Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Lydia's riverbank prayer service

Have you ever been to a satellite church? Perhaps you've attended a makeshift church in jail, the hospital, or on the battlefields of the Mid East. Either way, a satellite church is a small break off from the main church, which can be held virtually anywhere. Lydia had a satellite church just outside the city limits next to a river, and her congregation was primarily female. Lydia's story can be found in the book of Acts Ch. 16:16-40

One day the Apostle Paul was led to Philippi by the Holy Spirit, and he was pleased to meet Lydia and the other women praying at the river. Once his identity was known among the group, Lydia began to tend to Paul and his travel mates. As Paul's message of Christ filled the air, Lydia was baptized and she was so convicted by Jesus that her entire household came out to be likewise enlightened and baptized.

After Paul has baptized and preached the gospel, Lydia invites the men to come stay at her house, and they go. Once they are in the city, a young slave girl followed them for several days through the streets, crying in a loud voice "These are servants of the Most High God, they know the way to salvation..." Paul knew the girl had an evil spirit possessing her, so he cast it out in the name of Jesus. Now there was a law against bringing outside religions into the city. When the master of the young girl discovered she could no longer work as a fortune teller, he was angry. Paul and Timothy were put in prison, after being beaten by rods. Being in prison didn't hurt Paul's resolve; he just praised God and sang to Him songs of cheer. Paul also penned a letter to the church at Philippi; we refer to it as the book of Philippians in our New Testament.

Lydia, a successful business woman, made it possible for Paul to do the work of God. With her help and encouragement, Paul and his group were allowed to preach and baptize along the river. God called Lydia to perform a very important task, and she answered the call with gladness. And when they were ready to move on, Lydia was able to fully preach the Gospel of Jesus to the early Philippian church.

Do you have a ministry or activity that ministers to you the way the prayer sessions by the river ministered to the souls of the Philippians? Is there a way that we can help the leaders around us, and glean the Good News? While Lydia was capable of caring for the group she had, she needed someone like Paul to come in further opening the mystery of God, and unlocking eternal salvation. That same eternal salvation is available to us in 2011, just like it was available to Lydia and her followers in 80 AD. You don't have to be the committee chairperson at a big fancy church, Jesus came for all. It's not required that one be dressed a certain way or meet in a certain type of building, Lydia's group met outside next to a river. We can help the people around us, and help ourselves with the word of God, through Christ His Son.

Be encouraged, even if your job is small-it is important to the Kingdom of God. Even if you aren't able to lead the way Lydia did, your contributions are huge to God. God sees you and your deeds; enough for all of us to stand up and take notice. If the Lord Jesus came calling this afternoon, would you answer with gladness? Lydia did and her life was blessed beyond her wildest dreams. The next time you are faced with the decision to walk away or stay and help, try just pitching in a bit and you'll find blessings in your service as well.






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