Thursday, December 6, 2018

But I Deserve It!

How do you respond when you don't get what you have earned? Do you get angry? Do you hide and sulk? Do you get revenge? Our own sense of what we deserve is strong and often drives us to unexpected places when violated.

We don't know much about Joseph. Based on what we do know, we can draw some conclusions and paint a picture of the man we think he might have been.

Joseph was an unassuming carpenter in a sleepy town. He likely had no aspirations of ever leaving. Joseph eschewed the spotlight, he probably preferred a simple night at home sitting around the fire with friends and family. He was looking forward to marriage and a quiet life with his bride.

He worked hard. He had earned a quiet life. He deserved it.


Instead, his fiancé got pregnant. She claimed it was a miracle. He wasn't so sure until an angel visited Him. Her child was going to be the Messiah. He was going to save the world from their sins (Matthew 1:18-23). This was Joseph's new normal.

His wife would never really be his. She would always be somewhat devoted to her firstborn. His oldest son would be the subject of gossips and whispers. His own children (he likely wondered if he would ever have any) would always have a stigma attached to them because of their brother. In Joseph's mind, this was not what he had earned. It was not what he deserved.

What would you do?

"When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife." (Matthew 1:24)

Joseph obeyed. 
Joseph obeyed immediately.

You may not have been visited by an angel last night, but you likely have an area of your life which requires a higher level of obedience to God. Perhaps you have delayed because of the possible consequences. Perhaps you believe your time and energy is better spent on your own agenda.

Obedience worked out okay for Joseph. It will work out okay for you also. Give it a try!

Monday, December 3, 2018

13 Leftovers From A Sermon on Gratitude

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
(LUKE 1:46-49)

13 NUGGETS ABOUT GRATITUDE

1. Gratitude is the result of who you are, not what happens to you.

2. Gratitude is an internal commitment to not be controlled by external circumstances.

3. What happens TO me can never change what has been done FOR me.

4. Gratitude focuses on God's provision instead of my problems.

5. We all have problems, and it is good to tell God about our problems; but they should never be our primary focus.

6. God's provisions far outnumber your problems.

7. Gratitude grows from past deliverance not present darkness.

8. Mercy is only needed by those who have made mistakes.

9. Mercy is something we don't always see, even though it is there.
We don't always like to give it, even though we should.
We rarely think we need it, even though we all do.

10. God is rich in mercy: He has more to give than you have mistakes to make.

11. Grow your gratitude by praying for a positive perspective.

12. Become more grateful by setting aside time to practice gratitude.

13. Multiply your gratitude by sharing it with others.