• We either trust in God, and in that case we neither trust in ourselves, nor in our fellow-men, nor in circumstances, nor in anything besides; or we DO trust in one or more of these, and in that case do NOT trust in God (George Mueller).
  • Sometimes God’s blessings are not in what He gives; but in what He takes away. He knows best, trust Him (Fritz Chery).
  • A Christian worldview is not just one’s personal faith expression, not just a theory.  It is an all-consuming way of life, applicable to all spheres of life (David S. Dockery) 
  • If we are always concerned with what people think about us, we will always be reluctant to tell them about Jesus. Perhaps the single most significant hindrance to Christian witness in the world today is our hunger for human approval (Marshall Segal).
  • It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see (Henry David Thoreau).
  • What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are (C.S. Lewis)

TEXT: Matthew 1:18  This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 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

The Christmas message is not just a December story, but has facts and experiences that have life lessons for our everyday life. Think of Joseph, a good man, who observed that the girl he was about to take in as a wife was expecting a child. His observation was right and he therefore attached meaning and that led to his choice of action. What could have happened if he ignored the angelic message that came in a dream? He most likely had felt betrayed because reasoning is focused thought that starts from perceptions and existing knowledge that one has. Reasoning begins with knowledge and ends with new knowledge that leads to action. Joseph’s story is a reminder that however credible the knowledge we have is, we human beings are very limited. He was about to act on the new knowledge that was very reasonable, yet it was wrong. The reality that is normally based on the deeper consciousness that underlies appearances can be very different from the reality from God’s perspective. Might there be actions that you are taking based on beliefs about fundamental aspects of reality that ground and influence your perceiving, thinking, knowing and doing?


God’s message should be the basis of thought and action – While asleep, unconscious, God’s message to Joseph gave him new knowledge that led to very different action than what he had planned. That may be what led Moses to say to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). To be on life’s journey without God’s presence is to take a bad risk.  Dry, mechanical religion can lead to people working so hard and so sure of doing what is right only to end up being told, ’I never knew you’ (Matthew 7:23).

There is no template on how God communicates, but the truth is that he communicates– To Joseph the message came while he slept, to Moses it was through the burning bush that was not getting consumed (Exodus 3). Listening, observing, inquiring, and being attentive are necessary rather than assuming that one knows.  Joseph knew the best action to take, yet he was very wrong when viewing it from God’s perspective.

What looks so bad may be the reverse side of God’ plan – The pain, frustration, and disappointment that seems so obvious may not be final.  Joseph had been selected to live with the awesomeness of being the earthly father of God’s son in addition to having his beloved mother Mary as his wife. Hard, tragic, heartbreaking disappointments should make us seek to seek shelter in the one who knows the way that you should take. Think of Jacob when he was sure of continued bad news. ‘And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.”’ (Genesis 42:36).  The truth was that not only were Jacob’s two sons, Joseph and Simeon alive, he was about to start a new phase of life that would result with him dining with Pharaoh at a time of famine.

As we experience the steadfast love and mercies of the Living God that Jeremiah said are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), there is need to keep in mind what Jesus taught his disciples. “This, then, is how you should pray. . .  May Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven”’ (Matthew 6:9-10 ). Matthew records three times when Joseph, in his sleep, had been given instructions on the move to take (Matthew 1:23; 2:15, 23).   Human beings created in God’s image and likeness long for prediction, certainty, and  an ability to participate in the desired future.  Observation of how others have acted and the desire to be ‘normal’ can make one ignore the divine instructions that come in different ways to different people. To allow the will of God to be done on earth, we have to refuse to change in order to fit our circumstances into what we think is acceptable. It is important to be alert of being out of tune by being used to God and taking His grace for granted. In the face of uncertainty, relax, rest and accept ‘In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves’ (Psalm 127:2). Though famine is not a good thing, God used it to fulfill what He had told Abraham. ‘Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there’ (Genesis 15:13). God can and does use material need and lack in our life to get us to do things we normally would never do. Practical acceptance of the authority and the will of God is obedience which is better than sacrifice. That includes submitting our will to God’s will and honoring God who holds in his hand our lives and all our ways (Daniel 5 23). When going through this unpredictable life, it is important to hold on to the voice of the Lord who knows the end from the beginning.  Awareness of God’s ‘unseen’ Hand in the events of our everyday lives is what makes us attentive to His instruction on the direction to take. Are you willing to give up your plans in obedience to God’s guidance?

‘Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. The sun might shine, or the clouds might lower: but nothing could appear to me as it had done the day before’ (Victor Frankenstein)