It is very clear in this chapter, how carefully God prepares Paul for the establishment of the first church in Europe. Firstly, He provides Timothy; the child of a mixed marriage between a Jew and a Greek. Who better to reach across the cultural divide? God plans our parentage and experiences to equip us for the tasks He wants us to do. Maybe your background is a different one from that of others around you. Have you considered that God might use those unique differences for a specific purpose in His kingdom plan?
Secondly, the Holy Spirit played a key role in preventing their plans to travel in a certain direction until they understood through a dream, where they needed to go and who they were going to reach, with the Gospel. Do we persist in pushing forward with what we think is best rather than being sensitive to the checks of the Holy Spirit and walking in obedience?
Thirdly, women were to play key roles in His Church and although Paul was naturally reticent, he recognised the opportunity that God was giving through Lydia. Do we allow our cultural norms to influence our preferences or do we see what God is saying and doing?
Fourthly, God’s plan was to include a broad spectrum of diverse people in His kingdom, such as Lydia, the girl with the evil spirit and the jailer. In order to reach and win people, we like Paul and Timothy, may be asked to go through uncomfortable and unjust circumstances. Can we sing and pray through the difficult times, trusting that the end result will be to the glory of God? Do we automatically discount people and decide not to share the Gospel with them?
This is a chapter full of detail, challenges and encouragement. See what specific points God brings out to you.