Acts 16:11-15

In the passage above we read about the conversion of a lady named Lydia in the city of Philippi. This is great just in itself but then as you dig deeper and look at the timing and direction of the Lord’s plan that leads Paul & his companions to this lady, it is quite spectacular.

Let’s set this up with some background.

Lydia was from the district of Lydia in a town called Thyatira. Over 200 miles from where she meets Paul. The town where she had come from was known for their dyeing works (especially royal purple). With that, we can understand where she got her skills and why she was a businesswoman who dealt with purle cloth.

It is likely that she moved to Philippi because this was a leading city in Macedonia. She probably did well there with her business. Within the city of Philippi, there were very few Jews. So few in fact, that they had no synagogue (ten married men were required). Because of this, those who believed in and worshiped God met outside the city along the banks of the Gangites River.

Now let’s look at Paul’s journey to Philippi. Before he gets there, he and his companions traveled around Asia and Mysia. They attempted to enter Bithynia but the it says “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to”. Which by the way would have been the opposite direction of where they meet Lydia. They end up in a city called Troas which is across the Aegean Sea from Philippi. Here Paul is given a vision of a Macedonian man standing and begging “Come over to Macedonia and help us”. So Paul and his group travel to Samothrace, from there to Neapolis and then finally reach Philippi.

During their time within the city they began to look for a place of prayer. They were led to the banks of the Gangites River and began to speak to some of the ladies that had gathered there.  Paul shares the Gospel with them and this is when it says, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message”.

God orchestrated all of that to make sure that Lydia, along with the other people there with her, heard the Gospel! The same thing happens in our lives. God sets up things and changes plans in order to make sure we are in the right place at the right time to hear and experience the Gospel.

May we take advantage of the opportunities we are given to share Jesus with those around us.

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