3rd Week of Advent: EMMANUEL, Our God is WITH Us...

If ever we needed to know God is WITH us in every possible way, it's NOW, after another year of the unanswerable "why's" of life.  We struggle to make sense of all the suffering and injustices we see all around us.  Though we can't know the answers, we can turn afresh to the One Who has us in the palm of His Hand. The God Who became One of us...flesh and bone and joint and sinew...who experienced every emotion possible, raw and gripping, tender and affectionate!  He felt it all!  And He feels our current struggle with us too!

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested... This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do... So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 2:18; 4:15-16 NLT

This is what we want to explore this week in our Advent devotions...God WITH us!  All the levels of God's WITH-ness!  But first, a song and our Advent readings for the week.

I love this song by Michael Card.  Michael is a Bible scholar as well as a musician, and it shows up in his music.  In this glorious song, there are several Scriptures expressed musically.  What a celebration of the amazing truth of God's WITH-ness!  The verses of Immanuel reference two beautiful prophecies in the Old Testament book of Isaiah:

The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). Isaiah 7:14 NLT

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. Isaiah 9:2 NLT

The song continues with, comes back to, and ends with this glorious truth in the repeated chorus:

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?  Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? ...Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? ...No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow —not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love... —indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 NLT

Sing, rejoice, celebrate our Immanuel!

IMMANUEL Michael Card Album: Joy In The Journey

A sign shall be given A virgin will conceive A human baby bearing Undiminished deity The glory of the nations A light for all to see That hope for all who will embrace His warm reality

Chorus: Immanuel Our God is with us And if God is with us Who could stand against us Our God is with us Immanuel

For all those who live in the shadow of death A glorious light has dawned For all those who stumble in the darkness Behold your light has come

Chorus: Immanuel Our God is with us And if God is with us Who could stand against us Our God is with us Immanuel

So what will be your answer? Will you hear the call? Of Him who did not spare His son But gave him for us all On earth there is no power There is no depth or height That could ever separate us From the love of God in Christ

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSEqXbnOrQU[/youtube]

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Readings for the 3rd Week of Advent:

Sunday -- Luke 12:49-53 Monday -- 1 John 2:24-29 Tuesday -- Luke 1:8-23 Wednesday -- Matthew 1:18-23 Thursday -- Luke 1:24-38 Friday -- Luke 1:39-56 Saturday -- Luke 1:57-80

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We recently viewed again The NATIVITY STORY.  It is one hour and forty minutes well-spent...very moving!  You will be blessed! Here's a link to the entire movie:

 [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meIDz98MFBs[/youtube]