Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

How Do You Know?

There are many wise and biblically scholared folks out there in the blogosphere. I am sure that some of you have wondered this before and perhaps a few of you know the answer. If not, then hopefully between us all we can dialogue enough to discern the correct answer. So . . .

How do you know whether God is closing doors or satan is throwing up roadblocks?

I really want to know


Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

I only attempt to be part of the dialogue because I struggle with this also... not because of wisdom.

That is indeed a tough one. But here are some guidelines:
[1] Have I been praying about the situation? I believe in Ask, Seek, Knock. God for the most part doesn't just throw doors out there open or closed. We aren't that spiritually savvy.
[2] Will the situation lead to my spiritual growth or strengthen my relationship with God or hinder it? God closes the "hinder it" doors and Satan tries to stop the "growth" ones.
[3] I pray again...but more specific this time. God knows I'm limited and He does make things as simple as possible...not easy but simple.
[4] This isn't the easiest one to understand or the easiest to explain but- I go with my spiritual instinct.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12.2


11:43 PM  
Anonymous Eddie said...

Hi Neva.

A short comment.

Much of what we do in this life is done by us in the exercise of our free will. Mistakes or triumphs are direct consequences of those free will choices.

Just as Adam and Eve, we too have a knowledge of 'good and evil'. And God gives us free will, in order that WE, may make our choice based on that knowledge.

In this, satan has been tasked by God to try and turn us to choose evil, rather than the good God desires. Thus exercising our free will.

We have God's Word to instruct us, and our free will choices must be based on that Word. For in obedience to His commands, we can only achieve that which God desires of and for us. Disobedience however, will lead us into trouble.

Your question was:

"How do you know whether God is closing doors or satan is throwing up roadblocks?"

My answer, is obedience, or disobedience to God.

I hope this helps toward discerning the answer you seek?

Just Passing Through.

God Bless.

2:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because satan is the father of lies, he sometimes makes it very difficult to tell. Prayer prayer and more prayer is the only way I know of. Sometimes though it is still difficult.

thought provoking post, Neva

4:51 AM  
Blogger Ancient Wanderer said...

I won't keep bothering you :)
I just want to assure you that the concept of "doors" is very real. And to also suggest that in a Christian's life it is more God than Satan.

God OPENS doors and God CLOSES doors.
My wife has to remind me at times that I sometimes try to kick a door open that God has closed. I just wanted to really, really :) assure you that you'll know the answer BUT don't force the answer. Be willing to follow God's directions.

I don't know how to describe my relationship with God but He has to make it obvious for me because I need it that way. I know it will be the same for you. My greatest struggle is trying not to force my way by prying doors open or standing in the doorway instead of going through.

Rambling now.


7:34 AM  
Blogger Brian Nicklaus said...

is the concept that God has our life mapped out to the details Biblical??

maybe God just wants us to be faithful and obedient whether we take the job in Tallahasse or the one if Chicago. Or maybe it really doesn't matter if we decide to be a teacher or a lawyer, we will have opportunities to serve.

Not that he doesn't care, or that we shouldn't pray.

similarly, I think the idea that God has chosen one mate for every human is ludicrous. I know lots of people who act like "God put this person in my life" Maybe, maybe not. As to your question--what matters is that we obey God. That type of thinking can blind us and allow us to do stupid things. If we focus on the right and wrong we do know, I think the other things will either become clear, or irrelevant.

I love to answer hard questions with more hard questions. Have fun!

8:17 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Hi Neva!

Such a potent question. Not so sure about how to answer, so no doubt this will be long and windy, but what’s a little wind up in your part of the world? :)

Sometimes I have found myself on the other side of a door, and wondered how in the world I got there – did some tornado just hurl me through it? My husband and I had the entire whole of last year with doors that either stayed deliberately closed or opened with extreme ease. Each time, was God behind Door No 2, or WAIT! was that Lucifer lurking on the hinges of Door NO 3?

Now that we have the benefit of retrospect, which no doubt comes with experience and age (like the older we get, so why didn’t we realise it last year?!?), we try to use lessons learned from last year to help us in discernment this year. I must admit that intuition, through prayer and knowing the presence of God, plays into this a lot. When a door seems to open easily for us this year, we are somewhat sceptical -- or perhaps 'cautious' sounds like a friendlier Christian word -- and we decide to be patient and wait. Nothing lost there. I truly believe that God sends a spirit of peace, and it almost feels like a quilt of comfort. If I can wait for the door to open without obsessing about it, I know God is on the other side.

If there is a lot of stress and annoyance, then that quilt of peace is nowhere near, and Lucifer is more than likely taking the mickey out on us.

Closed doors are not welcoming, and most of us don’t like them, especially, I think, us ladies. How many times have my husband and I gone house-hunting, and I cannot wait to open a door that is closed, only to the embarrassment or consternation of my husband? I like taking a risk and discovering hidden nooks and crannies! Closed doors can become an obsession or be stress builders. But closed doors can also be very good for when wait time is necessary (like resting or taking a break from fever-pitched hunting). Sometimes, obedience and patience to God seem closely related.

The Word is in the waiting room, always there for me to delve into. When I immerse myself in the Word, find the sacred spaces to be in prayer, and involve the fellowship of a brother or sister in Christ -- all are gifts from God and inclusive of His presence. Together these eventually will help to reveal exactly who is responsible for opening and closing the doors along the journey, however arduous.

I believe that God also gives us options, because in His grand scheme of creativity He wants us to expand our own horizons, to step out in faith. And so He might just leave one door cracked open a bit, waiting to see if we are ready to take the new challenge on offer. Satan is also close by, just waiting for our reaction. He loves to get us when we’re down or vulnerable. But if we approach that partially opened door, enthused by God’s creative call, and open it as a response to our open faith in Him, that should in itself send Satan scurrying off, foiled yet again by our commitment to follow God’s lead.

All this is not to say that disappointment might be part and parcel of stepping through any opened door that we believe is God-ordained. When that happens, we get to choose how to work through that disappointment. But if we gained our strength in the ‘waiting room’, the tools for coping and walking with God never change.


10:51 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I agree with the others that this is a question I wrestle with multiple times a day. While I agree that we have free choice, I also believe in (not the other guy wasn't saying this) seeking the direction of God. I often see myself and others running ahead of God, assuming that because events unfold a certain way or because something appears spiritual, that God will bless it. I think most times I need to slow down, pray, consider, wait, listen, wait some more, and listen some more. When we hear the voice of God, we know better how to discern the voices that are not him.

I also think that cross-validation is helpful. I often begin paying attention to the conversations I have with other and their input or feedback. I put a lot of stock in cross-validation particularly in those who give similar feedback but don't know one another.

Not so much an answer, but just what has been useful thus far. I am curious to see what others have to say on this, as my prayer life and discernment could certainly use some growth. Thanks for asking, Neva.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Great question, Neva and one all of struggle with, I'm sure.

As has been said, after prayer, prayer and more prayer, my next job is to discern what is dread and what is excitement.

Dread - that heart-dropping, thudding feeling when I consider my choice - and for me, means the choice will make satan very happy, but not so, my God.

Excitement - desire to press on - a joyful gut feeling that has proven to be a sign that I'm making the right choice and God is pleased with it.

I then ask God to remove what is not from Him and rebuke satan for meddling in the life of one of God's children.

BUT! I remain a flawed human being - child of God, yes, but human and SURPRISE! I still make mistakes. [What! Me make a mistake?? Puleeze!] LOL

One thing I do know - if I remain in God's moral Will, as was said, obedient to Him, He will then guide and/or forgive my choices.

Clear as mud?

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Monalea said...

When you are attuned to God, His is the only voice you can hear.

Psalms 46:10 "Be still and KNOW that I Am God."

John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--"

11:59 AM  
Blogger Larissa said...

Ohhhh I have a good answer. (I may have already told you this, I can't remember) I can't take credit for this either...my counselor told me this. I have experienced this a lot lately and questioning who is talking to me, and I have learned that there are two motivators in life. God uses love, and satan uses fear. Whenever I feel something I question what is motivating that. Is it fear? Well then who wants me to feel that way? Is it a decision out of love? Then it is from God. This has really changed the way I view things. Sometimes I have to stop and think and analyze what is going on, and what I am really feeling. But it has been worth it to me to think about that, because it has transformed the way I think. Sometimes that may not directly answer the question if satan is putting up a road block, but I think it helps deal with the situation, and see it more clearly.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I was having this conversation this very morning ... about 20 minutes ago in fact. I think sometimes is easier to tell than others. But prayer and listening have helped me. Listening, listening and ...

Bobby Valentine

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really have an answer to your question, which by the way, is a really good one, but I have noteced in a few of your previous posts a desire to find your place in the scheme of things. I just want you to know that I'm praying that you will recognize the answers when God sets them before you, and that I continue to pray for peace for you and your family. I find much comfort in knowing that we are all walking this path together and because as Ecclesiastes 4:9&10 says, even if we do trip over one of satan's stumbling blocks there are others walking with us who will lift us back on our feet and we will be ok.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Bob Bliss said...

Neva, it seems that all of us have been rather vague about this very important question. In Scripture we have a way to test the teaching of others. But how do we test the decisions and circumstances in our life? Is God leading me to go to Florida or some other state? Is this seemingly shut door really God trying to find out if I will put up a little more effort? However, several have given one good piece of advice - be faithful regardless of what decisions we make. If we are always faithful we can't go wrong. God will surely work through us to his glory.

5:54 PM  
Blogger TREY MORGAN said...

Neva ... looks like aw nailed it down pretty well. I think God opens and shuts doors.


7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think God does maybe not map out our lives, but he has certain ways he prefers us to go, certain choices he wants us to make.
Does that make sense?
This is a very difficult question


10:32 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

I appreciate all your comments. I know this should be easy but somehow it isn't always. I agree with Bobby that sometimes it is easier than others. As far as God mapping out our lives or choosing the one perfect mate for us. I think you are sorta right Brian, but I also believe that when you are praying for God to send the right person for you, to send you the one who will help you get to heaven and love you and minister with you and that person comes into your life. I believe God has answered that prayer and has chosen someone for you---not you get to choose to accept that or not but I think God is involved in as much of our lives and decisions as we allow Him to be.

The reason I am asking this question is because I have been really studying about spiritual warfare. I am reading about the wiles of satan and how crafty he is. I believe he can put up stumbling blocks that appear to be a door closed by God. BUT---and this is huge, I also believe God's promise that if we love Him and are seeking His will, He will work it out for good whether it is the path or the choice He would have had us make or not.
That is so encouraging to me. It seems that there are always opportunities to serve God wherever you are. But some would be more productive than others. We pray, we listen, we meditate. We try to take our own bias out of the decision and ask God to show us.We may still be confused--we may still make a different choice but . . . He is God and He will still help us glorify Him.

This is still a thought in process--am I way out in left field?
Looking forward to your answers

10:45 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

This is a deep one that has been a long struggle for me. I must say that AW had a good answer as did everyone else. I think these are the best comments I have ever read for a post.
Brian, you stinker, James believes the same thing and I have spent 13 years trying to convince him I am the only one for him. I am a hopeless romantic and believer in fairytales and this conflict has been cause for therapy. Ok I know my thoughts have set me up for disappointment, but if he is not the right guy for me, what am I doing here and why have I worked so hard to enrich my relationship with him?
Neva, I will give this much more thought, I hope you will allow for continued comments on this throughout the week.

Neva, God's will and doors and ... Have always been a challenge for mankind. This side of eternity I think we will always have a few questions. I agree with surender and obediance, and the idea that we make decisions and if we are looking for His will God works in our mess. I try to remember that though we don't always know what to pray, The Spirit know and communicated our heart to God. One of my favorite songs is "Listen to Our Hearts". Maybe it is because I'm going to preach it tomorrow but it is on my mind. Remember what God said to Samuel in 1 Sam 16. Man looks on the outside, but Gos sees the heart.

Brian, as Kathy said, I think there are many possibilities. There are some that are better. And as we are surrenderring and looking God works in our lives. God blessed me greatly with Kathy. There were and maybe are still times when I was not what Kathy bargained for, I was not the knight in armor, but there were alot of things that drew me to her and likewise her to me. We had very many compatable goals and desires.

I shared in a sermon the other day that I think we make decisions and don't fully understand the depth of the decision. When I gave my life to Jesus at 13 I did not fully understand. When we walked the isle for marraige, again, I don' think I fully understood. I had a glimps. I just need to see it through and grow in my relationship to Christ and Kathy.
Can any of you romanitcs see how this makes me feel? K

1:03 AM  
Blogger Brian Nicklaus said...

I didn't mean to come across as un or anti romantic.

I guess I have seen enough friends and others make stupid decisions because they made themselves believe that God had delivered someone into their life. and sometimes that person was louse, and bad for them, leading them away from God.

I counseled a couple who were seriously in love, blah blah blah, and thought something was wrong with me because I didn't necessarily believe in "love at first sight". Well, they had a rocky relationship, not good for each other and the man in that couple is currently engaged to someone else.

plus, Kathy, now that you have entered into a covenant with James, he definitely is THE man for you. whether you like it or not.. :)

I wouldn't trade my wife for any woman in the world, and how we met is interesting. But our relationship is based on our loving commitment to each other, not to having found a soul mate.

I think we should be careful to make love something about chance, fate, etc. instead about giving, serving, faithfulness.

Disclaimer: I am not opposed to romance, feelings, magic, etc. but a little bit of a realist, yeah.

I am going to publish this comment now and then wish I had not said it, or said things different....

1:04 PM  
Blogger flee said...

Neva....I didn't take the time to read all of the comments, so I may be repeating someone else. I did read your comment towards the end, and your thoughts were what I was thinking in regards to open and shut doors. I DO NOT believe that there is one path, only for us, that we should follow that one path. I DO believe that when we ask God to SHOW us what to do in a situation, he most definitely can do so....if he wants to. And yet, he doesn't always make it so clear and easy to see when we ask him to PLEASE SHOW US WHAT TO DO. Why does he do this? Well...I think there are times, MANY times, that he wants us to make a leap of faith and TRUST him, that no matter the decision, he always and forever will be able to glorify himself through any choice we make....good or bad. Your right, HE is God...and it really is comforting to know this: that we have freedom to act and he loves us enough to glorify himself in situations that we may deem unglorifiable (is that a word)! Ok...I'm done. I have more, but I'll stop. I love reading your blog. Sorry if I repeated anyone else. Love you..flee

1:51 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

I am truly learning a lot from these comments. I was thinking this afternoon about how many times I say "I don't know" to these kinds of questions. So I started thinking about what I do know in relationship to this question.
I KNOW that I have free will. God says He will guide my ways and we have the Holy Spirit and the Word for guidance.
I KNOW that God can be glorified in every circumstance
I KNOW that He promises to work it out for the good of those who love Him
I KNOW that satan is crafty and cunning and does not want me to serve God. He indeed uses fear and pride to deter me of cause me to stumble.
I KNOW that sitting still and doing absolutely nothing for very long is not an option--when opportunity to serve and teach are there we must take them
I KNOW that prayer is essential in the choice and God will answer my prayers.
And I KNOW that sometimes we can't really know what is the best choice until we look back and see it in retrospect.
Thank you all so much for helping me learn. Please continue to post comments --they help all of us learn.
Peace and prayers, yall

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe God only "maps" out our lives to the extent we let Him do so. When our will is in accordance with His, maybe it becomes easier to hear and choose what He wants for us.


9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your last comment. I think most of the other comments are in agreement. We just need to follow God and let Him work out the details.


6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Difficult question but he does say seek and you will find, ask , knock, you know. So maybe it is all about building our faith.


6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God's promises to work it out, guide us and lead us---that is where we find our confidence.
Hard question Neva. I was at Tulsa and just now and getting caught up.


7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When we listen to God, I think he makes his will known to us. Sometimes I think we want things to be our way and we are blinded to what God is trying to tell us.


7:59 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

Neva, this is a great discussion.
Brian, I actually agree with you and your point about James being the only one for me after a commitment is exactly right. I think that the romantic mentallity can lead to more of an infatuation than love and can make for an unstable basis for commitment.

Which can be applied to decisions in general. There are things that we are infatuated with that we decide are God's will because we want them to be. But we soon learn that they were more our desires and our life may crumble because it was based on an unstable decision. How much of the process Satan had to do with, I don't know, but I do know that he can make our unstableness work for him if we do not quickly turn back to seeking God's will.

During the hardest period of our married life, we had one door after another shut. Five years later and I still can not distinguish which doors were shut by God and which by man. I really don't want to go through that many trials at once again.

Also, I appreciate your comments Eddie. I must say that seeing your name on Neva's blog freaks me out everytime. But I enjoy what you have to say after I get over the initial shock.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

To clarify Kathy's comment. My first husband's name was Eddy. He passed away in 1995

Just thought I would let you know that is why it initially freaks her out.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous lisa leichner said...

I have been thinking on this post for a few days now, and I think James 4:13-17 is appropriate for the direction many of us are going. 13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

I think it applies to where we work, where we live, where we worship, who we marry, etc. When we remain faithful to Him and want to do His will, even if a door closes and we have to go a different direction, the Lord will use us to bring glory to His Name ... IF we are faithful and praying to do His will.

11:40 AM  

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