daily devotional

Guest Host – Rebecca Casey

Well good morning beautiful. Welcome to a brand new day of life and happy Thursday everyone. I mean Happy Friday Jr – who is happy to be alive today and be just one day away from the weekend? I know I am! My name is Rebecca Casey, I am on the leadership team here at BIG Life and I am honored to be back as your guest host again today.

Today I want to talk a little bit about this holiday season and faith. Let’s start with Mary and Joseph. Their story begins when they are planning to be married and in that day it was a big deal – you are promised and to undo even the engagement is like a divorce. So Mary is pregnant and not by Joseph so he plans to quietly divorce her – that’s the summary because this is a big deal.

Matthew 1:18 …Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit.”
verse 19 – “Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

Really adultery in that time was a capital offense. Joseph is thinking she has broken the law. He was a law abiding citizen and we also see he is compassionate. He plans to show her mercy and handle it quietly.

Matthew 1:20-21
But after her had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name of Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

While we don’t know a lot about Joseph – we do know this is a very human response. He responds they way a lot of us would. The angel tells him do not be afraid…

Matthew 1:24
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Let’s talk about faith here. Have you ever seen that bumper sticker that says

God said, it, I believe it, that settles it.

For many people that is faith. They believe. It’s simple. That is beautiful for them.

For others faith is a journey. It has ups and downs. I was behind the door or looking at something sparkly when acceptance was handed out. Those who question have more of a struggle. Here we see Joseph struggling and wresting .

Have you ever doubted? People say things about God or faith an it’s not that you say “NO WAY!” But you doubt and think – I am not so sure about this – or how – or why? Right! I would say most of us struggle at some point. Doubt is normal.

Right from the beginning people struggled and wrestled with Jesus. Even the man who would raise him. We think doubt is the opposite of faith. It isn’t Fear is. Faith is relational. IT’s trust. Faith motivates. Fear paralyzes. Doubt is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to keep moving forward.

Let me tell you this… no matter who you are, you have experienced fear at some point in your life. I cannot imagine Joseph’s fear… and here is that verse again

Matthew 1:20
“…Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid.”

So if I were a sorting hat (see the reference there) I would see two groups. Those who doubt and those who generally do not doubt.

Ok, non doubters, you beautiful people who accept also need to be careful with your opportunities. If you don’t doubt, an the acceptance is easy for you – you might look down on those who doubt or question. It can bring on arrogance. I used the word beautiful for a reason. It is beautiful how you accept and it can be beautiful for you to help those who don’t accept so easily. Acceptance doesn’t make you a super Christian. If you are strong, don’t look down, help someone else. Don’t be afraid. Don’t respond with fear or judgement, Just listen…Where people go in doubt depends a lot on the parole around them. Support them. Listen. Listen. Guide them. Remember faith is what God does in people not what you do. Listen.

Doubters… those of you who say things like, “I’ve never seen anything like that!” Right, is that you? Doubt is a natural response. Doubt is ok. Christianity should be a safe place, your church should be a safe place, your friendships should be a safe place. Doubt provides opportunity to move forward. If you are struggling with your faith or doubting. I encourage your to use this season to explore a little more. Be BOLD, get involved in a small group at your church or go to an information meeting at your church. Reach out to someone and talk. Work through the struggle – there is opportunity there for growth and I’ll bet someone will come later who you can listen to a guide through the same thing.

I don’t know if you are doubting or what your struggle might be right now but I do know that my God loves you. He loves me. He wants to reassure you in your doubt. He wants to be your constant. I think of all the struggles people encounter with their faith – I mean lets just start with a Virgin Birth… there is a concept that would probably cause anyone to say “WHAT?” Maybe its something small, maybe its something large. I do know that God offers hope and forgiveness and eternal life. I do know that he can put the right person in front of us or put us in front of the right person at the right time. We need to do our part and speak up, have a conversation, find that opportunity to struggle and overcome where you are doubting, or find that opportunity to listen to someone and walk alongside them in their doubt. Jesus doesn’t need us to defend him, he needs us to represent him. So how will you represent Jesus this holiday season and in your daily life?

Don’t be alone this holiday season. Go to church. If you don’t have a church – church shop! You can see some great holiday services at this time of year. It is ok to shop around. If you have a home church, get involved. Step out and sign up for something that can grow your faith and put you with others that are just like you and others who are not like you. Listen to each other. Listen to the beauty of the differences that exists in us all. I mean who wants to sit next to a robot or be with people who are all the same. God made us individuals who doubt and who don’t doubt. Go be your beautiful self and listen to the beauty of the season and… DO NOT BE AFRAID.