Immanuel, God With Us

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) (Matt 1:23)


God is with you! God is with you today in your meetings, during your phone calls, over lunch and coffee. God is with you while you do each task of your job. Your value, your significance and your hope comes from doing what you are doing with God, for God’s glory. No matter how mundane your life may be, in continual communion with God, your life is elevated to sacred heights. [1]

Enjoy the immense privilege of God being with you right now. In your Spirit freely callout ‘Abba, Father’ and know that God hears you. Since Christ is at your side you can trust and obey God. Humbly allow the potter to shape you according to his divine will into the person he created you to be. Make a fresh start today with God at your side. God will strengthen you so that you can turn from sin and resist temptation. God is your hiding place from temptation in a hostile world. The Lord, God almighty is upholding you with his righteous hand.

Who is it that is with you? The Lord of heaven and earth is with you! The God of peace, grace, truth and light is with you. The loving, holy and righteous God is your constant companion. God delights over you with his whole being and freely gives you true riches and treasures. God hears your prayers and is providing exactly what you need for this moment.

Allow God’s presence to fill you with joy, celebrate God’s righteousness and the eternal pleasures that are at God’s right hand. Be strong and courageous! God is with you! God will never leave you nor forsake you! Live a grace filled life without shame, seeking no reward, fearing nothing, being afraid of no one. Live your life with boldness, joy, love, power and gratitude. Freely give. Freely forgive. Freely love. Enjoy each moment of this day basking in God’s presence.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa 41:10)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. (Ps 23:4-5)

Prayer 

May the god of love and peace be with you, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.


[1] Jethani, Skye, With¸ (Nelson books, 2011) p. 150

Calling

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) 


God is calling you today. God may be calling you to a role that is exciting or to a place that the world may deem as “ordinary”. That is not what is important. What is important is that God is calling you to be exactly who he created you to be when he knit you together in your mother’s womb. When God created you, he knew that the world needed you today with your unique gifts and skills. He knew that there were things that needed to be done in this world that only you can do. God is calling you today to be a living witness to the life of faith. God is calling you today to a life of quiet obedience and faithful trust in every situation, in every conversation, in the good times and the bad times. God is calling you today to use the skills and talents he has blessed you with, right where you are. God’s call on your life is tremendously freeing, for his call on your life is for you to be you.

You don’t have to be afraid! The one who calls you today, sees exactly what is happening in this world. God is grieved by the sinfulness he sees, and his heart longs for redemption and reconciliation, but God is not surprised or panicking. What a privilege you have to constantly enjoy the presence of the one who called you, the one who is in control of this universe wherever you go, as you take the next step in obedience. No matter how many scary, dark, wonderful or joyous situations you experience, God has promised to be with you and never to leave you alone or forsake you. When you are tempted to say “what if this happens” or “what if that happens” what are you saying about God?

You know what you need to do next! The one who calls you, has given you sufficient guidance for the next step. His word is a lamp unto your feet. God has blessed you with everything you need to faithfully move forward (people, gifts, resources, skills). The one who calls you, is the one who created you. He is aware of your weaknesses and limitations be they physical, emotional, financial or whatever they may be. Yes, God has called you, because he knows that your unique combination of strengths and weakness are exactly what is required to do what you are called to do. When you doubt your ability to follow his call, what are you saying about God, and who he created you to be?

It is never too late … today you can start being the person God created you to be. Be obedient today and faithfully follow what you know about God. There is nothing stopping you from starting now to trust God. God is with you. God will deliver you. God is faithful, God will keep his promises toward you. Even though nobody around you may be trusting God – you can! Today you can model Christ’s love! Today you can model grace!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb 12:1-3)

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Heb 13:15-16) 

Humility

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. (Prov 22:4)


As the cloud lifted, there she stood covered in leprous sores, like a newborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten. Next to her, he knelt, praying that the Lord would heal his sister for speaking out against his leadership. Is it any wonder that Moses was known for being the most humble man on earth? (Numbers 12)

One of the great paradoxes in the Kingdom of God is that true humility is strength not weakness; a quiet strength of character resting in a firm belief in God.

Your humility is the strength that lets you serve others in your job, in a way that is uniquely you, without fear of losing your identity, for your identity is rooted in Christ. Your humility, based on Christ’s love for you, is the backbone that enables you to deeply love those around you without expectations. Because Christ has shown you how precious you are, you can show your neighbor how precious they are. Since you are complete in Christ, and assured that Christ sees you and knows your heart you don’t need to seek the place of prominence out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. When God calls you to a place of prominence, then with peace humbly go there for Christ is Lord there. When God calls you to a place of obscurity, then with joy humbly go there for Christ is Lord there.

Humbly remember your place in God’s creation. When God created you, He blessed you with your skills and abilities, and what God has created is good. In humility acknowledge your Creator. Courageously be who God created you to be; and do what God calls you to do; where God has placed you; with and for the people God has placed in your life. This is the narrow path of faith which is marked by trust in God. Never forget the grace God has shown you by forgiving your sins through faith in Christ, and allowing you to cry out Abba Father. Take the yoke of Christ upon you, and learn from him, for Christ is gentle and humble in heart, then you will find rest for your soul. Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Prayer 

May your position in Christ bring you encouragement. May the Love of the Father bring you comfort. May your life be marked with tenderness and compassion. Amen 

 

Rest

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long,and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. (Deut 33:12)


It had been a long busy day for Jesus and his disciples. It was night-time and they were crossing over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was resting peacefully in the back of the boat when suddenly a huge storm descended from out of nowhere. As Creator, he knew that he was Lord over nature. Although these winds and the roaring sea threatened his very life and the life of his disciples, Jesus knew that the winds and sea were subject to his sovereign authority, so he rested peacefully. These experienced fishermen, could not comprehend how a simple carpenter could sleep through this horrendous storm. Drenched to the skin, shivering from the ferocious winds, they awakened Jesus, in the hope that the one who could drive out demons, the one who taught in parables, might possibly be able to do something to save them.

Little did they realize that their passenger had authority not just over demons but also over the wind and the sea. Their boat was tilting over precariously, and another huge wave was about to splash over the deck when with one short sentence from Jesus the wind stopped, and the sea was as flat as glass. The silence was deafening as they looked out on the reflection of the moon and stars on the Sea of Galilee. The only evidence of the storm was the water dripping off their clothes into the puddles on the deck of their boat. Softly Jesus whispered to them “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?1

Can the one who drives out demons, can the one who teaches with authority, can the one who calms the winds and the sea, calm the raging storm around you, or in your soul? Can you hear the Lord asking you “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Your soul can be at rest today, because you trust the personal, living Lord who sustains you. Tonight lie down and sleep in peace, knowing that in the middle of the storms of life, the Lord will keep your soul safe. Know that just as the Lord is the sovereign authority who rules over the wind and roaring sea, the Lord is the sovereign authority who rules over all those who are causing storms in your life.

Jesus is calling out to you today …“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”2

Tonight, when you go to bed don’t be afraid, sleep sweetly, for the Lord is at your side, and will keep your foot from being snared.3 God in whom you trust is your refuge and fortress, so rest peacefully in the shadow of the Almighty.

1 Mark 4:40
2 Matt 11:28-30
3 Prov 3:26

Standing Firm

If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Cor 10:12 NIV)


As an unschooled and ordinary man, filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter astonished the high priest and the teachers of the law by courageously proclaiming that salvation is only found in Jesus, and that there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Courageously Peter declared before the Pharisees that “we must obey God rather than human beings”.Floggings and beatings for his faith could not stop Peter from daily teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah in the temple courts and from house to house.

Yet Peter still had more to learn about the magnitude of God’s grace. God miraculously spoke to Peter through a vision to convince him that he could eat the same food as Gentiles eat, and hang out with them. God had to teach Peter not to call anything impure that God had made clean. Peter had to absorb the fact that Jesus is the Lord of people from every nation.  When in obedience Peter accepted the centurion Cornelius’ invitation to be his guest, Peter, had the awesome opportunity to see the Holy Spirit poured out on Cornelius and his Gentile friends who believed in Jesus Christ.

Imprisoned by Herod, Peter fearlessly and peacefully slept chained between two soldiers until the Lord sent an angel to free him, and escort him out of the heavily guarded prison. Later when Peter’s friends came to visit him in Antioch we find Peter cowering in fear. The one whom the Lord had delivered from Herod’s clutches, and from everything that the Jews hoped would happen to him, drew back from the Gentiles and acted like a good Jewish person because he was afraid of being criticized. Paul, appealing to Peter’s value and dignity as a child of God, spoke to Peter about his sinful behavior and the impact it was having on Barnabas and his friends. Paul reminded Peter what is important – his faith in Jesus Christ expressing itself in love.

You stand firmly in your faith and boldly proclaim the Lordship of Christ in many places, but where do you cower in fear?

How might your actions be impacting those around you?

If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Cor 10:12-13 NIV).

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)