What is so significant about them coming to women? Jesus waited all day for a woman like you. She was neither holy nor righteous. She had five husbands and a friend. But Jesus waited for her.
You’re worth waiting for. You’re worth crying for. You’re worth it! You’re significant! God sent his choice vessel – an intellectual – down to preach to the women.
Philippi was full of religiosity and idolatry that centred around gods of fertility. They worshiped ideas of fertility, and promiscuity was rampant. There were some Jews worshiping an invisible God. But the majority were worshiping idols; mystical religions; fetish religions; witchcraft; voodoo; Satanism and occult movements. In the midst of religious commerce, groups of women came to the river and started thinking: Surely there must be more to God than this. A bunch of women became sick and tired of being sick and tired. So Paul got down by the river where women pray.
There is something about women praying that will make God send his choice vessel. Jeremiah said it too. He sent for the women of mourning to come and take up wailing. Women are nurturers. They won’t let go of something easily.
When you give women a request, they hold it in the womb of their spirit. If I were to tell a brother, he would say: “Bless him, Lord; provide for his need; in the name of Jesus, Amen”.
But when a women prays (Bishop Jakes raises his voice): “Devil, you better let go of that. I’m telling you in the name of Jesus; let go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
The Lord sent me here to tell you: I don’t know what circumstances you’re going through. But whatever you said at the river, God told me to tell you that He heard you!
The Bible says the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. There is a correlation between waters moving and the Spirit moving.
Jesus said, “If you believe in Me, out of your belly shall flow rivers of living waters”.
The Spirit moves in a river; in a flow. Ezekiel said that a river broke out from the foundations of the temple. It came up to the ankle. The moving of the Spirit will start at the ankle, but if you are sensitive to the Spirit, you will be swimming in anointing; glory; victory.
Wisdom flows like a river. Knowledge flows like a river. Wealth flows like a river. Where did I get that from? That’s why they call it currency. How do wealthy people seem to know how to bounce back? Because they can get into the river. Once you find the river, you can get in the flow.
I don’t know who this is for, but God is going to put your feet in the river. Don’t despise small beginnings. What starts at the ankle will have you swimming in no time.
Meet me at the river. I’m tired of dry places; dry relationships; dry churches. I want to be in the currency of God’s blessing.
So the Apostle Paul met the women at the river.
Are you at the river? Then you are coming into a flow. No more sputtering of peace. No more sputtering of love. No more sputtering of revelation. You are going to be in a river. God brings Paul down to the river where the water flows; peace flows; life flows; prosperity flows…
Apostle Paul came down to the river; to the place where the women prayed. He encountered two women whom God would use to usher him into his destiny. The women are oxymorons of their femininity. They have nothing in common at all.
Lydia. The woman’s name is mentioned. If the Bible mentions the name, it is significant.
Think about it: What was the name of the woman at the well? How about the woman with the issue of blood? How about Lot’s wife! (LOL!)
The very fact that her name is mentioned is a statement that this is an extraordinary woman. She is brought into the text to express a woman of power. She was a woman of power in a society that denied women of power. She was a seller of perfume; a businesswoman. She was a woman of status, and yet she comes to the river to pray. As Paul came down to the river to teach, Lydia came down to hear him.
Lydia has direction and purpose. She is not identified by who she is married to. She had a vision and a company. She was respected for her business. She was devout. She prayed. She knew her society. For her to get to such heights in her society, she knew she didn’t get there by herself. She was blessed and grateful. She had a vision; a business; a house – likely large enough to entertain a guest.
But there was something missing in her life so she came to the river to seek something that her business or her notoriety could never give her. She came down where the women washed and prayed.
She hears Paul preaching and something about what he says strikes her. How specific, intelligent, didactic he was. It mesmerizes Lydia. Paul had something that she wanted. She decided that she was going to have that.
If there’s one thing about a woman… If she decides she wants something, she’s not going to stop until she gets what she wants. Like the woman at the well. Give me this water, she said. Or the woman with the issue of blood, who crawled on her belly. Or Martha and Mary who sent word to Jesus; knowing that if He came, the situation with Lazarus will change.
Lydia asked Paul: Baptize me and put me in the flow so that I can bury my past and rise up walking in the newness of life. So that I can seize my today and step forward into my destiny.
Please don’t let anything to stop you – your religion; intellectualism; anything. This is the time to step down and say: Take me under! Let the river flow!
Lydia and her whole household were delivered. And she said to Paul: you must stay at my house.
Because Paul put Lydia in the river, Lydia put Paul on the road. Paul started walking with Lydia back and forth on the road – from preaching at the river to staying at Lydia’s house; back and forth. As they were walking down the road, Lydia put him in the path that would open up the city; that would cause his ministry to explode.
While Paul was neither at the house nor at the river…while they were walking on the way, he ran into the second woman. She had no name; no business; probably had no house.
But we know what she was. She was at the river. She had been hanging out, but she was not one of them. She had developed the lingo of the sisters, but she was not one of them.
Lydia represents a woman of power; the second one represents a woman of pain. This pain-filled woman knew in her heart that she was really not one of them.
You can be with people and not really be one of them. God made us with a sociological impulse that causes us to feel a need to fit in and uncomfortable when we don’t. So we do a lot to fit in. Change hairstyle and clothing; and dye hair. Tuck this, pull that; liposuction. Just to fit in. She was following them, but she was not with them. She leaves the river and comes behind Lydia and Paul as they’re walking back. And she says something that didn’t sound so offensive: Surely these men are sent from God to declare the wonderful works of God.
You’ll be surprised at how many people will develop language, lingo, movement, body language; just to fit in.
She was following behind Paul and everything on the outside looked good. Surely these men are sent from God. You don’t have to fake it because if you fake it, it is a sign that you don’t believe that you can have it. But you don’t have to settle for a second-hand, counterfeit relationship. God is so near to you; YOU CAN HAVE IT!
Woman; thou art loosed!!!!
And the chains fell off; the bondages fell off. The pain; the struggles were gone. This women had a spirit of divination. She was cultish; bound; oppressed. The problem was not just that she had a demonic influence. This woman had been prostituted, not necessarily physically, but men had been using her gifts for their gain. Her relationship with them was based on what they could get from her. But Paul showed her what she could get. He laid hands on her and liberated her.
Free means you can’t control me anymore. Free means I recognize my purpose and destiny. Free means that I am not bound to anyone anymore. Ask yourself: Are you free or are you just making noise?
I break every bondage; curse; depression; suicide, in the name of Jesus. Never again; never be used like you’ve been used before. I break that bondage in Jesus’ name.
As important, as influential as Lydia may have been, she was not nearly as significant as this woman with no name. Lydia put Paul on the road, but this woman brought him into the city.
Every door that closed; every moment of rejection and betrayal; it was so that God could move you to a place so that He can use you like never before.
And at midnight. It’s about midnight being a turning point. It is a place when things turn around. A step from one day into another day. It may be dark, but it’s still morning. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
The conditions look the same. It was dark; real dark.
But in the midst of the darkness, the counter on the clock went forward to the new day.
So Paul and Silas said: Our conditions maybe dark, but our position has changed. And at midnight, Paul and Silas sang and gave praises unto God and suddenly, there was a shaking. Suddenly, there was a noise.
Don’t wait until daybreak to give God the praise. Praise Him in the dark. Praise Him! If you would stop adjusting your praise to what you see with your eyes, and stand in the same old mess and say: devil, it may look the same, but it’s a new day. The needle faces forward at 12. The clock ushers in a new day; a new date. This is going to be the place where God shakes the foundation of the thing that held you. This is going to be the place where your prison becomes your church house. Your misery becomes your ministry.
In the book of Genesis, there is a powerful revelation: God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night, so the evening and the morning were the first day. And the evening and then the morning. That means God’s day doesn’t start in the morning. God’s day starts in the night! I see why they sang and gave praise to God in the midnight. The jail cell burst open. The jailer got saved. His whole house got saved. I’ll prove to you that Paul and Silas didn’t try to escape. When the angels shook the prison, the jailer got scared that they had escaped, but Paul said: we are all here. Paul said: I’m not leaving this post. I went through all of that to get into this. There was a strategic military operation to get me here. The devil meant it for evil, but God is going to be glorified. Out of the jailhouse came the first church in Philippi.
The very same spot of your greatest agony will become your greatest ministry. I told my daughter: Do not be afraid of their faces. The place that hurt you the worst will be the very place that God will use you the most. You don’t have to wait until the sun rises to have joy. Start your party at 12 o’ clock.
There is a flow in this place. There is a mighty sweeping flow. And Naaman stepped into the flow; Jesus stepped into the flow; John the Baptist stepped into the flow. The yoke-breaking flow; the devil-chasing flow; the thirst-quenching flow. There is a flow in this place. Get in that flow. You had to fight to get in here. You had to struggle to make it here, but you’ve got to be in that flow.