Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Extraordinary Request

Whenever I read the Christmas story, it never fails to bring a new dimension to my mind. Most everyone knows the stories that are told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke of how the birth of our Savior came to be. It is easy just to brush over the familiar and accept the story, but it is a very human story. I sometimes try to imagine how Mary must have felt when the angel appeared to her and said, “Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28NLT).

The scripture tells us of the reactions of those who had been approached by angels, they fainted or were greatly afraid. The overwhelming presence of a Holy Angel is nothing to mock, but Mary was not afraid. The scripture says, “She was confused and disturbed by the angels greeting” (Luke 1:29 NLT). This tells us a great deal about her character, first she was humble and meek. It is not an everyday occurrence to be approached by an angel, but she was continuously aware of the presence of God.

Her only question to the angel was “How can this be, I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:35 NLT). She was fully aware of how children are conceived and knew that she was not yet married to Joseph. The angel explained that this child would not be conceived in the natural way, but supernaturally(Luke 1:35). Once she learned that God would cause her to become pregnant in his special way she agreed to the assignment(Luke 1:38).

What I find interesting is the Lord asked permission. He did not take her by force or make her feel guilty, but proposed his plan and waited for her response. This is the same way the Lord approaches us today. Even though we may be confused or disturbed, we must understand that we have a choice. The real question is; do we trust him?

No one can ever know the thoughts that went through her head in those first few moments, but we can try to imagine. I am sure she never thought of the ridicule and torture her son would suffer as the Lamb of God. I don’t believe that she considered the gossip of the town’s people once they learned of her untimely pregnancy or the heartache that Joseph would suffer thinking that she had betrayed her vow to him. Mary just trusted the Lord with the outcome.

If we truly love the Lord and are devoted to serving him, we will not stop to consider any of the extenuating circumstances of accepting his call. That is where faith and life truly begin. If we continually stop to count the cost of following Jesus, we will not be of any service to him.

Are you on board? Can you say to the Lord without reservation, “Not my will but yours be done!” That was the heart of Mary; she had the heart of a servant!

Copyright©2009 tathorpe All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Unsung Heroes

There are many unsung heroes whose names are mentioned briefly in the Bible and one such hero is Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. The Lord is in the business of shaking up our world, calling unlikely people to extraordinary tasks. Life is never dull when He is at the helm!

The scripture doesn’t tell us much about Joseph, except that he comes into to history as the man who was engaged to a young girl named Mary. He was an ordinary man with an unusual family tree. He was a descendant of King David through his son Solomon. With this bloodline, Joseph was an heir to the throne, and so were his sons.

After the engagement, Joseph set about preparing a place for his bride, (sound familiar?) We are told that Mary went to visit her relative and three months later when she returned, it was obvious that she was pregnant. Joseph knew that he wasn’t the father and was quite distraught about the whole thing.

Under the Law of Moses, he could send her away and have nothing more to do with the obvious betrayal (Deuteronomy 24:1), but that was not what God had in mind. Once the angel Gabriel spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him that Mary had not betrayed him and that the child she was carrying was the long awaited messiah, Joseph immediately was on board. He brought Mary to his home to be his wife.

Have you ever wondered why God would choose such a man as Joseph to be the earthly parent to His only Son, Jesus? God knew the heart of Joseph and that he would step up and do whatever was required of him. I am sure Joseph never in his wildest dreams, imagined that he would be called to be the parent of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. How he must have perplexed at the thought of how could a mear man raise God, the father of us all? The scripture doesn't tell in what ways, if any that Joseph influenced Jesus, but we do know that Jesus honored him by becoming a carpenter.

True fathers are a rare breed. Not many rise to the challenge that Joseph did, not seeking his own but what was best for the child. He honored stepfathers and foster fathers everywhere who step up the ultimate call of their manhood to love, honor, protect, teach and encourage their sons and daughters to be the very best they can be.

Copyright©2009 tathorpe All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Birth Announcement

There are many joys that occur in the life of a family, but the greatest is the birth of a child. When the announcement comes there is excitement, anticipation and of course all the plans. It is a very special time that unites families and the hope that blossoms for the next generation. We are the children of God and as with any parent the hopes and dreams never fade.

The first indication that God had planned a very special birth is found in Genesis 3.When the Lord God informed Adam and Eve of how their life had changed and what they could now expect, which resulted from their disobedience. The Lord God also informed Satan that this was not over. The Lord God said, “From now on you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head and you will strike his heal” (Genesis 3:15 NLT). Most believe that this is the first Messianic prophecy of the Bible.

Many centuries later, the Lord spoke to the prophet Isaiah and gave him more in depth information of the coming savior. Can you imagine how Isaiah must have felt, when the Lord told him in such detail all the facts about the Messiah’s birth.He would be born of a virgin “Look a virgin will conceive a child. She will give birth to a child and she will call him Emmanuel-“God with Us” (Isaiah 7:14 NLT) and the Messiah would live in the region of Galilee (Isaiah 9:1).

More importantly, the Messiah would not be an ordinary person, for he told Isaiah, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NLT). He is not only, the Son of God, but also God in flesh. The Lord God Almighty does not share his awesome name with anybody.

Over 600 years later, this very prophecy came to pass when a virgin named Mary from a small town in Galilee was approached by the angel Gabriel and was told she was chosen and agreed to become the mother of the Messiah. The angel told her to name him Jesus or Jeshua in Aramaic, which means “Yahweh Saves”

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us not forget that God keeps his promises to us. He made a way to redeem us from the sin that separated us from his wonderful, marvelous, unimaginable love for us. He came in person to save us and to guarantee that all that he has promised will come to pass. Trust in his holy and awesome name “Yahweh Saves”

copyright©2009 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-