Tim's Blog
Joseph and the Birth of Christ
December 20, 2021

“Joseph and the Birth of Christ”

Matt. 1:18-25

When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to go to Colorado with my uncle and his family.  While driving through Kansas, we stopped at a roadside park to rest and to have a picnic lunch.  Have you ever picnicked in Kansas?  It's the only place I know of that it is proper to put your elbows on the table!  You lay your plate down and then you put your elbow on it to keep the wind from blowing it away!  It seems that there is a wind all the time in Kansas.  It's flat and there are not many trees.  So, the wind really gets to going!

And you can see for miles and miles!  Behind this rest stop, about a hundred feet away, was a railroad.  Now, I had always heard that if you could look down a straight railroad for far enough, that the rails would seem to come together into one rail.  I had taken drafting in school so I knew this was called perspective.  So, I walked out to that track.  Sure enough, the rails did seem to go into one!  It was really true!  Now I knew that they didn't really go into one, but they sure looked like it from my perspective.  If I walked to where they seemed to come together, they would look just like the place where I stood.  And, if I looked back, the place where I had been would seem to have the rails joined together.  You see, my perspective had changed.

Let’s define perspective:

The art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point. "A perspective drawing"

A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

I am sure from Joseph's perspective, Mary's condition seemed quite different from what it really was!  She was pregnant and was technically his wife!  He knew that he wasn't the father, so there was only one conclusion to make – from his perspective.  God chose to work in his life to change that perspective, to move him to the same place as Mary so that he could see the situation from her perspective!

You know, he must have been a remarkable man.  First of all, to be chosen by God to be the earthly father of Jesus, but second of all, to have the faith to accept Mary in spite of the circumstances!   In that culture and at that time, to do what he did is nothing short of remarkable!

Mary was found to be pregnant (Matt. 1:18)

Remember that right after Mary had been told by the angel Gabriel that she would bear the Messiah, she went to be with her cousin Elizabeth.  Probably within the next day or so.  And she didn't tell Joseph what had happened!  Now it was at least three months later.  When she returned from the hill country of Judea, she was probably showing.

This verse says that Mary was “found” to be pregnant.   The Greek word translated “found” has a sense of the unexpected.  Joseph came upon Mary and unexpectedly found or discovered accidentally that she was with child!  

Let's use our sanctified imagination for a moment.  Suppose that Mary was in the market place and Joseph just happened to see her.  It's been a while since he had seen her.  Perhaps he sees her from behind and sneaks up to her to surprise her.  He calls her name and she turns, and he is the one with the surprise!  Imagination the hurt!  Imagination the feelings of anger and betrayal!  His betrothed!  His wife! 

In my mind's eye I can see the two of them staring at each other.  She, hoping for his understanding, he, with disbelief.  I can see them standing together for awhile, and then Joseph turning and walking away.  I can imagine them not saying a word.  I can see Mary staring after him as he leaves, perhaps with tears in her eyes, hoping he will come back, hoping that he will speak to her!

I can see Joseph, blinded by tears, stumbling to his home.  Trying to get away from the public eye because everyone would know! Everybody would know that Mary was pregnant! He would be humiliated!

Joseph the just man (1:19)

Joseph was a just man.  Just means upright or righteous.  It meant the Joseph conformed to the laws of God and man.  The word was applied to model citizens of the Roman Empire.  Joseph was a model citizen.  He always obeyed the law.

The word also carried with it the idea of mercy.  Though Joseph would conform to the laws, he also was merciful.  How he must have struggled with what he had to do! According to the law, he had only two recourses.  He could bring Mary before the people and have her stoned to death as an adulteress.  Or, he could write her a bill of divorcement before two witnesses.

He chose the latter.  It was the most merciful thing that he could do under the law.  He would write her a bill of divorcement, a certificate saying "This woman is not my wife; I am not her husband." I can imagine him then tossing and turning on his bed, so unhappy!  He probably had been building a house for them to live in.  He was working for that time when he would go to collect his bride and now, it wasn't going to happen!  His beloved had been unfaithful!  I can imagine the tears as he thought of these things.  How upset Joseph must have been!

You see, from Joseph's perspective he had no choice!  He could not fulfill his marriage vows to one who was unfaithful.

Joseph’s Consolation (1:20-23)

I call the next few verses Joseph's consolation, because God sent an angel to Joseph to console him and to encourage him.  He consoled him by explaining to him that Mary had not been unfaithful.  Mary had not been with another man.  Then the angel encouraged him several ways:  First, He called him son of David.  This in itself was not encouraging, but in the context of the next few verses, the prophetic emphasis is not lost.  The Messiah was to come from the seed of David. Joseph was to be the "father" of the Messiah! Second, the name that he was to give to the Babe - Jesus.  The Lord is salvation.  For He shall save His people from their sins!  Third, Mary’s pregnancy was a  fulfillment of prophecy!  (1:22,23)  Fourth is the Child's character - Emmanuel (God with us) (1:23)

Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife Joseph, because she is carrying the Son of God, the Messiah and she has been faithful to you!

Joseph had a decision to make.  He could obey the angel and take Mary as his wife, or he could continue with his original plan.  I don't believe it would have affected the ministry of Jesus.  He would still have been the Messiah, the Son of God and our Savior.  But this demonstrates the mercy of God.  Mary would have had a difficult time as an unwed mother in those days.  God provided Mary with a loving husband and a home, He was merciful and kind.

The disciples had a choice too.  When Jesus called them to come and follow Him, they could have said no.  They could have said I have other business.  They could have, but they didn't.

The rich young ruler had a choice.  He could have sold all his possessions and followed Jesus.  He could have, but he didn't.

We have a choice as well.  We could be that faithful servant that Jesus wants us to be.  We could sing in the choir or teach Sunday School.  We could go calling on the sick.  We could be missionaries in a foreign land.  We could be missionaries in our own neighborhoods!  We could be!  If we would listen to His call and obey, we could be a lot of things!

Joseph could have made the decision to divorce Mary anyway.  But God called him to a greater mission than just obeying the law.  He called him to a sacrificial obedience!  And Joseph responded!

Joseph the husband (1:24,25)  Joseph went and collected his wife.  The vows had already been said, the dowry paid.  What remained was for the groom to come and collect his wife.  This was usually accompanied by much excitement and revelry.  The groom's friend would walk through the city streets with him, laughing and making merry.  There would be much noise and the bride was often caught by surprise.  The groom would come and take her away to the place that he had prepared.  Jesus is coming someday to take away His bride, the church.  What a beautiful picture!

In my mind's eye, I can see Joseph as content.  He believed what the angel told him.  I can see his excitement and his smile as he took Mary's hand and led her to their new home.  Would he have difficult times?  Probably.  Would he withstand people’s gossip and accusation?  I think so.  You see, obedience to God is sometimes uncomfortable!  Even the Lord Jesus said that we will face hardship in this world!  But I believe Joseph was content.

I see compassion as well, for in the Lukan account, he took his bride with him to Bethlehem so that she would not be alone during the birth of her firstborn son.  Joseph was the husband.

His perspective was the same as Mary's now and he looked forward to the birth of the Messiah! 


Sometimes our perspective of things makes all the difference. Sometimes we simply cannot understand because we are looking at things from our own perspective.  Joseph had to come to Mary's perspective in order to accept the fact that she was with child.  Sometimes, when the Lord wants us to do something, we refuse, because from our perspective things do not seem right.  When Moses was told to go and lead God's people from Egypt, he claimed that he could not speak well.  And God's response was that He made man's mouth and all else. 

If God asks you to do something, He will give you the ability to do it!  Has the Lord asked you to do something?  Have you done it?  Have you accepted the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior?  Is there something that you don't understand? 

So what is your perspective on the birth of Christ?

What is your perspective on serving Him?

Look at it from God's perspective.  Perhaps the answer will become clear, as it did for Joseph.

Merry Christmas!



Hopeful, not Hopeless!
February 02, 2021

So, my wife has written another masterpiece - again!  I trust you will be encouraged as I was.  Tim

Sandy here....During these turbulent times, I find it necessary to speak truth to myself. Shortly before the January inauguration, I awoke early one morning with a heavy heart. It helped to put words to my emotions and to evaluate....

Hopeful, not Hopeless Journal – #1 December 29, 2020

I have a sinking feeling today, sadly, one I’ve had a lot lately. It seems that life in our country will likely change dramatically in only a few weeks. Our government may change presidential and other government leadership. For me, it’s not about winners and losers. I truly believe that we ALL will be losers in the end, with regard to our freedoms, our life styles, our safety, our education, our economic status, and our freedom to openly acknowledge and worship the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His son Jesus Christ…our redeemer…Immanuel…“God with us.”

I believe we all will be losers when our years of hard work and responsible living will be nullified, even vilified. I believe we all will be losers when and if Government leaders erase the footprint of America as we know it, gradually giving it over to foreign powers and those filled with greed who will seek to overcome and destroy. There will be no winners!
Part of my sinking feeling is the helplessness I feel in knowing that there is little or nothing I can do to change this trajectory. I can write letters, sign petitions, or perhaps participate in a demonstration. Yet, will any of that make a difference? Have we as a nation gone too far? It would seem that our government and judicial system are hopelessly infiltrated with those that exhibit hatred and/or disregard for God, embracing moral chaos and all that is in opposition to His Word. They, and much of America and our world, have chosen to celebrate perversion, embrace and enable a plethora of immoral behaviors and addictions, and, delight in lawlessness.

I have to say that I’m not really angry at anyone. Were it not for the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in me, I would likely be right there with them all, seeking a social justice that will never be attained due to the sinful nature of man, satisfying lustful and perverted desires, rationalizing killing and destroying anyone or thing that is not in agreement with me or convenient. God’s Word says that these people have been taken captive (2 Timothy). The emptiness of their hearts and souls has propelled them into a prison of true hopelessness, along with the debauchery (excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures), anger and aggression that is part of that captivity. I am not angry at them. My heart grieves for them, as well as the repercussions I experience due to their whims.

In reviewing history, from the time of creation through the centuries, there have been many times when God demonstrated that He had “had enough” of man’s disobedience, Genesis 6:5-8 tells us…5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. And, many more instances… Genesis 18-19, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as numerous captivities experienced by Israel through the centuries as a result of disregard for and disobedience to God.

I certainly don’t claim to know the mind of God. But, He has given believers His Word as a means to know about Him, to have a relationship with Him and understand His sovereignty over His creation. Whether we like it or not, or, believe it or not, God is ultimately in control of everything. HE IS SOVEREIGN (The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power). Again, there will be no winners with regard to our freedoms, our life styles, our safety, our education, our economic status, and our freedom to openly acknowledge and worship the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His son Jesus Christ…our redeemer…Immanuel…“God with us!”

Why should we expect God, the creator of everything, to sit back and accept the foulness, perversion and deceitfulness of our day? It should not come as any surprise that He may choose to remove His hand of blessing and allow our “government elect’s” desired trajectory to drive our country and our world to the ultimate dysfunction and/or destruction it seems bent on seeking?

And still, amidst my dread and sadness for something possibly lost, I Take Heart! Truly, I do believe I am helpless at this moment to change the path America is on. With that said, I AM NOT HOPELESS! Indeed, I am HOPEFULL! As I review my life, I am increasingly aware of the wonderful blessings God has bestowed on me and my family. My faith in Jesus Christ has determined my trajectory in life, my World View. He has protected me from myself at times. He has forgiven my mess-ups. It’s truly amazing to me! And, I have no reason to doubt that He will continue to do so! His blessings might look different. But, He will continue to bless. I have to admit that I selfishly wish for my easy, blessed life to continue as it is. There is no doubt that my lifestyle may be dramatically affected by the greedy, godless and destructive government leaders who may come into power.

Thankfully, as a child of God, I know that, regardless of what goes on around me, I am His and He is mine. “My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but, wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand” (from the hymn Solid Rock). Although I/we may witness and experience many disturbing and inconvenient things around us, I’m soooo glad that I, as well as all followers of Jesus Christ, will be on the solid rock, safe in His arms. One of my favorite songs, “In Christ Alone” says….

“In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song. This Cornerstone, this solid Ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My Comforter, my All in All Here in the love of Christ I stand.

And so…I AM HOPEFUL, not hopeless! He is ultimately in charge! And, I look forward, not with dread (daily working on this one J), but, with curious anticipation, to witness His sovereign intervention, whether it be mercy or judgment. I also look forward to experiencing His creative blessings for me and those who stand fast amidst the storm, clinging to the rock!!

Let's Play the Glad Game
March 24, 2020
Sandy here….I once had a pastor instruct that an ungrateful spirit was the root of all sin (disobedience to God’s Word). My immediate response, in my mind, was doubtful that ALL sin had that root cause. Hmm….

As I mulled this thought over in my mind, on the big sins (again, in my mind) …lying, stealing, murder, pride, adultery, gossip etc., it occurred to me that he was right! When we are thankful for our parents, our siblings, our teachers, our co-workers, our daily food, clothes, etc., it is very difficult to treat them unkindly or with disrespect, to steal from them, murder them, lie about them, seek to replace them or brag to them how much better we are than them. While our gratitude is ultimately directed to God, the creator and sustainer o
f all creation, it seems to filter down to all his creation and our responses to them.

When the Apostle Paul was writing to the believers in Rome, he was addressing this very issue. Romans 1:21-23…21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

Bottom line… Lots of bad, disgusting things were happening in Rome. Just like the pagan Romans, when we are not thankful to our creator, we have no guideline or motivation for obedience to Him. Our hearts are darkened. Basically, anything goes….sin….disobedience.

Wow! That’s something to think about!!!

There was a fun movie that came out in 1960, Pollyanna. It made quite a life changing impression on me. Although not a “Christian” movie, it did reinforce in my mind the need to sometimes change my thinking when it’s not within my power to change my circumstances. Pollyanna played the “Glad Game.” Here’s a link to a video clip from the movie with her explaining the game to some pretty skeptical people. The child of foreign missionaries, she was left an orphan who had just come to live with her wealthy aunt. Listen, and then let’s talk…..

Such a fun video clip and movie…but….how does this relate to being thankful? In my eight year old mind in 1960, having just taken ownership of my faith and committing to following Jesus Christ only a year before, it was a great example of “renewing my mind,” changing my thinking!

Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

60 years later, I realize that the renewal spoken of here is the changing or transforming of our minds, our thinking, to desire and understand God’s will versus conformity to the world, which in scripture signifies all that goes against God’s Word.

Yet, to a deep thinking eight year old, “being glad” seemed to inspire a thankful spirit in me towards God and man resulting in a desire to approach life with a positive attitude (usually) and obedience to my earthly authorities (parents, teachers, government etc.) as well as my Heavenly authority (God and His Word)!

In a nutshell…. “Being Glad,” or thankful, results in obedience. Lack of thankfulness does ultimately result in disobedience/ sin.

I’ve taught the “Glad Game” to many people over the years, some of them very negative thinkers initially. I have to admit that I’m still working on a few! But, most often, the end result, after mocking and resistance, has been laughter and a more joyful and peaceful spirit. For me personally, even today, it results ultimately in a more thankful spirit, thus, greater Joy and and desire to be an obedient follower of Jesus Christ, who is my Hope!

I challenge you to try it! BE GLAD!!  

Blessings to you!   Keep safe and healthy in this uncertain time!