07 Feb Day 9
Immanuel-God with us
WRITTEN BY: Jen Fleming
Scripture: Matthew 1:23 NLT– “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means, ‘God with us.’”
Dive deeper into this passage by reading more of Matthew 1.
Observation: Our God, the creator, came to earth in the form of a child. God was no longer far away but actually came to be with us.
Application: Usually when we read this passage, we think of Christmas time and a baby lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. While Jesus may have come into the world that way, Immanuel—God with us—is so much more than holiday cheer. For me, prior to accepting the reality of Immanuel, I thought I had it all figured out. In my early twenties I was having the time of my life: I graduated college, married my awesome husband, and had some extended time off before starting my first job. While I was “living my best life,” my grandfather was battling terminal cancer. I was traveling Europe with friends when I heard he was taking a turn for the worse. I cut my plans short and traveled home.
I remember walking into the hospital room, seeing him there so sick and vulnerable. I did not know anything about God, but I figured why not pray for a miracle. I prayed and cried and talked to this “God” like I never had before. For the next couple days, I stayed with my grandfather in his hospice room. Then, during the early hours of the morning, I was awoken from my sleep and could see he had taken his last breath.
During that moment, I was alone in that dark room. It was a moment of complete shock and brokenness, but it was that same moment that I first felt the Holy Spirit. God was with me. Immanuel. There was a comfort and a peace within me, even as I cried out in sadness over the loss. During that heartache is when I first accepted the reality of Immanuel and asked Jesus into my heart.
I share this story because so many of us think God is far away. We may think, “God couldn’t love me.” or “If God loved me, why would he let this happen to me?” Sin and death were never part of God’s plan for creation, and we can see that in Genesis 1. God created the world, then man introduced sin (Genesis 3). And, because of that sin, we live in a broken world.
So that’s the bad news…want to know the good news? Our sin does not surprise God. And just like any good Father, God has a plan to restore our union with him. That plan is Jesus. Immanuel is no longer far away, but is now with us. Jesus, the Son of God, came and walked this earth then died for our sins so that we would never have to face those dark and despairing times alone.
Prayer: Father, Thank you for never abandoning me. Thank you for being Immanuel, God with us, who hears and responds to the cries of his children. I love you and trust you with my whole being. Amen!
Jen Fleming/Newark Journey Kids Check In Area Coordinator
Jen is married to her high school sweetheart, Reed. They started gathering at the Journey in November 2019 and love being part of our next generation mission. They both are currently serving on Active Duty Air Force. In addition to serving as an Area Coordinator for Journey Kids Newark, she leads a Journey Students J-Group for middle and high school girls. Jen is a 2022 JLI (Journey Leadership Institute) graduate.
Spend some time this week connecting with God during your Slot and Spot.
Consider areas in your life that you need to welcome Jesus into. What are you holding back from him?
Study the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 and explore how God used ordinary people, like you and me, to bring Jesus to us.
Check out the song “God Is With Us” by For King and Country.
Come back for Day 10!