Supporting Actor: Joseph

by Carolyn Hope

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. … When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-19, 24-25)

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.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. (Matthew 2:13-14)

Joseph came up with the best plan he could think of, to divorce Mary quietly. He didn’t want to make a scene. He may have feared the public scandal and shame that would fall on them, and on the child Mary was carrying. He may have feared that by marrying her, he was owning to being intimate with her before they were married; certainly, that’s what many would assume. God had different plans. As kind and careful as Joseph’s plan was, God wanted more. He wanted Joseph to be Mary’s wife, and He wanted him to be Jesus’ father on earth. The Lord planned for him to be part of this holy family. This plan wasn’t clean, or quiet, or pretty. It was risky and scandalous. In following God, Joseph and Mary found themselves in a messy situation. They were willing to be accused of wrongs they did not commit for the sake of the Lord’s plan.

Joseph was obedient. Simply yet scarily obedient. He obeyed faithfully, trusting in whatever the angel told him and heeding the warnings in his dreams. He didn’t question or object, but simply submitted in full and quick obedience. He followed instructions word for word and step by step. Though there was much danger involved, Joseph and Mary had no need to fear being killed or cast out. God was with them, and He blessed their obedience.

Going after your King and trusting His plans may put you in scary situations, but you are never unsafe when you are in your Father’s will. It may feel that way. It may appear so. However, the Lord will always protect you on the path He leads you through. Are you willing to risk it all in order to obey Jesus? Will you trust Him unshakably? Will you let Him direct your life and follow Him no matter what it looks like?

You can be a Joseph. You can be a Mary. All you have to do is believe God’s promises and trust His leading. When you surrender all for the sake of His Kingdom, you’ll see Him do mighty works through your life. You have the capability to make an incredible impact on the world. Are you willing to embrace the life Jesus has for you?

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The Promise of Protection (Psalm 23:5)

by Carolyn Hope

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. (Psalm 23:5)

God has a way of surprising us. He loves to do the unexpected. This Psalm describes an interesting scene. There are enemies around David, and instead of fighting them or taking David away from them, God throws a party. It’s as if He ignores that the enemies are there, and He honors David by anointing and blessing him.

Often times, when we find ourselves in uncomfortable places with less-than-pleasant people, our tendency is to flee. We try to find an escape. (If you’re a more introverted person like me, you may want to escape even when you’re around people who are pleasant.) God doesn’t always work that way. Yes, there are times when it is necessary to remove yourself from a perilous situation, and God does provide an escape from danger for His people. Many times, however, His heart is to show up and move in the midst of the surrounding danger.

God may not remove the situation, obstacle, or danger you are faced with. The reason could be that He wants to come through for you in a mighty way. He isn’t threatened by the forces that come against you, and you don’t need to be intimidated by them. You serve a God who is more powerful than your enemies. Jesus is able to pull you out of the challenges you’re dealing with, but He is also able to do something great in the midst of where you are. He may just want to show you off before your enemies as His chosen one. Perhaps your Dad wants to throw you a party in the middle of your struggle. Trust Him to work in the best way for your life. He’ll protect you and give you all you need to conquer each day.

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