When God says “No!” Part 3-Yes to Lydia

Acts 16:11-15

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The title of “When God says No!” is perhaps not a very catchy or appealing title  but actually when God is saying, “No” to one thing, He’s saying, “Yes” to something else. God’s  “No” to Bithynia at this time became a  “Yes” to Lydia and Philippi.

Timing is crucial.If Paul had tarried in Bithynia he may have missed the meeting with Lydia in Philippi. This meeting was a divine appointment. The Bible says that Lydia was a worshipper of God. God had been preparing her heart to receive Paul’s message.

God prepares us for a people and a people for us. We just need to trust His direction.

Lydia was a seller of purple. She was a well to do agent of a purple dye company from Thyatira. Purple cloth was extremely expensive – it was a symbol of status and wealth. The dye for purple was made from a juice found in minute quantities in shellfish. It took thousands of crustaceans to make a yard or two of purple cloth. So, to sell this cloth Lydia will have been mixing with very rich and influential people.

Lydia is believed to be the first European convert and the Orthodox churches have given her the title of, “Equal to the Apostles”  which signifies her importance and level of holiness.

The Lord opened Lydia’s heart and her and her household got baptized. Then she invited Paul to stay at her house. Later, when Paul had gone to jail and been released (Acts 16:30) he, along with Silas,  headed straight for Lydia’s house.

So after the  “No!” he received from God, Paul met this wonderful lady, Lydia, whose heart was responsive and open to the gospel  who became a big part of the Church at Philippi – a Church that was a constant source of supply for Paul – financially and spiritually. This connection was extremely significant

God’s  “No!” to Bithynia became a “Yes” to Philippi!

This happened because Paul listened to and obeyed the Holy Spirit

God has a plan for you. Don’t be discouraged if you sense a roadblock. God has a greater purpose.

God has good plans for you – to give you a future and a hope.

 

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God’s thoughts are not our thoughts

DSC_0092.JPGIsaiah 55: 6-9 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God , For He will abundantly pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

There are things in this life that in our humanity, we simply cannot understand. If we were God, perhaps we would do things differently. But God does not see life from our finite perspective – He sees the whole of eternity – stretching out from before we were created to beyond our earthly existence. In Revelation 22:13 Jesus said , “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last”.

Can I just point out , from Isaiah 55 that it talks about the unrighteous man returning to the Lord – not coming to Him for the first time. This was, perhaps, not someone who had never known the Lord. Sometimes in our walk with God, things happen and we can become weary and frustrated and we can step out of fellowship with God. If you are that person, God is asking you today  to return to Him and he will have mercy on you.

God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. How much distance is there between the heavens and the earth? It’s immeasurable. Our thoughts and God’s thoughts are simply poles apart.

What can we do about this? We have to seek the Lord. We can’t expect God to fit into our narrow way of thinking. We have to align ourselves with God’s way of thinking. God loves us so much and He is willing to be found by us; He is still near; He is available and He is willing to speak to us.

There are many things in life we cannot understand – but we must trust the thoughts and the intentions of God for our lives and those around us.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” these are the thoughts of God towards you. He loves you. He wants to give you hope today.

Jeremiah 29: 12 says, ” Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Psalm 61:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”

Seek the Lord with all of your heart today. Bring your disappointments, your heartache, your grief and your frustration to your Maker. He will help you.