Are you living the dream?
By Dan Ramsey
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother, Mary, was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Joseph was faithful to the law, but he did not want to expose her to public disgrace, so he had in mind to divorce her quietly. After he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him ‘Immanuel’, which means ‘God with us’.”
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
Joseph’s dream changed––not only his life––but the whole world.
What can we learn about Joseph and his dream?
Joseph was righteous man.
He was considerate and compassionate to marry, his fiancée. When he heard about Mary, he decided to divorce her privately, in spite of disappointment and heartbreak.
He was obedient to the voice of God. He must have had a very clear, powerful revelation from God.
But, let me take you back to Joseph’s early years and what might have been his thoughts and dreams growing up. We know that he became a carpenter and that being a man of high integrity his work skills were probably very high. I wonder if he had dreams back then. Was he involved in sports, hunting, or fishing? At what point did he want to become a carpenter? Did he have dreams of opening the first Gallery Furniture of Bethlehem? He became a very righteous man so his willingness to help people and care for people was also part of his young life. So did he have a dream of being a great carpenter and making a difference in people’s lives? Did Joseph clean up his room every day? Did he carry out the trash? Did he play with his friends every day? What did it take to seek perfection in his career and exhibit integrity throughout his life? It very well could be that he got it from his upbringing and his mentors.
His attention to his work ethic made him successful in his career.
Joseph had a great career, he was engaged to the woman of his dreams. He thought he was set for life. Then Mary told him she was with child.
Talk about a dream crasher!
Think about the state of mind of Joseph and Mary during this time of their lives.
Joseph––doubt, disappointment, heartbreak, and shame
Mary––shame, and fear of probable lifelong public disgrace
But God had a plan that would wipe away all of those trying emotions. God’s plan would give them the strength and courage to fulfill the blessing that was bestowed on them. To be the earthly parents of the son of God.
Have you ever had a dream shattered and your life changed forever?
I was into football and baseball at John H. Reagan High School, and I dreamed of playing football at the collegiate level.
My dream was shattered when a knee injury ended my football career.
I thought my life was over, what would I do now? Repairing knee injuries back in the 1960s were a lot different than they are now.
A few years later, I was called by God to realize another dream of becoming a Houston police officer.
I got to live that dream for 30 years.
God also gave me a wonderful wife, Nancy.
But back to Joseph.
The Bible does not reveal much detail about Joseph's role as a father, but we know from Matthew that he was an excellent earthly example of integrity and righteousness. Joseph is last mentioned in Scripture when Jesus was 12 years old. We know that he passed on the carpentry trade to his son and raised him in the Jewish traditions and spiritual observances.
Years ago Mark Lowry, a Christian comedian and vocalist recorded a song entitled “Mary did you Know”. The song is about questions he would like to ask Mary if he had the opportunity to speak to her.
I would like to be able to speak to Joseph sometime, and maybe his questions would be like the ones Mark would ask Mary.
Joseph did you know that your baby boy would someday walk on water?
Joseph did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that you baby boy has come to make you new?
Joseph did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Joseph did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand? Did you know that your baby boy has trod where angels trod? And when you kiss your little baby, you kissed the face of God.
O Joseph, did you know?
The blind will see; the deaf will hear; the dead will live again.
The lame will leap; the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.
Joseph, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Joseph, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am!
I won’t be able to ask him those questions until I get to heaven, but I look forward to that conversation.
Are you living the dream?
I hope you listen and live the dreams that Christ blesses you with.
Because He Lives!
Dan Ramsey, former president
National Association of Conference Presidents