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Forbidden by the Holy Spirit

During the Day of Pentecost detailed in Acts 2, a supernatural event enabled first century disciples to speak in tongues.  Initially, eyewitnesses thought the disciples were drunk until foreigners, visitors to Jerusalem, began to hear these men speak in their own native tongue.  According to Acts 2:9, this included Asia Minor, a place Paul and Silas chose to reach during Paul’s second missionary journey.  However, Luke records another strange occurrence in the passage below, the apostles were prohibited to introduce the gospel to Europe.

Now they passed through the territory of Phrygia and Galatia, after being forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in [the west coast province of] Asia Minor, Acts 16:6.

There are a couple of explanations for this region being forbidden by the Holy Spirit.  One Bible Commentary suggests this territory was not a designated Roman province.  As a Roman citizen, the apostle Paul accepted this spiritual push back as a clear sign to wait for another opportunity in the future.  Meanwhile, Acts 1:8 refers to a natural progression for the gospel to spread: Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.  The most logical explanation is that Paul and Silas went out of order, visiting the ends of the earth before reaching every nearby town and village.

And after they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; Acts 16:7.

As modern missionaries continue to fulfill the great commission, Matthew 28:16-20, the Bible warns of regions controlled by demonic powers such as Persia in the book of Daniel.  Those called to enter these dangerous countries and nations face the same risk the Elliott family took as described in the film End of the Spear.  When five missionaries were killed in Ecuador by the Wadani tribe, some would have seen this as a sign to quit.  Yet, this loss of life opened the door members of the Wadani to accept and receive the good news about Jesus Christ.  While there will always be forbidden areas on earth, may God fill you with resolve to fulfill God’s plan for your life.

by Jay Mankus

A Grand Parent’s Prayer

One of my favorite movie lines comes from the 2005 documentary End of the Spear.  Based on the true story of Operation Auca, Jim Elliott and 4 other missionary’s lose their life trying to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Waodani, a dangerous tribe from Ecuador.  Violence had prevented these men and women from ever becoming grandparents.  However, once their fearless leader, Mincayani embraces a new found faith, “this vicious cycle is stopped through peace, not by the end of the spear.”

The author of Psalm 128 shares a similar message.  Inside this short chapter, you will find an outline for blessings and prosperity.  Verse 1 claims fearing the Lord will lead you toward God’s ways.  If this advice is adhered to, you will experience the abundance within the flood gates of heaven, Malachi 3:10.  Yet, many still struggle with surrounding their entire lives to Christ, holding things back like Achan in Joshua 7.  As a result of partial acts of disobedience, many Christian’s are failing to live the abundant life which Jesus promises in John 10:10.  Instead, mediocrity reigns, leaving disappointment and unfulfilled expectations behind.

In my own life, I sense a time in the future when I could possibly become a grandparent.  While my parent’s worked hard for 40 years to achieve a better life in retirement, my generation may not be as fortunate.  The economy, inflation and societal demands has erased the life savings of many.  Yet, one thing the desperate can cling to is a grandparent’s prayer, “and may you live to see your children’s children.  Peace be upon Israel,” Psalm 128:6.

by Jay Mankus

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