Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Door

"As you respond to God's invitations, don’t be caught by surprise when adversaries try to thwart what you are doing. If you concentrate on your opponents, you will be sidetracked from God's activity. Don’t base your decisions on what people are doing. They cannot prevent you from carrying out God's will (Rom. 8:31). Many times the most rewarding spiritual work is done in the crucible of persecution and opposition. While Paul was in Ephesus, a riot broke out in reaction to his ministry. The city theater resounded with an angry mob who shouted for two hours in support of their god, (Acts 19:23–41). Despite this fierce rejection, Ephesus became one of the chief cities from which the gospel spread throughout Asia. It takes spiritual discernment to see beyond human activity to God's will. As you seek places of service, look beyond what people are saying to find what God is doing." - Blackaby

When in the midst of life at its heaviest it's often difficult to see where it's going.

The verse that accompanied that devotional from Blackaby is:

"For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries." 1 Corinthians 16:9

I agree with him in that it's difficult to see where to go or where you are going when the world is shouting so long and loud around you in opposition to what God is wanting or doing.

I find it interesting that the devotional was about this because I am also reading in 1 Corinthians as well.  Where I am is where Paul was sharing God's definition of idolatry.  Interestingly enough God's definition fits this world's idea of 'fun'.

As Blackaby also began, so shall I, when a door of opportunity opens, adversaries come in as well. 

Or as others have said "Expect the unexpected".  In our home we know to expect things to come up that aren't necessarily good the nearer we get to Sunday Morning.  Saturday is notoriously fraught with things that happen that aren't always good.  The intent of God's enemy is clear.  To try to ruin Sunday Morning worship.  

If we think that life is all about going out and having fun then indeed we have bought into the lie.  Granted it is indeed possible to have fun while doing the work of God.  Have on many countless occasions.  Paul's actions were based on where did God want him and what was it God was doing.  How could he join God in His activity.

Paul also knew very well that the same door of opportunity allowed in those who wouldn't like his opportunity.

It's easy to pick out destruction in a picture.  You often don't even have to look hard to find it.  It's often much more difficult to locate the beauty in the same picture.

To say that life isn't rough for me personally right now would be a lie.  Indeed I agree with Paul in this. A door of opportunity had opened and although it took time things that weren't expected began to happen.  Adversaries also came.
God's working and his adversary doesn't like it.

Quite often all that can be done is to quietly keep praying and moving forward.
Press on as Paul said on a different occasion. 

While a single play on the board is visible to us, God sees countless millions of chess boards at one time.  There is but one set of goals.  Bring honor to Jesus and work towards the day of His return.

The mission of the Apostles wasn't worldly success.  It was the spreading of the Gospel.  It wasn't money or material possessions.  It was souls.  Life for us as believers isn't about following movies, following television shows, being devoted to sports teams. If those things are more important to a believer in Jesus Christ than the work of Jesus Christ then that believer has an idolatry problem.  They have left the race set before them to indulge in worldly distractions.

There's a difference between using a tool for good and using it for not so good things.   A brush and paint in the hands of an artist fantastic portraits can be made.  In the hands of someone with less than good purposes hatred is shown. 

God didn't intend for people not to have fun.  But we tend to want more that we should have.  Jesus often stepped aside to rest. Many don't just step aside, they camp out.

I find it very disturbing when believers will get more enraged at attacks on 'their team' than they do at abortion happening. They will get into someone's face about who they root for yet when someone slanders God's name they don't give it a second thought. 

Many adversaries have come into your life.  We just have been lied to as to who and what they are.  God has always provided opportunities to further the Gospel.  We choose to listen to the distractions like a dog seeing a squirrel rather than focusing on the mission at hand.

God is always working everywhere. As Jesus said beseech the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into His Harvest.

I was convicted concerning this whole sports team thing several years ago.  I was getting more upset over people and their reactions and responses to the teams that I liked than I was the things of God.

I got rid of all my tshirts and things that had those teams on them.  I won't cause someone to stumble by wearing them. 

Paul on a different occasion mentioned that if the liberty he had in Christ would cause someone to stumble, whatever he was doing, he would stop for the sake of that person.  In that specific case it was eating.  He was more concerned about their conscience that his own wellbeing.

Remember that we will always face adversity when we choose to follow Christ.  As He said if you do follow Him and the world hates you, remember it hated Him first.

Be mindful of what you let in through doors of opportunity.  Because it may not always be an easy thing to get rid of or work around.

Success in God's eyes isn't the same as success in the world's eyes.

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