When a friend sent me a short Bible study by email, one verse in particular stood out to me: “A wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”1 That was an interesting thought: open doors and adversaries are biblically and sometimes necessarily connected. Later I found myself meditating on a passage from Revelation 3: “He who overcomes”we can’t do that without something to overcome“I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God.”2 Toward the end of the chapter is another promise that is one of my personal favorites: “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”3 Those verses make a beautiful point. First comes an open doorone that has been opened specifically for the person meant to walk through itand next come adversaries and tests, which we know from the context of the passage can be overcome. Third comes the knowledge that Jesus had to go through His own very particular open door, facing a degree of adversity that I can’t fully imagine, much less imagine withstanding, but He did. He overcame!
That encourages me that whatever open doors lie before me, and whatever the accompanying “adversary,” I, too, can overcome. In fact, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”4 And because I can overcome, I can one day sit on God’s throne with Him. I’ve never been big on pauper-to-princes tales, but that sounds pretty attractive! Speaking of fanciful tales, I’m reminded of a stock element of adventure storieswhat I call the “treasure behind the troll” scenario. When does the hero or heroine ever get to achieve his or her goal without first fighting off some villain or monster? That was certainly the Apostle Paul’s experience. First came the open doors. “I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me,”5 he explains at one point. “Pray for us … that God may open a door for our message,” he wrote at another point, “so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.”6 Paul clearly understood that with open doors came adversaries, but he still wanted to get through those doors and was grateful when they opened. And I can understand why. Success and struggle don’t necessarily come in separate packages. Neither do open doors and adversaries. Or treasures and trolls. More often, it seems, they come in balanced pairs. The next time I pray for God to open a door of opportunity, I will realize that with it will most likely come some challenges and adversity. Then when those show up, I can recognize them as a sign that I’m really onto something opportunity-wise. I’ll take that treasure of opportunity, even if I have to fight off some trolls to get to it. It is interesting to notice how some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage, and working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles. … Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them.Washington Irving. We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.Tobias Wolff. Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling, enduring, and accomplishing.George Sheehan. To be successful, you need to understand the vital difference between believing you will succeed, and believing you will succeed easily.
Believing that the road to success will be rocky leads to greater success because it forces you to take action. People who are confident that they will succeed, and equally confident that success won’t come easily, put in more effort, plan how they’ll deal with problems before they arise, and persist longer in the face of difficulty. Cultivate your realistic optimism by combining a positive attitude with an honest assessment of the challenges that await you. Don’t just visualize successvisualize the steps you will take in order to make success happen.Heidi Grant Halvorson, “Be an Optimist Without Being a Fool” The sculpting of our lives sometimes requires trials and tribulations of various kinds so that we can learn to seek God’s help. We learn that sometimes to make it up the mountain we must also pass through valleys. The path to success isn’t always straight upward; it sometimes dips down to the depths and keeps us traveling there for some time. If we find ourselves at a low point in the path, it pays to remember that there’s something there that can make us stronger, better.Peter Amsterdam (Bible References – 1 Corinthians 16:9 ESV, 2. Revelation 3:12, 3. Revelation 3:21, 4. Philippians 4:13 ESV, emphasis added, 5. 2 Corinthians 2:12 NIV, 6. Colossians 4:3 NIV)
Today at the ongoing Men/Women on Assignment Empowerment Conference for the month of July organized by Apostolic Prophetic Renaissance & Dimensions for Ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Pastors, Bishops, General Overseers, Christian leaders and workers that had attendance from all denominations in Rivers State, Abia, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom at the instance of Apostle Ezekiel Emmanuel Duke, the founding Commandant and General Overseer, Holy Ghost Cantonment Exceeding Glory Temple witnessed an awe inspiring teaching with prophetic unction and manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit with abounding testimonies when Prophet Duke mounted the pulpit. Introducing the message from series on previous months’ meetings on “Anointing for uncommon open doors season 3” on the “Types of Open Doors” namely: Personal Open doors and Divine open doors. Apostle Duke in this meeting spoke on “Personal Open Doors”. He took his text from 1 Samuel 14:1-23, “1Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father. 2And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men; 3And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone. 4And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah. 6And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few. 7And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. 8Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. 9If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.10But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us. 11And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.”
“12And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel. 13And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him. 14And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. 15And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. 16And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another. 17Then said Saul unto the people that were with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there. 18And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. 19And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand. 20And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture. 21Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan. 22Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23So the Lord saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven”
Personal Open Doors, what is it? This is opportunity based on need of the moment that you take the initiative under God to enforce your rights, privileges and use your talents/gifts to bring about victory, success and unusual breakthrough or happenings in faith that God will grant you victory/success in that endeavour that you did not hear from God nor have the approval of authority over you to undertake. This was the situation Jonathan in this Bible passage illustrates for us. In a teaching that came under strong unction of the Holy Spirit Apostle Duke explained, never wait for open doors rather initiate open doors. As the Bible say, “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (Rev. 3:8). How do you initiate personal open doors? Apostle Duke explained from the text the following steps. First, at time of battle, difficulties and need don’t wait to consult take initiative step of faith a positive action in line with God’s word, act in faith for if you can believe all things are possible (Mark 9:23). Jonathan did not hear from God nor did he have his father’s consent. He realized there was a need to save the children of Israel from the adversaries. Second, He got the cooperation and agreement of his armourbearer to undertake the process of activating the open door. The Bible say if two of you shall agree together and pray God will intervene (Matt. 18:18-20). You need to agree and cooperate with another in faith to optimize and actualize victor over the adversary. Two are better than one (Eccl. 4:8-12). Third, Jonathan believe God does not depend on multitude to open doors of victory, breakthrough and grant you your place in destiny. For with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27). He believed God can give them victory over their adversary. What do you believe of your situation? Your perspective, attitude and confession create an environment of victory over your adversary. Four, Jonathan set a sign that should confirm their victory. Under grace in New Testament dispensation we don’t set sign but we are creator and embodiment of signs and wonders. We obey the Word of God and signs follow us (Mark 16:17-20). In every situation, Problem, and crisis God has said something and determined the outcome in His word you only need to follow God’s manual of life obey His word relating to your personal challenges and you will succeed. Five, Jonathan seeing and have confirmed the victory exercise authority over the adversary by raising his hand and sword up over the enemy and twenty men fell down before Jonathan. Consequently God cause all other to fight each against themselves until God saved Israel without fighting their enemies. Is that what God said in Proverbs 16:7, “7When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” and 2 Chron. 20:15, “And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s”.
Apostle Duke warned not every door should be opened and don’t knock on every door. When you are weary go to the altar of God’s presence to refuel and be refilled. Don’t get distract and turn to the lap of Delilah like was the case of Samson in Judges Chapters 14, 15, and 16. The result of Jonathan’s personal open doors came victory for all Israel. The atmosphere was charged with prophetic actions in words, worship and the use of prophetic tokens, the tree of life and water of life that the usual wailing and praying at the Africa’s wailing wall for all nations where you undo what the enemy has done was deferred for the next day fellowship meeting which comes up tomorrow 30th July 2013 at Holy Ghost Cantonment Exceeding Glory Temple, 95 NTA Road, Mgbuoba, Port Harcourt, Rivers State Nigeria by 8am. With testimonies abounding you can’t afford to miss this meeting. Be there, you will be blessed you did.
Dr. Lewis Akpogena