Willing and Able…for God’s Service

Today’s Scripture 1 Samuel 3:4-9 (ESV) “Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’  But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’  So he went and lay down.  And the Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son, lie down again.’  Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.  And the Lord called Samuel again the third time.  And he arose and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’  Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy.  Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’  So Samuel went and lay down in his place.”

Food For Thought  I love this passage.  The Lord kept calling to Samuel, but Samuel was not really aware that it was God calling to him.  I think we feel like that sometimes.  We have this sense, this feeling, that we are being called, but we keep going to the wrong person, or thing, as Samuel kept going to Eli.  It’s easy to mistake our callings sometimes.  This world is full of expectations for us.  Expectations are put on us by our parents, our friends, our employers, our spouses, and society.  It’s easy to see how we could sometimes interpret others’ expectations for our lives as our calling.  Or even question if God’s calling for us is coming from a different source.

Sometimes we doubt it’s God calling to us simply because we don’t feel adequate to respond to that call.  It’s just as easy to misinterpret a direction from God because we just don’t feel up to the task.  Have you ever had a child respond to a direction with “I don’t really feel like it”?  As a kindergarten teacher, I heard that more than once.  But I wonder how many times I’ve responded to God’s direction in a similar fashion.  Obviously there are people that feel a call to lead God’s people and instruct them in God’s Word, and pursue that path from a young age, studying, going to seminary, acquiring work from churches.  Other times, we are given a task or calling, sort of out of the blue.  In fact, it may seem completely illogical.  The timing may be all wrong.  Our closest friends and family may question the decision.  There may be a long list of “why not,” but the only “why” we need is because God told us to.  I know I’ve shared about my calling and direction from God last year that brought me to be a faith blogger and work on some spiritual writings.  But God doesn’t reserve these experiences just for people like me.

I know a gentleman that began his career as a high school science teacher.  As it happens, he and his wife live near a university and they began hosting international students in their home.  One thing led to another, helping the students improve their English vocabulary skills using the Bible as a text led to in-home devotional groups.  The students then began going to church, bringing their friends, and sharing the gospel with their families in their home countries.  The now-retired teacher has spread God’s word throughout the world, indirectly, as a result of his calling to host international students in his home.  And he’s always reminding us that “I’m not some great Bible scholar or trained in ministry.  I just did what I felt God wanted me to do.”  Powerful words right there!

Another account describes our current lead pastor.  He did not start out on a path to ministry.  He was trained in business and got his MBA, landing a job in the corporate world.  Well, as we all know, circumstances can land you in a spot you didn’t necessarily expect.  The next thing you know, he’s helping grow churches in multiple states, getting new congregations started where ever there’s a need.  What a blessing that he was willing and able to answer God’s call, even when it didn’t seem practical at the time.

I recently read some powerful words during my morning devotional time that helped me get a better grasp on God’s call and my response.  The passage talked about how God uses those who are available and then provides them with the resources needed to carry out the task.  It reminded me that “Walking in God’s purpose can be uncomfortable and demanding.  It might mean sacrificing things we desire.  It may require our time, money, and energy.  But he’s asking…”  To perform good works and fulfill God’s service, we need only be willing, God will make us able.

Today’s Prayer  My Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that I will hear when You call, and not only hear, but listen.  I want to listen to Your direction.  I want to answer Your call.  I want to follow Your plan and will.  I pray for awareness and wisdom so that I may know what to do when I am called.  I pray these things in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

Orange Ginger Chicken and Fruity Couscous
Slow Cooker Orange Ginger Chicken with Fruity Couscous and Spinach Saute

 

Today’s Recipe  I know it’s not Tuesday, but I’m going to go ahead and double up with a main dish and a side today.  Both dishes work quite well as a weeknight family meal, and together they’re quite nutritionally balanced.  I even added a side of spinach sautéed with onions.  And while I’m doubling up on recipes today, I’ll let you know that for the month of May, my posts will be Monday-Thursday only.  You could say I’m giving myself a month of 3-day weekends, which is pretty awesome. Honestly, though, our family has so much going on this month, especially on the weekends, that it would be very hard for me to pull off Friday posts this month.  I doubt there will be anyone needing a new recipe so badly that I’m causing disappointment here 🙂 Now, on to today’s recipes.

orange ginger chicken
Not too sweet, not too spicy, super juicy, and super convenient orange-ginger chicken in the slow cooker.

 

Orange Ginger Chicken in the Slow Cooker This recipe intentionally makes a lot of chicken so that there are left-overs to use in additional recipes for later in the week.  It’s a great time saver!

  • 8 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large oranges, zest and juice
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Spray large slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker.  In medium bowl, zest oranges.  Juice both oranges and add to the bowl.  Don’t worry if you get some of the pulp or some orange pieces in your liquid.  Add soy sauce, olive oil, and all the spices.  Whisk together and pour sauce over chicken.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

fruity couscous
A fast cooking grain with the addition of slivered almonds and chopped dried fruit makes for a simple weeknight side dish.

 

Fruity Couscous

  • 5.8-oz box couscous mix (I used the olive oil and garlic blend)
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins, golden or regular
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into quarter

In large bowl, place almonds and dried fruits.  Add couscous and seasoning packet to bowl.  Pour boiling water into bowl and give a quick, but gentle, stir.  Set bowl aside for 5-10 minutes.  Fluff with fork and serve.

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