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July 29, 2011 – Acts 16

Click here to read Acts 16 on BibleGateway.com

It’s often good practice to try to look at things from a different point of view. For instance, from one perspective, you could argue that this devotional hasn’t been updated in many moons. However, from a different point of view, it’s not quite as long as you might think. It might not seem like it, but a couple months is actually quite a bit shorter than eternity. Not by much, but still. Additionally, the average large sea turtle clears a century quite easily, and if I remember my 7th grade biology, most turtles are notoriously slow readers, so the turtles probably think we’re moving along at a nice clip. And if the turtles are happy, I think we can all agree that the world is a better place.


Today’s passage is probably familiar to most of you, but we’re going to look at it a little differently today; a different perspective, if you will (notice the clever segue from the first paragraph. You’re welcome.) In Acts 16, Paul has it in his head to visit Asia (Turkey to you and me), but for some reason, he is restrained by the Holy Spirit (or the Spirit of Jesus). Shortly thereafter he gets a vision of man in Macedonia, and crosses on over to Greece and goes on his merry way.

Now, typically, we read this passage and think “obviously God wanted Paul to go Greece (Macedonia) instead of Asia. Good for him.” However, this leads to an obvious question: why doesn’t God want Paul to go to Asia? Doesn’t he know that if Paul preaches there, people will get saved? Does God not like the people in Asia? Why would he pull Paul away when he clearly wants to go?


However, let’s jump ahead a couple chapters (yes, we said we would only do one chapter a day, but don’t worry, I checked with management and they said it was ok.) In Acts 19, we read that Paul spends two years teaching at a school in Ephesus and “all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.” In other words, instead of sending one Paul, God sent a whole army of Pauls from this school, reaching Asia far more quickly and efficiently than if Paul alone was there.

So we must ask ourselves: is it possible God knows what he’s doing? Sometimes we see an open ministry right in front of us, and we think “clearly God wants me to do/go/be this; look how many people will get saved if I do.” But God may be asking us to be a teacher instead of the evangelist; he may be asking us to be a sender instead of a goer; he may be asking to sit at the back instead of stand on the platform. Maybe by following God’s leading, His purposes will be done anyway, even if they aren’t done in the way we would like.

Are you ready to be used however God wants, even if it means staying right where you are?

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