Category Archives: Living the Word

A husband’s significance

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 2:1-5 (NIV) In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (2) (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) (3) And everyone went to his own town to register. (4) So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. (5) He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

What do we see when we read this passage of Scripture? We see that the Romans wanted to do a headcount of their population and that this was not the first time they had wanted to do so. We see that everyone was required to go to his hometown to be counted. We see that Joseph had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be counted correctly. And we see that Joseph has taken his pregnant fiancé with.

It is so easy to miss the significance of mere words on a piece of paper that were written some two thousand years ago. In not being a first century Jew or Roman official living or stationed in first century Israel, it is so easy to simply gloss over these words and think, “Okay! So Joseph travelled from point A to point B with his fiancé because he had to.” And thus it is so easy to miss the significance, the truth, of what has been written.

Take a step back for moment and ask yourself, “Where exactly was Nazareth in relation to Bethlehem? How did they get there? How long would it have taken for them to have travelled there? What about compensation for loss of income due to this travelling time? Was it safe for a pregnant women to be travelling this distance and under these conditions?”

When we take this step back and ask ourselves these questions, then we realise that Joseph would have had to have travelled by foot for four days just to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to satisfy the demands of a tyrant. And then we realise that this travel time would have doubled by the fact that he was taking a heavily pregnant women with him on the journey, needing to rest often, fearing imminent birth or worse, miscarriage.

And after we’ve realised these things, we realise – we see – the significance of what this passage of Scripture is trying to bring out to us; faithful commitment.

It would have been so easy for Joseph to have given Mary up because of her pregnant state and save himself from the ridicule and scorn of his peers. It would have been so easy to have left Mary in Nazareth with her parents and allowed her to be counted amongst the people of Nazareth. It would have been so much more convenient to just set aside his responsibilities and quickly get this over with.

But he didn’t. Because he was committed! And his commitment allowed him to remain faithful to Mary, believing the story she told him of how she became pregnant. And Joseph’s commitment allowed him to be faithful to God and His will for their lives, for the world.

How is your commitment? Can you be counted on to remain faithful to a cause, a decision, your word?

When we read the gospels, we find very little written about Joseph. He was not a prominent figure, or person of significance. Yet, maybe it is that God chose Joseph to be Mary’s husband for this very reason, for this very characteristic of his, knowing that it is going to need the faithful commitment of a man like Joseph to ensure the successful fulfilment of an ancient prophecy that would result in the salvation of humanity.

Joseph was not a man of significance. But he was a man of commitment. He was not asked to move mountains or drive out nations. But he was asked to be a husband to a women. And that was all. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Are you such a man or women that God can use? Can you be trusted to remain faithfully committed to whatever it is God has called you to be or do? Do you have it in you to be a Joseph? With God, all things are possible.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

A father’s duty

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 1:65-80 The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. (66) Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. (67) His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: (68) “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. (69) He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (70) (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), (71) salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us– (72) to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, (73) the oath he swore to our father Abraham: (74) to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear (75) in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (76) And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, (77) to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, (78) because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven (79) to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (80) And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Earlier is this gospel of Luke, we read how an angel had appeared to Zachariah, telling him that he would have a son in his old age. And now the words of the angel have been fulfilled and John – who we know as John the Baptist – has been born. Due to the supernatural significance surrounding his birth, people wondered what would come of him, what his purpose was going to be. Clearly God was with him and going to be with him.

In a time of Roman oppression and with a few failed coups speckling the past, maybe it was that the people were thinking, were wondering, if this child – John – was the one whom had been prophesied would come to set the captives free, set Israel free and restore her to her rightful inheritance. Maybe it was that the people were thinking, were whispering, “Could this be the Messiah?”

And when we read Zechariah’s prophecy, we nearly want to say yes! For he speaks of God now having come and redeemed His people; and he speaks of being saved from their enemies; and he speaks of God remembering and restoring His covenant. For a moment, people might be forgiven for thinking that Zechariah was indeed speaking, prophesying, about his son John.

But he’s not! You see, verse 69 shows us that the first portion of this prophetic utterance is related to a descendant of David. And Luke 1 vs. 5 shows us that both Zechariah and Elizabeth were descendants of Aaron the priest. They are thus not of the line of David. So, the first half of Zechariah’s prophecy is not related to his son John.

The second half of Zechariah’s prophecy is however related to his son. Zechariah has remained faithful to what he believes, knows, John’s calling to be as given to him by the angel in Luke 1 vs. 17. He prophecies over John in vs. 76, that he is to “go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” THAT is John’s call of duty. THAT is going to be his work. THAT is what his father will be preparing him for.

And that is Zechariah’s duty – a father’s duty: to remain faithful to what God has laid upon his heart for his children and to help prepare them for what God has called them to be.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Realised Faith

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 1:56-64  Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.  (57)  When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.  (58)  Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.  (59)  On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah,  (60)  but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”  (61)  They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”  (62)  Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child.  (63)  He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.”  (64)  Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God.

The story of the birth of John the Baptist is coming to an end. What started as a visitation from an angel with his message that two old people will give birth to a son, is now reaching its appointed time of fulfilment and completion.

Notice that there is an appointed time. Every message that God gives us, every prophetic word, has an appointed time and place for its fulfilment. As much as Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted their baby to be conceived and born immediately, they had to wait – endure – the time of pregnancy before he was to be born.

And so it is with us! When we hear from God we sometimes get so over-excited about the call, the message, that we run ahead of God and try in our own strength to implement or work out that which God has spoken. We lose sight of the process of development both of ourselves and the circumstances or timing that will allow for the call’s fulfilment. But for faith to be realised, we must continue to wait on God for the appointed time. For it does indeed have an appointed time.

Notice too that faith must be shared. It was not good enough simply for John to be born and for Zachariah and Elizabeth to privately name their child and cherish that in their hearts. A whole week had passed after John was born and yet Zachariah could still not speak. And it also wasn’t good enough for only Elizabeth alone to announce John’s name. No! Both of them had to. Zechariah had to somehow announce it too, make it known. And only after both of them had completed their part in the fulfilment of the angel’s message, only then is the message fully realised and completed and Zachariah’s tongue is loosed and he is able to speak again.

Finally, realised faith results in praise. And it is right that it does. For it is right to express thanksgiving and praise toward someone after they have promised you something and which has now been fully realised, supplied, and completed? This is even more true of God whose promises are true and full of love. We may not always fully understand why things are as they are. But know that when God has spoken and it has been fulfilled according to His will, praise will indeed be the end result of your realised faith.

Friends! Has God spoken to you? Has God laid something on your heart that you need to do? Or has He maybe promised something toward you? Is your faith waning?

Ask yourself if it is the appointed time for the fulfilment of the promise?
Share what you believe God has said to you with someone you trust.
And then praise God when it has been fulfilled and realised.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Exalted Worship

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 1:46-55 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord (47) and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (48) for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, (49) for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name. (50) His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. (51) He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. (52) He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. (53) He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. (54) He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful (55) to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

Mary has just arrived at Elizabeth’s house after being told by the angel Gabriel that she has been chosen by God to bear His son, Jesus, the saviour of the world. Elizabeth herself is party to the miraculous workings of God as she too in her old age had been visited by Gabriel to tell her that she will be having a baby. Spirits are high and rejoicing is flowing. And Mary bursts forth in worship, praising God.

Mary’s praise is a reminder to us of one of the elements of worship and that is exaltation. Many times when we as Christians “spend time with God” by having a quiet time or meeting in fellowship groups, very often our focused time is not spent on exalting God, but rather on getting something from God. Even at church and despite the worship band’s or choir’s practiced efforts, our hearts are not inclined toward exalting God, but rather preparing our hearts and minds to “receive the Word”. Our attitude of worship then is what does God want to tell us, rather than what do we want to tell God.

And this is not a bad thing. A very large part of the Christian journey is about our sanctification. And for that, we need God to speak to us, to tell us how we are doing and what needs to change or improve. But that is not all there is to Christian worship. We forget many times that worship is about God and not about us. We lose sight of the exaltation.

One of the great ways that Mary’s exalted worship shows us how we can worship God through exaltation, is to remember. Moses said in Deuteronomy 32:7 “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.” And that is what Mary is doing here; she is remembering. Nine times in ten verses, Mary says has. God has, God, God has. And in her remembering, she sees God’s hand of deliverance and salvation at work. So Mary worships.

God does not need to be reminded of what He has done; we do. And our remembering allows us to be grateful for what God has already done for us, allowing us then to truly worship God through exaltation. And when have remembered and our hearts have inclined to exalt God, remember and even use the words of Mary, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Holy is His name.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Joy’s Anchor

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 1:39-45  At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,  (40)  where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.  (41)  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  (42)  In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  (43)  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  (44)  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  (45)  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

If we had to summarise this entire passage with but a single word, that word would be joy. Joy drips off of every verse. The angel has just told Mary that she is going to bear God’s Son and that her cousin Elizabeth was also pregnant. So with joy she hurries off to visit with Elizabeth. Then when she enters Elizabeth’s house, she does not wait to see her or find her before she starts greeting. No! She is too excited, too filled with joy. I can imagine her stepping through the door and loudly calling out, “Elizabeth! Elizabeth!”

And Elizabeth too is full of joy. She herself has been visited by the angel and is pregnant with the child that the angel said she would bear in her old age. But upon hearing Mary’s calling her name, her joy is increased, and even her baby responds with joy at Mary’s presence. Then filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth joyfully announces a blessing upon Mary and her special child. And recognising the presence of God in her midst, Elizabeth joyfully recognises the favour of God in being visited by Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Finally, with joy, Elizabeth recognises that the essence of being blessed, of being filled with joy, is our faith in God and His promises. Faith is the anchor of joy.

You see joy needs faith. Joy that has nothing to cling to, is but only optimism. Optimism is not joy. Optimism is grounded, is rooted, in blind faith. Blind faith is not the same as faith. Blind faith is something that by our own design and desire, may or may not come to fruition, to fulfilment, to completion. Blind faith is not rooted in God, but man. And therefore it is not faith at all, but only optimism.

Faith on the other hand is rooted in God. It is grounded in who He is and what He can do. Just a few verses back, Gabriel declares to Mary that nothing is impossible for God. And because nothing is impossible for God, we can be confident that what He said, will be accomplished. And because what he said will be accomplished, we can be joyful, have joy.

Friends! Satan will come to try and rob you of your joy. He will make you look around at your circumstances and he will plant the seed of doubt as he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden and ask, “Did God really say?” Do not be fooled by this question. You need to remember that the anchor of your joy is faith in God and His promises.

At the end of his life, John finds himself in prison. After leaping with joy in his mother’s womb at the presence of Christ, the whispers of doubt now fill his ears. He sends a messenger to Jesus asking, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else” (Luke 7:19)? And Jesus replies, “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Luke 7:22). What Jesus was pointing out to John’s disciples was that the promises of God were being fulfilled. And so John could be confident in his earlier joy, knowing that it was not mere optimism, but rooted in faith in God.

Trust in God.
Remember His promises.
And be blessed and full of joy knowing that what has been promised by God will be accomplished.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

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