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God spoke to me many years ago that every year, He would give me His rhema word for the year for our church. It is not a list of do’s and don’ts, but a declaration of what God will do for the church in that year.
Now, a fresh rhema word from God or new “theme” for the year doesn’t mean taking away from what we have learnt in years past. For example, 2012 was the year of unceasing fruitfulness and we learnt that the secret to this is to delight in and meditate on God’s Word day and night. If you give your time, mind and voice to God’s Word, and make delighting in and meditating on God’s Word a priority, you can still see His unceasing fruitfulness this year and for the rest of your life! My friend, our God is a God of abundance, the God of more-than-enough. Our God is so big that our revelations of Him can only grow with each passing year. The theme of the year helps us to focus and see God’s hand at work so we can give all glory to Him when His rhema word comes to pass in our lives.
As I was waiting on the Lord for the theme He has for us this year, the Word that He brought to my attention was Isaiah 22:22.
The key of the house of David I will lay on his [Jesus’] shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.
The visual image that God has given us is the key of David. God wants you to know that Jesus will use this key to open doors of blessings and provision for you this year. Not only can you expect good things to happen to you and your family, but you can also expect to be protected from evil because He will shut doors that are not good for you. 2013 shall be a year of open doors and what He opens, no one can shut, and what He shuts for your protection, no one — no man, angel or demon — can open. Beloved, if you experienced disappointments or setbacks last year, don’t dwell on them anymore. Expect to see our Lord Jesus open fresh doors of opportunities, and doors of favour and blessings for you this year. Expect this year to be far better!
Open Doors Because Of Jesus
You may ask, “I haven’t done much good in the past year to deserve God’s blessings. How can I be confident that God will bless me this year?”
My friend, God doesn’t bless you today because of what you have done. God blesses you because of what Jesus has done. Jesus bore your sins and was punished for every one of them on the cross so you can receive His righteousness as a gift and be blessed with every one of God’s blessings. You are blessed not because of your good works, but because of Jesus’ finished and perfect work on the cross.
Today, the key of David is in the nail-pierced hands of Jesus, the Saviour who loves you so much He went to the cross and paid the price in full for you to be blessed with God’s blessings. So, the doors that God will open for you are not dependent on your works, your smarts or abilities. Maybe you want to see a certain dream fulfilled in your life but you don’t have the qualifications, experience and abilities. This year, ask and expect the Lord to open doors of opportunity and favour for you in this area. Remember, when the Lord opens these doors for you, no one can shut them!
The Power Of Prayer
Do you know that there are many instances in the Bible where the Lord opened doors of opportunities for His people? Let’s look at some of these stories and find out how we can activate the key of David in our lives.
For example, we find that the early beginnings of the church were marked by God opening doors for Jesus’ disciples to preach the gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. (Acts 14:27, 2 Corinthians 2:12). The apostle Paul’s secret is recorded in Colossians 4.
Colossians 4:2–4 (KJV)
2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ… 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Notice that Paul tells believers to continue in prayer that God would open to them a door of utterance. What does this mean? This tells us that prayer is powerful and can open doors. When you pray, it means that you are putting your trust and hope in the Lord, not in fallible man or your own efforts. This makes prayer an expression of your dependence on God’s grace. When you pray, you are saying to God, “I can’t, but I know You can. I’m trusting You to take care of this for me.”
When the Lord showed me this truth in His Word many years ago, I started to practise this each time before I preached. I would pray that the Lord would open a door of utterance for me so that His life-transforming words would be imparted to His people as Christ is unveiled. I’ve received testimonies from many precious folks who shared with me how the sermons that they have heard me preach speak to their situations.
Now, I wasn’t an eloquent speaker when I was growing up. I was a stutterer in high school and would stutter whenever my teacher made me stand up and read in class. How could a former stutterer like me with poor public speaking skills in the natural, preach the Word and speak words that can transform lives? It could only be by the grace of God that He opened to me the door of utterance to preach His gospel of grace.
Today, if you are preparing for an important presentation, and feel that you lack the necessary qualifications or experience, I encourage you to pray and ask God to open to you a door of utterance and He can cause what you say to find favour with your audience. If you are facing challenges as a parent with wayward children, say, “Lord, I ask that you open to me a door of utterance and give weight to the words I speak to my children so they will have wisdom and understanding beyond their years.” This year, instead of focusing on your lack or the problem that you face, commit it to the Lord in prayer believing that He is faithful to His promise to supernaturally open doors for you.
Sometimes when you pray, you may find that doors are still closed to you. When this happens, don’t be discouraged. The Lord has already promised in His Word that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. (Romans 8:28)
Remember that the theme verse in Isaiah 22:22 also talks about shut doors? The apostle Paul himself experienced closed doors in his ministry:
Acts 16:6–7, 9
6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them… 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
Notice that Paul and his companions were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit” and “the Spirit did not permit them” to preach in certain places at that point in time? This means that there is a God-ordained timing for open doors. God did not open doors in those regions for Paul and his companions to protect them as it wasn’t time yet for them to preach the gospel there. Instead, the Spirit led them to Macedonia where it was needful for them to be there. So when you pray, my friend, the Lord can shut doors that are not good for you in that season, and the Holy Spirit can lead you to the place where God wants to position you to bless you and cause you to be a blessing!
A Year Of Supernatural Conception
Another exciting promise that the Lord showed me is this: This shall be a year of open wombs for couples who are believing God for babies. Look at the story of Rachel in the Bible.
22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23 And she conceived and bore a son…
Notice that God “listened to her and opened her womb”? The fact that God listened to Rachel means that she must have prayed or told the Lord her desire to have children. Beloved, if you, like Rachel, are childless and desire to have a baby, stop declaring what your medical report says. Instead, tell the Lord and start committing your desire to Him in prayer and watch Him do the impossible for you!
Praise Opens Doors
Let’s look at another instance of open doors in the Bible to unlock another secret to the key of David. Acts 16 tells us how the apostle Paul and Silas were persecuted and locked up in the inner dungeons at Philippi, and how a dramatic prison break happened.
Acts 16:25–26 (KJV)
25And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
Notice that that Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God during what must have been one of the darkest times in their lives? I don’t think they worshipped God softly and muttered praises under their breath. I believe they must have prayed and sang praises to the Lord at the top of their voices because this account tells us that the other prisoners heard them.
In the Greek, the word for “praises” here is hymneo, referring to the singing of Psalms 113–118. These are psalms of joy and thanksgiving the Jews sang and recited during the Feast of Pentecost, Passover and Tabernacles. So, in their darkest trial and moment, instead of lamenting about their circumstances, Paul and Silas were giving praises to God using the songs written in the Book of Psalms.
Now, nothing happened before they began praying and singing praises. But all of a sudden, while they were praying and singing praises to worship God, there was a great earthquake! Not only did this supernatural shaking fling open all the prison doors, but it also loosed all the prisoners’ shackles. Everyone was set free!
My friend, what do you do when you go through a trial or valley moment? It may not be easy to praise and give thanks to God because you don’t see His deliverance yet. Usually, we find it easy to thank God and give Him praise for things that He delivers us from when they come to pass. For example, when you are in lack and God gives you the provision to meet your needs, you thank Him for that provision. But while you are going through a season of lack, you may find it difficult to give Him praise for His provision because you don’t see it yet.
Beloved, the Word tells us that the just (or the righteous) — that’s us — shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38). We are not to live by what we see. (Hebrews 11:1, 2 Corinthians 5:7) So, when you are going through a trying time, I encourage you to look to God and start praying and praising Him. Don’t wait till you see your deliverance before you give praises to the Lord. Something happens on the inside of you when you praise and worship the Lord. When you thank and praise the Lord, you can be at rest knowing that He will take care of you and all that you need. When you start praising and thanking God, He moves on your behalf! If you’re in bondage or struggling with a chronic medical condition or debilitating habit, know that Jesus wants to open the door of liberty and freedom for you! God is no respecter of persons. What God did for Paul and Silas, He wants to do for you too because He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. (Hebrews 13:8)
David’s Life Of Constant Praise
Let’s look at an account of someone in the Bible who prioritised praise and worship, and see if the Lord keeps His promise. David is an example of someone who valued praise and worship, and made praise his lifestyle such that many of the psalms in the Bible are ascribed to him.
Look at Psalm 34, the psalm David penned to worship God in the cave of Adullam after he had fled from Saul who had been hunting him, and from Abimelech, a heathen king of Gath, whom he had just escaped from. (1 Samuel 21:10–15) David must have felt really fearful, dejected and defeated at this point. Yet, this is what he wrote in the opening of Psalm 34:
1I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
David continued to praise and bless the Lord in spite of what he was feeling! He didn’t look to himself, his circumstance or what he was feeling. He offered up a psalm to God, looked to Him and praised Him continually. It didn’t matter whether it was good times or bad times, David said he “will bless the Lord at all times”.
Now, while hiding in the cave of Adullam, David was joined by four hundred men, all of them in distress, in debt and discontented (I call them David’s 3-D army). (1 Samuel 22:1–2) These men must have heard David, as he sang these words:
Psalm 34:3–4, 6–8
3Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. 4I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears…6This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. 8Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
How those men must have been ministered to and encouraged by the Lord as they listened to David’s anointed words of praise!
Did David and his men stay distressed, in debt and discontented? No, we know from the Bible that David became a great king and that his once distressed, in debt and discontented men became courageous warriors who did mighty exploits. (2 Samuel 23)
See Good Days This Year
God’s Word tells us that if we want to see good days, we are to refrain our tongue from evil. (1 Peter 3:10) So, my friend, I challenge you to make a decision today to begin to pray and offer praises to the Lord. As you make this your lifestyle this year, you will see Jesus opening doors of favour and blessings for you, and when He opens a door, no one and nothing can shut it. Not only that, Jesus will shut doors that the adversary meant for evil for your protection, and what He shuts, no one can open. I’m praying for you and your loved ones that 2013 will truly be your best year yet!