying to explain the gospel to a remote tribe, they could not understand the incarnation of God in flesh or the atonement of Christ upon the cross. But then he learned that when tribes wanted to make peace, they would exchange children to grow up in the other tribe. That was it! He explained that Jesus is our “Peace Child,” the Son of God, born as a Son of Man to make peace through His flesh.
Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah’s birth long ago. As you celebrate His birth, you can also be born again by faith (John 3:3). Have you?