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Tag Archives: developing maturity

The Forgotten Man of Christmas

If you work for a large company, you will come across various characters, personalities and temperaments.  Meanwhile, if you are a regular visitor of social media sites, you can usually decipher those seeking attention from people who simply enjoy connecting with friends.  While there are numerous methods entrepreneurs can cash in on today, it’s okay to live a quiet life beyond the spot life.  Such is the case of one first century man.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by [the power of] the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her [promised] husband, being a just and righteous man and not wanting to expose her publicly to shame, planned to send her away and divorce her quietly, Matthew 1:18-19.

As a former junior high teacher, teenagers can be cruel.  Teens going through puberty can be down right nasty.  Imagine if your girl friend shows up to school pregnant and you didn’t have sex with her.  These were the thoughts racing through Joseph’s mind when his fiancée returns home from his aunt’s house several months pregnant.  Betrayed, confused and distraught, Joseph was on his way to break off his engagement quietly to avoid a messy divorce.  When an angel intervened, this forgotten man of Christmas had to wait until Jesus was born to consecrate his marriage.

Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year for the Passover Feast. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, according to the custom of the Feast; 43 and as they were returning [to Nazareth], after spending the required number of days [at the Feast], the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. Now His parents did not know this, 44 but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and traveled a day’s journey; and [then] they began searching [anxiously] for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem looking for Him [everywhere], Luke 2:41-45.

Joseph is one of those characters who quickly fades from the forefront, written out of a drama, movie or show after completing his mission.  There is only one mention of Joseph in the Bible following the events of Christmas, Jesus’ bar mitzvah, the event to celebrate a Jewish boy becoming a man.  This symbolic act enabled Jesus to become a man in God’s house.  Joseph likely died of natural causes, assumed to be dead and long gone, out of the picture, by the four gospel authors.  Then again, Joseph could have completed God’s will for his life following Jesus’ bar mitzvah.  Either way, Joseph is the forgotten man of Christmas, taking a back seat to Emmanuel, God with us in the form of baby Jesus..

by Jay Mankus

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The Crucial Role of Patience

Composure, endurance and fortitude are words synonymous with patience.  Of all the requests offered up to God in the form of prayers, patience is often skipped.  Those who have prayed for patience are immediately thrown into situations that require patience.  Unless you are ready to be challenged spiritually, you may want to focus on other areas of your life that need attention.

The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, but as they go on their way they are suffocated with the anxieties and riches and pleasures of this life, and they bring no fruit to maturity, Luke 8:14.

Following the parable of the sower, Jesus’ disciples took him aside, yearning to grasp and understand the spiritual meaning of this analogy.  Three of the four seeds sown fell upon soil with different limitations.  One was too compacted, another shallow and the third was surrounded by aggressive growing weeds.  In the passage above, those individuals who reside within these environments struggle to develop maturity.  When faith fails to become grounded, rooted in Christ, patience is just a word, rarely practiced or seen in public.

But as for that seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word with a good and noble heart, and hold on to it tightly, and bear fruit with patience, Luke 8:15.

However, for diligent caretakers, fertilizing, maintaining and weeding regularly, good soil is attainable.  According to Jesus, this is achieved spiritually by receiving God’s Word with a good and noble heart.  Yet, it doesn’t stop here.  The spiritually mature hold on to the promises of the Bible through trials and tribulations.  Those who stand firm through the storms of life, bear fruit with patience as a demonstration of the Holy Spirit.  May this blog help you realize the crucial role of patience, a trait that allows spiritual fruit to blossom.

by Jay Mankus

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