Paul’s Therfore’s lead us to Christ

My friend Cheryl has chosen Romans 12:2 as her favorite verse. This is one of the most well known and quoted verse in the book of Romans for good reason. Here are verses 1-2:   Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Starting with Therefore, Paul is saying because of all I have said in the previous 11 Chapters this is how God’s wants you to live. Paul has told us in Romans 1:16-17 of the power of the gospel leading to God’s righteousness.  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” In Romans 3:22-23 that faith comes through Jesus and no one is righteous on their own “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In Romans 5:1 Paul concludes that we are justified by faith. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” I particularly love Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In Romans 7 we hear of Paul’s own smuggles with his sin nature but he reaches another conclusion in Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, In Chapter 8 Paul tells us we are son’s of the Father (14), coheirs with Christ (17), all things in our lives God can work for good (28), and nothing can separate us from the love of God (37-38). Paul tells us in Romans 10: 9-10 that confession of Jesus as Lord will bring about salvation.  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Given all these facts about God and what He has done for us Paul reaches the conclusion stated in Romans 12:1. Think about God’s mercy towards us and commit yourself to a life of loving Him sacrificially. It will be pleasing to God.

In verse 2, Paul goes on to tell us that we need to let God transform our body and minds so that we will not be led astray and seduced by the world’s motives and standards. When your mind is renewed through faith in Jesus you will be able to discern what is worldly and stay away from it. You will be able to test things against His Word of truth, pray for discernment through the power of the Holy Spirit and call upon the name of Jesus for help. Then you will be able to walk with Jesus doing what is pleasing to God and aligned with His will. Faith in Jesus is the key to this transformation.

Thanks Cheryl for pointing me to this verse. I can see how you use this verse to give you strength to reject world culture and seek alignment with God’s Word. Leaning on God’s mercy, clinging to Jesus and using His Word to lead us in life will lead us to pleasing God.

Linda

Anger Issues? Beware and Alert

It is convicting that many of the verses that are near and dear to the heart of my friends are about how best to live out the Christian life. My friend, Vivian, has chosen Ephesians 4:26-27 as verses that speak to her heart and remind her how best to live for Jesus. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.” These verses are situated in a paragraph that follows Paul’s command in verses 23-24 “ to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,”. He concludes that accepting Christ’s transforming, redeeming power in ones life will cause you to live a different type of life. Ephesians 4:25 then starts with Therefore. In scripture this means everything I’ve said before about living a transformed life is true and will lead to the following actions. Paul goes on to list what a redeemed life will look like.

Paul describes the transformed person as one who speaks the truth with his neighbor, may be angry but does not let it lead to sinful actions, does honest work,  speaks good positive words, is honoring to the Holy Spirit with their hearts and actions, endeavors to avoid bitterness and evil thoughts and is kind and forgiving of one another. (See complete text below.)

Vivian has chosen verses here that focus on not allowing anger she feels about people, circumstances, etc. to lead her to sin. Harboring resentment, being bitter or letting the anger fester will lead to a break or block in her relationship with the Lord and others. The reminder to not let the sun go down on her anger is so true. If you go to bed angry, you will awaken with that unresolved anger in your heart. It will begin to turn towards bitterness if you are not carefully aware. The wisdom of scripture here is practical and life changing if applied each and every day. Letting resentment and bitterness begin and holding on to unforgiveness gives the devil an opening to tempt us to sin. Sin produces an attitude that holds on to anger and can lead to ruined relationships, resentment and bitterness. Anger is a tricky emotion that can be good if used rightly but harmful if it is used for and towards selfish desires. Thoughts like “they are always against me”, “he really meant to do me harm”, ”look at how he/she made this my fault”…. All of these are thoughts that can easily come out of anger and lead to sin. Sin affects our relationship with God and blocks our full communication with Him and also can turn and undermine any relationship in which we are involved. I think Vivian is wise to remember these verses and strive to live with her anger being both well placed and under control.

I pray these verses will cause you to seek God in prayer and let the Holy Spirit help you examine your ‘anger issues’ before Him.

Linda

Here are a couple of other verses about anger from Psalm 37:8 and Proverbs 16:32 to meditate upon.

Ephesians 4:25-32 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

The Blessings of Delighting in His Word

Psalm 119 is all about God’s Word- how precious it is to us, what it can do for us, how it guides and guards us…. In Part B, verses 9-16, there are several key verses that can help guide us each and every day. My friend Diana loves verse 11 in particular and holds it dear (me too!) Let’s start with verse 9 which tells us a clear reason to study and lean upon the truth of God’s Word. How can a young man keep his way pure?    By guarding it according to your word. Whether you are young or old this is absolutely true- our walk in this world can only be pure and blameless if we base our daily actions, attitudes and beliefs on God’s Word. If we are guarding ourselves with His word then it will lead to other things mentioned in this passage.

  1. 10 With my whole heart I seek you;
        let me not wander from your commandments!
    To guard my walk, my intentions must be focused on Jesus and we need to seek Him. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
  2. 11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
        that I might not sin against you.
    This verse gives us motivation and reason for memorizing God’s Word, and studying it diligently- to keep ourselves resisting the temptation to sin. John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” James 1:13-15 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Memorize God’s Word and when you need it most the Holy Spirit will bring it into your mind. This may be when you need courage or strength or to turn you away from evil and help you make a godly choice. God promises His Word will lead us His way.
    3. 12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
        teach me your statutes!
    I must desire that God teach me from His Word as I study.
    4. 1With my lips I declare
        all the rules of your mouth.
    14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
        as much as in all riches.
    I need to let His Words be in my mouth as I speak to others, as I pray, as I seek to delight in Him.
    5. 15 I will meditate on your precepts
         and fix my eyes on your ways.
    As I study and memorize God’s Word, I need to think on it, chew on it and keep it ever before my mind. Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Mediation on God’s Word deepens our understanding and allows God time to change and mold our thinking. Biblical thinking comes from spending time meditating on God’s Word.
    6. 16 I will delight in your statutes;
         I will not forget your word.
    The end result of seeking Him, guarding my ways, memorizing scripture, speaking His word in prayer and to others, and mediating on His Word will be DELIGHT!! As we put God’s Word in our minds and heart, we will find delight and joy in learning more about Almighty God which will deepen our love and trust in Him. Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delightin his way;”

Diana is right, verse 11 is one to memorize and mediate upon. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” It is a promise from God that planting His Word in our heart will help you resist Satan, resist your old nature and turn to Him.

Linda

What to Do While Waiting

Jesus had been appearing to them for the last 40 days since his resurrection. He had been teaching and confirming who He was and their mission to continue to tell others about Him after He returned to heaven. They had many questions and voiced a few in Acts 1:6-8. Here was Jesus’ answer, “Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” They wanted details- the how, when and where of His return and the restoration of Israel. Jesus simply reminded them of the power that was coming and their greater purpose in His kingdom here on earth. Jesus wanted patient obedience and focus from them.

How good are you at waiting? I’m not prone to waiting patiently, but when I know something is coming I can endure with a bit more patience. The disciples were commanded by Jesus to wait for the coming Holy Spirit that the Father would send. They were not to leave Jerusalem and go back to fishing. The fact Jesus told them to wait there would have given them hope that it would be only a ‘short’ time before this promised power would arrive. Acts 1:1-5 “In my former book (the gospel of Luke), Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Is that a lesson you need to learn too? We know Jesus is to return and what our job is until he does. Why do we fret over the when and where? Just like the disciples, we need to wait for the right time for speaking out about Him, remain steadfast in faith, constant in prayer and filled with His hope. God’s timing is perfect and He alone knows when Jesus will return. Until then, just like the disciples- we wait. But, God has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us to tell others about Him. The disciples were waiting for that power- only a few days more until the Holy Spirit arrives on Pentecost. They didn’t know it was only 10 days away so they returned to Jerusalem after the ascension and waited together . Acts 1:14 “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” This is a perfect example of how we can encourage and support one another as we wait.

If Jesus returned today, would He find you doing what He asked? Are you telling others about Him? Are you praying for others and remaining steadfast in your faith? Are you encouraging and praying with fellow believers? It was a challenge for the disciples and it is a challenge for us. They had just seen and heard Jesus and knew Him to be real and trustworthy. We have the empowerment from the Holy Spirit within us to be faithful and honor His requests, and we too know Him to be trustworthy!

May you seek to do His will while you wait for His return.

Linda

Are you ready to Go? Will you speak up?

Jesus was actively reassuring his followers on Resurrection Sunday. He appeared to the two men on the Road to Emmaus, to the women in the garden and Mary, to Peter and then to a gathering of disciples in a closed room. John records this closed door appearance in John 20:19-22. I like the Amplified translation as it makes what happened very clear.  “So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy.” The fact that Jesus appeared to them without opening the door tells us He was a spirit. Yet, he showed them His hands and side that had been pierced at the cross which tells us He was physically real.  Only Jesus could be both in His resurrection body

He begins with the common Hebrew greeting- ‘Peace to you’.  This shows Jesus’ love and sensitivity as perhaps they might have expected a harsh word from Jesus for abandoning Him after His arrest.  They received peace and warmth from their Savior not rebuke or criticism.  When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  Their response to Jesus was pure joy!  He sent greetings of peace as they were living in fear being behind locked doors. I’m sure they thought that what happened to Jesus at the hands of the religious leaders could happen to them as his disciples. What they needed was peace and Jesus knew that. They also needed a mission or purpose. For 3 years they had followed him, spoke with him, listened and saw the miraculous power of God. What purpose did they have without him? Jesus knew what they needed was direction and purpose so He gave them orders to go out and tell others.   He was sending them with power from His Holy Spirit to go and be His representatives, telling others of His death, resurrection, salvation, love and forgiveness of sins.  Jesus breathed on them power that would sustain them until the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days later at Pentecost.     

tell others

What is your response to the risen Savior?  I’m sure the disciples had various reactions like joy that He was alive, curiosity about His wounds, questions about their purpose in life now that He is no longer teaching them day to day.   Jesus answered their questions, shared in their joy and gave them purpose.  It is the same purpose Jesus has for us- tell others the good news of the gospel.  He desires that everyone hear how He saves us from the penalty of sin which is death and makes us clean and forgiven in the sight of God.  Paul reminds us in Romans 10:17   “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  Jesus sent them, and sends us too into the world where we live, to tell others the good news of Christ.  We have a commission from Christ to speak out and speak up for Him.

Who will you joyfully tell today?

Linda

Holy Week, Thursday, Jesus Prayed for You and Me

As Jesus’ time on earth draws to a close, His Thursday was filled with love, encouragement, heartbreak and pain.  As Jesus celebrated the Passover supper with His disciples in the Upper Room, Judas was dismissed as he had already decided in his heart to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  Jesus spent precious hours teaching, reassuring and praying for His disciples.  Later they went to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed and gained strength from His Father.  The soldiers came into the garden to arrest Jesus, and he was betrayed by Judas. They led him away to be tried in numerous trials both civilian and religious.  He was beaten, flogged, insulted and denied by Peter.

During all this time, Jesus was focused on doing the will of the Father and completing His mission on earth, the redemption of mankind.  I am touched when I consider His prayer in the Upper Room as recorded in John 17: 20-23 as he was thinking of me and you and not the ordeal he was facing.

I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.  (Message)

I was amazed that Jesus took time to pray for His mission, His disciples and All future believers that night in the Upper Room.  He wanted all future believers to be unified in faith, so we can tell others that Jesus was and is real and was sent by the Father.  He says that the unity of our faith and oneness with Christ will give evidence to the unbelieving world that God loves us and truly sent His Son to redeem us.  This unity was so important to our Lord and Savior that He interceded for us.  Jesus wants us to be one in Spirit, united, telling others about Him.

What difference does it make that Jesus spend time on his last night before his crucifixion praying for you?  When you are with other believers do you strive for the unity Christ desired or are you seeking to divide and cause unrest in matters of faith with your brothers and sisters in Christ?  Are you about the sharing of your faith with others by showing kindness, love and speaking of the hope you have in Jesus?  Today, think of Jesus and what He desires for all believers.  Strive to walk in unity.  He promises it will show the world that we believe in Him and desire to show God’s love to others.

Prayer:  Father, I am humbled and amazed that Jesus prayed for me on His last night on earth.  He loved me so much and wanted me to be one in faith and unified in spirit with all believers.  Help me to live today with an abiding faith in You, so that the people I meet will know that I love You and that You love me. Empower me to show your love to others so that you may be glorified in all I say and do. Amen.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can be unified with other believers in Jesus’ name and share in His love.

Linda

Holy Spirit’s Work, Cause for Rejoicing

Chapter 10 of Hebrews gives us a discussion of the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, once for all, like I wrote about yesterday from Hebrews 9:24-26. In Chapter 10:15-18, the author tells us about the Holy Spirit’s actions in accordance with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We are now under grace and once we accept Jesus as Savior and receive His forgiveness, the Holy Spirit enters into our lives and hearts. Here is His work within us:

 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,

16 “This is the new covenant I will make
    with my people on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”

17 Then he says, “I will never again remember  their sins and lawless deeds.” 18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.”

These verses are cause for great rejoicing for every believer. The Holy Spirit has begun an new agreement with each believer to claim us as belonging to the Lord and to write on our hearts and in our minds the right way to live for Him. He promises to remember our sins no more! Amazing! He reminds us that faith in Jesus assures forgiveness of sin and there will be no need to offer any sacrifices like they did in Old Testament times. It is a new day with Jesus! I am reminded of Romans 12:1-2 where Paul calls us to live sacrificially for Jesus. It means giving our all to Him. “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” We now have a higher calling to live and reflect the Holy Spirt that lives within us.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can live forgiven and with God’s laws on my heart and in my mind as I seek to love and serve Him. Let God claim your heart and mind so that each day you can live filled by His Holy Spirit reflecting His love and goodness towards others.

Linda

A Hidden Gem Brings Hope and Assurance

Today’s ‘put on’ scripture is a bit of a surprise. When I read it I could not remember seeing this promise from God about the Holy Spirit here in 2 Corinthians. It is a gem, a hidden treasure to encourage and enlighten you and me!

2 Corinthians 1:20-25 is an infusion of hope and courage from the Apostle Paul.  For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

His first affirmation is that every promise is fulfilled, completed, and made right in Christ. What a blessing to know that everything God has planned will be completed by Christ in His time and in His way. We do not have to doubt. 1 Kings 8:56 puts it this way, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” God keeps His promises. Amen means ‘so be it’. That is another affirmation that God’s will is to be completed just as He said.

Paul continues to reassure us that God makes us able to stand firm in our faith in Christ. David stood firmly rooted in the Lord and said, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” in Psalm 19:14. May David’s words and conviction be ours as we stand firmly for Christ. Paul also reminds us that we are anointed by Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit. The seal He puts upon us shows He owns our hearts, we belong to Him and His Spirit living within is just a heavenly deposit to remind and empower us to live for the Lord. His Holy Spirt is our guarantee that all is Yes in Christ and we have an eternity settled with Him.

May these verse help you to ‘put on’ His love, claim His promises and step out in Spirit led faith today!

Linda

Night to Day, that is You in Christ!

This has been a few stress filled days as I traveled to Los Angeles to attend and speak at the Celebration of Life for my dearest friend Joan. I am home now looking at our picture on my desk, remembering her smile of encouragement, her faith and her being family to me. She encourages me to write and keep speaking out about our beloved Savior.

In today’s passage, Romans 13:12-14 Paul is speaking to the Roman Christians about their behavior. Since they belong to Christ, much is expected because they no longer walk in darkness and have been given the fortitude by Jesus to meet the new high standards He has set for all of us. “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The Roman Christians had just come out of idolatry and the worship of pagan idols. They were asked to give up those practices that focused on the fleshly nature of man and live morally upright lives based on love for one another in Christ. It was a tall order then, and is today too. There are many ‘idols’ that pull us away from focusing on Jesus and, they seek to occupy our time, talents and monies. Paul exhorts the Roman Christians to put on the armor of light. What is the armor of light? I have been pondering this and I feel it is God’s character that was shown to mankind in Jesus. In verse 14, Paul tells them to ‘put on the Lord Jesus Christ’. Both of these phrases, suggest we need to put on the godly character of Jesus in place of our old nature. His godly character has support, armor and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirt that makes it tough enough to withstand than anything we can ever face.

How do we put on this armor of light? First, we need to be committed to Jesus and firmly believe Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” We need to believe in Jesus and His saving work on the cross on our behalf.

Second, we need to spend time in God’s Word getting to know who He is, what He has done, what He will do and how we are to live lives for Him. Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Secondly,(again) we need to spend time in prayer talking with God- Adoring Him for who He is, Thanking Him for all He does or has done, Confessing what you know and He reveals to you as sin and seeking His help by asking Him to intervene in the circumstances of your life. Psalm 46:10 ““Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Thirdly, we need to seek the fellowship of other believers so as to encourage and strengthen each other in Christ.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can put on Christ’s armor of light to successfully live each day. With His armor of light, you will be as different as night is from day in your new life in Him!

Linda

Advent…God with Us, Immanuel

Matthew 1:20-25 is the rich account of how God told Joseph in a dream of His Son that was to be born to Mary, Joseph’s fiancé. Yesterday we looked at Joseph’s character that shone with faith and obedience to God. Today I want to focus on this Son of God that was to be born of Mary.

20 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. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
    She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
    which means ‘God is with us.’”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

Joseph was told by God in a dream that the child conceived within Mary was God’s Son by His Holy Spirit. He would be named Jesus, which means God with us. This Son was coming with a purpose which was to save all mankind from their sins. All men inherited their sinful nature from Adam and Eve when they sinned in the garden. God’s plan was one of restoration and redemption though the coming of His Son Jesus. This was a lot of information for Joseph to process. He was righteous, which meant he was learned in the scriptures and laws of Moses which he practiced faithfully. Joseph would have known the quote in verse 23 is from Isaiah 7:14. He would have known of God’s promised Messiah who was to save His people. Joseph must have been overwhelmed by the responsibility and privilege God was placing upon him to be the earthly father of His Son. He took all this in and stepped out in obedient faith to follow the command God gave him. He married Mary immediately and did not stop to count the cost. The cost as we will see was significant but the blessings and privileges of serving the Lord would have been immense.

What obstacles are you facing in your service to God? Are they ones you create in your mind, the what ifs? Are they circumstances that you feel are too big for God to overcome? If so, think about Joseph and all he had in front of him, and yet he trusted God and walked in obedience. Jesus is the key- He came to be with us ‘Immanuel’ and to save us from our sins. Take His hand and walk with Him. When things get hard He promises to never leave you nor forsake you, He’s got this!

Linda