Guidance; August 27, 2018

Acts 16:7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.

It is fascinating and very instructive that we here have a clear case of negative guidance. We tend to think of, and desire, guidance as something positive, saying, “Do this.” However, sometime God is all about “Don’t do that.” We know from the following verses that God was intending for them to cross over into Europe for the first time, which was a momentous occasion, but they couldn’t see it from their perspective. Closed doors can be as important as open ones! We have no indication exactly how the Holy Spirit kept them from preaching in Asia, (verse 6) or would not allow them to enter Bithynia, but we have all, I think, experienced God keeping us from things that were not in His plan. The point is not to be anxious, but go with the flow of the Holy Spirit. It’s not that we aren’t to make plans or work toward goals, but it is very much that we are to allow God to clarify our vision of what those plans need to be, what those goals are. Paul was very much a “Type A” personality, and this probably wasn’t an easy lesson for him to learn. God had to use some pretty strong methods to get his attention, knocking him off of his horse on the way to Damascus (Acts 9) and having him arrested in Jerusalem ant taken as a prisoner to Rome. (Acts 21 and following) He had wanted to go to Rome, (Romans 1:11-15) but not that way! However, had he not been a prisoner in Rome, he would probably not have written several of the letters that are now part of the New Testament. Like Paul, we need to accept that God always has the best idea. Sometimes He communicates that to us ahead of time, but more often not, so we are to walk in obedient trust.

I have no grounds whatsoever to look down on Paul. God has used all sorts of things to guide me, even my own mistakes and even sins, and He has been absolutely faithful. I seem to have far less drive than Paul did, so some of the things God has done have been simply to get me off my butt. It’s hard to steer a car that isn’t moving! I face decisions all the time, some of which I don’t even recognize as decisions, so I’ve got to maintain an attitude of humble obedience. He has told me to rest, relax, and rejoice, but sometimes I have trouble doing that. The current album project is a case in point. Yesterday’s recording session had various good things about it, but some things that concerned me. It remains to be seen whether the recording that was made will be worth using, but I need to praise God for the evangelism/witnessing we were able to do. God is going to bring that album project to glorious fruition, but I’ve got to let Him do it in His way for His glory.

Father, thank You for all that Yesterday held, and not just the recording session. Thank You that the newly-baptized brother left his Bible here after the service, but quickly realized it and will be coming today to get it, so I will have some private coaching time with him. Thank You for all the other things You have planned for today. May we recognize Your plans and follow them with joy, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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