Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26
My wife, Marlene, and I have been married for over 35 years. When we were first dating, we had a conversation I have never forgotten. She told me that at 6 months old she had been adopted. When I asked her if she ever wondered about who her real parents were, she responded, “My mom and dad could have selected any of a number of other babies that day, but they chose me. They adopted me. They are my real parents.”
That strong sense of identification and gratitude she has for her adoptive parents should also mark our relationship with God. As followers of Christ, we have been born from above through faith in Him and have been adopted into the family of God. Paul wrote, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5).
Notice the nature of this transaction. We have been chosen by God and adopted as His sons and daughters. Through adoption, we have a radically new relationship with God. He is our beloved Father!
May this relationship stir our hearts to worship Him—our Father—with gratitude.
Your child and giving me a place in
Your family. With a grateful heart, I
thank You for making me Yours.
The Life of Power to Follow
My Utmost for His Highest
Jesus answered him, ’Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward’ —John 13:36
Between these two times Peter denied Jesus with oaths and curses (see Matthew 26:69-75). But then he came completely to the end of himself and all of his self-sufficiency. There was no part of himself he would ever rely on again. In his state of destitution, he was finally ready to receive all that the risen Lord had for him. “. . . He breathed on them, and said to them, ’Receive the Holy Spirit’ ” (John 20:22). No matter what changes God has performed in you, never rely on them. Build only on a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Spirit He gives.
All our promises and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to accomplish them. When we come to the end of ourselves, not just mentally but completely, we are able to “receive the Holy Spirit.” “Receive the Holy Spirit “— the idea is that of invasion. There is now only One who directs the course of your life, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:18-25 (Good News Translation)
God’s Word: Guiding Us to Follow Jesus
Matthew 1:18-25: Matthew recounts how the birth of Jesus took place. An angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him that Mary, to whom he is engaged, has conceived a child by the Holy Spirit, and that the child is to be named Jesus.
Today’s Scripture: Matthew 1:23b
“He will be called Immanuel” (which means, “God is with us”).
18 This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. 19 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. 20 While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. 21 She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins. ” 22 Now all this happened in order to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet, 23 “A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel” (which means, “God is with us”). 24 So when Joseph woke up, he married Mary, as the angel of the Lord had told him to. 25 But he had no sexual relations with her before she gave birth to her son. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth has been described as being written from the perspective of Joseph. You may wish to compare this account with the one recorded in Luke’s Gospel (1:26-38; 2:1-20) which records the story from Mary’s perspective. According to Mosaic Law, Joseph knew that Mary could be put to death by stoning (see Deuteronomy 22:21) because she became pregnant before she was married. Do you sense that he was reluctant to marry her? Based on today’s reading, how would you describe Joseph?
Lord God, you sent your Son Jesus into the world to save people from their sins. Thank you, God, for your loving gift and for your mercy and grace. I praise you, “Immanuel,” for being “God with us.” In your holy name I pray, Amen.
Couples preparing for the birth of a child