I could go on and on about the people God has placed in my path. In fact, I'm sure you'll hear more about them in my future writings. But, today, as I wrap up this theme, I want you to know that it matters not what I say on the topic. For I am a lowly servant of a Most High God. You cannot just take my word for it. You must match up what I've said with the golden rod of truth. God's word is truth. So, get your shovel, because we're going in deep!
You may have heard these stories before and you may have read them once or twice. One of the amazing things about God is His ability to deliver a fresh, new word to our hearts every single time we read the Bible. Ask Him to show you something you haven't seen before. To give you a new nugget of truth to hide in your heart. Now that your heart is open, please read Acts 10 and Acts 16.
Some key points to consider:
1.Notice that the divine appointments set up by God for these men were done in different ways.
- God arranged a divine meeting for Cornelius and Peter through visions (Acts 10:3-8; 9-16). I find it interesting that Cornelius only needed to hear the angel once and he was ready to go! Peter, on the other hand, took some convincing. It encourages me that even one of the apostles was a bit hard of hearing when it came to listening (and being obedient) to God! God also used a vision to show Paul that he should go Macedonia, which he did immediately (Acts 16:9-12).
- God gave Paul discernment to know that Timothy was a man he should get to know better (Acts 16:1-3).
- God clearly put Lydia (Acts 16:13-15), the slave girl (Acts 16:16-18), the jailer (Acts 16:25-30), and the jailer's family (Acts 16:31-35) in Paul's path.
- If Cornelius had brushed aside his vision and thought himself crazy, he wouldn't have had the guts to send for Peter. He would have missed the blessing of his life - the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on him and his people.
- If Peter hadn't been ready to accept what God was telling him in his vision, social status would have kept him from going with the men to meet Cornelius. He would have missed out on being part of God's bigger plan to bring the Gentiles to Himself.
- If Paul hadn't seen the value in a young man named Timothy, he would have missed a great opportunity to mentor someone who would become a partner in making the name of Jesus famous.
- If Paul had dismissed his vision, he would not have gone to Macedonia, and would have missed seeing many lives saved.
- Think about the way Peter must have viewed the men who came to see him. As a Jew, it was unlawful for him to associate with Gentiles. Though he was being sensitive to the Spirit, I'm sure he felt some hesitation in going with them to meet Cornelius.
- If a girl approached you and was shouting things at you every day for several days, you may see this as more devilish than divine! It makes me laugh that it is recorded in Scripture that Paul became "annoyed" with the slave-girl who continually spouted her false prophecies at him. Notice that God brought this nuisance of a girl in Paul's face every day until he got it! He finally saw the need to help her!
- As if dealing with the slave-girl wasn't enough, Paul found himself being arrested for helping her. He could have viewed his imprisonment as a hardship, cursing God while he was being shackled. "What a reward for doing the right thing!", he could have grumbled. Instead, he and Silas lifted up praise to God for being faithful to them thus far. As a result, the jailer who had arrested him was saved, along with his entire family.
Scripture teaches us that God, in His eternalness, is not confined by space and time. He is in our past, our present and our future at the same time. Mind-blowing, yet comforting. We can know without a doubt that the people who cross our paths are not there by chance. God wants to use us to be a part of their future in Him. He is giving us the opportunity to join in His great plan, not only for our lives, but for the lives of others as well. Let's jump into the rushing waters of His will with both feet! Let's find out what He is doing in other people's lives and join Him there! We are the ones who suffer for not getting our feet wet. We are the ones who miss out on blessings to come when we do not see people through God's eyes.
I hope that God has used my jumbled thoughts to bring to light the ways that He orchestrates and plans your steps. My husband brought this segment from ESPN to my attention recently and I want to leave you with it. It is a bit long, but stick with it til the end. Watch and marvel at the way our Mighty God works. Stop believing in chance and coincidence and start believing in a God Who loves you. He arranges these meetings all the time. Open your eyes to His appointment book and you will be blessed!