Forbidden But Still Led The Holy Spirit
Author Melusi Ndhlalambi
Key Text: Acts 16:6-10
Throughout the Book of Acts, and throughout the Bible, the pivotal moments are described as coming from the Spirit. Nothing happened in the life of a prophet, apostle, or the church without the direction of the Holy Spirit, not even in the life of Christ. The strategy of the Holy Spirit must always have its ways, not our plans.
This year, I am praying for the Holy Spirit to be the active partner in ministry. I often sing, “have thine own way Lord,” but this year, I am praying for the Spirit of God to have his own way and lead MelVee Video Productions to dynamic. I am not negating the obvious – that we shall need to plan a lot, phone or visit colleagues and friends for consultation. However, this year, we shall pray more than planning, we shall consult heaven more than the arm of flesh for the leading of the Holy Spirit. God has led us thus far and this year we are being deliberate in our decision to be led of the Spirit. Acts 16:6-10 and Proverbs 16:9 are key messages to guide us. In this regards, we believe that:
We shall be forbidden by the Spirit to do certain assignments and places. The Bible says, Paul and Silas were traveling westward to the areas we now know as Turkey. Verse 6 says, “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia.” Despite planning to go to Ephesus and proclaim the gospel in this great commercial, religious, and cultural centre, the Bible says the Holy Spirit forbade Paul to speak the Word in Asia. The assignment was postponed, only to be done in God’s time. If you read Acts 18:19-21, Paul’s second missionary journey near the end of his life was to this region. He even managed to return for his third journey.
Again after wanting and planning to go to Bithynia, verse 7 says, “but the Spirit suffered them not” to go to Bithynia. After Paul and Silas arrived in Mysia, in the northwest of modern Turkey, they wanted to turn north into the northern province of Bithynia. Apparently, they had a strategy they wanted to implement. The northern part of Bithynia was on the southern coast of the Black Sea. A key city in this northern province was Nicea. This would be a great place to take the gospel.
Twice, the Holy Spirit had intervened and did not permit the missionary team to go where they planned to go. How I pray that this be our experience this year that in God’s time our “Asia Minors and Bithynia” mission plans be reached only in God’s time, not ours. You see, when the Holy Spirit leads us, and we catch His vision and the move of God, we are touching the divine purpose and acting in God’s time. Very often, we may wish to do very good things, but if it is not God’s time these will not succeed. God alone is the master of all things and knows when to act. He alone knows the circumstances that prevail at any given time. Because of this, we can have full confidence in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
While at Troas, a city in the north western coast of modern Turkey, the Lord spoke to Paul through a vision. He saw a man from Macedonia calling him to come to Macedonia and assist. This was a powerful and persuasive way for Paul to be shown what to do. How I pray that God give us visions given to Paul when he saw the man from Macedonia calling him to help in Macedonia. I believe God still speaks in dreams and visions to those who are tuned in to the heaven flow of God’s move. In Acts 9:10-12 God reveals His will through a vision to Ananias about Paul and his ministry. God spoke to Cornelius in Acts 10:3 and to and Peter in Acts 10:17-19 and also in 11:5. How I pray that this year, God leads you and me in His own ways. All these visions led to exciting gospel breakthroughs among territories of Gentiles. The missionary team did not hesitate to respond to the call when it finally came through. Acts 16:10 says, ” And after he had seen the vision, immediately the gospel team endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.”
What a striking mission story! Twice in this short story, Paul and his team were supernaturally led by the Holy Spirit. All this kept Paul in harmony with God’s plan to keep going through Asia and onto Europe. Isn’t it exactly what the wise man said in Proverbs 16:9 when he said, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” As we commit ourselves to the Lord, we know that He will lead us day by day. God’s strategy will prevail and the Spirit will direct all our mission plans and assignments.
In 2016 and henceforth, I am following God’s biddings to surrender my life, my family and the MelVee Productions ministry unto the only King eternal, immortal, invisible, and wise God, to whom be all honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.