Summary: God guides us by using closed doors and opens doors if we are willing to submit to His total control

How God Closes One Door and Opens Another

(Acts 16:6-18)

Illustration:Sir Alexander Mackenzie is a Canadian hero. An early fur trader and explorer, he accomplished a magnificent feat when he led an expedition across Canada from Fort Chippewyan on Lake Athabasca to the Pacific Ocean. His incredible journey was completed in 1793, 11 years before Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition to the west. Mackenzie’s earlier attempt in 1789, however, had been a major disappointment. His explorers had set out in an effort to find a water route to the Pacific. The valiant group followed a mighty river (now named the Mackenzie) with high hopes, paddling furiously amid great danger. Unfortunately, it didn’t empty into the Pacific, but into the Arctic Ocean. In his diary, Mackenzie called it the "River of Disappointment."

Daily Bread, July 1, 1990.

1. Have you ever wondered why God closes some doors and opens others? In God’s sovereign wisdom, grace and love He is able to lead us to what is best.

No person, organization or group is able to know what is best for us in the short run and for eternity except the Lord.

When the Spirit prohibited Paul and Timothy from preaching in Asia they believed God would open a better door to them. Do not get discouraged when you get a rejected for a special job, a certain relationship or a promotion.

Trust God in the process of opening up a better opportunity for you.

2. It is often when we are resting and waiting on God that the Spirit reveals the next pathway. When Paul was asleep a man appeared to him in a vision saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” (Acts 16:9) Do not get anxious, angry or frustrated when the doors do not open immediately.

Trust the Lord to help you rest knowing that He will make a way when there seems to be no way.

3. God often works through unanswered prayer. No doubt Paul and Timothy prayed for an opening in to Asia, but they ran into a closed door.

Many times God will say no to certain prayers in order to direct us to roads that will lead us to greater accomplishments.

Ask the Lord to help you not get discouraged when your prayerful desires are not being met.

4. God’s alternatives often sharpen our ability to discern what is best in future decisions. The Spirit stopped them from entering Asia and Bithynia. Often, the only way to know the will of God is through an obedient trial and error experiences. Do not be afraid to have a few doors slammed in your face before finding the best one.

Ask the Lord to give you the courage, tenacity and toughness to overcome rejection and exhibit a resilient attitude in your pursuit of God’s best.

5. The Lord opens the hearts of key people. God opened the heart of Lydia, a wealthy seller of purple royal garments.

This conversion must have given Paul and Timothy confirmation that they had chosen the best pathway. If God is opening people’s hearts and minds to the gospel of truth, you will find great joy. It likely that Paul would not have expected God to choose a wealthy woman as the first convert in Europe, but he remained open.

Ask the Lord to keep your mind open to whom you should minister to while putting away any of your personal preferences, expectations or prejudices.

6. Paul and Timothy recognized that spiritual success is totally dependent on the Lord opening physical, mental and spiritual doors.

No matter how hard we try, well meaning intentions will not accomplish the supernatural work of the Spirit.

Trust the Lord to work in and through you to accomplish His purposes in ways that give Him maximum glory.

7. God opens the doors of people’s hearts in all kinds of ways. Learn how to adapt the methods of communicating truth to each individual and culture.

There are essentials for salvation such as repentance, faith and trusting Christ alone as Savior, but there are millions of ways that His message can be communicated.

Ask the Lord to help you to use a multitude of channels to present the gospel of truth so people can find a diversity of ways to come to the truth.

8. The Spirit is able to give just the right feelings, urges and convictions to each person preparing them for a right decision.

The Spirit speaks to people through their own world-view in ways that remain beyond the realm of human understanding. Jesus said, “If anyone is willing to do my will, they will know the truth.”

Ask the Lord to bring to bear the full measure of the Spirit’s power, persuasion and truth to resistant individuals and groups.

Conclusion:In 1858 the Illinois legislature--using an obscure statute--sent Stephen A. Douglas to the U.S. Senate instead of Abraham Lincoln, although Lincoln had won the popular vote. When a sympathetic friend asked Lincoln how he felt, he said, "Like the boy who stubbed his toe: I am too big to cry and too badly hurt to laugh." God uses closed doors to open up bigger and better ones for us down the road.

Source Unknown.

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Mark Parris

commented on Sep 23, 2006

You had just the closing illustration I was looking for. Thanks for sharing God's good word. MDP

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