Friday, May 22, 2020

"Without God, I Can't. Without Me, He Won't."

Acts 16.14 NAS

“Lydia… was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the message spoken by Paul.” I have messages to deliver to a variety of audiences… my kids, friends, clients, vendors, neighbors, and many chance acquaintances. Sometimes I am certain of my message and confident in my delivery. I somehow know what must be said. I can be persuasive and effective.

Most of the time I am less sure of myself and it makes no difference what I say. The message will not be received, at least not in the way it was intended.

Paul did not predetermine the response of his listeners. He did not short-circuit the communication process. The apostle understood he was part of the interaction between his audience and the Lord for whom he spoke. For this reason, Paul was confident of his message. He trusted God and did not abdicate his role in the message-giving process. The apostle tried to persuade people everywhere he journeyed, in spite of the rejection he so commonly suffered. 

Ultimately, it was the Lord who opened the hearts. Paul knew that. His role was to speak at every opportunity. God’s role was to open hearts. The combination worked perfectly in the case of Lydia for whom “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the message spoken by Paul.”

God designed it that way for Paul and for every ambassador for Christ. I must do my part and He will do His. Without God I can’t. Without me He won’t.

The graphic of God with a human fingerprint speaks of our (human) role in His (Divine) desire to reach the world for Jesus. The artist / graphic designer is Josh Boston from San Diego who kindly allowed me to post this image he calls "A Logo for God." According to Josh, this graphic is "my best attempt at giving the God of the Bible a visual representation." You can find more of his creative art and graphic designs at


maffy said...

Interesting post, Dave. When one speaks persuasively, I believe that he or she is speaking from a place of truth, and for those who want to hear it, they will listen. It's a personal choice on their part, which we all have.

You write about God opening Lydia's heart to his message, but why would he do that for her and not everyone else? I believe it was her free will, given to her by God, that opened her up to it; otherwise, God would be picking and choosing who gets the goods.

That said, I love that Paul did not see it as his responsibility as to whether a person would listen to his message. One interpretation might be that everyone is on their own unique journey with their creator, and as that saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher arrives. Paul made sure that the teacher was always there for the ready student.

Very thought-provoking and awesome graphic!

Sorry I'm responding to you here and not OS, but I get your feed from Blogger. I read your posts often, saying that I'll respond later at OS, then never do as I'm not there much these reason, other than business--dad had brain surgery (he did fine), parents are moving and sis and I are preparing for the move, plus a plethora of other stuff. It's been too long since I wrote an entry! I so admire your commitment to writing every day. You're certainly making sure the teacher is available for anyone who's ready. :)

maffy said...

I meant your entry was thought-provoking, not the graphic. It was, of course, but that's not what I meant.

davescriven said...

Hi Mary Ann,

What a joy to hear from you. I like your insights into the passage. Thank you for commenting, Maf. Hope we stay in touch.