See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Ephesians 5:15-17 NKJV
2019 steps up to the plate with a bat in hand, ready to hit some major home-runs for God’s glory!
Disclaimer: Mixed-metaphors abounding. Read on at your own risk!
I am super-excited about what God plans to do through His Church and individual believers—as well as through the nations—in this New Year.
Lots of surprises and roller coaster rides lay ahead, with unexpected opportunities, plot twists, and sudden answers to prayer.
Why do I believe this?
For the third year in a row, my Word for the Year has been the same.
Only this time, I hear it reverberating in my spirit with greater anthem and import: GO! Go forth!
Wow. That’s a scary thing “because the days are evil.”
Yes, they are—but if we are wise and “understand what the will of the Lord is,” we will fear not.
We’ll embrace the calling in our lives and opportunities before us to cross thresholds through the portals of our full potential.
This word has been singing in my spirit for some time. It was the inspiration for my book, The Gatekeeper’s Key.
In this work, a metaphorical short story and chapters expanding on the story’s themes, the varied keys God gives us in our lives unlock gateways of preparation and purpose if we are willing to take the heavenly risks along the way.
We can do so with confidence—wise and redeeming our time. Fearlessly! Walking circumspectly.
You see, every New Year portends a new season in God working out His purposes in the world and in our lives. We each have a part to play in this.
The prophetic voices in the Body of Christ today agree—we are living through a time of, not just revival, but more importantly, reformation.
This involves a great cleansing and mountain-moving change as God pours out His spirit on all flesh—and nations. Many of the things we’ve long petitioned Him for in our lives, the things He has been preparing us to walk out and into will begin to come to pass.
Watch. Listen. Walk. And Wonder—at the glory and goodness of the Lord to be revealed in those who love Him and His coming.
The Gatekeeper’s Key explores through story, essay, and probing questions, the challenges faced when your moment at bat is upon you.
How will you swing? Will you choose to swing at all—or run back to hide in the dugout.
Discerning the Gatekeepers
There are many kinds of Gatekeepers in the world. They are the masters who guard the doorposts of opportunity. They are the employers interviewing you for a job. Or teachers in a classroom inviting you to open your book to the next chapter and read the lesson.
Mentors recognize your gifts and call you to destiny. They come alongside you to escort you through portals to your potential via relationships built within shared circumstances.
Sometimes they are soldiers keeping watch, so no unworthy individual crosses the threshold of a gateway to valuable things and physical places like a castle, home, bank, village, city, country borders, locked rooms with treasures, and the like.
But sometimes, Gatekeepers block the entrance to intangibles like opportunity, freedom, healing, love, provision, power, knowledge, understanding, skill, desire, and wisdom. They know to whom they may allow an invitation for the privilege of stepping into the next level of a desired objective. All those who would pass must prove their worth.
It may be a token in the slot that one has paid the fare, or paper credentials verifying one’s title, a diploma, or deed of ownership. Perhaps it is a random test to examine the heart or skill-set of an individual to assess readiness for passage through the gate, promotion to the next grade level in school, or job position.
As a writer and artist, I honed my craft over the years seeking Gatekeepers at every turn. Teachers. Mentors. These are those who have gone before me, who have learned the way of maturity and can nurture me to the next level of my strength and calling.
These are the peer professionals who can open doors to provision, to jobs, to the next amazing thing I might write that has the power to transform a life.
They are people I’ve been in relationship with for decades of my life, or mere days only, leaving a deposit of direction, and then, never to connect again.
The mark these masters make on my life transforms me inside and out. I want to follow in their footsteps as the young page to Good King Wenceslas, invited by his lord to learn the way of Christian benevolence.
I love these key verses of the 1853 poem detailing the journey to bring food and firewood to a poor peasant man in winter:
“Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.”
In his master’s steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
John Mason Neale
Gatekeepers can be true heroes or perceived enemies. In my experience, some of the most valuable Gatekeepers God gave me I saw as enemies at first, not heroes like King Wenceslas.
They did not smooth paths for me. Instead, they littered my way with rocks, hills, and mountains that seemed to impede my forward movement.
Sometimes, walled in and imprisoned, the waiting to break forth and grow into greater things tested my endurance and patience to its full measure.
I struggled with despair in the face of unanswered prayer and a pervasive sense of loss. Loss of direction and purpose.
My life wasn’t supposed to work out like this—I thought.
Such places in such times are waiting rooms where we learn to find gain in our losses, are fortified in battle, and steeled stronger for our future. There is a fine line between victim and victory.
Wisdom will not nurse her wounds long, dare she wallow in the mire, stuck in a moment, lose heart in despair, and remove herself from the lineup to be called forth to the plate, at bat.
Harboring bitterness for the trials of the journey will never put the bat in your hand for your chance to hit a home run.
Nor will it allow your ship to cross the waters into deeper seas of opportunity. You won’t grow into greater things tied to the dock, lingering on the bank. A plunge is necessary.
Ultimately, God is the Gatekeeper of our lives, who sets Gatekeepers before us, be they through smooth or stormy oceans of opportunity.
Fear of failure can stifle forward momentum to walk in our greater purpose. Past failures might cause us to shrink back from actively petitioning our Gatekeeper Lord for future success—a formidable prize, often feared as well.
What will you do with God’s invitation to go forth in 2019, walking in that thing you have waited on the Lord to fulfill in your life for so long?
Will you go forth, seize the day, redeem the time, and possess the land before you?
Sometimes we miss the invitation—the opportunity—especially if it comes from an unexpected source—an “unexpected stroke.”
This is a fencing term meaning to cut down an enemy with an unanticipated sword thrust to reveal a champion.
Nineteenth-century author and poet Edward Sill illustrates this well in his classic poem titled, Opportunity:
This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream—
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields.
A prince’s banner
Wavered, then staggered backward,
Hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel—
That blue blade that the king’s son bears—but this
He snapped and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king’s son, wounded sore bested,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down
And saved a great cause that heroic day.
When I am invited to “Go!” by the Gatekeeper of my life, I am invited to seize the opportunities and provisions in God’s house.
He invites me to pass through the gate, crossing the threshold of my portal to potential—the field of my hopes, dreams, and purposes in Him.
Have you heard His invitation to go forth in 2019?
Watch. Listen. Walk, and Wonder—at God’s will for your life . . .
Dragging my feet
Kicking and complaining,
Stumbling through the dark
To the brink of obedience.
I plunge forward
Where the door opens to me
A portal to the impossible
Is all light and possibility.
Crossing the threshold, I arrive
Able, equipped, comprehending.
I can do all things good and beauty
Who strengthens me.
May you be able, equipped, and comprehend all God’s riches and the fulfillment of His purposes in your life on this dawn of 2019—for your joy and His glory.
Learn more about The Gatekeeper’s Key by Kathryn Ross, a powerful meditation on walking in the fullness of God’s purposes for your life.
Journal prompts and a discussion guide at the end of each chapter make this a great pick for your small group or women’s study.
Purchase autographed copies of The Gatekeeper’s Key direct from Miss Kathy at https://pageantwagonpublishing.com/inspirational-christian-living/gatekeepers-key/
Writer-speaker, Kathryn Ross is Pageant Wagon Publishing—igniting God’s Word and biblical principles as a vibrant light of literacy and learning in the life of your Christian family. Inspired by the stillness of birdsong, silent reflection, antiques, and teatime, she filters her love of history, classic literature, and the arts through God’s Word, to inform her words. Her passion to equip women and families in developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle produces readers and thinkers who can engage the world from a biblical worldview. In addition, she mentors authors as a book shepherd, assisting them in the development, editing, design, and production of the book God has called them to write. Miss Kathy blogs and podcasts at www.thewritersreverie.com and www.pageantwagonpublishing.com.