Listening for Direction
As I prepare to read Your Word today, I pray, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:9).
Read Acts 16:6-15
 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.  When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.  So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.  During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.  From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis.  From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.  On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.  One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.  When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow was Paul guided about where and where not to preach?
Paul breaks new ground as they cross into Europe. Luke, in this second journey, tells how Paul still preaches to Jews (13) but has many encounters with Gentiles: the fortune-teller and her owners (16), the jailor (29), ordinary citizens (17:17), philosophers (17:18). Earlier, we saw the Holy Spirit initiating the first mission (13:1-4); here, the Spirit guides in an unexpected way. It made sense to go into the province of Asia, which was wealthy, civilized and possibly “strategically important.” But Paul’s team has to move on (6). They are constrained again (7), and Paul does not preach at Troas until 20:6. Human reasoning has its limits. God has a wider plan, with every right to intervene. He does so, dramatically! Arriving in Philippi, Paul goes (as usual) to find a meeting place (13). Clearly, there were not the ten men needed to establish a synagogue there, so it was simply a “place of prayer” where mostly women met. This group formed the basis of the church in Philippi. These events illustrate common sense, divine intervention, listening for God, and a willingness to go boldly. How closely are you listening and watching for God’s guidance?
How does God guide you? How do you “listen” for his guidance? What guidance do you need from God now?
Pray for yourself and any Christians who are listening and waiting for God’s leading in their life and mission.
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