The Power of Interceding

While I was in Thailand on the World Race, half of our group went to the red light district, while the other half stayed back to intercede on their behalf. The red light district is like entering a war zone. It is full of darkness, bondage, and slavery. Stepping on those streets you feel the weight of evil upon you. However, knowing you have people praying for you on your behalf, this weight seems a little bit lighter. You feel the protection.

As I walked those streets hearing the music blaring from the bars, seeing the flashing neon lights, looking up to see women trapped in window boxes dancing to draw in customers, you know evil is present, but there is a power of something greater because you carry it. The half of the group who stayed back to pray, started praying when the other group left and didn’t stop until they returned. Once the groups were back together at the end of the night, we would debrief and share our encounters. People who were on the streets said they would feel a pull to go into a certain bar or talk to a certain person, and come to find out there was someone on the other end praying for that exact thing to happen! It was pretty spectacular and made us realize we serve a big God and learned the power of intercession.

I was reading through an article I found in Grandma’s belongings and the author wrote, “Authoritative intercessors are men and women whose eyes have been opened to the full knowledge of their place in Christ.” He goes on to say these intercessors view the Word of God like a battle plan against the enemy to defend the kingdom of God. God wants to partner with us to advance His kingdom and intercession is one way to fight and through these prayers God will fulfill His promises.

I like this analogy of using the Bible as a strategic battle plan. Like Paul says in Ephesians, our fight is not against flesh and blood. We need intercessors and prayer warriors to pray in the spirit for our victory! We need to pray like it depends on God, and work like it depends on us.

In the Greek, intercession is used as a way of approaching a King for a favor. As God as our King, we need to come to Him with our requests with the act of surrender. Getting on our knees is a great position for surrender. Praying on your knees shows humility and surrender. It’s honestly so powerful, you should try it!

Intercession can be used for the repentance of a person or people group as Moses demonstrated. Moses interceded for the people of Israel and for Aaron. He laid flat on his back and did not eat or drink for 40 days and 40 nights pleading with the Lord not to destroy them for the sin they had committed. In this position of surrender, the Lord listened to him.

Sometimes, God will bring a person to the forefront of my mind. At first I didn’t know what to think, but now I view this as God telling me to pray and intercede on their behalf. Most times I have no idea what to pray, and that’s ok. The Holy Spirit will intercede. So next time a person pops into your head whoever they may be, pray for them! You may be stepping into a battle you cannot see on their behalf.

We have authority in the name of Jesus because his spirit is within us. Use the authority given to you. Rev. J. A. MacMillan says this, “The church needs intercessors who have learned the secret of taking hold of the power of God and directing it against the strategic advances of the enemy.” 

A friend of mine mentioned she felt God wanted to give her the gift of intercession. At first she honestly didn’t want it. She thought back to the times she had prayed for someone and it was exhausting. She was deliberately praying a fighting prayer. I told her intercession does not always look like this. There are times God will bring someone to mind, you say a prayer for them and move on. Sometimes there is more to it and you have to pray a fighting prayer for them, get on your knees, and be at war in the spirit. And yes, that can be exhausting! But think of the life you are praying for. It’s not about you and how you feel, it’s about listening to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and using the power of prayer. Our mission is to advance the kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit is an intercessor and intercedes on our behalf. He alone can interpret the needs of the human heart. He intercedes for us while we are on the earth.

“… the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance to God’s will.” Romans 8:26-27

Jesus intercedes for us in Heaven. Like it says in Hebrews 7:25,

“He is able to save completely those who come to God through him,

because he always lives to intercede for them.”

(From Nikki’s book “A God You’ve Never Met” coming soon…)

 

0

Slow Down to Go Fast

What in the world?

The phrase “go slow to go fast”or any variation of that idea  is something I’ve been hearing in the business world for a few years now. At first I sloughed it off as not important – I am a full speed ahead type of person, and honestly, the faster I can get to a destination, the better.

And then I found out that business and life sometimes don’t work that way.

So tell me, does that phrase even make sense to you? If you’ve never in your life heard this concept, stay with me here – I hope to give you a lightbulb moment or two…

A quick google search of the words “slow down to go fast” comes up with a LOT of resources. I mean, everyone from Forbes to TedX to Huffington Post and the Harvard Business Review has articles or videos on this very idea. Even Porsche. (Which begs the question, is it even possible to slow down in a Porsche driving machine?…)

Two weeks ago today I had elective foot surgery to correct a decades-old injury. Even though the injury in itself had slowed me down, I had become accustomed to that pace and thought I could live with it. And then my preschool age grandson challenged me to a race. He pretty much wants to race every time he’s here. I obliged, but soon I was limping my way around the driveway. Could it be that hanging on to that old injury was too great a price to pay? I was asking my husband to pop my metatarsal back into place every few days or so – a process that was painful and unpleasant, but it was my new normal because my damaged tendon could not hold those bones into place. I was unable to hike with my friends in Yosemite each spring, I couldn’t walk more than a couple of miles, I was in pain at the end of a day of skiing and worst of all, I couldn’t even race my grandson around the yard. This had become my new normal. I didn’t like it, but I accepted it. It was’t the best for me, but I endured it. I started thinking about how I’d become comfortable in my new normal, but it wasn’t an optimal place to live.

It took me years of enduring this to finally decide this was no way to live. So when I found out it was fixable, and I had surgery to repair it. And then the REAL slowdown happened.

Here’s what slowing down to go fast looks like for me right now…

Crutches. Scooter. Sit with your leg elevated as much as possible. Wear this boot. And NO DRIVING for several weeks.

Yes, I am on the slooooooooowwwwwww boat right now.

But you know what? I’ve decided it’s ok. By slowing down to fix this torn tendon in my foot I now can look forward to a future of even more mobility. I am slowing down now to go fast later. I am fixing my eyes on a time when I will be able to walk or hike several miles, ski all day without pain, and I’ll be able to race my grandson again – and maybe win for once? (Doubtful, but I will certainly give it my best shot…)

So what happens during the slow times?

Healing. That’s what happens.

A foundation is built for a strong tendon and bone structure to hold up my body for the rest of my life. In order to walk (literally) in my purpose and calling to be a fun and active grandma, I need to slow down and let this foot heal properly. I need to let my cells knit themselves together to form a new bond that is strong and able to perform the work of holding those bones in place. This takes time.

It wasn’t until this past weekend when God was walking me through an exercise of also slowing down my spirit for some inner healing that I saw the full circle message of this.

Life is busy. I know that. We get comfortable in our normal of stuffing our wounds full of temporary fixes. We eat or drink too much to numb the pain. We shop even more to avoid facing the debt. We stay busy to avoid having to listen to that still small voice telling us what needs to change to be healed. But do you know what happens when we slow down and let God fix our torn and broken parts?

Healing. That’s what happens.

Feeling anxious? Slow down and let God heal you.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

Are you exhausted and weary in your spirit, even down to your very bones?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Slow down and let God do the healing work. Just as I know the good work of healing started when my surgeon repaired that torn tendon, I also know that pushing through it too fast and forcing too much activity on that tender foot would undo everything the surgeon has done for me. Likewise, if I don’t sit with God in the work of healing in my soul and let him knit together the foundation for what’s ahead, I could undo everything the Great Physician has started in me.

…Be still and know that I am God…

Psalm 46:10

Have the lights come on yet? I hope so.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

Let God finish the healing process he started in you so you can soar into your purpose and the calling he placed on your life the very day you were born. It’s never too late to slow down to go fast.

0

Connection

There is a connection between the mind, body, and spirit. Honestly, I believe it starts with mindset. The journey I have been on rings this to be true. It wasn’t until I started reading personal development books a few years ago did I realize the importance of mindset. I was never going to accomplish anything if I did not first believe in myself and love myself. For years I had been trying to please other people, trying to fit into what society deems as acceptable and beautiful. I have been on countless “diets” trying the next new thing and exercising like crazy and hated it. I was just trying to look good. And yes I got to a point where I looked good on the outside, but on the inside I was miserable. I would look in the mirror and would not be happy with what I saw. It got to a point I couldn’t maintain the lifestyle I had created for myself and I went down hill and gained most of the weight back. Then the cycle began again of me hating the way I looked and the person I saw in the mirror. I was nowhere near what society accepted as beautiful. And I was frustrated with myself and fed up! At this point I was not viewing my body as the storehouse of the Holy Spirit.

My view of myself has changed and I realize my importance in Christ. I want to have a healthy body because of Him and no one else! It starts with the mind, and then you need to take action on the body. Once I started going to therapy, I began to peel back the layers of shame and guilt I had placed on myself. I started working out in a way that was fun for me. It is now something I look forward to each day. I love exercise. An important aspect of healthy success is getting your body moving! I continue to learn to listen to my body by fueling it with what it needs and not what will cause it to suffer later. And also listening when my body needs to rest. This took awareness, action, time, and outside help to figure this out.

Spirit is tied into this as well. You must fuel your spirit by spending time with Jesus each day. Diving into the Word of God, journaling, getting your thoughts on paper, listening to God, praying, and surrounding yourself community. God’s voice is the one that matters, so take time to listen to him.

You are beautiful.

Look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? I challenge you to say 5 things you like about yourself when you look in the mirror. You were created in God’s image. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Walk in the confidence of who you are in Jesus!

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

0

EVER PRESENT

Do you wonder where God is sometimes?

We see people praying with their heads up, eyes up, arms raised upward, or often with heads bowed in reverence. I know there are times when I forget that God is Omnipresent…that is one of his attributes. Sure, as a child I was taught that God is everywhere, but because that is so far beyond my comprehension I often live life by myself.  Actually, in doing that I am not acknowledging His love for me, and that He wants to be involved in every part of my life.

I recall a time when my brother, Ron, was 2 years old, and we were sitting as a family together in our large home church in Portland, Oregon before the Sunday morning service began.  Ronnie stood up on the chair, looked around and spoke out in a loud child’s voice, “IS GOD HERE YET?  Causing laughter, and being shushed by us, he went on to say, “WELL, I HAVE A LOUD VOICE!!!”  I guess he thought the Pastor was God!

In my study this week, in preparation for the writing of this blog, I read many scriptures and commentaries on the subject of the Omnipresence of Almighty God.  I came across a phrase that affected me profoundly…GOD IS ALWAYS HERE, BUT ALSO ALREADY THERE.  Wow…that hit me with tears and praise.  I couldn’t stop weeping at the revelation of that truth for not only now, but for my future!!!

In Joshua 1:5 we read that God told him he was the new leader of the children of Israel after Moses died; “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you, I will never leave you or forsake you.” And in verse 9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  This promise was just before he led them across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

Psalm 23 reminds us that He will be with us through the valley of the shadow of death.

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.”

Psalm 139:7-10 “Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?   If I go up to the heavens you are there; If I rise on the wings of the dawn, If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

In your scripture reading this week I suggest you read Job 38.  This will remind you that God is everywhere taking care of everything…..yesterday, today, and forever the same.  He is in control…and the sooner you give in to that fact the happier you will be.  Knowing that He is HERE, and in control and, you are not, is freeing!!!

You don’t need to be in a church building to experience God’s presence.  Enjoy the fact that God is with you wherever you go.  Talk to Him anytime…He loves YOU!

0

But the FRUIT of the SPIRIT is……

These are red letter words, recorded by Matthew, from the mouth of Jesus:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:15-20

And…. what is good fruit?

Galatians 5:22 defines the Fruit of the Spirit as…..love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

When Jesus preached, he told his listeners to watch for the people who look good on the outside, but are rotten on the inside. Don’t we see people like this all the time? They look good and they talk just right. They make us believe that they have good intentions. Unfortunately there are many people in the church today who put on their happy faces and preach love, but when faced with a person or group that does not agree with their particular politics or “brand of Christianity,” they suddenly turn to spiteful, hateful people – all in the name of God. I was taught to watch for the wolves in sheep’s clothing outside the church, but the more I observe, the more I realize that some of those wolves were right there in the church, while lots of sheep were peacefully living outside the church. People who didn’t “look like church people” were loving God and others as much as themselves by actually being God’s hands and feet, while some wolves who looked right on the outside were actually rotten with hatred on the inside.

Last week I picked up a beautiful watermelon at a local produce stand. I thumped it, and it sounded just right! It was bright green and heavy, and just begging for me to take it home with me to enjoy. I got it home, and cut it up. It was a beautiful color, and it smelled heavenly. It appeared to be a good fruit. It had everything going for it! It seemed perfect!

Then, I took a bite. It was sour. I dug deeper into the heart searching for the sweetness it had promised me by its appearance. NOPE. Still sour. Not worth eating – at all!

This was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It was a bad fruit despite all it’s promises.

Heard of Ugly Produce? Case in point that the outward appearance of a fruit or vegetable isn’t the tell-all. A little bruise or imperfection here and there on the outside doesn’t make something a bad fruit. In fact, some of the best fruit I’ve ever tasted didn’t look perfect on the outside, and some of the worst fruit I’ve ever tasted was flawless on the outside!

LOVE.
JOY.
PEACE.
FORBEARANCE (tolerance, patience).
KINDNESS.
GOODNESS.
FAITHFULNESS.
GENTLENESS.
SELF-CONTROL.

These are the inward fruits of the spirit, that are borne by a true relationship with The Father. These display themselves by someone’s actions and the way they treat others – especially the ones who are least like themselves. These are the fruits of the sheep, not the wolves.

We shall know them by their fruit. God is love, and He imparts His Spirit on those who love Him. Therefore, those who truly know God will display the Fruits of the Spirit.

Let us recognize our fellow sheep, not by their outward appearance, but by their outward expression of their spirit. And let us BE the fruits of the SPIRIT to one another.

0

Do You Believe in Miracles?

“I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth below.” Acts 2:19

Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe the miracles in the Bible still happen today?

These are 2 questions I asked a church group while we were on a mission trip in Belize. Less than half raised their hands. At one point in my life I was like them, and maybe you are this way too. I would read the stories in the Bible and not believe they still happened today. How could they? I was stuck inside my head, over analyzing, and trying to think logically, when I wanted to believe it was true so badly in my heart.

Month 2 of the World Race, God rocked my world and shifted my belief. Before then I was in disbelief and questioning God and his supernatural powers. But he proved himself to be a God of miracles through the act of the Holy Spirit.

I was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras walking on the dirt streets of a very poor community. We walked house to house praying for people and offering them an opportunity to be a part of a food program. Toward the end of the long day, my 6 teammates and I were making our way to the bus. One of my teammates, Christina, was walking significantly slower than the rest of us. I stopped and waited for her to catch up and asked if she was okay. She said her back hurt so bad she could barely walk and had numbness down her leg. Well that’s not good.

In that very moment I felt the need to pray for her, but I told her we would wait until we got to the bus. God literally stopped me in my tracks and I stood there and turned towards her to say, “NO! I AM GOING TO PRAY FOR YOU NOW!” She agreed and as we were slowly making our way to the bus, I placed my hand on her back and prayed for healing. I prayed for buckets of healing to be poured down from heaven. I declared God did not want his children to be in pain but to dance with him. God is the ultimate physician who can and will heal her! I praised him for what he was about to do, heal my friend!

When I finished I looked at her and asked, “How do you feel?” She was silent with her mouth and eyes wide open.

“Nikki…”

She paused.

“I don’t feel any pain.”

I laughed, “Are you kidding me?”

“Nikki, I wouldn’t lie to you. The pain is gone!”

We were both stunned and speechless. Christina and I looked as though we had just seen a ghost. She can I turned slowly in a bit of shock as we made our way to the bus. We silently sat next to each other. She put her legs up on the seat in front of her and looked at me wide-eyed, “I couldn’t sit like this before.” I was shocked! God used me to heal my friend’s back. That night I was unable to sleep still in awe of God and the Holy Spirit and his power. I sat on a blanket in the middle of a grass field under the stars and had a conversation with God. During this time, God shared with me my brother would be healed from epilepsy and my dad would be a believer. I began to cry and thanked God for sharing this with me. What a big day! I can tell you for sure my belief in miracles changed. The miracles which occurred in the Bible still happen today!

We have the Spirit within us, but He comes upon us when others are involved. In this moment with Christina, the Holy Spirit came upon me to heal her.

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave is inside me, inside of you! Do you believe it?

(excerpt from my book A God You’ve Never Met: Who is the Holy Spirit?….coming soon!)

0

WRESTLING………..REALLY?

That…is one of the strangest sports I have ever watched!

Some of you may have a family member or friend who has a child in that sport in high school,  I really don`t “get it”, but wrestling has been “tangling of bodies” type competition for thousands of years.

Jacob wrestled with God.   In Genesis we begin to learn of Jacob, who tricked his father Isaac into blessing him instead of his older brother Esau.  Jacob goes through a journey of places and marriages, and births of children and increase of wealth due to the fulfilled blessing of his father Isaac (Genesis 28:1-4).

Jacob was an upright honest man and a worshiper of the One True God.  By the time we get to Genesis 32, he has 11 sons, and some daughters.  Jacob is about to see his brother Esau, whom he tricked out of their father’s blessing.  That night as he tried to sleep…

(Gen. 32:24-30 NIV)”So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him ’till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob”s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man,Then the man said’,’Let me go, for it is daybreak. But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’  The man asked him, ‘What is your name?‘  ‘Jacob, he answered.  ‘Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.’  ‘Jacob said, Please tell me your name.’ ‘But he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?  Then he blessed him there.’ So Jacob called the place Peniel,, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

WOW! That was some wrestling match!!! (I have a friend who says he doesn’t trust anyone who doesn’t limp!)

That wrestling (or struggle as is often interpreted) resulted in the beginning of the 12 tribes of Israel.  (Jacob’s 12th son Benjamin, was born after this incident.)

If you are like me, you have wrestled with God over a situation in your life.  Maybe many a sleepless night, or days of quiet thoughts and prayers, until the peace comes.  I have cried out to God “I will not let you go until you give me the correct answer!”

Sometimes the answer is not what you want.  My years of knowing God has shown me the answer is not always noticeable right away.  That’s where faith and trust are necessary in our walk with the Lord.  I look back and say “Now I see why God did it that way!  It was for my good!

Wrestling or struggling with God is a good thing!  It means you are sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  Wrestling in prayer for others is good too…that’s called interceding.  But, since we live in this sinful world, the instruction in Ephesians 6:10-18 is to consider wrestling with sin and winning.

.“Finally, my brethren, be strong on the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers. against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”(NKJV)

Whatever wrestling match you are in right now…be strong in the Lord…and WIN.  Even if, in wrestling with God you must give up to His best for you...YOU STILL WIN !!!

0

Lessons in Understanding

Written by Gladys Johnson

The voice of the questioner seemed to come from over my shoulder as I was kneeling in prayer asking for the will of the Lord at a troubling time in our pastoral ministry. In fact, I was kneeling behind the pulpit. 

I answered the voice, “My vision.” 

The voice said in a sticky, sweet way, “Give it up, and you can go free.”

I stood to my feet. “Of course,” I said, “that’s all I have to do.”

I was a lady minister, called to the ministry at the age of 14 years. Looking back, I don’t think anyone, including my parents, pastors, or youth leaders, took my calling too seriously.

My husband, Lloyd, and I began to date at 17 years of age. Awfully young, but these were pre-war depression days. He was a young man who had to work because of family problems, and his mother had died when he was 9 years of age, leaving him and his sister to be cared for by the father who was not equal to the task.

I came from a large, loving family, but poor. I knew I had a call from God on my life, but had no idea how to fulfill that calling. Lloyd and I were in love. But God was not through dealing with me. One Sunday morning, as we sat together in our church in Portland, Oregon, the pastor began a Missionary sermon, and told the story of a young lady who had given her life to ministry in China. Before he told the entire story, my heart told me the lady’s name would be Gladys (Gladys Aylyard). I began to cry. Lloyd and I left the service early, got into his car, and drove a few blocks away. Lloyd stopped the car and asked me why I was so upset. I told him about my calling to the ministry.

“I know all about that,” he said, “and I will never stand in the way of you fulfilling your calling.”

On the strength of that statement, we married when we were both 19. We were happy. But God did exact that promise from Lloyd in years ahead. 

When I stood to my feet after hearing the suggestion that I give up my vision, I felt a certain finality. When I began preaching, I felt no opposition to a woman in ministry, for this was the way I grew up. My pastor and his wife both preached. This was now the late 70’s. We were in the strong Jesus movement, which allowed for no women in the pulpit. I felt that opposition many times. It seemed to me now that all I had to do was give up my vision, and I could be free. It sounded so good to me, even though I knew that voice came from Satan himself. For a full week, I wrestled with the suggestion. Then, one day in my home, I began to repent for entertaining a suggestion from Satan. I thought about Jesus in the wilderness, and how He met Satan’s suggestion with the power of scripture. As I prayed, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “And how did Jesus come out of the wilderness?”

“Full of the Holy Spirit,” I replied. And received a fresh overflow of His Spirit and determination to go on.

I had heard the voice of Satan before. Again, I was kneeling behind the pulpit in prayer, a favorite spot of mine. A voice said to me, “I’m going to empty this church just like I did the Baptists.”

We had purchased the church from a Baptist group a few years before, and they had sold because the body of the church had gotten down to 9 members, due to unfortunate circumstances. They had dealt very fairly and kindly with us.

My first thought was, “Oh, those poor people. They never knew what hit them.” And I said out loud, “You’re a liar, Satan…get out.”

We had experienced a wonderful move of the Holy Spirit in the church, with many healings; body, soul, and spirit, and the Lord had knit together a body of believers who loved each other greatly.

Satan was over-confident, and bragged too much. He openly displayed his tactics. I stood on Luke 10:19

“Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

(At the end of this writing from my Grandma she wrote this,

“In this book I would like to share with you some of the lessons the Lord taught me in our pastoral ministry.”

She wanted to write a book, but never finished. Now I am living out her legacy by writing a book myself with some of her stories and some of my own.)

(Baby Nikki with Sweet Grandma)

0

If the Door is Open, Walk Through It

I am drawn to doors.

I notice them when I look at a home.

I photograph them when I am on vacation.

I envision in my mind the most lovely doors whenever there is a reference to them in someone’s speech. Sometimes they are polished and perfect.

Other times they are a bit rough, but beautiful in their own way.

The Bible uses DOORs as a reference, too. I counted 235 this morning. Of course, most of those are referring to a physical door. Building the temple. You can’t come in, the door is shut. etc.

But many are talking about doorways into our soul or opportunities.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.   (Revelation 3:20 NKJV)

If you are like me, this is the image that came to mind when you read that verse –

Yes, doors are everywhere in scripture. Where are the doors in your life? Are you facing doors of opportunity? Do you see many doors to choose from and have to make a decision?

I’ve always thought this was such a difficult process – then just the other day I heard one of my favorite Bible teachers, Havilah Cunnington, say this:

I think we spend too much time in doorways and we never walk through the door.” 

I was agreeing, yes, YES!

She went on to say that God is really good at shutting doors to places where we are not supposed to go. If the door is just too hard to open, pass it up. (And I would add, DO NOT, as the old song goes, “look for a window.” No! That room is off limits.)

But if a door is open to you and you are standing in the doorway, pondering, crying, wondering, whether you should walk through it. The answer is YES. Remember, God is really good at shutting doors to things you are not supposed to be involved with. Ask Him to show you.

Your opportunity is on the other side of that open door. Take that step of faith and believe that God will direct your next steps.

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

0

Lost in the Woods

When you think you are lost and don’t know where to go, keep going because you never know what you will find.

This is what I was telling myself as I was running along the paths on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. If you don’t know about this place you need to look it up. There are 8,000 acres of land with which now has 2 hotels, a small village of shops and restaurants, a farm, horses, and a mansion called the Biltmore house. This home was completed on Christmas Eve in 1895 after 6 years of construction. This home has 100 rooms, 43 bathrooms, and 6 floors! HUGE! And the man who built it was named George Vanderbilt in which he and his wife and their daughter lived in this massive place. Now this land is a national forest and the home is a high demand for tourists.

I woke up one morning while staying at the Inn on this Estate and decided to go for a run to see what I would find. It was raining and as I was passing the front desk the concierge called out, “Have fun and try to stay dry.” I turned back to him with a huge smile on my face and said, “I will get wet, but I’m ok with that!” And he smiled back and said he would have a water ready for me when I return. So sweet!

I headed out on the estate. I didn’t truly know where I was going or where I would end up, but I had a plan to run about 4 miles along the river, I just had to figure out how to get there. I found a road that went right past the majestic horses and in the distance saw this road paralleled the river so I headed there. I ran along on a muddy path next to a river as rain was falling. I continued until this muddy trail turned into a paved path and continued on. I followed the path and it crossed the road and then turned into another dirt trail. There were signs for hiking so I decided to follow them. I got to a point while I was running I realized I didn’t see the signs anymore. I was still on some sort of path, though it was covered with leaves. Maybe it was a maintenance path or horse trail, I wasn’t quite sure. I continued on and got to the point I had no idea where I was. It was raining and fog was rolling in, and no person in sight. I was in the middle of the trees, no clue where I was until I looked up to my right and there through the trees was the Biltmore House. I laughed to myself at first because I couldn’t believe how far I had actually ran. Way past the 4 mile mark I set out to do.

In that moment I felt a sense of comfort and peace and joy! I felt Jesus was with me. Tears came to my eyes and I couldn’t stop smiling. I wasn’t really lost after all! The path wasn’t distinct, and yet I kept taking step after step. I kept in mind to keep going because I didn’t know what I would find. And in turn I ended up seeing a side of this mansion the general public doesn’t see. It was incredible!

I thought about this moment and related it to life. We may not know what we are doing or where we will end up, but if we trust God and keep going we will see something spectacular. And sometimes the path doesn’t look like much of a path at all, but if we put our fears to the side and keep our curiosity in front great things will happen and God will show up!

Keep going!

(the trail looked a bit like this except less leaves on the trees and some fog)

(A portion of the front of the Biltmore House)

0