Through the Open Door

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Consider this photo. It’s a bit silly and whimsical, this door in the middle of a field. It is possible to completely avoid the door, to simply step around the post and continue walking into the expanse beyond.

There have been times in my past when presented with just such choices I would have gone around. An old rebellious nature in me would cause me to see constraints as suspicious and therefore to be avoided.

I recently came upon a piece I’d written about two years ago and it too was about open doors. At the time I was feeling frustrated because something in me sensed a new opportunity (an opening door) and yet it was stubbornly hiding itself or otherwise remaining closed to me. It’s a feeling I’m quite familiar with and it has caused me no end of grief.

You see, when faced with such blockades, these times often cause impatience (and impetuousness follows close behind), causing me to go around the doorpost and on into a future I felt quite capable of managing on my own. I’m positive God isn’t happy with this behavior.

The value in journaling or otherwise writing down your journey can show you important pieces of yourself. This old piece I’d written showed me, loud and clear, how I wasn’t waiting on God. Today, with a clearer eye, I see what He was doing. Unfortunately, we don’t have the benefit of hindsight when we’re faced with the decisions of life now.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

Many years ago, a friend gave me this verse as part of a prophetic word. It was so appropriate at that time, a much needed promise to give me hope for my future. I just looked up the root meanings of the main words in this verse and found a new revelation. I just love it when Papa gives me the gift of new meaning, fresh from His Word!

The root meaning of “spring forth” is samah. It means to sprout, to bring to bud. What I saw for the first time is this: bring to bud means to me that this is another of those “process” things. The verse doesn’t say the new thing is new now; it says, in the original language, that the new thing has begun, is set forth as a bud. Buds aren’t the finished product, it’s just the beginning of what will become a beautiful new flower. It must go through the process of growth to “finish” to maturity.

I see a new meaning to open doors in my life. Like this photo, they are placed there as a promise to me that something new is sprouting up, a new opportunity, perhaps  to grow into that which I’ve been hoping for. If it’s a open door from God it is an invitation to enter in. Funny, that once you go through the door, again just like this photograph, the field looks pretty much the same as if I’d walked around the doorpost. The only difference is one of submission and obedience; I’m choosing to go through the open door that God has placed in front of me and now I will patiently wait for Him to bring the bud to flower, allowing God to be in control and not me. Once through the doorway, things look pretty much like life as normal. It is only in the waiting patiently that things which originally looked familiar will transform into something new and amazing, sent from a loving Father! 

What about you? How do you handle those periods in your life when you are chomping to go forward and yet, everything today indicates you are to go nowhere any time soon? I’d love to hear how you keep from charging around the open door.

I want to encourage you to go through the open door! That bud is going to be beautiful…in its own way, in its own time!

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Moving As We Wait

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I’ve been questioning recently my ministry focus. Perhaps you’ve faced similar dilemmas. You think you know what you are called to do in God’s kingdom and then something happens that causes you to question the soundness of this purpose.

I believe I know where I am called and I’ve been quite busy in my little corner of the world. Until recently. Someone close to me challenged me. Am I going out to Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and sharing the Good News of the Bible with those who do not know?

Let me explain, as a reminder, in Acts 1, we learn of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The faithful remnant were gathered together in Jerusalem for fear of persecution by the Romans for being followers of Christ. Jesus returned after his death and appeared a number of times over the next 40 days to some of them and proved that it was He in a resurrected body.

Finally, He gave them a command in verses 4-8: “And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me;  for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.  And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;  but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:4-8 (NASB77).

So, once again, the question was, “am I being His witness in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria?” For those of you who might not yet have learned what this means, the above scripture has been cited as one of the main purposes for our being: we are to witness or share the truths about Jesus Christ to others in “our town, state, region, and throughout the rest of the world” so that none might be excluded from hearing the Good News of the Bible, that Jesus Christ is the only way into everlasting life.

Yes, this was a quandary for me. I chewed on this for days. I fretted. I stewed. And I wondered if God was in all I do. I asked Him if I was to get involved in another ministry like going to a prison, working at our local schools, perhaps volunteering at a local pregnancy resource center. You see, I am quite active in my local church, I’ve been on short-term missions, and the Lord is my focus in writing. But by and large, my ministry focus is within the church. I cried out to Him, “Lord, am I not doing enough outside my church, am I to take on something outside my current focus?”  And God remained mysteriously quiet.

I finally wrote to a trusted friend and mentor, a woman I greatly respect and one whom I knew would speak truth to me. I laid out the dilemma and asked for her opinion. About the time I wondered if my request had been lost in cyberspace, she replied. Her words settled over me like a warm blanket on a very cold night. She felt that often we get caught up in wanting to “work” our way into all God has planned for us. She shared a word from the Lord to her at one time: “If you work, I will rest and if you will rest, I will work on your behalf.” Truth!

I pondered her wise words. I chewed on them. I considered all she said and all I felt I knew to be true. And the days passed. Finally, I knew what God was saying to me: “Open your ears and eyes to My Presence. I will guide you as you go. You are often in too much of a hurry. Slow down and make time for Me to speak or show you the way.”

The other day I was in the grocery store, oblivious to Him, just getting it done so I could move on to the next thing. As I wheeled my cart out the door, I was suddenly impressed with His Presence. I actually stopped dead in my tracks and asked, “Lord, is there someone or something You need me to see or do right now?” I waited perhaps 15 seconds as I looked around the parking lot. I was willing to be used by Him if He were to say so. I didn’t see or hear anything. I came to understand that this was an exercise for me, that He wanted me to be aware of Him and to await His instruction. And as quickly as I felt Him near I then felt released to move on.

My friend’s word from the Lord became my word from the Lord. “If you work, I will rest but if you rest, I will work on your behalf.” I am to be aware always, in the church and out, of His Presence. When I’m tuned into His Presence, He will bring opportunities for me to speak of Him. All I need to do is wait (rest) on Him. He will do the rest; He always has, He always will. It is, therefore, so important that we be moving as we wait for His Presence!

As Timothy shared, we are “…to preach the Word of God urgently at all times, whenever you get the chance, in season and out, when it is convenient and when it is not…” 2 Timothy 4:2a (TLB)

This is dedicated to a wonderful and wise woman of God, who I am blessed to call my friend; you know who you are.  Thank you for helping me learn who I am in Him!