Righteous Joseph

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I am very proud of my brilliant, kind, caring, stalwart husband, Ray. I am grateful for the encouragement he has received in the last few days.

When you live in a house as old as ours (built c. 1840-1845), you make many trips to the local hardware store. We do business there the way the long-time locals do (we aren’t long-time locals; we’ve only been here 19 years!). We have an account and pay our bill when they mail us a bill once a month. As Ray checked out one day last week, the young girl behind the counter asked for his name, so she could write his ticket. “Notgrass,” he replied.

She looked up at him, “Are you Ray Notgrass? I use your curriculum. I like it.” He was so pleased to share his story with me when he got home.

Ray had a similar experience this week. He was in the lobby of our local homeschool arts school. A young man across the lobby noticed him and asked the same question. “Are you Ray Notgrass?” The young man and Ray then enjoyed an encouraging conversation. The young man, who is a college student now, told Ray that he used several of our high school curricula and had wanted to study Notgrass high school world geography but that he had graduated before we published it. He said that he had purchased one to read on his own and discussed specific lessons in the curriculum with Ray. Again Ray was so pleased.

While they were talking, the young man’s mother and sister came into the lobby, too. I got to meet the three of them and she told me that she reads Daily Encouragement.  I don’t know how to describe to you the joy we feel when we meet families who use Notgrass History and mamas who read Daily Encouragement. It is such a joy to us. I have been especially grateful for the particular encouragements that Ray has received recently.

I am sure we all agree that the world needs more righteous men. I am humbled and in awe that I have the privilege of being married to one of them.

Ray and I continue the series of easy devotional ideas. Today the devotional is about the righteous man Joseph.

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

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 Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Discuss: What does the Bible tell us about the man God chose for the earthly father of Jesus?

Pray as you reflect on this truth: God is with us (Matthew 1:23).

Add to the basket: a piece of wood to represent Joseph, the righteous carpenter.

Today Ray and I add two pieces of wood to our basket. Both were gifts.

One is a tree made of cedar from Lebanon. Our friend Habeeb Habeeb gave it to us after a trip to his birth country of Lebanon. Habeeb came to the United States to attend college when he was 17 years old. Today he is a patriotic American citizen.

The other is a bell made of olive wood.

Our friends David and Joyce Chadwell gave the bell to us after they traveled to the Holy Land while they and our family were living in Oxford, Mississippi, where David and Ray served in ministry together.

No righteous man except Jesus Christ has acted in righteousness all the time, but Joseph demonstrated his faith and commitment to doing right in a heroic way after he heard the message of the angel of the Lord.

And Joseph awoke from his sleep
and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him . . .
Matthew 1:24a

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  

Optional Song: If you would like to add a song to today’s devotion, you might enjoy singing “Good Christian Men, Rejoice,” translated from the original German and Latin by Dr. John Mason Neale.

Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say:
Jesus Christ was born today.
Ox and ass before him bow,
And he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven’s door,
And we are blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this!
Christ was born for this!

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice;
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save!
Christ was born to save!


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