Following God's Roadmap
Have you ever been lost or needed help determining where to go? It is safe to say that we have all been confused or lost at some point. We need someone to provide directions we can trust. But what about when it comes to knowing God? Does God provide directions we can follow to know how to respond to the challenges we face each day? The simple answer is a resounding “YES.” God has provided the answers we need to even our toughest questions. The GOOD NEWS is that you will the opportunity this week to learn how to determine God’s direction for your life, and discover His plan and purpose for you, in His Word, the Bible. If you haven't picked up on it yet, God left us His plan and purpose for our lives in one spot – the Bible.
The reality is that there are many things that can keep you from studying the Bible. Our days can quickly fill with all kinds of activities. Why, then, is it so important to make time each day for a special time in God’s Word?
What God's Word Provides for Us
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.
Let's unpack one of these verses.
Vs. 105 “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path."
The author tells us that God's Word is a lamp for our path. Where are you headed with your life? Where do you turn for direction? Who do you trust to guide your steps? God's Word may challenge us to think long and hard about our path and life's direction. Because God loves you, He wants to guide you and direct your path. One of the hardest things about studying God's Word is devoting the time you need to do it. However, if we look at the life of Jesus, we discover that He constantly prioritized time to spend with His Father.
Over the next few days, we will develop and deepen the spiritual discipline of studying God's Word and growing closer to Him. By this week's end, you will have developed the skills to grow and study His Word once Beach Retreat is over.
How God Calls Us
NOTE TO PARENTS
The Scripture passages for each day are printed in the student edition of Silent Sounds. As you follow along with our students, look up the key passages in your Bible, or click here to read an online version of the passage.
READ Acts 16:11-15 to meet a woman named Lydia.
Here are a few things that stand out that you may have noticed or found interesting:
- In those days, men did not typically converse with women, especially with women they did not know. It would have been highly unusual for Paul, Silas, and Timothy to start talking with these Philippian women.
- We are introduced to a lovely lady named Lydia and learn that she is a "seller of purple goods" (vs. 14). This would indicate that she was a woman of wealth. In that day and age, people who sold "purple goods" usually sold them to royal and wealthy people.
- Lydia had her heart opened by the Holy Spirit and was baptized. She would have been one of the earliest Christians in Philippi.
We have just read about the first Christian convert in Philippi. Can you relate to Lydia in your own life? She seems to have a comfortable life where she isn't struggling much. Before Paul introduced her to Jesus, she probably found peace and comfort in her possessions and wealth. In what do you find your peace and comfort? Perhaps you realized just now that you find peace of mind in sports, friends, or even social media. Let's continue to see what the Lord does through Paul at Philippi.
READ Acts 16:16-24
What a turn of events. What sticks out to you in these verses? Here are a few more details to note:
- A slave girl was being used to tell fortunes because a demon possessed her. When she encountered Paul, Timothy, and Silas, she couldn’t help but recognize that something was different about them.
- Paul used the authority of Jesus Christ to cast out the demon and free the slave girl from being possessed. (For deeper insight on demon possession and what Jesus has to say about it, look at Matthew 12:43-45)
- Removing the demon upset the owners of the slave girl because they were no longer able to profit from her, and they convinced the local authorities to throw the men in jail.
What appears to be the second Christian convert in Philippi is a lonely, broken slave girl. Do you think she ever dreamed of growing up to become a slave girl? Probably not, but how did she get there? We don't know; however, maybe you have found yourself in a lonely and dangerous place. Is there anything about this slave girl with which you can connect?
Isn't it beautiful to see how God works? He used Paul to save a wealthy, comfortable businesswoman AND a lost and lonely broken slave girl. Would you believe that it gets even better?
READ Acts 16:25-40
What got your attention as you read this passage? What are your thoughts about what God did in this situation? Additional things to note:
- Paul, Timothy, and Silas were doing what God called them to do and ended up in prison. Have you ever followed the Lord's plan and felt that you messed up? (Hang in there – keep trusting Him!)
- In that time, most jailers in major cities were retired Roman generals or high-ranking officials. For all their service and sacrifice, they would be stationed to oversee a jail. It is safe to say this jailer had seen some crazy things and probably struggled with PTSD from battles. (While it is not definitive, his action of putting them in the inner prison and fastening them in stocks indicates that he was an angry man with serious issues.)
- Not only do the prisoners not run to freedom, but Paul also yells out and saves the jailer from taking his life (During that time, death was the punishment for a jailer losing control of his prison).
Here we see God saving an angry, messed-up jailer and his family. Can you relate to the jailer? Do you struggle with anger issues? What does it mean to you that God used Paul to reach this angry jailer?
Here are some of the earliest Christians in Philippi. These are the types of people God calls to be part of His church:
- Lydia – Comfortable. Businesswoman. Seeker.
- Slave girl – Broken. Lonely. Seeker.
- Jailer – Angry. Violent. Seeker.
What are you seeking? (If you aren't sure, look at where and how you spend most of your time.)