This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, December 2023
When God Disrupts Your Plans
By Dr. Jeff Padgett
Matthew 1:18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with a child of the Holy Spirit.”
Can you remember those days of your engagement? You had fallen in love with the dream of your life. And what was even better? They had fallen in love with you, too. There came a time when you decided to ask them to marry you. AND THEY AGREED!
Engagements were handled differently in those days than they are now. Marriages were often prearranged by the parents, when the children were only infants. But there came a point when the couple became aware of the engagement, and began to make their plans. I can imagine young Joseph. The wedding date is approaching, and he is making preparations. I can see Mary. The date every young lady lives for is almost here. She is so excited as she and her parents make the wedding plans. She and Joseph have such dreams for their lives together. But then God disrupted their plans.
It was never their goal for Mary to become pregnant before their wedding night. And indeed, the idea of becoming pregnant miraculously and giving birth to the Lord Jesus Christ was not the foremost of their thoughts. Mary’s reaction to the news was one of perplexity. She asks of the angel in Luke 1:34, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
Joseph’s reaction was a little different. He has a decision to make. Should he believe that Mary has been faithful to him and that she has miraculously become pregnant with the Son of God? Or should he decide to break off the engagement?
Allow me to make three observations based on this Biblical scene:
1. God didn’t ask Mary and Joseph. He told them.
I do not note any passage where the angel, announcing God’s plan, asks Mary or Joseph if this is acceptable to them. God simply told them His plan and will for their lives.
God has a plan for your life. He made that plan before He created the world, and He has no intention of asking your permission to proceed with His plan. Now, you can choose not to obey His will, but you cannot change His will for your life.
2. God’s plan for Mary and Joseph was not an easy one.
Sometimes, we think that if we are in the will of God, everything will be a bed of roses, and life will be without trial or difficulty. That was not the case for Joseph and Mary. Consider the following:
Why didn’t God work it out so the tax was collected either before Joseph and Mary were married or after the baby was born?
The baby was born in a manger because there was no room in the inn. Again, I can see the young couple’s frustration as, after traveling that far, Mary is exhausted and ready to deliver, and they cannot find a comfortable place to take her.
Why were they forced to flee Bethlehem to Egypt because of the threat of King Herod?
When we choose the way that looks the easiest, we aren’t necessarily choosing the way that is the will of God! Christ chose a path that led to the cross. Paul chose a path that led to imprisonment and execution. But both chose paths that were in the plan of God for them. God does not promise us an easy trip. He promises to be with us as we take it.
Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle on you.”
3. Though things were difficult, God did bless them.
Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
It must have been a joy beyond belief to raise Christ as he grew up. Just that blessing would have been worth it. Any parent is blessed when their child grows up to be a person of influence and importance in the world. More parents are blessed if their child grows up to do something good for mankind. I realize Joseph was gone by this time, but can you imagine the blessing Mary must have experienced when her firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, arose victorious over death and the grave? Can you imagine what she must have felt like as she watched Him ascend visibly, bodily, and gradually into Heaven? Can you imagine the excitement in her soul when she realized, in a tangible way, that her Son had opened the door to Heaven for all who would accept Him and receive Him as Savior?
If we agree to follow God’s plan, no matter how difficult, eternity will record a far-reaching impact for good because of it.
Strength For The Day
Each week, PAYH shares a devotional; “Strength For The Day,” by Chaplain (Col) Stephen W. Leonard, USA, Ret. In addition to being a retired US Army Chaplain, he is also the husband of our Co-Founder, Glenda Anderson Leonard. His writing is both moving and inspiring and will most certainly lift your spirit and encourage you in your walk with Jesus. To receive his weekly writing, you can subscribe online at payh.org. You can also read past writings by clicking here.
Giving Tuesday Thank You
We at PAYH are overjoyed that you believed enough in the Kingdom work here to invest in transforming the lives of young men from all around the country. Only when we arrive in heaven will we know the full impact of your contribution. Until then, we offer up a sincere THANK YOU for your thoughtful and generous gift. We appreciate you more than you will ever know!
PAYH Year End Giving
The time is more crucial now than ever to provide the extra support for the boys in our charge. The obligation to raise quality young men is vital in today’s challenging world. You, our faithful partners, have so graciously given and provided essential resources that impact our guys throughout the year.
We are committed to coming alongside families as they navigate parenthood, and helping them by providing the tools they need to impact the next generation positively.
Will you make a year-end gift to The Paul Anderson Youth Home by December 31 to ensure PAYH is ready to meet the challenges of this Kingdom work? Click here to make your contribution today.
Your contribution makes all the difference. Give now to help change the lives of these young men.
At PAYH, hard work pays off. We are so proud of Kassten for his graduation from the PAYH. His future plans are to participate in Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Hawaii and eventually become a pastor. Congratulations again, Kassten! You did it!
As we commemorate the birth of our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, we at PAYH would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas. We ask for immense blessings for your families during this time of amazement and hope. To quote a line from a well-known Christmas carol, “Glory to the newborn King!”
Sign up for our monthly newsletter and weekly devotional
This ministry has endured since 1961 because our Heavenly Father has blessed us with faithful partners. Through friends like you, He ensures that we have the help we need to accomplish our mission. Click the button below to learn more, whether you’re interested in volunteering, making a one-time gift, or becoming a monthly contributor.