Digging in Deeper: Matthew 1:20

“But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

What are you afraid of? That was actually a topic of conversation in my vehicle the other day. The list included a pretty standard set of things: spiders, snakes, mice, insects, and the like. Any of those on your list? Perhaps, but I’ll bet you have some other things on there as well; things that are bigger, harder for you to precisely define, and possess more control over your life than any of the cliched list. The good news is, you don’t have to live with this. Joseph didn’t either.

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Faith in the Hard

Last week we got to hear from the angel Gabriel as he reflected on his experience delivering the news of Jesus’ birth to Mary. With him we got to marvel at the wonderful truth that with a faithful servant, God can change the world. This week we got to hear from Joseph who gave an poignant reminder that faith in the hard really is worth it. Keep reading to see how this story unfolds.

Faith in the Hard

They’re finally asleep, thank the Lord! You would think that exhaustion from the journey alone would have made that particular task significantly easier than it has proved to be lately, but you would be wrong. These are the things no one bothers to tell you when the child arrives. All everyone does then is ooh and ahh over how cute he is. “He’s such a precious little baby,” they said. “He’s just perfect,” they crooned. “He’ll be the Savior of the world,” they proclaimed. But after a long day on the road and with the stress of recent days weighing heavily on our minds, I’m not so much worried about the whole world being saved as I am getting a few hours of sleep so we can keep going tomorrow.

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Digging in Deeper: Genesis 39:21

“But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”‬‬ (ESV – Read the chapter

The favor of the Lord is a wonderful thing. After all, He’s the creator of the world and everything in it. If He takes a special interest in your success, there’s no way you can possibly fail. The favor of the Lord is better than pulling the winning lottery numbers. Twice. But, what exactly does the favor of the Lord look like? We’d like to think it’s all butterflies and rainbows, but Joseph’s story rips that theory to pieces. 

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 1:18

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.”‬‬ (ESV – Read the chapter

When was the last time you had plans for your life and they were suddenly wrecked by something over which you had zero control? That’s never a fun place to be. Even the most free-wheeling, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person still occasionally makes plans and isn’t all that much a fan of seeing them interrupted. Joseph feels your pain. 

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When Life Turns Left

In this final part of our Christmas series, The Characters of Christmas, we look at Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. What can we learn to him? How about what to do when life takes a sudden left turn on us? Joseph’s perfect plans were thrown into chaos by the news of Mary’s unexpected pregnancy. How did he handle it? Keep reading to find out.

When Life Turns Left

Don’t you love a good plot twist?  I sure do.  The best movies and TV shows always have that moment that leaves you going, “Whoa!  I did not see that coming!”  When I was in high school and college, one of the directors who was the very best at creating those kinds of moment was M. Night Shyamalan.  Two films in particular do this better than just about any other show I’ve seen (and I think I can talk about these because they’ve been out long enough you’ve either seen them or you’re not going to see them).  The first was The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment.  Osment plays a young boy with the ability to see and interact with people who have died.  Willis plays a therapist who is trying to help him work through the fear and emotions of his unique ability.  The movie is filled with moments of heart-stopping suspense as Osment’s character navigates his frightening world.  But the real “whoa” moment comes right at the end, after Willis helps Osment figure out that the various dead people are coming to him to help them resolve some unresolved tension from before their death, and that with his help they can find peace and leave him alone.  The climax comes as we realize that Willis was one of these dead people all along who had come to Osment for help.  The moment is so jarring that people still talk about it almost 20 years later.

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