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.

Your Will be Done| By Zuzana Niedelova

Looking for a job can be lots of hard work. Most of us have been there. Our enthusiasm at the beginning slowly drops and changes to discouragement, and suddenly, we are only a step away from frustration.

That is what happened to me a few weeks ago. After a dreadfully difficult season, I came to a point when I was applying for any and every job that I came across, but nothing seemed to work out in my favor. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, an ad popped up in my browser saying a Christian youth working organization was hiring.

The position seemed like all I ever wanted – working with young people from various backgrounds and organizing projects to bring a bit of Jesus into their lives. It would even work around my part-time studies and the other job I do – perfect. So I applied and started praying: 

“Lord, I’ll be honest. This job looks amazing, and I’d absolutely love to do it, but if it’s not something you want for me, make it clear. Your will be done!”

The time went by, and I still had that prayer in the back of my head – you know the best, Lord, do your work.

A day before the application deadline, I was hanging out with a friend who happened to be looking for a job too. She was a youth worker as well. As her friend, I told her about this opportunity. Long story short, she got the job, and I did not.

Did I know it was not the most strategic move? Of course I did. Did I help her find the application and figure out what to do? You bet I did. Was I upset when she told me she got the job? Well, how could I be?

Throughout the whole time I was praying, “Lord, I trust you, do it your way.”

So when I had that chat trying to convince her to apply, I knew it was not lowering my chances to get the position.

I knew if God wanted me to work with those specific young people, I would. If He had someone better than me, great! I would not want to be in God’s way of blessing others. So when she came to me with a deep regret in her eyes and told me she was offered the position, I was filled with joy, not only because she needed this kind of change, but because God’s will for the place was to use my good friend who I became so proud of.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 (NKJV)

Often, it is so easy to pray for God’s will to be done here on earth, but how many times do we actually trust Him as strongly as we proclaim we do? To be honest, my reaction surprised me a little bit too. I thought I would have been hurt much more if I had not gotten the job, let alone if my friend got it instead.

But you know what? It does not matter.

It does not matter because if we pray for God’s will to be done, we give up all of our expectations, humble ourselves and choose to trust no matter what happens.

We give up the right to think we know what is the best; we are willing to follow God even if it does not match our own plan. Praying for God’s will to be done does not mean everything will work out for us, but we can be sure it will work out for His Kingdom, if we only trust Him enough to rejoice in that.

Take a minute now, close your eyes if you can and pretend you are all alone. Forget everything you need to do or what you have just done. It is only you and the Lord.

Can you see how good He is?

How mighty and loving He is?

That He is on your side?

Are you going to trust him and pray for His will to be done, leaving your hopes and ideas behind? Do not worry. He is a good Father, and He is holding you in His mighty hand. His will be done.

New Year Reminders|By Stephanie Cain

We are freshly into a new year. I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly sure where 2018 went. Nevertheless, the new year is here, and with it comes the wave of “New Year, New Me” resolutions. Discounts on gym memberships and things to help you organize every part of your life are at an all time high. In the middle of all of that, I would like to take a moment to remind us of a few things.

First, just breathe and be still. The Lord says to “Be still.” In the our society today it can be so easy to get caught up in striving for “perfection” which often means pushing yourself, your time, your body, and your money to the max. Be sure to take time to also be still with the Lord.

Second, you do not have to have your entire life planned out for the next 365 days. You don’t have to have all your meals planned, workout days mapped, and new routines scheduled to the minute. The Bible says,

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

Please do not take this as me saying planning and goal setting is wrong. Laying out steps to reach goals is important and often requires taking control of the flesh which is an important spiritual discipline.However, what would our 2019 look like if we took time out to seek the Lord for what His plans are for us this year? Maybe He’s calling you to a new ministry in your church, or to open up your home more for fellowship. Maybe He wants you to take a year to focus on prayer. Walking in and fulfilling God’s purposes for our lives will bring a much bigger sense of accomplishment, joy, and peace than reaching any of our goals.

Lastly, if you are like the majority of us, and you give up on your resolutions by January 16th, please know that you are not defined by that failure. Remember that you are chosen, cherished, loved, and purchased with an immeasurable price. Hold fast to the truths that nothing is impossible through Christ and in Him we can overcome the world because He already has! You do not have to accept defeat. This life on earth is a race with many legs. Keep going with the Lord!

I pray that 2019 is a year of spiritual growth for you. That this year would be a year of overcoming the world. Most of all, I pray that this year is a year of salvation. Salvation for those around you, and if you haven’t accepted Christ, that it is a year of salvation for you. Looking forward to all that God is going to do in our lives this year.

Pardon the Interruption|By Chelsea Verdin

My eyes were closed, and my heart was heavy. I had been wrestling with God without even noticing it, until I felt a small hand brush my arm. Instantly, I opened my eyes and looked over to my friend who was standing next to me with her baby boy. So sweetly, he reached out his arms to me, and I graciously accepted his invitation to cuddle him up into my arms.

I held my worship experience, still focusing on Jesus, but also enjoying the sweet affections from this baby boy. As he gently rested his head on my shoulder and patted my back with his tiny hand, tears filled my eyes, and an explainable peace swept over me.

A flood of emotions expanded my heart, and I just stood holding him, singing and surrendering to Jesus. This sweet boy represented the image of Christ, and in that moment, He was wrapping His arms around me and confirming me in the most tangible way.

Here’s what I learned: interruptions are divine appointments with Jesus. So many times, Jesus interrupted people’s daily lifestyles and invited them to sit with Him. Often times, Jesus’ own life was interrupted by people hungry for His ministry and desperate for His love. Each of the disciples were consumed with their own lives when Jesus chose them to follow Him. They could have rejected His invitation and went on with their lives, but instead, they embraced the interruption and gained the sweetest revelation and friendship.

When Mary was to marry Joseph, she had her life planned out. She would marry and have children. She would make a good wife and mother. Then suddenly those plans were interrupted. The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary in the middle of her wedding planning. He brought great news and an even greater invitation. Not only was Mary favored by God, but He had chosen her to birth the Messiah.

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,

27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.

28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.

30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!

31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.

32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.

33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”


35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.

36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.

37 For the word of God will never fail.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

-Luke 1:26-38

How differently would things look if Mary would have rejected God’s offer and decided to proceed with her wedding untouched by the Holy Spirit?

Interruptions are invitations to sit with Jesus. He invites us to be still with Him that we may learn and know who He is.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” -Psalm 46:10

That we may honor Him and make space within our busy lives to accept the hand selected task that He specifically creates for us.

Sometimes, we see the interruptions as distractions from the plans we have mapped out for ourselves, but what if we chose to see them as encounters with Jesus. Moments to talk to Him or get alone with Him in the midst of our chaotic lives? How differently we would be if we met one of His interruptions with the heart of Samuel as he tried to sleep and the Lord called to Him several times in the middle of the night.

“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” -1 Samuel 3:10

God has been teaching me to come away with Him in the middle of the chaos. When the noise all around me is trying to silence His voice in my life, He reassures me that solitude is not just about being alone. It is about who we are alone with. He uses the embrace of a child to confirm me and to remind me that I am still His, He is still mine, and He is good always.

Friend, if you look around you will notice Him speaking too. Maybe not always audible as we would like, but always speaking to the heart of who we are.

Like a sunset taking away the day, some interruptions are meant to be beautiful invitations to be still and know.