21 December 2008
· Matthew 1:23b - “… they shall call His name Emmanuel…” which is translated – “God with Us”.
· The key message of Christmas – “God with us” – God is personal and present with us.
· God’s desire for relationship – a key aspect of relationship is personal presence.
· Names in Bible = nature of a person = destiny or work of a person.
· E.g. Abraham = Father of Nations Jephthae = One who break through.
· Jesus name = Emmanuel – God with us.
· “Fear not, for I am with you” - God with us.
2. The Presence of God brings refreshing:
· Acts 3:19 - “…times of refreshing that will come from the presence of the Lord…”
- Refreshing = 403 = to revive, recover breath, rest from pressure or work, restore vitality.
- The presence of God (tangible) brings reviving; restore vitality.
· Omnipresence = God is present anywhere.
· Tangible presence = God make His presence felt, experiences, tangible.
= This tangible presence causes us to feel connected, revived.
= You can feel and experience the reality of His presence.
Live, carry and experience the presence of God.
· Personal example:
a) Visiting a parent who experienced cot death = comfort, refreshing.
b) My Mother’s funeral – presence of my Pastor = comfort, value.
· 2 Key parts of God’s plan for us:
a) We personally experience constantly the tangible presence of God – John 14:17-18
b) We carry the tangible presence of God into the community – 2 Corinthians 6:17
· It is the tangible presence of God that causes our lives to stand out.
· Exodus 33:14-16 - “How will it be known that your people and I have found grace in your sight except you with us!”
3. People Struggle with Loneliness:
a) Loneliness and Solitude are not the same:
· Solitude: Drawing aside from business to be alone and refocus on life – Mark 1:35
· Loneliness: feeling of sadness or heaviness arising from being aware of not being bonded connected or close to anyone.
· There are many reasons people experience loneliness.
b) David experienced Loneliness:
· Psalm 142 - Prayer of David - in a cave.
· Cave: dark cold place people retreated for refuge from enemies.
· Feelings of no one cares, isolated.
· Acknowledge = have respect for, place value on, express recognition of.
· Refuge = offer shelter, comfort, relief, escape.
· Cave = to ask for, search for, feel concerns for.
c) Typical feelings in times of loneliness:
* Emptiness – something missing * No value – loss of value or esteem
* Unwanted – no one willing to connect * Shame – something wrong with me
d) Typical spiritual attack during loneliness:
Demonic spirits surround a person and increase their pain.
*Abandonment *Loneliness *Rejection *Despair
· People who are lonely want someone to meet a need, connect – present! Just to be there with them.
4. How to Handle Loneliness:
a) Typical actions people take:
i) Isolate themselves – withdraw and further disconnect (Elijah)
ii) Distract themselves – TV, busyness, work, tasks (Zaccues)
iii) Dull the pain – alcohol, drugs
iv) Try to fill emptiness with relationships;
· Ungodly relationships increase loneliness
· Dependent relationships – life draining and will eventually fail.
· No person can meet all your needs, only God can satisfy the longing.
· E.g. woman at the well – John 4:14-15 - Water I will give will become in him a fountain.
b) How to handle loneliness:
· David reached out to the Lord – initiated a response to loneliness.
· His response in loneliness deepened his connection with God.
· Key: Refocus your attention!
Loneliness = person is focused on self.
= we are not designed to live like this.
= person wants someone else to come through for them.
i) Focus Upon the Presence of God:
· Hebrews 13:5b - “I will never leave you or forsake (abandon) you” = is a promise of God.
· John 16:32 - Example of Jesus – “I am not alone”
· Must be proactive – must do something!
· He poured out his emotions
· Praise – Pray in tongues
· Focus your thoughts on this promise – ‘Emmanuel – God with me’ – presence with me, my Father, I am your child.
· Gaze upon the Lord and embrace Him, become aware of the Lord.
· Confess – declare the promises of God. “God is with me”.
ii) Step out and connect with other people – initiate! - Proverbs 18:24.
iii) Help someone else:
· Shift your focus from self to others.
Don’t wait until you are lonely to ask the Lord God to help. Focus daily: “God is with me”.
Be consistently conscious of this as you connect to others and the community.
Emmanuel = when we touch, smile, look, speak to others they should feel that God with us. Bring God to someone.
= The risen Lord, conquering King with us.
= His anointing upon us.