Cooking is an incredible skill to learn. It can be fun; it can bring joy when others enjoy your food. You can learn to make really delicious meals and it can save you a lot of money. Whenever you are making something, you need a recipe which tells you everything you will need to have on hand, in order to make the meal. One of the most important lessons I ever learned was to carefully follow the instructions, because missing even one ingredient, or forgetting a tiny step, can mean the difference between a delicious meal and a big disaster!
As Christians, we must learn to carefully follow God’s instructions. After all, God wants to see us do well. He said through the prophet Jeremiah:
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
So, today, we are going to see how the Apostle Paul, in seeking to share the good news of Jesus, learns to not go where he wants to go, but to go where God is sending Him, by listening to what God says.
Have you ever heard God tell you to do something, maybe as you were praying or reading your Bible? Discuss with your family.
A Good Question: How do I know what I hear is from God?
First, God will never tell you do to something that goes against what the Bible teaches. Secondly, it can be good to discuss it with other people and Christians whom you trust; like your parents or pastor or elders, to confirm that it is from God. The Bible warns us to not blindly trust every message we hear, but to make sure what we hear is from God (1 John 4:1-3). As we will read, the message that Paul receives isn’t kept secret but is shared with others, so we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss with others what we hear from God.
Today’s Bible Passage: Acts 16:6-10
Activity: Parental supervision, baking Sue Banik’s Chocolate Chip Cookies! (See below for recipe and ingredients)
As a family, read Acts 16:6-10
This is a short passage that lists a lot of names. But, don’t worry, there is a map below that will help you understand the journey Paul went on, as described in this passage.
We read in verse 6 that Paul was not alone on his trip. He had companions with him. It is important to understand that the missionary journeys were not done alone but with others. It not only provided safety to have others on the journey, but it also helped to encourage and support each other. We know that Jesus sent out the disciples in pairs (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1) and the Old Testament also teaches about the importance of not being alone (Eccesiastes 4:9-10). We know that God is always with us, but it is important to see that God will also bring people into our lives to help us on our way.
It is also important to understand that Paul and his companions were travelling on roads, and not trudging through unknown territory. It is likely that they took a road called the Via Sebaste, which would have lead them to the various areas they were to travel to, and also provided a route to their ultimate destination, Troas.
Lastly, we read that when trying to travel north or south, God prevented them from going in those directions. Instead, He directed them west until they reached the coastal city of Troas. While the details of how they were redirected are not given, it was clear to all of them that it was God who was directing them.
Also, we read that while in Troas, one night Paul received a vision from God that told him to travel west to Macedonia. That meant they would need to make preparations to take a boat going further west, in order to share the gospel there. So we see a growth in Paul and his companions. They learned to listen to how God was directing them, instead of just trying to make their own way, using their own plans.
Making plans is a good thing, but we must always be prepared to change them to according to God’s will.
As a family, discuss what plans you have for the future. Then take some time to pray and see if God approves of those plans or wants to change them. You may not get an answer right away, but be mindful and open to what God may be saying to you, as time progresses.
While this passage is short, what happens here is remarkable. You would have to keep reading a lot further, reading through a lot of history, to see just how incredible an impact Paul’s trip to Macedonia had. But I want to end today’s devotional with the words of Bible scholar, Richard N. Longenecker, who had this to say:
“Authentic turning points in history are few. But surely among them that of the Macedonian vision ranks high. Because of Paul’s obedience at this point, the gospel went westward; and ultimately Europe and the Western world were evangelized. Christian response to the call of God is never a trivial thing.”
 Richard N. Longenecker, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the New International Version: John and Acts vol. 9, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1981. Pg. 458
Sue’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 12 mins Difficulty: Easy Servings: 24
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350° Cream margarine and sugars. Stir in egg, soda, salt and vanilla. Blend in flour. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
A special thank you to my wife for providing this recipe! I hope that you enjoy the cookies and have a blessed week!