Matthew 4:12, Mark 6:14-29

Thy Word:

Matthew 4:12 NLT – “When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee.”

Mark 6:14-29 NLT – “Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.” Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.”

When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.”

For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias [his wife]. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.

Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”

She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?”

Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!”

So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!” Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.”


My Thoughts:

hallway with window

We cannot go beyond this one verse in Matthew without giving credit to John the Baptist, and reading more from the book of Mark about what happened to him at the command of King Herod.

John was not only committed to his calling, he fulfilled his calling. His purpose was to announce the coming of the Savior and warn those who came to hear him to repent. He accomplished all he was asked to do fearlessly!

John had no authority in the Jewish political system but we learned in our earlier verses that not only did Jewish and non-Jewish come to the desert to hear him, Jewish leaders did as well. His message to repent was taken very seriously by everyone who heard him with the exception of the Jewish leaders.

We also learn from the verses in the book of Mark that King Herod had a great deal of respect for and belief in what John prophesied. Unfortunately for John, his wife didn’t have the same respect or awe for John and ultimately tricked Herod into killing him.

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(You can read more about John the Baptist in Mark 1:1-15, Luke 1:5-25, Luke 1:57-80, Luke 3:1-20, Luke 7:18-35, John 1:6-51, and John 3:22-36)

Jesus said this about John: “I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John.” Luke 7:28a NLT

With all of this goodness from the life of John, it is common for believers to be confused about his death. The “why” answer is as simple and as complicated as this: he died because of sin.

person s holds brown gift box

One of the greatest gifts we receive from God, whether we follow Him or not, is free will. Because of this gift we have the freedom to make all types of choices. As you know, a lot of people make good choices, but a lot of people make bad choices.

We want to assume when we become believers we will be surrounded by an invisible hedge of protection and nothing can/will harm us. But, we know from our own lives, the daily news, etc., this is not true. In fact, Jesus warns us:

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b NLT

I can testify to the truth of this because my family suffered abuse at the hand of my own father and his bad choices (my story shared in this blog in “The Power of Words”). However, I also believe that a lot of good has come from my own journey to Christ and from sharing my story with others.

Such is the case with John’s life story; he boldly and completely accomplished what God asked him to do:

“The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”” Matthew 3:3 NLT

group of people raising hands silhouette photography

The Jewish people had become complacent and turned away from God, but John’s message to repent brought many people back to God and opened their hearts to follow Jesus. In addition, John said:

“No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” John 3:27-30 NLT

John’s life story and his accomplishments live on in the Bible, but more importantly, he lives on through us when we mirror what he did. With our gift of free will we too can choose to prepare the way for Jesus and ultimately fulfill our calling when we do!


Closing Prayer:

Father God, thank you for walking us through this difficult lesson and reminding us that we are in control of our choices. This lesson is especially heartbreaking when we see bad choices being made or someone is hurt when bad choices are made. Lord, I pray that we commit today to be more like John and not only fearlessly lead the way for You, but fulfill our calling all the way through to the day You bring us home with You. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Matthew 4:2-11

Thy Word:

For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “

Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ”

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’ ”

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’ ”

Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.”

Matthew 4:2-11 NLT


My Thoughts:

beverage blank blank space brown

Today we see Jesus walking through 40 days and 40 nights of trials and temptations, and he fasted! Let that sink in: a month and ten days with no food.

The longest I have ever prayed and fasted was for a week, and during that time I allowed myself one meal a day in the evening. Those first few days, I had to really focus on what I was praying about because all I really wanted to think about was the food I would have later that day!

snow covered mountain during sunrise

Jesus was in the wilderness, he was hungry, weak, and on top of that he was being tempted by Satan. Remember in our last blog I talked about how Satan introduces partial or skewed truths to confuse us? Let’s look at what he says to tempt Jesus:

  1. You can turn these stones into bread and eat. Jesus could have done that but God had called him for a set time to fast and pray to prepare Him for what was coming.
  2. Jump off this cliff, you know the angels will protect you. Jesus could have commanded the angels to catch him, but He wasn’t there to use His power to impress Satan or test what God would do to protect Him before His appointed task.
  3. Everything you see can be yours if you kneel and worship me. Although Satan does have temporary control and free reign of the world, Jesus knew God was the only God he was commanded to worship.

Jesus countered every temptation from Satan with God’s truth from verses in Deuteronomy:

“He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3b NLT

“You must not test the Lord your God as you did when you complained at Massah.” Deuteronomy 6:16 NLT

“You must fear the Lord your God and serve him. When you take an oath, you must use only his name.” Deuteronomy 6:13 NLT

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My NIV study Bible explains what Satan was doing when he tempted Jesus this way, “The devil’s temptations focused on three crucial areas: (1) physical needs and desires, (2) possessions and power, (3) and pride. [Jesus] knows firsthand what we are experiencing, and he is willing and able to help us in our struggles.”

Remember these very important words; Jesus is willing and able to help us in any struggle. I love that!

The study notes continue with this information about the devil tempting Jesus with food: “Jesus was hungry and weak after fasting for 40 days, but he chose not to use his divine power to satisfy his natural desire for food. Food, hunger, and eating are good, but the timing was wrong. Jesus was in the desert to fast, not to eat. And because Jesus had given up the unlimited, independent use of his divine power in order to experience humanity fully, he wouldn’t use his power to change the stones to bread. We may also be tempted to satisfy a perfectly normal desire in a wrong way or at the wrong time.”

Many of our desires are good but God wants us to satisfy them in the right way and the right time. I doubt any of us will ever be called to fast for 40 days and nights, but if you are called to fast and pray for a day or more, be prepared for the devil to encourage you to break that fast.

Satan also tried to entice Jesus to test God and the loyalty of the angels by jumping from a high point and calling for the angels to catch Him. However, Jesus is not a magician to perform at Satan’s or anyone else’s whims! God wants us to live by faith not by magic!

The last thing Satan did was try to seduce Jesus’ pride by offering him power and material things, at which point Jesus reminds Satan that we are to worship only God.

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Caution: You better know and be especially prepared for this temptation because Satan does the same thing to us! Anything we worship before God will lead us into terrible sin and eventually to a very hard fall.

We must know what the Lord says when we face a temptation so we can recite verses from memory, or locate His truths in the Bible to help us fight them. I have heard some say, “I can’t memorize verses because it’s too hard.” Hmmm, don’t we sing along with songs on the radio? Yes, we do! The devil says you can’t memorize God’s Word, but this is proof you can!

Also, the devil will use any lie he can to confuse us, including the partial use of scripture or a skewed version of scripture. That is why it is so important to know the word of God in order to fight this particular lie.


A common example is when people say that the Bible says money is the root of all kinds of evil. That is absolutely NOT what the word of God says! This is what scripture says:

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10 NLT

Money isn’t evil; it’s the love of money that gets us into trouble!

There have been cults that have used this partial truth about money as a means of keeping their followers in poverty. Had those followers known what the Bible really said, perhaps they would not have been so easily conned.

Here is the last truth that is my favorite: when we use the word of God to combat trials and temptations we are told “then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” The same will happen for us. At the very least call on the name of Jesus and that alone will send the devil away and give you strength to fight any temptation!


Closing Prayer:

Father God, thank You for this lesson that reminds us of the power of Your holy name and Your holy word. I pray that we all seek Your guidance before we jump into any temptation. Forgive me for where I have failed to do this, Lord. I confess that lately I have been feeling especially weak and vulnerable because of all the changes in my life, so I ask for a strong awareness of the presence of evil and the reminder that You are stronger. Teach me to know my weaknesses so well, I can stop and pray before I jump into the middle of those temptations. As difficult as it is for me to face (because I’m human and a sinner) I know because I follow You, I am held to a higher level of accountability. I ask for a strong reminder of this truth every moment of every day. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Matthew 4:1

Thy Word:

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.” Matthew 4:1 NLT


My Thoughts:

I don’t know about you but this one verse struck fear in my heart! Here is what is happening in the opening of today’s Word:

  • Jesus was led to a lonely place.
  • Jesus was in the wilderness.
  • Jesus was tempted.
  • Satan was there with Jesus.

I can almost hear ominous music, thunder, lightning, and the sound of creepy trees rattling, with fingerlike branches threatening to reach out to snatch or harm Jesus as he entered the wilderness.

city weather thunderstorm electricity

If this verse were a movie on TV I’d change the channel immediately!

But, wait just a minute!!!!!

Didn’t Jesus just leave one of the highest moments in His life in my last blog? He was baptized in obedience to God and then his Father demonstrated and vocally expressed his pleasure and joy? Yes! So why did this happen?

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

What we are about to see in this one verse and in the following verses in my next blog, is Jesus will be facing something you and I face every day: temptation.

We like to think when we become Christians we get a shield of protection around us that keeps us from troubles. But we live in a world that is filled with the same kind of people that lived during the time of Jesus. Those are people who have the same freedom of choice we do to say “yes” to temptations or “no.”

Most of us don’t usually walk into trouble or temptation willingly, however, if we aren’t paying attention we can cluelessly walk into temptation. Sadly, there are people who run into temptation thinking it will be fun or they will get a thrill. I think we are about to learn that there is nothing isolated, thrilling, or fun about temptation.

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However, in this one verse Jesus walked willingly, with intentional purpose, filled with the power of God, directly into a place where He knew there would be temptations. He did this to demonstrate the wiles of Satan and how the devil works to deceive us, especially when we are at our weakest. But the most important thing Jesus will be showing us is how to battle those temptations when they happen.

Today, we are going to look at some verses that will prepare us, in advance, for those temptations, and Jesus will give us even more as we walk through the wilderness with Him in my next blog.

A great place for us to start is to always be alert! Jesus wants us to stay focused, leaning on the Spirit that lives in us, when we face temptations of any kind. He says:

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT

brown and black lion on brown grass field

Temptation looks very much like the nightmare from above; it’s dark, it’s ugly, it separates us from those who love us, and it might even be so disguised, it sounds tempting at first, but it will harm us. In fact, Satan’s true desire is to cause temptations to kill and destroy us. Temptation is a challenge we will always face; it is not a “once and done” thing, so it’s critical that we stay alert.

We can ask ourselves some direct questions like “am I willing to tell someone I’m about to do this?” Or, “is what I’m about to do illegal, immoral, or unjust?” If you don’t want to tell someone or if it falls into one of the three categories, you better STOP before you pass temptation and land right in the middle of sin.

Do you know what is the most terrifying thing about temptation? It’s our choices, and make no mistake about it, our choices will have an impact on someone else.

When we knowingly or willfully jump right into the middle of temptation it becomes sin and that is when the real horror story starts. Some examples of giving in to temptation are:

  1. When we succumb to the effect of alcohol or drugs, then we lose control of ourselves and unthinkable things happen to us and/or others.
  2. When we give in to anger, it can quickly become rage and we may find ourselves searching for a weapon to inflict harm against property or life.
  3. We selfishly want something another person has and we do whatever it takes to obtain it, even if that means irreparably harming or killing someone.

These are just a few examples in the chamber of horrors that happen when we give in to temptation.

But Jesus gives us something to help us overcome temptation. Knowledge and tools to prepare us for battle: the Bible.

man holding bible

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”” John 16:33 NLT

Jesus walked into temptation to show us how crafty the devil is and how he speaks a little truth but not the whole truth, to confuse us. With authority, Jesus warns us that life will have trials and temptations, but he also tells us He has overcome the world, therefore we can too!

Let’s take one more look at today’s verse before we get scared or give up hope. There is one word I don’t want you to miss; that word is “led.” Jesus was led by the Spirit, meaning He was not alone with Satan, nor are we alone with our own temptations when we walk with Jesus! Here are a few of His promises:

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” Psalm 73:23 NIV

woman holding hands

This is so encouraging to me and I hope it is to you too. If you still have concerns you may not have what it takes to fight temptations, Jesus gives us the best news of all: for every temptation we face, God offers a way out.

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT

God WILL NOT ALLOW any temptation to be more than we can stand! Isn’t that amazing and encouraging? When we face temptation, remember those three words from God: “will not allow.”

Today we learned the hard news that in this life we will face temptations and trials.

However (that word we love!), we also learned these important truths:

  1. We are not alone
  2. We are to stay alert
  3. We have God’s victorious hand holding ours
  4. We will not face more than we can endure
  5. We will always have a way out

That, my precious friends, will turn what may look may like a potential horror story, into a story of victory!


Closing Prayer:

Father God, thank you that you are preparing us for the battles we face by revealing the truth to us; yes, we will face temptations, but You always provide us with a way out. Hallelujah and we praise You! Thank You for the best weapon You left us to fight temptations, which is Your Word, the Bible. Father I pray today that we go in Your strength knowing we have the power to say “no” to temptations because Your victorious hand holds ours. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.





Matthew 3:11-17

Thy Word:

“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”

But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

Matthew 3:11-17 NLT


My Thoughts:

There is s much to learn in today’s words so don’t run away too soon!

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Baptism: To start with, John wasn’t just baptizing anyone who showed up and asked they first had to make a commitment to change their lives from the inside out. That meant words alone weren’t going to save them, they had to believe it in their hearts. The Apostle Paul explained this clearly when he said:

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NLT

We also learned in a previous lesson these were people who were ready for a change, they saw the futility of their lives trying to live by the law alone, or by just trying to be good enough. But who defines the accuracy of “good enough?” Certainly not any man! God says this:

“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;” Romans 3:10 NIV

Their only option was to surrender their hearts to the good news of the coming Messiah and repent of their sins. With hearts committed to this truth, they stepped in the water to outwardly demonstrate their inward decision (commitment).

In case you weren’t sure, Baptism doesn’t give you salvation, however, it is your first public act to show others you are a new person in Christ. If you have refused baptism, ask yourself why? Maybe it’s because you are still putting more importance on what others think of you than your relationship with Christ? If you have been saved, but have refused baptism, I encourage you to take that first step of obedience. There is no better visual for washing away our sins than going under the water, then being raised to walk in the newness of life with Christ, than there is with baptism.

Jesus chose to be publicly baptized, not because he needed forgiveness from sins (He was sinless), but as an act of obedience to God. It was also his way of showing support for what John was doing, and it was His inauguration into public ministry. In addition, He wanted to identify with the people who had repented and returned to God.

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Jesus, the perfect man, accepted baptism in obedient service to His Father, and to also align himself with us! How awesome is that?

John was initially confused when Jesus asked to be baptized because:

  1. He knew Jesus was sin free,
  2. He knew Jesus was the Messiah, and
  3. He felt unworthy.

But Jesus helps John understand the wisdom of baptizing Him when he tells John “we must carry out all that God requires.”

That sweet truth should be all we need to motivate us to get baptized. If you have had shame, or embarrassment, or don’t want to be the center of attention (sadly, the older we get the more likely our feelings get in the way of our obedience!), let me boldly say, Satan is stealing a huge blessing from you! Don’t let that happen!

Are you chaff or wheat?

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There will come a day when God will “separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork.” Chaff is the hull or outer husk around wheat and once it was separated with that large pitch fork, it would be gathered and burned because it had no value. The wheat is the part of the plant that has value and is gathered and saved.

This description for separating wheat from chaff is often used as a picture of God’s judgment of believers (wheat) and non-believers (chaff).

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

Which am I? Will I be saved or will I be burned? Will I be used for nourishment, and help produce new wheat? Or will I just exist, producing nothing to increase the harvest, and eventually wither away and die? These questions are very compelling, aren’t they? I pray you ask them of yourself, just as I am doing.

Jesus loves us and we bring Him joy!

Finally, “After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

Beloved readers! God doesn’t just love Jesus, He loves us! Jesus wants to show us the same approval He received from God and His precious hand is extended for us to grasp firmly. He never tires of holding out His hand waiting for us to take it and say:

  1. Yes, to salvation
  2. Yes, to baptism

We see when Jesus committed to baptism that obedience led to receiving the Holy Spirit, and God’s pleasure and joy. I want that too, don’t you?

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Closing Prayer:

Father God, I am so grateful I said “yes” to your life saving salvation and obediently followed with baptism. Thank You for the gift of Your presence and guidance that followed my obedience, and may I continue to honor You by the harvest I produce. Lord, it’s been a difficult week and I know I have failed you in my weakness and I surrender my sins to you right now. I thank You for Your forgiveness. Father God, your eternal hope is my endless highway and I thank you for always being ahead of me. I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.




Matthew 3:4-10

Thy Word:

“John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

Matthew 3:4-10 NLT


My Thoughts:

As we read the physical description of John the Baptist, it’s a little tempting to think words like “homeless,” “hobo,” maybe even “a little crazy.” I can’t help but wonder would I give him more than a second glance? Would I determine the value of what he said based only on what my eyes could see? Or would I close my eyes and listen carefully to what he said with my heart?

questions answers signage

In spite of John’s radical looks, we see people came from all around the region to hear him and, most importantly, they believed what he said, they confessed their sins, and were baptized! They were hungry for a change! John was giving them something they weren’t receiving from their Jewish leaders: answers to questions, but most important, he was showing them how to receive forgiveness from their sins to gain peace.

These same people probably attended temple and made sacrifices as was required by law. But I believe they had grown weary of the constant condemnation of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They may have done their best to obey the laws but the laws changed frequently and it seemed the only thing they gained from the leaders was a sense of hopelessness and futility.

Their lives may have been filled with the best possessions, the finest foods, the most entertaining and elite of friends, but in spite of all of that, there was something missing. Although John didn’t fit into their genteel or elite society, he had answers and his messages made sense. What they heard from John was if they made sincere changes in their lives they would not only receive forgiveness, but they would be ready for what was coming: the Messiah, the King of kings!

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John shocked a lot of people when he spoke strong truth with outrageous bravery. He boldly told the highest Jewish officials not to rely on their heritage or status, their education or possessions, because none of that was going to save them from God’s wrath or condemnation! John told them in no uncertain terms, they too had to repent and prepare themselves for the coming Messiah.

But the officials were outraged! Who was this man that he would dare to speak to them in such a way? Their positions of authority, their possessions and wealth, was foundational to their own self-importance and no one was going to take that away from them!

These leaders were “surface people.” Everything looked and sounded good on the outside but there was an awful darkness on the inside of these Jewish leader’s hearts. They no longer worshipped the one true God, they worshipped themselves and what their positions afforded them.

I have a very difficult question for all of us today; have we become surface people too? Do we say the right “Christian-ese” words, dress and parade around in our finest clothing at church? Do we attend all the services and special events, only to sit down in the seat of judgment or self-importance when someone different comes into the church?

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Think very carefully about these questions as I share a story about a time I took a seat in the “judgment chair.” This is not a proud moment for me and God humbled me that day, and I’ve never been more ashamed or more grateful for His correction and forgiveness!

It was Easter Sunday and I was a regular church attender so I knew a lot of people. I was going to Bible studies to learn more about God every week, and I was also a regular tither and volunteer. I was dressed in my finest clothes that day because I was volunteering at the information booth and would be seen by a lot of people. I was serving with one of the oldest members of church; a man who was humble from the inside out. We were there to answer questions or provide material about the church to the people who were coming to service that weekend.

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Suddenly, a very young and beautiful girl came to the booth and I was completely shocked by her attire. It was so provocative and her heels so high, I wondered how anyone could walk in them! I was literally stunned and couldn’t move or speak, but my mind was in high gear as I began to rapidly judge everything about her. I didn’t just sit in the judgment seat, I self-righteously plopped into it!

My co-volunteer saw her and exclaimed joy as he quickly crossed the booth to greet her. He grasped her hand and said, “I’m so happy to see you! You look beautiful!”

grayscale portrait photo of shocked woman

What???? (Praise God that word of shock and outrage stayed inside my head and didn’t escape my lips!)

Do you know what that child said back to him—because she truly was not much more than a child—she glowingly said, “I wore my very best for Jesus today.” Then squeezing my friend’s hand she turned and walked into the sanctuary with her shoulders held high, to sing and worship her King.

I stood there in silence and watched her disappear in the dark of the sanctuary and that self-righteous attitude in my heart began to crumble, because even I could see the purest sincerity of her heart.

woman in maroon shirt with black chain on her body

Tears began to slide down my face, and my wise friend put his hand on my shoulder and said, “She was rescued a few weeks ago from a sex trafficking ring. Her parents sold her when she was just a small child and she’s been sexually abused for far too many years by some of the richest men in Texas, and from around the world. Because she is so young and beautiful she was sold often.” He paused to let the horror of those words sink into my heart and mind.

Continuing he said, “Yes, everything she is wearing is a reflection of who she was, but today she chose the very best in her closet to worship her rescuer, Jesus Christ. I know many will not approve of her outward appearance today, and we have a woman from the church working with her to make some outward changes, but I can assure you her heart is as pure as the newly fallen snow.”

portrait old person sad

Can I tell you I have never been so ashamed of myself? Even as I type these words right now tears are flowing once again down my face. I will never forget that life changing moment and that Easter Sunday I sat in the sanctuary and wept for my sin of judgment and pride, because for a few moments that Sunday my heart looked a lot like those Pharisees and Sadducees, but Jesus saw and heard my prayer of regret and He forgave me.

It’s not what we have, it’s not our genealogy, nor is it the finest connections that will prepare us for heaven. It’s not who we were or what we did, or what may have happened to us, it is simply the status of our heart, surrendered to Jesus, and the forgiveness we have received from Him that saves us.

How is your heart? Are you prepared for the return of Jesus Christ?


Closing Prayer:

Father God, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!” (Psalm 32:1-3,5,10-11 NLT) In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.


Matthew 3:1-3

Thy Word:

“In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. ” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭3:1-3‬ NLT

From the prophet Isaiah:
“Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!” Isaiah‬ ‭40:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬


My Thoughts: Today’s notes are a little longer than normal, but it’s all important so please stick with me!

The notes of my Bible tell me that almost 30 years have passed since Joseph was told in dreams (at the end of chapter two) that it was safe for his family to return to their homeland.

adult black and white charity close up

But suddenly at the beginning of chapter three, we change characters and immediately see John the Baptist burst onto the scene with one main message: Repent!

Note: John the Baptist (JTB) was a relative of Jesus and was specifically sent by God to make a way for Jesus. You can read more about JTB in Mark 1:1-8 and in the gospel of Luke. JTB is not to be confused with John, one of the twelve disciples.

red stop signage under clear blue sky

Repent is a word we don’t hear much today—unless we are in a Bible believing, Christ following church or reading our Bibles. Unfortunately, some churches either teach a very “watered” down version of repentance or they do not even discuss it.

Not only that, our sinful nature and the world encourages us to blame someone else for things we have done wrong. We sometimes believe mental illness causes us to sin or make bad choices.

However, I believe it is not nearly as complicated as we try to make it. I believe we sometimes just make bad choices and when we do, there will be consequences, meaning we will have to clean up the mess we made. Cleaning up the mess does NOT mean we are to blame someone else or use mental illness as an excuse.

(Please understand, I am not saying mental illness isn’t real or shouldn’t be addressed. I’m saying pretending we have a mental health condition to excuse a sin, is wrong and usually leads to more sin. Or worse, if we are aware we have a mental condition but refuse to get help for it, there could be a selfish motive involved. Selfish motives, even when mental illness is real, usually lead to more sin.)

silhouette of boy running in body of water during sunset

What does it mean to repent? It means turning away from our sins. It means making an about face, a 180 degree turn, to get far away from those sins. It might even mean to run as fast as possible from a bad situation and stay away for awhile!

Someone I love once made a decision to literally leave the state and go far away in order to separate himself from a very destructive and addictive lifestyle. Most importantly, his departure separated him from his set of “friends” who encouraged his addiction. He went where he knew no one, and where he had to start all over again with everything. However, that choice caused a renewal of strength and character in his soul from the inside out. Eventually he acquired a new set of friends who weren’t involved in addictions, he surrendered his heart to Jesus, met a godly woman whom he married, and he decisively overcame that destructive lifestyle and addiction. This is a perfect example of choosing and turning (running!) away from sin!

We don’t like to hear it, but sin is wrapped in self-centeredness, it’s all about making decisions to please ourselves above God or any other person. This is what it looks like:

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 NLT

A person who repents stops rebelling against God and his fellow man, and instead follows the ways of God. When we choose to turn from our sins, and follow Jesus this is what we produce and others see in our life:

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” Galatians 5:22-24 NLT

black claw hammer on brown wooden plank

Pretty clear, right? I love the last part of these verses that tell us we are to nail those sins on the cross and leave them there. I don’t know about you, but I like clear direction(s) for how to do things and there is no misunderstanding in these verses about how we are to live or not live. It doesn’t mean we won’t slip up, but when we do, we TURN from the sin and in some cases we might have to run from it!

Here is another important key to help us make right choices: have accountability partners.

Who or what is an accountability partner? A Bible believing, Christ following church, along with people who will come alongside of us and speak Biblical truth with love and grace.

eight person huddling

Also, staying close to God means we understand churches don’t provide salvation, Jesus does, but a good Bible believing, Christ following church will help us get to salvation and provide guidance to continue to make right choices and show us how to repent when we make wrong choices.

woman in black long sleeved shirt

CAUTION: If you know you need to apologize for a wrong done to someone else, or for bad behavior, and the word “but” is included anywhere in that apology, you just landed back into the “blame-game” sin. When the word “but” is in an apology, it’s simply you trying to justify your bad behavior! So be very careful because if blame is a habit you have formed in your life, you will have to be very intentional about breaking that bad habit/sin.

sunset hands love woman

Finally, here’s the real deal: Jesus is calling you and the first step? It’s to repent.


Closing Prayer: Father God, thank you for this hard lesson today because we know that when we repent of our sins, it allows You to produce far better qualities in our life. I truly want to be the kind of woman who follows hard after You more than I want to satisfy my own personal desires or sins! Bury these truths in my heart today as I go about my day. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

First Steps:

Maybe you find yourself in a place today where you want to surrender your heart to Jesus? Some people want to “wow” us with their theological knowledge and make things complicated, but that is not the message Jesus wanted us to hear or share. I love how the late Billy Graham just told it like it was when he used to travel and preach:

  • We are separated from God because of our sins.
  • Jesus filled that gap of separation by dying on the cross for us as the last and final blood sacrifice.
  • Jesus rose from the grave in three days, and is now with God in Heaven.
  • Jesus intercedes for us when we accept and believe in Him as our savior
  • We receive all the blessings available to us at the time we say “yes” to Jesus, including forgiveness of our sins (yes, ALL of our sins!).
  • And when we leave this world, we will go to heaven and have everlasting life.

If you believe these truths, then please say this simple prayer, also from Billy Graham:

“Dear God,

I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died
for my sin and that you raised Him to life.
I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,
from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.

I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer from your heart, praise God, you now have eternal life with Jesus! We are related! The next step is to get involved with other believers so you can grow in your relationship with God, and start that process of repenting. Hallelujah!








Matthew 2:19-23

Thy Word:

‘When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”

So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”’ Matthew 2:19-23 NLT


My Thoughts:

man adult sleeping asleep

In these five verses twice Joseph again receives guidance from God in his dreams. From the moment God reveals the news to Joseph about Jesus, God communicated to him via his dreams. What I find to be the most important about this is that Joseph listened carefully.

I can’t help but wonder why I have never taken a closer look at Joseph, Lord? As I have been reading about him he has become so much more important to me! In fact, I find that I want to “paint” a picture of this man to have a much more clear view of him. As I look back through the verses we have read so far, this is what I have learned about this man:

  1. Joseph was a righteous man and a man of integrity.
  2. Joseph was a carpenter which is not a quiet trade even in our world today! Perhaps the silence of his slumber was  the time God knew Joseph would truly hear His voice?
  3. Joseph was a descendant of King David; he was from a royal family line, as was Mary.
  4. Joseph was sensitive to God’s guidance and trusted the will of God no matter what the consequences or the difficulty.

sunset love lake resort

My study Bible notes get specific about Joseph’s character, and I believe it was why he was chosen to raise the Son of God. Let me share what the notes say about Joseph:

  1. God honors integrity.
  2. Social position is of little importance when God chooses to use us.
  3. Being obedient to the guidance we receive from God leads to more guidance from God.
  4. Feelings are not accurate measures of the rightness or wrongness of an action; faith is the only reliable measure.

Until the day Joseph died, his primary goal was to lead, protect, and care for his family according to the will and guidance of God.

It seems to me that some of the men in our world are sorely missing these honorable traits today. They lead according to their personal desires and not for the greater good of their family. This breaks my heart, not only for the blessings they miss, but for the destruction and humiliation they lay on their family. How much better would our world be if the family was led by righteous men of integrity, like Joseph?

mountains nature arrow guide

The prophet Micah tells us the Messiah would come from humble beginnings: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” Micah 5:2 NLT

The prophet Isaiah confirms Jesus comes from the line of David: “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot–yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.” Isaiah 11:1 NLT (Many scholars believe the Hebrew word for branch in this verse is similar to the word Nazarene.)

Joseph, a humble man of integrity, leads his family according to the will of God, perhaps with very little understanding of the greater story surrounding the future of Jesus and God’s plan for his magnificent sacrifice…, to die for us. Joseph simply trusted God and loved his family well.

I will end my thoughts today with a bold statement: I think we can say with confidence that we not only know a lot more about this man, but Joseph is a great example for men to model, and for women to seek as a mate.


Closing Prayer:

Father God, today we see a powerful picture of a man who honored you with his life. Sadly, when we look at the men and women in our world today we see many people who are taught none of these qualities, but instead are taught to please themselves first. I am not without guilt and I cry out to you for mercy in my life and for the lives of our “branch.” I ask for your forgiveness for how we parented wrongly, Lord. I am so blessed to be married to a man who looks and acts a lot like Joseph, and I thank you, Father for the gift of this man in my life who mirrors those humble and honorable traits of Joseph.

Sadly, in spite of having character traits that mirror Joseph they seem to have little importance to our branch because of our sin of complacency as parents and the strong teachings of the world. Father I pray today that as parents we ‘stop, drop, and pray’ and that our heartfelt cries encourage movement in our branch to turn from our willful ways so that we honor and follow You. I pray we land on the path that mirrors this humble man and woman, Joseph and Mary. I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

Matthew 2:13-18

Thy Word:

‘After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

“A cry was heard in Ramah— weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.”’ Matthew 2:13-18 NLT


My Thoughts:

black and gray angel statue decor

An angel appears again to Joseph in a dream and brings alarming news: Herod is going to attempt to kill his child! Joseph doesn’t wait until morning or until it’s convenient, because he is told he must leave immediately!

Can you imagine being woken in the middle of the night by your husband telling you, “Get up, we are going to Egypt now?” This was not a hop in the car and go situation, this was a grab the baby, what we need to eat and camp on the road, and go! Most likely their departure was done in silence in the dark, to get out as speedily as possible so no one would know that they were leaving or where they were going.

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

What would you do?

When Herod realized the wise men left without telling him who and where this King was, he went crazy! Hundreds of years prior to the birth of Christ, the prophet Jeremiah warned the Jewish people brutality would strike them and their children would be killed (Jeremiah 31:15). As prophesied, Herod brutally kills all Jewish males two and under, in Bethlehem and all the surrounding towns, assuming he would surely kill the predicted coming King.

What would you do?

Would husband’s today take a dream like Joseph had seriously? Would wives or a Mother think their man had lost his mind or would they move quickly to do as he said?

person holding their hands on brown wooden table

For me to do as my husband asked it would all hinge on one thing: is my husband righteous? In other words, is he, like Joseph, listening to the Lord, is he praying, does he love our family enough to consider our safety and provision above his own selfish desires?

In a way, their poverty would have been to their benefit, in other words, they probably did not have much to pack in order to leave quickly. On the flip side, they had been given three very expensive ‘baby shower’ gifts from the Magi. One of those items was the gift of gold and I have a feeling it helped finance that immediate departure and helped them live discreetly in Egypt until the Lord said it was safe to return.

One of my most favorite verses is in the book of Romans and it sums up the mighty faith that Joseph and Mary displayed:

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Romans‬ ‭11:33‬ NIV

alone autumn mood forest cold countryside

Jospeh and Mary had been deeply and richly blessed by God from the moment they surrendered to His will concerning the birth of Jesus. They didn’t know what was going to happen (God’s judgments are unsearchable), they didn’t know where they were going (God’s paths are untraceable), but they knew God was in front of them because they saw the evidence of God before them in everything they did.

Would we be willing to follow the will of God as Mary and Joseph did, just based on our faith and trust, even when we didn’t know all the details?

I can’t help but wonder if I would?

What would you do?

Would any of us have enough faith and trust in God, and our spouse, to walk away from our family, home, and possessions based on a dream? My answer: I would because my husband and I walk with the Lord and I know he prays about big decisions or changes in our life.

If you want to have a better relationship with the Lord or a spouse, would you please pray about each area that is lacking your faith? If you still need help, speak to a Bible believing, Jesus following pastor or friend, or get connected with a Christian counselor that will provide Godly truth and advice.

belief bible book business


Closing Prayer:

Father God, this is a hard lesson today! I want to believe that my answer would be “yes” because I am married to a righteous man. But when I consider the faith and trust required to follow Your will in a situation like this, I’m not sure. I can’t help but wonder if my practicality would get in the way of…, well, everything! Father, I ask for wisdom to know, and ears to hear Your voice and Your calling, but most of all, I ask for obedience to trust and follow You and the man I love. May I always remember, I have seen the evidence of You before me, and the way my husband cares and considers me in all of his decisions on the path we are currently walking together. I ask daily for Your wisdom and discernment, in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Matthew 2:1-12

Thy Word:

“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.”

Matthew 2:1-12 NLT


My Thoughts:

We learn more important facts in today’s reading surrounding the birth of Jesus:

  1. Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem for a census from their hometown of Nazareth. (Details in Luke 2:1-6)
  2. Herod was the reigning king and he was a jealous and ruthless tyrant. He was so envious of his position as king, he killed several of his own children to prevent their future rule, and his intention was to also kill Jesus.
  3. When we learned that King Herod was worried about the birth of the coming Messiah, we also see these words: “as was everyone in Jerusalem.” The birth of Jesus caused an eruption of emotions from Jewish leaders and the Jewish people too. For those who were dedicated to God His birth was a comfort and a reason for hope. For those who were more focused on themselves and their position in the community, they became fearful and disturbed. Even today Jesus elicits these same high and low emotions from people.
  4. The Magi were following a star, but what they were really following were the recorded words of the prophets Jeremiah and Micah who predicted the coming Messiah. You can read those words in Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Micah 5:2-5 (in the Old Testament). These recorded words are some of the predictions that point to Jesus as the coming Messiah.
  5. The Magi left the king and followed the star to Jesus. There they presented Him with gifts and treated this humble family like royalty, completely ignoring the obvious that Joseph and Mary were poor and the baby was born and residing (at that time) in a manger with livestock.
  6. The Magi’s obedient action to worship Jesus (rightfully!) as King and bring gifts fitting for a king, resulted in a special blessing; a dream of protection, warning them to go a different direction and not back to King Herod.

Our take away from today’s reading:

  1. God can and will speak to us in our dreams. This does not include nonsensical dreams or ones that attempt to entice us to commit illegal, immoral, or unjust behavior. Nor is it festering dreams about our worries. What we see is God using dreams to guide and/or comfort us, as He did with Joseph and the Magi.
  2. Making the decision to follow Jesus does not give us automatic protection from harm, or the ability to get everything we ever wanted. Jesus is not our personal magic genie to answer every whim or request we have (thank goodness!). He is, however, our Holy King and He does supply our needs, but not necessarily our wants. God hears our prayers and the prayers of others, but He alone knows what will bring about the best outcome for everyone concerned because He sees all and He knows all. God’s will is perfect; therefore His answer to our prayers is perfect.
  3. Making the decision to follow Jesus can make us unpopular with those who have chosen a “free for all” lifestyle, and heartbreakingly, that can include persecution from those who don’t believe, including our own non-believing family members. 💔
  4. Don’t use only what you can see with your eyes to make obedient decisions. Had the Magi considered just the poverty and the manger, they would have missed the blessing of worshipping the Messiah, and God speaking to them in their dreams to avert a dangerous situation. When you pray ask for God to allow you to see everything, not just the obvious.
  5. God may ask you to gift someone with something that may or may not make sense to you at the time. In fact, you may never know the outcome of your gift. But your obedience to do as you know God has called, will bless you.

The more you know about Jesus and His character, and what is said in the Bible, the easier it becomes to be wise and obedient.


Closing Prayer:

Father God, thank you for the truth and for what we learned in your lesson today. Thank You for leaving us the Bible that is rich with teachings and blessings. Father I ask that You open the eyes of all of our hearts that we may see and follow You according to Your perfect will, and not our own selfish will. We ask this in the name of the Messiah Jesus, who is our King. Amen.




Matthew 1:18-25

Thy Word:

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

‘This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.’ Matthew 1:18-25 NLT


My Thoughts:

nativity scene christmas decor

Here we are in the hot months of summer, and in eight verses we have the miraculous story of Christmas! We learn some key things in these verses:

  1. Mary was a virgin yet she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. She trusted the Lord with the calling on her life.
  2. Mary was engaged to Joseph and he was a righteous man. (The definition of righteous is acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin; morally right or justifiable; a righteous decision arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality; righteous indignation; genuine, excellent.) We see Joseph cared enough about Mary to break the engagement quietly and protectively.
  3. The Lord saw Joseph’s confusion, but knowing he was a righteous man God sent an angel to Joseph to tell him about the birth of the coming Messiah and encouraged him to marry his bride as intended.
  4. Jospeh was humble and obedient, taking Mary as his wife. He trusted the Lord with the calling on his life. He made an enormous sacrifice and commitment to God by not to having sexual relations with Mary until after the child was born.

Unlike today, a pregnancy before marriage was a very serious matter and could have resulted in Mary being shunned by her community. Worse, the local priest could have insisted on Mary being put to death.

Instead what we see is that God was before Mary and Joseph in every way clearing the path for His will to be accomplished. This young couple made that possible because they both trusted the Lord would do what He said He would do, even though they didn’t have a full understanding of what would happen for them.

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.’ Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

silhouette of man touching woman against sunset sky

When we fully trust in God, these verses show us that if God calls us, He will equip us. Has the Lord given you a call for something that you don’t understand, or something that you feel you are incapable of doing on your own? Then lean hard into God and trust He will prepare the path before you every step of the way, just like He did for Joseph and Mary.


Closing Prayer:

Father God thank you for the simplicity of this story but also for the rich truth’s that are included. I pray that we all strive to be righteous, listen carefully, then trust and follow the calling You have placed on our lives. I ask this in the Holy name of Jesus. Amen.