Full Speed Ahead
Loving Lord, this day grant me strength in my duties, guidance in my perplexities and peace in my turmoil.
Read ACTS 16:6–15
6 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. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 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.
Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi
11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
13 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. 14 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. 15 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Teach me Your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path” (Psa. 27:11). We need God’s help every day to keep us in step with his Spirit.
This passage tells how the Gospel came to Europe. In fact, no such entity as Europe existed then and probably those returning from Jerusalem at Pentecost preceded the missionaries. What stands out is the uncertainty Paul’s team experienced in finding God’s guidance. The options they pursued made reasonable sense but were not the way God wanted them to go. God’s guidance is not always immediate or clear, nor should closed doors be seen as a sign of something being against the will of God. Whether it was illness, a word from God or something else, they found themselves being led into unknown territory. They were neither to return to familiar territory nor to Paul’s home ground but to open up the heart of the Roman Empire.
They kept going forward until they found themselves on the Mediterranean shore. Two things happened. First there was the vision and the voice. Then (by the beginning of the use of “we”; 10), there was the addition of Luke. He would be a key person in caring for Paul and writing down the story for future generations. Without hesitation, the rest trusted Paul’s vision and set off. They found themselves 12 miles inland at the city of Philippi. Without the vision it would have been easy to have wondered if they had gotten it right. There was no synagogue (which needed ten male Jews)—so where should they start? If it seemed a bit of a comedown to minister to a women’s prayer group by the river, they soon discovered that God was with them.
Lydia was a successful businesswoman, an Asian proselyte, who wanted to learn more about God. God opened her heart, she opened her home and a base was established for the work of the apostles. It was as simple as that.
What do you when you don’t know which way to turn? How has God revealed his will to you in the past?
Lord, I need Your wisdom as I ponder decisions I need to make. I do need guidance in my perplexities. Grant me Your wisdom in my decision making.
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