Interruptions or Opportunities?| Teoria Murray

One lazy Sunday afternoon, I was lounging in bed engrossed in a good book, relishing in the rarity of a weekend off work. I planned to immerse myself in the peace and quiet, only moving from my bedroom to the kitchen and back again as needed.   

In the middle of my relaxation, the doorbell rang, and I dragged myself to the door. It was my aunt and uncle, making a spontaneous visit. Before I could greet them, I had the wind knocked out of me by an enthusiastic hug around my abdomen. My 7-year-old cousin Hannah gave me a wide smile. 

“Teoria! I’ve been wanting to play with you all day!” she gushed.

I swallowed a sigh and returned her embrace. My relaxation would be put on hold for the moment.

We have all felt the frustration of being interrupted or delayed. We can find ourselves interrupted or thrown off course by long lines, needy neighbors, traffic, or loved ones in crisis.

On a larger scale, sometimes God interrupts our plans with His own. When Jesus was born into our world, it was in a place and at a time when no one was expecting Him. Zacharias, an elderly priest with a beloved but barren wife, was faithfully serving in the temple of the Lord when an angel appeared. Prayers, perhaps long abandoned, were answered in the pronouncement that he would be the father of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ. Though initially he doubted, Zacharias experienced the faithfulness of God.

Months later, Mary was interrupted by the news that she would bear the Savior. She was engaged to be married in a culture where even the suggestion of impropriety carried severe penalties. Yet ,she embraced her calling, responding to the angel,

 “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” (Luke 1:38 NLT)

On the night Christ was born in Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were involved in the quiet mundane routine of tending their sheep. Their ordinary night was transformed by the appearance of a multitude of angels announcing the Savior’s birth. God chose an unlikely group of men in an unlikely location and showcased His glory to them. With great joy, they went in search of Jesus and found Him just as they had been told. Like the shepherds, wise men from the East received revelation of the birth of the king of the Jews and traveled to Bethlehem, following a star. Their faith was rewarded when they found the child Jesus and were able to worship Him and present Him with gifts.

These divine interruptions were more important than those affected could have imagined at the time. 

Christian author Ellen G. White once wrote, “God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him.” 

To experience God’s best and highest desires for us, we must be in step with Him in our daily lives. This is only possible through consistent prayer and the study of God’s word, so we can recognize His voice. 

Most of us will not experience the appearance of angels to redirect our path. Instead, we may hear God calling us aside in the counsel of a spiritual advisor, a new and unexpected opportunity, or even a closed door. At these times, we have a decision to make because God will not force our hand. 

Mary could have chosen not to be a vessel and nurturer for God’s Son, preferring to follow the plan she had already envisioned for her life.  The shepherds could have continued their duties as usual. The wisemen could have dismissed the star that guided them and returned to their studies. God would have chosen others to carry on His plans, but those who refused would have missed out in a big way.

It is wise to have plans and goals for each day, but let’s not be too rigid. Always leave room for miracles, because what looks to us like falling off track may actually be God setting us up for an amazing journey. So the next time you are interrupted, pause and seek God’s word on the matter. That apparent delay could be a blessing in disguise.

Have I Not Sent You?| By Emily Lawson

It has been a rough month. The unexpected has caught my family off guard, while the expected has fallen through. When I thought I knew the path, God once again showed me I did not, but that did not give me the answer of where it actually was going either. 

And that is hard. 

It is hard to hope and to be let down. It is hard to think you are right to then find out you are not. And truly, it makes you want to hide – to hide from the world, hide from God, hide from the work He has put in front of you. 

However, hiding also makes you feel unworthy of the good things He has already given.

Why do I deserve to serve Him when I let my own disappointment get in the way? 

Then, Judges 6:12-14 (KJV) truly taught me a hard lesson.

“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” 

Here Gideon is called a “Mighty Man of Valour” by an angel that appeared to him, but we also see here that Gideon is still human. He has the human weakness of asking for clarification, wanting to understand more, and questioning himself.

No, these things are definitely not what we want to do when God is calling us to action, but how many times have I felt not good enough because I had let Him down?

How many times have I said, I am not the one for that job,and I just did not get up and go? I asked questions and did not just go for it, so now, it is not for me?

Jonah RAN AWAY from God’s call. He fled! And what did God do? He taught him a lesson inside the belly of a whale, then spit him out right where he needed to be to complete the task God asked him to do from the beginning!

Just because we have side stepped, or been afraid, does not mean that God does not want us anymore.

Verse 14 says, “Have not I sent thee?”

God chose you because He has a plan for your life.

God chose you because, little do you know, you ARE capable. You may not feel it or see it, but God KNOWS. 

God knows what you need to turn away from. He knows the things to let in to help you grow a little stronger and to make you lean into Him a little more. 

He does not call the qualified! God qualifies those He calls.

Follow Emily’s Instagram @the_modest_wife and/or email her at modest.wife@gmail.com.

Walk With Purpose| By Chelsea Verdin

It was day two at my new job, and frankly, I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the information my brain was trying to absorb and process at the same time. 

I could remember thinking to myself, “You were not created for this extreme amount of multi-tasking. You are going to hurt yourself with information overload.”

I was feeling a little pressured by the amount of expectation that had already been placed on me with this new title.

Then, like a gentle reminder from heaven, my new boss said to me, “I like the way you walk. You walk with purpose.”

I stopped for a moment and turned to thank him with a smile. I imagined God’s voice whispering these words to me and felt my anxious spirit soften. I had only heard this phrase said one other time when my Pastor told a story a few weeks earlier. I had in no way imagined hearing it here, in my new work space. However, I needed to hear those words more than anything. I needed the refreshing reminder that my life is not mine. It is not working or living for the simple act of happiness. I am alive because God created great purpose within me. It was not earned, gained, or learned, but wired inside of my DNA.  

Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows the plans He has for us-to prosper us and give us hope and a future.

John 10:10 says that the enemies purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy, but that Jesus’ purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says that there is a season for everything under heaven.

When I read these verses, I hear the word PURPOSE. God has created a purpose for us. Jesus’s purpose was to give us life. Everything under heaven has a purpose. You, me, the animals, the plants, the galaxies, we all have a purpose in life. 

I used to believe that we only had one purpose. Each person was granted one purpose that they had to fulfill. However, I do not know how correct that is anymore. If we are in one season of our life, there is a particular kind of purpose that goes with that season. And as we change seasons, so do our purposes. Of course, we all have a giant purpose that is exactly the same – the great commission from Jesus to make disciples. 

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” -Matthew 28:19 (NLT)

However, I believe we each are destined to fulfill temporary purposes as we achieve the great big one. I believe they intertwine and connect us to the greater one. Whether we are studying for our future professions, working full time, taking care of sweet babies, or creating a home, somehow, someway our “smaller” purposes will set us up for the bigger one. 

We are not walking just to get to study hall, just to finish our shift, just to pick up the crying baby, and just to make sure the house is clean. We are walking because there is a purpose to our lives. There is a purpose in our steps, and each one of us is walking into the bigger picture of God’s glory, something that we could never get closer to by sitting still. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 

A lot of us are walking to fulfill an unsatisfied happiness that could never be accomplished because happiness is based on feelings. I believe that if we walk because we know there is great purpose in where we are going, who we are around and what we are doing, then great joy will begin to flow from our lives. Not happiness that is fleeting, but great joy because we are fulfilling that which has been wired inside of us. 

Maybe your boots were made for walking, but you, you were made for something bigger than you could ever imagine. And each step, each act, each encounter sets you up to fulfill that. Keep walking, friends. You are getting there.