Open ‘Doors’

1 December 16

We all know someone who seems to get ‘lucky’ breaks. So, what is their secret?

Well, the truth is when you hear of a so-called “lucky” person, what you are probably not aware of is that they are doing a great deal more than just existing and waiting for their ‘lucky’ break—they are relentlessly PREPARING themselves for a future opportunity. They acquire the knowledge so that they can take advantage when the right opportunity presents itself. Being in the “right place at the right time” is a planned strategy.

One example of this is how Frank Sinatra got his big break while working as a waiter. One day, as he was waiting tables, he saw sitting in the restaurant, one of the biggest names in the music industry. So, “Old Blue Eyes” did the unbelievable: He cleared off a table next to the gentleman, got up on it, and sang as loud as he could! Now, he knew he was finished at the restaurant for doing so, but how many times would a ‘door of opportunity’ like this open up? Needless to say, the rest is history. You see, you never know when the door of opportunity is going to open wide!

 

It just so happens that my church just finished going through a sermon series that was based on the book “All the Places to Go” by John Ortberg, that focuses on “doors of opportunity.” At the outset of his book, he asks a few questions: “How will you KNOW if it’s an open door of opportunity” and “What will you then DO with that opportunity?” Ortberg goes on to discuss how God places countless ‘doors’ before us on a daily basis, and how we choose to respond to them will ultimately determine the life we will lead and the person we will become. In fact, to fail to embrace an open door is to miss what God wants us to DO with our life, and the ‘CHARACTER’ He wants us to attain.

Ortberg continues through the book offering suggestions of how to recognize open doors, how to cross the ‘threshold’, go through a door, and gives encouragement to overcome fear by stepping out in faith and embracing all of the extraordinary opportunities that await us. He suggests that some of these ‘doors’ just might be something that will leave a ‘legacy’, and affect many people in the future!

Overview Trailer of Book:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFFFjNF7wCo

 

Hopefully, the following summary will help you ‘PREPARE’ a bit for your open ‘doors’.

 

It’s been said that, “When God shuts one door, He opens another!” Well, the thing is, those exact words are not found anywhere in the Bible. This quote sounds similar to what Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, said: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

Well, most Christians sincerely want to find God’s intended path for their lives, but for that to happen, they must learn how to RECOGNIZE open doors and how to faithfully GO THROUGH them.

 

The most crucial ‘door’ God puts before any Christian is not something to ‘DO’ but who we are to ‘BECOME’. God wants us to develop the ‘character’ of Jesus that is described, in the Bible, as the “fruit of the Spirit”—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Far and away the most important door that will be presented to any Christian is “character growth.”

[ FYI: The “Fruits Of The Beatitudes” associates “The Beatitudes” and the “fruit of the Spirit” in the Bible. It is intended to help you develop the ‘attitudes’ of Jesus that produce the ‘character’ of Jesus in you. For more info, visit the website: http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/ ].

 

So, while developing our character, God will put other open doors before us, and we will need to be able to see them and respond appropriately.

What will help us do this? Well, there so happens to be an ‘attitude’ associated with “The Beatitudes” in the Bible that, I believe, is essential for anyone who sincerely wants to find God’s path for their life. That would be “meekness” or humility ( http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/meekness-gentleness/ ). It’s humility that allows us to put aside our own plans, ‘see’ God’s open doors, and then boldly follow God’s leading into the future He has planned for us—sometimes opportunities to go ‘places’ where we’ve not even imagined going!

Inevitably open doors involve some risk—because when God opens a door, He usually doesn’t show us everything at one time, but does shine His ‘focused light’ on the ‘path’. Following God in faith is kind of like driving your car on a dark, moonless night down a very dark road through the woods. Your headlights shine only so far in front of you but, if you follow the light, you’ll get home, 50 feet at a time. The Bible seems to present, over and over again, that this is God’s method of leading us, and we just have to trust Him when the path doesn’t look so obvious.

 

Now, there are two ‘kinds’ of people that respond to doors—”closed door people” and “open door people.”

Closed door people won’t go through a door until they’re convinced that every possible question has been answered, and every potential obstacle has been identified. This can appear to be diligence, but it’s usually the fear of failing—and forgetting how ‘big’ God is! If you only go through the doors that you think you can handle, then you really don’t need God. Christian author Ann Voskamp said this well: “All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends.”

Open door people, on the other hand, realize that they won’t have all the answers before they start out, but that’s okay since they trust God and understand that if He will lead them step by step, and they will learn new things and grow deeper in knowledge and faith. They realize that they just might have to endure some discomfort—and maybe even fall flat on their faces from time to time—but they know that it won’t be fatal because God is ‘behind’ it all.

 

Another one of the things that people looking for open door opportunities come across is something termed “F.O.M.O.”—which stands for the “Fear Of Missing Out.” A professor from MIT, Sherry Turkle, coined the phrase, and she found that, in large part, this is a digital ‘disease’ spread by Social Media. At first, people ‘innocently’ go online to find out what others are doing, but then conclude that their lives are too boring—their friends and coworkers seem to have more interesting lives because they have more friends, a better job, and have more ‘luxuries’. By comparison, their lives seem dull and insignificant. They are missing out on what others are enjoying, and it creates a hunger for more than what they are now experiencing. So, sometimes we end up assessing opportunities—including God’s open doors—on the basis of what it might keep us from doing, experiencing, or pursuing the ‘best’ thing. In the end, we don’t want to “miss out.”

It is perhaps a natural reaction to think about what we might lose, however, the Bible is full of God’s promises about us not missing out, since He will provide: Answers to prayer; Blessing our relationships; Forgiveness of sin; A clear conscience; Comfort in times of trouble; Guidance for our decisions; Mercy when we fail; Peace in the midst of a ‘storm’; Strengthening our faith; Given gifts that allow us to serve others; Encouragement to trust Him; and Wisdom. Jesus said He had come to give us life “to the full,” not some ‘pedestrian’ existence (John 10:10). Then, when this life is over, God promises His ‘children’ a joyful eternity! (John 3:16).

 

So, you might be asking yourself, “What will you ‘miss out on’ if you don’t go through the door(s) that God opens?”

Well, I think this is illustrated well in the book titled “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” written by C.S. Lewis. The story focuses on a ‘wardrobe’ cabinet that opens directly into a fantastic place called “Narnia.” It tells of the inquisitiveness of Lucy and about her perseverance that keeps her moving toward the back of the wardrobe and eventually into the land of Narnia. Then, it tells of her tremendous determination and resolve that ‘convinced’ her brothers and sisters to go on a journey with her. If they would not have gone through that ‘door’, they would not have been a part in the final demise of the “White Witch,” and seeing Narnia restored to its previous ‘glory’.

There is a great African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Now, there will be times when we will go through doors by ourselves. But the point of this proverb is to make good use of the ‘wise’ counsel of others. When making an important decision, surround yourself with people who can give you needed perspective—and if possible, literally go together on the new endeavor (as the Pevensie children did in Narnia). Either way, seek wise people who will continue to support and ‘challenge’ you.

 

Well, Christians believe that God will direct their paths if they ‘seek’ Him, since throughout the Bible there are many examples of how God led His people by putting before them open doors, and ‘prompting’ them to go through them. In some instances, there was no doubt about God’s direction, because He only put before them one door.

But, what do we do when God puts multiple doors in front of us, and it’s not obvious which one we should go through? What if it’s more than just door #1 or door #2? What if it’s door #14? Then, how do we choose the right one?

 

If one is focused first on developing the ‘character’ of Jesus, then the next step in choosing the right open door is to seek God’s wisdom. [ FYI: Last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post discussed some aspects of “wisdom”: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-purpose-of-tests-v213/ ].

King Solomon—the wisest man who had ever lived (1 Kings 4:30)—wrote the book of Proverbs, and put forth one of the most efficacious insights that he had learned firsthand: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” [ Proverbs 3:5-6 ].

Wisdom is very different than mere knowledge, which is based only on facts. Evangelist Billy Graham said that, “Knowledge is horizontal. Wisdom is vertical—it comes down from above”—and that would be specifically be talking about ‘partnering’ with the Christian’s “counselor,” the Holy Spirit, Who ‘resides’ in them.

Later in the book of Proverbs, Solomon continues to teach us what God ‘told’ him about His wisdom: “Listen as Wisdom calls out!… Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth”… “My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it” [ Proverbs 8:1, 6-7, 8-11 ].

There is another important principle of wisdom to utilize—it’s called “spiritual momentum.” It posits that it is easier for God to direct a person if they are already in motion trying to determine His will for them—just as a boat sitting in dead still water can’t be turned by the rudder, it has to have forward motion in order for the rudder to be effective. In the same way, if you are seeking God’s direction, don’t just sit still—it’s easier for God to direct you where to go when you are at least trying to do something and moving ‘forward’!

 

We attain this wisdom in a few ways: Considering our circumstances; Being diligent in prayer and ‘listening’ to the Holy Spirit; and Paying attention to what Scripture is ‘saying’ to you.

As was said before, circumstances can be God’s external guide for us—often called His “providential guidance.” Sometimes you can determine God’s will by looking at circumstances that seem to reveal open and closed doors. God has promised: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” [ Psalm 32:8-9 ].

We also need to be listening for that “still small voice”—the Holy Spirit. When He ‘speaks’ to your heart, He usually doesn’t employ an audible voice—but amazingly, it’s usually ‘louder’ than that! The problem with many Christians today is that God IS speaking, but they are just not listening very carefully.

Circumstantial guidance is good, and the inner ‘voice’ of the Holy Spirit is better (though it sometimes can be confusing because of our own desires), but the very best is to read and study the Bible—since it is God ‘SPEAKING’ DIRECTLY TO YOU! When you become a serious and consistent student of the Bible, you will find that it will show you the best pathway: “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet; and a light unto my path” [ Psalm 119:104-105 ]. The Bible will try to deter you from the wrong doors as much as it will lead you to the right doors.

As an illustration of this, there is a harbor in Italy that can only be reached by sailing through a narrow channel bordered by dangerous rocks. In the past, many ships were wrecked when they tried to enter the harbor at night. Before Loran and GPS, they erected three lights on tall poles. One light was in the harbor and the other two were on the shore. When the three lights were perfectly lined up, the ship could proceed safely into the harbor. If only two were lined up, the captain knew he was off course. In the same way, God has provided three ‘lights’ for us—when circumstances, the voice of the Holy Spirit, and God’s Word all ‘line up’, you know you can proceed safely through that door.

 

Sometimes in life there are doors we wish would open for us, but for one reason or another they don’t. It can be challenging and even disheartening when a door we hope will open doesn’t—or slams shut in our face. What do we do then? How come sometimes it seems that all the doors are closed, and even bolted shut?

It’s impossible to know exactly why some doors are closed to us, but there are a few possible reasons.

The first is that God will close doors when it’s to our benefit. Have you ever prayed to God for something, the prayer went unanswered, and then sometime later—maybe even months or years—you realize that God was being really merciful (since it didn’t turn out well). God closed that door because it would not have been in your best interest!

God also closes doors to test our faith—to determine how ‘real’ it is, and if we really trust Him [ FYI: A previous month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” was about trusting God: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/end-of-your-rope-v212/ ].

Doors may also be closed if there is an area in our lives that needs to be rectified. There may be something in your life that needs to be repented of and eliminated—and God will keep other doors closed until you address what God wants ‘fixed’.

However, when it seems that God has shut one door, patiently wait for open ones. Trust that His plans are always better than ours, especially when we cannot see what is next. Rest in His promises. He is the God of infinite possibilities and endless grace. He makes a way when there seems to be no way!

So, don’t get discouraged when you get a rejected for a job, a certain relationship ends, or you don’t get something you really want. In God’s sovereign wisdom, He will lead you to what is best for you! God has promised “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” [ Isaiah 48:17b ].

 

When God said, “no” to the Apostle Paul on one of his missionary journeys, it was because He was going to say “yes” to something better (spreading the Gospel throughout the Roman empire). Sometimes our disappointments can become God’s appointments—so don’t let closed doors bother you. The things we think of as failures and problems can often end up being blessings in disguise. [ FYI: “Blessings in disguise” was discussed in a previous ‘edition’ of “Life’s Deep Thoughts”: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessings-in-disguise-v189/ ].

 

Sometimes the closed doors allow us to see much greater ‘fruit’ than if we would have gotten our initial prayers answered. So, never despair when things do not go your way, because God may have something far greater for you to accomplish through another means.

The worst thing you can do is to ‘camp out’ at that closed door. Don’t quit—keep on moving, and God will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Sometimes we may not even realize the dangers awaiting us on a certain path and God closes that door in order to protect us. We also shouldn’t struggle to open a door which God has closed for us, since His thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8). We have to remember that God has a much bigger plan than our own interests when it comes to the fulfilling of His will for our lives!

God really wants to open doors for us, and He will present us with all manner of opportunities if our eyes are open and our hearts are willing. The doors He opens for one person won’t be the same as what He opens to others, but there is one ‘door’ that is ALWAYS OPEN—and continually ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE.

 

At the deepest level, doors are not simply about transitions in our lives, or even opportunities, but are about the entrance into another ‘reality’.

As an illustration, the movie “Monsters, Inc.” is based entirely around doors. In the film, monsters use door portals to enter into children’s bedrooms and scare them—since children’s fear is the energy that runs the monsters’ factory. One door is left mistakenly “active,” and allows a little girl, Boo, to enter the factory. The thing is, she ‘invades’ the “other world” and she has to find the same door to get back to her ‘world’. After finding it and getting Bo back to her bedroom, the monsters decide that it’s much better to make children laugh more than scream, because joy turns out to be more ’powerful’ than fear.

Finding Boo’s Door:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbMYtIfKhAw

Going Through The Door:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92UI5bpG8oc#t=169s

 

The Bible is full of ‘strange’ stories about “another world”—a place were there is no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). That would be Heaven!

Jesus said: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” [ John 10:9a ]. So, what does that mean? Well, Jesus is the ‘way’ to become a ‘child’ of God, and receive the gift of eternal life!

So, the ultimate ‘door’ is a Person—Jesus! He is the ‘portal’ through which we need to go thru to get the Heaven. The GREAT NEWS is that Jesus has left this door ‘open’ for those who want to believe in Him—and it NEVER SHUTS!

“I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name” [ Revelation 3:8 ]. This is reminding us that God promises His children an ‘entrance’ into His Kingdom as a ‘reward’ for their faithfulness.

 

So, if you would like to ‘give’ your life to Jesus right now, you can do it right where you are. There’s no magical words to say, you just need to believe in your ‘heart’ that God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, is God in the flesh, rose from the dead, and is alive today—and when He died on the cross, He took your place as your substitute sacrifice for your sins. If you sincerely believe this, then admit you are a sinner, confess your sins, and that you will trust Jesus alone for your salvation, committing your life to His service.

You could say something like the following (in your own words if you would like):

Dear Lord Jesus,

I understand that I am a sinner, and I can’t save myself. I sincerely repent of my sins, and ask You for forgiveness and mercy. I believe that You died on the cross as my substitute, paying my sin debt in full so that I could receive Your forgiveness and have eternal life. I ask You to come into my life right now and become my personal Savior. From this day forward, I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to take control, and guide me be the kind of person you want me to be. Give me a ‘new beginning’, and help me to live for You. Amen.

[ NOTE: Please email me if you have become a Christian—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].

When one ‘believes in’ Jesus, your sins have been forgiven and you now have an open ‘door’ into the presence of your Creator. You can ‘talk’ with Him. You can hear His ‘voice’. You can experience His ‘comfort’. But, to be able to have all this, you have to leave your desires behind, since God will now be ‘leading’ you through the open doors He has been waiting to present to you!

 

In addition to Jesus being the ‘door’, He is also the “Shepherd” who watches over us (“I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep” – John 10:14-15). The more you become familiar with Jesus, the better prepared you’ll be able to recognize His ‘voice’ and identify the open doors He will put before you. You can trust His direction because Jesus only has your best interests in mind. Jesus said that “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10). Jesus did not come to provide us with a ‘slice’ of life, or a ‘half-baked’ experience. He wants us to taste the very best that life has to offer—specifically ‘designed’ just each one of us!

Jesus is continually knocking at the door of all our ‘hearts’ (Revelation 3:20). If we can get out of our own way long enough to hear His ‘voice’ and respond, we will find ourselves going deeper into an intimate relationship with the God who created us, loves us, and wants to ‘walk’ daily with us!

 

So, continuing to investigate open doors, you will realize that, after going through one, you may find that your faith is a bit ‘weaker’ that you thought it was before you went through. This tends to ‘humble’ a person, and often teaches us truths about ourselves that we would have never learned if we had stayed on the other ‘side’ of the door.

Biblically speaking, an open door is primarily a divine ‘intervention’ to make your life count—with God’s help—for the sake of others. So, when we stop obsessing over self-advancement and humble ourselves, we see the opportunities that God has prepared for us to love others. In addition to that, God will not let you go through a ‘big’ door unless you have ‘humbled’ yourself by entering all the ‘small’ doors first. God is looking for obedience. So, do you find that there is evidence of humility in your life?

 

Life also has a way of ‘saying’, “Ready or not, here I come!” That doesn’t mean that preparation is unimportant, but feeling ready is not the ultimate criterion for determining the places you will go! “Feelings” are sometimes inaccurate—with our emotions ‘overriding’ the facts. However, you will find that the combination of Scripture and the Holy Spirit will provide you with just the right ‘convictions’ to allow you to make the right decision.

The truth is, no matter how much you have prepared for something, you really don’t know what you can do until you actually do it! As was mentioned before, “momentum” usually comes much faster if you are already moving. If you wait to move until you are fully ready, you will never get started, and will ‘miss out’ on the great thing God has planned for you!

God wants to lead you up a ‘mountain’, and what matters most isn’t whether or not you are ready, but what matters is if He is ready! As stated before, God usually gives you information on a need-to-know basis—and you will never know when that is since He is ‘in charge’ of that! Ambiguity and uncertainty have been woven into the human ‘story’ ever since Eden. God just says, “Go! I’ll be with you!”

 

So, all this to say that God definitely wants us to learn to be excellent ‘choosers’, and when facing a choice, He wants to help us along in the process by offering us His wisdom. Sometimes choosing the right door involves a process: recognizing an opportunity, identifying and evaluating the options, then choosing the best option. The thing is, if one waits until a ‘giant’ decision comes, your decision-making ability will probably be underdeveloped—so, practice on ‘smaller’ opportunities first. This will increase your wisdom and your ability to handle larger and more ‘interesting’ problems!

 

In the Bible, there is no such thing as ‘luck’, coincidence, or “good fortune.” God is sovereign, and He has a ‘desired’ course planned for you to follow. So, He opens and closes doors of opportunity for that path, but it’s up to you to step through each one by faith.

So, let me encourage you now that you don’t have to miss another exciting moment! You can live each day with a sense of hope and assurance that whatever comes your way has passed through God’s omnipotent, loving hands.

While you may not understand all the twists and turns of life, you can be sure of one thing: the same God who created you, loves you more than you know. His personal promise to you is one of extreme hope and potential (Jeremiah 29:11). He also has an awesome strategy for your future. No matter what failure you may have experienced in the past, you can learn how to make right choices at every future juncture in your life!

Have you noticed any doors that are opening up for you? Well, now after gaining this bit of ‘insight’, do you KNOW how to determine an open door of opportunity, and then what to DO with the opportunity?” I HOPE SO! (FYI: The book will give you even more details to help you!).

Now, after all this discussion, will you focus on what you might miss out on if you go through a door, or will you just step through it and trust that what God has ahead is far better than anything else you can even imagine? (Ephesians 3:20).

Shhh! Do you hear that? ‘Hinges’ creaking! It is the sound of a door opening…your door of opportunity! Are you ready?

 

God is STILL OPENING ’DOORS’ for His people, and even though you will probably never have a ‘guaranteed’ outcome of what will be on the other ‘side’. The ‘secret’ is ‘WHO’ will be going through it with you! God promises He will meet you at the ‘threshold’, and if you choose to trust Him and go through the ‘door’, in the insightful words of the ‘prophet’ Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

[ Excerpts from: John Ortberg; Ann Voskamp; Rodelio Mallari; Paul Fritz; David Dykes; Dr. Stanley Vasu; Paul Newell; Chris Widener; Kristen Houghton; Charles Stanley; Dennis Carlson; Ken Larson ]

 

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RESOURCES:

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All the Places to Go…How Will You Know?: God Has Placed before You an Open Door. What Will You Do?
By: John Ortberg

Very rarely in the Bible does God command someone to “Stay.” He opens a door, and then he invites us to walk through it―into the unknown. And how we choose to respond will ultimately determine the life we will lead and the person we will become. In fact, to fail to embrace the open door is to miss the work God has made for us to do.

In All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?, bestselling author John Ortberg opens our eyes to the countless doors God places before us every day, teaches us how to recognize them, and gives us the encouragement to step out in faith and embrace all of the extraordinary opportunities that await.

So go ahead―walk through that door. You just might do something that lasts for eternity.

https://www.amazon.com/All-Places-How-Will-Know/dp/1414379013/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE_7r63HO-U

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God Has a Plan for Your Life: The Discovery that Makes All the Difference
By: Charles Stanley

While you may not understand all the twists and turns of life, you can be sure of one thing: the same God who created you, loves you. God’s personal promise to you is one of extreme hope and potential (Jeremiah 29:11). He also has an awesome strategy for your future. No matter what failure you have experienced in the past, you can learn how to make right choices at every juncture in your life.

In God Has A Plan for Your Life, Dr. Charles Stanley explains that there is no such thing as coincidence, luck, or good fortune. God is sovereign, and He has a course that He wants you to follow. He opens and closes exciting doors of opportunity, but it is up to you to step through each one by faith. You don’t have to miss another exciting moment. You can live each day with a sense of hope and assurance that whatever comes your way has passed through God’s omnipotent, loving hands. This book outlines the exact steps that will lead you to discover His plan for your life.

https://www.amazon.com/God-Has-Plan-Your-Life/dp/1400200962/

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Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
By: Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss’s wonderfully wise Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is the perfect send-off for grads—from nursery school, high school, college, and beyond! From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. In a starred review, Booklist notes, “Seuss’s message is simple but never sappy: life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all ‘There’s fun to be done.’” A perennial favorite and a perfect gift for anyone starting a new phase in their life!

https://www.amazon.com/Oh-Places-Youll-Dr-Seuss/dp/0679805273

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:

https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about how God wants to open doors for you when you ‘knock’, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q7_d3_2of10.html

 

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v214) for DECEMBER 2016

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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HOW TO WALK THROUGH WHEN YOU SEE NO WAY

Very rarely in the Bible does God command someone to “Stay.” He opens a door, and then He invites us to walk through it—into the unknown. And how we choose to respond will determine the life we will lead and the person we will become. In fact, to fail to embrace the open door is to miss the work God has made for us to do. In All the Places to Go… How Will You Know?, bestselling author John Ortberg opens our eyes to the countless doors God places before us every day, teaches us how to recognize them, and gives us the encouragement to step out in faith and embrace all of the extraordinary opportunities that await. So go ahead—walk through that door. You just might do something that lasts for eternity. It’s a grace to welcome John Ortberg to the farm’s front porch today…

If you had to summarize your life in six words, what would they be?

Several years ago an online magazine asked that question. It was inspired by a possibly legendary challenge posed to Ernest Hemingway to write a six-word story that resulted in the classic “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

The magazine was flooded with so many responses that the site almost crashed, and the responses were eventually turned into a book. Not Quite What I Was Planning is filled with six-word memoirs by writers “famous and obscure.” The memoirs range from funny to ironic to inspiring to heartbreaking:

“One tooth, one cavity; life’s cruel.”

“Savior complex makes for many disappointments.”

“Cursed with cancer. Blessed with friends.” (This one was written not by a wise old grandmother but by a nine-year-old boy with thyroid cancer.)

“The psychic said I’d be richer.” (Actually, this author might be richer if she stopped blowing money on psychics.)

“Tombstone won’t say: ‘Had health insurance.’”

“Not a good Christian, but trying.”

“Thought I would have more impact.”

The challenge of the six-word limitation is its demand to focus on what matters most, to capture briefly something of significance.

Winston Churchill once sent a dessert pudding back to the kitchen because “it lacked a theme.” I don’t want my life to be like Winston’s pudding.

It is striking to think about what the characters of Scripture might write for their six-word memoirs.

I think they would revolve around the intersection of the story of that person’s life with God’s story. They would all be inspired by a divine opportunity that God had set before them, and the response—the yes or no—that shaped their lives.

Abraham: “Left Ur. Had baby. Still laughing.”
Jonah: “‘No.’ Storm. Overboard. Whale. Regurgitated. ‘Yes.’”
Moses: “Burning bush. Stone tablets. Charlton Heston.”
Adam: “Eyes opened, but can’t find home.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: “King was hot. Furnace was not.”
Noah: “Hated the rain, loved the rainbow.”
Esau: “At least the stew was good.”
Esther: “Eye candy. Mordecai handy. Israel dandy.”
Mary: “Manger. Pain. Joy. Cross. Pain. Joy.”
Prodigal Son: “Bad. Sad. Dad glad. Brother mad.”
Rich Young Ruler: “Jesus called. Left sad. Still rich.”
Zacchaeus: “Climbed sycamore tree. Short, poorer, happier.”
Woman caught in adultery: “Picked up man, put down stones.”
Good Samaritan: “I came, I saw, I stopped.”
Paul: “Damascus. Blind. Suffer. Write. Change world.”

“Not quite what I was planning” is the six-word memoir any of them could have written.

In none of these cases would these characters have been able to predict where their lives would take them.

They were interrupted. They were offered an opportunity or threatened by danger or both. This is how life works.

We are neither the authors nor the pawns of our life stories but rather partners somehow with fate or destiny or circumstance or providence. And the writers of Scripture insist that, at least sometimes, in at least some lives—in any lives where the person is willing—that unseen Partner can be God.

Often in the Bible these opportunities seem to come in unmistakable packages. A burning bush. A wrestling angel. Handwriting on the wall. A fleece. A voice. A dream. A talking donkey like in Shrek.

But there is another picture of God-inspired opportunity sprinkled across Scripture that is easier for me to relate to.

It is a picture of divine possibility that still comes to every life. It is a picture I have loved since my college professor Jerry Hawthorne introduced it to me:

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:7-8, emphasis mine)

A door, Dr. Hawthorne said, is one of the richest images in literature.

It can mean safety (“my door is chained and locked”) or hiddenness (“no one knows what goes on behind closed doors”).

It can mean rejection (“she shut the door in my face”) or rest (young mothers’ favorite room is the bathroom, where they can close the door and be alone).

But in this passage a door means none of those things.

Rather, it is an open door, symbolic of “boundless opportunities. Of unlimited chances to do something worthwhile; of grand openings into new and unknown adventures of significant living; of heretofore unimagined chances to do good, to make our lives count for eternity.”

An open door is the great adventure of life because it means the possibility of being useful to God.

The offer of it, and our response to it, is what lies ahead for each one of us.

[ Ann Voskamp ]

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3 WAYS TO KNOW IF AN “OPEN DOOR” IS FROM GOD

Just because an opportunity presents itself, and it looks appealing, doesn’t necessarily mean it is from God. And likewise, just because an open door looks a little uncertain, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t walk through it.

The key is knowing how to discern if an opportunity is really an open door from God. I don’t want to miss those open doors because I was afraid to walk through them. But I also don’t want to take every opportunity that comes along, assuming it is from God’s hand and has his blessings attached.

In a recent conversation with a friend we talked about the faith and courage to walk through a door that God is holding open for us, even if we’re not exactly sure of what’s on the other side. But then the question came up: How can you tell if God is the one opening the door?

The Bible gives us some principles to help us discern if an “open door” or opportunity is really from God:

1. The Door that God Opens Will Never Contradict His Word

Many Christians see opportunities to make more money as an open door from God, even though the opportunity means a job that will keep them from regular fellowship or service in their church. However, God’s Word tells us not to neglect meeting together for worship (Hebrews 10:25). Some women have told me that they believe God opened a door to a dating relationship for them, even though it meant being in a situation where they were “unequally yoked” with an unbeliever, which Scripture also warns against (2 Corinthians 6:14). God will not lead you toward an opportunity that contradicts what he clearly says in his Word. Nor will he open a door that would require personal compromise or disobedience in order for you to enter. As humans prone to sin, we have an excellent way of turning a clear mandate of God’s completely around and justifying it by our circumstances, but that is not how God works. If there is a compromise in any way, or we have to bend Scripture to justify our “open door” then it is likely not a door that God is opening for us. I would call anything that contradicts his Word a temptation, rather than an open door from God. And God’s Word clearly says that God does not tempt us (James 1:13-14).

2. The Door that God Opens Will be Accompanied by Confirmation

In Matthew 18:15-16, Jesus laid out instructions for confronting sin among believers saying “But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’.” I believe the same applies when it comes to God confirming something in his Word. He will often confirm or establish a matter by “two or three witnesses” whether they be verses from the Word of God, advice from a pastor or well-respected person who is grounded in Scripture, or a non-compromising circumstance that continues to present itself. Through prayer, discernment and seeking godly counsel, you should be able to tell if that “open door” and its confirmations are truly coming from God.

3. The Door God Opens Will Require You to Depend on Him

SEE ALSO: Do You Ever Question Your (or Someone Else’s) Salvation?
God is not going to give us something that will alienate us from him or make us believe we no longer need him. He is a God of relationship, and a God who insists upon being first in our lives (Matthew 6:33). Therefore, if you find yourself saying “I can’t do this unless God goes before me,” or “I can do this, but only with God’s help and leading” I would say, in my personal experience, it’s likely something God is calling you to do. Hebrews 11:6 says: “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.” Many times an “open door” from God is one that allows our faith to be stretched and strengthened. That, after all, is God’s objective for us: to grow in faith and Christ-likeness.

Take your opportunity or “open door” to God and ask for his confirmation – through his Word and godly counsel from others – and his peace in the decision, and you can have the assurance that you aren’t just choosing a door at random, but you’re carefully walking through the ones he wants you to enter.

[ Cindi McMenamin ]

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4 WAYS TO DISCERN IF AN OPEN DOOR IS FROM GOD

How can you tell if God is opening a door for you and if it’s from God or only you trying to kick the door open?

The Open Door Points to God’s Glory
No door that God opens will ever contradict Scripture. For example, a man who thought he was supposed to divorce his Christian wife in order to spend the rest of his life in mission work overseas is not from God and not supported by Scripture. This man could easily go and do missionary work overseas and not have to divorce his wife, or he could see if she wanted to go with him. Instead, he got an unbiblical divorce, so how is supposed to witness for Christ when he is contradicting the Bible and disobeying Jesus’ command to not divorce except for sexual immorality? Clearly, that is not God’s will because loving God means obeying His commandments (2 John 1:6). If someone says they know Him but doesn’t keep His commandments, he is not of God (1 John 2:3), and God calls him or her a liar (1 John 2:4). Obedience to God glorifies Him.

Confirmation From Others
Jesus is the one “who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens” and sets before us “an open door, which no one is able to shut” (Revelation 3:8-9). If the door won’t open for you, then that door may not be the one God wants you to walk through. Jimmying the lock or trying to break the door down won’t work. Just pray for God to reveal to you which door you are to walk through and make it obvious to you so you’ll know for sure.

The Door Makes You Utterly Dependent on Him
If you can manage to go through a door and not need God’s help for anything, then you might be walking through a door in your own flesh and depending on the strength. If you’re not depending on God to open a door, then you are depending on your own self. That’s a bad plan, and I ought to know; I’ve done it! God wants us to be totally dependent upon Him because any work we do is for Him anyway and for His glory. Jesus said we can’t do anything without Him (John 15:5). We can’t even produce any fruit without Him, unless it’s wax fruit (John 15:4).

The Door Opens by Itself
I touched on this briefly in the second paragraph, but this is a bit different. You know the automatic doors you find at the stores? These doors open because they have an electronic eye and they can sense movement. In the same way, we might have to simply walk right up to the door that’s shut before we’ll know whether God’s going to open it or not. God may not open a door until He sees you are walk right up it. He may be waiting for you to “go” before you can “enter.” Perhaps He’s waiting for you to take that first step of faith.

Conclusion
There are a lot more factors than these to tell us whether God’s going to open a door or not. Until then, pray to God, seek His will, counsel with others, ask for prayers, and then trust Him. Maybe you’ll have the courage to take that first step of faith someday. Is God waiting on the other side of the door? I don’t know, but you must ask, seek, and knock in order to find out.

[ Pastor Jack Wellman ]

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WHEN GOD OPENS SURPRISING DOORS

Each day in my time with God, I pray these words,

“Only You open doors of opportunity that no one can shut and only You shut doors no one else can open; therefore, I ask You to open doors that no one else can open nor keep shut to me so I can be maximized for You. Please shut doors of opportunity that are not Your will for my life. I stand on…

Revelation 3:7-8, “The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the Key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says: I know your works. Because you…have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one else is able to close.” Oh Jesus, open doors for me, my family, and my church to advance Your name and Gospel globally!”

Again, I pray this daily and deliberately, trusting God in everything.

Thursday was no different

In the early morning on Thursday, I called out to God many requests, with the one above in the flow of the others I lay before God daily. It had been an exhausting week. After an extended study and prayer time, I was getting ready to lead the Summit luncheon at our Pinnacle Hills location when I received a call. The call was from Dr. Mac Brunson, Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

Dr. Brunson stated that Jim Cymbala from Brooklyn Tabernacle was to be their keynote speaker for Friday night, but had to cancel due to illness, and he asked if I would come to Jacksonville to preach. I thanked Mac and told him I would need to look at my schedule. If he would give me a few hours, I would let him know for sure.

As I sat in the Summit luncheon and had my assistant check flights and evaluate my schedule, I arrived with a calm confidence that God was in this. I knew He wanted me in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday night, pinch hitting for one of America’s greatest preachers, Jim Cymbala. God had opened one of those surprising doors that no one could close.

Friday, God confirmed

On Friday, I boarded a mid-morning flight, leaving single-digit temperatures in Northwest Arkansas, and found myself in Jacksonville, Florida by mid-afternoon. I had planned to think, pray, and work during the entire flight, preparing the message for Friday night. However, the seating conditions were very tight, which made it impossible to write or work on my computer. Therefore, I just prayed the entire way and asked God to speak to me.

When I arrived at the hotel, I checked into my room about 3:30 p.m., and immediately began praying, and begged God to confirm the direction I sensed He was leading. I asked the Spirit of God to speak to me His Word for the evening.

Within moments, my fingers were racing across the keys of my computer, and all through the Word of God, pages were being turned. I knew the direction, sensed His specificity and Word to me, and wrote feverishly, praying all along the way. By 6:30 p.m. I was headed to the church, participated in the worship service, heard a brother in the Lord preach, enjoyed worship, having my heart prepared to preach, and then stood to preach about 8:25 p.m. I preached on a subject I had never spoken on before. The subject was on, “Extraordinary Prayer.”

God moved greatly. We ended with 2,500-3,000 people on their knees, many on their faces before God, crying out to God for revival in the church and spiritual awakening in America, all through extraordinary prayer. God had confirmed that in my weakness, He was strong. He had confirmed His Word I prayed that morning and other mornings before, that He would open doors to advance His cause and gospel globally.

By Saturday morning at 6:15, I was departing on my flight back home, arriving around 10:00 a.m. What a whirlwind, but what a blessing! God is faithful.

I am so thankful for the Oceans of God’s grace

On Sunday morning, while listening and worshipping with my church through the song, Oceans, I was moved to gratitude for that door opening. Why? The lyrics of the bridge of the song, Oceans, says,

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters,
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.

Today, pray for the open doors in your life

Pray for the open doors in your life. Ask God to help you go beyond where you are comfortable in your life. He will be faithful to protect you. And if you ever need encouragement along the way, listen to this song sung by Bethany Whitfield in our worship service yesterday at our Springdale Campus. Focus on the lyrics and watch the graphics, letting God speak to your life today.

[ Ronnie W. Floyd ]

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CONFRONTING CLOSED DOORS

When opportunity knocks, most of us are quick to open the door. But how should we respond when that door of opportunity is not only slammed shut, but locked and barricaded forever? Dr. Stanley explains how to face lost opportunities with faith and courage.

[ Charles Stanley ]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSKk4oqWjSM


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEomxfCHhX8

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AN OPEN DOOR—THE GIFT OF DISAPPOINTMENT

A few weeks ago a young man told me that while praying God gave him this text to share with me:

“See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut,” Rev. 3:8

After receiving this scripture I read and reread Jesus’s words to the church in Philadelphia. Asking God what does this exactly mean in the context of this passage and for my life. This was during the 40-Day Prayer Challenge, which I was journeying on with some of you and there were definitely doors I was praying God would open for ministry.

One of the doors I was praying about was a two day seminar I was to lead sponsored by Prison Fellowship & Denver Seminary in Cannon State Prison. I thoroughly enjoyed studying for the eight sessions I would teach on Friday and Saturday. And I was also feeling blessed and excited to have my brother Curt and a friend Henry, who was flying in from California, help out. As I was packing my suitcase for an early morning departure the next day, I got a call informing me that the prison was locked down for the entire weekend because of violence. The director of Prison Fellowship was surprised and added that this has not happened in a long time.

The door was closed and there was nothing I could do about it. After 40 days of praying and preparing for this ministry event. We were looking so forward to sharing the healing love of Abba Father with these men in prison and one phone call changed the entire weekend.

My friend Henry was great, the disappointment on my face was obvious, and so he made sure all was not wasted. Henry and a few others have been encouraging me to explore podcasting and so Henry decided this was the weekend it was going to happen. He put me to work, got me a mike and used his tech gifts and before you knew it we were podcasting! You can check it out on the website. I made Henry be the first interview and we just finished another that will come out this Thursday with a good friend Ray Haakonsen from South Africa. These two interviews were a blessing, something that wouldn’t have happened if the prison door had been open.

However, on February 29, I had a long conversation with God asking why He shut the prison door. As I wrestled with the Father over this, tears begin to flow and I felt overwhelmed as no answers came. I opened my Bible to my Gospel reading for the morning in Mark 9, the story of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Even though I have read, studied, and preached on this text many times the Holy Spirit was bringing fresh insights that bombarded my mind. I quick picked up my journal and wrote everything that was coming. My spirit of despair was being lifted as I sensed the Father speaking life and revealing profound truth from the text.

Two doors opened that day that would not have if He had not shut the prison door. I hope in the next few blogs to share more about those doors. But for me the greatest door that opened that Monday that surpassed the other two was the one that opened up to the Father’s voice to me in Mark 9. He heard the cry of my heart and even though I didn’t get the answer I was looking for I got more of His loving presence, which was all that was needed.

The door of disappointment became a gift that led me to a different door that Christ has opened into the Father’s presence that no man can shut. So when disappointments come let them bring you to the door Christ opened for you into the loving presence of the Father.

[ Tim Spykstra ]

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OCEANS” (Where Feet May Fall)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Yeah

Oh Jesus yeah, my God
I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine
[ Hillsong United – From the album “Zion” ]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw

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HOW DO YOU KNOW GOD IS OPENING A DOOR FOR YOU?

I think we have all heard the saying that when God closes a door, He opens a window. It is usually spoken to encourage someone who has had something not work out in their life.

However we do not hear much about God opening doors.

Today I want to share a little about what I have learned about God opening doors. You see, although encouraging people is important, I think people need to understand how to tell if God is opening a door or not in the first place.

So let’s take a look at the heart of God towards you, the way He opens doors, how He prepares you to enter into that door, and the confidence you can have about those open doors.

“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.”

The first thing you have to realize and allow to minister to your heart is that God is all knowing and all powerful. That is called omniscient and omnipotent.

He knows everything you have done both the good and the bad.

Don’t get concerned.

That means that He knows your strengths and weaknesses and can plan ahead so that you can walk into a new season in your life that you are uniquely prepared for.

So when God brings you an open door, one of the signs is that you recognize that what you have done in your path, your works, have prepared you for this new adventure that is being opened up for you.

God is also all powerful.

Notice that He says that no one can close the door He has opened. I have found this to be true.

When God opens a door, man may try to get in the way, or you may miss it the first time, but it will remain open until you walk through it.

Why Does God Open Doors?

Many people either do not see the open doors that God has provided for them or do not even believe that God will ever open a door for them.

This is causes by believing that God really does not have their best in mind. They believe that somehow following God through open doors will lead to disaster and calamity and that they will hate what the door brings.

This is far from the truth.

Romans 8:31: “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

God is not against us, He is for us. He wants the best for us. He wants to give us a life that He knows will be fulfilling for us. There is no trickery or ulterior motives with God.

James 1:17: “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

So the reason of why God opens doors is simple.

He does it to give us good gifts.

He does it for our best in life.

He does it because He is a good father who wants only the best for His kids.

How Does God Open Doors?

There are two things at work when God opens doors. There is the internal and then there is the external.

The internal is the things that God does to prepare you from the inside out. It would do no good for God to open a door that you were not ready to handle yet.

What good father would open a door to an infant to let them out into the world on their own?

He would first prepare them and let them grow.

God is always preparing us for the next door He is going to open until we reach our final destination in heaven.

If you are looking for God to open a door in your life, then I would suggest you look at the areas in your life that He is trying to work on. Whether it is people skills, money management, or a more intimate prayer life.

Get busy letting God prepare you for your next door.

The second thing at work when God is opening a door is the external. Those are the types of things like divine appointments where He brings people into your life that can open that next door for you.

They can be things like financial provision for the next stage you are to enter.

The old axiom holds true.

“Where God guides, He provides.”

They can be things like pressing upon you the need for more education.

All of these things are ways that God works in the external world to open a door.

Now many times we get a glimpse of the door we will eventually walk through.

In my case it was pastoral ministry. However there were many doors that I had to walk through before getting there.

I remember feeling the need to surrender to the idea of going on the mission field.

A door never opened up that way but the surrender was part of the preparation for spending most of my life in ministry in places other people do not even know exist.

How Do You Know God Is Opening A Door For You?

I have already covered two of the ways you determine if God is opening a door for you. They are preparedness and external provision.

However that sometimes is not enough to determine if a certain door is one that is being opened by Him.

If you look at how He has prepared you in the past and it fits, and you see that there are circumstances being arranged for you to be able to walk through that door, then I suggest one final step.

I call it the confirmation step. It comes in three parts. The confirmation in your spirit, the confirmation of your family, and the confirmation of wise counsel.

If you do not hear anything in your spirit about walking through this door. If it does not ring true or cause a spiritual excitement, then it probably is not God.

If your family does not see the fingerprints of Jesus in this door, if they do not see God moving, then it is probably not God and just the maneuvering of men.

Finally, if your closest and wisest Christian friends and leaders do not see it, then I would seriously take a step back and reevaluate what is going on.

God is not only big enough to speak to you, but He is also big enough to speak to those around you.

An Open Door From God Will Remain Open

Many times people make the mistake of walking in fear when it comes to missing an open door from God. They feel if they do not act immediately, it will go away.

This is a lie.

Haste will cause you to make a mistake.

God is all powerful. No one can close a door He has opened, including you.

He loves you enough to walk you through the process.

Now the immediate opening you see may close, but the door will remain open, just opening to a different passage.

Our life is a journey. Do not get caught up worrying if you have somehow missed God and your life is ruined.

It is not.

If you know you missed a door, then take a moment to talk to your Father. Ask Him to help you walk through the next one. Trust that He has all things under control.

[ Pastor Duke Taber ]

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RESPONDING TO DOORS GOD OPENS AND CLOSES IN OUR LIVES

“To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: “He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things: (Revelation 3:7).

We serve a God who has the power to open and close doors in our lives. God grants us opportunities that are otherwise unaffordable with our meager resources, experience or knowledge. God helps us to connect with people who play significant roles in our lives. He helps you to meet the spouse of your future, or the person who can give you a new job, or the neighbor who needs to know Him. We need to be open, receptive and responsive to the doors God opens in our lives because these doors are often entryways to God’s will for us. “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD” (Psalms 118:19).

God also has the power to close doors of opportunity, relationship and circumstances. Closed doors can be bit more challenging emotionally. When an opportunity you thought was going to come through becomes unavailable, you may question God’s goodness or foreknowledge. Or when a relationship ends or comes to a screeching halt, you may feel discouraged, hurt and frustrated.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about open and closed doors, I invite you to take the time to watch this helpful and powerful message I preached on open and closed doors.

It’s of uttermost importance in our walks with the Lord that we exercise spiritual discernment to know if a door has been truly closed by God or if we are just facing adversity in walking through a door. In fact, there are times in which a door seems closed, but the reality is that we have obstacles before us that hinder our entrance into that door. “For a great and effective door is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:9). When we discern that a door is not closed, but that we face resistance, of human or demonic nature, it is not time to give up, but to persist in prayer and action.

The early apostles faced imprisonment, beatings and ultimately death as they proclaimed the Gospel message. Yet, they didn’t give up their work for they believed it was God’s will to preach the Good News. Or consider Martin Luther King Jr. who faced great opposition in his fight for racial equality in America. He could have concluded that is was not God’s will or timing to see his people treated fairly. Instead, he held onto the deep conviction that God created all men equal and that equality among all races was a door God wanted to open, regardless of the many adversaries resisting it.

Yet at times, doors are closed because God in his sovereignty has a plan that is greater than our own. As Paul and Silas set out on their second missionary, the Spirit of God would not let them proceed to Asia nor Bithynia (Acts 16:6,7). As they submitted to God’s will and plan, He opened the door for them to go to Macedonia where they met Lydia. The Lord opened her heart to Paul’s message and she was saved along with her entire household (Acts 16:14-15).

Walking through open doors can take as much courage as accepting closed doors in our lives. As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane , he fell prostrate before the Father and pleaded for another alternative to the cross (Matthew 26:39). In essence, He was asking God to close the door to the cross and provide another means for salvation. Jesus surrendered his prayer to the greater will of Father by dying on the cross. Now we all can benefit from the cross-shaped door to salvation He opened for us all.

Not every door God opens is in the shape of the cross. At times God opens up doors of blessing in our lives that we just need to gratefully accept and receive (Proverbs 10:22). As Paul and Silas sought to move on their journey from Macedonia, Lydia persuaded them to stay in her home. At first, they resisted, but her persistence won them over (Acts 16:15). Lydia’s hospitality was an open door, provided by God to bring comfort and repose to the disciples not only once, but a second time after they were released from prison (Acts 16:40).

Sometimes we pray persistently for God to open a door for us and then when it opens, we balk. We ask God to bless us with an opportunity to do his will and then when approached with a chance to venture with Him we freeze up. We need to be open to the different means and methods by which God seeks to bless us and open doors for us. When the angel Gabriel explained to Mary that she’d bear the Christ child she replied, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38).Joseph was about to close the door on his marriage with Mary until He also received an angelic visitation (Matthew 1:19,20). He then realized this door was being opened by God, not man, and it was therefore right to enter into the door God had opened.

As you seek to do God’s will and follow His path, be sensitive to the doors that God opens. Our lives are not dictated by our circumstances, but we understand and believe that God is in control and sovereign. Therefore, our circumstances may indicate God’s will for our lives. We need to discern the source of the doors that open up to us and courageously accept the welcome of God into new destinies. If today, all doors of opportunity seem closed, you can remain faithful in your devotion to God knowing that He has promised to open doors to those who ask persistently (Matthew 7:7-8).

“Lord, I invite you to open up new doors of opportunity to do Your will. Give me the discernment to know when an opportunity is of Your making and when it is not. Teach me to do Your will for you are my God and Your Spirit is good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

[ Pastor Pierre Eade ]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBaOGuV-jrE

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YOUR TURN: IS AN OPEN DOOR ALWAYS GOD’S WILL?

Over the past several months I have been searching for a job, and time after time the doors have closed on each position I have pursued. Finally after several months and a good interview, I was offered a position.

My first thought was something to the effect of, “I think this may be what God wants me to do because it’s the only open door I’ve had in a long time.” Many times I believe open doors can be good and worth walking through, but may I also suggest that not every open door is a good door to walk through.

Fear of the Lord

Everything starts and ends with the “fear of the Lord” for the Christian, desiring above all else to do that which is pleasing to God. And our guide for knowing what is good and pleasing in the sight of God is His revelation to man, which is the Bible. Once we are familiar with the Word of God, we must be careful not to willfully elevate our way above God’s way. For God’s ways are always best.

Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3:5-8, ESV).

Seeking the Lord

Thankfully I did not make a rash and quick decision but said I would like a day or two to think about it and then give them a final decision.

If I could give advice to young people it would be this: Do not make quick decisions in the moment unless you absolutely have to. Give yourself some time; this allows you to test it with the Scriptures, seek God in honest prayer, and seek wise counsel.

Too many times we make quick decisions in the moment, and our decisions are based off emotion, feelings and our heart’s desire. But “[t]he heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), and it is always wise to test things against the Word of God. “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

After I had time to test the opportunity against the Word of God, seek the Lord in honest prayer, and seek wise counsel, I came to the confident conclusion that this was not a good job, and it was not a good decision to accept the offer. It was a very tempting offer; however, I have a true peace about the decision and am thankful that God has spared me from making a rash and bad decision. Although, I must admit: From an outsider’s perspective, my decision seems somewhat foolish, turning down the one legitimate job opportunity I have had in quite a long time, but in the end I must follow Christ and His leading in my life regardless of how it’s viewed by others. “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

A Parallel With Relationships

Sometimes I think the same thing happens with dating/courting relationships. We are waiting and waiting for the right person to come along. So when someone comes along who finally shows interest and/or is at least willing to say to us that they are a Christian, we think finally a door has opened and this must be right. Instead of seeking what God says about pursuing relationships, we follow our heart, feelings and emotions.

Many times we neglect to ask the serious and important questions about what they believe about the Bible and who God is. We don’t bother seeking God in honest prayer or seeking the wise counsel of parents or spiritual leaders in our lives. And because we view an open door as a good door to walk through, we cause ourselves unnecessary pain.

There are always unintended consequences when we deviate from doing things God’s way, and my hope is to encourage young people to seriously seek God and His Word in all areas of life, thus sparing them from much pain and regret.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

[ Lance Tedford ]

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I AM THE DOOR

Bible teacher John MacArthur’s commentary on John 10:1–10:

“Turn in your Bible to John chapter 10, John chapter 10. This is a very familiar portion of Scripture, and it’s a rather extensive text, running deep into the 10th chapter, beyond where we’ll go today, looking at the true Shepherd, the true Shepherd.

It’s one of the most beautiful word pictures in all of the New Testament. It is called in verse 6 a figure of speech, a paroimia. It’s not a parable because it doesn’t start “the kingdom of God is like.” It is a word picture and, as I said, one of the most magnificent word pictures in all Scripture, really. And it is a word picture that is not isolated to John 10. John 10 really draws on the shepherd imagery which covers Scripture from beginning to end…” [more].

http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/43-52


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANvoTfDSZgc

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ARE OPEN DOORS ‘GOD DOORS’?

“It’s obvious that God wants me in this business, and I’m going to put everything I have into it. After all, it’s growing, so God is blessing it.”

“I know we’re going to move away from our friends and faith community, but I’m certain it’s God’s will, since he opened the door on such a good deal on a house and property in the country.”

These are quotes from people who have explained to me why they were doing something that I thought was detrimental to their spiritual welfare. “The door is open, so it must be God’s will that I walk through it.”

It’s a common way of thinking. But is it a good one? Is every open door a “God door”?

No.

If an open door by itself were a reliable indicator of God’s leading, we would have to explain the many “open doors” leading to great temptation and moral compromise. Many have walked through open doors into embezzlement, illicit affairs, and much more. These things certainly are not of God.

But what about more innocent things? Some folks use this reasoning to rationalize what they have already decided to do. But not all. Some are sincerely seeking God’s leading. And it’s not necessarily wrong to want a business to succeed, or to have a home in the country. It may be wrong if it’s done out of selfish motivations, but it isn’t always. Nor is it wrong to have a deep longing to serve God.

I have been involved for more than three years with an Asian refugee population where we live. It has been, for the most part, a pleasure. But I have also noticed a spiritual emptiness among many of the people, and have prayed much for God to work among them, to pour out his Spirit on them and bring new life. And I have told God I am willing to be an instrument of that happening, if that is his choice.

Recently, I was approached by the pastor of a church where a number of these folks had settled. Would I come there and work among the refugees, helping to build a ministry and community there for them? “We’re delighted they’re with us, but we have no idea what to do with them.”

My first response was negative. No way. Not at that church. I’ve tasted that flavor, and didn’t like it. Find someone else.

But though I didn’t like the idea, I had to consider whether was this God, opening a door to using me to fulfill his purpose for these people? It seemed like a possibility.

I prayed. I asked God for wisdom and discernment. I asked others to pray. And I went to some friends in the refugee community, told them what was being asked of me, and sought their opinion: Should I go or not?

Unanimously, they said to go. They all said they would be happy for me to join them at the church.

So I told the pastor I would, as he requested, visit and see “if God speaks” to me. One time.

I went, with my wife and three Asian friends. None of us liked it. In fact, five of us went, and five of us did not want to return. No neutrality.

So now what? What was God saying? The door was open, but was it God who opened it?

I decided that it was unfair for decide something important based on one exposure. So we went again. And I met with the “ministry staff.” And the women’s missionary group was told about me. All positive. All excited that I was joining them.

Now, despite my initial response, and my continuing apprehension, I was starting to get a little interested. Maybe this really was God at work. After all, I didn’t have to look far to see examples of God moving his people into places of discomfort and difficulty.

So we attended several times a week for perhaps six weeks. Watching. Listening. Praying.

I began to see things that would be problems. Beliefs I didn’t agree with. Demands that I teach this or that material.

So now, here I am. Am I hearing God? Perhaps. But what is he saying? Is he saying “This is the place where I want you”? Or is he saying to go elsewhere?

An open door. It certainly seemed like it was open, and still does. But is it God’s open door? Or is it a distraction?

It’s an important principle: Just because a door is open doesn’t mean God opened it. It might be exactly the opposite.

How do we know?

Pray. Pray some more. Ask others to pray, as well. Go slowly. “Follow your peace.”

And don’t be afraid to say you missed God or misunderstood what he might be saying. Nobody infallibly hears God. Not me. Not you.

And so I wait and I pray. I look at open doors. And I ask God to close the ones that he didn’t open.

Incidentally, the businessman from the quote above has totally walked away from God, and is now consumed with his business. The person moving to the country has been there over two years and has found no spiritual home.

[ Larry Baden ]

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LOVE IS AN OPEN DOOR

“Love is an Open Door” is a romantic duet and Hans’ villain song for the film Frozen, sung by major characters Anna and Hans. Unlike most traditional Disney romantic love songs, this one has a strong percussion beat and is a bit goofier than most traditional Disney love songs. It is also considered a villain song in that Hans sings the song, and that it subtly gives hints about his true nature, which isn’t completely given away until the film’s third act.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPImqZo0D74

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GOD OPENS DOORS OUT OF THE BLUE

Where is my life headed?

What if today, right out of the clear blue sky, or tonight, out under the stars, God placed before you a clear-cut opportunity for an adventure in faith with Him? Are you ready? Ready to lace up your shoes, step through that door, and follow Him?

Why do we shy away from open doors, from the prospect of new adventures in faith? Why do we let opportunity after opportunity pass us by, even though we feel a stirring of desire and a tug on our hearts to respond? What holds us back?

I think many of us are simply too weighed down and tangled up by our past to step into God’s purpose today. How sad. We lose “today” because of “yesterday.” Life flows on by, and age creeps up on us while we remain mired in doubts, fears, and hesitations.

Have you ever met some older person, now physically unable to work or travel, who could only look back on life with regrets? It’s not a happy story. Some older man will say, “Years ago I had the opportunity to serve the Lord overseas—and deep down, I really wanted to go. But I had a good job, and I was climbing the ladder. So I held back. Then the opportunity passed me by—and it never came again.”

Or some older lady saying, “My husband and I couldn’t have children. He wanted to adopt a baby girl from China, but I was afraid, I kept stalling the decision, and we never did. Now my husband’s gone, and here I am with no one in my life. It would be so wonderful to have a daughter.”

Life is too short to live with regrets! Life is too precious to turn away from promising opportunities to serve the King in His kingdom.

The psalmist said,

“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

That’s what we want. To just run and run and run into His will and the paths of His purpose. With a light heart, a clear eye, and hope rushing bank-high through the channels of our heart.

But we can’t run if we have huge packs on our backs or ropes tangling up our feet that keep us from embracing God Adventures. Be open when God calls, even out of the blue.

[ Terry Meeuwsen – Excerpted from “The God Adventure” ]

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FOLLOWING JESUS THROUGH THE STORMS OF LIFE

From the teaching series by Pastor Greg Laurie, “Follow Me! Following Jesus in the Modern World.” Focus verse: Matthew 8:23-27

[ Greg Laurie ]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yiOehq40UU

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EVERY CROWN HAS ITS THORNS
(Parody of “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” by Poison)

We’re both like Simon we still live in a state of denial
Although we’d both like to go to Heaven
We feel surprised about the trial
But the suffering Christ did accomplished somethin’
And the worst all turned out right
Go and find out in Hebrews chapter 5
Verses 7 through 9
You see
Every crown has its thorns
Just like every life has its cross
Just like every choirboy sings some sad, sad songs
Every crown has its thorns … it does
A Christian needs to take his cross
Take it up and hit the road
Yeah, ’cause Jesus said lots of times that we should do it and
He should know
But I wonder – as He walked
If He ever felt like quittin’
Yet I know we wouldn’t be here right now if Christ
Took a different road than Calvary
CHORUS
Though I’m in a trial now
Christ can still feel all my pain
Like the nails that cut through and bruised Him
Cause the scars – Christ’s scars remain
LEAD
I know He could have saved His life that night if Christ
Chose to run away
Instead of takin’ off – He chose
To take the narrow way
And now I’m Heaven bound and born anew
And man I never had that much to lose
I’m here to bear my cross in life
And to see Him on the other side – because
CHORUS

[ ApologetiX – “Spoofernatural” album ]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcAdG8lU9pA

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CHRIST AT HEART’S DOOR

“Christ at Heart’s Door” is the second-most cited image by Warner Sallman among the 473 letters which the research project received from readers of popular religious magazines. It was inspired by a tradition of British and German painting and prints from the 19th century which depict Christ knocking at the door of a home. The most famous of these images are the versions of The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt, the first of which Hunt completed in 1853 and which hangs today in Keble College, Oxford. Sallman followed the overt allegorizing evident in European versions of the subject such as Hunt’s. Viewers of Sallman’s picture appreciate the unambiguous legibility of the picture, whose subject is based on Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock …”

The barely concealed heart produced by the luminance of Christ and the frame of the doorway convey Christ’s call to the soul ensnared in thistles of sin and the darkness of ignorance and willfulness. Yet, as promotional literature points out, “all is not hopeless, for there is an opening of grillwork in the door ‘revealing the darkness within,’ so that the individual may see who is at the door, and see that He is good and kind.” For American Protestants whose spirituality is premised on the acceptance of a call and “born again” experience and its subsequent testimonial, this image articulates a central theological principle and has served to commemorate such experiences. For others, the image offers assurance of Christ’s benevolent yet persistent love. Still others interpret the image in terms of the freedom of will.

A Lutheran clergyman admires the painting “because the absence of any outside knob or latch on the door indicates that one must open one’s heart to Christ from within—He will not force His way inside.” In either case, the highly symbolic or allegorical character of the image facilitates the inscription of personal and theological narratives of conservative Protestant piety.

http://www.warnersallman.com/collection/images/christ-at-hearts-door/

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DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY

“Doors of Opportunity” (DOPP) is an organization with a mission to expose socioeconomically disadvantaged students in the Metro-Detroit area to higher education opportunities that lie outside their communities.

https://maizepages.umich.edu/organization/dopp

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DEEP THOUGHT(s):

“Here’s my quick summary of the Christian ‘Gospel’JESUS’ PROPITIATION made our SINS FORGIVEN and we are IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS so that we have GOD’S ACCEPTANCE into His Heaven and are given ETERNAL LIFE.”
[ Mark Besh ]

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”
[ George Washington Carver ]

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
[ Milton Berle ]

“It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, then to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”
[ Les Brown ]

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”
[ Confucius ]

“I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.”
[ Marla Gibbs ]

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”
[ Johnny Cash ]

“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.”
[ Alexander Graham Bell ]

“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”
[ Graham Greene ]

“Joy, temperance, and repose, slam the door on the doctor’s nose.”
[ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ]

Sometime God’s send tears to our eyes in order for a rainbow to appear in our hearts.”
[ Paul Fritz ]

“God enters by a private door into every individual.”
[ Ralph Waldo Emerson ]

“When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.”
[ Charles L. Allen ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.”
[ John 10:9a ].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

'Fishing For Souls' - LifesDeepThoughts.com