Stuff has been kind of rough lately. Life is beautiful, God is wonderful, and I have His love in my heart. But we are in a war (just in case you didn’t know), and the past couple of months have been a wild ride. I have been weary of it all, and I haven’t had much to say. My blog has been especially silent. My only desire has been for Him to hide me away in His secret place (Psalm 27:5; 91:1-4). In my time with Jesus, I daily asked Him to hide me in the cleft of the rock, to shelter me under His wings, and to cover my husband and me with His precious blood. We have had many prayer warriors fighting for us, covering us in prayer, and sharing wisdom and counsel with us. Through all of it, God has once again shown Himself to be sovereign, almighty, faithful, and present. Always with us.
He is Emmanuel, God with us! These past months have been such a beautiful reminder of that. At times, I have felt the presence of evil stronger than the presence of God, but when I call out His name (the name of Jesus!), He rushes in and fills me with His presence and power. Never before have I felt the two sides of the battle so strongly, and it has forced me to take shelter in Him. None of this “I got it, God!” attitude, no way. I’m running for shelter in the heat of the battle- running to my Warrior, my Lion of Judah who fights for me. “Go get ‘em, God!” has been my battle cry. (That, and “Help!!!”)
I know that I’m talking in vague terms here, but I hope you understand what I’m trying to convey. We know very well that we live in a physical world, but that there are spiritual forces behind everything. As the apostle Paul tells us,
For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards, for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.
II Corinthians 10:3-5, NET
I’m not a person that focuses on the evil in the world, nor do I spend my time wondering what satan may be up to. That’s a great way to fill yourself with fear, and fast! But it is crucial that we face the very real truth of the spiritual war that is waging over our souls. Over the souls of every single human being on earth! That’s a big war. It’s a big deal. So the stuff that comes against you…that’s not mere happenstance. The arguments with your spouse, the people at work who seem to be against you, the negative thoughts that you can’t seem to kick out, your battle with low self-worth, or depression, or anger, or whatever your struggle may be….these battles are not “just life”. It’s so important for us to realize where all of this comes from! It comes from a very real enemy, whose sole purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. [Jesus]
John 10:10, NET
Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering.
I Peter 5:8-9, NET
He is real…but Heaven is stronger! Placing ourselves in the hands of God, we have nothing to fear.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7, KJV
We will win this war, if we don’t give up. The question isn’t who wins in the end- God has already won! (The question for us is, will we stick with our own battle? We can’t give in, and we can’t give up!)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” [Jesus]
John 16:33, NIV
He’s already won! And He’s Emmanuel, God with us. We are never alone! Listen to this verse:
…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
Hebrews 13:5 b, Amplified Bible
He will never leave us alone! He’s got a firm, protective grip on us so we will never be helpless! We’re never hopeless (hopelessness- now, that’s a lie from the enemy!), and we’re never, ever alone.
God has got His hand on you, He’s fighting your battles, and He’s already won the war! Listen to what God revealed to the Apostle John in the book of Revelation:
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever.
Revelation 20:10, NET
He’s already won! He’s already fought the war, He’s already chosen you as His child, and He has promised us to never leave us or forsake us. So in this crazy world, where it many times feels like a constant battle, know this- your Heavenly Father, the King of kings, the Lion of Judah, is a consuming fire, and He will devour our enemies. He is Emmanuel, God with us…always! He will hold you and carry you through your struggles, and when you feel overwhelmed by evil and darkness, He is as close as the mention of His name. Say the name of Jesus! He will show up, and show off His glory and rescue you!
In this Christmas season, remember the following verses- verses that you have heard since childhood. The story of Jesus, “Emmanuel, God with us”. He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace. Meditate on this. Remember. Let this Christmas be a time for you to snuggle in closer to Him. Grab a steaming cup of coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate), pull out His precious Book full of promises, and snuggle up to your Father…your Emmanuel. Let His presence consume you and fill you so there’s no space for lies, fear, or anxiety. He promises to draw near to us when we draw near to Him (James 4:8)…so wrap yourself up in your favorite blanket, start sipping on that delicious drink, and invite Him in!
“Look! The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will name him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”
Matthew 1:23, NET
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6, NKJV
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widelyknown the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Luke 2:1-20, NKJV