There have been many blessings in my life over the years. When I was little someone left money in my family's mail box. It was needed at the right time, with the exact amount we needed.
In Bible college I worked three jobs trying to pay the high cost of a private education. At the close of my junior year, I came up short. I had three days to find the money or all my work that semester would have been for nothing. On the final day I returned to the finance office after exhausting all my resources with nothing to show. I thought, 'Maybe I'm not meant to be in professional ministry, maybe God is trying to tell me to use my gifts in other ways.'
An anonymous donor had been keeping tabs on me. I was told someone called and asked what I was lacking. They donated the remaining $3,000.00. I was able to finish my semester. Ultimately I finished my undergraduate degree and went on to complete my graduate work in Communication. That gift motivated me to complete what I had started, if someone believed enough in me to invest, I was certain to show a return for their investment. As I worked, that gift and responsibility lay heavy on my mind.
I have had friends bless me with jobs, encouragement, and accountability. In my life I have seen God work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). I have been blessed with opportunities because of my character based in the teachings of Christ.
Jon and I were looking at scripture this week discussing this Sunday's sermon. We marveled at the way God orchestrated the birth of Jesus. He was from Nazareth, but born in Bethlehem. The prophecies foretold it, and yet I wonder who would have put those two together? Caesar demanded a census at the right moment.
Joseph was of the character that he followed the law, but filled with grace and mercy to take Mary (pregnant) as his wife. He believed and had the courage to raise the Son of God.
Joseph is often overlooked this time of year. As a new father and husband, I think about him. He was a carpenter by trade, but he had to move his family to Egypt for a time, marry a woman who was pregnant with someone else's child, find a place for the night with a pregnant (ready to pop) wife, and comfort his wife while shepherds asked to see the little one. What a unique and strong man he must have been, the perfect man for the job.
Rome had just transitioned from Republic to Empire, Israel was part of Rome but allowed to worship and practice their religion. They had a temple, the people were looking for God, and the religious leaders (thought they missed it) were holding the people accountable to the law.
The Roman Empire's advanced road system and economic trade provided the perfect setting for the gospel to reach beyond Israel. The timing was perfect and the opportunities were abundant. It reminds me of what Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:36)."
God works all things together for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). When I keep my eyes on God and his purpose, I am able to see the opportunities and blessings laid before me. In my work, I strive to be positive and move ahead completing my tasks without complaint. I'm not perfect, but I try. Because of a solid work ethic and a good reputation, I have been given recurring opportunities over the years. Past employers have asked me back, former customers return with more work, opportunities spring up at every turn.
I have not always been so diligent and know the difference between living as Christ and living for myself. When I have been selfish, I have burned bridges. I have been locked out of opportunities. I have seen the dark side of my bad choices.
Living in the light, with character, honor, mercy, courage, and as a disciple of Christ; I have seen the miracle in my life. The Christmas miracle is the culmination of Christ like choices in my life. It is the man I have become as a disciple.
This year I look at the life and choices of Joseph. May I be of the character to see and accept God's Christmas Miracles in my life.
May you have the courage to lead your family.
May you have the mercy and grace to see the blessings in dark moments.
May you be blessed with a Christmas Miracle.
In His service and yours,