I asked the children and other fellowship members, “When you think of your father, what are some of the qualities you think of?” Strength, gentleness, humility, wisdom, hard-working, merciful, giving, stern, loving
This father’s day, I encourage them to take the time to appreciate their fathers for who they are and what they has done for their children.
But, as we are remembering our earthly father, we should also take the time to remember our Heavenly Father as well. You know, all of the good qualities we listed earlier as the things we think of when we think of our earthly father, our Heavenly Father is full of those qualities in even a greater measure. Take the time to appreciate Him as well. Take the time to thank Him for who He is and what He has done in your life.
As I was pondering the idea of giving my first Father’s Day sermon, I came up with many ideas, but nothing that was really gelling in my mind. Of course, there was always the back-up Father’s day sermon about the prodigal son and how our Heavenly Father is waiting for us to come home. But it didn’t seem “right.”
Then I began to think of the many mighty fathers in the Bible. There were Abraham, Jacob and David. And then there was Joseph. The Lord reminded me of Joseph. We often overlook Joseph. We all know that Jesus’ real father is God. He was not born of natural means, but of the Holy Spirit. But, although he was not Jesus’ biological father, he was Jesus’ adopted father. He was the man who raised Jesus from birth to childhood to manhood.
We often focus on Mary. We stand in awe of the teen-ager who bravely said to the angel in obedience, “Let it be unto me according to your word.” We admire the young woman who gave birth to the Lord in lowly stable. We envy the young mother who watched Jesus grow, humbly and quietly noting the works of the Lord.
But, what about Joseph? When God chose Mary to be the surrogate mother of Jesus, He also chose Joseph to be the adoptive father of Jesus. A father plays a key role in the upbringing of a child. We have often heard the saying, “Like father, like son.” And God chose Joseph to play that role in Jesus’ life. Why? What was special about Joseph? Why did God choose Joseph?
We all want to be used of God. We all want to be chosen of God. I think by exploring the lives of those God has chosen in the past for His work and His purpose, we can gain an understanding of the qualities that please God.
So, today, on this Father’s Day, lets take a look at the life of Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. Let us examine what the Lord found pleasing in his life. And then let’s resolve to increase those same qualities in us.
Most of us know the story of Jesus’ birth. I think I have recited it many times. Approximately 2000 years ago in Galilee there was a young virgin named Mary who was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. An Angel appeared to Mary and told her that God had chosen her to be the mother of Jesus, the Savior. Now Mary wasn’t even married to Joseph at this time, so she asked the Angel how this was possible, she was a virgin. And the angel told her that it wouldn’t be her and Joseph’s child, but rather it would be God’s child. Father God put Jesus in Mary’s womb. Mary was kind of like a surrogate mother. She carried Baby Jesus, but He really was not her and Joseph’s biological child. Jesus was a miracle child, His father was God.
At first when Joseph found out the Mary was pregnant, he was going to leave Mary because he thought she was unfaithful. But, the Bible says that Joseph was a just man. He did not want any harm to come to Mary, so he was contemplating leaving her quietly. But then an Angel appeared to Joseph and told him that the child was God’s and that Joseph should marry Mary. Joseph obeyed. Mary and Joseph were wed.
Soon after they were married, a decree was issued by the ruler of the area, that a census was going to be taken. But to take the census, each person was required to return to their home town. So, Mary and Joseph set out on a journey to the town of Bethlehem, from where Joseph’s family originally was. When they arrived in Bethlehem, because of the census and all of the people coming, there was no room in the inn, so Mary and Joseph were allowed to stay in the stable. And that is where Jesus was born. In a smelly stable with cows and donkeys and sheep looking on.
The Bible does not tell us much about Joseph. It tells us that Joseph was a carpenter. It tells us that He was a just man. It tells us that God spoke to Him through dreams.
But, what was special about Joseph? Why did God choose Joseph?
We studied the following characteristics of Joseph:
1) Joseph was just.
2) Joseph was merciful
3) Jospeh trusted God
4) Joseph obeyed God
5) Joseph was courageous.
Afterwards we prayed for the various needs. Seema came forward for prayer for something else, and I noticed the wound/blister on her neck was much much better. It was no longer red, and had shrunk considerably. We prayed that the Lord would continue the healing.
Also, Nikita and Ekta prayed and received the Holy Spirit. Ekta also had prayer for a medical problem that causes her to freeze in the middle of whatever she is doing. We are believing God for a miracle. Nikita asked some questions about faith in Jesus. She seems to be struggling. She has seen Jesus answer prayers, yet she wants to hold on to her old faith. I told her I was not going to pressure her or tell her one way or the other. She should ask the Lord and He will reveal the truth to her.
Scripture for the Day:
Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes. II Chronicles 19:7.