(Below is a prayer written by my colleague and fellow hospital chaplain, Vance Moore. It is shared with his permission.)
So it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. – Romans 12:5
Daily we are faced with culture wars: liberal beliefs, conservative beliefs, and it seems everyone has a unique worldview or ideology. Even in our churches, we are divided. While scriptures tell us we are “one in Christ,” we continue to separate ourselves along the line and issues which are important to us. Your word is clear that we are to be one with You and keep our “eye on the prize.” Help us, Father, to align ourselves with the only worldview/ideology that is acceptable in Your sight. Keep us vigilant and moving toward the only worhty goal– of our relationship with You. Bless us and bless our service this day.
In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
(Few of us want to pray a prayer of confession. And when we do confess, we may say, “Lord, if I have sinned” (God knows we have!) or we soft-sell it with some safe sin, like, “Lord, I know I ran a red light” (He knows a lot worse things than that!) Our confession is rarely raw, vulnerable or gut-wrenching. But Biblical confesssion is brutally honest. So is this prayer, based on Psalm 38. Confession is the hardest prayer to pray, but in the end, it is the most rewarding. Copyright by Bob Rogers).
Lord, my sin is too much for me to bear! I feel the weight of my sin all the more as Your punishment presses down on me. My sin stinks like a festering wound, and my stomach turns at the smell of my foolishness. It hurts that my wrongdoing caused my loved ones and friends to stand back from me, and my enemies have used it to attack me, but it hurts even more, that I feel the pain of separation from You. I know that nothing is hidden from You. Knowing that You see my wicked heart and deceitful mind causes my skin to crawl and my heart to ache. So I confess my sin; I make no excuses; it troubles me; I am disgusted by what I have done. I trust in You, Lord, to forgive me and save me. Lord, do not leave me; hurry to help me, for You are my Savior and my only hope for forgiveness.
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?
Copyright 2014 by Bob Rogers
in the silver moonlight.
I saw your face
in the moon.
from the limb
through black-stained clouds
onto the damp brown earth.
chasing the moon.
I know your silver rays
will return another hour.
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