God Opens Doors Out of the Blue
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 commandments, for you have set my heart free.” (Psalm 119:32 WEB)
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.
Oh, the Places God Will Take You!
By: Veronica Neffinger, crosswalk.org
“Trust in 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.” –Proverbs 3:5-6
Looking at my stash of postcards, I can’t help but think of the Dr. Seuss book title, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
I have been a lot of places (within the U.S. anyway): Bayfield, WI for their apple orchards and outdoor concert venue, winding Lombard Street in San Francisco, the mangroves of the Florida Keys, Pike’s Peak in Colorado…and the list goes on.
As I look at the postcards which mark each place I’ve been, I also can’t help but think that rather than the places I’ll go, the theme for my life has been “Oh, the places the Lord will take you!”
Sometimes these are literal, physical places like the ones mentioned above, but more often they are intangible places of spiritual growth.
All Christians seem to love the popular Proverbs verses: “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,” but oftentimes it seems we do not trust in God to lead us down the right metaphorical path, while we do trust our GPS to get us to that scenic overlook, that historical attraction, that famed wonder of nature–all physical realities.
I would wager that many of us have discovered the hard way that when you think you know better than your GPS and you override it, you usually end up lost.
I don’t think it would be a stretch to claim that we often do the same with God as our guide.
It’s easy to think we know best how to direct our own paths and get where we want to go, but the truth is, we probably wouldn’t have many spiritual “postcards” hanging in the room of our hearts if we went our own way.
God is trustworthy. He is always ready to prove that.
I bet many, many of us could look back on the life we have already lived and point to dozens of times when we saw God’s hand orchestrating situations, bringing certain people into our lives, opening certain doors, closing others, bringing us to a place in which we can look back and see his Providence.
Many of us will also probably admit that those paths didn’t look very straight at the time when we were in the valley, but after all, it’s the same on a map: a road may look straight from a bird’s-eye view, but when you walk or drive it, you may find it has many bends and curves.
And yet, we still trust that the road will take us where the map or a GPS said it would take us–what if we did the same in our relationship with God?
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.” – Psalm 30:11-12 NASB
The Bible tells us, “there is a time for every event under heaven.” Both a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and dance (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4).
Yes, there are times when mourning is appropriate. Yet we easily can become absorbed in the emotions of the moment and wallow in sadness. We can become saturated with anger, bitterness, fear, or worry.
David discovered that God had the power to change everything. He could lift his burdens and turn his moments of mourning into times of celebration. He did not have to stay sad or depressed.
Everything might seem dark, but God could shine His light and change hopelessness into hope. Instead of dreading his circumstances, he could be confident. God could fill his life with so much radiance that he would burst out in songs of praise. Instead of wallowing in anguish, he could be filled with thanksgiving.
No matter what is happening in your life, remember that God loves you. He has a plan for you. He is God, and He is still on the throne. Commit every situation to Him, no matter how big or small. No matter what obstacles you face or how hopeless everything may seem, He can give you hope.
Allow God to fill your heart with joy and confidence. Don’t allow circumstances to control you, but trust in Him. Celebrate His goodness! Let Him turn your mourning into dancing!
Streams in the Desert
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
Shut up to faith (Gal. 3:23).
God, in olden time suffered man to be kept in ward by the law that he might learn the more excellent way of faith. For by the law he would see God’s holy standard and by the law he would see his own utter helplessness; then he would be glad to learn God’s way of faith.
God still shuts us up to faith. Our natures, our circumstances, trials, disappointments, all serve to shut us up and keep us in ward till we see that the only way out is God’s way of faith. Moses tried by self-effort, by personal influence, even by violence, to bring about the deliverance of his people. God had to shut him up forty years in the wilderness before he was prepared for God’s work.
Paul and Silas were bidden of God to preach the Gospel in Europe. They landed and proceeded to Philippi. They were flogged, they were shut up in prison, their feet were put fast in the stocks. They were shut up to faith. They trusted God. They sang praises to Him in the darkest hour, and God wrought deliverance and salvation.
John was banished to the Isle of Patmos. He was shut up to faith. Had he not been so shut up, he would never have seen such glorious visions of God.
Dear reader, are you in some great trouble? Have you had some great disappointment, have you met some sorrow, some unspeakable loss? Are you in a hard place? Cheer up! You are shut up to faith. Take your trouble the right way. Commit it to God. Praise Him that He maketh “all things work together for good,” and that “God worketh for him that waiteth for him.” There will be blessings, help and revelations of God that will come to you that never could otherwise have come; and many besides yourself will receive great light and blessing because you were shut up to faith.
–C. H. P
Great things are done when men and mountains meet,
These are not done by jostling in the street.