The Birth of Christ: Joseph Was a Believer (Part 2)

When a Sermon lingers in my mind, I know the Lord is trying to tell me something.  I felt compelled to share the Pastor’s Sermon on this blog on this Christmas Eve weekend.  A fuller sense of the Sermon I described in Part 1 yesterday is provided in this post.  

While focused on Joseph, the importance of believing as Christians was expressed as well by Dr. Coates in the Advent Sermon at his DC area church.

Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Delman Coates Ph.D., Senior Pastor.

  • Sermon theme: Standing on a Promise
  • Scripture: Genesis 3:15 (God’s promise), Matthew 13:20.

Below are key points in that Sermon on December 10, 2017:

  • “Joseph believed, Mary conceived (Immaculate Conception), and Jesus Christ achieved“.
  • “Faith is an attitude”.  Believers like Joseph had this attitude.
  • Don’t trust what you see, trust what God said”.
  • Stand on God’s promises, not doubt.  “If you hear God’s voice, know he’ll ‘pay the invoice’ “.
  • God’s ways aren’t always our ways, so believe that ‘some how, some way’ he’ll deliver on his promise. Therefore, don’t worry about time. Trust he’ll make a way.
  • The first promise of the Redeemer lies in Genesis 3:15.
  • I’m acting as if it is so, even though it ain’t so, in order for it to be so“.

Merry Christmas from 66 Assurance Way


The Birth of Christ: Joseph Was a Believer

I’m acting as if it is so, even though it ain’t so, in order for it to be so.

As part of a well-crafted, well-delivered Advent Sermon in Clinton, MD recently (12/10/17), we were told that Joseph believed, Mary conceived, and Jesus achieved. As the first part of a three-part Sermon Series, at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Delman Coates Ph.D. spoke on how Joseph was shown to believe.

The Black Baptist church has a membership of over 8,000 members. The choir sung as powerfully as their Pastor would later preach.  The Senior Pastor, Coates, gave a Sermon that was well received and, I suspect, remembered long after the congregants left the sanctuary.

  • Sermon theme: Standing on a Promise
  • Scripture: Genesis 3:15 (God’s promise), Matthew 13:20.

The third (11:45 am) worship service, which I attended with my three siblings, ended with the words which led this post. As Coates uttered them he realized, based on the reaction of those in attendance, that he had hit a nerve. He masterfully repeated them several times. It pulled together everything he had stated earlier in his Sermon – on the second Sunday of 2017 Advent. Only in the DC area for the weekend, I regret I will not be able to hear the other two parts of the Series!

What are the words that a Christian disciple who, like Joseph, believes in God should meditate on?

  • I’m acting as if it is so, even though it ain’t so, in order for it to be so.

Merry Christmas from 66 Assurance Way

Rules for ‘Holy Living’ (Scripture)


Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.   

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3: 12-14 NIV

  • The rules for holy living (v. 1 – 17) can be found at the link below. After my last post on Godly living, these seventeen verses seemed to be the logical next step.
  • Keep on walking!

Rules for Holy Living

Colossians 3 1-17 – NIV

66 Assurance Way

Spiritual Encouragement & Empowerment

Photo credit: Jerry Worster/flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

I Sang, I ended a Storm (My Singing Testimony)

At times in life, you just need to ‘tell a storm’:

Go away, My God surrounds me!


The killing of 9 members of the Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015, by a racially-violent white man, was senseless and sad!  As an African-American man born two years before the Birmingham Church bombing, I’m not sure which bothered me more, the racial hatred of the shooter or the place (a Charleston SC church) where he chose to kill the nine Black Bible Study participants.  I published “The Christ is Right: Go Get Your Prize” on June 14th.   After learning about the tragedy in SC 3 days later, I hit a ‘wall’.   It wounded my desire to think and write ‘in the spirit’ for this blog.

To know that a massacre, reminiscent of the 1963 Birmingham Church bombing in Alabama, could still happen in 2015 deeply saddened me.  That a white florist in Shelby NC took the bold actions (June 18th) which allowed the shooter to be promptly captured was very reassuring.  I’m not sure if that would have happened 52 years ago.  Moreover, 2 days after the SC shooting, seeing how forgiving the Black Christian families were to Dylann Roof was a pleasant surprise.  While the Bible tells us to be forgiving, that’s easier said than done!  In spite of these 2 facts, and the quickness with which Roof was captured, I still had this subtle but lingering bitter feeling that wouldn’t go away.  The closest thing I can personally recall that felt similar was the feeling I got after the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001.

  • As a Christian, what do I do for God and my church?  I’ve been a member of the Gospel Choir at my church since 2009.  I’ve been blogging here on 66 Assurance Way since September 2013.  These two things, along with the Dare to Work Ministry I founded at my church, are part of what I do as a Christian.  They are part of my walk.

As God felt my pain, in the months after the mid-June church shooting, he crafted a way to deal with it.  With my choir’s Anniversary just a few weeks ago, my fellow members and I had to learn 4 new songs. That involved 3 ½ hours of practice (!) on two days.  Moreover, in preparation for a local missions convention, a choir, one made up of the members of all five church choirs, was assembled; we practiced once.  Ironically, Blessed Assurance was one of the songs the Mass Choir practiced.

So, the ground work for the Lord’s plan was set.  I can see God saying the following to himself:

Greg is not taking the killing of Mother Emanuel 9 in South Carolina well.  I need to deliver a real big blessing to get him through this trial.  3 choir practices for two different choirs, in preparation for 2 singing events, will do the job!  I need him back in my Christian blogging army.  I can’t forsake him now.

66AssuranceWay blogger

I think my now you see where this story is going.

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The Christ is Right: Go Get Your Prize!


  •  If you’re certain that a specific action is indeed God-approved, don’t let popular opinion sway you.
  • Just because you embrace the Lord’s ways (Isaiah 55:8, Proverbs 3:5-6) doesn’t mean that others do too.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.   “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.   So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:8-9,11 NKJV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.  (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)

  • Stand firm!   Forget about keeping up with the Joneses, just keep up with Jesus!   Scripture tells us (James 4:1-8 NLT):

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you?   Isn’t it the whole army of evil desires at war within you?   You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it.

You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it.   And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong — you want only what will give you pleasure.   You adulterers!  Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God?  I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can’t be a friend of God.  What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, jealously longs for us to be faithful?   He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires.  As the Scriptures say, God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” 

So humble yourselves before God.   Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.   Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.   Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.  [Emphasis added]

Points to ponder:

  • Life is simple when you know whose WAYS really count, the Lord’s.  NOT your Own ways.   NOT the ways of Others either; especially if they lack your ‘Christ is Right’ certitude.
  • The Christ is Right!  Get your prize.  Your earthly blessings; your eternal salvation when you receive ‘the crown of life’ up yonder.
 Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NKJV

Photo credit:  TheHighCalling/flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Bearing Good Fruit Availeth Much (Scripture)


  • “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?   Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.   Matthew 7:15-17
  • I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This is my command: Love each other.    John 15:15-17
  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:22-25

 Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

For scripture (NIV), emphasis added.

Photo credit: Jerry Worster/flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)