An Open Door

Sometimes in life you find yourself in front of an open door. It is a door that leads to something you never considered before. It is a door that you would have walked right past if it hadn’t been opened a crack. But, there it is…just opened enough to get your attention. You’re not really sure what it looks like on the other side, but you begin to imagine what it might be like.

You go up to it with curiosity, but with your first peek you are convinced it isn’t a door you want to walk through. With a closer look you see the difficulties, the impossibilities, and decide it isn’t for you.

But then someone comes along and tells you that it is a door you should walk through. They say you are able to accomplish the difficulties, and can do the impossibilities. You appreciate hearing their confidence in you, but you find it hard to believe.

Now you stand there in front of that opened door with your own thoughts of insecurities and with the words of confidence from another; torn between the two.

How do you decide?

I’m sure if you asked others for advice about their open door experiences you would get many different answers. Some would have stories of success and fulfillment as they courageously walked through an open door. Others would have regrets of missed opportunities from being too afraid of the difficulties and impossibilities.

The experiences from others will give you knowledge, but it won’t give you the wisdom you need for your open door.

Your open door is unique and specific, intended just for you! 

It could be that facing the difficulties and impossibilities you first saw as you peeked through the door are the very things God intends to work together for your good.

Don’t allow your first peek through an open door to determine your response!

This is where the wisdom that comes from God is needed!

God alone knows what is best for you!

God is for you and always has your best interest in mind!

God knows you better than you know yourself and He has good intentions to use the situations in life to mature and perfect you!

So even if your first peek leads you to assume the open door isn’t right for you, know that when you ask God He will give you wisdom and courage to make the right choice.

What is so amazing about God is that when you begin to tell Him all the reasons why you don’t want to walk through the door He listens and understands, but He doesn’t discuss your emotions, fears, or insecurities with you.

Discussing them only keeps you convinced you can’t do it!

Instead, God takes your excuses and begins to show you a different way of looking at them!

Just like the open door Moses faced when God called him to set his people free. Moses kept telling God the reasons he couldn’t walk through that door. But God kept taking the focus off of Moses’ excuses, and reminded Moses who He was and what He was capable of. God told Moses that He would walk through the door with him and help him accomplish what Moses had decided he couldn’t do.

So, as you look at the open door in front of you, choose to take your thoughts, feelings, and emotions to God and ask Him to replace them with His truth and to give you wisdom to walk through the door with courage and confidence, not in your own strength or abilities, but knowing God will equip and enable you to accomplish all the difficulties and impossibilities!

And you can believe you will have no regrets!

 

 

 

“It is Not Good…”

God’s creative, powerful words brought forth all creation and after each He declared, “It is good!” Then God’s hands formed and shaped man in His own image and He breathed His very breath into his nostrils and Adam became the first human.

Then God brought all the animals to Adam so he could name them, but among the animals no suitable helper was found for Adam. Adam was alone; the first thing Adam heard God declare was not good.

God’s response: “It is not good that man should be alone;” 

This seems to a problem, but God doesn’t make mistakes!

God intended good to come from this first problem!

Adam realized that all the animals had a suitable helper, yet none of them were suitable for him. Perhaps God allowed Adam to experience the “not good” of loneliness, and incompleteness so he would fully appreciate the “very good” He had yet to provide. God created man for fellowship; God enjoys and longs for relationship! God and Adam had a good relationship as they walked and talked together in the garden.

It was beautiful and satisfying, but God intended something else “very good” for Adam!

God intended something else “very good” for Him!

God intended a suitable helper, also created in His image, that would fully complete Adam, and whom Adam would fully complete!

And together they would complete the plans and purposes of God here on earth!

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it;” Genesis 1:27-28

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

The problems we face in life aren’t intended to be seen as mistakes. When we have a relationship with God, and walk and talk with Him every day, the problems we face are intended to show us something else that is “very good!” They hold within them the “very good” God intends from them if we yield ourselves to Him and trust Him to do what He alone can do. As God brought forth Eve from Adam’s rib, we must submit to God and allow Him to miraculously create and completely provide what we could never accomplish on our own. When the “very good” becomes a reality in our lives and we embrace what God provided we will realize it was worth it! And it will strengthen our faith to face another problem down the road of life.

Job went through many problems when Satan asked to test his loyalty and love of God. Was Job loyal to God and love Him because was wealthy and healthy, or was it because of who God is?

Jesus faced some problems in the wilderness when Satan tempted Him three times, but each one was a test of Jesus’ loyalty and love for His Father.

Satan asked to sift Peter as wheat, and the problems he faced tested his loyalty and love for Jesus.

Each of these problems had different situations, yet they all had a similar purpose, to test loyalty and love of God.

And each was intended to increase faith and fulfill a greater destiny!

Whatever “not good” you may be facing today, may you choose to see it as an opportunity to prove your loyalty and love of God. Let it be what draws you near to God to know His truth, to see how awesome He is, and to repent of any ways you haven’t trusted or loved Him as you should. For in every “not good” situation, God has something “very good” intended to increase your faith and propel you into a greater destiny!

Job saw the incredible power and love of God in ways he had never seen before and bowed down in awe and repentance, and after praying for his friends God added to him double all that he had lost!

Jesus resisted temptation by using the true words of God, proving His loyalty to God, and afterwards the angels of God came and ministered to His needs. Then Jesus began His three years of powerful ministry.

Peter did deny Jesus, but afterwards Jesus revealed His power and love by filling his fishing nets to over flowing and gave Peter the chance to prove his loyalty and love for Him. Peter went on to become a powerful preacher and writer of the love and truth of the  Good News of the gospel!

The results of the “not good” situations in life are intended to increase your faith and propel you into greater ministry for the kingdom of God!

 

 

Then God said…

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters.
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 

Then God said, ‘Let there be light.’” Genesis 1:3

The voice of God thundered into the formless, empty, darkness and brought forth light and life!

God’s words spoke all creation into existence and He proclaimed it, “Good!”

“By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” Hebrews 11:3

God’s words contain creative power!

God spoke and His very breath formed substance from nothing; He spoke and all things were born!

“The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him.

For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.” Psalm 33:6-9

The world was formed; the sun, moon, and stars were hung in the sky, the earth was filled with fishes swimming in the oceans, animals roaming upon the ground, and birds souring in the sky.

But God wasn’t finished.

The earth wasn’t yet complete.

There was one more creation, unique and completely different then all He had created so far.

“Let Us make human beings in our image, to be like Us.” Genesis 1:26

I can only imagine when God spoke those words He drew the attention of all creation and a holy hush fell over all the heavens and over all the earth as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, created human beings in their image, to be like them!

All creation looked on in wonder as God reached His hands down into the dust of the earth and formed the shape of a man. Then He bent His head down low, and breathed His very breath into the nostrils of man, and God’s creation became a living being.

Adam, you, and me, were all formed by God, made in the image of God, created to be loved by God, and intended to be one with God!

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” Genesis 1:31

 

Perhaps you find there are some formless, empty, dark places you are facing in life…

Situations that seem to have no purpose and you don’t understand how to get past them.

Relationship issues or financial difficulties that leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled or worried and unable to get ahead.

Dark corners in your heart that you know need to be cleaned out, but seem too overwhelming to deal with.

I’m here to remind you that these are God’s specialties!

God’s words contain creative power!

God’s words create purpose when your life seems formless.

God’s words create fullness when your life seems empty.

God’s words bring light when you find yourself in the dark.

May you choose to listen to God’s words and find the truth that will bring you light and life!

New Year, New Journey!

As you welcome in this New Year do you have a complaint against God? Is there something you desperately need an answer for? Have you tried everything you know to do, done everything others have advised, and still have no break through? I just want to tell you that is actually a very good place to be!

The end of self can be the beginning of new life!

The realization that self doesn’t have the answers, and that others don’t have good advice leaves you with the only voice that speaks truth into every complaint! There are only two voices, the voice of truth and the voice of the liar. When you rise above the reasoning of others, guard your heart and mind against your own fleshly thoughts, and let go of any lies you believed, you will see what the Lord has to say to you! And when you hear His voice of truth you must write it down because His answer isn’t just for you, but for those around you as well!

“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint. Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.” Habakkuk 2:1-2

I hope this verse inspires you as it does me for the coming year. While the enemy means harm from the complaints you have against God, God intends that His answers will provide a story that you will write to strengthen yourself and to inspire others.

Four years ago I began to write my story. I spent two years writing about my journey through seasons of life and the lessons I learned along the way. When I began to write I thought that perhaps I would have it printed with the hope that my story would encourage others along their journey through life. When I “finished” it, (when are you ever sure a story is finished?) I went to a writer’s conference where I hoped to have someone else read some of it to receive input and constructive criticism. My story never came out of the folder, but I did hear a lot about blogging. Mark had mentioned it to me several times before so when I came home from the conference I decided that was what I was to do, and from then on I have been writing and posting my blog weekly. I really enjoy blogging; beginning with asking God to show me something new from the Bible or to teach me something from life experiences so I can share with others, then the process of putting what God shows me into words as I write and re-write the text, and then finding or taking pictures to illustrate the lessons. I have found it very fulfilling and I also have found that it keeps me accountable. Many times I write things God has spoken to me from the Bible or lessons I have learned from life situations and I have found that those lessons will be tested. That’s when I need to remind myself of the words I wrote and choose whether I will take my own advice or give in to my feelings and emotions. And so, though I really enjoy blogging, I believe God is calling me back to writing my story. I see this season of blogging as preparation and the theme; “What the enemy means for harm, God intends for good!” is also the theme of my story. My story includes many experiences when I didn’t recognize the truth of this theme. Many times I responded to situations by listening to the wrong voice and experienced the harm meant for me by the enemy of my soul. That harm was meant to steal, kill, and destroy me, but it was those very strategies against me that brought me to the end of self. The end of self can be the beginning of new life! It was in that dark night that God’s light flooded my soul. His unconditional love and grace washed over my wandering heart with these four words, “God is for you!” As I traveled through life I have come to realize that believing this truth, never doubting that, “God is for you!” has been my anchor, has been my stronghold, has been what has enabled me to face the troubles that came my way, and to trust that God will work all things together for my good, and for the salvation of many. And so, as I use my time to write my story I will continue to blog excerpts from it along the way. A New Year and a New Journey begins!

Good News of Great Joy!

It was a night just like any other. Shepherds were watching their sheep out on the hills near Bethlehem when suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them and the radiance of God’s glory surrounded them!

The shepherds were terrified by the angel’s presence. 

“Don’t be afraid!” he said.” Luke 2:10 

The angel of the Lord understood their fear, but told them that they had nothing to be afraid of.

The appearance of the angel and the light of God’s glory that shone all around them caused great fear to come upon them. But that fear of God’s holy presence caused them to know this was no ordinary person with an ordinary message.

God is to be feared, but not to be afraid of!

Holy fear of the Lord gets your attention!

To fear the Lord is to listen to Him!

The shepherds didn’t need to be afraid because God’s messages are always intended for your good…

“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

The shepherds lived in a time of great spiritual darkness. Many people no longer worshipped the One true God, but instead chose to worship man-made idols. They no longer lived in obedience to God’s commands, but lived according to their own fleshly desires. They no longer lived in the light of God’s presence and blessings, but in the darkness and emptiness of their own sinful ways.

Into this dark time of bad news and consequences of sin…

The light of God’s glory shone around them!

The angel of the Lord brought them Good News!

Good News that would bring Great Joy to all people!

“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

This is the Good News we celebrate at Christmas!

This is the Great Joy that is for all people!

The Savior has been born!

Jesus, born to save us from our sins.

Our sin brings darkness into our lives. It deceives and blinds us so that we live in the darkness of selfishness and fleshly desires.

Our sin brings bad news into our lives. It convinces us to do things our way, but then we reap the consequences.

Our sin leads to much sorrow, sadness, and depression. It causes us to focus on self and self is never satisfied.

We need an answer to all the darkness in our lives.

We need an answer to all the bad news in our lives.

We need an answer to all the sorrow, sadness, and depression in our lives.

We need to be saved from ourselves!

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Christmas is the celebration of our Savior!

Celebrating the Light that dispels all darkness!

Celebrating the Good News that changes all bad news!

Celebrating the Great Joy that replaces all sadness!

When the angel had spoken to the shepherds, he was joined by thousands of other angels all praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14

When the angels left the shepherds  had a choice to make. They could have chosen to ignore the angel’s message. They could have decided it was too much work to walk all the way into Bethlehem. They could have thought they shouldn’t leave their sheep just to see a baby in a manger. But, no, the holy fear of the Lord caused them to believe what the angel said to them. They chose to leave their sheep and hurried off to Bethlehem. There they found the babe in the manger and were astonished that it was just as the angel had told them. They returned to their flocks praising and glorifying God for all they had heard and seen.

The world is still as it was when Jesus was born, spiritually dark, filled with bad news, and overwhelmed with sadness and depression.

And Jesus is still “born to save the people from their sins.”

If this Christmas finds you in a dark place, facing bad news, or feeling sad and depressed, I pray you will ponder the message the angel brought to the shepherds. The message filled with love, peace, and hope right from the throne of God. For this is the time to go and find the Savior, the Good News, that will bring you Great Joy! For when you find Him you will believe and will break out in praise to God!