As I look at my life today, there are many unknowns. Without a doubt, I have lived in this land of shadows for many years now… almost too many to count.  Yet I am encouraged by remembering what God has done in my life.

Years ago at the start of my first adventure in church planting, the odds were stacked against my wife and I. In October of 2005 I had turned down a ministry position for the hope of planting Reunion church. I turned down a salary and all the security that comes with working in an established church and in exchange I had no job, no income and lots of bills–somehow the Lord provided. I look over that 6 months and I still can’t tell you how God did it. We paid our mortgage and all our bills, and yet we had not one red cent of income.

My circumstances then reminded my very much of Revelation 3:8 where God speaks to the church in Philadelphia:

I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

The church in Philadelphia had little power. This church, much like my young church plant, was few in number and had few financial resources. Yet YHWH was telling us that if we remain strong and walk through the open door, we will be blessed.

My wife and I should never have survived all those months, but we did. Any time prior to 2005, I would have been the first to say “it was impossible.” I would have been the first to say the road we are on is foolishness–yet step-by-step and day-by-day, God kept us moving forward through open doors and our opportunities were never limited by our meager resources.

Today, 2011, I sit and look to the future and see clearly all the impossible challenges my family faces. Much like the church of Philadelphia, I have no power to effect immediate change, but my family is moving forward in faith. How will we reach our goal? I don’t know how, but He will not fail us!  How do I know this? I know because God’s Word in Revelation tells me that, “YHWH is the God of Open Doors.”

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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