Do you have the faith that Joseph had?

December 11, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV))

How would you have reacted if you had been Joseph? Would you think about calling off the wedding? Would you feel betrayed? Would you be able to look at Mary without thinking that she had turned you into the laughing stock of all of Nazareth? Would anger and resentment show themselves through your actions?

We may never know exactly what was going through Joseph’s mind, but I think that it is safe to say that he was deep in prayer. If it were I who had to fill his shoes, I would be pacing the floor and expressing myself through thoughts such as, “Why me, Lord?” “What have I done to deserve this ridicule?” I suppose that is the difference between Joseph and myself. It appears that Joseph was more concerned about Mary and how she would be treated. He knew that she would be stoned. He did not want that for her. Even in his uncertainty, Joseph thought of Mary. Would any of us be so noble in our thoughts and actions?

God knew exactly what He was doing when He selected Mary to be the mother of Jesus. He also knew what He was doing when He selected Joseph. Think about that for a moment. In Hebrew society, an unwed mother would be shunned. It took a man who would listen to God and be willing to obey even when it may mean ridicule for him. Raising the Son of God required a husband and a wife, a mother and a father. Joseph was part of God’s plan just as much as Mary was. Joseph’s story is one of obedience and faith. History has relegated him to a lesser role, but I honestly believe that without Joseph and his strong character, things would have been different.

This visit by an angel of the Lord was not the only time that Joseph heard and obeyed. He was told to take the baby and flee to Egypt. He was told when it was safe to return. This first appearance was only the beginning. It was a step of faith that would lead to many more steps. Isn’t that the way that God works. If you are willing to take the first step, He will lead you to places that you would never have imagined.

Are you willing to do like Joseph?

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The gift of a Savior

December 28, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christn was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

” `But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
(Matthew 1:18 – 2:18 (NIV))

I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. With all that we do as a society at Christmas, we must not forget that the reason we celebrate is the gift of a Savior. We see that gift being honored by the gifts of the Magi. We honor that gift by giving gifts ourselves. We must never lose site of the truth about Christmas. It is not a time of family. It is not a time of good will towards man. If we focus on Jesus, then these things will happen, but if we focus on them and ignore Jesus, the greatest gift of all is rejected.

Was God’s gift to you received with open arms and open heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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