Do Not Be Afraid, Joseph!

Angel appearing to Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25 NLT Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiance`, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly. As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All of this happened to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us).” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded. He brought Mary home to be his wife, but she remained a virgin until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

God knew who to choose to be the mother and father of His only begotten Son, who would come to save the people from their sins! He chose Mary and Joseph, two who were devoted to Him, determined to do His will and unashamedly determined to moved forward regardless of what might be said of them by their peers and elders in society.

There were three steps in a Jewish marriage. First, the two families agreed to the union. Second, a public announcement was made and the couple was officially “engaged”. This was similar to an engagement today except that in Jewish tradition their relationship could only be broken through death or divorce (even though sexual relations were not yet permitted). Third, the couple was married and began living together. Mary and Joseph were in the second state of that union, the betrothal period. Because they were engaged Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness carried a severe social stigma. According to Jewish civil law, Joseph had a right to divorce her, and the Jewish authorities could have had her stoned to death.

Deuteronomy 22:23, 24 NLT “Suppose a man meets a young woman, a virgin who is engaged to be married, and he has sexual intercourse with her. If this happens within a town, you must take both of them to the gates of the town and stone them to death. The woman is guilty because she did not scream for help. The man must die because he violated another man’s wife. In this way, you will cleanse the land of evil.”

Joseph, being a just man decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace Mary publicly. He was a “just” man. The Greek word for “just” is dikaios and it means “upright, blameless, righteous, conforming to God’s laws and man’s.” Joseph was fair and righteous, not looking to expose Mary by rejecting or casting her off before witnesses. He was compassionate towards her. He did not want to make a public example of her. This concerned him and as he thought about how he would do this he fell asleep. As he was sleeping the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and explained how Mary became pregnant. The angel told Joseph that the father of Mary’s child was the Holy Spirit and that he did not have to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because she had not been unfaithful to him.  Fear, when received, can be a determent to receiving the promises of God. The enemy always speaks fear to us to try to get us off track, to keep us from fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. But Joseph, being a godly man, received the message from the angel with faith as Mary had when the angel appeared to her to tell of her upcoming pregnancy.

Matthew 1:24, 25 NKJV Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

Joseph knew about the prophecies of which the angel of the Lord had spoken; how Isaiah had prophesied that a virgin would be with child and bear a Son, and that they would call His name Immanuel, meaning “God with us”. He knew the Word of God as recorded in the Old Testament. And he knew that when the angel of the Lord appeared to him with those prophecies that he could believe him and trust that what God had said He would do would happen. Joseph’s faith reached out and grabbed onto the word of God and caused him to step out believing that God would do what He had promised.

Isaiah 7:14 NKJV “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Joseph so honored what God was doing in Mary’s and his lives that even after they were married he refused to have sexual relations with her until after Jesus was born. They did not enter into normal marital relations until after her Son was born. Mary was still a virgin when Jesus was born and so the scripture was fulfilled that a virgin would be with child and bear a son!

Jesus

Joseph called His name JESUS. The name means “Yahweh is Salvation”. The angel gave him instructions from the conception to the birth and even what they were to name the child. The scripture records that Joseph called His name JESUS; he followed the commandment of the Lord in every instruction that he was given. He didn’t worry about what the community would think of him; his only concern was that he would do the will of God and care for the wife that God had given him. His full devotion was to doing God’s will.

When we look at the life of Joseph we see a man who was not afraid to follow God. He was a disciplined man doing what needed to be done to work with His heavenly Father in order to see the manifestation of the promise of God in his life. He was focused on what God was doing in his life instead of what people and circumstances might dictate. He was determined to obey regardless of public opinion.

Immanuel, God with us, was the promise that the Christ child would bring to the world. God with us, in a different way, the way of salvation. Jesus was born to save His people from their sin. He was not born as a baby to be worshiped in a manger, but as the Savior of the world, who took on human form that He might face all the trials and temptations that we face and yet overcome and become the payment for our sin, our failures, our brokenness and iniquities.

The question we each need to ask ourselves at this time of the year is would we be willing to give up our lives to usher in the will of God in our world today? What would it take for God to be able to depend on us to work with Him to establish His will in the hearts and lives of those around us?

Matthew 16:24 NKJV Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

Philippians 2:5-11 NLT Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Father, I thank You for the story of Joseph and how he obeyed Your instructions regardless of whether it meant public disapproval or not. I thank You for his resolve to obey You in order to see the fulfillment of the plan that You had to bring Your Gift of salvation into our world. I pray that I will be that kind of person to be able to work with You in effecting change in my world as well. Father, I ask You to give each one of us the determination to obey You regardless of the opinion of those around us. May we be people of integrity that not only speak of You in our lives but act out of what You tell us to do. May we walk the talk and not just talk it. Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus to save us from our sin. Thank You for being with us in the form of humanity in order to identify with the problems that we experience in our lives. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for dying a criminal’s death to purchase our salvation! To You be all the honor and glory due Your name! Amen.

Thanks be to God for the birth of Jesus

There’s Provision In The Name

I love the Word of God! When I look into God’s Word I see His character and nature, who He is and wants to be to His people. I have heard people say that they don’t understand the Old Testament and they don’t think it applies to us today, since we have the New Testament. But I love the stories in the Old Testament. They give us a greater understanding of how God moves on behalf of His children.

As we look at the names of God described in the Old Testament we gain a better understanding of who He was, and He continues to be that to us. God revealed Himself to His people as the provision for their need when they first needed it. It is known as the “principle of first mention”. For example in Exodus 15:26 He revealed Himself to His people as Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals, or the Lord your Healer. When the name was established and He was revealed as that provision for their need it meant that He would always be that provision, not just then but throughout the ages. He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer forevermore!

 

We find in the New Testament the name of Immanuel, which means God with us! It was used to describe Jesus because He is God in the flesh, and would come to dwell with us! Isaiah first prophesied of Jesus as Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14:

 

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Jesus was the Messianic fulfillment of this prophesy.

 

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

 

John 1:1-5 IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

 

Jesus, the Living Word was with God before the beginning of time. Everything that is was made through Him and without Him nothing was made. In Him, in Christ Jesus, is life! And that life lights the way for men so they no longer have to grope around in darkness! Praise the Lord! He is Immanuel; God with us!

 

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

The word “dwelt” there literally means “tabernacled”. In the Old Testament while the Israelites were in the wilderness they set up the Tabernacle so that Moses could meet with God in that temporary tent. God’s presence would fill the Tabernacle when Moses went to meet with Him. God manifested His glory there and the people would see the glory cloud as it covered the Tabernacle and know that God was meeting there with them. When Jesus came to dwell among us the glory of God walked with us here on this earth. He revealed the Father to us through His fleshly being and as He went about teaching, preaching and healing. He was living out what He heard His Father say and saw His Father doing. (John 5:19; 30)

 

John 14:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

 

Jesus told His disciples in John 14:9 “….He who has seen Me has seen the Father;….”.

 

When we invite Jesus into our hearts to be our own personal Lord and Savior, He comes to live within us through His Spirit.

 

John 14:16-18 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–”the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

 

There is no way a person could step inside another person so when Jesus went back to Heaven the Father sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers so that He could be with us always! God had a plan for man and Jesus died to redeem us from the bondage of sin, and to usher us into the family of God so we could experience the fullness of all that God had planned for us. If you have never received Jesus as your Savior and Lord and would like to, please pray this prayer and He will come into your life, save you and place you in the family of God.

 

Father, I come before you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge that I am a sinner by birth and by choice. I have hurt You, I have hurt myself and I have hurt others. I know that I cannot save myself, but You can. I ask You to forgive me for my sin and save me. Father, I believe that Jesus died for me, that You raised Him from the dead and He lives today. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I thank You for saving me. I receive You, Lord Jesus, into my heart to be my Savior and Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

 

We often think that once we have been “born again” or “saved” by having our sins forgiven that there is no further experience that we can have with the Lord. But that is not true; it is just a way for the enemy to try to keep us from experiencing all that God has for us.

 

John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

 

Jesus said when He ascended unto Heaven that His disciples should wait for the promise of the Father, or the Holy Spirit, to be given. They were to wait in Jerusalem.

 

Acts 1:4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;”

 

 

The Day of Pentecost is when the Holy Spirit initially came to reside within man. And that is recorded in Acts 2:1-4. But as we move on into the book of Acts we see that people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit after He was initially given, thus teaching us that the Holy Spirit is still being poured out on all flesh as we desire to receive Him. In fact, in Acts 2:16-21 it is described as a “last days” outpouring.

 

 

Acts 2:17-18 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.’

 

 

Jesus ascended back to Heaven and the the Holy Spirit came to take His place in the lives of believers. He is now the person of the God-head that is in the world convicting people of their need for Jesus as Savior, baptizing them for ministry, and is the “gift” of God that is for all believers.

 

 

Luke 11:13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

 

Acts 2:38, 39 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

 

 

The Holy Spirit is the indwelling Spirit of Jesus Christ! He walks and talks with us, gives us direction for life, leads us into the truth about Jesus and the life that He died to give us. He is a person, not an “it”, and He wants you to know Him and fellowship with Him.

 

 

If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you are a candidate for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If you would like to receive Him, just pray and ask the Father to baptize you in His precious Spirit and then receive by faith the infilling of His Spirit. He will give you a heavenly prayer language that you can use to fellowship with Him spirit to Spirit. You will also have a new strength and power within that will enable you to fight the good fight of faith, standing firm and strong in Him. The Holy Spirit is my best friend! He is real and longs to make Himself known to you.

 

 

Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

 

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

 

Father, I thank You for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I couldn’t live without You, precious Holy Spirit, and I thank You for being real to me. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may have received Jesus as Savior and Lord and have the Holy Spirit within them but would like a greater reality of His presence. I ask You to baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fill them to overflowing with His presence. Father, I pray that as they are baptized in the Holy Spirit that you will give them their heavenly prayer language just as you did on the Day of Pentecost so that they can fellowship with you spirit to Spirit. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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