Monday, April 27, 2015

Missed Opportunity...Closed Door

Flying cross country has become more common in my life since my son and his dear family moved to the west coast.  And, of course, the more I do something and the more familiar it becomes, the less intimidating it is.  I am beginning to get very familiar with the airports in Minneapolis, Denver and Salt Lake City since my connecting flights often occur in one of those places.

Due to the limited flights coming in and going out of our local airport, making additional connections can sometimes be a bit crazy.  Many a time the weather has taken a bad turn and my flights have been delayed.  That’s when I start estimating how fast I can get from one gate to another.  Several times I have arrived at the gate just before the door closes to the jet way.  And we all know, NOTHING short of a presidential order or some sort of crisis, will open that door again.  (Something about “FAA regulations”.)  That closed door represents a missed opportunity!

When I was in college I had a huge struggle with one of my courses and went into the final exam with a failing grade.  I was facing a major decision since I needed that class to graduate:  would I chalk it up to a fail and try to take the class again? (thus throwing off my work plans for the summer or my school/class schedule in the fall) or would I throw myself into the study process and hope to pass?  I opted to buckle down and get the job done….I did not want to have a missed opportunity and a closed door.  (I did very well on the final exam but that was after hours and hours of studying!)

Several years ago I was faced with a decision regarding a leadership role in my church.  It was one that required much from me, would tap into previous life experiences but, most importantly, would mean I really needed to continue to seriously develop my prayer life and organize my time so God could use me in the way He saw fit.  If I said “no” for the wrong reasons, it would have been a missed opportunity.  (Sometimes “no” is the right answer but not in this case.)  I decided to embrace this invite to leadership and God opened many wonderful doors.

Often those windows of opportunity are opened to us for a rather limited period of time.  But there is a very important opportunity and open door that is available all through our lives.  As long as we are living, the invitation is open.  Trouble is, none of us knows exactly when the time is going to come when this life ceases to be.

Jesus talked about opportunities and closed/open doors in the book of Luke.  And He even qualified that door by describing it as narrow.  The following passage in Luke is of great importance: And someone said to Him, ”Lord, will those who are saved be few?”  And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door.  For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Luke 13: 23, 24)

I believe Jesus is teaching us a VERY important Truth here that is supported by many other scriptures. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  Jesus is the ONLY way, the ONLY opportunity to have a personal relationship with God, the ONLY path toward salvation and eternal life with God. (The narrow door referred to in Luke.)

We live in a day and age of political correctness; it’s all about “tolerance” (a well-meaning word but seemingly less and less aimed toward Christians).   “Your truth is as valid as my truth”. (Really?  Even if they are in total conflict?)  We live in a culture that says to have absolute moral beliefs means to be narrow minded, prejudiced or stupid.  I have had many conversations with folks who seem to embrace the concept of God, but don’t care about learning what He actually has to say in His Word.  (I’m sorry to say, that described me at one time in my life.)

But the wonderful, over-the-top good news is: every day, every moment of our lives we have the opportunity to choose Jesus.  He has opened that door wide!!  Nothing from our past will kill that opportunity….nothing.  God loves us beyond our comprehension and we get do-overs on a regular basis.  But, and this is the sad part, we can totally miss the opportunity and experience a closed door to heaven if we choose against the “narrow door” Jesus talked about in the book of Luke.

Where are you today, my friend?  Every person who ever walked, walks, or will walk the earth, must ultimately decide Who Jesus is and is the Bible the Truth?  All of eternity hinges on these decisions.   I don’t want you to reach the end of this life and have a missed opportunity and a closed door.  That door is open wide…the door of making Jesus the Lord of your life, forsaking all other “gods” and allowing His life, death and resurrection to be the covering for your sins.  I pray you will walk through that door….today.






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