Joseph Chosen By God

BIBLE READING:  Matthew 1:18 - 21   This is how Jesus the Messiah was born.  His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph.  But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant though the power of the Holy Spirit.  Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly so he decided to break the engagement quietly.  

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.  Joseph, son of David," the angel said, "do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.  

Matthew 1:24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.  

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Just as Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus, Joseph too I believe was chosen by God.   The Word of God tells us that Joseph was a 'good man'.   I believe that Joseph was a man who listened to God.  He was the man who the Father chose to raise His son as his earthy father.   

The evidence that Joseph was close to God and believed him was his willingness to pick up, flee, and move to keep Jesus safe.   After the wise men visited baby Jesus, and angel of the Lord appeared once again to Joseph in a dream.   "Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother," the angel said.  "Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."   The Bible tells us that THAT VERY NIGHT Joseph left for Egypt with Mary and Jesus.  

Joseph was a man who listened and was willing to obey. God knew this about him and that earned him the right to be called the earthy father of Jesus.

When Jesus speaks to you….

Are you listening?

Are you willing to obey?

If Joseph had not obeyed the Lord's command in his dream - our Messiah would have not been protected from the evil plan of satan to destroy him.    God always has a plan, and his plan cannot be changed.   But he is searching for people who are willing to carry that plan out.    What is He asking of you?     Pray about that today.....   

The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.   2 Chronicles 16:9

 

The Lord Will Do What He Says

BIBLE READING:  Luke 1:39-45 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived.  She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary's greeting, Elizabeth's child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  

Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, "God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.  Why am I so honored , that the mother of my Lord should visit me?  When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.  You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said."   

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Mary trusted and believed that what the angel Gabriel said to her was true.  She believed that God would overshadow her and she would become pregnant with the promised Messiah.  

I can think of another woman who was blessed because she believed.   Genesis 21:1 says, "The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised".    She too became pregnant (although not by a virgin conception), by a miracle because Sarah and her husband Abraham were of very old age.  

Has God made a promise to you?  If you have a Bible in your home - you hold a promise box that is full of the promises of God to YOU.    

Here are some to think about: 

Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 43:2 - When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isaiah 54:10 - Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Deuteronomy 31:8 - The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Mark 11:24 - Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Numbers 23:19

You are blessed when you believe the promises of God.  Read them and meditate on them today.  He is faithful to be trusted!  

Dear Lord - thank you for being a God who holds true to Your Word.  Thank you for caring about me in the big things and even in the little ones.   Thank you that I can trust you and know that you will never let me down.   Amen. 

Mary Did You Know?

BIBLE READING:   Luke 1: 26-38    In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a decedent of King David.  Gabriel appeared to her and said, "Greetings, favored woman!  The Lord is with you!"  

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.  "Don't be afraid, Mary," the angel told her, "for you have found favor with God!  You  will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever, his Kingdom will never end!"   

Mary asked the angel, "but how can this happen? In am a virgin."

The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.  What's more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age!  People used to say she was barren, but she's now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." 

Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant, May everything you said about me come true." And the angel left her.  


Mary is someone that maybe we don't think a whole lot about until the Christmas season.   Can you imagine being a young girl and having an angel appear to you to tell you that you were about to be with child?    The days that Mary lived in were VERY different than today. We don’t think a whole lot about teenage pregnancy, but Mary lived in a time period that to be found pregnant outside of marriage could cost her her life.  Yet, even despite that very possibility, her response to the angel Gabriel shows such obedience to God.   

“I am the Lord’s servant,

may everything you said about me come true”.

It was a miraculous conception, but her pregnancy was not.   She faced fear of what Joseph would say and do. She endured uncomfortable traveling conditions as she and Joseph traveled back to Bethlehem to be counted in the census.   Mary didn't have the convenience of a sterile hospital setting to birth her firstborn, but instead she gave birth in a dirty stable, surrounded by the stench of animals.

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Despite all this - Mary willingly gave birth to the Savior of our world.   Her response to the angel:  "I am the Lords servant, may everything you said about me come true".     

I can't help but wonder, did Mary know?   Did she know that she was giving birth to and raising her very own Savior?     If she had said 'No', certainly God would have called on another young girl to birth and raise the Messiah.  But, Mary received the blessing of calling him her son and raising him.    

Is God calling you to do something?   There is a blessing in it - if you say YES to him.    

One of my all time favorite Christmas songs is:  Mary Did You Know? I will share it with you below.  As Christmas is drawing near ..... try to spend some time reflecting on the Savior of the World.    He came to make things right again.  He came to bring peace between God and man.  

Come To The Table

Bible Reading: Isaiah 25:6-10 In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged win and choice meat.

There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against the land and people. The LORD has spoken.

In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” For the LORD’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem.

The Old Testament prophets spoke of the day when God would one day reign in his fullness and they depicted a great feast. The prophet Isaiah spoke of a coming day when Jesus would prepare “a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines”. In that day all that is wrong is made right and all that is broken is made whole, and those in Christ will be invited to an extravagant meal!

Jesus told a story in Luke, Chapter 14. He said: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, "‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ And another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste from my banquet.’”

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The master of the house is God, and the great banquet is the kingdom of God (heaven). The people made excuses for not wanting to be at the banquet (bad excuses at that). The invitation to come to the banquet was then extended to the downtrodden, underprivedged, or unnoticed. Everyone - no matter your social status, economic status or education status is invited to the the dinner table. But God is not happy that the table is half full - he desires that everyone come. His invitation for salvation is open to ALL. He is not willing that any perish but all come to receive salvation in Jesus Christ. However, it is VERY CLEAR that those who continue to refuse the invitation chose their own fate and punishment. They missed out. Those who do not choose Christ will never taste the joys and splendor of heaven. That is very clear!

The Kingdom of God is open to everyone, but not everyone will choose to accept the invitation. How about you? Have you said YES to the invitation of Christ? OR Are you still making excuses? Your future is your decision…. Christ’s table is open to you…. What’s your answer going to be??