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    by Carter Conlon

    Good ideas are not always "God ideas." We see this in the life of

    the apostle Paul: "Now when they had gone through Phrygia and

    the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to

    preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried

    to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them" (Acts 16:6-7).

    Just as it happened with Paul, a sincere disciple of Christ, it can

    happen with all of us. We may want to go certain places and do

    certain things, expecting God to go with us. However, sometimes

    the pathways we choose for our lives during a particular season

    may not actually be the pathway of God for us.

    Paul had a vision of a man appealing to him to come to Macedonia

    and help them (16:9). "Now after he had seen the vision, immediately

    we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called

    us to preach the gospel to them" (16:10). So, although Paul had

    had different plans, he and his company headed off to Macedonia.

    On the way they ministered to a group of women meeting for

    prayer. One of them was an influential part of the community

    and "she and her household were baptized" (16:15).

    Next, they encountered a demon-possessed slave girl and when

    she was delivered, her masters seized Paul and Silas and had

    them beaten and thrown into prison (16:22). This serves as a

    reminder that we have no guarantee that we will get a pass

    through trials and trouble. In fact, sometimes obeying the will of

    God will actually get us into trouble. But Godīs plans are always

    far superior to our own.

    In prison, Paul and Silas sang praises to the Lord and witnessed

    to the jailer, who in turn was transformed and baptized along with

    his entire family (16:33). And just think, all this started with a man

    appearing to Paul when he was praying at night, saying, "Come and help us."

    The power of God is always found where the Spirit leads you.

    Today I implore you to have the courage to say, "Lord, I do not

    want to live simply for my will. What would you have me do?

    Where do you want me to go? Let your will be done in my life."

    Then watch God do miracles!

    -Carter Conlon, Times Square Church.