Today’s Bible Reading:

If you click on the following references to read the Bible, it will open up the New Living Translation version of the Bible. This is the translation that I am going to use this year for my daily Bible reading and reflections.

Genesis 1:1-2:25
Matthew 1:1-2:12
Psalm 1:1-6
Proverbs 1:1-6

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Matthew 1:23 (NLT): “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

The verse I’ve chosen for today is oftentimes brought up at Christmastime … and only Christmastime. It warms our hearts as we think about the arrival of God’s Son in that little town of Bethlehem.

However, there’s something absolutely incredible that is found in that verse. It tells us that an angel made it clear what Jesus was to be called. He was to be called “Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

That’s powerful! That name makes it clear that the relationship that a human can have with the God of all creation was never our idea. It was His idea! God sent Jesus to earth so that He could be with us and we could be with Him.

So, we are not surprised that when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He told us that it was to love God with all of our being (Matthew 22:35-38). We’re also not surprised when we hear over and over that prayer is to be the theme of our life (Isaiah 56:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). God sent Jesus to earth so that we can enjoy relationship with the Trinity. He loves us more deeply than we could ever understand, and we are simply called to respond to that love by loving Him back.

And by the way, this love relationship with our God satisfies the deepest longing of our soul. It’s what we were made to enjoy.

That brings us to the obvious question: How is your relationship with the Lord? If you’re honest and are the typical Christian, you know you’re not as close as you need to be. It’s even better if you’re not as close as you desire to be. Desiring a deeper relationship with the Lord is a huge step in the right direction!

So, let’s spend each day this year looking at Scripture, discovering how we can draw closer to the God who has already drawn close to us. Our heart’s greatest desire can be met in a relationship with the Lord. And I’m not just talking about being saved. I’m talking about being saved and then enjoying the God who saved us.

Why not spend a few moments in prayer right now, asking the Lord to help you on this journey. Ask Him to increase your desire to know and enjoy Him. Ask Him to reward you along the way with glimpses of His glory. And then look expectantly for how God is going to answer your prayer.