Our devotional thoughts this week have focused on an account in the Book of Acts that highlights how the Spirit works in the lives of obedient followers of Jesus. The account in Acts and the current story of the 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes School in the Dominican Republic are connected by the guarantee of Pentecost. Pentecost is a real time indicator that miraculous events like we read about in the Bible are still happening in the 21st century. What the Spirit did in Acts 16 continues to this day in San Isidro, Dominican Republic because of the guarantee present in Pentecost.
Our biblical account records that Paul headed from present-day Turkey to Greece because the Spirit had somehow hindered him from the direction he was heading and redirected him (through a dream) to cross what we today call the Aegean Sea to Philippi. Paul was doing good work, but God had greater work for him to do. We’re all busy — possibly thinking we are doing our best to serve the Lord.
Are you ready to hear the Spirit redirect even your best intentions to his best for your life?
Obedience without all the pieces in place is sometimes very difficult. Pastor Ramon responded to a burden in his heart for the children of the San Isidro community. He did what he could do while hoping, but not knowing, what God’s best might be in the future.
Are you willing to take first obedient steps in response to God’s prompting in your life, even when you cannot see what you hope for?
That kind of obedience is something God will reward, but it takes a real decision on our part to trust that initial prompting from the Lord and move ahead. Even then, positive results may be smaller than we thought and too slow from our perspective. This story tells us that obedience is not a “once and done” effort. Obedience to God’s direction is a way of life that trusts God implicitly. (What else can explain the possibility that Paul and Silas would be singing praises to God at midnight, while in jail and after having been beaten severely?) The obedience of Paul and Silas is met with the empowerment of the Spirit to use a tragedy and turn it into an opportunity to extend the Gospel.
Are you committed to obeying God’s direction in your life even when the results are not what you expected?
Pastor Ramon was doing what he could do in a temporary facility that was certainly inadequate for the fulfillment of his long term hope for the children in San Isidro. God had people ready in Alabama and Massachusetts who could extend that vision beyond Pastor Ramon’s capacity. He was obedient, and now the impact of the Spirit having “multiplied” his efforts is coming to pass.
What encouragement do you receive from this account and the “divine coincidence” that the school is named 5 Loaves and 2 Fishes?
Vice President, ChildHope
The theme of this week’s Pentecost devotion focused on the Spirit-empowerment of vision, obedience, great need and God’s miraculous interventions. Would you pray for Pastor Ramon Reynosa and his wife Flerida? This couple cares deeply for a hurting community and have given themselves to making a huge impact on the children and families that live in San Isidro. Pray for protection and favor with all the government authorities and business partners that will need to be part of approvals and processes that can easily bog down a project. Pray that the churches from Alabama and Massachusetts will soon be able to begin to send their work teams so this dream can become a reality.