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Posts Tagged ‘God-incidence’

Verses 37-40: “For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. Therefore, if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a case against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly. For we are in danger of being called in question for today’s uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering.””

I heard the story told of an elderly Christian woman who lived alone. She didn’t have much money; she lived humbly. Every day she would go out on her front porch and thank God for what she had, thank Him for His provision, and give her prayer requests to Him. This annoyed her next-door neighbor, an atheist, who always vocally jeered her prayers and her faith. One day, the atheist sought to “teach a lesson” to the old Christian lady. He overheard her asking God for food to eat for the week, so the atheist went to the grocery store, bought 2 big sacks’ worth of groceries, hurried home, and placed them at her front door on the porch. Then he hid in the bushes and waited. Sure enough, when she opened the door and saw the groceries, she raised her hands and thanked God. Jumping out from his hiding place, he shouted, “Aha, old woman! Your God didn’t provide those groceries; I bought them myself and delivered them. What do you say to that?” Once the old woman realized what the atheist had said, she smiled, raised her hands to Heaven and said, “Thank you Lord! Not only did you provide me the groceries, you had the devil deliver them to me, as well!”

God is in control. The city clerk of Ephesus, probably a high-ranking official in the city, finally calmed down the crowd. He matter-of-factly informed them that Paul and his fellow Christians had broken no laws; if they had, take them to court! That’s what the courts and proconsuls do! He further warned the crowd that if they wanted to pursue any charges or inquiry against Paul, do so in the legal assembly. Why? Because the near-riot was sure to attract the attention of the Roman Empire for violating Roman law! (And the city of Ephesus didn’t want that kind of attention!) At which point, everyone went home.

Two things jump out at me here; the city clerk probably wasn’t defending Paul and the Christians; he just wanted civil order to be restored. Also, it proves again that God can work for good in all situations. The unlikely hero here was an administrative official. The world might say, “coincidence”. I like to say “God-incidence”!

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verse 9: “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.””

I had a good friend who was a pastor of a local Baptist church. This pastor was invited by another church, out of state, to come be their pastor. My good friend, who was a true man of God, prayed about it, and he asked me and several others to pray for him as well, for he wasn’t certain which way God was leading him. I told him I would pray for him. On the day that he and his wife were to travel and meet with this other church, I managed to get him a letter I had composed; I wanted him to read this letter on the road. In the letter, I told my friend how much I appreciated him as a pastor and as my friend. I also encouraged him that, no matter which way God led, he needed to follow the Lord’s will for his life. I knew my friend wanted to be in God’s will above all else. I told him I wouldn’t pray for him to be out of God’s will, but to know His will, beyond all matter of doubt. To end the letter, however, I did ask my good friend what side of the road he wanted me to put the “burning bushes” on, so he would take that as a sign to stay! Now, I meant that humorously, and I knew my pastor friend would take it humorously as well…the “burning bush” being the sign that God showed Moses, to demonstrate His power and His authority, and so that Moses would know it was indeed the Lord talking to him.

Paul and Silas were in the midst of the second missionary journey. They had intended to go to certain areas, but as the Scripture passage records, the Holy Spirit prevented them from going to certain areas. Then Paul has a vision of a man from Macedonia imploring him to come there. Again, it is God guiding Paul, directing his paths, keeping him from going certain ways and supernaturally guiding him to where He wanted him. Paul was sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading: the Bible doesn’t say how the Spirit prevented him…maybe it was another vision, maybe it was what we might call a circumstance that was God-ordained to detour Paul (I’ve heard those called “God-incidences”). Whatever form they took, Paul knew that God was giving him the signs of where He wanted him.

Like I kidded with my friend above, you need to be on the lookout for the signs God puts in your path to guide you. It might not be signs during a physical journey, but a direction in your spiritual path that God wants you to take heed of. We “follow the map” through prayer, through Bible study, and through seeking God’s direction daily in our lives. If you do these things, it becomes easy for God to send us those signs. We won’t be like the poor clueless folks in Bill Engvall’s comedy routine, “Here’s your sign!”

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Psalms 18:35 “You give me your shield of victory, O Lord, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.”

My NIV Ryrie Bible also has the following translation of the same verse:

“Thou has also given me the shield of Thy salvation, And Thy right hand upholds me; And Thy gentleness makes me great.”

I found this first translation on a card; the flip side of the card had the prayer of Jabez on it (1 Chronicles 4:10). I think I got this card from a Bible study or Sunday School class at church. The interesting thing about this card was when it turned up. During the New Year’s holiday weekend, I determined to clean up my computer desk area (which had become a magnet for all sorts of paper, notebooks, computer media, etc.) It was amazing; as I re-filed or simply threw away stuff, I began to see more of the desk and less of the clutter. But among all those papers was this card. When I read “shield of victory” in the verse, and knowing I was about to next address the shield of faith in this armor of God series, I smiled.

You see, I learned a word a long time ago that I like. This was not a “coincidence”; this was a “God-incidence”. God works in mysterious ways…sometimes leaving a verse for you and me to remember and to go over.

God has given us His shield of victory; He has given us his shield of salvation….I can think of no better way to state it than by the words of the hymn “O victory in Jesus, my Savior forever”? I would not want to do without His protection or His provision at any time.

Have a blessed day in Him!

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