Character Traits of Joseph, Husband of Mary (Part 2)

After the birth of Jesus, Joseph again heeded God’s command and took the baby and Mary to Egypt. Hundreds of years earlier, Joseph, son of Jacob, had been sold into slavery and forcibly taken to Egypt. This young family’s freedom and safety would depend upon journeying to the land that once enslaved their nation. It makes you wonder what thoughts Mary and Joseph had as they made their escape. Could they possibly find refuge as Jews in a foreign land? Then, at the proper time, he once again obeyed God’s command to return his family to their homeland. Oh, that we could be so faithful to go where and when our Lord commands us.

During the time in Egypt and once they made a new home in Nazareth, Joseph raised his oldest son as would any good Jewish father. He taught him the family trade. Like his father, he became a carpenter. A carpenter takes ordinary wood and crafts useful tools and specialty items. God used ordinary matter to create all that is around us.

Joseph taught Jesus to be an observant Jewish young man. We see a result of his religious training when he remained behind at the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus was holding court, as it were, with the most learned of Jewish teachers. We are told that everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding. Yet, when his parents came, he obeyed them (the first commandment with a promise) and grew in wisdom and stature.

Some would say this is the last time Joseph is mentioned in the Bible. That’s not quite accurate, though. After he was grown, Jesus was referred to as “the carpenter’s son” and the “son of Joseph”. Clearly, the trust God placed in Joseph in raising the baby Jesus into a man was well-placed. In Joseph, we see a compassionate man who had pity on his betrothed. A man who heeded God’s commands and warnings. A man who lived out his beliefs and held strongly to his convictions. A self-controlled man sensitive to the needs of others. A man entrusted with a great responsibility, and who lived up to it even though it meant public ridicule. Kinda reminds you of his son, doesn’t it.

Next time – Cornelius.

Running The Race

One of the descriptions of a Christian in the New Testament is that of an athlete. The Apostle Paul uses this terminology often. We read in 2 Tim. 2:5: ”An athlete is not crowned unless he com­petes according to the rules.” Paul writing in 2 Tim 4:7 says that “I have finished the race.” In I Cor. 9:25-27 Paul further compares the life of a Christian to an athlete.

During the time of Paul the Greek Games (Olympics) were very prominent and many particip­ated or at least had an interest. Paul used words and phrases that talked about how an athlete pre­pares himself for his “sport.” Then he makes an application for the Christian.

To participate in the Greek games, one had to be a citizen of the city he lived in. Paul talked about “Christian Citizenship” in Phil. 3:20. The person would have pride in his city or country and would seek to bring honor to it. He would be willing to put in all the training so that he would be at a peak performance state when the games began.

So it is with the Christian. The participants in the Games were competing for a physical crown, but we, an imperishable or incorruptible crown. Paul wrote in I Cor. 9:25: “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperish­able.”

The athlete would put all he had into training and would not let anything hinder him in that area. The Christian must be the same. He or she must equip themselves with every thing the Lord has for us. Jesus said he came to give us “the abundant life.” We must keep our eyes on Jesus and ac­cording to Titus 2:12 “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, up­right, and godly lives in the present age.”

The Christian life is not a bed of roses, rather it is an on going life of commitment and steadfast­ness. In I Cor. 15:58 we read: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Let’s run with endurance the race set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus at all times (Heb. 12:1-2). If we will do that, concentrating on improving our spiritual life daily, we will draw nearer to Jesus! Being a Christian “athlete” will mean you are “growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus!” (2nd Peter 3:18)

 

What’s Your Song?

KevinHParr“Sing to the Lord a new song.”  There is some excitement in these words from Psalm 98.  How can we make these words come alive in our worship at Cherry Street in 2013?  Jesus told us that true worshippers will worship in Spirit and in truth, but sometimes we miss an aspect of truth when we come to worship with our ‘church mask’ on.  We may cover up our true spirit, our true self, because we are afraid to let people get too close.  We don’t want them to know about our sin or guilt, and maybe even hide our dreams for fear of what others will think of who we really are.

You had an argument with your parents, you’re angry with your siblings or a friend, you’re not doing so well in school, people pick on you, you’re insecure about your looks… the list goes on.  When we spend more time together in close quarters (think of church camp or a retreat you’ve been on), these things come to the surface.  We find that there’s healing in letting our walls down and letting Christ (and our Christian brothers and sisters) in.  As our ‘church mask’ falls away, we enter into worship in a new way, in Spirit and in truth.  We sing a new song to God (or maybe an old song with a renewed spirit).  Let’s learn to live in that spirit of worship!

Just for fun: If your life were a song, what would it be called?  Here are the names of the top 10 songs this week on Billboard’s top 100.  Not sure my life’s song is on this list (though #6 is pretty close… ha, just kidding!).  How ‘bout you?  Please comment!

  1. Locked Out of Heaven
  2. I Knew You Were Trouble
  3. Diamonds
  4. Ho Hey
  5. Beauty and a Beat
  6. Gangam Style
  7. Die Young
  8. One More Night
  9. Home
  10. Thrift Shop

Character Traits of Joseph, Husband of Mary (Part 1)

Our men’s class at Cherry Street has recently been studying various men of the of the Bible.  We just completed considering Joseph, the son of Jacob, the husband of Mary.  In reading Matt. 1:18-25, we can observe many of the wonderful character traits of the man entrusted to raise the child Jesus.

In Joseph, we see a man of strong moral and religious convictions.  When confronted with the news that his betrothed was pregnant, Joseph KNEW that he was not the father of the unborn child.  She had obviously sinned.  What would he do?  He weighed his choices.  He could do what most men in his position would do.  He could divorce her and expose her to public ridicule, possibly even death.  Or he could take her home to be his wife.  But this would be tantamount to admitting that he had participated with her in the sin.  That would bring dishonor both upon him and his father’s house.

After weighing these two options, his love for her was such that he decided to divorce her quietly, not wishing for her any public disgrace or punishment.  Compassion for those who are, as he supposed her to be, found in sin, is a trait that Jesus showed on many occasions.  How can we, whom he has showered with compassion, not honor his example by showing compassion on those He brings our way?

Yet, when an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, he obeyed God’s instructions.  He took her to be his wife, knowing full well that he would have people, even his family members and friends, whisper about his “transgression”.  The public humiliation that he wished to spare Mary, he would now share with her.  Obeying God no matter what it may cost us, our fortune, our reputation, even our very life, is  what we are called to do for Him who gave His all for us.

Next time, we’ll continue our look at some of Joseph’s character traits.

-Jeff Adams

A Word on Women…

In late summer some ladies of the church took on the challenge of beginning a Sunday School class FOR ladies, and Melanie Adams led off with these words from scripture: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (Titus 2:3-5)   For the next several weeks, we examined and dissected this scripture to see how it applied to each of us individually and also as a group.

Many issues that women face are addressed in these few verses and the scripture implies the necessity of community as women face everyday challenges.  It is my hope that though we approach each subject at times from different perspectives, that we can learn from these differences, become skillful at showing each other grace, and support each other through God’s word in our daily struggles.

Rebecca Parr, 

New Year’s Resolution

(This  was  used as  a  Lord’s Table Meditation this morning (1-1-2012) at Cherry Street Church of Christ in New Albany, IN)

Today is “New Year’s Day.” It is a day of “new things.” It is a day where we reflect on our lives, hopefully both physically and spiritually. It is a time when we are thinking, “How can I make my life better.”

It is a time when we make resolutions. This means I resolve to do this or that. Do we keep them. Not all the time, really not too well. I think that when we make them we really want to keep them because we see things in our lives that need to be changed for the better.

We try to tell our families that we will always be there for them, but we don’t live up tho that resolution either. We do not have to wait till New Year’s Day to make “resolutions.”

The contrast between us and God is that He ALWAYS keeps His promises, words and resolutions. Before the foundation of the world He knew that a Redeemer would be needed for mankind and as the Word says, “in the fullness of time God sent forth His Son…” to redeem us.

As we look at how God made a resolution in eternity past and kept HIS resolution and continues to be with us, let’s resolve today and every day to make the following resolution: “I’ll put Jesus first in my life.”

“In all that I say, in all that I do, throughout the world of toil and strife, By day and by night, through trust in His might, I’ll put Jesus first in my life.”