I always prayed early in the morning on the flat rooftop of my house, travailing for my family and friends. I wanted them to know the one true God I had discovered while selling my purple cloth to my Jewish friends. They said they needed the cloth for their Temple. I realized later they were a blessing from God, and I accepted their orders with thanksgiving.
One particular morning, I remember a glorious sun rose over the mountains in Thyatira. Like a worn-out royal Macedonian tapestry, thin clouds veiled the eastern sky. At first the sky was a deep-violet color—similar to my purple dye-stained hands; but then, as every moment passed, the colors changed, following the scheme of a rainbow.
The city started to wake up, but I ignored the distracting sounds of merchants getting their wares ready for sale. Dogs barked; children laughed; metal pieces clanged together. Thyatira was replete with artisans of all kinds who made and sold their creations for the worship of false gods.
I knew God was going to do something special that day—I felt it deep within my heart—and I was simply thankful for the truth that there is only one true God. I lifted up my purple-stained hands toward the sun, and just stood there, smiling for several minutes. When I felt my arms getting tired, I whispered, “Thank You, God.”
I grabbed my favorite purple prayer shawl, and then made my way down to the riverbank to meet my Jewish friends for prayer and fellowship.
“Lydia, Lydia!” Diana called out to me. We met, and embraced with a warm hug. “It’s so good to see you. I heard you were ill?”
“I was sick for a couple of days, but it has passed, thank God.”
“Thank God! We’ve been praying for you.”
“Oh, I know—God has answered your prayers. I feel so much better.”
We were interrupted by a shout from a man on a small boat heading slowly down the river. He was with another man. “Hello there! Are one you ladies Lydia from Thyatira, the seller of purple cloths?”
I answered, “I am Lydia! Please come to shore so we can speak in person.”
Diana tried to caution me, “But Lydia, you do not know these men—they could be thieves or?”
“Oh, my sweet Diana, it is nothing like that. God is about to do something wonderful here.”
The men landed the boat and secured it. “Hello, Lydia. My name is Paul, and this is Silas.”
I immediately interrupted and said, “And God has sent you here to speak to us.”
Paul looked at Silas with eyebrows raised, and Silas simply nodded in the affirmative.
“Yes, He has sent us here. Grace be unto you.”
“And to you as well, Paul and Silas! Please sit down and share with us the message of hope.”
“We are in the region of Macedonia because recently the Lord gave me a vision of a man standing, pleading, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us!’ Silas and I immediately changed our plans and headed this way.”
“We are so thankful you did.”
“So, this group of ladies regularly meets here for prayer?”
“Yes, we do. We’ve been praying for the revelation of the truth of one God to sweep through our city; especially for our family and friends. This region has a long tradition of worshipping and serving false gods.”
Paul stood up, and stretched, and continued, “Let me tell you my story. I was once known as Saul, the prosecutor and hater of Christians.”
“What are ‘Christians’?” I asked out of sheer curiosity.
“They are the followers of Christ. Jesus is the Messiah—the Christ—the flesh or the Son of the one true living God.”
I couldn’t help it, and got excited. “How can we know Jesus? What must we do?”
It was then the Lord opened my heart to hear what Paul was saying spiritually.
“Repent—turn from your wicked ways with tears and turn toward God. I see that this group has already repented. Then, be baptized in His name—the name of Jesus Christ—for there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved. Then He will give you the gift of His Spirit living within you.”
“Let’s do this right now, right here in the river.” And we were baptized.
Later, my entire family was baptized.
I begged Paul and Silas to stay at our home, and they finally agreed.
--bro. tim pickl
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