God Opens Hearts
“And a certain woman named Lydia...heard us: whose heart the Lord opened.” (Acts 16:14)
When Paul received a call from God to go to Macedonia and preach the gospel, he and his missionary companions immediately set sail. One of the first major cities they came to was Philippi. After spending some time in the city, they decided one day to go out into the country to tell people about Christ. They found a group of women meeting beside a river, so they sat down with them to tell them the good news about the true God.
One of these women was named Lydia. Lydia lived in the city of Thyatira, and she made her living by selling purple cloth. The Bible tells us that Lydia “worshiped God.” She was interested in the Jewish God and tried to worship Him in her own way, but she had not yet become a believer in Christ. Acts 16:14 says that Lydia heard Paul’s preaching because the Lord had opened her heart. Lydia’s heart was not hard and cold, nor was it doubtful and questioning. She had a heart that was open and ready to receive God’s Word because of a work that He had done inside of her. After hearing Paul’s preaching, she and her entire household were willing to show the world publicly, through baptism, that they were believers in Christ.
Is there someone that you would like to share the gospel with? Pray for that person, asking God to open his heart. Maybe you have a neighbor that you have tried several times to witness to, but she has never been willing to listen. Ask God to open her heart. Perhaps you have a family member that is not saved, but you feel a little fearful to talk to him about the Lord. God can open his heart too!
God wants us to share the gospel with the unsaved people around us, but salvation is His work, not ours. The story of Lydia reminds us that God is the one who makes people ready and willing to receive the good news of Jesus Christ. Each time you hand someone a tract, write someone a letter explaining how to be saved, or talk to an unsaved person about the gospel, remember to ask for help from the God who opens hearts.
In salvation, God does a special work of opening hearts and making people ready to accept Jesus Christ.
» Am I making an effort to tell unsaved people the good news of Jesus Christ?
» When I do that, am I depending on the power of God to open their hearts?
Truth In Real Life
“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!”
Before Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, or Fanny Crosby were ever born, Thomas Ken became known as “England’s first hymnist,” or England’s first hymn writer. His birthday is unknown (he was born in 1637), but his hymn “Praise God from Whom All Blessing Flow” – also called “the Doxology” – is one of the world’s best-known hymns. Churches throughout America and England sing the Doxology every Sunday.
Ken was born in London. After his parents died, he was raised by his married half-sister. From a young age, Thomas enjoyed both poetry and music. When he entered college, he joined music groups and was given solos in important choirs.
Thomas Ken felt strongly that his fellow students should spend time reading the Bible and praying every day. He felt so strongly about this that he wrote three songs about spending time with God. Until this point in history, there was no such thing as an English hymn. Christians had been taught to sing only the Psalms in church. When Ken introduced his three songs, people began singing hymns. The chorus of one of those songs is what eventually became known as the Doxology:
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Ken was eventually given the job – and honor – of being the chaplain for England’s King Charles II. He tried to point people to God with his life and spent time daily in devotions. He died on March 11, 1711.
In your mind, what does it mean to praise God? Do you praise God daily? Do you have a favorite hymn? Why do you think it is that your favorite hymn ministers to your heart?
Psalm 146:2 – While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.