“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
In Mathew 1:21-23, an angel (a message from God) came to Joseph and told him that Mary was that virgin. “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
It states in Acts 17:28, “In him we live and move and have our being.” Then there is no distance between us, no separation. Jesus said, “I and my father are one.” Not one in quantity but one in quality/essence. “God with us.”
Healing, ‘results now, as in Jesus’ time,…They are the sign of Immanuel, or “God with us,” — a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. xi:9–18 Science). They come about when we elevate our human consciousness to a spiritual level of consciousness. Then we see God’s creation made manifest in our human experience.
Jesus told us the three most essential things in our life. They are “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it.’ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:37-39. Love God, love your neighbor, and love yourself.
If one hundred percent of the people in this world did these three things every day, discord and war would cease, and the world would live in harmony, and we would be witnesses to God’s creation here on earth. That indicates to me the most important thing in our life is self-care. It is not self-indulgence but is important to caring for others.
To love God, I needed to let God into my life. With God’s help, I learned to love myself. But before I could love myself, I had to know myself. I learned who I was as God’s child, not the child of abusive human parents. I started to see myself as God’s reflection, His likeness, His image, His idea, and that I was good, as God would not create anything bad. My essence is “God with us.” I reside in a spiritual atmosphere where I cannot be touched by discord when filled with God’s goodness. Once I understood my relation to God, it became easy to love my neighbor as myself because I could see past their human behavior to the loving child within.
In business, quality control uses a process called ‘root cause analysis,’ to solve problems. I learned to apply this to my life. When things are not going right, I now go into ‘root cause’ mode. I learned that the root cause of everything starts from thoughts and what we believe is true. Something in my thought needs to be changed to effect a change in my experience. I need to find the truth. I needed to stop seeing myself as a flawed human being (the lie) and start seeing myself as God sees me (the truth).
After many years of abuse, I saw myself as stupid, unattractive, bad, someone who would never succeed in life or find love. I felt life was hopeless. That was the root cause of all my problems. I believed that all those things were true. To change my life, I had to expunge my past, where all those beliefs started. I had to fill my thoughts with who I was as God’s loved child, so there was no room for those other thoughts. As I began to repent/rethink my past. I began to understand that I was part of God’s creation and what it meant to be God’s child, to express his qualities.
Making these changes in my life was not easy, the concept I caught right away, but to change over 40 years of programmed behavior took a while. Some things changed right away, but others took work.
I took up a serious spiritual study, researched different religions, and found one that seemed to fit my new way of thinking. My daughter was ten and had expressed a desire to learn about this God she had heard about from some school friends. So, I decided it was time to find a church.
This is what happened the first Sunday we attended.
I was a heavy smoker and spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings with friends, sitting in bars, drinking, and smoking. That first Sunday, I pulled up to the church and sat in the car with my daughter, Darchele, smoking a cigarette. I knew I would be without one for more than an hour, so I had to psych myself up.
We went into the church, and I got Darchele settled in Sunday school, and got seated in the church. I was nervous, as this was different and difficult for me. The service started, and I listened very carefully to the service. When it was over, several warm and friendly members greeted me, and I had a pleasant experience. Darchele also liked Sunday school.
We went home, and Darchele and I fixed lunch together and chatted about our experience. We decided that we could go again.
That evening after dinner, it hit me that I had not had a cigarette since that morning and have never had an urge for one since then, and that was over 35 years ago. I also have not had an acholic drink since that day either. Two bad habits whipped out in an instant.
I have attended church every Sunday and Wednesday since that time. When I started attending church, I had one concern. Since I was living on poverty wages, I had no money to give, but now I promised myself I would never give less than what it cost me to smoke. As I mentioned before, I was a heavy smoker, about three packs a day, an expensive habit. Drinking was not too bad as at most I paid for one drink a night, and friends kept me going the rest of the evening. 😊 I felt like staying out of the bars, where I seemed to make many bad choices, was a giant step forward.
My drinking friends would stop by to visit and laugh and say, “Michele’s on another self-help binge, this too will pass.” Well, it never did, and what passed was those friends. At first, I felt I had lost something, but soon realized I had gained new friends, ones that fit better in the new life I was starting.
That experience was my first demonstration of “God with us.” He has never left my side since that time. Actually, He had been with me my entire life, but I was unaware of His presence. I had to wake up to His presence to demonstrate, “God with us.” I was beginning to discover that I was God’s expression. We all are.
I have found that I am never alone in managing my daily life. God is always with me when I make decisions, and this takes the worry away and gives me a sense of peace.
I do not remember the words that caused the shift in my thought that first Sunday. I only know it was God who led me to the doors of that church, and for that, I will be forever grateful.
“If God be for us who can be against us.” Romans 8:38-39