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Closed Doors, Open Doors

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Some of life’s greatest disappointments in life are when a greatly desired door is SLAMMED in our face!
Ever been there…???
That job promotion or new job expectation...
That relationship that broke off...
That financial opportunity that fell through...
That circumstance that seemed to bring tragedy, heartache, or disappointment.
Missed opportunities, lives never lived, dreams never realized or CHANGES IN DIRECTION can be life shaking.
But we must realize that when the Lord closes a door or allows a door to close - it is to direct our lives on paths we may have not explored otherwise!
Turn with me to:
Acts 16:6–10 NLT
6 Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. 7 Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. 8 So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. 9 That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.
Acts 16.
These four verses are often overlooked in Scripture, and yet these actions by Paul, Silas and Timothy shaped the world in which we live and exist in even today!
Where they were traveling northeast into Roman province of Asia (what we know of as Turkey and the middle East) God was redirecting them into Europe with the Gospel.
What was seemingly a good path, filled with population and places that needed the Word, the HOLY SPIRIT STOPPED THEM - PREVENTED
Hebrew word indicates - FORBID them from going.
Some of these areas they would later come to, some others would take the Gospel to, but God FORBID THEM to go and be used there.

1. Accepting When God Closes a Door

We have to accept when God shuts a door on us!
I can imagine some of the discussions around the campfire, or in the courtyard of whatever community they were traveling through.
We love that question, don’t we - WHY???
- Why is God shutting this door?
- Why did God allow this to happen?
- Why is this circumstance changing the course of my life?
We don’t like it when things change direction. We don’t like when we lose control over something we were in the middle of doing, and we don’t like being told NO sometimes.
The reality is, we can stay and fight against a closed door beating our hands and crushing our bodies trying to force it in, or we can ACCEPT the door was closed!
I don’t know about you, but I never am that good when a door shuts. I will knock, bang, push, shove, look for another way in to the same thing, and sometimes have to keep on having my knuckles bleed because I do not accept NO.
Through the years I have learned, sometimes you have to just accept that closed door and move on!
These guys were not only experiencing one, but a series of closed doors!
They came to the borders of Mysia and headed toward Bithynia - but God said no again!
When it is a series of NO we begin to think maybe God does not like us, want to use us, or has a plan for us — but my friend, the plan is bigger than what you realize!
In , Isaac was living amongst the Philistines and God was blessing him, but he had nothing but turmoil with the other shepherds in the land over the wells and rights for the wells. (named one well argument and the other one hostility) These were wells his father had dug that he had reopened. The conflict was unbearable and forced him to move...
In essence the conflict shut down the doors of enjoying the prosperity God was giving him...
The closed doors seemed to conflict with everything else going right in his life… and yet God reminded him that the covenant promise He gave to Isaac’s father now belonged to Isaac.
Romans 5:3–6 NLT
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. 6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Allow the closed doors of life to build character in your life — to refine you for the plans that God has yet ahead for you.

2. Patiently Await Direction

Romans 5:4 NLT
4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Romans 5
Sometimes we want something so bad, we are unwilling to wait for it.
(I have been naturally impatient since birth coming a month early.... lol)
Romans 8:25 NLT
25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
Hebrews 6:9–15 NLT
9 Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. 10 For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. 11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. 13 For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying: 14 “I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.” 15 Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.
When we want to advance or move forward in life, and the doors before have shut, it can be deeply frustrating — we often want to forge ahead to make our own plan —
But God wants us to wait for HIS PLAN!!
Jeremiah 29:10 NLT
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.
We know God has a plan, but are not always wanting to WAIT for it!!!
For Paul and his team - they kept knocking on the doors surrounding them when their direction was halted, but God said, no, not here either.
It was in Troas after they had received several closed doors that God sent a vision to Paul giving them direction as to what they were to do. Redirected into a totally new direction from any way they were seeking to travel - God brought them into Europe to bring the Gospel.
When they arrived, they encountered a woman of faith - Lydia - a seller of purple (or crimson red) which meant she would be a wealthy merchant. The Greek culture allowed for the success of women in business. She was worshipping the Lord - was most likely aware of Yahweh through other Jews - yet was alone worshipping - which meant that there were not enough Jewish men in the region to form a synagogue --
Lydia would become a key partner in supporting and sustaining Paul and his associates in their missionary endeavors not only in Phillipi but throughout the world. Instrumental in the spread of the Gospel into the same region the Spirit forbade them to go. She and her entire household (servants, etc) would be saved.
In addition to that, we see a slave girl who was demon possessed and fortune telling set free, Paul and Silas are thrown into jail, but God moved miraculously to free them - the result the jailer and his entire household - saved! And a church was established - one that would be focused on sharing the wealth to spread the Gospel.
As they traveled beyond into Thessalonica and Berea many were saved - but interestingly Scripture tells us that many PROMINENT - INFLUENTIAL men and women were saved.
It was time for Europe to receive the Gospel of Christ, the season for them RECEIVING was RIPE -
Matthew 9:37–38 NLT
37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
Matthew 9:37 NLT
37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.
By waiting - the Lord led them to where the conditions were right for LIVES to be CHANGED!!!
Can I say this --- when we surrender OUR PLANS to GOD’s PLANS - it is not just about WHAT WE WANT - but how HE wants to build HIS KINGDOM through US!!!
matt 6.
Matthew 6:10 NLT
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:5 NLT
5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.
Our prayer - Jesus taught us, is for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done!
1 Peter 5:10 NLT
10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.
If we WAIT for the LORD - He will restore, support, establish, strengthen!!!

3. Closed Doors Don’t Always Make Sense

Often God’s WILL and WISDOM go hand in hand together, but not always.
1 Corinthians 2:1–16 NLT
1 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. 6 Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. 7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. 8 But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. 9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. 14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
1 cor
We need to realize, we don’t do foolish things because we think that will make them God’s plan — God gave us a brain to use!!!
HUMAN WISDOM and thinking can be contrary to FAITH and FOLLOWING God’s direction.
What makes the difference --- KNOWING GOD’S VOICE!! Hearing the WORD OF THE LORD with such confidence.
Once Paul saw the Macedonian man calling for them to come - he knew his direction...
Eventually he would go to Ephesus and the other cities he was aiming for - but at a timing that was different - at a season where it was time!!!
Our timing and plans can be so off base with God’s! Does it mean when God speaks it won’t happen,
NO - it just needs to happen in HIS TIME!
Countless times in my life, I have been at a closed door — in my natural mind it made no sense to me--
That is rough for a WHY PERSON!!!
In almost every circumstance I look back and can later see the WHY’s!!! Some I have not, but I still trust.
There have been times I have been confident to hear God’s voice speak about something to me — but the doors were not opened to that plan for quite some time - and in a different way than I would have expected, AND USUALLY I have had to make some choices where HUMAN WISDOM said - don’t do that - but God’s WISDOM was different.


Closed doors create seasons of learning to TRUST and OBEY in our lives — so we can GROW, LEARN, and be prepared for God’s USE!!!
Proverbs 3:5–6 NLT
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
This is my life verse! That verse that I go back to time and time again!!!
It is not easy to LEARN TO LEAN on JESUS --- but it is oh so worth it!!!
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