God and You - Articles to uplift and encourage

by Daniel Baker

Immanuel - A great Source of Strength and Peace

Daniel Baker 07 Dec 2014

One common prayer made by Christians is a prayer asking God to be with them or another Christian. This is true in spite of the many promises that God is with his people! Why do Christians pray this so often instead of simply believing his promise? The answer is important because belief – faith in God is crucial to our relationship with God. If any of us are to have any of the joy and peace, he promises us, we need to overcome this problem.

I think one reason we doubt God’s promise that he is with his people is fear. As a situation develops fear can set in; we think about the fearful circumstances and doubt God’s promise. Two things back up this conclusion. The first is experience, both my own and others. Fearful outlooks and the pleading for God to be with us go together. The second is that God links them together. Take for example Isaiah 41:10a “So do not fear, for I am with you;” and Psalm 23: 4b “I will fear no evil, for you are with me;”

Another reason is a sense of insecurity on our part. We often respond with doubt and fear because we do not have a sense of security in our own abilities or worth. Unfortunately, we transfer that into our relationship with God. The result is a feeling of insecurity in our relationship with God, and a lack of belief in his promises. We do not say this, but our actions show this feeling is deep rooted. This ends up in doubting, or to be honest not believing, God’s statements that he is with his people and they are secure in his love.

Probably one reason I am sensitive to this in others is that I struggled with it. Growing up fear and insecurity were commonplace in my life. Along with it was a nagging doubt about God’s love and presence. Fortunately, as I grew and matured physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I came to a better sense of myself, my skills, my worth, and the realization that that God keeps his promises. I learned that whether I felt it or not God is with me all the time! With that realization came a completely new way of living life. A way based on living by faith not my fears and insecurities.

Advent is a pointed reminder of the fact of God’s presence with his people. The Angel said to Joseph, “they will call him Immanuel—which means ‘God with us.’” {Matthew 1:23b} Over the next months, Joseph and Mary had many distressing situations. Their marriage started under a cloud because Mary was pregnant. Late in her pregnancy, they took the hard trek to Bethlehem. In Bethlehem, the only place to stay was cattle shed. Mary gave birth alone, with no family support at all. Later they fled for their lives to exile in Egypt. Yet in the Gospel accounts, I find no hint of complaining, moaning, or fear. One reason must be they knew the truth of Immanuel, God was with them!

This Advent season remind yourself of the truth of “Immanuel—which means ‘God with us.” Then go and live like God is with you.

Reflect on this whenever you hear the hymn “O Come, O Come, Immanuel.” Here is Blackmore’s Night beautiful rendition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szb_yfyzX44&feature=colike

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