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     And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom. 8:28-32

Jesus, I’m thankful to know that every word of the Word, in one way or another, is ultimately leads us to you. Every command drives me to you; every promise is fulfilled in you; every story whispers your name, points to your glory, and proffers your grace. This is why I love the Bible more than ever.

Yet there seem to be some Scriptures that are kind of like “homeroom” to me, like a favorite chair, jogging path, or scenic view. To go there puts everything into perspective. This portion of the Word is just such a place. All the Immanuel promises, all the carols and hymns of Advent converge right here. The hopes and fears of all my years are met right here.

Jesus, I praise you for being Immanuel—God with me and God for me. Your presence and your presents are all that I need, much more than I realize, and way beyond all I could hope for or imagine.

You’re at work in all things for your glory and for my good—in the obvious and in the not-so-obvious; in my gains and in my pains; in what I “get” and in the things which seem to contradict what I know; when I’m “feeling the love” and when I’m feeling very lonely; when the gospel makes all the sense in the world to me and when I’m tempted to say with John the Baptist, “Are you the Messiah, or should we be looking for another?”

There is no other Messiah, Savior, or Lord but you, Lord Jesus. And absolutely nothing can separate me from your love, for I’ve been called according to the Father’s purpose, which will never fail or falter. He “foreknew” me—he set his affection upon me before the world began, and he will continue to provide everything necessary to complete the work of the gospel in my life, in the whole family of God, and in the entire creation. “Hallelujah, many times over!” I shout, with Advent joy and holy peace. So very Amen I pray, in your merciful and mighty name.



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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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