1. "I Have Set Before Thee An Open Door"
Time for a new devotional series. Pastor Jack Tripp used the letter to the church in Philadelphia in the third chapter of Revelation last month and I have been thinking about it for a few weeks now. Let's look into the scritpures and see what things are "Open and Shut". Some of the thoughts will be from his sermon, and I will see if the Spirit opens more ideas along the way.
"7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name...
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:7, 8, & 11-13)
2. God Opens The Door Of Salvation
I enjoy reading the great "I am" statements made by the Lord Jesus in the book of John. He said, "I am the light of the world" in John 9:5, and in John 14:6 we read, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." In becoming the way, He opened the door of salvation, not just to the Jewish nation, but to "whosoever believeth in him." He explains in John 10:9, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." In reading the New Testament we get the picture that the Scribes and Pharisees opened and closed the door of the temple and decided who could come in, but we see in Revelation 3:8 that God has opened the door of salvation, and only God can shut it. "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it:.." This door of salvation is still open, but one day it will be shut, and then it will be too late. I pray that you will enter into God's door of salvation and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior before it is too late.
3. God Opens The Door Of The Heart
We saw how God opens the door of salvation, and if you are saved, then God opened the door or your heart. Our example is Lydia of Thyatira. "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul." (Acts 16:14) God opened her heart to salvation. God can open the hardened heart as He did for Saul of Tarsus, who believed and became the great Apostle Paul. I am thankful that we have these examples in scripture to learn about God's salvation, and I am eternally grateful that one day almost 50 years ago God opened my heart to His great gift of everlasting life. I was just a child, and I heard my grandfather preaching the Word of God, and God opened my heart and saved my soul. Aren't you thankful today that God opened the door of your heart?
"8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:8-10)
4. God Opens The Door Of His Word
After my eighth grade year of school our family moved and I began high school in a new county. About the same time a visiting preacher at our church challenged everyone to read through the Bible during the next year. I didn't have friends to talk to, and really wanted to stick to the challenge, so I took my Bible to school and read during homeroom and lunch, whenever I had extra time. I received all types of comments, from being called "Preacher" to "I don't understand the Bible when I read it." I didn't understand everything that I read, and I still don't, but the more I read and pray for understanding, the more God opens up His Word. Sometimes I can read a chapter that I have read many, many times before, and His Light shows me a word or phrase that I did not notice the umpteenth times before. The Holy Spirit opens up the Word, just as we read of the two disciples who talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:32) Today I want to encourage you to read God's Word, and pray for understanding. The more you learn from God's Word, the more you will want to know.
5. God Opens The Door Of Service
Our scripture reference today is I Corinthians 16:9, "For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries." Paul recognized that God had opened a great door of service. When I was a young mother I often watched how God was using people around me to do great works for Him. I felt that because I was always busy taking care of my children God couldn't use me. Now that I look back on those years, I see that God was using me in the most important role of my lifetime, as a Christian mother to train up my children in the way they should go. I prayed that God would help me be the mother I should be for them, and I prayed that He would save them and use them, and that was my door of service. Now that they have grown and started their own families, I am thankful that God has opened different doors of service for me and I may not be the best in these positions, but I try to give God my best. I often heard that the best ability is availability, but recently I heard that the best ability is dependability. When God opens the door of service let's strive to be faithful in what He has called us to do. "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (I Corinthians 4:2)
6. God Opens The Door Of Utterance
I have to confess, I have trouble with this one. Sometimes I feel the need to talk to someone about the Lord, but I don't know what to say. I remember trying to talk with a co-worker about being saved and he said, "You must think I am a terrible person." I am thankful that God impressed upon me the idea to begin the devotional web site. It is my constant prayer that He will use it for His honor and glory. It is easier for me to write on paper what I mean to say, than to tell it in person. God has given each of us different gifts to use for His glory. Some people just have a knack of being a witness for the Lord. I don't feel that I especially have that gift, but I can't use that as an excuse not to tell others what the Lord has done for me and what He can do for them. Please pray for me, that I will know what to say when God opens the door of utterance. And if you would like to help me give out the message of hope through the devotional site, please share with others.
"3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." (Colossians 4:3-5)
7. God Opens The Door Of Heaven
Fifteen years ago my Dad went to sleep for the last time. He was laid in the ground on a cold March afternoon. His death was unexpected, but I knew in my heart that he was saved, and one day I will see him again. We probably all have friends and loved ones that died and we have the blessed assurance that we will see them again in heaven. But, have you ever thought about the other people you will meet? First of all, I want to meet Jesus, my Lord and Savior who died a cruel death to open the door of heaven for me. Then, I will be happy to be reunited with my loved ones who went on before. Also, I want to talk with the people of the Bible who I read about. Won't it be great to talk with David, who killed the giant with a sling and a stone, and later became the greatest king of Israel? And listen as Moses describes walking through the Red Sea on dry ground, or Daniel as he tells about being in the den of lions. We can find John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and Mary and Martha, and Lazarus their brother. We have read their stories, but won't it be wonderful to hear them speak of them? Yes, God opened up the door of heaven and we can enter in by believing on Jesus, and have all eternity to praise Him, for He alone is worthy!
"1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:1-4 and 8-11)
8. God Opens Our Blinded Eyes To Salvation
There are several accounts in the New Testament showing how Jesus opened blinded eyes. And since He is the Light of the world, all we who are saved can say that Jesus opened our blinded eyes. I am so thankful that God opened my eyes one day and showed me that I was a lost sinner. Without Him we would never know that we can't see. Look at this conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees after He opened the eyes of the man who had been blind from birth.
"24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." (Portions of John 9:24-41)
9. God Opens Our Eyes To His Provision
People have a way of not seeing things that are right in front of them. The old folks used to say, "If it had been a snake it would have bit me." We can get so preoccupied on our problems when we can't find an answer that we can't see or think of anything else. Our lives would be a whole lot simpler if we would pray and trust Jesus as we are told in I Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." Sometimes the answer is right before us, and when we finally see it we may ask ourselves, "Why didn't I see that before?" When Hagar and her son, Isaac, were sent away and she thought they were going to die in the wilderness, God saw her tears and heard her cry. Look at Genesis 21:19, "And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink." The scripture does not say that God opened up a well in the wilderness at that moment, though He could have. It says, "God opened her eyes, and she saw..." I believe that the well was there all the time and she just did not see it before. Many times in my life God has opened my eyes to His providing hand. When we ask the blessing over our food at mealtime and pray with thanksgiving we are opening our eyes to His provision. We serve a loving God and He is able to open our eyes when we look to Him.
10. God Can Open Eyes And He Can Close Eyes
A few weeks ago while I was thinking about using "Open And Shut" for these devotions, I came to an interesting story in my personal Bible study. In these scriptures we see that God can open eyes, and He also has the power to close eyes. The king of Syria warred against Israel and Elisha prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant so he could see the army of the Lord. Then, Elisha prayed that God would close the eyes of the Syrian army, and God did. In the end God opened their eyes again. I hope you enjoy this amazing story.
"14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
19 And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
20 And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?
22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel." (II Kings 6:14-23)
11. God Can Open Our Ears, But Some Refuse To Listen
Not only can God open our eyes, but He can also open our ears. David begins Psalm 40, " I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." Then, in verse 6 he exclaims, "...mine ears hast thou opened:..." As Jesus taught the people He often said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 11:15) And in the closing book of Revelation we read several times, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Why is it so important to hear, that God repeats this message over and over in His Word? Because "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
"13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:13-17)
It is sad that some refuse to hear. "But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear." (Zechariah 7:11) "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." (Matthew 13:15) "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (II Timothy 4:3-4) The Lord is coming! Please don't turn your ears away from the truth.
12. God Opened The Door Of Faith To The Gentiles
I was thinking one day about how hopeless I would be if God had not opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. I know what it is to be lost. I thought, "What could I do if salvation was not offered to me?" I would be lost in my sinful condition and have a miserable life on earth, and I would be afraid to die and spend eternity in hell. Remember in the Old Testament God called Abraham and made a covenant with him to bless him. Through the years the family of Abraham grew and God blessed Isaac, Jacob (whom God named Israel) and his twelve sons, all the way down to David, and promised the King would be in his line. The covenants were made with the Israelites, God's chosen people. When the promised Messiah came, the Jewish nation rejected Him. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." (John 1:11) Jesus lived a sinless life and called people to come unto Him and He gave His life on the cross, and rose again on the third day just as He said He would. In His mercy and grace God opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. "And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles." (Acts 14:27) Without Jesus we would have no hope. I praise God for His wonderful gift of salvation! Today, all are given the invitation to come and receive God's gift of salvation. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
13. God Will Open Up The Graves
Some believe that death and the grave are the end, but we have examples in the scriptures that show us that God can, and will open up the graves. In the Old Testament we have the prophecy of Ezekiel.
"12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD." (Ezekiel 37:12-14)
Jesus preached that all the graves will be opened...
"24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:2429)
When Jesus died on the cross many graves were opened. "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matthew 27:52-53) Death and the grave are not the end. We have the full, yet simple, truth in John 3:16-18. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
14. God Shut The Door Of The Ark
I hope that I will soon be able to visit the new Noah's Ark attraction in Kentucky. I think it will be very interesting to see the actual size of the ark that I have heard about since my childhood. I have seen comments about it from those who have been and they spent hours there and really enjoyed it. I have also seen comments from some who do not believe that the flood as told in the Bible ever really happened. Well, I believe in God and I believe that He created the heavens and the earth, and I believe the account of the great flood in Genesis really happened. There were many people in Noah's day who did not believe that judgment was coming, in fact, no one except for the 8 people in Noah's family chose to get on board and be saved from the flood. Noah believed God and he did all that the Lord commanded him. After they were safe in the ark God shut the door. Noah and his family may have heard neighbors and aunts and uncles or cousins calling to them when the rain began to fall and the flood waters began to rise, but it was too late. They refused to accept God's plan of escape and He shut the door. We can read the book of Revelation and see that God will one day judge the earth again. I feel sorry for those who do not believe and ask the Lord to save them. God has offered His plan of salvation and Jesus is the only way to be saved from the awful judgment that is coming.
"13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered." (Genesis 7:13-19)
15. God Shuts The Door Of Opportunity
Back when I worked in an office we had a plant lady who came and watered the plants in the office. I was usually busy when she came and didn't talk with her much, and she was busy and didn't stop for conversation. I began to feel like God wanted me to witness to her, so on Monday mornings when she came I started telling her a little about going to church the day before. I tried to witness to her and I think I gave her a gospel tract, but I never asked her about her salvation. Then, one day a man came to water the plants. After several weeks I asked about the plant lady and she had died in her home one morning while getting ready for work. I was really saddened because I had failed my Lord, and now it was too late. My door of opportunity was shut. We need to take advantage of every opportunity to be a witness for our Lord. I believe that King Solomon may have seen areas in his life where he failed God, when he sat down to write Ecclesiastes. The last chapter speaks of an old person whose door of opportunity has been shut. I believe he is saying to the young, serve the Lord while you can!
"1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)