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When God Interrupts My Plans

(4)

Sermon shared by Pat Damiani

July 2011
Summary: Joseph and Mary show us how we are to respond to God when He interrupts our plans.
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
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Him, they must daily die to self.

But what God does promise is that if we surrender to His will, He will be with us all the way, no matter how difficult things might get. Listen to these promises of God:

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psalm 37:28 (ESV)

Jesus even promised that we would face tribulation in this world if we choose to surrender to His will. But in the end it will all be worth it:

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33 (ESV)

3. Become what God has called me to be

God called Joseph and Mary to be the earthly parents of His very own Son. Can you imagine what a frightening task that must have been for them? Joseph hadn’t even finished their house. Where would they live? And they weren’t prepared to raise a child yet – alone the Son of God. They had never raised a child before. James Dobson had not yet written his books on child rearing so they couldn’t read those.

So why out of all the people in the history of the world did God choose Joseph and Mary to raise His Son? We certainly don’t all the reasons, but certainly one reason is that God knew they would be willing to become what God had called them to be.

In particular, Mary found favor in God’s eyes not because of who she was, but because of what He was going to do through her. She was no different than any other teenage girl of her day. Like them she was a sinner who would only find salvation from those sins through the son she would bear. The fact that the Messiah would be born to her was fully an act of God’s grace in her life, not anything that she merited or deserved.

But what Mary demonstrates is that God’s grace is operational in the lives of those who respond to Him in faith. Although His grace is available to all, it is only effective in the lives of those who choose to trust in Him.

The same was certainly true for Joseph. Although he was a righteous and compassionate man, he, too, was a sinner who needed the salvation that would be provided by a child born to his wife – one that he did not even father.

Neither Joseph nor Mary asked to be the earthly parents of Jesus. It was not something that they aspired to and certainly not something that they were fully equipped for at the time God called them to become what he desired for them to be. But the rest of the gospels bear the evidence that they were very effective in that role because they were willing to allow God to equip them in His timing as they were faithful to carry out His plans for their lives.

I tried to no avail this week to find out who originally came with this quote, but it so succinctly summarizes what I hope we’ll all take away from the message this morning:

God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.

We find that principle demonstrated throughout Scripture. Here are just a few examples:
• God calls a murderer with a speech impediment to lead His people out of Egypt.
• God calls a little shepherd
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