Monday, October 21, 2013

What did the angels do?

We're all pretty familiar with the story of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness as he prepared for three years of ministry to save the world. While much of what went on for those forty days and forty nights in the desert is not revealed to us (we know he didn't eat and that Satan tempted him three times), we do know what happened when it was over. Matthew 4:11 says "Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him." The word "minister" is a Greek word that means to serve - especially associated with servants who performed menial household tasks like serving at tables, washing feet, etc... Well, I've got two questions about these angels and how they served Jesus on this occasion: 1. In what condition was Jesus that He needed them to do so. AND 2. What exactly did they do for him? Was Jesus physically spent? What he faint? Was he malnourished? Was he spiritually spent because he had faced incredible temptations? Was he emotionally stressed because of his ministry ahead? Was he mentally tired from thinking through the temptations and Scriptural responses to Satan? All of this is conjecture, but he was in need of some supernatural God sent angels. What did the angels do? Don't know. Maybe they made him breakfast. Maybe they gave him companionship. Maybe they sang songs of worship to strengthen his soul. Maybe they quoted Scriptures to fill his mind again with the word of God. So what on Monday morning? Well, if God sent angels to minister to you today, what would they do for you? Hebrews 1:14 says that "angels are ministering spirits sent to serve those who have inherited salvation". So, it seems that God uses angels quite a bit to help us. NO YOU SHOULD NOT pray to angels, talk to angels (unless one talk to you first), seek your angel, or think angels will save you! All of that is for God...they are at HIS COMMAND. However, it is a good question to ask. What is your condition today? Is is spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical aid you need most? Talk to God about it and take spiritual steps to restore your strength...who knows there may be some angels behind those Scriptures, songs, Christian friends, and physical rest. Again, focus on God and what He is doing in you today...but be aware of the spiritual realm.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Joseph's circumstance

Have you ever considered that life didn't turn out the way Joseph planned? I'm talking about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus who was just another Jewish guy in the first century trying to make a living through carpentry and preparing for marriage. Then BAM! Out of the blue - Mary's pregnant! We often move through this story too quickly because we know the ending and we race to the happy ending of Jesus was born on Christmas Day! Well, slow your roll. Joseph's circumstances didn't turn out as expected...... and neither do the circumstances of my life and yours! Think about it. How much that you have planned for your family, your future, your finances, or your faith actually turns out as you thought it would? Honestly, we'd have to say that life goes mostly not the way we planned it. So how do we get through it? Well in Matthew chapter one we see how Joseph coped when his fiance' turned up pregnant and it wasn't his. 1. Joseph reacted righteously - Just because he thought he had been wronged, he didn't lash out and lose his standards of doing right. He maintained who he was before God. 2. Joseph wasn't afraid - at least not in the long run. This is the word the angel gave him with the explanation of Mary's pregnancy. Don't be afraid. This is often our first reaction to circumstances out of our control...which is why the Bible reminds us so often not to be afraid. 3. Joseph was obedient - once the angel appeared to him, he did everything exactly as God instructed...including taking Mary as his wife, not sleeping with her, and giving his son the name Jesus. When circumstances go awry in life, it is best to stick with obeying God in what you know. Wait a minute. This all sound great on Monday morning from a pastor's reflection, but how do you expect me to act as Joseph did? Two simple realities make his response possible. 1. God has a plan (see the prophecy stuff in Matthew 1). God always has a plan. Nothing ever takes him by surprise, so even the most unexpected and painful circumstances have an outcome that will glorify God somehow. It's what HE does! 2. God is with us. The name Immanuel from the prophecy means God is near...actually with us. So whatever the circumstance today, we are never alone. How do we know? He sent his son.