Tag Archives: joseph and mary

A Love That Endures

When we think of the story of Joseph and Mary, it’s usually not at Valentine’s Day. They’ve got Christmas and that’s about all we give them. However, when I think of love stories in the Bible, theirs always comes to mind. Theirs wasn’t a fairy tale love, it was real. It showed that love endures hard times and difficult situations. We don’t know a lot about their story, but the parts that we do know show that their love survived what could have been a disastrous occasion.

Imagine being engaged to someone and then you seemingly found proof that they were cheating on you. What happens next? For most of us, we make a public scene and try as hard as we can to embarrass the other person because we want them to hurt as bad as we do. Joseph didn’t have that same attitude when he found out that Mary was pregnant. He knew it wasn’t his because they planned to be virgins until their wedding. Instead of blowing up and taking out his hurt on her, he let love lead the way.

In Matthew 1:19, we read, “Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.” In the Message Bible, one of the ways it describes love in I Corinthians 13 is, “Love doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others.” Joseph demonstrated this kind of love towards Mary. He didn’t act the way he could have acted because he truly loved her and acted out of love even when he was hurt.

A love that endures doesn’t fly off the handle when it thinks it’s been wronged. It follows what we read in I Corinthians 13. It acts selflessly and always look for the best in others. We shouldn’t be so quick to fly off the handle at those we love. We should be extending them the grace we expect. We can learn a lot from a young couple who had the biggest responsibility and pressures of any parents ever. They had a love that lasted because they understood how to act out of love when things got difficult. It’s a great example that we should follow.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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A Love That Endures

When we think of the story of Joseph and Mary, it’s usually not at Valentine’s Day. They’ve got Christmas and that’s about all we give them. However, when I think of love stories in the Bible, theirs always comes to mind. Theirs wasn’t a fairy tale love, it was real. It showed that love endures hard times and difficult situations. We don’t know a lot about their story, but the parts that we do know show that their love survived what could have been a disastrous occasion.

Imagine being engaged to someone and then you seemingly found proof that they were cheating on you. What happens next? For most of us, we make a public scene and try as hard as we can to embarrass the other person because we want them to hurt as bad as we do. Joseph didn’t have that same attitude when he found out that Mary was pregnant. He knew it wasn’t his because they planned to be virgins until their wedding. Instead of blowing up and taking out his hurt on her, he let love lead the way.

In Matthew 1:19, we read, “Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.” In the Message Bible, one of the ways it describes love in I Corinthians 13 is, “Love doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others.” Joseph demonstrated this kind of love towards Mary. He didn’t act the way he could have acted because he truly loved her and acted out of love even when he was hurt.

Of course we know that while he was trying to figure out how to take care of things with Mary an angel came to visit and explained things to him. Imagine the crow he would have had to eat if he had flown off the handle and went off on Mary. Think about the barriers that would have built up in their relationship. Mary would have had every right to not want to be with Joseph after that. She would have been able to say, “I told you so” for the rest of their lives. What kind of relationship would that have been?

A love that ensures doesn’t fly off the handle when it thinks it’s been wronged. It follows what we read in I Corinthians 13. It acts selflessly and always look for the best in others. We shouldn’t be so quick to fly off the handle at those we love. We should be extending them the grace we expect. We can learn a lot from a young couple who had the biggest responsibility and pressures of any parents ever. They had a love that lasted because they understood how to act out of love when things got difficult. It’s a great example that we should follow.

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Entertaining Unaware

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I don’t think the innkeeper ever gets enough credit at Christmas. Sure, we mention him in passing when reading Luke 2 for our plays, but no one ever really thinks about him. To me, he played a critical role in the birth of our Savior. He provided the setting for every nativity you’ve ever seen. Yet have you ever looked at a nativity and thought of him? I know the scene isn’t about him, but it wouldn’t look like that if it weren’t for him.

We know that Ceasar Augustus had called for a census. It’s not like the censuses we take today where government workers come to your house and ask you questions. Each family had to travel to the hometown of their ancestors. For Joseph, that was Bethlehem. It was an 80 mile trip that he and Mary had to walk or ride by donkey. Mary was obviously in her third trimester and I’m sure had to stop pretty often.

By the time the two of them arrived, the town was full. I’m sure they went to his family to try to stay with them. After having no luck with any of his family, they started going to the inns in the city, but quickly found out it was no better. Joseph must have been getting desperate. Mary could have been having contractions and he needed some place for his son to be born. As the sun set, he knew they were out of options. Maybe this particular innkeeper had compassion on them and offered shelter in the stable.

We really don’t know the details, but what we do know is that they ended up in his stable. This particular innkeeper thought differently than the others. With no room in the inn, he offered them the only other place he had. He wasn’t going to turn a weary pregnant woman away. I’m sure he had no idea that she was carrying his Messiah. I’m sure he didn’t know that his stable would become a sanctuary. We simply know that he offered what he had and it was more than enough to be the setting for the birth of the King of Kings.

It makes me wonder how many times I’ve not had time or room for people in my life. How many times have I been like the other innkeepers in Bethlehem? What if some of them were sent to me by God? I believe that God gives us daily opportunities to open up and let others into the inn of our lives, but too often we are busy and are full so we turn them away. I believe if we found even just a small space for them, we could change their world. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood – being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without even knowing it (AMP).” The innkeeper entertained the Son of God unaware evacuee he was open to helping others.

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God Is Looking For Nobody

When American Idol first came on TV, it was one of the most popular shows ever. People couldn’t get enough of it. Since that time several shows with the same premise have begun. The draw to reality shows like this is that it gives a nobody the chance to be somebody. It tells us that there’s a chance for each of us to be great, famous or known. It gives us a cut in the line to stardom, to bypass years of plugging away following the normal route. In essence, shows like that give each of us hope that we too will be discovered one day.

As I was reading Paul’s account of Abraham in Romans 4:17-18, it occurred to me that God only uses nobodies. When you look through the scripture and think of the great people of faith, they were nobodies. David was a shepherd minding his own business tending his father’s sheep when God chose him to be king. Abraham was a devoted husband who just wanted to give his wife a child. He was taking care of his possessions when God asked him to move. Mary and Joseph were just two young lovers trying to plan a wedding when God chose them to be the parents of Jesus.

Look at the disciples too. Most were ordinary fishermen, tax collectors and every day blue collar workers when Jesus gave the call to follow Him. Joseph was a teenager who ratted on his brothers one too many times when he was sold into slavery and dragged to a foreign land. He lived his life in obscurity until God chose to make him second in command of one of the greatest civilizations of all time. Moses was an abandoned child, who ran away from his adopted parents and was tending sheep in the desert when he had the burning bush experience.

The somebodies in the Bible all started out as nobodies. They didn’t follow the normal routes to greatness. They were just doing their normal every day routines when God stepped in. The difference between them and others was that they were willing to be obedient to the voice of God. David was willing to tend sheep as the king, Abraham was willing to leave his homeland with no questions asked, Mary and Joseph were willing to be ridiculed for having a child out of wedlock, the disciples were willing to leave everything behind to follow, Moses was willing to go home and face his past. Each person was willing to be obedient when it didn’t make sense.

That’s the difference in being a nobody and a somebody. Blind faith. God is still looking among the nobodies of this world to find somebody who will blindly obey. He’s looking for somebody to be great. He has not changed His methods. Blind obedience is still what He desires from you and me. Being willing to do whatever He asks even when it doesn’t make sense or defies logic is the trait He most admires. You and I have a choice when He comes our way. We have the choice to remain a nobody because we aren’t willing to do what He asks, or we have the choice to obey and be somebody great. What will your obedience look like today?

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