Saturday, 31 October 2015

Divine Appointment

Scripture: Acts 16v 6 - 40.
Verse 16-17: "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us.........the same followed Paul and us, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation."

Whenever you are in serious and effective ministry for the Lord Jesus it will not be long before strong spiritual opposition confronts you. In Acts 16 it started with Paul asking the Lord if he should take to gospel into Asia. The Holy Spirit refused them permission. "I forbid!"

Then Paul had a vision calling him to preach in Macedonia. The Lord had prepared a place where there was a great need. The Lord also prepared a place for the apostles to stay.   Then they were met by the woman who was possessed by a psychic demon, or spirit of divination, and her pronouncements concerning the ministry actually undermined it. It does not recommend a ministry if the enemy is cheering it on!

Paul prayed deeply for many months to bind the spirit of divination or fortune telling in this woman. It had a very strong hold on her. She was possessed by it rather than oppressed, which is much easier to deal with.  One day Jesus said NOW! The stronghold was broken and the spirit departed as soon as Paul rebuked it.  She lost her powers immediately and those who used her to earn money were furious. 

The attack escalated when Paul and Silas were thrown in prison by them. In the deepest dungeon they praised God with Psalms and hymns, and He caused an earthquake to conveniently open the prison doors, releasing every prisoner.

This miracle (including that none of the prisoners ran away) caused the jailor and his family to be saved and baptized at midnight. By this time the whole city knew about Jesus!

The fortune teller woman was set free and God was glorified. Paul and Silas were brought before the magistrate who told them to leave that city. When they left the name of Jesus Christ was widely known.

The Holy Spirit had led them to a place which was prepared so that God's power and authority through the name of Jesus Christ could be displayed through His care for the wellbeing of the apostles; His desire to set the possessed woman free; His power over nature - sending an earthquake; His desire to save the soul of the jailor and his family. All these Godly acts left a strong impression on this city and all Paul's teachings would be remembered and a strong ministry established in the city.

When the Lord wants to start something He directs every stage of the operation. All we need do is follow Him and do what He tells us. When we try to add our clever schemes to His divine plan, that's when problems arise and when our programs flop we blame God for not blessing it. God only blesses what He initiates according to His own perfect will. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father how wondrous You are. There are many like this woman who need spiritual help and prayer. Teach us to pray like Paul did to reach the lost, the bound, the addicted and the broken people. Teach us to wait upon You to initiate plans. WAIT means Wisdom, Anointing, Instruction, Timing. In Jesus' name. Amen.