I recently enjoyed a trip to Oregon to play with my Grandson’s Noah and Liam. Typically northbound trips include other agendas, but this trip was specifically to enjoy these two treasured gifts from God. If raising my children was a cupcake from God, then having influence in the lives of my grandchildren is the icing and the cherry on top. I suppose in my mind, it gives me opportunities for a do-over, in the places of my greatest deficit with my children. Though I raised them to have faith in God, my life choices often reflected a god other than the living God. Perhaps that is God’s grand design for grand parenting; the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the very things I rushed over when I was younger.
Sharing my heart for grandchildren, a dear friend gave me a wonderful book of devotional readings for children by Susan Lloyd-Jones & Jago entitled Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing. It is atypical and void of the list of dos and don’ts, rather it focuses on the relationship God desires to enjoy with His children. It is profoundly simple and beautifully illustrated and will speak into the heart of any truth seeker, regardless of age.
I had prayed for opportunity with the boys that was unforced and conversation that was meaningfully and God provided. I chose a devotional that reinforced the truth that is profoundly difficult to accept in our culture and read about the three word God was us to always remember, ‘I love you’. Satan’s crafty temptation of Eve in the garden was in the form of a lie; one he continues to use today, ‘God does NOT love you’. His example was the exclusion of a desired fruit on the tree in the center of their God-given paradise. The truth that became crystal clear to me as I read to my grandsons was I often still believe that lie. ‘God does not love me if he does not . . .’ you can fill in the blank with anything from denial of something most desired to loss of what is most highly treasured. In our consumer mentality where enough is never enough and satisfaction seems elusive, Satan’s lie reduces God to a genie in a magic bottle rather than the lover and salvation of our very souls and the purpose for our existence. As I pondered this for the remainder of my time with the boys, God began to move me towards a deeper understanding of Emmanuel, God with us. Satan wants us to believe God is against us because God does not respond as we desire. Rather God’s truth is He is with us, not just in the sense of His presence, but in a synergistic way. The picture that comes to mind is of team rowing or sculling. There is a beauty in the synchronized motion of this sport. Imagine if you will, what it would look like if a rowing team were facing in the same direction and rowing in opposite ones. I think you can grasp the idea. Emmanuel, God with us, is not only attendance, it is movement, originated by him in which we join and follow, like rowing. God is with us! God is for us! God loves us!
Are there places you, as a follower of Christ, are living like God is against you, believing Satan’s lie? God wants to rewrite that for you and me. Three simple words God wants us to believe to counteract the lie of Satan, ‘I love you.’ What we believe informs our behaviors, not what we say we believe.
Treasure these words of mine in your heart and in your soul. Deuteronomy 11:18
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
One thought on “Emmanuel, God with us . . .”
I love this! It is so true. Satan wants us to think that God is holding us back and keeping us from what is “fun.” When in reality it is completely opposite. God loves us so much. It is amazing the miacles that you see around you when you pray to see Gods hand in you life. Satan wants contention and God wants to help us though eveything… good or bad.
“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” -Isaiah 41:13
“And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” -4 Nephi 1:15