Paul and Silas are visiting the churches established on Paul and Barnabus’ first trip. When they get to Lystra, Paul meets Timothy. Paul sees something remarkable in Timothy who has been taught in the faith by his believing mother. He is highly spoken of by the local brothers and Paul wants Timothy to accompany him and Silas.
While Timothy’s mother is Jewish it is well known his father is Greek. Paul decides this might be a stumbling block for the Jewish people in the area so he has Timothy circumcised. (Sometimes an unnecessary act of humility and sensitivity opens doors to relationships that would have likely remained closed.)
As they travel from town to town, they make the Gentile believers aware of the decisions made by the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem. With this news and the encouragement of Paul and Co. the churches are strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day. (To me, the acceptance of the Jerusalem council’s decision must have also been a great encouragement to those leaders who made it!)
Paul and friends are being led by the Holy Spirit, traveling throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia and hindered from going to the province of Asia. They are also stopped from entering Bithynia so they turn to Troas. It is here Paul has the vision of the Macedonian man begging him to “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Luke records they believe this to be God calling them to preach in that area so they prepare to go right away.
Open doors and closed doors – We like the former – the “yes, go for it” but are often frustrated when we get a “no”. Don’t know if Paul felt that way but if he did, he didn’t spend much time lamenting, he just pressed on in another direction. I have always believed a “no” is as good as a “yes” when it comes to God’s leading. If you think about it, none of us really wants to be somewhere God doesn’t lead us. So, if He closes a door we have been spared wasting time in the wrong place. 🙂
When I find myself kicking the door, picking the lock or searching for an open window, it’s time to take a step back and ask myself who exactly am I following? In those cases I’ve usually become way too attached to my own plans.
Sometimes it’s easier for me to see this in others than in myself – I call it “wheelin’ and dealin’” when a person just refuses to take no for an answer. But you know what they say – “if you can spot it you’ve got it.” Forgive me Lord – now which way did you say?
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
Sheep need a Shepherd’s voice – listen for Him.
About the World?
Help is on the way.