Timing & Listening

  1. Message: In Acts 16Paul was carrying on the task of delivering letters to the churches. He had Timothy with him and it seems ironic, but he was delivering letters letting the churches know that they do not have to be circumcised in order to be saved, but since Timothy’s father was Greek, he went ahead and circumcised Timothy. This was not for Timothy’s sake, it was for the sake of the people. He wanted them to listen to Timothy and not get distracted by knowing he as uncircumcised. As they moved on travelling there were several places where the Holy Spirit did not allow them to go or to speak. They seemed to be blocked from lots of places until Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia asking for help. They travelled there and found women and a woman named Lydia was saved. From there he delivered a slave girl from a demonic slave and this upset the town because it upset their ability to gain from her oppression. They were illegally beaten and thrown into jail for this. What I really got out of this is that Paul was following the direction of the Holy Spirit and not his feelings, or even the events happening. He didn’t try to force things that were not in the right timing, and when he was punished he didn’t see it as failure.
  2. Command: Listen to the Holy Spirit and not what feelings or events say.
  3. Promise: God will put us where he wants us if we listen, and he will care for us through the upheaval it causes.
  4. Warning: Our obedience will often cause a reaction that feels like punishment because you can’t disrupt the plans of darkness without upsetting those who are exploiting.
  5. Application: As I read this I realized how important timing is. There were a lot of places Paul was not able to go. This was not forever. Just for that time. We don’t know the reasons but it almost gave me comfort knowing even Paul had times where it seemed things weren’t happening. He followed the Holy Spirit and not his own ideas or emotions and because of this, Lydia was saved and a slave girl was delivered. This doesn’t seem like a big impact until you read on and see how much that deliverance upset the city. Men were making a lot of money off of that girl’s demonic oppression and when she was delivered it changed all of that. This was very important and was just the start.

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