I recently came in contact with a book containing excerpts of Stonewall Jackson’s letters to his wife Anna during the Civil War. Interestingly, after one of his victories in the Shenandoah, he uses the phrase, “May He ever be with us”. In retrospect, we can see that God wasn’t necessarily with the Confederacy, but many over the centuries have used the words, “God is with us” to justify themselves, their religions, their politics, and their countries. During WWI it was commonly spoken by both the Germans and the Allies. We would not be mistaken if we assume that it is God’s heart to be with man, evidenced by His walking in the garden with Adam, to Jesus, (also named Emmanuel meaning “God with us”), who became man to redeem and reconcile all of us back to God. God wants to be with us and He has laid out conditions so it can be possible. In Psalm 23:4 David wrote, “I will fear no evil; for thou art with me”. In the context of the Psalm He is with us because we have made Him our shepherd (protector and provider) and we, as His sheep are obedient and find rest in His leading. Twice we are told He will be with us in Isaiah 43:1-5 and for two different reasons, (v. 1) “thou art mine and (v.4) “thou wast precious”. We are His creation; He formed us and owns us, and because His creation was “very good”, we, with our eternal souls, are highly valued. Remember, He loved us even in our fallen state so much that He “gave His only begotten son”, Jesus, to save us from destruction. In the letter to the church in Laodicea (Rev.3) Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me”. (v. 20) It takes humility to repent and open the door for Christ. He won’t break the door down, we must open it from the inside and invite Him in before He can join us. Lastly,          Matthew 18:20, “for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. The Bible is non-denominational. It’s not the brand of church that establishes God’s presence but the hearts of the people who have gathered together.     The Civil War, WWI, and today’s War On Terror have that one common thread; both sides believe that God is with them. Truly God wants to be with us, but more importantly, we need to be sure that our hearts and minds are such that we, too, can be with God.

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