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Joseph Was Obedient

 

Matthew 1:20-25

20 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. 21 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.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2:13-14

13 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.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,

Matthew 2:19-22

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,

I have been doing a study of Matthew this month. In this Advent season, I wanted to immerse myself in the birth and life of Jesus. What caught my attention was the obedience of Joseph. The Bible tells us about other people who were obedient to God, but what strikes me about Joseph, is that he NEVER questioned the command. Joseph obeyed God without complaint or argument. He NEVER sighed and uttered a doubtful, “But God, WHY?”

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about myself. I can imagine God hesitating in giving me any command, because my response is always the same, “BUT GOD! THAT WILL TAKE ME OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE! DO I HAVE TO?” I kick and scream until the moment passes. If the command seems relatively easy, I may obey after some serious analyzing of the situation. Some of the harder commands I have ignored and hope God doesn’t notice.

CONFESSION:

I now wonder what I have missed out on by not immediately obeying God’s every command. How different would my life be had I obeyed? Do I regret not living a life of obedience like Joseph did? The short answer is Yes! I have sabotaged my own life and I have not brought any glory to God by my disobedience. Has someone suffered because I refused to listen? What blessings have I or someone else missed out on because of my defiance? Looking at it from this perspective, I am deeply sorry I have allowed my fear and unwillingness to keep me from partnering with God in His will on this earth. It is my loss and a deep regret.

SO NOW WHAT?

I use that regret to push myself to do better in the future. If I know that God is commanding me to do something, I need to do it. I need to jump and trust God for the outcome. I need to let go of my need to analyze everything, because there will always be a reason NOT to do something. God did ask the prophets to do some CRAZY things! No good comes from living in regret. Commit to do better and trust God for guidance.

Father God,

I am asking forgiveness for not always obeying when you give me a command. It is not my place to question you. I need to obey you immediately and trust you with the outcome. I am so sorry that I have let you down and have possibly hurt others in my disobedience. I am making a commitment to make obedience a way of life in the future. I will jump first and trust you always. Help me in this, Lord. Give me a heart of obedience. I pray this in Jesus name.

Amen

 

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I heard about the Romans Road to Salvation many years ago, but had not taken the time to read the corresponding scriptures until recently. My personal salvation story is a little different. I will go into that in another post, but in this one I want to say that I absolutely love the straight forward approach of the Romans Road! I discovered that God had wisely placed in the Bible a road map for leading someone to Christ. It shouldn’t have surprised me, the Bible is full of wisdom for just about any situation we will ever face. Below is the Romans Road to Salvation:

The Problem:

Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:10

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

These verses give us a bleak scenario on the human condition. Paul makes it pretty clear, we have ALL sinned. We ALL fall short of the glory of God and NONE of us is righteous, NOT EVEN ONE! There is not one person on this earth that is living without some sin in his/her life. In some way, shape or form we ALL sin against God. Not one of us is perfect and not one of us will ever be able to say that we are sin free.

The Consequences:

Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We learned in the verses above that we all have sin in our lives. The consequences of that sin is death. BUT God gives us the GIFT of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

No Excuses:

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

God has shown and continues to show us His eternal power and and divine nature. Look around you; the beautiful sunset over the ocean, trees decked out in their Fall finest, skyscrapers that seem to touch the clouds, the list goes on and on. God has shown us His power. There is no excuse for living in sin, but in His grace God gave us a way out:

The Solution:

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sins. Christ died for us, so that we may live eternally. God loved us that much!

The Response:

Romans 10:9-10

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.

We CAN have eternal life in Heaven after this life is over. We have to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and it is only through Him that we be saved from our sin and the eternal fires of Hell. We have to declare with our mouth that Jesus is Lord. It is when we profess our faith and share our faith with others that God works in our hearts and transforms our lives.

The Assurance:

Romans 10:13

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

God promised that when we profess Jesus as our Savior and call on the name of the Lord we WILL be saved! How reassuring to know that even though life may one struggle after another, but if we call on God, we WILL be saved and spend eternal life in Heaven.

The Promise:

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God promises three things in these verses if we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead to save us from our sins and if we profess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord:

  1. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. We are no longer condemned in our sin.
  3. Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God.

If you are someone who has been wondering what a life in Christ is all about or you are ready to take the next step, the Romans Road is a great place to start and you are always invited to contact me and we can go through it together. I am always here to share how God has worked in my heart and my life and to walk with you as you discover Jesus in your own life. God Bless!

JESUS IS LORD!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Psalm 91:9-13

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Psalm 27:5

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 31:20

In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues.

One of the first things Cherokee and Chris did when they bought the new house in July was buy Chickens. We have 24 chickens and they have their own space in the yard and a safe, comfortable coop. On the first day the chickens were big enough to run free in their yard, I asked Chris how long it would take to round up all 24 chickens every evening and get them back in the coop. Chris told me that they would go back in the coop on their own as the sun went down. He was right. I watched as the sun went down and one by one they headed for the coop and huddled together inside the door waiting for Cherokee or Chris to tuck them in safely for the night. I was amazed that they knew somehow that they needed to be tucked in for the night to keep them safe from predators of the night (okay, maybe they didn’t “think” all that, but somehow they knew they needed to be tucked in for the night).

Watching the chickens as they headed for the shelter of the coop reminded me how we, as humans, sometimes need shelter from the dark moments of our lives. In life, we will come upon predators who may want to harm us. We will experience the storms of life and need to seek refuge. where is our shelter? The chickens know that they have a coop to keep them safe, but where do we go when the night starts to fall and we are surrounded by darkness and evil? 

We go to God. We need to find shelter in God. Psalm 91:11 says that God commands His angels concerning us to guard us in ALL our ways. Psalm 27:5 says that when the day of trouble comes that God will keep us safe in His dwelling. Psalm 31:20 reminds us that God keeps us safe in His dwelling from accusing tongues.

Life is full of problems, heartache and pain. The reality is that there IS evil in the world. We can’t escape that fact. We can’t run from the hardships of life. It wouldn’t matter where we run to, the hardships will only follow us. The only thing that we can do is seek shelter under the wings of the Almighty God. God promises us in His word that He IS our shelter and that He WILL protect us. God does not break His promises. We need to trust that when the pain of the world hits us in the gut, that God will be our shelter and in Him we will find refuge and safety.

 

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The hardest thing for me as a mom has been to see my kids grow into adults and struggle with their relationship with God. We were active in a local church at one time, but left due to some personal issues. After we left, we all struggled in our relationship with God. The kids struggled the most. It was hard for me to see them fall away from their faith. I felt guilty for taking them away from something that had meant so much to them at one time. In the end it was only causing them pain and they were considered in the decision to leave. We have attended different churches. My relationship with God has actually grown in the mean time, but the kids still struggle. I hate to see them struggle in the most important aspect of their lives. I try to force God on them and I know that this doesn’t work. I just want them to “get it”! I want them to embrace this Jesus that I live and breathe. God has finally convinced me to back off a bit and to give the Holy Spirit time to work in the lives of my kids.

YOU MEAN I AM NOT ACTUALLY IN CONTROL OF THEIR WHOLEHEARTEDLY ACCEPTING JESUS?

Reality sinking in. No, I am not in control of how they think or act or what they believe. As much as I would like to force them to accept my beliefs, I can’t. I can’t force Jesus on them. It just turns them away. They have to figure it out on their own the same way I had to figure it out on my own. They have to come to the realization that life with Jesus is so much better than life without Jesus. So, what do we do while they are figuring things out?

  1. Pray: We pray, pray and pray some more. We pray that the Holy Spirit will fill them with a burning desire to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We pray that they will be filled with a deep desire to do God’s will in EVERY aspect of their lives. We pray through until all of our children have accepted Jesus and then we pray that they will grow in their Christian walk. The most important thing is to pray.
  2. Set a Godly example: No one is perfect. We aren’t going to get it completely right all of the time, but if our kids see us reading the Bible, praying, living our lives with integrity, serving others, and loving those around us then they will know Jesus through our actions. Don’t ever think that our kids aren’t watching how we live our lives. They are and they are deciding how they want to live.
  3. Never Judge: Our kids get enough judgement in the world, they don’t need it from their parents too. No one is perfect and our kids are learning how the world works. We all fumble. We all make mistakes. Our kids need to know that they have a safe place to fall where help will be given without judgement.
  4. Love unconditionally: God loves us no matter what and He expects us to love our kids no matter what. We need to love our kids regardless of how they choose to live. We need to continue to build our relationships with our kids. We need to continue to be that support system they so need in this world. In a place of so much hate, they need our love.
  5. Allow the Holy Spirit to work: We need to step back and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our children’s lives. Trying to force Jesus on them only pushes them away. We need to surrender our kids to God and trust Him to work in their lives in His timing. I know how hard that is, but take it from a mom who has been there, we can’t force our kids to believe. We are not in control. God is.

I have had to learn to surrender my kids to God. It has not been easy. I see them struggle with wrong choices and living life styles that are contrary to my Christian beliefs and my heart breaks for them. Life will never be free from pain, but it can be so much better when we live according to God’s will for us. My one desire in this life is that all five of my kids will know and follow Jesus Christ. I can’t make this happen. Only God can. It is now my job to get out of the way.

 

 

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1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

 

              

Not all of us were meant to live like Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, or Joel Osteen. The majority of us were meant to live simple lives. Most of us were called to live quiet lives, loving those around us and sowing seeds for God. Volunteering in our communities, serving those in need, being part of a community that loves God and loves each other regardless of our quirks and imperfections. Those of us that God has called to live quiet lives have a responsibility to change our communities through being a Christ-like example to those around us. We have a responsibility to be Jesus to our neighbors and communities. It is a big responsibility. God calls us to partner with Him in changing communities and transforming hearts. It may be the most important calling we can ever have on our lives. So, the next time you think your life is mundane, boring or ordinary, remember that God calls most of us to live simple lives so that we can reach out to those who need us and need God the most.

     

 

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Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

I was watching Llama Llama this morning with my two year old grandson, Christopher, when God decided to use this children’s cartoon to teach me a lesson. Llama and his friends were planning to spend the last day of their Summer break flying their kites. At the last minute, it starts to rain and the kids have to change their plans. Llama Llama is upset because they have to change their plans and stay inside. Mama Llama reminds Llama Llama that sometimes we have to plan to change our plans.

WOW! What a reminder! I always thought that I would be a missionary. I have wanted with all of my heart to serve God in a full-time ministry position. I have wanted this since I was a teenager. I am now a 48 year old single mom of 5 young adults and working in the food service department of a local convent. I have worked different secular jobs, but a ministry job has been elusive. It hasn’t been easy for me to sit and watch as others become missionaries or enter the convent. I will admit to being frustrated and discouraged. I have even at times felt hopeless. I have cried out to God in my despair, wondering why everyone else seems to be chosen for a grand purpose but I am left living a mundane life of daily struggles. I have learned three important lessons in this time of waiting.

  1. Be Patient– God’s timing is perfect. We need to be patient while waiting for God to reveal our God-given life purpose. There are many reasons that God might want us to wait; we need to work on our character, we need to wait for God to set up our ministry opportunity, we need to learn more about God and grow in our relationship with Him. I am not a patient person! I’m sure that God has shook His head in frustration at my petulant attitude. I continue to grow in this area and I trust that God knows what is best for me.
  2. Continue To Grow– God may be waiting for us to grow in our knowledge of Him. God can not use us if we are not prepared. We have to know WHO HE IS if we want set a Godly example in the world. We have to know God’s character. We have to know God’s heart if we want to reach others for Him. By digging into God’s word and by prayer we begin to grow in our relationship with Him and only then can God use the love in our hearts to draw others to Him.
  3. Bloom Where You Are Planted– Sometimes our missionary opportunity is right in our own backyard. Find a need in your neighborhood or community and find a way to fill that need. Lead a church wide effort in volunteering at a local homeless shelter, food pantry, or other ministry. Prayer walk around your neighborhood. Reach out to those around you and open your heart to the opportunities that God presents. God often places us right where He wants us. He expects us to be missionaries in our own communities. If we aren’t, then who will be? If we call ourselves disciples, then He calls us missionaries!

These are things that I am still working on, hence the lesson from a Llama. Be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Even if you are stuck in a mundane job that frustrates you, you still have a unique, God-given ministry to those around you. You are a missionary in your own community! Be patient! Keep growing in your knowledge and relationship with God and bloom where God plants you. He knows what is best and where we are needed most. Trust in His will for your life and know that He will always use us if we are willing to be used.

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Acts 10:34-35

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

Romans 2:11

For God does not show favoritism.

Galatians 2:5-6

We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message.

As a single mom of five kids, I have been accused of showing favorites. Do I have a favorite? I can honestly say that I do not. I know it may seem at times that I favor this daughter or that son over the others, but I love all of my children the same and care deeply about the safety and welfare of all five of them. They are five separate people with five completely different personalities. I have a different relationship with each of them based on how our personalities mesh. Not only do they each have different personalities, they are each in different places in their lives. At times one may struggle more than the others and need more attention in that season of their lives. They are all growing in their own lives and my relationship with each one is different than what it once was. I have struggled at times in my relationship with each one, but I will never stop loving them. I will never stop caring about what each one goes through. I will never stop believing that they are the most precious people in this world.

I am reminded of the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Matthew 18:12-14:

12 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! 14 In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish. 

The shepherd leaves the others to go after the one. He doesn’t care what the one looks like or if the one was disobedient and ran off, He goes after the one regardless. No favorites. Not one cared about more or less than the others. All are equal in the shepherd’s eyes. God feels the same way about us. He loves us all the same. No favorites. He will leave the ninety-nine to go after the one. It doesn’t matter the socio-economic status, education, gender- identity, race, religion (you get the point) of the one. He will ALWAYS leave the others to go after the one.

God loves you! You will never do anything so wrong that God won’t pursue you. It doesn’t matter if you live in a penthouse or on the streets of skid row. It doesn’t matter if you are an addict or go to church three times a week and volunteer for every church activity. There is NOTHING that can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). He loves you just as much as He loves all the rest of the sheep in His flock.

I challenge you to really take the time to reflect on God’s love for you. Use the internet to look up verses that tell us how much God loves us. Journal your thoughts and the verses that you find. I want you to open your heart to allow the love of God to fill you to overflowing. I want you to know in your inner most being that God has NO FAVORITES! I am always here to listen, pray for you and encourage you in this journey. YOU ARE LOVED!!!

 

 

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