West End Assembly of God
Monday, December 22, 2014
Daily Devotional Guide
December 8-13, 2014
WEAG Devotions: MOVE-Moving Forward with Your Faith
MONDAY – December 8
Matthew 1: 24 – When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
In Joseph’s day men did not seek prestige; they sought a good reputation. So the decision to stand by Mary was not an easy choice. God had a plan, as He always does. When we trust and obey God, He unfolds His plan one day at a time. It always requires faith. Joseph would be Jesus’ adoptive father, which was a very important role. He would protect the infancy of God’s Son. His voice is never heard throughout the Christmas story. He appears for a short time on the pages of scripture then disappears. We know he was a carpenter—so he was probably a simple, practical man, certainly not wealthy. God uses ordinary people like you and me to accomplish extraordinary things when our hearts are fully yielded to Him. Aren’t you glad? This verse becomes the epitaph for dear, faithful Joseph—he did what the Lord commanded him. That’s a good commentary to leave behind when your life is over. Are you living in obedience to the Lord?
TUESDAY – December 9
Matthew 1:18 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
Though Mary and Joseph were engaged, there had been no physical union. Yet, here is pregnant Mary! How do you explain that dilemma? Scripture does not explain the turmoil it caused her parents, who most likely neither understood nor accepted her story. But the betrothal agreement had been signed, dowry gifts had been given, and friends and relatives knew of the couple’s engagement. The drama escalated. Imagine the heartache that Joseph felt. In time, the anxiety of the moment would be swallowed up in the joy of a birth; but how did Joseph cope for the rest of his life with this strange start to his marriage? We don’t know. Scripture is silent. He moves off the scene. We do know that God provides grace for every disappointment in life: when we board the flight for Hawaii and land in Alaska. God helps us pack away our expectations and adjust to a new way of life. “I didn’t expect this!” becomes “God’s grace is sufficient.” We have to consciously choose to turn away from bitterness and blame in order to embrace a new reality that may have been (or may not have been) God’s original plan. Whatever the case, life’s surprises must be met with God’s grace. It is available to you today.
WEDNESDAY – December 10
Matthew 1:19 – Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make Mary a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
Joseph wanted to shield Mary from public shame and he had decided to quietly divorce her. He may have concluded that she had committed adultery. Yet, Mary was a godly woman who would have never violated her purity. If she had been sexually assaulted, she would have told Joseph. Of course, her claim to be carrying the Messiah was another option—quite a stretch. Whatever the case, Joseph did not seem to blame Mary. He had the responsibility of upholding the Law (Deut. 22:23-24), but to dismiss her publicly was unthinkable. He could not condemn or justify her pregnancy. If he set her aside, he would be obedient to God’s Law but also give up the woman he loved. In the middle of heartache we feel bombarded with options. Whatever lives deep in the heart emerges: anger, fear, and frustration. We can take all the chaos to the Lord and find peace, wisdom, and strategies that help us find a way through the confusion. Do you have a dilemma on your hands? God has provision for you.
THURSDAY – December 11
Matthew 1:20 – But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Notice that the angel addressed Joseph as “son of David.” The Messiah would come from the lineage of David. Though Joseph was not Jesus physical father, by his marriage to Mary, he would give Jesus the true legal status because “he was of the house and lineage of David” (Luke 2:4). Finally, Joseph understood more about this miraculous event. God brought a bigger picture, connected the dots, and with it came great relief. Joseph didn’t let his confusion disrupt his obedience. He did what he knew he should do. Our physical DNA destines us for trouble. Even when you live faithfully before God, chances are you will get caught in the wake of someone else’s bad choices. When that happens, follow Joseph’s example. Do what God says, even if it doesn’t make sense. His word will guide you back out into the light. What a magnificent role Joseph played in the Christmas story! Though his words were not recorded, his actions were—and they always say more than words. What do your actions say about you?
FRIDAY – December 12
Matthew 1:21 – 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.
Joseph obeyed again (verse 25) and followed through in naming the son, Jesus. God made sure that everything in His plan was carried out to the minutest detail because the purity of Jesus had to be protected. The baby must doubtless be the Son of God, not the son of Joseph. Matthew wrote his first chapter with this reality in mind. Sin plagues mankind and there is no escape from its effect. Only Jesus has the power to cleanse our hearts from sin and enable us to enter into a dynamic relationship with the Father. We can live a holy life before God. Have you experienced the “saving” power of Jesus Christ in your life? Invite Him to “save you from your sins.”
SATURDAY – December 13
Psalm 40:7-8 – Then said I, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, thy Law is within my heart” (KJV).
Think of all the people in the Christmas narrative who said, “yes” to God. Mary: “Be it unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Joseph said “yes” by obeying the angel’s instructions. Jesus, Himself, said “yes” to God by coming to earth, being born as a human, and then going to the cross to obtain our salvation (Hebrews 10:7). Who says “yes” to God today? May we be known as His “yes” men and women—quick to obey, happy to oblige Him, thankful to participate in His remarkable Kingdom work. Are you saying, “Lord, I will serve You—anytime, anywhere, at any cost”? We don’t have to understand everything before we obey. God reserves the right to give us what we need to know, as we need to know it, and reveal the rest in due time. Mary and Joseph could not possibly have known the eternal things that would unfold from their obedience, but (thank God) they obeyed. May we, also, be known as obedient servants of God.
Sourced from “Why the Nativity?” by Dr. David Jeremiah