Joel Osteen - Closed Doors Can't Stop You
I want to talk to you today about how closed doors can't stop you. We've all had times when something didn't work out: we didn't get the promotion, the loan didn't go through, the relationship didn't make it. We did our best: we prayed, we believed, but the door didn't open...
I talked to a young man that's hoping to get into medical school: he's finished his undergraduate studies, done very well. He's applied to over 40 colleges, but none of them have said "Yes". He's so discouraged, thinking that it's not meant to be, but God wouldn't have allowed the door to close if it was going to keep you from your destiny. We may not see how it could work out, but God hasn't run out of options, he's not at a loss at how to turn your situation around. The Scripture says (in Revelation 3:7) "God opens doors that no man can shut, and he shuts doors that no man can open".
Here's the key: God is your door keeper. People can't keep you from your purpose, obstacles can't stop what God has ordained for you. You may feel like you're behind a closed door, in your health you can't seem to get well, in your career you're working hard but not getting ahead, in a relationship things keep falling through - stay encouraged, those closed doors are not permanent. The enemy doesn't control your doors, people don't control your doors, fear, addiction, depression don't control your doors - the Most High God is your doorkeeper, he controls what opens and what closes. And I believe you're about to see some doors that have been closed a long time suddenly open. You can't explain it, you didn't see it coming, but suddenly your health improved, suddenly you meet the right person, suddenly your business takes off. What happened? The doorkeeper stepped in. Get ready for some open doors.
John chapter 20, Jesus had just been crucified and risen from the dead, one evening his disciples were in a room together, they had locked the door to make sure no one could get in. They saw how people had treated Jesus, how against him they were, now they were afraid that these same leaders would come and arrest them. I can see them deadbolt the door, somebody asked "Are you sure it's locked? Go back and double-check". They did everything they could to keep people out. But while they were meeting, the Scripture says, "Jesus appeared unto them". I can imagine, Jesus came to the door and it was locked. He knocked and knocked, but they wouldn't open it. They were afraid on edge, wondering who it was. All of the sudden Jesus came through the door. He didn't open it, he didn't unlock it, he didn't try to beat it down, he simply came through it. God was showing us: closed doors don't stop him, locked doors cannot keep you from what God has for you.
Now people may have closed the door, tried to keep you from promotion. How you were raised may have shut the door, you feel like you're at a disadvantage. Forces of darkness may have locked the door, tried to keep you from your healing, your freedom. It's been that way a long time, seems like the door is not only closed, but it's locked, dead-bolted. The good news is: God doesn't have to open the door, he can come through it, he's not limited by what's limiting us. We're natural, he's supernatural. You need to get your fire back: closed doors can't stop you, locked doors can't keep you from your destiny. God is not restricted by what's holding you back, he's not hoping somebody will open the door, hoping somebody will let him in. He doesn't need permission, he controls the universe.
The medical report may say that you're never going to get well, that door looks like it's permanently closed: get ready, God's about to come through the door. It's going to be unusual, uncommon, supernatural healing. Or it may look like the door is closed on your dream, you'll never get into college, never meet the right person, never have that baby. Every circumstance says "It's too late. That door is locked, it's never going to open". Just smile and say, "It doesn't have to open. Father, thank you that you're going to come through the door. Thank you, that you're going to make a way where I don't see a way. Thank you, that closed doors can't stop what you have for me".
And you may have doors that have been closed for a long time, but this is a new day, God is about to show out in your life. One good break, one touch of his favored, one contract, one healing can catapult you ahead. And what I love is: even when we lock the door, like the disciples, even when we let fear, intimidation, insecurity, caused us to shrink back, God says: "That's no problem for me, fear can't keep me out, depression can't stop what I have for you, limited thinking can't hold me back". God overrides every negative force. You may have locked the door, but at some point God is going to come through the door, he's not going to let you miss your destiny.
When I came home from college, I worked behind the scenes here at Lakewood doing the television production. I thought that's what I would do the rest of my life. I like to being in the background, I'm naturally more quiet and reserved, but many times my father tried to get me up to minister. He'd say, "Joel, you would be a great pastor. Why don't you speak for me sometime"? I didn't want to get up in front of people, I was afraid, intimidated. I not only shut that door, I made sure it was dead-bolted, put a couple chains on it. For 17 years I made sure it was securely locked, but when my father went to be with the Lord, God didn't knock on the door to see if I would open it, he didn't ask for permission, he didn't check to see if it was locked, he came through the door.
All of the sudden I had the desire to step up and pastor the church, even though I was still afraid I felt a strength, a confidence, a courage. Didn't make sense to my mind, how could I step up to speak: I didn't have the training, the experience. Thoughts told me that it would never work out, but down in my spirit I felt this boldness saying, "I can do all things through Christ, I am strong in the Lord". If God had waited for me to open the door he'd still be waiting, but God is so good even when we shut the door, even when we think of all the reasons why it won't work out, why we can't step up and run the department, why we can't get well - at the right time God is going to come through that door and thrust you into your destiny.
Like me you may have locked the door because of fear, you feel unqualified, like you don't have the training, the experience or because of mistakes you've made, things haven't worked out. Now you've gone years with that door locked, thinking that it could never happen. Now your time is coming, God wouldn't have given you that opportunity if you were not well able. And the fear may not totally go away, but you're going to feel a new boldness rising up, that's the Most High God breathing in your direction, he's about to take you where you couldn't go on your own. Those doors you locked didn't stop your destiny, he's not going to let fear hold you back, he's not going to let negative words people have spoken over you to keep you locked in. He's not going to let how you were raised, what you didn't get keep you from becoming all you were created to be.
And don't be surprised if doors open that you tried to keep locked. I didn't think I could do this, but God saw something in me that I couldn't see. God sees potential in you, he sees your seeds of greatness that you may not be able to see in yourself, he's going to present you with opportunities that seem way over your head. Don't shrink back, you are well able, he's going to bring divine connections across your path. You thought you'd always be single, you've already shut that door, convinced yourself you'll never meet anyone: God is about to come through that door that you locked and bring somebody better than you ever dreamed.
I think about how many times I lock the door, I didn't think something would work out and God came through my doubt, through my fear, through what I thought was impossible. When we were trying to build a new auditorium, twice the land we found was sold out from under us. The first time it happened, I was sure, that was the enemy taking our property. I kept praying, believing, hoping. Three months later the same thing happened. I could understand it once, but what was the chances of that happening twice? I thought this is not meant to be, let's just stay where we are, I shut the door. Six months later the Compaq Center became available.
God is going to come through doors that you locked. You may think you're too old to accomplish your dreams. Can I tell you? It's still on the way. You think it's too late to start your business - it's still on the way. You think you'll never live in that nice house, last time you tried it didn't work out - it's still on the way. You don't think you'll ever get well, you've learned to live with the sickness, the good news is: healing is headed your way. You may have closed the door, but God doesn't hold that against you, he's about to come through that door and do something better than you're ever imagined.
The Israelites had been in slavery for many years. Moses went to the Pharaoh and told him to let the people go. He wouldn't do it at first, but after many plagues he finally decided to let them leave. Moses led these two million Israelites out of Egypt toward the Promised Land. But Pharaoh suddenly changed his mind, he sent six hundred of his fastest chariots to catch them. Moses could see them way off in the distance. The problem was the Israelites were at a dead end at the Red Sea, they had nowhere to go. I can imagine Moses saying, "God, I don't see any options. We're surrounded by water, the enemy is closing in, I would ask you to open the door, but I don't see a door". God said, "Moses, don't worry, I Am the Door". God is not just a Way Maker - he is The Way, he can create what you need. That's why he's called "The Great I Am. I Am whatever you need. I Am a Door, I Am a Key, I Am a way out".
God told Moses to hold up his rod. When he did, the waters parted, the two million Israelites walked through on dry ground. When the enemy came chasing after them, the waters closed back up, they were all drowned. Some experts try to explain this miracle by saying: the winds at that time of year could have blown the waters back, that's how they walked through, it was a natural occurrence. What they don't realize is God is The Wind. "I Am the Wind to blow back waters when you need it. I Am a Door to take you through what looks impossible".
When an architect is designing a house, they decide where to put the doors: I want a door in the kitchen, I want a door to the garage, I want two doors in this family room. Well, God is the architect of the universe, he decides where the doors are going to go. You may be in a situation where you don't see a way out, like Moses, feels like a dead end in your health, your career, a relationship: it's because the door is not there yet. The good news is: God is not finished, he's already designed your doors, they're already on your plans, it's just a matter of time before that door shows up: suddenly your waters will part, suddenly things will shift in your favor, suddenly the opposition will go away.
When you don't see a way, instead of being discouraged you need to remind yourself: the God we serve is not looking for a door, he's not hoping to find a door, he is the door. No person can stop your destiny, no bad break, no sickness, no opposition. When it's your time, like with the Israelites, God is going to open a door that will thrust you ahead. You're going to look back and think: what I thought was a closed door was really an opportunity for God to show out in my life. I thought it was setting me back, but really it was setting me up to go further than I thought possible. I believe God is about to create some new doors for you, areas where you feel stuck like you've reached your limits, get ready, he's about to make a way where you don't see a way. It's going to be unusual, something you couldn't make happen - that's "The Great I Am". I Am Healing. I Am Breakthroughs. I Am Victory. I Am Favor.
In Acts chapter 12, King Herod had Peter arrested and put in prison. Herod was against the church, he already had James, one of the apostles put to death. It didn't look good for Peter. He was in the deepest part of the prison chained between two guards. Herod went to great lengths to make sure that he didn't get out. Peter was going to be brought to trial the next morning. There was a group of believers gathered at Mary's house, they stayed up all night praying for Peter. They knew this was a serious situation, looked like this closed door could stop his purpose. Herod assigned 16 additional soldiers to watch after Peter, to make sure he didn't escape. But while Peter was sleeping, an angel came and woke him up, said "Peter get dressed, we're going to leave". Herod did everything he could to keep Peter in. What he didn't realize is: he couldn't keep God out.
The Scripture says God is a very present help in times of trouble. When you're in trouble God is right there with you, he comes into the prison, into the hospital, into the times of loss. Well, Peter thought he was dreaming, he stood up and the chains fell off his wrist. The angel didn't have a key, didn't have anything to cut them, they supernaturally came off. None of the other guards heard them. 18 soldiers assigned to watch and nobody noticed. God knows how to make you invisible to the enemy. He won't let you get in a problem that he can't get you out of.
Peter followed the angel through the prison passing other guards, they finally came to the big iron gates that led out to the streets. The scripture says, "The gates opened of their own accord", just like the angel had the remote control. Peter went to Mary's house where everyone was praying, he knocked on the door. A young girl answered, when she saw Peter, she was so amazed, she didn't open the door, she ran back to tell everyone. Verse 15 says, "They said to her 'you're out of your mind'". They thought she was dreaming. Meanwhile, Peter was still out there knocking, "Here I'm, the miracle you're praying about". The next morning, when Herod learned that Peter had escaped he had all those guards put to death.
This closed door should have been the end of Peter, Herod was ready to finish him off, but people don't have the final say. Some of the doors that should stop you, like with Peter, you're going to see them open of their own accord. It wasn't anything you did, you can't take credit for it, what you were up against was bigger, more powerful, but somehow you defeated Goliath, somehow you got the Compaq Center, your dream came to pass. That sickness should have been the end, but the door opened of its own accord, somehow you got well. Or you weren't qualified for that position, seemed like you were stuck in your career, but the door opened of its own accord, the promotion came to you. Or maybe you've tried to break the addiction and haven't been able to, it looks like that's your destiny. No, that door is about to open of its own accord, you're going to discover a power in you, that is greater than your own ability. Or perhaps there are people at work that are against you, they have more seniority, more influence, they should be able to hold you down, but that door is going to open of its own accord.
The scripture says: God opens doors that no person can shut. That means, even if somebody doesn't like you, even if they do their best to do discredit you, like King Herod they may be in charge, they decide whether you get the promotion, the loan, the scholarship - don't worry, they don't have the final say, there are doors God has already ordained for you to open of their own accord. Herod had these 18 soldiers specifically assigned to hold Peter down, but here's the key: you and God are a majority. What God has destined for your life will override anyone or anything trying to stop you.
Bottom line: God is your doorkeeper, not your boss, not your banker, not your neighbor, not your critic - they may shut the door, but God can go through the door. He doesn't have to open it. He may not do it a traditional way, he can go around what's blocking you, he can go over who's trying to stop you, he can move someone out of the way that's trying to hold you back. It says in Psalm 18:29, "You can run through a troop and leap over a wall". Some of the doors that have been closed for you, you think it's been too long, you could never accomplish the dream, never get well, never get married. No, you're about to see those doors open of their own accord, things you never dreamed it could happen.
I talked to a man, he'd worked for this company for many years. He was very faithful, he always did more than required, but his supervisor didn't like him, he gave everyone promotions except this man. He would leave him out of important meetings, trying to discredit him, make him look bad. It looked like this man was stuck, being limited by this unfair supervisor. But one day the owner of the company needed some work done, the supervisor was out of town, so this man worked with the owner for a couple of weeks, gave him the reports that he needed. The owner was so impressed, a few months later he decided to restructure, the staff he called this man, and the supervisor in. He said to the man: from now on I want you to run the company and report directly to me. He turned to the supervisor and said from now on I want you to report to him.
This man went from being left out to be an in charge. What am I saying? People can't lock you out of your purpose, God is the one who opens and closes doors. This man didn't have to struggle, he didn't have to make things happen. You keep honoring God, being your best and the right doors will open for you. Now here's the key: trust God's timing, don't be impatient because the door hasn't opened yet, God knows what he's doing, he's not going to let you miss your destiny. He sees every injustice, he sees every time you're not being treated right, when someone's trying to hold you down. Stay in peace, your time is coming, that closed door can't stop your destiny. Like this man, you're going to see vindication, promotion, doors opening of their own accord.
In the book of 1 Samuel, a young lady named Hannah was very discouraged because she couldn't have a baby. Her husband was married to two wives, this other wife had child after child. Hannah couldn't understand it, but the scripture says: "The Lord closed Hannah's womb". Sometimes we're frustrated over a door that God is closed. We may not like it, it doesn't make sense, but when you understand that God is your door keeper, that he opens and closes doors, not people, not circumstances, then you can live at rest, knowing that at the right time God will open the right doors.
Years passed and Hannah was still barren, she was so discouraged, one day she went to the temple to pray. She said, "God, if you'll give me a baby, I'll give him back to you, I'll let him live in temple". The priest overheard her prayer and said, "Hannah, you can go back home, God has granted your request". A year later, Hannah gave birth to a baby boy, they named him Samuel. Just because a door is shut doesn't mean that it's permanent. You may not have seen what you're believing for yet, doesn't mean that God is not going to do it. Yes, God shuts doors that no person can open, but God also opens doors that no person can shut. And if you'll stay in faith, like Hannah you're going to see that closed door suddenly open. You didn't have to do anything, you don't have to make it happen, manipulate people. The truth is you can't open a door that God is closed. Do your part: pray, believe, then trust God as your door keeper.
Are you frustrated over what's not working out? Discouraged over a dream that hasn't come to pass? If Hannah were here this morning, she would tell you "Be patient, that closed door is not permanent". Peter would tell you, "You don't have to figure it out, it's going to open of its own accord". The disciples would tell you, "It may be locked, but don't worry, God can come through the door, he can do it a supernatural way". Doors may have been closed for you for a long time, seems like it's never going to happen. No, get ready, I believe and declare: the doorkeeper is about to open doors that no man can shut, the right people are coming, problems that look permanent are about to suddenly turn around of their own accord, breakthroughs, promotion, healing, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.