From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. (Acts 16:11-15)
I’m so excited. In two weeks, I’m visiting family, my sister and sister-in-law and their husbands. I’ll be able to see my niece and hopefully her husband and two great-nephews and hopefully one or both of my nephews and my nephew’s wife. These are people I pray for every day. They are so dear to me and are so sweet to have and said, “Come and stay at my house,” extending hospitality.
Paul, Timothy, and Silas are in a city unknown to them and will build a church in a place where no man worships God. They knew about the Jewish law that said if you don’t have ten people to build a synagogue, you should worship by the river. That’s why Paul expected to find worshipers at the river. In Paul’s vision, a man from Macedonia cried out for him, so I’m sure he expected to see a man, but he only finds women worshipers there. Paul, Timothy, and Silas have the big job of starting a church ahead of them. How thankful they must have been for the hospitality and fellowship of Lydia and her friends. I can imagine them praying for each other and building bonds of love.
I’m praying about my upcoming vacation, for ways to love and encourage my family so I can be a blessing to them instead of a burden. I’m especially praying for moments to encourage and love my seven-year-old nephews. I want them to remember me as their great-aunt who showed them God’s love.
Father God, I praise you for the family you’ve given me to love. Help me find opportunities to love and encourage them to strengthen our bonds of love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.