Why does mankind need Immanuel?

Immanuel, God with us!

Why does mankind need Immanuel?
Isaiah 59 “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; Neither is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.” And the Scriptures pronounce in no uncertain terms that every human being stands guilty before God–guilty not only of misdemeanors, but guilty also of untold felonies. In one place it is written, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) And in another place, “The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:2-3). And still in another place God says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of it all” (James 2:10).

Why does the human race need “God with Us?” Because we have separated ourselves far away from Him by our sin. We were created for relationship with the Father, and yet our sin has separated us from Him.
That is why we need “God with us,” Jesus Christ, our Immanuel. Because only He can undo what we have done. Only the One who created us in the first place can restore us again. Only our Creator can break down the wall of sin that separates His creatures from Him. Only He can give their lives the meaning and completeness they were supposed to have.

Only “God with us” can rescue us.

Find Ron Barnard’s complete 2012 Countdown to Christmas Devotional at http://www.thesamnetwork.com/?page_id=353

The fulfillment of and fulfiller of the promises of God

The fulfillment of and fulfiller of the promises of God.

Immanuel God with us!

But how did Immanuel get with us? No doubt via a “miraculous conception,” and a “virgin birth.” But it was also because of one seriously surrendered young lady named Mary!

I never cease to be amazed at her response to the first hearing of the prophetic revelation that she would become pregnant with the Messiah, “how can this be?” (Luke 1:34)

But then her second very surrendered saying is even more amazing, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” (Luke 1:38)

Now all that’s good and fine, but it’s along way from the hearing of and even the believing in a promise and the fulfillment of it.

In Mary’s case not only was there 9 months, but there was the distance to be traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

The challenge wasn’t so much from point A to point B, it was the journey in between. That’s true for us too.

The promise was made in Nazareth, and brought to fruition in Bethlehem.

It’s 94 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, which in Mary’s case that was 94 big time pregnant donkey-riding miles…

It was a journey. Can you imagine? Poor Joseph! Ok, poor Mary too. They had to go from Nazareth to Bethlehem to see the fulfillment of God’s incredible promise.

How far are you willing to go?

It’s often the journey that gets us. That place of waiting and walking, of persisting and trusting. Listen, more of the Jews died in the wilderness than in all the battles after they entered the promised land.

The fulfillment of the promise through Mary required her simple faith and complete obedience.

In Mary and Josephs case the journey was hard, the journey was long, the journey was rough, and the journey was worth it!

It’s worth it for you too! Stay the course, have faith and be faithful, hold onto hope and choose to trust.

Find Ron Barnard’s complete 2012 Countdown to Christmas Devotional at http://www.thesamnetwork.com/?page_id=353

I wish I was more like Jesus!

I wish I was more like Jesus!

In the last devotional I wrote about the “Not Asleep” game my brother invented and how glad I am that God / Immanuel, never sleeps as per Psalms 121.

Although we require and definitely need our sleep physically, I think we could stand to be a bit more awake spiritually. As followers of Christ we should be ready to reveal His nature and Character at all times and in all things.

“Not Asleep!”

It’s easy to fall into the trap of busyness and distraction and literally sleep walk through life, but that’s not God’s will for His children.

Paul in an outright challenge to the Ephesian church wrote of our need to be aware, wise and awake.

Ephesians 5:13-16
13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

That level of readiness and awareness can only come from a deep and abiding relationship with our Immanuel. When we walk with Him, we’re wide awake! It’s then that we can sense and see His hand at work in our lives and in our world. This keeps us safe from deception and makes us effective against the enemy, just like Jesus.

When we walk with Jesus, we walk like Jesus!

John 14:12-14 (NIV)
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Find Ron Barnard’s complete 2012 Countdown to Christmas Devotional at http://www.thesamnetwork.com/?page_id=353