Faith on Fire – Week 15
Wow, how have we made it to week 15 of this series!!! I am always amazed at how quickly the series fly by, and I wonder if you have been inspired in any way by the faith of those early Christians? We had another verse to encourage, inspire and challenge us this week:
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 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.” Acts 12:5 and 7
A Reminder of What Our God is Like…..
In these verses, we are reminded that the Lord God whom we serve is strong to rescue us, however impossible and hopeless the situation might seem. By the grace of God we will be kept and held through all the challenges, doubts and fears. As I wave my two eldest children off to University again this week after 5 months at home, to navigate the uncertain waters of this pandemic “new normal”, as the laundry basket overflows again, as the to-do list grows to epic proportions, I lose sight of this very often.
Peter was in prison, in chains, and in danger. One soldier on each side of him 24/7, bound with two chains, guarded ferociously by two other sentries in a dingy cell. What was he doing on this Passover night in the darkness? Cowering in fright, his mind whirling with thoughts of what might happen to him when Herod summoned him? No, Peter was asleep. Soundly, peacefully. An angel bursts in. His prison cell flames with blazing light. And still Peter needs the equivalent of a sharp angelic dig in the ribs, to wake him up and lead him out of prison. Maybe we sometimes don’t see what God is doing in our lives, even when it’s right in front of us…
Anyway, I am glad of this reminder that whatever life throws at us, in the end we can be sure of God’s promise that He is with us, and that He will lead us out of darkness into His glorious light.
Though tears may fall,
And struggles rage in our hearts,
We will trust in you
O God our Redeemer.
For this we know and dare to speak out:
Neither life, nor death, nor danger,
nor coronavirus, nor lockdown,
nor fear of the future, nor illness,
nor money worries, nor family problems,
nor prison cell, nor floods, nor fire –
can separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
He hears our unspoken prayers,
breaks our hidden chains,
draws us out of darkness.
So let’s call once more
To the One who sees the end from the beginning
And sense His gentle whisper,
“You are Mine.
The Constant Promise
In this verse we see Peter unable to move, chained and surrounded on all sides. He can’t go left or right, forward or back. Yet he sleeps and while he sleeps God is at work (Psalm 121:4), in fact, the persistent prayers of the church (James 5:16, Phil 4:6), are such that God sends His angel.
Peter is in the most terrible predicament were he to stay imprisoned he would be facing certain death. Herod a king driven by vanity for popularity is more than prepared to sacrifice the ordinary man for it as he did with James. And yet, Peter still sleeps.
This verse is so reassuring that even in the midst of our worst day God has it covered He reaches down for us. Romans 8:38 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
I submit that the biggest prisons we chain ourselves to is the one in our minds. Sometimes we can isolate from those who would help us but even when we do God is faithful to free us and send help. Unfortunately, we can get comfortable with the familiar and return voluntarily to the prison of our minds.
I love the extraordinary precision of Gods timing. His mercy and grace always arrive when we need it and irrespective of how we perceive it. There’s a maturity in submitting to the will of God for our lives.
This verse houses a warning about hypocrisy and religiosity because it was Jewish leaders who were courting Herod during Passover to commit murder, however it was Peter who had submitted himself to Gods will supported by intercessional prayer, that survived the danger which did indeed pass over him.
In this pandemic season as we are released from our physical restrictions, and mental prisons; I wonder, what we are carrying forward. What chains do we need to let go of and step out into the light?
Thank you so much ladies!! It may have been a day late, but so inspiring. Next week we will be meditating on the following verse:
“On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the LORD. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.” Acts 13:44-45
I hope you will join us over in Facebook to discuss this during the week!