Outside the Gates. . .

I was looking over some material for a creative planning meeting we will be having this week & I was reading about Lydia's conversion in Acts 16:11 and following.  My eyes were drawn to verse 13 which talks about how Paul expected to find the women outside the city gate praying.  My first question is "why was he expecting to find this activity going on?"  Were the women band from the city on the Sabbath?  Did they find solace outside the gates for such an activity?

Whatever the reason for being "outside the gates", Paul talked with them.  Even though the situation was not what he expected, God had already ordained that very moment.  There was one person who needed to hear what Paul was saying.  One person – Lydia.  See the life-changing message of how God works.  He (God) opened her heart.  What if Paul had not come that way?  What if Lydia said "go ahead girls, I'll catch you next time"?  There might not have been a next time if she didn't go this time.  Not only did she give her life to Christ, but she & her household were baptized which indicates that she went & shared the life-changing message with her family because she knew it had power. 

Think about this – we never know when our last day will be given to us.  Lydia was prompted in some way to be in that place, for that very moment to hear what Paul had to say.  What if Paul said, "Not today Lord, I just don't feel like it."  How many times do we hear the whisper & say "not today Lord, I just don't feel like it"?  Maybe God is calling you to invite a friend to hear the message.  Maybe He needs you to understand the plight of someone.  Maybe He needs you hear what is next.

Just as Lydia heard the message that day, know this friends – God loves you.  He sees the very core of your existence & He doesn't say "get away from me" — He says "come to me like a little child".  Run to me, I will catch you, I will hold you.  I am strong enough to carry you and your burdens; however, what He really wants is for you to let go of those burdens.  He died on the cross for our sins (all of us), not just me, but all of us.  Whatever our past, God can forgive it.  Whatever we are doing now, God can forgive it.  Sometimes when we forgive someone we do it with conditions – if they promise not to do this, then I will forgive them.  God's forgiveness creates a clean heart, white as snow, and His forgiveness is unconditional.  Have you accepted Christ into your heart?  Have you asked Him to be the Savior of your life?  Have you asked Him to forgive you & to take away your sins & create in you a clean heart.  If not, you can today.

There is nothing special in the prayer, but you must believe with your heart.  You can pray –

    "God, I know that I am a sinner and I need your forgiveness. I know you died on the cross for my sins     & rose again three days later.  Please come into my heart & transform me.  I want to be with you in     heaven forever.  Please forgive my sins & create in me a clean heart.  Amen." 

That's it.  If you prayed this prayer and asked Jesus into your heart, then the angels are dancing in heaven right now.  Don't wait, tell someone that you accepted Christ today. 

Just like Lydia, you too can accept Christ's message & believe.  What is He saying to you?

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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