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Advice From A Father!

Matthew 1:18-25

Have you heard of the Father's Day card with these words on the front:
"If little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, what are fathers made of?
When you open the card, you see these big green letters that say: "MONEY!"

On this Father's Day let's look at a well known father who had little money.
He had the hands of a working man and had a heart that loved God.
His name is Joseph.

Joseph is almost forgotten in Christian history.
But he was one of the really great fathers in all of history.
If we could walk in Joseph's shoes we would be the kind of fathers who would please God and the kind our children need.
There are only five paragraphs in the Bible about Joseph.
One describes Joseph traveling with Mary to Bethlehem because of the required census.

Another time we read about Joseph is when the family went to Jerusalem, and Jesus stayed behind
conversing with the teachers in the temple.
When Jesus was missed, His parents went back to look for Him.

Then there was the dream that revealed to him that Mary was pregnant with God's child,
and then the dream that he was to take Mary and the baby, Jesus, and flee to Egypt.
Then in Egypt he had a dream telling him that it was safe to return to his homeland.

The Bible has a lot to say about dreams.
This was a one way that God revealed His nature and His will to many throughout the Bible.

Abraham Lincoln said: "It seems strange how much there is in the bible about dreams.
There are, I think, some sixteen chapters in the Old Testament and four or five in the New in which
dreams are mentions; . . . If we believe the Bible, we much accept the fact that, in the old days,
God and his angels came to men in their sleep and made themselves known in dreams
-- From The Religion of Lincolnby William J. Wolf

Joseph is the namesake of the Old Testament son of Jacob, who was able to interpret the dreams of Pharoah.
God chose Joseph to be the earthly father for Jesus because he knew the heart of Joseph.
Joseph undertook the task of fatherhood unexpectedly and did it because he believed God.

God prepared Joseph for this awesome responsibility.
Joseph had been taught well the ways and will of God.
He had all the qualities that God wanted for the man who would raise His Son, Jesus,

Isn't it interesting!
When God chose a man to raise His Son it was not a religious man -- it was an average working man.

Joseph taught Jesus how to be a good carpenter.
He also taught Him the ways and will of God.
With every cut of the saw he taught Jesus to be straight and true, and as he would build beautiful furniture,
Jesus was learning how God could make things beautiful.
Every time Joseph would mash his thumb with the hammer Jesus was being taught how to deal with pain.

Fathers, teach your children the ways and will of God.
Teach them the worth of work, and demonstrate how they should react to the hurts of life.

Joseph was a loving father to a son who was not his own.

I have know many who have done that with children they have adopted.
Joseph reminds us that our children are not our own.
They belong to God.

God has given you children to raise for Him.
Think about that!

Joseph's dream gave him the reason that he could believe God.

Remember his situation.
He is betrothed to Mary.
This was similar to engagement period, and lasted about a year.
During this time he is told that Mary is with child.

This child was not his.
Custom would dictate that she was an outcast and should be sent away
The King James bible states, "put her away privily".
But Joseph believed God and took Mary for his wife, and took Jesus and raised him as his own.
He exposed himself to ridicule from his community

Paul Harvey once told the story of a young woman who driving home from work when she snagged her car fender
on the bumper of another car.
She was in tears as it was a new car.
How would she ever explain the damaged car to her husband?

The driver of the other car was sympathetic, but explained that they must have each other's license numbers
and registration numbers.
As the young woman reached into the glove box, she pulled out a large brown envelope holding the documents.

As she emptied the contents, a piece of paper fell out and caught her eye.
In a manly scrawl were these words; "In case of accident . . .
Remember honey, it's you I love, not the car!"

We raise our children in love and trust them with life.
As parents we trust them to God, and we let them go.
If we have taught them as Joseph and Mary taught Jesus, we will always have them.
And in their adult years the love and care we give will come back to us.

"When I was:
4 years old: My daddy can do anything.
5 years old My daddy knows a whole lot.
6 years old: My dad is smarter than your dad.

When I was:
8 years old: My dad doesn't know exactly everything.
10 years old: In the olden days when my dad grew up, things were sure different.
12 years old: Oh, well, naturally, Father doesn't know anything about that.
He is too old to remember his childhood.

When I was:
14 years old: Don't pay any attention to my Father -- he is too old fashioned.
21 years old: Him? My Lord, he's hopelessly out of date.
25 years old: Dad knows a little bit about it,
but then he should because he has been around so long.

When I was
30 years old: Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks. He has lots of experience.
35 years old: I'm not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad.
40 years old: I wonder how Dad would have handled it.
He was so wise and had a world of experience.

When I was
50 years old: I 'd give anything if Dad were here now so I could talk this over with him.
Too bad I didn't appreciate how smart he was. I could have learned a lot from him
-- Author Unknown

Parents we must lead our children to put their trust in the Lord.
The Bible tells us to train a child in the way he or she should go and when he or she is old,
he or she will not depart from it.

Jesus ministry was formed by the Holy Spirit through the parenting of Joseph and Mary.
Joseph struggled all the issues of parenting that we do.
God has gifted every one of us and will provide us with every resource that we need to be the right kind of parents.

Raise your children to become what God intends for them to be.

Dad's Greatest Job
"I may never be as clever as my neighbors down the street,
I may never be as wealthy as some other men I meet;
I may never have the glory that some other men have had,
But I've got to be successful as a little fellow's dad.

There are certain dreams I cherish that I'd like to see come true.
There are things I would accomplish ere my working time is through;
But the task my heart is set on is to guide a little lad,
And to make myself successful as that little fellow's dad.

I may never get earth's glory; I may never gather gold;
Men may count me as a failure when my business life is told;
But if he who follows after is a Christian, I'll be glad,
For I'll know I've been successful as a little fellow's dad
-- Author Unknown

Determine to be the right kind of father!

Sermon Adapted