Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 1, 2020
Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. Acts 16:6-10, NLT
Sometimes the Spirit stops me in my tracks—I am moving in one direction and He redirects me toward another, even better direction. The Holy Spirit prevents me to protect me from myself. I’m easily excited, I like to be on the move helping others, but my helping hurts when someone is not ready or willing to receive help. I almost made this mistake with a friend who has two big, threatening trees looming over her house. I couldn’t wait for her to meet a tree professional I know who needs the work, but my wife Rita (the Spirit in a skirt, ha!) reminded me to slow down and see if our friend wanted help. Is this her idea? Is the timing right? Can she afford the cost? I was prevented by the Spirit through my wife. Wisdom pays attention to God’s prevention.
When we first moved to Atlanta many years ago our church had a partnership with a ministry in Macedonia teaching English to the students using the Bible as our curriculum. Communism had fallen and people were hungry for God. Over the course of three trips the Lord accomplished a beautiful work by preparing people to receive the love and truth of His people. The story resembles that of Paul and Silas who were on the move, but redirected twice by the Spirit who then guided them to Macedonia and the city of Philippi, Roman occupied and named after Alexander the Great’s father, Phillip. Prevented by the Spirit, they proceeded to a new place with people open to God.
“One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed” (Acts 16:14-15).
Do you feel like you are being held back for no good reason? Are you ready to serve, work or go, but no doors seem to be open for now? If so, pray a humble prayer in your heart, “Lord show me where you want me, direct me by your Spirit to those ready for your love”. Once you pray, pay close attention to what God is doing around you. Keep moving in one direction until the Spirit redirects you in another direction—the Holy Spirit directs a moving object, so do not stand still. Make the phone call. Send the email. Book the trip. Follow up. God will lead you in His will.
Remember not to get frustrated if your sincere efforts are not received or appreciated. A forced faith is a fake faith, so take a break and focus on someone with a teachable, humble heart. Focus on the one who really wants to grow and let go of the one who is not ready. Everything is in the Lord’s timing. Life is short, so make the most of your time by spending time with those who want to grow in grace. When the Spirit prevents you from helping one—He will redirect you to another. Take someone with you, so she can learn from you and you can learn from her. Jesus sent the disciples out in twos to protect one another. Prevented by the Spirit means led by the Spirit.
“For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19).
Heavenly Father, lead me by your Spirit to pause and pivot according to your will, in Jesus’ name, amen.
How do I need to redirect my plans and trust the Lord with the outcome?
Here is a helpful resource during these days of grief, sorrow and uncertainty: A Little Book of Comfort
Keep moving in one direction until the Spirit redirects you in another direction—the Holy Spirit directs a moving object. #WisdomHunters #Spiritled #truth #Jesus
5 minute video: Audrey Assad:
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