And Now, Compelled By The Spirit, I Am Going To… ???

Region of MacedoniaSince having the vision of the flag that was for the former Yugoslavia, I continue to seek the Lord and do research. More than ever He keeps “randomly” crossing my path with things that connect to that area, including SERBIA, MACEDONIA and neighboring BULGARIA. (SURPRISE, SURPRISE!)

Along the way, I came to realize that MACEDONIA was one of the republics that made up the former Yugoslavia. MACEDONIA is indeed a country today, but it is also the name of a region that includes parts of Macedonia (the country), Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia/Kosovo. This includes the biblical cities of PHILIPPI and THESSALONIKI. As I did a scripture search for MACEDONIA, I found that the first mention of it is in Acts 16. And it reads as follows:

Acts 16:6-13
Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days.

I was very drawn to the fact that God stopped Paul from ministering in Asia (modern day Turkey), and through a vision he redirected him to MACEDONIA. Paul immediately obeyed. They ministered in many cities in the MACEDONIA region and left quite the turbulence IN THEIR WAKE. So much so in fact, that they were turned in to the magistrates of Philippi with the charge that: “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city.” LOL As a result, Paul and Silas were put in jail.

But SUDDENLY while they were praising God from their cell, there was an earthquake and the foundations of the prison were shaken and everyone’s chains were loosed. The prison guard and his entire household came to know Christ as a result! (Acts 16:25-34) This goes to show that we can’t underestimate God in any situation. Even things that look bad can be a set-up for God’s supernatural glory to manifest in the midst!

Acts 18 & 19 also reference MACEDONIA, referring to the coming and goings of Silas, Timothy and Earstus, while Paul continued through many cities of the MACEDONIAN region, cities in Greece and eventually goes back and visits several cities in Asia (modern day Turkey.) He suffers much persecution during these travels and often leaves a city because he is being chased out for causing such an uproar about Jesus…. but he’s leaving Jesus IN HIS WAKE!

Then in Acts 20 Paul yet again travels through MACEDONIA where he gathers many with him on his way back to minister in various cities in Asia (in modern day Turkey).

The fact that my study of MACEDONIA led me to Acts 20 is no mere coincidence.

In 2000, after only being saved one year, the Lord led me to this chapter and it spoke to me like no other Scripture has to date. The verses that resonated so deeply in me that day (and since) were verses 22-24 which I will get to in a minute.

But first…

A few years back God led me to Acts 20:7-12 to encourage me. It speaks of Paul while he was in Troas (a region in modern day Turkey). The Lord saw fit to specifically mention that:

  1. Paul spoke until midnight
  2. A man, sitting by a window, fell asleep while Paul was speaking and fell out the third story window and died. (Paul/God raised him from the dead)
  3. Then they went back upstairs and Paul talked until daybreak! (some translations say he talked on and on… LOL!)

Now, being a woman of many words (haha!) and with three strong spiritual gifts that ALL center on speaking (prophecy, encouragement and teaching)… you know the enemy has tried to shut my voice down over the years. I have heard more comments in my life about how much I talk and it easily could have shut me down. Now it is true that all gifts need to be tempered, and there is balance in everything, but IT SURE ENCOURAGED ME TO SEE PAUL DESCRIBED IN THIS FASHION! ♥

And with experiencing miracles, signs and wonders since my trip to Brazil, now the fact that Paul raised the guy from the dead jumps out at me like it didn’t before! That was one of those things I never believed I would really ever see. But now if I was in a situation like that, I HAVE FAITH TO PRAY FOR SOMEONE TO BE RAISED FROM THE DEAD! Even more of Acts 20 takes shape in my life personally! Wow! Talk about leaving something IN YOUR WAKE… a dead man raised to life! WOOHOO!

Now back to Acts 20:22-24 that I mentioned has impacted my life so greatly. Those verses refer to Paul when he was in Miletus getting ready to head to Jerusalem (and he states in Acts 20:25 that he will see them no more, for he knew in His Spirit the end was near and per Acts 21:13 he was ready & willing to be bound and die for the name of Jesus in Jerusalem):

Acts 20:22-24
 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

When God led me to this Scripture in 2000, I knew it would be the story of my life. I’m not saying I’m necessarily going to be imprisoned for the Gospel, but I recognize it certainly is possible. Other translations of this say “chains and tribulations await me” or “bonds and affliction await me”. What it tells me for certain is that it won’t be a glamorous journey.

But I set my heart like flint the day I read it that “I CONSIDER MY LIFE WORTH NOTHING TO ME.” Or as another translation says “NONE OF THESE THINGS MOVE ME, NOR DO I COUNT MY LIFE DEAR TO MYSELF.” I truly want nothing more than “to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

So as God would have it, in my research of MACEDONIA (as a result of the vision of the flag), I was led right back to where God had spoken to me 13 years ago. And I recognize how these years have been used as preparation for me to begin the journey. I believe with everything in me that this journey began in December with my trip to Brazil, and from this point forward there will be more trips, and more trips and more trips, until all I do is travel to preach the gospel. I know God will do this. And I will simply obey as Paul did, going where He tells me to go, and avoid where He tells me to avoid.

One of many things I’ve learned in 13 years is that I no longer desire a well known ministry like I used to. I realize that being accessible for invitations to speak can be very effective and used by God to reach those He intends for me to reach. And speaking to larger audiences can also be effective and accomplish the will of God. So I will likely always have a website and way of contacting me so I can prayerfully seek the Lord’s guidance. But in all reality, my heart’s desire is to just travel like Paul did… unannounced… and preach to whosoever I come in contact with… in the streets, on planes, trains, or ships, and hidden in houses on the third floor where the local authorities are unaware.

What is most important whether traveling the globe or traveling across your local town in your day to day life, is what you leave IN YOUR WAKE. This is why www.inyourwake.net was formed ~ to spread the word and make people conscious about what they are leaving in their wake. Often we are afraid of causing “turbulence”… afraid we might get fired… afraid we might be asked to leave… WELL, PAUL LEFT TURBULENCE EVERYWHERE HE WENT! He was jailed, flogged, and kicked out of many places. But He was obedient to God. Are all called to this level of sacrifice? Probably not. HOWEVER, that doesn’t limit our responsibility to SEEK GOD at ALL TIMES and be ready to OBEY His lead REGARDLESS of the consequences.

I know I am called to the nations. Brazil was my first taste of traveling internationally for the gospel, and I can barely think of anything else since.  And now, in my research of MACEDONIA, I found a trip with Georgian & Winnie Banov of Global Celebration to the region of MACEDONIA, primarily GREECE, BULGARIA and TURKEY, traveling every few nights to a different city doing gospel outreaches which includes praying for the sick, feeding the hungry and bringing the tangible love of Christ and His saving power to the lost and seemingly forgotten gypsy communities of the region. WOW! I hope to go on a trip like this soon! Here is a sample itinerary:  (http://www.globalcelebration.com/Footsteps-of-Paul-2013) I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will go on a trip similar to this at some point in time. He is faithful and when it’s time, He will provide. There are certain things you feel like FIRE burning inside of you when you see them, and this is one of them.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my heart and I ask if you would please keep my future in your prayers. I know I am called to the take the gospel to the nations, and like Paul “I know not what will happen to me there.” (Acts 20:22) But I trust God to lead me every step of the way…. “if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24)

Many blessings to you!

Mary

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About Mary L'Esperance Held
http://www.maryloveslife.org

2 Responses to And Now, Compelled By The Spirit, I Am Going To… ???

  1. lorilaws says:

    Mary, I am sooo excited for you! What an incredible journey it will be as you obey the Lord! Some things you’ve written have been a confirmation to what’s going on with me… praise God! I will keep your future in my prayers. You go girl!!!

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