Thursday, December 19, 2013

What is required during these Advent days?


There's been a question that has gnawed at me all week long.  It had to have been the same question that Joseph, Mary's husband had to answer also.

Joseph's response has made me take a closer look at my own behavior and response.

Does anyone think it unusual that Matthew, one of the four gospel writers, was the only one who included Joseph's story in the "Jesus is born" announcement?  I find that interesting to say the least.

If it wasn't for Joseph's actions, well, the face of history could have changed dramatically.  His behavior is pivotal in this whole crazy, believable-by-faith family lineage.

Believeable by faith, yet unbelievable without Joseph's obedience.

Imagine being a fly on the temple walls when Mary spoke of her upcoming news.  Imagine....

Did the news hit him like a ton of bricks?  Did it explode doubt in his heart about her fidelity?

I would think so, he was human after all.

So being the planner he was, a carpenter makes plans immediately...think about it.  His nature was to create and fix things.  So naturally he starts to work on a fix for his problem of what to do with Mary, whom he loves, but wants to protect himself and her from public disgrace?

I love Joseph's fix and it should be a lesson for all of us.

With all the questions of doubt and worry, uncertainty, shame, and those unspoken concerns about being the earthly father of God's Son....Joseph went face down before God.

Lord, what would you have me do to follow you?  And because God knew Joseph's heart was righteous, God gave him an answer that couldn't be denied.

Anytime you get a direct word from God, well, in my experience you shouldn't deny it....ever.

After receiving validation from the Angel, the news that would confirm, affirm and direct him, Joseph's behavior demanded obedience.

I like that he immediately knew the right thing to do.  And I love that God gave Joseph a "burning bush" moment, so that everyone would understand his behavior.

When you think about it Joseph's response was quiet remarkable.

Simply put ....he obeyed the simply spoken words of the Lord.

Shouldn't that be what we all respond to God with?  Our obedience?

Yes.

You could say that Joseph was a "yes" man.  And it's refreshing to know that first he sought God about what it takes to follow God and then listened to what God had to say.  And then acted on what he knew was right...

He obeyed.

And that my friends is the lesson in these days of celebration and rejoicing.

Maybe God is asking you the same question today...what will it take to follow what I have told you to do?

Is there a gnawing question or are you praying about something heavy on your heart right now?

....job change?
...relationship restoration?
...dreams?
....new year's resolutions?
...saying yes to God?

If you are, may your response be one like Joseph's...obedience.  Plain and simple obedience.  He did what God asked him to do and obeyed.  He sought God, listened and then lived out his obedience out of his love for God.

Whatever day it is...may our response always be obedience.  Our fixes are simple in light of God's plans for His greater things ahead.

Romans 8:28-30  "And we know that in all things God words for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  What then shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?"
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