Scripture text for Thursday, April 22nd, 2010: Acts 16:1-20:38
This passage is packed with meaningful application. Of course it is, it’s four chapters long! Remind me next time to check the passage length before I agree to write a devotional. There are a couple of specific things worth highlighting.
While it is easy to gloss over these chapters and get lost in the strange sounding cities and the strange sounding men being raised from the dead (Did you catch that one? Acts 20:7-11), we should all wake up and pay attention! This is our history! Reading the Old Testament a few months ago made me long for a rich heritage, story after story of the beginnings of a people, God’s people.
In these chapters, we are witnessing the early church spring to life. This is our heritage! We should be fascinated to watch Paul and Silas, and Luke (the author) spread the gospel to Macedonia, Athens, Corinth, etc. We can trace our faith back to this point in history. This part is ours! We are the Gentiles. Praise God that He made a place for us!
The other noteworthy section happened way back in the beginning of the passage, Acts 16: 6-8.
“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.”
Often times as individuals and as a church body, we make plans. Our plans are well-intentioned, and even scripturally sound. The only problem is, as we progress with these plans, it becomes increasingly obvious that the Holy Spirit is not going ahead of us, or moving in our direction at all.
What do we do when we experience this? Do we press on with our own plans, hoping God will bless them anyway? Or do we humble ourselves and allow the Spirit to turn us in a new direction, and trust He will work it out for his own glory? Sometimes that is terrifying, and humiliating, as we might have to admit we made a terrible mistake.
I know I have been guilty of pressing on.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21
Let’s pray that we will be willing and emboldened to follow the Holy Spirit wherever he leads us, even if it requires an about face.
p.s. We are almost finished with the E100 readings. Haven’t they been great! I will admit in the past few weeks I have struggled to keep up. But let’s rally together and finish with gusto! We can do it!
Devotion prepared by Megan Mills