Today’s Passages – Acts 14 – 16; Proverbs 20
(Second Milers also read – Psalms 96 – 100)
“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” – (Acts 16:6-9)
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” – (Acts 16:14)
“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” – (Acts 16:31)
In Acts chapter 16, Paul was on his second missionary journey, along with his partner, Silas. The plan was for them to go back to some of the churches that Paul had visited on the first journey with Barnabas. They were able to go to back to some of the cities that he had been to before, and were about to embark on some new, uncharted spiritual territory. They wanted to preach the gospel in some of the cities of Asia Minor, but the Spirit of God said “no”. They also attempted to go into Bythinia, but again they were somehow hindered by the Holy Ghost. However, in the city of Troas, Paul received a vision which revealed to him just where God wanted him to go. In this vision he saw “a man of Macedonia” that was asking for Paul’s help. Now Macedonia is farther geographically than Paul had ever been, but he listened to the voice of God and travelled across the Aegean Sea into the region of Macedonia, specifically into the city of Philippi. It was in this city that they were able to lead Lydia first to the Lord, and then finally, after some difficult circumstances, they were able to get the gospel to the Philippian jailor and his family. I believe that this jailor was the man that Paul saw in his vision.
As I was reading this passage, I wondered what would have happened had Paul and Silas tried to stubbornly stick to their original agenda rather than listening to the voice of God. I am sure that Paul had a well thought out plan that he had prayed over, and was in the process of implementing it when the Spirit of God intervened. And how did the Holy Ghost stop them from going to their intended destinations, anyway? I can’t be sure, but I bet that as Paul and Silas attempted to go and preach at these places, they probably were confronted with “closed doors”. Has God ever closed the door on your plans. I remember a time when my wife and I thought it was the will of God to bypass Bible College in order to move to another city in order to serve as a youth pastor. It felt like the right thing to do, but God shut the door tightly on that plan. Guess where we ended up going? You guessed it – to Bible college, because that is where the Holy Ghost wanted us.
It is my desire to be sensitive – in tune – with the Holy Ghost of God. I want to be listening to his voice. I know that if He can get past all of the distractions and clamour that are normally filling my world, He can get through to me. I just need to pull myself away from the world, and get alone with Him and His Word. He will guide and direct me according to His will. I also know that He will let me do “my thing” if I choose to, but my way will lead to spiritual barrenness. His way points to Lydia, and the jailor; and many others who will cry out to me, “[Sir], What must I do to be saved?”.
“Lord, help me to set aside my own agenda; and help me to listen for your voice as you reveal your wonderful plan for my life and ministry.”
Posted in Thoughts from Acts by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.