So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 4:16 (New Living Translation)
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 (New International Version)
So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
Hebrews 4:16 (The Message)
by Max Lucado
One can’t, at once, promote two reputations. Promote God’s and forget yours. Or promote yours and forget God’s. We must choose.
Joseph did. Matthew describes Jesus’s earthly father as a craftsman (Matt. 13:55). He lives in Nazareth: a single-camel map dot on the edge of boredom. Joseph never speaks in the New Testament. He does much. He sees an angel, marries a pregnant girl, and leads his family to Bethlehem and Egypt. He does much, but says nothing.
A small-town carpenter who never said a Scripture-worthy word. Is Joseph the right choice? Doesn’t God have better options? An eloquent priest from Jerusalem or a scholar from the Pharisees? Why Joseph? A major part of the answer lies in his reputation: he gives it up for Jesus. “Then Joseph [Mary’s] husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly” (Matt. 1:19).
Mary’s parents, by this point, have signed a contract and sealed it with a dowry. Mary belongs to Joseph; Joseph belongs to Mary. Legally and matrimonially bound.
Now what? His fiancée is pregnant, blemished, tainted … he is righteous, godly. On one hand, he has the law. On the other, he has his love. The law says, stone her. Love says, forgive her. Joseph is caught in the middle. But Joseph is a kind man. “Not wanting to disgrace her, [he] planned to send her away secretly” (v. 19 NASB).
A quiet divorce. How long would it stay quiet? Likely not long. But for a time, this was the solution.
Then comes the angel. “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’ ” (v. 20).
Mary’s growing belly gives no cause for concern, but reason to rejoice. “She carries the Son of God in her womb,” the angel announces. But who would believe it? Who would buy this tale? Envision Joseph being questioned by the city leaders.
“Joseph,” they say, “we understand that Mary is with child.”
“Is the child yours?”
He shakes his head.
“Do you know how she became pregnant?”
Gulp. A bead of sweat forms beneath Joseph’s beard. He faces a dilemma. He makes his decision. “Joseph … took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS” (Matt. 1:24–25).
Joseph tanked his reputation. He swapped his reputation for a pregnant fiancée and an illegitimate son and made the big decision of discipleship. He placed God’s plan ahead of his own.
Would you be willing to do the same? God grants us an uncommon life to the degree we surrender our common one. “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matt. 16:25 NLT). Would you forfeit your reputation to see Jesus born into your world?
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have
made the Lord their hope and confidence.
Jeremiah 17:7 (New Living Translation)
But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
Jeremiah 17:7 (New International Version)
But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
the woman who sticks with God.
Jeremiah 17:7 (The Message)
You don’t have to worry or be burdened by the things of this world. Give God your troubles and worries with confidence and He will give you His peace and freedom.
Teach us to make the most of our time,
so that we may grow in wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (New Living Translation)
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisd
Psalm 90:12 (New International Version)
Oh! Teach us to live well!
Teach us to live wisely and well!
Psalm 90:12 (The Message)
Realizing that life is short helps us use the little time we have more wisely and for eternal good. Take time to number your days by asking, “What do I want to see happen in my life today? What small step could I take toward that purpose today?”
Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well,
use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
Psalm 119:175 (The Message)
Let my soul live, and it shall praise You;
And let Your judgments help me.
Psalm 119:175 (New King James Version)
Let me live so I can praise you,
and may your regulations help me.
Psalm 119:175 (New Living Translation)
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
2 Corinthians 9:10 (New Living Translation)
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
2 Corinthians 9:10 (New International Version)
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way.
2 Corinthians 9:10 (The Message)
This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
Habakkuk 2:3 (New Living Translation)
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.
Habakkuk 2:3 (New International Version)
This vision-message is a witness
pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way. It will come right on time.
Habakkuk 2:3 (The Message)