What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Third Sunday of Advent & Sermon Notes "Joseph's Dreams"

Our Home Advent Wreath for the Third Sunday of Advent

Click HERE for "The Angels Were Talking" from our home advent service.

This morning in our church worship service we were blessed to have the children from "Children's Church" sing for us.  This was my view from behind them in the choir loft as they were singing...
And this was the view of them after they were finished singing and headed to Children's Church for their own service...

Aren't they wonderful?  It is always such a blessing to see the children in church and to hear them sing. We are so blessed to have so many sweet and wonderful children...and the willing workers who do so much to teach them from God's Word.  Thank you, Lord, for these blessings!!!

Then we settled back down and began our regular service with the lighting of the Advent Candle. This week's candle was reflective of Christ as our Light and the source of our JOY.

We read responsively:

"In the season of Advent, we celebrate with Joyful hearts.
Christ is our light and the source of our joy.
We count our blessings, and give thanks for God's goodness and grace.
Christ is our light and the source of our joy.
We strive to search for the good in neighbors near and far.
Christ is our light and the source of our joy.
We remember that God has promised us full and joyful lives.
Christ is our light and the source of our joy."

As the third Advent Candle was lit, the Pastor prayed:

"Gracious God, as we continue our Advent journey, we ask that you open our eyes to the beauty and goodness around us, and fill our hearts with grateful joy.  Remind us that Christ is our light and the source of all joy, and that we are here to serve You and to spread that joy to others. Amen."

Following the sermon and during our Communion service, I was blessed to sing the following song in a quartet.  What a beautiful message about our Savior, Who is the very "Breath of Heaven".

Our message today was about "Joseph's Dreams", which came from portions of Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:13, Matthew 2:19, and Matthew 2:22.  I commend these scripture portions to your reading while I share the interesting points from therein.

I wonder how many of us realized just how often God actually communicated with Joseph, Mary's espoused husband, regarding not just the birth of Christ, but also regarding His safety and protection to preserve His young life.  I think we are all aware of that first encounter that Joseph had with the Lord in a dream (Matthew 1:18-25), when Joseph was thinking about having Mary "put away secretly" because she was "found with child of the Holy Spirit" before they had come together as man and wife.  Joseph was obviously concerned and afraid of what people would think when they found out his betrothed was already pregnant.  He knew that he was not the father of her child...so what was he to do?

But "an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream," (vs. 20), telling him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, "for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." The angel goes on to explain to Joseph that her Son will be called "Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." The Angel further explains that this Child, who is to be born of a virgin, shall be called "Immanuel", which is translated, "God with us."   

Joseph awoke from his sleep, and did exactly as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife...and did not know her (as his wife in a physical sense) until she had "brought forth her first-born Son.  And he called His name Jesus."

  • Joseph obeyed God in spite of the stigma, the possible ridicule from others, and probably loss of respect for both of them.  He did not hesitate to do exactly as the angel had commanded him.
Then we go to Matthew 2 and see the story of the Wise Men who came from the east in search of the King of the Jews.  This was most likely about two years or more after the birth of Christ. They had seen the star in the sky back at the time of the birth of Christ, but they traveled many, many miles in search of this King.   When they finally reached Jerusalem, they asked King Herod where they might find this "King of the Jews."  Herod was rather troubled by this news, but nonetheless, he told them that according to prophecy, (Micah 5:2), the "Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel" would come out of Bethlehem. When the Magi went on their way, the star reappeared and led them to the Christ Child Jesus, they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and then went on their way.  

Joseph was once again warned in another dream by an angel of the Lord (Matthew 2:13) to
"Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him."
  • Joseph arose, "he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt."
  • He obeyed the word of the angel again explicitly...and saved the life of the young Jesus.
You can read for yourself in verses 16-18 what King Herod did to all of the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts from two years old and under.  Had Joseph not obeyed the angel of the Lord, Jesus would have been killed.

But the story doesn't stop there.  In Matthew 2:19, after news came to Joseph that Herod had died, an angel of the Lord appeared again to Joseph while they were still living in Egypt.  In verse 20 he said to Joseph, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child's life are dead."

  • Joseph again obeyed and arose, "took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel."
  • Verse 22:  "But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. "And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee.
  • Verse 23:  "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene."
The thing that stands out in all of these events between Joseph and the messages from angel of the Lord is that Joseph never questioned the angel of the Lord once.  Instead, Joseph awakened from his sleep, got up, and obeyed the word of the Lord.  He did not object or argue or  question.  He obeyed. He said "yes" to God.  God said it, and Joseph obeyed.

What did Joseph get out of this whole experience?  We really don't hear a lot about Joseph from this point on in Jesus' life, but we do know that Jesus later was known as "The carpenter"...(see Mark 6:1-6), so he apparently had taught Jesus his trade as a carpenter.  And in Luke 2:41-52, when Jesus  was twelve years old and the family had gone to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, Jesus stayed behind in the Temple...and Joseph and Mary were very concerned when they could not find him...and it says in Luke 2:51-52 "Then He (Jesus) went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them...", "and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."  Joseph had the opportunity to give appropriate training, discipline and guidance to the young boy Jesus.  Joseph was a major player in the story of Jesus' life, all because he obeyed God even in the face of possible ridicule, danger, and fear for their own lives.

What does this story have to do with us?  Well, in what ways has God asked us to obey Him? We may not have such an important role in life as Joseph did...but then again, maybe we do. When we choose to obey God, we get to see God restore broken lives, relationships...and we are rewarded with the joy of living a life of peace with God.  We are given the opportunity for eternal life when we choose to obey the Lord...and we may be instruments for leading others into a personal relationship with Christ...when we obey the Lord.

We are invited to adopt this attitude of obedience as a part of our Christmas time of worship and celebration.  In what ways is God asking me to obey Him today? What about you?

Sermon Notes: FUMC, Interlachen, FL., Pastor A.C. Myers, 12/16/2018

Please Note : I want to repeat this disclaimer here...the notes, outline, and content included here are based upon my own personal understanding of the message that was being given. I am not attempting to completely quote or reproduce this message or any other message I've shared previously. Just as each person reading these notes may glean insights and thoughts that seem to directly apply to one's own situation and interpretation, my own delivery of these messages is skewed by my hearing and translation of what is being said. Some may read my notes here and wonder if they were hearing the same message as I...and I say, God speaks to each of us as He wills...there are things He is trying to get across to each individual that may be entirely different than what the person sitting next to you in the pew is needing to hear... That is how the Holy Spirit works! He knows what we need to hear and how to apply it to our hearts. So it is with that understanding that I present these sermon notes to you.


  1. We had the children sing today, too. They did Away In A Manger. So sweet!! The third Sunday of Advent sure got here fast! Happy Sunday and wishes for a blessed week ahead, Pam!

    1. I love hearing them sing! Yes, this month is flying by, and I am still not ready, but somehow Christmas always happens on time. May your week be blessed and happy too. Thank you!!

  2. I wonder what experiences Joseph had in his life up until then that made him so obedient, so familiar with the Lord's voice, and so prepared to respond immediately and completely.

    1. That is an interesting thought, Sandi. He certainly was a remarkable young man in so many ways. God had prepared him for his role in the life of Jesus very well. He is a wonderful example to us all.

  3. Children sang at our concert last night too, I love to hear them!

  4. Children sang at our concert last night too, I love to hear them!

  5. We have a large children's ministry in our church and it is always a blessing to have them participate in the service.

  6. Our Children's department sang during the Children's Moments in our main worship service. Our children sang four songs. Two traditional carols and two fairly modern songs. Your sermon notes have given me something to think about. Peace and blessings.

  7. I love when the children sing for us, always a blessing. Thanks for sharing your sermon notes. One of the comments mentioned what was it about Joseph that God used him as He did, I also wonder about the character of Mary, that she was chosen to deliver the Christ Child. Mary and Joseph both found favor with God.

  8. Obedience to God should be our number one priority, but too many times, we think we know what's best for us, and fail to follow God's lead. May all of us remember the obedience of Joseph when we are tempted to stray.
    Blessings, Pamela!

  9. I imagine that Joseph had a very close relationship with God the Father since he was given the earthly father responsibility for the young Jesus. I've not thought a lot about that till now.


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