Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Your heritage in not you!

This past Sunday I mentioned how Martha, Lazarus, and Mary may have been related to Judas the betrayer of Jesus. Have you ever read the genealogy of Jesus?

Jesus was of course one half pure DNA from God the father but half of His DNA came from Mary. In the genealogy of Mary are a couple of character flaws that we would consider imperfect.

Rahab was the harlot of Jericho that protected the spies who came to the city to check out its defenses. As a reward for her great faith, she and her whole household were saved. Later she married Salmon and became the great-great grandmother of King David and also then, in the linage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). Can you imagine a prostitute in the linage of Jesus?

If we step back a couple of verses we see that an illegitimate child is in Jesus linage. Matthew chapter 1:3 tells us that Judah had a son Perez through Tamar. Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law. In Jewish custom if a husband died it was then his unmarried brothers responsibility to marry his brother’s widow and have children through her that would be counted to the dead brother, to preserve the brother’s linage. Judah had refused to do this so Tamar tricked him. She acted like a prostitute and Judah went into to her, she became pregnant and gave birth to two boys Perez and Zerah. Perez, the illegitimate son of Judah is in the linage of Jesus. (Read Genesis chapter 38 for the whole story.)

Why is this so important? Two reasons. First, even reading the genealogies is important. Don’t skip over them there are very important items to learn about life and God even in them. Second, all of us have skeletons in our closet; things we wish were not there. These are things in which we have either simply failed God or we failed others and thus ultimately failed God.

These skeletons are not to limit us. In fact, if we choose to let them go and give them to the Lord, He will use them for his glory and honor. Your past has helped create who you are, but it does not need to be a detriment to who you will become. Salmon and Rahab were well aware of her past. Perez was well aware of his birth. Rather than allowing these things to control them, they were able to give them to the Lord and allow the Lord to use them.

How you came into this world does not matter. The failures in your life do not matter to God as long as you give them to Him. He will use everything, good, bad, and ugly, if we will allow Him. He can take the most horrific situations in our lives and use them for His honor and glory. He will also turn them from disaster to blessing if we will allow Him to.

What are you hiding from in your life? What hidden sin do you have that you believe will destroy you or limit you? Nothing is impossible with God. The only limitation God has is our unwillingness to place everything in His hands. Do yourself a favor and blessing today, Let go of your past, put it in His hands and see what he will do with it! Your heritage is not who you need to become. It is part of who you are but instead of a detriment God wants to use it for His glory.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Can God mess with your plans? A Christmas Story!

The answer to that question is of course, yes! Scripture tells us that God’s ways are higher than our ways. Our view of life and our future, is often limited by what we perceive as the best. Some times are best is a very limited view of who God wants us to become and who God really is.

To clarify my point let’s look at the life of Joseph. In Matthew chapter 1 verse 19 we get some very good information about Joseph.

“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.”

From this one verse we can tell a lot about Joseph. He was just. This means he was a man who loved the law of God, in a good way. He loved and served God and wanted to be pleasing to Him. Longing to do what was right.

We also see that he did not want to embarrass Mary. He really loved her. He had the right to publically humiliate her and to have her stoned to death. Instead he chose to quietly and secretly have her sent somewhere to have the baby so no one would know. This meant he was willing to cover her expenses to travel and stay away until the baby was born.

Joseph was a carpenter, in a small town, most likely made up of people with whom he was related. He was not a wealthy man. He was a man who loved much. I am sure after many years of waiting, Mary was finally old enough for marriage. He had dreamed and planned for this day for a large portion of his life.

Can you imagine for a moment how he would have felt? His plan was a simple one. Get married, have children, build a nice carpentry business that his sons could take over. God interrupted those plans. God knew Joseph could handle the detour in his life. It seemed for the time that his life was falling apart, that his plans were coming to nothing.

Do you ever feel that way? You may be in that place right now. This is one of the reasons it is so important to know God’s word. One of His many promises to us is that if we trust and seek Him, He will fulfill the desires of our hearts, Psalm 37:4,5. They may not always be fulfilled in the way we expect but are always filled God’s way.

Joseph thought he was just going to be a normal guy. God saw a man he could trust with His Son. Joseph became the adoptive Father of Jesus, the son of the living God. Joseph did not have to worry about carrying for Mary. God took care of her. At the cross, Jesus placed Mary in John’s care.

Whenever God messes with our plans, it always turns out better than our plan. He created us each for a purpose. If we trust Him, follow Him and love Him he will fulfill a better plan that what we can imagine. Expect Him to do great things with and through you! Don’t allow messed up plans to be a sign that God is not with you, for you, or using you. They may be the very fulfillment of your hearts desire.