December 19, 2021: Pastor Prep Notes

December 19 JESUS:

GOD’S GIFT OF FAITH!

Message: Jesus: God’s Gift of Faith for a trusting heart.

KEY SCRIPTURE:

the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. Luke 2:10


Bible Story:Matthew 1:18-25 God’s Gift of faith gives Joseph revelation truth.


Reflection:

Have you ever experienced the pain and heart ache that comes from trying to be faithful to God? I mean you seriously and honestly seek to be faithful to God, doing what you believe God is calling you to do and it hurts like hell?


I think that’s perhaps how Joseph may have felt. During their engagement his bride to be approaches him with the acknowledgement that she is pregnant. And if that isn’t problematic enough, her story is that it’s God’s baby. Crazy. Right?


The fact that Joseph didn’t want to create a scene, suggests to me he deeply loved and cared for Mary. But his decision to break the engagement also reveals that as much as he loved Mary, He wanted to be faithful to God.

I can remember a moment with one of my kids. We were told and convinced that Pokemon cards and the powers that the little characters represented would be an evil influence over our children. I can remember exercising my “authority” as dad, taking away the cards from my daughter. Her traumatic response assured me that these cards certainly had a power and influence over her that was not healthy.


Decades later I am the one who is traumatized by my act of “faithfulness”. I look back at this moment with personal embarrassment and shame. And by God’s grace I have since apologized and asked for forgiveness for the trauma i inflicted upon my daughter.


I wonder if Joseph had to do something similar with Mary? In the years that followed did he ever look back on his act of “faithfulness”. Did he ever ponder what life might have looked like if he had not received that night time revelation. Only God could show him that Mary’s pregnancy was truly of God. And He did. Seeking to be faithful, Josephs initial response was right, but wrong—God had a bigger plan than just pure obedience to laws of holiness.


It’s why we declare that, JESUS IS GOD’S GIFT OF FAITH FOR A TRUSTING HEART. May God’s revelation of the living breathing reality of Jesus always supersede our efforts to be “faithful” simply to the written Word. We are a new covenant people, we live by faith, not by sight. It’s why we need the revelatory work of the Spirit of Jesus in our lives, God’s gift of faith.

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