One of the themes that usually sticks with me around the Christmas season is the concept of Emmanuel. The fact that God is with us. He is near. He is not distant. These things have a certain appeal to them when you really start to apply them to your life.

The fact that we don’t need to be afraid or dismayed because He is with us brings a sense of freedom and confidence that we couldn’t have otherwise.

Over the last few weeks I’ve started using the “Fighter Verse” system to memorize verses. It is the system that John Piper introduced to his church, and there’s a really great app for ios devices. Everyday, after my Bible reading time, I flip over to the app to work on one of the quizzes they have for the verse of the week.

The verse this week is Joshua 1:9. It says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

That’s a great verse to start off 2013. There are a lot of plans ahead of us for this year, and no doubt there will be many obstacles. But “God with us: Emmanuel” gives us the confidence to continue.

(I’ve also been playing around with an app called “Over” to make photos with text on them…it’s great. Maybe I’ll make a new verse image every week in 2013, but that sounds too much like a Resolution.)