Monday, December 3, 2012

Devotion: Unexpected Love

"Because Mary's husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly." Matthew 2:19

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I am currently going through an Advent Bible Study through Good Morning Girls, and this week's theme is "Love." We started off this week reading Matthew 2:18-25, and as I was reading these verses to my children, it dawned on me Joseph's character. I always felt bad for the guy because he always seemed to take the back seat in things. His wife, Mary, was a key figure in this miracle story; her cousin, Elizabeth, was also key in her miraculous pregnancy with the child who would grow to be John the Baptist; in the manger scene, Joseph takes back seat in the awesome story of the Jesus, and the shepherds, and the wise men. We just don't really hear much about Joseph.

Today's key verse, though, speaks volumes about this silent figure. The Bible calls him "a good man" and we see how much love he has for Mary. As I was going over these verses with the boys, we were trying to pick out examples of love, as that is our theme of this week. Through this discussion, we talked about Joseph's unexpected love that he showed Mary. He had every right to publicly embarrass her, to divorce her, and to free himself completely of a woman who was having another's child {at the time, he didn't know she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit}. But even before he understood there was a miracle in the making happening with the love of his life, he loved Mary enough to show her kindness. You have to imagine the intense love he had for her and how heart-broken he was to break off their engagement. But instead of lashing out in anger, he was preparing to reach out in love.

1 John 4:18 says, "My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring." Joseph's actions were a small example of God's love for us. As much as we deserve His anger and complete separation from God our Father, He chose to love us. As children of God, we, too, are to share that love with others. The Advent Study I am doing is challenging us to participate in Random Acts of Kindness for those around us, for those we know and those we don't know. I love RAK. And although I have a pretty decent list of things I can do {just do a basic Google search or look up examples on Pinterest}, I had to send out an all-call on Facebook for ideas my kids could do {because, honestly, they don't have the money to get a gas card and tape it to the pump for the next person in line}. I also checked out the list my friend made for RAK she did for others on her birthday. See the post HERE for a list of things she did to bless others.

I encourage you to Unexpectedly Love Others this week. As a believer, this shouldn't be a seasonal thing. Make a list with your family, and once a week decide on a RAK to do for others. I bet your mail carrier would love a candy bar left in the mailbox in March just as much as getting a special gift during Christmas. Make this a tradition; make this a part of your daily life; make this part of your ministry; and most importantly, do this because God loves you more than you deserve.

Love others unexpectedly, and you will be surprised at the blessing you will receive in serving others. 

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