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Advent Day 17: The Peace Of Divine Purpose

Fear can stop you in your tracks. It can make you run and hide. Satan loves to distract us with fear to keep us from seeing the safety of God’s direction. Fear threatened the fulfillment of Christmas multiple times, and God was intentional to remind His story’s key players over and over, “Do not be afraid.”

Matthew 1:18-21 tells us Joseph’s side of the Christmas story. Mary became pregnant before she and Joseph were married, and Joseph, “being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.” But an angel from God appeared to him in a dream, reassuring him that he had been chosen to raise God’s Son on earth.

Joseph initially responded to the news of Mary’s pregnancy by trying to preserve both his and Mary’s reputations, fearful of all the implications. He had no way of knowing Mary’s claim of virginity was legitimate, and he was going to break off their engagement. In the midst of a painful, confusing time for Joseph, God came to him in a dream, challenged his fear with the peace of divine purpose, and set him on course to be the earthly father of the greatest Man the world has ever known.

In our moments of fear, God wants to speak truth to us and break the power of whatever lie is holding us back. When we seek His peace, He will conquer our fears with His love. Ask God to come and speak truth to whatever lies are giving you anxiety today. He will be faithful to respond and empower you to move forward into the incredible purpose He has for you.

Prayer: Father, your Word says that You have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Thank You for giving me everything I need to move forward when the enemy tries to hold me back. I praise You that fear has to bow to the name of Jesus. During this Christmas season, and always, help me take fearful thoughts captive and immediately bring them to You so that Your peace can reign in my life.

Matthew 1:18-21 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 2:1-15 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

The Escape to Egypt After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love, and self-discipline.