Gail's Book Nook

Monday, August 4, 2014

Looking Out the Window: Jennifer Slattery Shares a Beautiful Devotional and Talks about Her New Book, Beyond I Do. She'll Give Away a Copy.

 
A Warm Welcome to Jennifer Slattery

To enter to win a copy of Beyond I Do, leave a comment with your name and an e-mail address.

Closed Door
 
I’m not sure when this started or where it came from, but somehow, over the years, my view of obedience has become tainted. I’ve heard so much about open and closed doors and letting go and letting God that I’ve developed this idea that obedience is going to be easy. And successful. But when I read the Bible, that’s not what I see. Consider how many doors Moses had slammed in his face. His own people opposed him, Pharaoh ridiculed him, and the harder Moses pushed, the worse things became. At least initially. And what about Joshua and his encounter with Jericho? He didn’t just have a closed door. He had an entire, seemingly impenetrable, wall standing in his way. Then there’s the prophet Elijah. His life wasn’t exactly a bed of roses. At times, he even thought his work was pointless. But he kept on. As did Isaiah, John the Baptist, Stephen, and Paul, just to name a few.

Paul has become the super hero of Christianity. We like to talk about all the great things he did for Christ, about all the churches he planted, and how faithfully he suffered for God. But if we really stop and study his life, we won’t see very many open doors. That’s not to say his work didn’t produce amazing results. What I’m saying is his road to obedience wasn’t this peaceful, well-paved, flower-lined path we’d like to see in our own lives. It was fraught with intense, life-threatening obstacles at every turn. Hop on over to Acts and tell me you don’t see all the heavily fastened dead bolts–prison, beating, slander, ridicule. (Pay special attention to Acts 20: 22-28) Paul didn’t wait for a nice, wide, open door. He looked for those tiny cracks then worked, with God’s leading, to wiggle himself in. Not because he was forging his own way with single-minded stubbornness, but because he knew-knew-knew God’s will and focused on obedience with unwavering determination. Walking with intentional blinders on, he kept his eyes on his Savior and not the obstacles all around him.

The result? Many came to salvation, and numerous churches were planted. I’m not saying that closed doors don’t exist or that we shouldn’t pause for re-evaluation every once in awhile. What I am saying is if you know in your heart of hearts God is calling you to do something, don’t let anything get in the way. And don’t expect the obedience journey to be easy. When doubts and obstacles arise, put your blinders on and withdraw within, closing off everything else until that still, small voice shines through. Then, once God has confirmed or perhaps reaffirmed your route, walk forward in confidence.

What about you? Do you feel like you’ve hit a closed door? Maybe you have. Or maybe, God is stretching and growing you, developing perseverance while drawing you closer to Himself. There’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s through consistent prayer.

I love to pray Romans 12:1-2, which says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

As we come to God in prayer, offering all we are and have to Him, He begins to transform our thinking, aligning our will with His. Then we can move forward in confidence, trusting He will redirect us if need be. What about you? Where are you in your faith journey? Have you hit a few hurdles and speed bumps, maybe enough that you’ve considered turning back? Could be. But what if He’s asking you to persevere and keep stepping?

Thank you for that wonderful devotional.

About Beyond I Do.

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
 
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Purchase it on Amazon and
Barnes and Noble

 Bio:
Jennifer Slattery is an avid reader who enjoys long, leisurely strolls with her husband; mall dates with her daughter; and chatting with her girlfriends over hot, flavored milk with a hint of coffee. She writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions. She also writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries, an international ministry that broadcasts via radio waves in 32 countries. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her serving in her church, community, or home.
Connect with her online at her blog, http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.comblogblog , on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte, and Twitter at https://twitter.com/Jenslattery

9 comments:

Jennifer said...

Encouraging thought! Keep on swimming...

Carlene Havel said...

Write on, Sister!

Connie Almony said...

This book sounds great. Please enter me. cbalmony(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jennifer Slattery said...

Hi, Jen! Happy Monday to you! I'm glad you found the post encouraging. It's something I have to remember often. God never said life would be easy. In fact, He promised the opposite. BUT He also promised life with Him would be abundant. :)

Thanks, Carlene! Have a blessed, be-a-blessing day!

Connie, it's fun to see you here. Best of luck in the drawing.

Linda from Georgia said...

Closed doors are hard to deal with. Thanks for the reminder that Father has a plan and we just have to keep on keeping on. I like the idea of looking beyond the "I do" when thinking about marriage.

Jennifer Slattery said...

Hi, Linda!

I'm so glad you found today's devotion encouraging. I love Galatians 6:9 "So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up" (NLT).

Also, thanks for the kind words regarding the novel. :) And best of luck in the drawing!

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

I love the scripture in Romans. It does have a nice message about not conforming to the world. I also love what you said about prayer and how God will transform our thinking, "aligning our will with His." Thank you for your wonderful thoughts this day, Jennifer.

Jennifer Slattery said...

Good morning, Linda,

God is so gracious and attentive, isn't He. :) May we all, like Jesus, be able to say at any and every given moment, "Not my will but Thine be done."

Have a blessed, be-a-blessind day, friend!

Janet K Brown said...

Another beautiful devotion from Jennifer Slattery. Thanks for sharing. God bless.