God Says, “I Am With You”

God’s promise to be with His people is a comforting thought. From our earliest days, knowing that mommy and daddy were within a cry’s sound helped us face our darkened room and sleep with peace. As we grow and mature, we long to replace that loving protective presence. Fortunately, God is there. He created us, He has promised to love us, and He will save us from the consequences of our rebellion … if we let Him. That is grace, that is mercy, that is love. Praise God!

The Lord answered, “I will be with you.” (Judges 6:16 NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, `Do not fear; I will help you.’ “ (Isaiah 41:13 NIV)

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Comments welcomed. Let’s share what God says to His saints.

Please join us for Prayer and Questions at the end of the devotion.

Why not forward this blog post to a relative, friend, or neighbor who might be blessed by it?


What an amazing thought! What an incredible concept! The creator of the universe, the 69.GOD_With_UsOne who designed all life forms and brought them into being, takes a personal interest in each one of us.

He says He is with us.

Jesus tells us that not even the lowly sparrow falls to the ground without the Father’s knowledge and against His will (Matthew 10:29), so how much more precious in His sight is the life of men and women, whom He made “in our image, in our likeness” (Gen. 1:26 NIV). Why, even the hairs on our heads “are all numbered” (Luke 12:7 NIV).

In that most famous psalm, David exalts, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4 ESV).

In the Old Testament, God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah proclaiming, “You will be my people, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 30:22 NLT).

Finally, at the end of the New Testament, the apostle John writes, “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them’” (Revelation 21:3 NLT).


69. ValleyOfDeathTHERE IS NO MORE SATISFYING feeling than knowing God Almighty loves us.

Consider this: God exists, and He made us. He did not need to make us. He did not need us to complete Him. He wants us.

How horrifying, how completely terrifying it would be if God were not a loving and merciful Being! Let’s not even start to think about what kind of an existence we would have, if that were the case.

Praise God that He is merciful and loving. Yes, He is just, as well, and we cannot forget that. He will repay evil for evil, and He will punish those who have refused to listen to Him and obey Him.

But it is His justice that makes His mercy so meaningful. His justice gives meaning to our lives — there is a system of rewards and punishment for how we live — but His mercy is what allows Him to forgive us over and over again, when we repent of our sins.


WITH SUCH A GREAT OFFER, why do so few people seem to recognize it or claim it for their lives?

What motivates the vast majority of people to forego the richness of a personal relationship with the Almighty in favor of “going it alone.”


The Bible says pride is the original sin. Pride is what led Eve, and then Adam, to ignore God’s warning against eating the “forbidden” fruit (Genesis 3:1-7).69. Narrow_Gate

The book of Proverbs tells us, “Arrogance causes nothing but trouble. It is wiser to ask for advice” (Proverbs 13:10 GNT). James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote a short book in the Bible full of good advice, one of which is this: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10 ESV).

Jesus even warned us against making the wrong choice. He told His disciples (and us) to “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matt. 7:13 NIV).

How tragically sad that so many of our fellow humans choose the broad road that leads to destruction instead of the narrow road that leads to glory and peace with God.

How sad it must have been for Jesus, knowing He came to earth to die for our sins, to utter those words, proclaiming that most of the people He created and loves are not interested in choosing Him back.


ONE OF OUR LORD’S most endearing traits is that He is “long-suffering.” Some translations say “patient,” or “slow to anger.”

One of my life verses testifies to the Lord’s patience with even those who, like me, are stubborn:

69.Love_God“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NASB).

The Bible is clear, however, that “patience” does not last forever.

“But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom. 2:5 NLT).

“For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” (Rev. 6:17 NIV).

For those of us who do believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, God spares us from that wrath.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 ESV).

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9 ESV).

Listen to these comforting words, spoken by Jesus Himself:

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17 NIV).

God truly is with us, so much so that He comes looking for us (Gen. 3:9), stands patiently at the door of our hearts, waiting for us to let Him in (Rev. 3:20), and guarantees, promises, and covenants that He will provide us an eternity with Him if we just turn our hearts to Him in repentance (Acts 2:21).

What an amazing deal that is. What an amazing God He is!


68. Holy_Bible_CrossPRAYER: O Loving and Merciful Father, Your goodness is well beyond anything we could ever imagine or hope for. Your unmerited grace is more than we could ever earn or deserve. Lord, we love You, we honor You, we praise You. Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy and for the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. In His precious name we pray. Amen


  1. What does God’s promise to be with us mean to you? Do you realize that His promise is good only for those who are “saved” through His Son’s blood? Salvation is a free gift of God for those who repent of their sins. Is this something you want in your life? If not, why not?
  2. Do you instinctively hesitate whenever anyone mentions God might have a plan for your life? Are you unsure you want someone else laying a claim on you? What if He wants you to do something you absolutely refuse to do. Is that a real concern for you? What if He has prepared you for the task? Does that change your answer?
  3. When God tells us He is patient with us, do you wonder if He ever gets around to punishing the evildoers and rewarding the good ones? Do you think He might be too patient to suit you? Can you learn anything from His patience? Would you like to?

Marriage: Are We ‘Too Busy’ For Our Spouses?

Marriage is the first institution created by God. Right after creating Adam and Eve and bringing Eve to Adam to be his partner, He told them that a man should leave his father and mother and join his wife in marriage so that the two of them would become as one. That relationship would be solidified with the addition of children. Yet too often the marriage relationship limps along with husband and wife failing to listen to the other one. Yes, each must work on communication skills, but the skill most lacking is the one of listening, taking in, understanding. Sometimes, it takes patience to spend a moment. Jesus modeled patient, listening behavior for us. 


So God created humans in his image. … He created them male and female.” (Genesis 1:27 GW)

“This explains why a man … is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” (Genesis 2:24 NLT)

Find blog posts at LoveAndGracetweets at Twitter.

Comments welcomed. Let’s share what God says to His saints. Please join us for Prayer and Questions at the end of the devotion. Why not forward this blog post to a relative, friend, or neighbor who might be blessed by it?


We’re going to drop in on the Johnsons, a young married couple with two children, a heavy mortgage, and very busy lives.

“Dave, can you help me with something?” Sally shouts from upstairs, exasperation in hercouplearguingshadow voice.

“I can’t now, honey,” he replies. “I’ve got to finish this project before noon, or my boss will kill me.”

A few days later, Dave is on the phone with a computer technician who says his network, which he thought was secure, has become corrupted by someone who has turned off his firewall, leaving him without protection.

To fix this emergency, he is told, will cost several hundred dollars.

“Sally,” he calls out from his home office. “Got a sec? We’ve got a problem with our network, and I think we’ll need to invest in getting it fixed. Can you come here?”

“Not now, Dave. I told you I have to prepare cookies for Jamie’s scout group and then we’re meeting Diane and her kids for lunch. Can we talk about it later?”


WELL, THAT WAS ALL TOO COMMON. A busy couple, each caught up in doing his or her manwomanarguespecial projects — all valuable, all necessary — but neither one with enough patience to listen to what the other one is saying, to what the other one wants. Each one demanding some of the other’s time. Neither one actually communicating.

As a result, neither spouse gives his or her mate the support needed in the moment.

Over the years, this pattern becomes engrained so that no one talks about it or notices their own complicity. Yes, each one can recite examples of how the other was seemingly “too busy” to help out, but, when it comes to their own involvement, they can justify every time they failed to help out.

It usually starts with a failure to listen.

So, how does God see this interaction? Is this what He intended when He breathed life into the first man and woman and planted them in the Garden, telling them to have dominion over the earth and its animal and plant  kingdom, to have children together and raise them, and to be so close as an entity that they would become “one person,” instead of two?


GOD CREATED HUMAN BEINGS in the beginning. He made us in His image, and He divided us into male and female, each equal in His eyes but with different traits and characteristics.

jesus_facepalmHe also created marriage and said that men and women should leave their parents and “cleave” to one another as one entity.

The spousal relationship of husband and wife is a unique human institution that closely mimics the Trinity of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: each person equal but with different characteristics.

By becoming one person, both the man and the woman as husband and wife were charged with listening to one another, to helping one another, and to complementing each other’s weaknesses with their own strengths.

They were not created to make demands on one another to satisfy their personal needs but to make pleasing the other their primary goal.

Scripture is clear on that in so many places, including this familiar passage directed specifically to marriage: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. … Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church.” (Ephesians 5:22, 25 ESV).


A PASTOR RECENTLY SAID that he can tell whether a woman’s husband is leading her spiritually the way God intended just by looking at her face.

Is she happy? Does she radiate joy? Does she seem fulfilled? Or, instead, does she scowl a lot or look apprehensive or dejected?

70.Happy_WomanIn God’s calculus, a woman whose husband is obedient to the Lord by leading her spiritually, by being her head, will be a woman who feels safe and protected and, therefore, free to express herself, to open up her loving and vulnerable heart.

A woman whose husband is not obedient to the Lord, who uses his greater strength and loud voice to intimidate her and frighten her, will be more guarded, less sure of herself, and less willing to express her inner feminine side.

A key component of leading a woman the way God intended is for the man to understand and practice sacrificial love, the way Jesus sacrificed Himself to protect and nurture His great love, the church.


THE IMAGE OF JESUS wrapping a towel around His waist to wash His disciples’ feet (John 13) is a very striking one. He told His disciples that no student is above His teacher (Matt. 10:24), so He expected us to carry on as He did. 

He was the perfect model of male headship; He modeled leadership … and sacrificial service; courageous boldness … and gentle caring. He worked hard, never complained, loved the people around Him, and stayed true to His mission.

When Paul says husbands are to love their wives “as Christ loved the church and gave 70. Jesus_Washing_Discipleshimself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25 NIV), he is describing a sacrificial love that places the wife’s interests before his own.

That is why Paul can tell wives to “submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22 NIV). Once the husband is modeling Jesus’ behavior, any woman would submit to him as “to the Lord,” because the husband is acting biblically … and this allows the wife to respond biblically.


SO, HOW DOES THIS relate to listening?

The basic intersect point between husband and wife is conversation.

Sometimes, that interaction is speaking words; sometimes it’s sharing tasks. Other times it’s making plans, handling emergencies, or serving others.

When one party or the other fails to listen to his/her mate, that intersect point becomes disconnected. The disconnect separates them from “being one,” as God planned, into separate individuals, each with separate needs, wants, interests, and goals.

That’s not how Christ interacts with His church, and it most certainly is not how the Christ, Holy Spirit, and Father interact in their perfect relationship in the Trinity.

“Honey, I’m sorry. What did you say?”

Not much, perhaps, but it’s a start.


PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, so merciful and mighty, please forgive us for our prideful 68. Holy_Bible_Crossfailure to listen to our spouses, to give our wives the love and honor you’ve commanded us to, to give our husbands the respect and submission that are your plan. You have set the perfect example for marriage in the life of our Lord and Savior, who taught us of His love for His church, and the love that abounds within the Holy Trinity. Lord, help us to follow that model in our marriages, to Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



1. Do you see a failure in your marriage (or other significant relationship) for each person to listen to the other one? If so, do you see that as a problem that should be resolved, or is it just in the nature of things to be endured?

2. How can you do a better job of listening to your husband/wife? Would you need to become more patient? Is that a trade-off you’re willing to make? Should your spouse become less demanding?

3. Regardless of how well you and your spouse communicate, do you see a role for Jesus Christ in your marriage? If you saw Jesus standing behind your spouse, reminding you that he/she is a “child of God,” would that alter your attitude and behavior?

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