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Summary: This sermon answers the question: HOW ARE WE AS BELIEVERS TO HANDLE THE DISAPPOINTMENTS & DIFFICULTIES OF CLOSED DOORS IN OUR LIFE?

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INTRO: Vance Havner in his book IT IS TOWARDS EVENING tells the story about a town where the living of most came through farming cotton. Then the Boll Weevil invaded...devastated the cotton crop - the very source of their income - threatening to put everyone in poor house.

THE DOOR TO A PROSPEROUS FUTURE SEEMED SHUT. With the cotton crop ruined, the farmers were forced to plant other produce...peanuts...THAT BROUGHT IN MORE MONEY THAN THEY EVER WOULD’VE MADE WITH COTTON!

In the end, what seemed to be a disaster turned out to be a boon. In appreciation, the town built monument to the Boll Weevil.

Richard Seumie writes: "All things work together for good to the Christian, even the ’Boll Weevil’ experience." Sometimes we take the future for granted...have it all planned out...settle into a humdrum routine as monotonous as growing cotton.

Then God sends the Boll Weevil {$ collapse, infirmity, unemployment, bereavement} & as a result we are driven to be better farmers & bring forth a far finer fruit from our souls. The best thing that happened to us was the coming of our Boll Weevil.

Maybe you are here today, & you are going through a period of great disappointment in life. IT IS LIKE A DOOR HAS BEEN SHUT TO WHAT YOU THOUGHT WAS YOUR FUTURE! You aren’t the 1st believer to experience this kind of disappointment.

TEXTUAL PARAGRAPH: THE APOSTLE PAUL EXPERIENCED THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF A CLOSED DOOR AT LEAST TWICE IN HIS MINISTRY.

Let us look at 2 texts from the life of the Apostle Paul that reveal his response to God when God shuts a door in his life...The 1st = Acts 16...THE SPIRIT PREVENTS PAUL FROM GOING TO BITHYNIA.

{1st SCRIPTURE READING}

The 2nd = 2 Cor. 12..."Thorn in the Flesh" passage. THREE TIMES PAUL PRAYS FOR IT’S REMOVAL & GOD DOES NOT GIVE THE ANSWER HE WANTED.

{2nd SCRIPTURE READING}

RELATIONAL PARAGRAPH: What is your Bithynia? Bithynia represents...dreams you’ve seen shattered...prayer requests that have been denied. ...goals that have escaped your reach. They are like "nettles in the walk of life". HOW ARE WE AS BELIEVERS TO HANDLE THE

DISAPPOINTMENTS & DIFFICULTIES OF CLOSED DOORS IN OUR LIFE?

From PAUL’S EXAMPLE, 4 PRINCIPLES:

1.) PERSISTENCE -Don’t give up, keep going!

Paul didn’t quit...(vs. 8)...Paul went on to

Troas...

By persistence the snail made the ark.

Babe Ruth stuck out 1,330 times.

So keep on swinging!

There is no self-pity here...NOT SERVING WHERE YOU

DESIRE IS NO EXCUSE FOR NOT SERVING.

Paul was not the kind to allow past disappoint-

ments to keep him from serving. Remember his

words in Phil. 3:13-14...

[TR] We need to press on realizing that when God

shuts a door, He generally opens another one.

2.) PURPOSE - When God closes a door in your life,

look for His greater purpose to be revealed.

(vss. 9-10)

God => WORKING ALL AROUND US! You may think He

has set you aside but he hasn’t. The scripture

says: "He who began a good work in you will be

faithful to complete it."

OFTEN God closes a door to something good to lead

us to something even better!!!

Paul’s Motive = GREAT! But God had a better plan...

A.) GOD PREVENTED PAUL FROM A NEEDLESS TRIP.

Peter took care of Bithynia(1 Pet. 1)

B.) GOD BROUGHT DR. LUKE ON TO PAUL’S MISSION

TEAM.

Notice the personal pronouns in

vss. 4-9 "They" But vs. 10 -> "We"

[TR]Why did Luke join them? Answer leads to...

3.) PROVIDENCE - We need to trust God to work all

things together for good to those of us who love

Him. Luke probably came on to minister to

Paul’s "thorn". But in the providence of God

much more would happen...

A.) Ultimately, Luke became the most prolific

writer in the NT @(writing more of the NT than

any other writer including Paul himself).

B.) Paul’s trip to Macedonia resulted in

establishing the church at Philippi.

NOW WHO HAD A BETTER PLAN - PAUL OR GOD?

Thank God He doesn’t always give us what we want.

[TR] That leads us to the 4th principle...

4.) PRAYER - turn to the 2 Cor. 12 passage...vs. 8

says he prayed to the lord 3 times...extended

sessions...Yet God said "No" or did He? We need to

distinguish between WAYS & MEANS in God’s answers to

prayer...

D. A. Carson in his book “Holy Sonnets of the

Twentieth Century” captures the gist of this

passage with this sonnet(page 85)...

The glorious revelations you’ve bestowed,

Ineffable displays of holy light,

Call forth my joyful praise in sheer delight,

A foretaste of my heavenly abode.

Then why this ceaseless thorn, this painful goad

Of Satan? Why not spare me pain, the blight

Of persecution, malice, danger’s fright?

From what strange stream of love

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