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    B244 - Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit

    Acts 16:6; Acts 19:21; Acts 21:4-9, Acts 27:9-37;

    Acts 16:6,

    ‘Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time.’ 

    In Acts 19:21, it says, ‘Afterward Paul felt compelled by the Spirit to go over to Macedonia and Achaia before going to Jerusalem.’ The Greek word for ‘compelled’ is tithemi or fix, establish, set.

    Parallel translations use the phrase, ‘resolved in the Spirit’ (ESV) or ‘purposed in the Spirit’ (NASB). The original Greek had the word ‘Spirit’.

    Throughout Paul’s missionary journeys, he was guided by the Holy Spirit in deciding where he should proceed. In Acts 16:6, Paul went to Galatia because of a closed door to Asia. 

    In walking with the Lord, we have to sense the direction given by the Holy Spirit when making decisions. When it comes to major decisions, we must seek God.

    It is important to walk close to the Lord to be open to his direction and be guided by our sensing of the Holy Spirit.

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    B245 - Be alert to dreams, trance, and visions from God

    Matt 1:20, Matt 2:12-22; Acts 9:10-17; Acts 10; Acts 16:9; Acts 18:9-10; Acts 22:17; Acts 23:11; Acts 27:23;

    The Gospel started with the announcement of the birth of Jesus by the angel Gabriel to a virgin named Mary in Nazareth (Luke 1:26). In Matt 1:20, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to instruct him to take Mary as his betrothed despite the fact that she was pregnant.

     In the case of the wise men who visited baby Jesus, they were also warned in a dream not to return to Herod (Matt 2:12) while for Ananias, who was called to lay hands on the then Saul for his healing, he was approached in a vision by none other than the Lord himself (Acts 9:10).

    Repeatedly, you sense the Lord appearing in supernatural elements. We know from reading that the Lord had appeared to Muslims through dreams. As believers, we are stronger for the experience when we hear from God directly rather than to know a theoretical Jesus.

    It is consistent with the two Greek word for ‘word’ – Logos and Rhema where

    1. Logos is the written word of God (that is, the Bible), and
    2. Rhema is the spoken word of God (through the Holy Spirit’s direction). 

    As believers, do not despise or belittle the non-rational  (Rhema) but be alert to dreams, trance, and visions from God.

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    B246 - Hear God's non-logic voice but follow logical actions

    Acts 23:11, 17

    The Apostle Paul had a supernatural encounter with the Lord while he was in jail in Jerusalem indicating that he would be in Rome to be Jesus’ witness (Acts 23:11). Yet, the next morning, when he realized through his nephew that there was a group of Jews determined to kill him, he did not sit around and expected a supernatural intervention but chose the logical way of informing the commander of the Roman guards. 

    We might have a supernatural word but it does not mean that we ignore the logical way in resolving our issues.

    We can apply this truth, for example,  in a health scenario.

    We may hear God supernaturally about a healing but there is no reason why we cannot follow logical actions in seeing a doctor or getting an operation.

    Here is a nice story to follow on:

    A believer was caught in rising floodwaters. He climbed up to the roof of his house and trusted God to rescue him. A neighbor came by in a kayak and shouted out to him, “Hop in and join me.”

    The believer replied, “No thanks, I have prayed to God and he will save me.”

    A short while later, the police came in a boat. “The water will soon be above your house. Come and let us go now,” said the police.

    The believer replied, “No thanks, I have prayed to God and he will save me.”

    Yet a little while later, a rescue helicopter hovered overhead, let down a rope ladder. The rescuer shouted, “The water is still rising. Come quickly and climb up the ladder. We will fly you out of here.”

    The believer replied, “No thanks, I have prayed to God and he will save me.”

    All this time, the water kept rising. Eventually, the man drowned and went to heaven. When he arrived, he sought an audience with God – “Lord, did I not pray to you to save me. Why didn’t you show up?”

    The Lord replied, “Yes, I did. I came in a kayak, a boat and a helicopter. But you did not want to use any of them.”

    Sometimes, the answer is in the natural too.

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    B247 - Take practical steps

    Mark 3:9; Mark 5:43

    Jesus may perform miraculous miracles like raising someone from the dead or healing a blind man. Nonetheless, when it comes to daily affairs, Jesus was practical and real.

    In Mark 3:9, Jesus was concerned that he would be crushed. Hence, he asked his disciples to have a boat ready for him. 

    In Mark 5:43, after he had resurrected a young twelve years old girl, he ‘told them to give her something to eat.’

    If Jesus was practical, what does it tell us about ourselves?

    In the Old Testament, as Nehemiah was building the wall of Jerusalem, he was being confronted by the enemies of the Jews, Sanballat and Tobiah.

    Neh 4:9 reads,

    ‘But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.’

    Nehemiah prayed and stood on guard.

    In everything that we do, even in evangelistic outreaches, it is normal and perfectly fine to follow logical actions even as we hold beliefs in the supernatural intervention from God.

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    B248 - Cast lots

    Acts 1:23-26

    In Acts 1:23-26, following the demise of Judas Ischariot, the disciples felt it was necessary to nominate another person to take his place. Two names were put forward and lots were cast with it. As a result, Matthias was chosen to take the place of Judas.

    The disciples cast lots.

    Many churches would find that despicable as casting lots is non-logical. But it is in the Bible and you will find more than a few occasions when lots were cast in the Old Testament. Consider the sailors on Jonah’s ship (Jonah 1:7) who cast lots to determine who had brought about the storm that created havoc for their ship. Or the division of land under Joshua.

    After intense prayer and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is fine to cast lots.

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    B249 - Decide through prayer, logic and laying of hands

    Acts 6:6

    In Acts 6, the Jerusalem council of disciples met and discussed regarding the complaint laid out by the Hellenistic (Greek speaking) Jews because their widows were neglected. Following that meeting, it was decided to appoint seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom to perform the operational work. When they have chosen these people, the disciples ‘prayed and laid their hands on them’ (Acts 6:6).

    Decision-making may include non-logical actions like casting of lots but it can equally be logical like the way that these seven were appointed by the Apostles.

    After the decision, the leaders then laid their hands on them.

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    B250 - Pray and fast

    Luke 6:12; Acts 13:2-3;

    Luke 6:12-13 says,

    ‘In these days, he (Jesus) went out to the mountain to pray and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.’

    In Acts 23:2, it reported that while

    ‘they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”’

    How did they know the Holy Spirit spoke?

    We suspect that it probably came from someone with a gift of the word of knowledge. That is, the Holy Spirit had to speak through someone within the group.

    We can learn much from these incidents when it comes to critical decision-making. Both Jesus and the disciples prayed for a long while and in addition, the disciples also fasted.

    Before any major decision, it is more than worthwhile to pray, fast, and seek the Lord for guidance.

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    B251 - Weigh the issues of coincidence and the voice of the Spirit

    Acts 10:17-20

    In Acts 10:11-15, the Apostle Peter was first shown a vision about eating all kinds of animals including reptiles and birds. When Peter resisted, he was told by a voice,

    ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’

    Then, almost at the same time, even as Peter was struggling with the vision, Cornelius’ men arrived seeking for him. 

    ‘And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation for I have sent them”’ (Acts 10:19-20).

    In listening to the voice of God, we must not exclude the issue of coincidence and the voice of the Spirit. Coincidences are nothing more than God’s appointments at the precise moment. 

    The Greek uses two words to describe time – Kairos and ‘Chronos’.

    While Chronos represents time the way we know, since it is from this word that we have ‘chronological time’, Kairos is quite different.  Kairos denotes the ‘right, critical, or opportune moment.’

    Coincidences can be viewed as Kairos moments or as, some may term them, ‘divine appointments.’

    Specific divine appointments may change things in an instance.

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    B252 - Seek God's confirmation

    Acts 10:15

    Acts 10:15 says,

    ‘And the voice came to Peter again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.’

    Peter needed three reminders. If you know Peter’s background, you would appreciate why the Lord did it three times.

    In Galatians 2, the Apostle Paul chided Peter for segregating himself away from the Gentile when the Jews arrived from Antioch to Galatia (Gal 2:11-14). Peter was a Jew of Jews and he found it very difficult to break out of that mold. That was probably why the Apostle Paul was designated by the Lord as the voice to the Gentiles.

    It is perfectly fine to ask the Lord for a confirmation. Peter asked it three times.

    In the Old Testament, Gideon did exactly that (Judges 6:36-40).

    If we are unsure regarding a decision, ask God for a confirmation.

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