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Miracles Out of Obedience


6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. - Act 16:6-10 NKJV

 

After reading these scriptures and the ones that followed, I wondered what would have happened if Paul and Silas had ignored the Holy Spirit’s direction and gone on to Asia to preach the gospel. God knew why He didn’t allow these men to preach in Asia, and they were quick to listen and continue to seek the Lord’s direction. How many times do we get a no from God but go anyway? Or do we hear no for an answer but stop asking for the yes?


Obedience brings the manifestation of the kingdom of God to earth because the kingdom is in you if you are a believer in Christ. You are called to preach the gospel, lay hands on the sick, cast out demons, disciple people, baptize them, and you can speak in new tongues and prophecy! The life lived in Christ is full of all these amazing and mighty things, yet we seldom see them demonstrated in our churches.


Paul was forbidden to go to Asia or Bithynia. We do not have a reason other than he was supposed to go to Macedonia. Perhaps the window of opportunity for Paul and Silas to minister to certain people there would have been closed if they had stopped in the other cities.

 

13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met [there]. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard [us]. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged [us], saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. - Act 16:13-15 NKJV

 

Lydia was a powerful woman who worshiped God. She had a business in the town where Paul found her and had influence. The Lord had prepared her for the gospel by opening her heart to consider and agree with the word. She was already a worshiper, so her heart would have been ripe for the Lord to manifest His presence. Because of this timely encounter, this woman and her entire family were saved! The outcome would have been different if these men had done their own thing.


Recently, I took a few weeks off from teaching public classes to train a group of people privately so they could participate in our deliverance and healing classes. One of the concerns of shutting down classes is losing momentum and starting over. Someone had mentioned the concern of losing offerings. However, I have never considered ministry as a financial gain, so that was quickly tossed to God. I knew that if God called me to do things this way, He would make provision for it to happen, and it would honor Him.


I believe doing things God’s way often looks different and sometimes even wrong. However, whenever we trust Him, we are always blessed in the end. He will always see us through.


As the men went to prayer, they met a certain slave girl that made a lot of money for her masters (vs. 16-17). This woman followed them around, annoying Paul with her words until he discerned that she was demon-possessed. He cast the spirit out of her, and he and Silas were accused with trumped-up charges and thrown in prison and chains.

 

25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” - Act 16:25-30 NKJV


The story sounds awful, and for these men, it was not pleasant, but their faith took them through, and the outcome was miraculous. The question, “what must I do to be saved?” is every evangelist’s dream! They did not allow their situation to steal their praise, and God honored their faithfulness. Paul could have run for safety when he saw the broken chains and doors open. Instead, he and his companion stayed the course to see what God would bring out of this. In the end, the jailer and his entire family were saved and baptized!


The Apostle Paul was known to stir up a hornet’s nest (or vipers) whenever he entered a city that needed deliverance. Jesus did the same thing when He entered the Gadarenes and delivered the lunatic from a legion of demons. At first, the people were afraid and wanted Jesus to leave their town, but when He returned to that region, there were thousands of followers awaiting Him.


Jesus and His disciples had to face a ferocious storm on their journey to the Gadarenes, but when the disciples became fearful, Jesus silenced the storm. Whenever we choose faith over fear, we choose the side of victory. I believe God has a truly victorious life for us, but in our perspective, we cannot always see the trials as part of the victory.


When Paul and Silas were released from that prison, they returned to the first person they met; her name was Lydia. She took them in likely, fed them, and helped them refresh for their next mission. While there, we see that Paul encouraged the brethren at Lydia’s house. Many things happened on Paul’s journey to Macedonia because he was obedient. Many were saved, and the first house church in Macedonia was started.


We must discern the voice of God through the Holy Spirit. Sometimes God will forbid us to do something even when we think it is a good thing to do. In our obedience, there will be a better something awaiting.


Let’s pray,

Heavenly Father, thank You for allowing me to hear the voice of Your Spirit. I choose obedience even when it might not make much sense. Help me to remain steadfast and faithful to Your kingdom and release my desire to build mine. Remind me that You are working Your purposes in me to do Your will. Help me know when I yield, I will see exceedingly abundantly powerful works in my life that I could never imagine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.




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