In today’s passage, Paul and his companions are on their second missionary journey, departing from Antioch and heading west. They have chosen to take the land route this time to visit cities where they have preached and won converts to Christ.
Have you ever wondered how Paul decides where to go? With the whole world waiting to hear the good news, how does Paul know where to start?
Our reading today gives us a hint: The Holy Spirit comes to Paul in a dream and shows him a man from Macedonia standing and pleading with Paul to “come and help us!” Verse 10 says, “Immediately after he saw the vision, we prepared to leave for the province of Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them” (ceb).
This passage makes clear that God can guide us in our decision-making if we open ourselves to God’s influence. God’s tools are various: Sometimes God presents the “open door”—the opportunity that comes our way. Sometimes God shows us the “closed door”—when circumstances change and we no longer can pursue a course of action. Sometimes God guides us through the word of a wise friend or a complete stranger. And God even comes to us in dreams as we sleep.
All these ways of divine direction rely on a common thread: Our willingness to seek and perceive God’s guidance and to be obedient to God’s leadership when it comes.
Paul and his companions “immediately” respond to God’s direction. What guidance from God do you need to respond to “immediately”? Be open, aware, and obedient.
Loving God, help me to open my heart and mind to your guidance and to respond in obedience to your direction. Amen.
The kingdom of God is constantly advancing by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Acts, Paul is driven forward in his missionary activity by the Spirit. He moves westward to Macedonia, where a woman named Lydia becomes the first known convert in Europe. This becomes a base for subsequent mission. In Revelation, the Spirit shows John the new Jerusalem, in which the Lamb will provide light for all nations. Jesus’ disciples wrestle with the idea that he would leave them. He teaches them that he will not leave them alone; he will send the Holy Spirit to empower them. The psalmist does not mention the Spirit but declares that all nations, not just the Israelites, will sing for joy because of God’s saving power.
Read Acts 16:9-15. Recall a specific time when you have followed God. How did you discern God’s voice? What did you do to follow through on God’s call?
Read Psalm 67. How do you share God’s blessings with the world?
Read Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5. What would it mean for there to be no separation between nations? no separation between you and God?
Read John 14:23-29. When have you experienced the Holy Spirit as your Advocate?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.