Monday, August 21, 2023
[After arriving in Philippi several days before,] on the Sabbath we [Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke] went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. "If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my home." And she urged us until we agreed.
Luke emphasized the importance of women in Macedonia coming to Christ.* Lydia is the first of several that Luke mentioned in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. Paul also confirmed the importance of women in the Macedonian churches.** Lydia was a merchant of expensive cloth. Her "household" refers to the other women who worked for her, lived under the influence of her faith, and who attended the worship gatherings at the place of prayer. When Paul proclaimed Jesus, she and her "household" believed and Paul baptized them, similar to the first converts at Pentecost (Acts 2:38-41). Lydia was not only welcoming to Paul and his team, but she was also insistently hospitable. Her house became the base of operations for the mission team while they were in Philippi. Luke emphasized that Paul's mission to Europe began with the conversion of a prominent woman and her household. The Holy Spirit was giving birth to an exciting new chapter of growth in Jesus' church (Acts 1:8).
* See the Related Scripture Readings for Luke's mention of women in Paul's ministry.
** In his letter to the Philippians, Paul mentions Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2-3). These women were important partners with Paul in evangelizing Philippi. We know about their importance from his description of them as those who "worked hard" and were his "co-workers." These were terms Paul reserved for partners in ministry.
O Father, forgive us as your children for undervaluing the importance of women in the growth of your Kingdom and the spread of the Good News. I am thankful to hear about Lydia and her group of women who came to Christ and became the base of operations for Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke. I am thankful for the faithful mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, who instilled deep faith in Timothy and made him ready to be a servant with Paul.* I am so thankful for all the women of faith who have influenced me to follow Jesus with passion and faithfulness. Thank you, O God, for women of faith. In Jesus' name, I give you my thanks. Amen.
* 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:12-17
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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