By Judy Villanueva

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

I was only fifteen years old and a visitor to this odd little church where people stood up and shared publicly how they met Jesus.  My eyes were riveted on the girl who spoke because her story didn’t match her radiant smile.  I leaned forward and tried to put together the facts of her life that included being sixteen, pregnant, unmarried, AND full of joy!  I was unable to conceive how these realities could live together happily but,  I saw in her countenance a beauty that pointed beyond her circumstances to a God who loved her and filled her with so much hope that it spilled out onto all of us who sat listening!

Mary was very likely around this same age when the angel, Gabriel, visited her.  As I imagined the encounter this morning, the words, “The Lord is with you,” jumped off the page and onto my lap. Tears filled my eyes as I held and heard them for myself.  “The Lord is with you.”  Like a window that opened to welcome a fresh breeze, I felt the weary and dulled places of my soul being revived.  At the beginning of this day and, in the middle of my life,

I realize how much I need fresh announcements of God’s presence.

That God is with us means everything!  It offers sweet relief from worry and needed reassurance that we are not alone in an untamed world.

Before Gabriel disclosed the reason for his visit, he gave Mary the best news of her life! God is with you!  As I left the house this morning to run errands and visit a troubled friend, I reminded myself that wherever I go, whomever I am with, and whatever I will face today, the Lord is with me.

It became a personal annunciation of “Christ with me” in the middle of a very ordinary day and, it changed everything.

It filled me with joy and a sense of purpose. Think of it!  If God is with us, then, seriously, whom shall we fear?  And, if He is indeed with us then we can live this day beautifully loved, saved, pointing beyond our circumstances…and spilling over with hope for others!

“Thank You, Lord, for this morning’s announcement that You are with me. It gave me a needed shift in focus and truly revived my soul. Help me to recall Your presence daily, and please let the joy of it spills out onto others. Amen.”

What about you?

Do you need a fresh announcement that God is with you?

How does it feel to slow down and hear the words, “The Lord is with you” ?

What would it be like to live a day “with God” at your side?

Practice calling to mind the reality of Immanuel, God with you!

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5 thoughts on “With

  1. When I opened this message my eyes were revited on the spectacular waterfall,
    and the scenery surrounding it. I just sat in front of the computer, I couldn’t take my eyes off the whole tableau. I asked myself “what am I looking at?” I was looking at God…
    I was seeing the magnificence of God, the energy of God, the tremendous power of God, and the beauty absolutely overwhelmed me. This is but a bit part of God’s creation, the
    universe, and its beauty is breath taking …..no matter what decade of life I am in
    truly, truly THE LORD IS WITH ME!

  2. Yes, this message never gets old, it is new every morning. God is with me; who else or what else will I ever need? God is the end all and be all of my entire life. One of my friends is going through an awful time of rejection. Her husband of 25 years left her for someone else and in her pain she was driven to find the loving arms of God. She lost her husband but found God and this thought is bringing her throughunbearable pain. It is true with all of us. God is more than sufficient!

  3. As a young man with a growing family that I needed to care for daily, I knew that if God
    was in the center of my life, my family and my business, that I would be able to learn to trust and pray for His protection and provision. As I transitioned from one project to another in my business, I found my faith growing to trust in God and His son even in the rough patches. I then made a bold step in my industry and changed the name of my company to Immanuel Communications. This prompted and encouraged dialogue with others, about how God’s strength and His presence is only 13″ away from my doubts and fears creeping into my brain.

    Whatever ever you are going through in your life, Immanuel is a comforting word in
    a world of chaos and pain. Let Him dwell in your heart in this season and the year ahead.

  4. For the first time (that I can remember) I heard the literal translation of
    “Emmanuel” is “God is with us”. I’ve heard it over and over this year already.
    Now you are writing on “with”. Whenever I keep getting a recurring theme
    like this I go to prayer and say, ok God, this keeps happening … what’s up?
    I think the answer to what’s up is God wants us to keep that fact, He’s with
    us, on the forefront of our minds and have relationship with Him. Thanks,
    for another reminder, that “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” thing is
    happening right now – He is with us and wants to hang out.

    By the way, I love Amy Grants version of Emmanuel – completely different song
    – a celebration that He is with us … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TYGmumUAKo

  5. What a beautiful image of Gods creation. The waterfall. I see that as all of our troubles and anxieties flowing out of us at an extreme speed when we believe that “God is with us”. When I wake in the morning, in my very quiet home, I say good morning God. I love you and thank you for another day. Help me to live in You every minute. I catch myself changing my attitude when it starts to become negative and I say thank you God. Just like the water that the thunderous waterfall lands it because after the waterfall, it is calm. Good morning Father and I love you🙏❤️ Thank you Judy for reminding me and putting little nuggets of God in my life continuously 😊💕🙏🦋

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