The Holy Spirit accomplishes amazing things when you align your life with Him.
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Acts 16 (ESV)
1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra.
A disciple was there,
of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.
3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him,
and he took him and circumcised him
because of the Jews who were in those places,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
4 As they went on their way through the cities,
they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem.
5 So the churches
were strengthened in the faith,
and they increased in numbers daily.
6 And they went
through the region of Phrygia and Galatia,
having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
7 And when they had come up to Mysia,
they attempted to go into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.
9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night:
a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
10 And when Paul had seen the vision,
immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia,
concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 So, setting sail from Troas,
we made a direct voyage to Samothrace,
and the following day to Neapolis,
12 and from there to Philippi,
which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia
and a Roman colony.
We remained in this city some days.
13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate
to the riverside,
where we supposed there was a place of prayer,
and we sat down
and spoke to the women who had come together.
14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia,
from the city of Thyatira,
a seller of purple goods,
who was a worshiper of God.
The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
15 And after she was baptized,
and her household as well,
she urged us, saying,
“If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord,
come to my house and stay.”
And she prevailed upon us.
16 As we were going to the place of prayer,
we were met by a slave girl
who had a spirit of divination
and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling.
17 She followed Paul and us, crying out,
are servants of the Most High God,
who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”
18 And this she kept doing for many days.
Paul, having become greatly annoyed,
turned and said to the spirit,
“I command you in the name of Jesus Christ
to come out of her.”
And it came out that very hour.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone,
they seized Paul and Silas
and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.
20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said,
“These men are Jews,
and they are disturbing our city.
21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in attacking them,
and the magistrates tore the garments off them
and gave orders to beat them with rods.
23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them,
they threw them into prison,
ordering the jailer to keep them safely.
24 Having received this order,
he put them into the inner prison
and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas
and singing hymns to God,
and the prisoners were listening to them,
26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake,
so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And
all the doors were opened,
and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.
27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice,
“Do not harm yourself,
for we are all here.”
29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in,
and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.
30 Then he brought them out and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 And they said,
“Believe in the Lord Jesus,
and you will be saved,
you and your household.”
32 And they spoke the word of the Lord
and to all who were in his house.
he took them the same hour of the night
and washed their wounds;
he was baptized at once,
he and all his family.
he brought them up into his house
and set food before them.
along with his entire household
that he had believed in God.
35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying,
“Let those men go.”
36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying,
“The magistrates have sent to let you go.
come out now
and go in peace.”
37 But Paul said to them,
“They have beaten us publicly,
uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens,
and have thrown us into prison;
and do they now throw us out secretly?
No! Let them come themselves and take us out.”
38 The police reported these words to the magistrates,
and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens.
39 So they came and apologized to them.
And they took them out and asked them to leave the city.
40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia.
And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.
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Acts 16 Summary
Paul is on his second missionary journey now, and along with Silas he takes on a new partner: a young Christian named Timothy. As they travel, some doors are opened to them while others remain closed. Ultimately they're led to Macedonia's flagship city of Philippi.
Once again, Paul's pattern is to find the place people are worshipping God, be it the local synagogue or in this case, a quiet spot by the river. This time, they meet a businesswoman named Lydia, who has her heart opened by the Lord to pay attention to what was said by Paul. Notice again the power of the preached Word when it's blessed by the Spirit.
Their next encounter doesn't go as smoothly, resulting in a savage beating and imprisonment. After another miraculous escape, the jailer is so overwhelmed that he and his entire family believe and are baptized.
After informing their former captors that Paul & Silas are actually Roman citizens, they're gently led out of town by officials who could get into serious trouble for what they inflicted on them.
Paul & Silas get roadblocked twice by the Holy Spirit in this journey before they're sent to Macedonia after having a vision. Certainly this vision was a supernatural occurrence, but Luke doesn't record how it was that the Spirit twice re-routed the team. Perhaps it was in a supernatural way that they heard the voice of God, but it doesn't necessarily have to have been so.
As you are fed and equipped regularly by God's Word, you can pick up on intuitions, situations and even feelings that others can't. This is why it's especially important for you to pray often that you're life is aligned with God's will.
God likely won't communicate with you supernaturally (there's no need to when you have His complete Word!), but you can expect solid direction from Him when you do the solid work of aligning yourself with Him through study and prayer.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father is the 'Most High God' (v17 - isn't it amazing to be quoting a demon as you open your prayer!)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that the Spirit will open your heart, as He did with Lydia and the jailer, so that you will be confidently led by His Word in a way aligned with God's will.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: