9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
24 A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
God isn't responsible for our sinful actions, but He providentially works to bring us to Himself.
The Providence of God in Paul's life.
Paul wanted to preach in Asia, but the Holy Spirit wouldn't let him,
6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
Then he tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit again wouldn't permit it.
7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
Then God made His will known to Paul in a vision. The Spirit said no to going into Asia, and instead called Paul into Europe.
9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
The Providence of God in Lydia's life.
14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.
Lydia was from Thyatira, which is in Asia! Here she was in Macedonia, selling her fabrics.
Why didn't God just have Paul come to her home town in Thyatira in Asia? He had wanted to go there. It wasn't part of his plan. For reasons only He knows about, it had to happen this way.
God's Providence in my salvation.
I got saved in a motel bathroom in Oregon while reading the book, "Late Great Planet Earth." Why didn't it happen at home? It wasn't God's plan. At home I wouldn't have watched the TV talk show that Hal Lindsey was on. At home I wouldn't have bought the book. On vacation I had the time to watch the show and read the book. God's timing is perfect.
God was working providentially to bring Lydia to Himself. Even though she was unsaved at the time, she had been "a worshipper of God." (vs.14). She had been seeking God.
The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.
On this Sabbath day, even though she was in a strange city, she went to find a place of worship. She found some other women at the riverside. When Paul came, she listened intently, vs.14. Lydia chose to believe the Gospel and repent. She chose to be baptized right there and then.
The Providence of God in the lives of Lydia's household
15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
Lee Strobel felt led to witness to a man in an office setting. The man turned him down at every turn. But unknown to Lee, there was a man acoss the room behind a desk doing some tiling. He listened, and gave his heart to Christ, and soon his whole family was saved.
God is leading you as well.
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