If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, you are sure to have seen the meme/photo of a hallway that says: “Until God opens the door, praise Him in the hallway”. Overall, it’s a very good quote… But it got me thinking. My mind and my spirit started doing somersaults together.
Many times, we wait and wait for God to open closed doors. Have you ever stopped to think that you could be waiting or knocking on the wrong door? Most hallways have more than one door and if you have chosen the one that is not meant for you, you will be doing a lot of waiting. What if you chose to put away your will and wants and fully trust God to open the right doors at the right time?
There are some doors that God keeps closed for our good. He always knows what’s best and will never lead us in the wrong direction. So while you’re standing in the hallway, keep your options open, and get your praise on!
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
– Luke 1:38
“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
– Luke 1:45
A few days ago I was praying and thanking God for sending His son as the greatest gift we could ever fathom. After all, this is the reason Christmas exists.
As I was praying, Mary’s sacrifice is what really hit me. I am amazed at Mary’s willingness to carry the Son of God. She said yes to an impossible task and went on to carry, deliver, and raise the Son of God…and then she went on to watch Jesus die.
I imagine her thoughts went something like this, “But He’s supposed to be Emanuel—God with us! Why are You taking Him away from me, God? I raised Him! You chose Him for the ultimate sacrifice. YOU chose that for Him. Not me!”
Then again, I realize she knew from Day 1 that there was a very specific plan and purpose for this Messiah…her son that she shared with the Almighty. I believe she had a sort of feeling in her heart of hearts, and yet she still said yes. She was still willing to walk in obedience to God’s plan for her life—no matter what—for the glory of the Lord.
Again, I’m amazed, because I don’t think I’d ever have been that brave. I can only pray and strive for the kind of courage to respond to God’s call on my life, regardless of situations and circumstances, with “Be it unto me according to thy word.”
I’m sure everywhere you turn lately you are seeing & hearing the words “resolutions”, “goals”, “plans”, and other similar phrases.
Like me, you may have issues with resolutions but not goals or plans. Maybe you do like resolutions and they actually work for you. Perhaps you are also like me and really don’t find them any different, but just try to make yourself feel better by calling them goals and plans instead of resolutions. 😉 (My opinion is a checklist by any other name is still a checklist, no matter what label you put on it. )
There is nothing wrong with grabbing the opportunity by the tail and starting off fresh to break habits, create new routines, and change things for the better. The key is to stick with it, fight for it, and to just flat-out make it happen. There’s also nothing wrong with just living spontaneously, as long as it is in the Will of God. (Does that make sense? Because it makes sense to me…) For myself, I need to make some changes. I’m out of shape, out of routine, and tired of falling behind. I’ll share more about this next week, but I’m starving for some organization and need a plan. Desperately.
Over the month of January, a few of us here at Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven will be sharing with you some things that God has laid on our hearts for 2014. Some of these posts will be our personal goals, others a vision we have for our communities, the church, and families. We also hope to help you start on the right foot by suggesting some scriptures, tips, products, and services that can help you along the way.
2014 is full of so much promise and hope. Before we know it, we’ll be asking where it went. So let’s do our best to make it count for God. James 4:14 tells us that life ” is even a vapor”, and that we are arrogant should we assume that we are guaranteed tomorrow… So don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do for God today. (Preaching to myself here, people. Not gonna lie. But I’ll get into that more in the coming weeks.) With or without that list for the year in hand, the only way to be is in the Will of the Lord. (Still preaching to myself…)
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We are also going to be changing a few things here on our blog. Not major massive changes, but some things will be going and other things coming. Let us know what you’d like to see more of, less of, and what you just really don’t want to hear about anymore. 😉
Now, what about you? Do you think all of the oohs and aahs that goes with January 1st are worth it, or a waste of time? Have you sat down with a checklist, planner, pen, and coffee, or does the idea of just flying through the year by the seat of your pants excite you? We’d love to hear about it, especially since we’re all split down the middle. 😉
Have you ever just felt the urge to do something, but weren’t quite sure what it was you wanted to do? Maybe you were in a crafty mood with no creation in mind, or felt like driving without a place to go. Hungry, but didn’t know what to eat? See, I knew everyone could relate to that one. Let me tell you a little story…
Picture it: Christmastime 1997. Northwestern Tennessee dry freezing cold. It’s early evening and the house is busy with friends and family about to arrive. (Though why they were coming, I don’t remember why…) Karen and her husband David were still newlyweds, I was a teenager hanging out at their house for the weekend, and Emily was still a little girl. Christmas decorations were already perfectly decked out in Karen’s home, as she often has her halls decked out in October. Dinner was nearly ready and we felt like baking something, probably to show off our domestic skills as we were coming of age. We looked through the few recipes Karen had and came to a wall pretty quickly. The ingredients required were not already in Karen’s pantry. “But who needs a recipe, anyway?” was our thought and we just decided we had baked enough in our time on this planet and we could come up with something.
We tossed together some flour, sugar, butter (softened!), eggs, vanilla, salt, milk, more flour, more sugar, cinnamon, and there might have been oil in there too. We were CERTAIN that this delectable was going to be the new sought after recipe among our friends, family, and church. The one that HAD to be at every potluck and would be on the cover of the next church cookbook. We threw around some names while the “substance” baked (At 350 degrees, which was determined because that’s what all the good stuff bakes at.) and I made an icing with water, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. It dawned on us that because this was going to be famous, we should use our last names. “WildIrby” pronounced “Wild Derby” was what we settled on. Upon Emily’s request Akers was added on to the end and we could not wait to share it with everyone. (At the time, both unmarried, my last name was Irby and Emily’s was Akers. Moving on…)
Dinner was done, family and friends were in attendance, and we broke out our concoction. One problem: It was SO dense that it was hard to get out of the pan. Similar to pound cake, but even more… I’m not even going to pretend I have the word to use to describe this to you. It was just, odd. Once we got it on the plate, we drizzled it with the icing and it was served.
Emily, being young and innocent, went along with Karen and I when we said how delicious this new dessert was upon tasting it. Everyone else in the room loved us so much that they couldn’t lie to us. It was terrible. There was not one single good thing about “WildIrby Akers”. Nothing. You could pick it up with a fork, turn it upside down, and a thick inch flake would fall off but the rest of it would not change at all. There was not enough liquid to drink to help you overcome the thirst it gave you. Emily even insisted we remove “Akers” from the name and never refer to it as that again. The thing I remember the most is Karen and Emily’s mom laughing, and our admitting that maybe it wasn’t so great, but we’d try again later that evening. We never did, however, because one of Karen and Emily’s cousins began vomiting and WildIrby’s taste took the blame.
Sometimes in life we just jump into something because it feels right or the thing to do in that moment. We don’t look for a guideline or a plan. We don’t even ask someone else who might know better, or even God, what they think about the matter. We just dive in head first and expect a great outcome. Once in a while that works out, but most of the time it really doesn’t and the outcome is disappointment and failure.
As Christians, we need to be aware of our decisions and the direction we are heading. We need to ask the Lord what His plan is, where He wants us to be or go, and if what we are about to do is actually His Will. We need to go back to our Bibles and do some deep searching. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that there has been a time or two (or 163) in my life that I said or did something just because it felt right or someone else I looked up to was doing that same thing as well. It’s not to say what I was doing was wrong, but it isn’t what God Will was for my life. He had something else for me, that fit better and was a lot more comfortable… But I just did what I felt should be done because, hey, I was in the mood. There were times that because of this, people were hurt. There were other times that no one knew any different, but in the long run I will never know what God had for me had I not just been going willy nilly about my life thinking “Oh, I’m doing the work of the Lord. This is so good. I’m so happy to be doing something for Him.” when it wasn’t what He wanted me to do. That’s pretty tough stuff to deal with, honestly.
When Karen and I were writing down our recipe as we made it up so we could share it with the world, we thought we were doing a good thing. We didn’t know that it was (LITERALLY) going to make everyone who ate WildIrby sick. It didn’t mean that we weren’t great in the kitchen or couldn’t bake, because believe me, we can tear up a kitchen and make you not even care that you had to clean the mess up. It just wasn’t following the course that is intended for food to be edible. Had we followed a correct plan, we would have all had a great dessert and no one would probably even remember anything about that Saturday at her house.
If you’re dealing with disappointment from a failure, or are considering an endeavor, and realize that you may have just baked up a batch of WildIrby, I want to give you hope. Jesus does have a plan for your life. His way is so much better than anything we can come up with. While you may feel like a loser or ashamed because what you thought was right really wasn’t the way to go at all, He has His hand out to pick you back up, dust you off, and send you down the way you are meant to go. I know, I really do, how hard it can be to feel like this must be it. Time to just give up and be one of those “every day Christians.” Do nothing but go to church when I can and that’s it. Guess what? There’s no such thing. Every single child of God has a calling and a purpose.
Don’t just make a concoction of some sort and then top the mistake with an even worse icing of giving up. Scrap that cake-like substance into the trash can, get out your Bible, give God a call, and follow the recipe He has for you. He’s going to give you the directions that are just right and as long as everything is followed to a T, your life will turn out blessed and just as He intended it to be.
I’m curious, when you aren’t sure if an idea is God’s or your’s, what do you personally do and how do you personally know for sure? Your answer might help someone, so I would really appreciate it if you would share. Thank you.
We all know and love this hit made famous by Fleetwood Mac. (Well, I do…lol). If you really think about it though, you can’t really “go your own way” and live the life of a
“sold out” Christian.
The Bible is the LIVING WORD of God and gives us guidelines on how to live our lives and which way we should go by doing so. If God says for you NOT to do a certain thing, there is a reason for it. We don’t know why, but
He does. The Bible tells us in the following scriptures:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
God already knows what our future holds. He knew us before we were ever in our mother’s
womb. His desire is for us to follow the plans that He has laid out for us. He tells us in
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace,
and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
If we are at point “C” when He hasn’t told us to leave point “A” yet, we could be leaving out important details to our life, ministry, friendships, etc