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Why Are Women So Significant? T. D.

Jakes at WTAL 2011

God Has a Strategy For Your Life The Philippi (Philippian) Incident from the Book of Acts, Chapter 16
Acts 16:25 - where Paul and Silas sang in the jail cell - is a familiar verse. Generally, that is where we start our discussion. But it doesnt make sense. Why would someone who was snatched in the streets of Philippi; stripped of clothing; tortured; and then thrown into prison; why would they shout victory?! Im going to talk to you about the Philippi Incident: For the last 2-3 months, Ive been stuck to the Book of Acts. I cant seem to move past it. Im beginning to realize the power of the Word and what God wanted to do in the lives of Apostles. It is called the Acts of the Apostles, but it really should be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit. It is the strategy whereby the Holy Spirit launched an attack on the kingdom of hell to send 11 men and one more that eventually joined to spread the Word of God all over the world even before the internet and technology of that nature and it permeated the world. And to this day, the Bible is the most relevant Book in the world.

God has a strategy for your life. We are not our own.
For Paul, the Damascus Road experience blinded his natural sight to open up his spiritual sight. God chooses to shut down something to open another in our lives. Paul contributed more to the New Testament than those who had seen the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes. He was impacted outside of the church in a personal encounter with God on the street. You have to have a personal experience with God for yourself. God used Paul strategically for a divine purpose. Today, we see carefully orchestrated, organized churches with meetings, websites, structures. That is not what happens in Acts. Paul was not his own. When Paul wanted to go into certain parts of cities and Asia, the Holy Spirit shut the door and didnt allow him to go. God had him on a specific course. When your life is on a course, you cannot do what others do. It is because God has ordered your steps on that course. The same God who opens doors also shuts doors. We must be submissive enough to His will to understand that we are to rejoice when the doors open but also when the doors close. God closed doors for Paul to arrive at the right place at the right time for a divine purpose. Some of you have received promises from God, yet everytime you try to act on it, you find God says no. God held Paul back and closed him down. When Paul finally gave up on places that were conducive to his own agenda, that is when he received the vision to go to Macedonia. Some of you are stuck in frustration that everything you have tried to do was shut down. You need to thank God for every time it was shut down, there was a reason. When God shuts the door, it remains closed. It means you are so precious and purposeful to the plan of God that He doesnt want you to be anywhere in this season of your life where you will not be effective.

The absence of options is the presence of direction.

The door is open in Macedonia and all of a sudden, Paul is moved in that direction.

Paul was such a unique tool compared to the disciples or any of the apostles. He was an intellectual; he was articulate. He was a prolific writer, profound orator, alpha male, a Type A personality; an aggressive man. He wasnt intimidated. He was a tenacious, relentless man, and God used him in such a purposeful way. Even when Paul was wrong, he was strong. Even when he was killing Christians, he was strong. He was respected among the Aristocracy. He was diverse in his ability to interact and communicate with others. When you have a diverse skillset, God will not allow you to waste that resource. He will not pour new wine on an old wineskin. He will hold you back to be used to propel your destiny and purpose. God will put you where you are most effective. You wont have to do it; neither your team; nor your manager or marketer.
I - the Lord your God will open and shut the doors, and you will go where I tell you to go.

Macedonia was culturally what Rome was politically. It was the wellspring of cultural intellectualism. It was an area that was great in commerce. Its language had infiltrated the world. God sent Paul to Macedonia because whatever happens in Macedonia would affect the world. God chose to hold Paul back from going into the smaller areas, regions and cities for this very reason. He will hold you back from going to insignificant areas. It is so incredibly profound how Philippi a region in Macedonia that was named after Philip the II impacted the world. It did not have the political weight that Rome had. But Macedonia was powerful, and Philippi was a hub and carried the power of language, communications and speech in the midst of the province of Macedonia. God sent Paul to Philippi with a strategy. Paul would have thought that when he arrived in Macedonia, he would have been respected as an intellectual and that he would meet with the aristocrats and convene meetings with government as he did with Caesar in Rome. But every time that Paul tried to do something, the door was closed. Paul must have thought: God, why did you send me here? They always reject me. And Paul begins to walk away. But then he stops when he sees some women. Paul told himself: If I cant minister where I want to, I will minister where I can. One man in the midst of these woman at the river. To be in the company of woman during those times was an insult to his intellectualism. There were no emperors to support him. He comes to the river where the women gather to wash, drink, and bathe. And Apostle Paul begins to minister. See, if youre not too choosy about how and where God uses you; if you dont let society isolate you from Gods purpose - even if it means doing what others wont; saying what others wont God will use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.

God does not have a knee-jerk reaction. He has a plan and purpose. When He says no; thank Him. When He says wait; thank Him. When He says stop; thank Him.
God is a strategist. Think about John 1:1. God is an intellectual. You are pregnant with ideas and concepts for such a time as this. Begin to understand your God. He is an intellectual; He is unchanging. Your God has a strategy. Thank Him for the strategy wherever He takes you. God has a plan for your life.You will live without regret if you get this revelation. What makes hell tremble is when doors close and you still dance. God is up to something. Even when it looks like He isnt doing anything; He is up to something. Things will explode when you get to the right spot. If they dont hear you, its not the right time to speak. Stand still and see the hand of God!

Why Are Women So Significant?

Paul is hanging out with the women. Jesus sat down by the well too. Jesus and Paul knew something.
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. Youre worth waiting for. Youre worth crying for. Youre worth it! Youre 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 wont 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. Im telling you in the name of Jesus; let go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Lord sent me here to tell you: I dont know what circumstances youre 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? Thats 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 dont know who this is for, but God is going to put your feet in the river. Dont despise small beginnings. What starts at the ankle will have you swimming in no time. Meet me at the river. Im tired of dry places; dry relationships; dry churches. I want to be in the currency of Gods 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 womans 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 Lots 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 didnt 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 theres one thing about a woman If she decides she wants something, shes 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 dont 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 Lydias 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 riverwhile they were walking on the wa y, 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 dont. 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 theyre walking back. And she says something that didnt sound so offensive: Surely these men are sent from God to declare the wonderful works of God. Youll be surprised at how many people will develop language, lingo, movement, body language; just to fit in.

But when youre following the real thing and youre the fraudulent thing, the real thing will always be able to call out the fraudulent. You can have something that looks real on the outside like a bag, but if you look on the inside lining of it, its not a Fendi but a Wendy.
She was following behind Paul and everything on the outside looked good. Surely these men are sent from God. You dont have to fake it because if you fake it, it is a sign that you dont believe that you can have it. But you dont 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 cant 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 youve 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.

This woman never knew who she was. People do what they do when they dont know who they are. Everything she had been through all of her life was preparing her for this one moment. This one moment not only turned her life around, but it was the catalyst that God used to ignite the bomb that would detonate Philippi to spread the gospel in Greek from nation after nation after nation. When Paul delivered this woman, God set it off.

There is a deliverance that cannot be kept secret. When her masters tried to use her like they used to use her, it didnt work. When God destroys a stronghold, what used to affect you, destroy you, damage you, break you, cannot break you anymore. The men were so angry, they took him to the centre of Philippi, stripped and beat him. They snatched him off of the road from going back and forth on the road and

threw him in the centre of the city. They stripped, beat, and threw him in the jail. And they told the jail owners to watch them. Any time you take one of Gods anointed and throw them in the prison, and they start laughing, be worried! Suddenly Paul and Silas realized that everything they had been through was a setup to move them into a place of power to do what God had called them to do.

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.
When you see yourself in a jail, dont cry; dont worry; dont get depressed. Get your praise ON! Its a setup. Everything that was working against you was actually working for you; for God to get you to His purpose. Woman, thou art loosed! This is the place where God releases the glory that is going to turn around the rest of your life. One thing that Paul had going for him: Paul never glorified his affliction. He referred to these as light afflictions that last for a moment. You are looking at the wrong thing. You are looking at the person that betrayed you; stabbed you in the back; rejected you but it pushed you closer and closer to your destiny. For the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his ways.

And at midnight. Its 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 its still morning.Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
7:30 p.m. 7:45 p.m. 8 p.m..8:45 p.m 9:30 p.m. 10 p.m. 10:15 p.m 10:45 p.m 10:52 p.m.11 p.m. 11:15 p.m. 11:21 p.m. 11: 32 p.m 11:45 p.m 11:49 p.m. 11:50 11:55 11:57 11: 59.but 12 is not p.m.and at midnight.12 a.m. 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. Dont 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 its 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 Gods day doesnt start in the morning. Gods 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. Ill prove to you that Paul and Silas didnt 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: Im 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 dont 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 youve got to be in that flow.
I declare unto you that its 11:59 p.m. and this is a turning point. Step into it. Its a new day. Face forward!