God Is With Us! (Matthew 1: 21-23)
“And she will bring forth a Son and you shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”
These words of Scripture are taken from Matthew’s account of Joseph’s angelic visitation. God sent the angel Gabriel to give him divine direction about the birth of Jesus. The words of prophecy quoted by Matthew were spoken by the prophet Isaiah hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. People had known these prophecies about the coming Messiah for generations, and now these words were finally being fulfilled! Joseph was meant to recognize the prophecy and connect it to what was happening to his betrothed one, Mary. The Word became flesh, as God became man and came to make us more like Him! He became one of us and lived among us! There are many things we can take from this beautiful account but through this message, God is calling us into a more heightened awareness of His presence, and a hunger to come deep into Him.
Immanuel. God is with us, dear friend! He is with me, just as He is with you. He is Immanuel, and He has made us His holy habitation. He promised that He would never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). People often tell me that they do not feel the presence of God, or that they cannot feel Him near but this does not mean that He is not present. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and the Forgiver of our sins, the Holy Spirit comes to us and we become connected to Him forever. Many of us may not be feeling the presence of God only because we are not “tuning in” to Him. Many precious people of God seek the Lord through prayer, but they may not necessarily “feel” His presence. Cultivating the presence of God starts with developing an awareness of Immanuel, knowing from the depths of one’s heart that God is Immanuel and that He is with us. The more we seek Him and connect, the more it is possible to feel the presence of God. People feel and experience God in different ways, but it is possible to have tangible manifestations of His touch and His sweet hugs on our person! God Immanuel is with us through the fullness of His Spirit and when we live our life in the daily consciousness of God’s presence, His presence becomes very real and apparent. Immanuel is with us!
Call His name Jesus. Joseph was told that the baby Boy was to be called “Jesus”, which means “God saves” or “God delivers”. Joseph was being told that this was the Messiah the people had been waiting for – the One who had been born to save His people from the futility and bondage of sin, and from the shackles of religion and the law. The Word became flesh, the logos, a supernatural seed, and entered the womb of Mary. He was manifested to the world as the Son of man, Jesus the Savior of the world. For hundreds of years the people of God had been crying out for deliverance from the overlords who dominated their nation and God came down to set His people free! Friend, you may have been crying out to God for deliverance from a difficult situation in your life, but know today that He has heard you. There is a huge breakthrough coming which you never even thought of, because He is Jesus, the One who saves His people. He saves us from the mistakes of the past; He saves us from every failing and sin we might fall into today. He has even already covered everything that could disrupt our walk in the future! He is Jesus, the Savior of the world, and we belong to Him, hallelujah. He came to set His people free.
It could be that you have had many disappointments in the past, but let that cycle be broken off your life today, as you open yourself afresh to the saving grace of Jesus. Yield to the power of His Spirit and let Him be God Immanuel to you. Take a few deep breaths and focus on Jesus. Invite His sweet Spirit to come upon you, and let His presence become real to you. He is calling you deeper into His love. He is drawing you closer to His side. “I want to be in your every breath. I want you to feel Me with every fiber of your being. I want to show you who I am, your God Immanuel, the One who loves you well. Nothing can ever separate you from My love, nothing can come between us or pull Me away. Let Me be your all in all. Let Me draw you deeper every day. I am with you always and will never go away. I am Jesus, God Immanuel, forever, not just a day!”
You are not alone dear friend. God Himself loves you and is with you. The more you connect to this truth and live in the reality of His presence, the more your life and circumstances will be transformed! Be blessed and may this Christmas season be filled with the very real and tangible presence of Jesus, our Savior, our God Immanuel!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 26 December 2018
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