Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Another Joseph 4


The various gospels show the birth of Jesus and his early life with different emphasis and for us to fully appreciate this other Joseph we are studying, let us now turn  to Luke’s account as we continue to glean from the life of  “Another Joseph”.

“And all went to be taxed , every one into his own city .And Joseph also went up from Galilee ,out of the city of Nazareth ,into Judea ,unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem  (because he was of the house  and lineage of David )”Luke 2:3-4  KJV King James Version
 

We can comfortably infer that  Joseph, was a  good citizen. He was one who obeyed the laws of the land. This journey back to Bethlehem was not convenient at all and he did have every excuse not to make it. After all, Mary his wife was heavily pregnant(Luke 2:5) but a man on the way to the Palace can learn from this example of responsible citizenship in the life of “Another Joseph”.Apostle Paul in his letters to the churches emphasized the matchless value of the witness of good citizenship and urged his readers to obey the government because they are however God’s agents for maintaining law and order( Romans 13:1-5;2 Peter 2:13-17 ). And it was because Joseph obeyed this government law that Jesus was born in where it was written that he would be born (Micah 5:2&Matthew 2:5-6).

The next verse subtly adds to the character of this man as we read  that he went to be taxed with Mary,his wife (Luke 2;5). This Joseph was able to also command his household to obey the laws of the land. Severally, we see him leading his household to obedience by being a good example(Luke 2:5).

“......And they came with haste and found Mary,and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger” Luke 2:16 KJV King James Version

After the  shepherds were instructed by the angels who shared the good news  about the birth of the saviour, they went and found Mary, Joseph and the baby. This man Joseph was not an absent father. He was involved even when Jesus was an infant and so could witness some of the great moments in the life of his adopted son.

“When the time came to do what the law of Moses taught about being made pure, they took Jesus to Jerusalem to present to the Lord”Luke 2:22  NCV New Century Version

 Not only do we find this Joseph obedient to the laws of his country, he is also obedient to what has been written in the law of Moses which was the much he knew( Exodus 13;13-16).Every firstborn was to be redeemed. Joseph  did not feel too big to do this rite as commanded. In our days, this action of Joseph could be likened to that of being a good church member. It is also worth noticing that when it was time to bring Jesus to the temple, he did it with Mary. He was not the kind of husband that would send wife and children to church and not be a participant .At various times whenever Luke referred to this family, Joseph is mentioned first showing that he was the leader, even in spiritual things and taking his rightful place as  the priest in his own home.

“And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law , a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons” Luke 2:24 KJV King James Version 

Another thing about this Joseph was the fact that he gave(Luke 2:24). Not only did he bring Jesus to the temple but he offered the sacrifice required. According to the laws given by Moses, God made a provision for offerings to be done according to the financial status of the giver in order to foster compliance and willingness. Joseph did not allow his meagre means  to serve as an excuse for not giving what was required. He offered two turtle doves which was what was required if one was poor (Leviticus 12:6-8 ) and could not afford a lamb. Joseph was a man who gave according to his level without the need to impress.


And it was because he did all these that they were met by two people who gave prophecies: Simon(Luke 2:25-36) &Anna(Luke 2:36-38).


One of the rewards of obedience is blessings and the life of Joseph is full of several examples of this (Luke 2: 34) . When Joseph and Mary got to the temple, they were met by two people who eventually gave prophecies and strengthened their faith. There was definitely something about their promptness to obedience that allowed their paths to collide with the lives of destiny enhancers( Luke 2: 27,28,& 38).

There is so much more we cam cull from the life of this “Another Joseph” if we must eventually get to the Palace. A life of prompt obedience both to God and living in such a way that he could lead his family on different levels does make him worth emulating .As a father , he was present and involved in the life of the little one entrusted to him .I urge you readers to take a few moments to read through again and pray for the lives of your sons, brothers, uncles, husbands and fathers. We sure need a lot of godly male role models these days.

In His Service,

Grace Tom-Lawyer,

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Another Joseph 3

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.[d] And he called His name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25  KJV  King James Version

“When Joseph woke up, he did what the Lord’s angel told him to do. He married Mary”-  Matthew 1:24-25 ERV-English Revised Version

“When Joseph woke up he did what the angel had told him. He married Mary, but had no intercourse with her until she had given birth to a son. Then he gave him the name Jesus.”--Matthew 1:24-25 Phillips

As we continue to look at the life of “Another Joseph” ,I am amazed at the strength of the character of this man. We are told in the next verse(Matthew 1: 24 ) that although he took Mary home as his wife, he did not sleep with her until she had her first born son. That tells me at least three things about this man that is once again worth emulating if we are eventually going to get to the Palace or raise children who will eventually get to the Palace.

Firstly, this “Another Joseph” was a man of great self control. It is one thing not to sleep with your fiancee as per honouring God’s guidelines against pre-marital sex but it is another thing to be married to your wife and not touch her out of respect for the seed she is carrying and what God has planned to do with her life. Let us imagine that he saw Mary go to the bathroom, return ,dress up ,lie on the same bed with him  everyday for almost nine months and he did not have any sexual relations with her( Matthew 1:24).This man’s  ability to keep his legitimate desires under control  is a testimony of a life that is recklessly abandoned to the will and purpose of God .

The next thing that is worth noting is that this  “Joseph “is man enough and confident in himself to support the dreams of another, especially his wife’s dreams. He watched her belly protrude throughout those nine ,months and I am really convinced that he helped her around the house during that period. Unlike the brothers of the original Joseph we were studying who were so bent on aborting his dreams(Matthew 37:19-20), this Joseph helped to nurture the dreams of another. He must have created an environment that enabled Mary to carry the pregnancy successfully without feeling threatened neither did he resort to emotional abuse .He created the kind of atmosphere that enabled his wife to fulfil the purpose of God for her life .

The third thing from this verse is that Joseph called the name of the son that Mary gave birth to “Jesus” (Matthew 1: 24). He did according to the instructions he had been given in his dreams(Matthew 1: 21 ). He was a man of complete obedience as we see him carrying to the latter the commandments that were given him. All through the recount of the genealogy of Joseph, none of his ancestors as it were bore that name but Joseph obeyed and gave the child the name that was given in the dream. He was a man of humility and gave up the right of naming his wife’s firstborn son what he would have loved to call him. Most people having a baby usually have a preference for the name they want to call their child but all these is put aside as this man Joseph seeks to honour God.

This “Another Joseph” was a man who worked in partnership with God.He was more concerned about God’s purpose and will and as we look at his life up to this point, we are challenged to see someone living his life in a way that the words “this was to fulfil scripture” could be written about him. Almost after every verse about him is a confirmation from Matthew so that it may be fulfilled what was written in Scripture(Matthew 1: 22; 2:15,23).

If we are eventually going to get to the Palace, we must live our lives according to scriptures like the way Joseph did .One of the things written about us is the truth  that we have been recreated to do good works which God planned for us long ago to do( Ephesians 2:10). Another scripture that has been written concerning us is that God’s purpose is that we eventually become like his son ,conformed into his image ,so that his son Jesus may be the firstborn among many brethren( Romans 8:29).

Self control, the ability to nurture the dreams of another and complete and thorough obedience are attributes that the man who will eventually get to the Palace must possess.

In His Service,
Grace Tom-Lawyer.

-

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Another Joseph 2

We continue our series today as we explore more attributes of this “Another Joseph”. This is the Joseph who married Mary and was the adopted father of Jesus .We will continue looking at his life from Matthew’s account in Chapter 1. 

20  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived [1] in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: [2] for he shall save his people from their sins. 22  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24  Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS  Matthew 1:20-25 KJV King James Version 



......he thought about those things  
That to me means that this man Joseph was one who was not rash. He doid not just act on his feelings . He took time to weigh his actions and be sure that his course of action was right. He was a thinker and every woman can do with a man who would just  think and actually apply a little break to his actions I believe that God was able to  communicate with him because he thought about these things.

God could speak to him  
Once again we see dreams being a means of communication. God spoke to this other Joseph also through dreams. In those days they had the books of the Law and prophets and were also guided by them. A caution though is that we should check our dreams to the standard of the word of God. There is no need using a dream as a reason for doing something that clearly contradicts scriptures .The message that the angel gives to Joseph is also   backed up by  a scripture quotation “For it is written ,a virgin shall give birth to a son Matthew 1:23.

He was a man of the Word .....
Joseph must  also been a man who was familiar with scriptures hence he was able to identify his current circumstances and Mary’s claim in retrospect as prophecy being fulfilled and what a honour it was for him.

And when we woke up he took Mary as his wife
This man was an obedient man and quite prompt at it. Following instructions received, he got up and did the right thing making it easier for Mary who was already in an emotional state
As we celebrate this day, let us reflect on some of these attributes of this Joseph whose adopted  son eventually  got to the Palace and sits on a throne where his dynasty never ends

On the way to the Palace, we must be people who do take time to think before acting, communicate regularly with the Lord and be good students of the Word .Moreso our obedience must be prompt. These are attributes we have seen in the life of this other Joseph.

In His Service,

Grace Tom-Lawyer.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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One of the things about the New Year is there is a certain hope and  contagious expectation with which most people   start a year. Somehow there is a new surge of faith that says that the life that has been afforded is a divine sign that there is going to be change for the better in the future. With this new surge, several people start out with New Year resolutions that sadly do not last the first week of the year.

I was on a Radio show the other day and one of the members of the panel said that New Year resolutions should be scrapped! Perhaps she had seen enough failures at it but the truth most times is that people sometimes set unrealistic expectations that are only doomed to fail, leaving them paralysed with guilty feelings. At other times, the resolutions have just been mere wishes with no concrete plans on how it would be achieved. When I was in High school, one of the paintings on the central building  which we as students had to see daily was  a quote by Benjamin Franklin   If you fail to plan you plan to fail “ .

Since I assume most people have made their plans/goals/resolutions  or currently making them,  permit me to add (just in case it is not already on your list ) that for this year, make a resolution to be more grateful. It is a great way to not only start the year but to continue the year. Be grateful to God and to people. Most things God does for us happen through human agents and we should never take this for granted. Always make a big fuss about what people do for you. Do not take any little act of kindness for granted, I always tell myself people are not obligated to do anything for you.

  Over the Christmas period, I had the privilege of giving and receiving gifts from people. There were varied responses to the gifts I gave. For some people, it seemed they just managed to offer a polite Thank you and did not bother afterwards. For some others, they did not only say the initial Thank you but got to their homes and still sent Thank you messages. You sure do not need a prophet to tell you that the latter group will be the first on my list next time.

 Usually at the beginning of the year, we are optimistic  that this is going to be the year” which gradually wanes down sadly and I do not just want this to be one of those up and down years for you. If there is anyway I have learnt to remain cool calm and collected, it is to always always look for reasons to be grateful, specifically. This will keep you all year round.  It is a top  secret tip for being   a very attractive person and one people would definitely want to be around. Let us  be extremely  deliberate about gratitude for  gratitude is an enhancer of relationships.

It is easy to start being grateful,start  as you wake up each day, take each as a gift from God and watch out for little mercies along the way and be grateful.

 On this note, I  want to say "Happy New Year" and   a big “Thank you” for following this blog and sharing with all your fans, friends and family.

In His Service,

Grace Tom-Lawyer.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Last day/Better Days

Wow, dear Readers
I am really glad that we have finally been able to reach the last day of the year 2016 and what a year it has been for us.
Sure , there were   victories we enjoyed,several  mountain top experiences unfortunately  valley experiences, some tears have been shed  and sometimes we were left confused but just as we are about to step into another time era, we choose to rememebr all those who did not make it to this day due to several reasons.
Some did so naturally while others have had their lives snatched out by the vold hands of death using wars, accidnets, men of the underworld and name it, totally beyond their control but you and I are here today , for which we are extremely grateful
Remmeber according to Gof's word, it can only get better. Ypour yestwerday is the soil on ehich the seeds of greatness for your fututre has been planted. And it is with this co fidence that I look at 2016 and laugh, no matter what the year has brought because I kbow and am persuaded of better days ahead.
Happy New Year
Grace Tom-Lawyer

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Another Joseph

And so in this Christmas period,in keeping with the flow of the season but still in the spirit of our ongoing series, On the Way to the Palace I would like us to examine the life of  one of the  men in the most talked about family in this season. Although  a lot of attention given to Mary and Jesus  we sometimes  forget the great role that Joseph played in the story. He is another Joseph whose son eventually got to the Palace.

“Jacob was the father of Joseph, who was the husband of Mary. Mary was the mother of Jesus, who is called Christ”.- Matthew 1:16 GW God’s Word Translation 
“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ”.- Matthew 1 :16 KJV King James Version
We are first introduced to this Joseph  as Matthew recounts the genealogy of Jesus..His father’s name was also Jacob, so we see him and his father being namesakes with our original Jacob who had twelve sons one of which was Joseph (Genesis 37:1-2)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this way: When His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. –Matthew 1:18 King James Version

“This is how the birth of Jesus ·Christ [the Messiah] came about. His mother Mary was ·engaged [pledged; T betrothed; C a formal agreement between families that required a “divorce” to annul] to marry Joseph, but before they ·married [came to live together], she ·learned she was [or was found/discovered to be] ·pregnant [T with child] ·by the power of [through] the Holy Spirit”.-Matthew 1:18-Expanded Bible EXB
The very first thing we are told after that is that he was the husband  of Mary and later verses tell us that Mary was espoused to him.In modern words they were engaged. This to me shows something admirable in his character. He was first engaged and eventually became a husband.
Joseph was a man of commitment. He  become engaged to one woman only; he was not the type that had five different sisters in different cities(some actually have five in  thesame Church!) who were believing that they were in a relationship . He was definitely a man who followed through his commitments as he eventually became Mary’s husband in spite of all odds.

Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement privately.- Good News Translation GNT

The next thing we are told is that he is a just man and when the Bible declares a man to be just, we better take it as the truth. Although Jesus Christ had not yet come and people had not began to live by faith through Jesus ,Joseph is decribed as “just” . Other translations describe him as  “good”, “righteous”,”a  man of stern principle”, ”honourable” .Ask any group of women to give some qualities they would want in a mate and these attributes are usually among the first to be listed.

“Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly”.-Matthew 1:19-Common English Bible CEB
“Joseph, because he was kind and upstanding and honorable, wanted to spare Mary shame. He did not wish to cause her more mbarrassment than necessary”.- Matthew 1:19 VOICE
“Joseph ,the man she was to marry was a good man.He did not want  her to be made ashamed .So he planned to leave her without telling people about it “-Matthew 1:19 Worldwide English WE
“And Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily”.(emphasis mine)-Matthew 1:119 KJ21

Although this man is just, Joseph  is sensitive. He is sensitive to the feelings of Mary and just this little phrase alone (..minded to put her away privily.....)underscores volumes of how much he really loved her. His love was not just based on “as long as I marry you”. Yes she had done something that was outrageous and he was hurt, disappointed and felt betrayed, yet he did not think there was any need to put Mary through any further turmoil. In our day, he did not see the need to go to Facebook or send tweets on Twitter ranting about how disappointed he was and looking for cheap sympathy. Usually this would draw several biased comments from people who are not seeing the other side of the picture and only end up strengthening whatever hurt he may have felt or the need to soothe his ego.Sometimes the simple reason while we choose this course of action is the need for revenge but Joseph did not have any iota of this . He knew what the law demanded but he also knew he had the rights to execute mercy. He could not control what had happened but could definitely control his reactions. He did not leave his thoughts to dwell on his hurts but thought about what it would mean to the woman he loved .This was a man any woman would want any day, He was a protector.

On the Way to the Palace, we need to be people who can be trusted to follow through our commitments and we should not let our doing things right hinder us from being sensitive to others.
.
Merry Christmas,

Grace Tom-Lawyer.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

On the Way to the Palace 18-The Pit 2

 “ Now when Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him of his tunic ,the {distinctive } multicoloured tunic which he was wearing 24 then they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty,there was no water in it”- Genesis 37:23-24 AMP Amplified Bible


So we see Joseph is thrown into a dry pit by his brothers and the very next verse tells us that they sat down to eat food. It is very possible to be  a few inches from where help is and encounter no response. The action of Joseph’s brothers in this instance goes a long way to show us how far jealousy and hatred had shut their minds against their younger brother. Although they heard his pleas, they refused to listen and left Joseph in a precarious situation in a bid to get rid of him and his dreams.

Contrary to popular opinion on how our lives should be, we see that the life of Joseph ,a man who eventually got to the Palace was not without trouble (Psalms 34:19). He was not constantly always on Cloud 9.He had his ups and downs and honestly, that is just life. Between every mountain top experience are valleys. It is one of these valley experiences that we find here as Joseph encounters a pit.

Joseph is found in this pit because his brothers threw him inside. The man on the way to the Palace may encounter pits as a result of the actions of others or even as a result of his own action. Some pit situations may be self generated due to unwise decisions(Luke 15:11-32). It is important for the man on the way to the Palace to distinguish how he came about being in the pit as this may be a first step to coming out of the pit.

The second thing we see about the pit is that he is left alone by himself having been stripped of his beloved coat and symbol of his father’s love. Physically there is no one with him and emotionally, there is also a void. It is an age long trick of the enemy while we are in the pit, to want us to believe we are actually alone whereas the Scriptures make it clear that God never leaves (physically ) or forsake us(emotionally ) Hebrews 13:5 .On the way to the Palace, as we encounter several pits, it is of utmost importance to remember we are never alone, irrespective of our external circumstances.

The third thing about Joseph in the pit is that we are made to understand is that Joseph was not idle. He was not content to remain   in the pit thus  he lifted up his voice and cried, appealing to his brothers to have mercy. It was certainly not a pit he could come out by himself because if he could , he would have surely done so. But even his pleas for mercy fell on deafened ears(Genesis 42:21). Joseph quickly found out  that although help may seem quite near, the only help we can really get is the help that comes from God(Psalms 121:1),

 The man on the way to the Palace would encounter pits. These may come in different sizes, shapes and seasons. We generally do not choose to enter a pit but sometimes we may by our actions bring pit situations to ourselves. But whichever way we get into the pit, we must remember that we are not alone. A conscious awareness of both the presence of God and continual meditation of the word of GOD are indispensable for the man on the Way to the Palace.

Yours Sincerely,

Grace  Tom-Lawyer.