Tag Archive for God with us

IN HIS PRESENCE Devotional Tapestry

IN HIS PRESENCE Devotional Tapestry

Devotional Tapestries are short recordings designed to draw your heart and mind to the Living God. Each includes a devotional reading over instrumental music, leading into a hymn.

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The Ultimate Fulfillment of God with Us

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Ephesians 4:11-16; 5:25-27

What a wonderful gift is God’s Holy Spirit! But He is only a down-payment on the full gift of God’s presence.

Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession. (Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV)

God’s people are to be the Body of Christ. When God with us is completely fulfilled, our relationship with Him will be as close and interrelated as the head and the body.

Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:15-16, NIV)

God’s people are to be the holy temple of God. We are to be His home, His dwelling place.

You are…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22, NIV) 

God’s people are to be His holy Bride.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2, NIV)

We are to be God’s holy temple, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. These three images are intended to suggest one grand reality. We will be united with God in love, intimacy, and unbroken oneness. We will share in Him together, fully and forever.

Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3, NIV)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Imagine Your Creator’s Breath
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Holy Spirit: God with Us

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Ezekiel 37:1-10; Acts 2:1-4

Jesus came to be God with us. But His task wasn’t done when He ascended back to His Father. One of Jesus’ purposes in coming to us was to pour out God’s Spirit on all who trust in Him. At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist introduced Him this way:

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11, NASB)

When the Holy Spirit came, He carried on Jesus’ ministry. He was to all believers what Jesus had been to His disciples: teacher, comforter, encourager, companion, advocate, intercessor, friend, and the presence of God. The Holy Spirit was all that, but more. Jesus had been limited by a physical body. The Spirit is Jesus unbound from any limitations. He is God’s presence with us, among us, and within us, every moment, always and forever.

When the Holy Spirit was poured at the day of Pentecost, His coming was accompanied by two signs. Both of these signs had long been symbols of the living presence of God.

  • “A noise like violent rushing wind” (Acts 2:2, NASB) – In both Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek, the word for “Spirit” also means “wind” and “breath”. Thus God’s Spirit has always been associated with wind. God’s Spirit is His life in motion. For example, read Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-10.
  • “Tongues as of fire…rested on each one of them” (Acts 2:3, NASB) – Fire is another frequent symbol of God’s presence. For example, recall that God’s presence was a pillar of fire in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21). God revealed His holy presence on Mt. Sinai by fire (Exodus 19:18). When Elijah faced the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, the God who answered by fire was the true God (1 Kings 18:24).

When God poured out His Spirit at Pentecost, He signaled unmistakably that the powerful, living presence of God Himself was now among, with, and within His people.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Pentecost Hymn
Printed Music & Lyrics

God with Us: Completed in Jesus

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read John 1:14-18

As God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:8), Jesus came delighting to walk among His people.

As God was to Hagar the “God Who Sees” when He met her needs in the wilderness (Genesis 16:13), Jesus truly saw the needy all around Him, talking with them, touching them, healing them, and feeding them.

As God revealed His presence to the undeserving Jacob (Genesis 28:10-22), Jesus acted out God’s gracious presence and forgiveness to the most undeserving around Him, even those murdering Him (Luke 23:34).

As God came with fire, smoke, and awe-full terror on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19), Jesus came with gentleness and compassion, as one of us. Where the law brought condemnation on our weakness, Jesus brought grace and truth — the unfailing love and absolute dependability of our Heavenly Father (John 1:14-18).

As God tabernacled with His people in the wilderness (Exodus 25 – 40), Jesus tabernacled among us as God made flesh (John 1:14; see the NASB margin).

As the temple was for a time the symbol of God’s presence and rulership among His people (1 Kings 6:12-13), Jesus is the eternal reality of God’s presence and rulership among all who trust Him.

Jesus is
the Child born to us,
the Son given to us,
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Eternal Father, and
Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

He is the virgin’s son, the promise of our soon-coming deliverance. He is, now and forever, in every way, God with us (Isaiah 7:14).

Listen and sing:
Hymn: You Came to Us
Printed Music & Lyrics

Jesus Is God with Us

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Matthew 1:18-25; 28:16-20

Jesus is God with Us. He is the loving God who eagerly comes to His people, even when they don’t deserve Him or His grace. That is the clear message of Matthew 1, the first chapter of the New Testament. Matthew opens with the genealogy of Jesus, showing that Messiah descended from a family with its share of moral outcasts. He then applies to Jesus the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (NASB). This son of a disgraced Jewish maiden, conceived before marriage, was indeed God with us.

Matthew 2 continues with the same theme, showing that gentiles from far outside God’s people were among the very first called to worship this King of all Kings.

Jesus’ earthly ministry ends the same way in Matthew’s last chapter, with Jesus commanding His disciples to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19, NASB). This God with us was to be the Father’s gift to all people, including those who had never known Him and never sought Him.

Jesus’ life was thus framed with His purpose to be God with us. All the days in-between were filled with the same. He only did the Father’s works:

“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does…By myself I can do nothing.” (John 5:19, 30, NIV)

He only spoke the Father’s words:

“These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 14:24, NIV)

Jesus came saying what the Father would say and doing what the Father would do among us: healing, teaching, cleansing, feeding, and calling us to join Him in His work. The Father sent His only Son out of His burning desire to be truly with His people.