“For to us a child is born,
To us a son is given,
And the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.”
Welcome to my first online Bible Study! As we get started, I want to invite you to check in, register, and please, would you introduce yourself? You can introduce yourself to others who will be participating in our Bible Study by answering some simple questions about yourself:
- Please give us your name and where you are from. For example: I am Becky Harling, from Denver, Colorado.
- Please tell us something about yourself. For example: I am married to Steve, who is a lead Pastor and I have four adult children, two grandchildren and another two on the way! I’d be happy to show you pictures of my grandchildren sometime….they are absolutely darling!
- Please tell us one sentence about what you are hoping to receive from this Bible Study; a deeper sense of God’s presence, a sense of community with others who will be joining, more knowledge about Christ or anything else you’d like to share!
What you need
For this Bible study on Experiencing Immanuel you will only need a Bible and a notebook or journal.
The way this Bible study will work is we’ll upload a new Bible study every Wednesday. You can check in at any time and even multiple times. Each Bible study will include: The name of Christ that we’ll be studying, passages of scripture for you to consider, a few questions to prompt your thinking, a praise challenge, tangible tips on experiencing God’s presence, and finally, journal questions to help you process your thoughts. You will also be able to communicate with others who are participating in the Bible which will hopefully build a sense of community!
Each week you’ll be able to share prayer requests – so that we can pray for each other as we move through this study.
The focus of this study is Experiencing Immanuel. Throughout the study we’ll be studying the four names that Isaiah called Christ.
- Week One – Wonderful Counselor
- Week Two – Mighty God
- Week Three – Everlasting Father
- Week Four – Prince of Peace
Introduction – Experiencing Immanuel
It’s that wonderful but crazy time of year again! The stores are decorated, the music is playing, the invitations are coming and in the midst of it all, we find ourselves longing for something more. What is this longing stirring in our hearts? I believe it is a “divine ache”; a loneliness of sorts. It is an ache placed carefully in our souls by a sovereign God who desires that we know Him, not just casually, but intimately. We feel this ache every day but often we run from it, hide from it, or try to fill it with something or someone other than God. What would it look like this Christmas season to actually cultivate that ache and set a priority on experiencing God’s presence every day of December? Jesus came as Immanuel – meaning, God with us. (Matthew 1:23) In other words, God came to earth in human form as Jesus. He desires that we experience His presence each and every day.
The prophet Isaiah predicted the birth of Christ hundreds of years before He was born. Writing about Immanuel, Isaiah penned, “He will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) These four names of Jesus invite us to experience His presence in four different ways. For this week we are going to focus on experiencing Immanuel as the Wonderful Counselor.
Jesus – The Wonderful Counselor
Fully God and fully man, Jesus existed before the foundation of the earth with God the Father. From the moment of His birth, His life and ministry were filled with wonder.
Read through the birth of Christ as recorded in Luke 2:1-20. How is the wonder of God reflected in the story?
Jesus’ entire earthly ministry held an incredible sense of wonder. Read through the following stories and then write how you see the wonder of God displayed in each story.
Not only was Jesus’ life enveloped with wonder, but He also possessed all the fullness of God’s wisdom. Even from childhood Jesus demonstrated a divine wisdom. One of the very few verses we have referencing Jesus’ childhood is found in Luke 2:52; “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
Read through Luke 2:41-51. In what ways do you see the wisdom of God reflected in Jesus even though at the time of this story He was only twelve years old?
Later in Jesus ministry, Jesus called the Holy Spirit our counselor. Read John 14:15-18, 25-27. What did you learn about the Holy Spirit’s ministry to us as counselor from these verses? Why do you think Jesus said it was better for us if He went away and left His Spirit (John 16:7,13)?
If you were to list the traits of a “good” counselor, what would you list?
In what ways do your traits match characteristics of the Spirit of Jesus?
Read Psalm 16:7, Psalm 73:24, Revelation 3:13. How might the Holy Spirit counsel you? How do you hear His voice?
Experiencing Him as Wonderful Counselor
We can hear God’s wisdom through His Word, the voice of His Spirit and the wise counsel of others who are believers in Christ. The problem is that the noise in our lives often blocks the voice of his Spirit. If we are to experience Christ as the Wonderful Counselor this Christmas Season, we need to create some space. Here are some tangible tips that might help:
- Set aside a few minutes every morning to hear from God. Read His Word, Listen for His voice and pray.
- Take a moment or two each day as a “wonder moment.” In this moment consider the wonder of God with us. Consider how wonderful it is that God became flesh in the person of Jesus. Consider how wonderful it is that He left His Holy Spirit as “God with us.” Praise Him in these wonder moments!
- Set aside some of your car time each day to listen for His voice. Play praise music in your car. When we praise God the Holy Spirit sharpens our listening skills and it becomes easier to hear His voice.
- Keep a list of the times throughout the week when you think the Holy Spirit is speaking. Journal your thoughts.
- Try spending a couple (2-3) of minutes in silence every day this week. At first this will feel scary. We’re so used to noise that we’re not sure what to do with the silence. In your moments of silence ask God to speak to you.
- In what areas of your life are you feeling a pressing need for wisdom? Write about that in a journal.
- How have you experienced God’s voice in the past? Do you remember a time in your life when you felt sure that God had spoken to you? Describe that situation in your journal.
Using Romans 11:33-36 as a prompt, write a prayer of praise to Jesus, as your wonderful counselor.
Lord Jesus, I praise you today as the wonderful counselor. My heart’s desire is to experience your presence even during this high pressured season of Christmas. Holy Spirit, thank you that you promise to guide me and give me wisdom moment by moment. Awaken my heart to your presence I pray!