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Peter & John — Acts 12:11-19

Acts 12:11-19
11 Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”
12 When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. 13 He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!”
15 “You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.”
16 Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. 17 He motioned for them to quiet down and told them how the Lord had led him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers what happened,” he said. And then he went to another place.
18 At dawn there was a great commotion among the soldiers about what had happened to Peter. 19 Herod Agrippa ordered a thorough search for him. When he couldn’t be found, Herod interrogated the guards and sentenced them to death. Afterward Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.

Dear God, I love the image of people sitting in a room praying together for Peter’s release, a woman comes in and tells them that Peter is at the door, and they tell her she’s crazy and then turn around and try to start praying again. I guess when verse 15 says they decided, “It must be his angel,” that tells us that they thought he might already be dead. They’ve just lost James and then Peter was arrested. I’m sure they had been rocked to their core.

I guess what can really be said for them is that they were praying and although they were limited in their knowledge of your power they were praying as big as they knew how. And I suppose you were able to take that prayer and then insert your own power to make it as big as you needed it to be. It’s a little like what I talked to you about a couple of days ago regarding the difference between how we would have planned salvation through the Messiah and how you planned it. Our human paradigms and minds are limited. You are unlimited.

The Bible is full of examples like this. David knew he would one day be king, but I’m sure he never imagined how complicated his path to the throne would be. And I’m sure that he wondered if he had missed it when he was forced to live in exile with Israel’s enemies. But your plan was bigger.

There are, of course, tons of other examples. Jonah and Nineveh. Daniel probably never imagined he would survive the lion’s den. Moses probably didn’t expect to have to go through the Red Sea.

I’ve seen it happen in my life too. I’ve seen you answer prayers that I had no idea I was praying. I’ve seen you move when I had lost hope that anything could be done. I’ve seen you orchestrate things together for your glory and my good.

Father, I suppose my job is to just keep praying, even in my limited ignorance. I heard about a tragedy that happened here on Sunday when a four-year-old was accidentally run over by his uncle at a family Christmas celebration. I cannot imagine the trauma for everyone involved. I just can’t imagine it. I can’t imagine how you can redeem that situation and heal the hearts involved, but I come to you now to pray for them. I pray for the parents. I pray for the uncle. I pray for the aunt who unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate the child. I pray for the EMTs who arrived on the scene. Please be with all of these people. I literally don’t know how to pray for them. I just know that they need you as their comforter right now. Please help them.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2018 in Acts, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — Acts 12:5-11

Acts 12:5-11 NIV
[5] So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. [6] The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. [7] Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. [8] Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. [9] Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. [10] They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. [11] Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

Dear God, we all need affirmations in the midst of a struggle. Mary and Joseph needed them with Jesus’ birth and you gave them to them with the shepherds, the prophecies at his temple dedication, and the wise men. Jesus needed it with his road to crucifixion in Jerusalem so you have him the transfiguration. Now Peter needed it with the death of Jameson’s his own imprisonment and you gave him this rescue by an angel. Sometimes we just need to see you tangibly move to feel that affirmation.

I remember back at the end of 2005, my wife and I had been through a lot over the previous three years and you did some wondrous things for us that year. At one point I asked if she would write them down and record them so we wouldn’t forget.

This year, you have done several things to show us that you are hearing and answering our prayers after years of struggle and we have tried to acknowledge your signs of affirmation. I think I said this to you recently, but it has reminded me of the Keith Green song “The Prodigal.” In the song, after the son returns, the prodigal’s father says, “I prayed and prayed, never heard a sound. My son was lost, oh thank you, God, he’s found.”

Father, there have been times that I’ve felt like I was praying into silence, but I knew I wasn’t. And I’ve seen you answer prayers, both professionally and personally, in ways I never imagined you would or even could. Thank you. Thank you for even caring. Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for saying yes to some things and no to Thera, according to your wisdom. Thank you for your love. Thank you for encouraging and affirming my wife and me am giving us a sense of your favor and blessing.

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2018 in Acts, Peter and John

 

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