Daily D – Acts 16:9-10
Acts 16:9, 10 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 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. (NIV)
What’s the difference between a God-given vision and a personal fantasy? A point of consideration is who gets blessed. Visions from God focus on those who need to know and experience him. Fantasies focus on the dreamer.
A preacher stood before his congregation and declared, “I am a visionary.” This is preacherspeak for, “God has told me what to do, and you are going to do it.” This is frequently followed by projects that make the preacher look good.
Compare and contrast such an experience with what happens here in Acts 16.
1. Paul had a vision.
2. It concerned a specific people group that needed to hear the good news of Jesus.
3. The message of the vision was specifically about that people group and not about Paul’s prominence or significance.
4. Paul told his partners in the gospel about the vision.
5. The whole team agreed on what God was saying and what their next steps were to be.
6. They immediately obeyed what they heard from God.
Don’t miss this. Paul was given the vision. Everyone got to hear it and weigh it. Everyone reached the same conclusion. They heard God and obeyed him immediately.
Dave’s conclusion: The best visioneering is done by teams, not by individuals.
Paul alone received the vision. Paul, however, did not keep it to himself. He told his companions. It made perfect sense to them because of what had been happening to them as recorded in verses 6-8. They had been stymied on their journey by Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God said, STOP. They stopped. Now, God said, GO. They got going.
Note how little ego was involved here. This team of adventurers was living wide-open and full-out in pursuit of hearing and obeying God. They went together. They worked together. They sought God together. They obeyed God together.
You have heard, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go farther, go together.” This was a “farther along” kind of trip.
What happened next? Adventures galore! There was Lydia and her household coming to faith in Christ. There was a demonized girl released from her slavery. There was a tumult and a beating and jail and an earthquake and another household coming to faith in Christ. There was a parade out of the jail. There was a poor little church that became one of Paul’s favorite groups of believers anywhere. He wrote a joyful letter to them we call Philippians.
How well do you hear and obey God? Who helps you make sure what you think you heard is not a fantasy about yourself and is truly God’s will and way to bring others into relationship with himself?
Who helps you go farther even when you would prefer to go faster?
Visioneering and Adventuring under God’s mighty hand are pretty exciting. Share the expedition. Share the joy. Share the love. Share God’s great good news.
I will submit my visionary thinking to faithful friends who hear God at least as well as I do.
Our Father, your visions to me are not about me. Thank you for this truth. Your great good news is far better than anything I could produce or proclaim. Give me ears to hear what you are saying. Give me an obedient heart to do what you say. Give me companions for this expedition who know you and hear you and obey you immediately. Empower us to go farther along with you as you clearly lead the way. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.