There was a man who was given a great responsibility to help rear and train up God’s only Son and our Savior, Jesus.
His name was Joseph. He is described as a just man (Matthew 1:19). He was engaged and he respected his fiancée. He made the choice to wait until his wedding day, but while they were engaged, he found out that his soon-to-be wife was pregnant – with Someone else’s child. I’m sure he was hurt and disappointed by the news, but he didn’t embarrass or humiliate Mary. He didn’t publicly disgrace her. I believe he was afraid what other people would say or think of him (as they weren’t married yet), but he was also concerned about Mary – how she felt and how she would be treated.
Joseph had planned on calling off the engagement quietly, but God had a plan, too. Joseph was about to walk away from favor and from his ‘good thing’. He was about to give up before he received his deliverance, but before he could do anything, God sent an angel to Joseph. Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:20).
Joseph obeyed the angel. He didn’t push Mary away. He protected her. He endured the difficult times (with her). He didn’t leave her when she needed him. He didn’t allow her to have this baby alone in a stable. Not only did they go through some things while Mary was pregnant, but they also had to go through some things after Jesus was born. God gave Joseph and Mary what He promised, but it was a fight to keep, guard and protect the promise. Joseph couldn’t be lazy. He couldn’t procrastinate. He couldn’t do what God told him to do when he wanted to do it. He had to pick up his family and flee to Egypt during the night – when it was inconvenient, when others were sleeping – because Herod wanted to kill the One who would give life to many. When God told him to move, he moved (Matthew 2:13, 19).
Although the bible doesn’t tell us all that Joseph went through, I know it wasn’t easy. In fact, I’m sure he cried or wanted to cry sometimes, but he held on because he believed what God said. He believed that Jesus was born to save all men.
He cared for his wife, but he also cared for Jesus. Do you remember when Joseph and his family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover? Jesus was twelve years old at the time. When they left the celebration, they didn’t realize that Jesus wasn’t with them. They turned back around to Jerusalem and after three days, they found him in a temple, hearing and asking the doctors questions. When they couldn’t find Jesus, this not only affected Mary, but it affected Joseph, too. His mother said to him, Son, why have you done this to us. Your father and I have sought you sorrowing (Luke 2:48). If Joseph could care for a child who was not his biological son, surely God can send a man to a single mother who will care for her children like they are his own.
God gives some the gift of a husband or wife, and others he gives the gift of being able to stay happily unmarried (1 Corinthians 7:7, TLB).
According to the above scripture, to be married is a gift, but to be ‘happily unmarried’ is also a gift. If God gives you a husband or a wife, He doesn’t want you to treat this gift as we would a toy or a new car. After a certain number of years, some of us want something new or something better, but God doesn’t want us to treat people the way we treat things. He wants us to value what He gives us because what He gives us doesn’t lose value.
This makes me think about the prodigal son. His older brother said he was living with prostitutes (Luke 15:30). When the prodigal son returned home, he told his father he wasn’t worthy to be called his son (Luke 15:19), but what he didn’t realize was the moment he humbled himself and repented to his father for what he had done, everything was restored back to him. And guess what? He was still his father’s son. His father hadn’t changed his mind about him. The reason why the prodigal son was doing the things he did with his body was because he didn’t understand his value, but the good news is he never lost his value. And he didn’t lose his position either (Luke 15:22). He just left it.
He that is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:32).
The above scripture tells us what we should be doing while we’re single. Are we faithful to God in this area of our lives? What are we doing with this gift (of being unmarried)? Or maybe we don’t see it as a gift. Are we happily unmarried or are we only happy when we have someone?
Joseph was a good man, a good husband and a good father. He was the type of man that most women would desire to marry. To those ladies who God has promised a husband, there is a ‘Joseph’ for you, but why would God give us (I’m including myself) a ‘Joseph’ if we’re not willing to become a ‘Mary’? Have you ever thought that what you’re expecting from your future husband is what God expects from us, His bride? It was just as important for Mary to be obedient as it was for Joseph to be obedient. Ladies, there is nothing wrong with having standards, but it’s not right to desire for a man to be to you what you fail to be or become for God.
Mary didn’t allow herself to be used by different men, but she offered her body to be used by God. She may have not understood everything Gabriel told her and we know she was afraid (Luke 1:30), but she obeyed. She didn’t resist God. She didn’t fight God. She submitted to Him. Be it unto me according to your word (Luke 1:38). For some of us, that’s been the problem. We’ve been saying yes to what we should be saying no to, and saying no to what we should be saying yes to.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’ve gotten involved in relationships that I should have never been in, but so have some of you. I also know that just like the prodigal son’s brother, the enemy will condemn us, remind us of all the things we’ve done wrong and try to make us feel not worthy to be married or remarried again, but God is not looking at what you did then. He is looking at what you’re doing now.
Well, how much longer do I have to wait? I’m not getting any younger. Maybe you’re not waiting on your husband. Maybe your husband is waiting on you. James 5:7 speaks of the farmer who is patient. The reason why he is patient is because he believes that what he’s waiting for is ‘precious’.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, I just want to remind someone today that no matter what you’ve done in the past and no matter how many men have touched you,
You are still precious.
You haven’t lost your value.
And you are worth waiting for.
disappointed: sad or discouraged because someone or something failed to fulfill one’s hopes or expectations
Have you ever thought you were getting a job or a promotion only to find out that you didn’t get it?
Have you ever met someone who you thought was ‘the one’ only to find out that he/she wasn’t?
Do you feel like you always get excited about something only to be disappointed – again?
God told Moses what to say to the Israelites, but he was afraid that they would not believe him. They will say, The Lord has not appeared to you (Exodus 4:1). But Moses obeyed. He returned to Egypt like God told him to. Israel accepts Moses as their leader and he was okay with that. Pharaoh rejects him and he was okay with that, too. Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go (Exodus 5:2).
But after Pharaoh told Moses no, he told the taskmasters and their officers to no longer supply Israel with straw to make bricks. Not only did Israel have to find their own straw, but they still had to make the same number of bricks and they were beaten (Exodus 5:16).
Now Israel rejects Moses. They didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. May the Lord look upon you and judge you. For you have caused us to be hated by Pharaoh and his servants. You have put a sword in their hand to kill us (Exodus 5:21, NLV).
This was not okay. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. He did exactly what God told him to do and now they were angry with him. Moses went back to God. Not only did he tell God about how the people were being treated after his meeting with Pharaoh, but he also told God that He didn’t do what He said he was going to do. For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people and You have not delivered your people at all (Exodus 5:23). Moses was disappointed and he felt like God had lied to him.
Jacob also experienced disappointment. His uncle, Laban, had two daughters named Leah and Rachel. When I was younger, I was told that Leah was the ugly one and Rachel was the beautiful one, but that’s not what the scriptures tell us. In fact, the scriptures only speak of one part of Leah’s body that was flawed or less beautiful than the other parts.
Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance (Genesis 29:17, AMP).
There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face (NLT).
There was no brightness to Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful shape and was lovely to look at (VOICE).
Jacob loved Rachel (Genesis 29:18). He loved her so much that he served her father for seven years just so that he may have her as his wife, but on the day of the wedding feast, Laban gave Jacob his eldest daughter, Leah, and not Rachel. Jacob didn’t know this until the following morning. Can you imagine how he felt? He asked specifically for Rachel, but instead he was given Leah.
What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me? (Genesis 29:25).
Now, Jacob was tricked by his uncle and I know that some of you think that Jacob deserved it because he deceived his own father. Despite everything he did, God loved Jacob (Malachi 1:2, Romans 9:13) and He loves you and me, too.
I know Jacob didn’t want Leah and he was disappointed that she was now his wife. Maybe he did feel like he deserved what happened to him because of what he did to his father and brother, but what we fail to realize is our mistakes and our plans don’t change God’s plan. Your mess-ups can’t mess up God’s plan. I know Rachel looked better. It appeared that she had everything that he wanted, but what he wanted was barren, empty and unable to produce children (initially). It wasn’t what was on the outside of Rachel, but what was on the inside of Leah that God needed.
This was God’s plan: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). And guess whose lineage Jesus was born through? It wasn’t through Rachel. Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brethren (Matthew 1:2). Judah was Leah’s mother.
For some people, it feels like you’re always getting disappointed, but your disappointment didn’t come from God. It came from the people and things you placed your hope in. Despite what Laban did, Jacob kept serving because he knew what he could have and he wanted Rachel that much. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel (Genesis 29:20). Do you know what God has promised? Do you want what God has promised? If Jacob can serve someone who lied to him, we can continue to serve Someone who cannot lie.
God did exactly what He told Moses he was going to do to Pharaoh, BUT Moses had to continue to do the things that God told him to do. Don’t stop doing what God told you to do. Put your hope and trust in what God said. We don’t always understand HIS plan, but He knows what He is doing. So, before you go to God complaining about what He didn’t do, what is it that you haven’t done yet?
Maybe you prefer ‘Rachel’ (not necessarily a person, but a thing or a situation), but God gave you ‘Leah’ because Leah will put your faith to work. Maybe you’ve been comfortable for too long and God gave you Leah to push you out of your comfort zone. It is out of Leah that the promise will come. God will give you favor because of Leah. And one day, you will realize that if it wasn’t for Leah, you wouldn’t have prayed as much as you did. If it wasn’t for Leah, you would have still been serving yourself rather than serving others. Rachel would have only drawn you away from God, but Leah brought you closer to God.
God is not keeping any good thing from you. I know not receiving the thing you were hoping for made you feel like a failure. I know it hurts. I know it made you cry, but what you thought was a disappointment was really a blessing. No one likes the feeling of rejection. No one likes to be told no, but the promises of God are still yes and Amen.
Believe that God is good, believe that His plan is good, believe that He only gives good things, and this time you will not be disappointed.
Those who hope in ME will not be disappointed (Isaiah 49:23, NIV).
believe: accept something as true; to accept the evidence of; to have confidence in the truth; to be persuaded; to trust; to expect with confidence
Have you ever wondered why certain things hadn’t happened in your life yet? While I was praying one afternoon, I got my answer. ‘You stopped believing. You gave up’.
It is hard to receive anything from the Lord when you don’t believe. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7).
I didn’t have a problem believing that God heard me when I prayed for others, but I started feeling like God didn’t hear me when I prayed for myself. That doesn’t make sense, does it? Aren’t Christians called ‘believers’? What happened to me along the way? Was I upset because I asked God for something and He didn’t give it to me? Did I think God was punishing me for something I did in the past? Have I been disappointed so many times that I stopped expecting anything good to happen to me? Or was I just impatient?
Jairus only had one child. She was 12 years old and she was dying. He went to Jesus, fell at his feet (worship) and made his prayer request known. My little daughter lies at the point of death: I pray you, come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed and she shall live (Mark 5:23).
Jesus heard him and began walking towards his home. Jairus believed that Jesus was going to answer his prayer, but then Jairus had to do something that we all don’t like to do. He had to wait. As they were walking, a woman, who was diseased with an issue of blood for 12 years, touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:20).
That’s right. Jairus had to stand there and watch someone else get what he prayed for. And according to the scriptures, Jesus doesn’t keep walking after the woman touches him. He stops and begins talking to this woman. I can only imagine how Jairus felt. It is during times like these that we feel God is taking too long and that He has forgotten about us. You feel like you’re running out of time and you wish Jesus would hurry up.
We are never told that Jairus celebrated this woman’s healing or that he rejoiced with her. You would have thought that witnessing someone else’s healing would have built his faith, but then he gets some bad news. There came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Your daughter is dead: why trouble the Master any further? (Mark 5:35). He was basically telling Jairus that it was too late and that he ought to give up. Jesus must have known that he was discouraged because He immediately said to him, Be not afraid. Only believe (Mark 5:36). Do you know what Jesus was really saying to him? Despite what has happened, believe Me again. Trust Me again and I shall do what I said. And guess what? Jairus did just that. When Jesus resumed walking to his home, Jairus followed him.
Jairus and this woman were very different. Jairus asked Jesus to touch his daughter. The woman, on the other hand, didn’t wait for Jesus to touch her. She touched him. She mixed faith with works. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole (Matthew 9:21). What you tell yourself is important. If there’s anybody who should have had low self-esteem or felt rejected, it should have been this woman. She should have been somewhere alone, isolated from everyone, embarrassed about her condition, feeling unloved and unwanted. It had already been twelve years now and that’s a long time, but she didn’t give up.
It is also very important that you’re careful about what you think on. Not every thought is from God. What the woman said to herself started as a thought. Some of you right now are thinking that you will never get married or have children or be who God has called you to be. It seems like things are happening for everyone else except you and the moment you get discouraged, you say things like, ‘I guess I’ll be single for the rest of my life’ or ‘Maybe it wasn’t meant for me to have children’ or ‘Nothing will ever change’. I loved the fact that when Jairus got the news his daughter died, Jesus never allowed him to open his mouth and speak against the very thing he was praying and believing. One of the reasons why the enemy attacks the area of your belief is because he knows that ALL things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23) and he doesn’t want you to get everything God has promised you.
Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole (Luke 8:50). Jairus only wanted his daughter to be healed from one thing, but Jesus wanted her to be whole (healed in every area of her life). This is another problem we have. A lot of times, we become angry or bitter because we didn’t get the one thing we prayed for, but God wants to do exceeding abundantly above that which you are asking. I’ll give you a good example. A friend of mine had a sick grandmother. For months, she prayed for her grandmother to be healed, but her grandmother died shortly thereafter. The good news is that before she died, she received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Please understand that there was nothing wrong with my friend praying for her healing, but God wanted to give her grandmother something better. God didn’t want her healed physically, but sick spiritually. He didn’t want her grandmother to live apart from Him – not here on earth and not for an eternity. Although we don’t always understand why certain things happen, we must always remember that His plan for us is good.
Do you remember the father who had a demon-possessed son? When Jesus told him that all things are possible to him that believe, the father said, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). I love how honest and humble this man was. This is what he was really saying: Lord, I believe in this area, but I’m having trouble believing in that area. Please help me in the areas that I don’t believe. Help me to trust You. I want us to be like the men and women described in Hebrews 11:13. Some of them didn’t receive the things God promised, but they still believed God. In fact, they died believing God.
I’ve heard stories of people who went through a painful divorce and swore they would never get married again, but one day they gave love another chance. They trusted again. They didn’t allow a bad relationship to keep them from a good relationship. So, I’m going to give Love another chance. I’m going to pray the above prayer as many times as needed. I’m not going to let bad experiences separate me from Christ. When I first got saved, I was like a little child. Trust wasn’t an issue. I believed everything God said…and I want that again – for me as well as for you.
[Scripture references: Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56]
One day, Jesus told a parable of a certain man who had two sons (Matthew 21:28). The man went to his first son and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard’.
- Go (move, take a different course).
- Work (assignment).
- Today (now).
I’m not sure what these men were doing when their father called them, but he apparently had a different plan for them – to work in HIS vineyard. It reminded me of when Simon Peter and Andrew were casting their nets to catch fish and Jesus told them, Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Prior to the invitation, they had been working for themselves and for their families, but this day Jesus called them to work for his Father.
The man didn’t ask his sons if they wanted to go. He told them to go. This wasn’t about what they wanted to do. This was about what he needed them to do. He sent both of them to his vineyard to plant and to water so that it would bring forth fruit. The first son’s response was, I will not. Initially, he didn’t want to change. He was stubborn and disobedient, but afterward he repented and went. The man went to his second son and said the exact same words. The son said, I go, sir, but he never went.
The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few (Matthew 9:37).
God just doesn’t want us to attend church every week. There is work to do. Just like Joseph, God has sent us ahead of the famine (Psalm 105:16-17). There are people who have a need and God needs us to be in our place to meet their need. God doesn’t want us to be like the second son who hears the word, but refuses to do the word.
The first son almost missed a great opportunity, but he believed and went to his father’s vineyard. The second son saw his brother go to work. He saw the change and the ‘fruit’ of his labor, but still refused to change. To be honest, I don’t think he wanted to work. I think he is like some of us who just expects our Father to do everything.
If faith does not have works [deeds and actions of obedience to back it up], it is by itself dead [inoperative and ineffective] (James 2:17).
God told Abraham that a great nation would come out of him. He was going to make his name great. And not only was He was going to bless him, but He was going to make him a blessing. How do we know that Abraham believed God? Because He obeyed God. He moved toward the promise God made. He went to get what God had given him. Some of us have missed out on things that God has promised us because we refuse to do the first thing He told us to do.
Your blessing is in the obedience.
Maybe God is not telling you to leave a certain location or to walk away from some people, but maybe you need to leave the lies that the enemy has told you – what you can’t do and what you will never be. Sometimes there are things such as hurt and unforgiveness that are keeping us from moving forward. Joseph could have blamed a lot of people for what he was going through – his brothers, Potiphar’s wife and the butler who forgot about him. It seemed like the people who he was sent to help, only hurt him. My point is this: The longer he stayed angry and bitter, the longer he would have stayed in prison (mentally). And in Joseph’s case, he didn’t have a lot of time to waste. A famine was coming and his family as well as many others needed him to be free from prison.
In John 5:4, an angel would go into the pool at a certain season so it was important that one be ready at all times. Whoever stepped in the water first after the angel troubled the water would be made whole of any disease he had. I don’t know how long the impotent man had been lying at the pool, but he had an infirmity for 38 years. According to this man, he kept missing his healing because someone would always step down before him. One day, Jesus saw the man lying at the pool. He knew how long he had been in that condition and He gave him another opportunity to be healed, but the man had to want it. Do you want to be whole?
It’s not too late for you. God has not counted you out. A missed opportunity doesn’t have to be a lost opportunity. Another opportunity is coming to you. I believe God is going to do something even greater in this next season. And just like the impotent man, He doesn’t want any of us to miss it. He wants you to be a part of what He is doing. In fact, He wants to do it through you. He wants to use you greatly in this next season. He wants to make you whole. He wants to restore years to you.
If you believe it, then do the thing that you’ve said in your heart, I’m not going to do it or I’m afraid to do it or I don’t want to do it. Maybe some of you are thinking, I’ve done what the Lord told me to do and nothing has happened yet. The key word is yet. It may not have happened the last time, but it will happen – if you don’t faint. Try it again. Believe Him again. God wants you to see His goodness.
Don’t miss it!
If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall SAY unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew 17:20).
If you have faith and doubt not, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if you shall SAY unto this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, it shall be done (Matthew 21:21).
Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he SAY shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he said (Mark 11:23).
If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might SAY unto this sycamine tree, Be plucked up by the root and be planted in the sea, and it should obey you (Luke 17:6).
In order for the word to work in your life, it must be mixed with faith. The people of the Old Testament didn’t just obtain promises through faith, but they stopped the mouths of lions through faith. They were made strong and became mighty through faith. They won battles through faith (Hebrews 11:33-34). When you fail to believe what you heard, the message will not do you any good. You must accept it. You must receive it. You must believe that you will receive. Otherwise, it will not profit you. The enemy will tell you lies, but God has given us His word, which is true. It is our job to read and meditate on the truth every day. It is our job to say what is written – with confidence.
And the devil said unto him, If you be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread (Luke 4:3).
And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Luke 4:4).
God has given us power over all the power of the enemy. We’ve prayed long enough about our problems. Now it’s time to SAY something to the spirit that is causing the problem. In Mark 9, there was a father who took his son to Jesus’ disciples because he was tormented. The son would convulsed and have seizures, but there was a spirit operating behind this. This spirit would cast him into the fire and into the waters. Its purpose was to destroy this young man (vs 22). The disciples couldn’t cast out what was in the boy so the father brought him to Jesus. Jesus rebuked the foul spirit and He SAID to the dumb and deaf spirit, “I charge you, come out of him, and enter no more into him”. Jesus didn’t talk to the young man (physical). He spoke to the spirit. The words He spoke are spirit and spirit understands spirit. Our fight is not against what we can see. It is against what we cannot see.
We’ve been talking about our health problems when we should be rebuking infirmity and disease. You have been given power to do what Jesus did to the fig tree (Matthew 21:21). We’ve been talking about our money problems when we should be rebuking the thief, mammon and the devourer. And let me just add – If you want God to forgive your debts, first forgive your debtors. Forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against. Then, the above scriptures will work in your life.
Because you will have whatever you say, make sure that you only say what you want to come to pass. I wish I could tell you that it will be easy, but attacks will come. I was attacked in my sleep just a few nights ago. A hand was covering my mouth. That only proved to me how powerful the tongue is (Proverbs 18:21). Jericho was securely shut up because the people were afraid of the Israelites. None went out and none came in. This is what the enemy is trying to do to us. He wants to bring fear (as well as other things) in our lives so that we will shut up, but if nothing comes out of your mouth, then nothing can come into your life. The devil wants us to be weary in doing well. He wants us to stop praying (or pray less). He wants us to stop asking because he knows that when we ask and keep asking, it shall be given. He wants us to quit, but don’t do what he wants you to do. Do what God is telling you to do. If we do what God tells us to do and tell that ‘mountain’ what to do and where to go –
It shall move (Matthew 17:20).
It shall be done (Matthew 21:21).
It shall come to pass (Mark 11:23).
You will have whatever you said (Mark 11:23).
It will obey you (Luke 17:6).
This year, nothing will be impossible to us.