by Pastor Tim Burt
It seems like everything is caving in around me. There have been times where you felt like that. Everyone has times like this in their life. God can feel so far away when circumstances get hurtfully bleak. I told someone feeling this way last week, Don’t you dare run from God right now. You run to Him! Psalms 34:19 (NKJV) says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them ALL!" That is a promise to stand on in faith!
If Jesus is your Savior, the first thing God is to you is a Heavenly Father. You are His child. He loves you as His child. Romans 8:15-17 (NLT) says it like this: “So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into His family—calling Him "Father, dear Father." For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children."
God wants you to believe Him for His best as you see in this continuing verse—“And since we are His children, we will share His treasures—for everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours, too.” And 2 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV) says, "I will be a
Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says
the Lord Almighty." This is your Heavenly Father! Run to Him!
When the early church was growing, it was under attack. Herod in wanting to please the Jewish leaders of that day, persecuted the Christian movement that seemed to be growing. For the early Christians, this life in Christ was all new to them. One of their leaders, James, had just been captured and killed by Herod. They were too young in the Lord to really know what to do. They could have easily felt abandoned by God and felt anything but His children. We read about it here:
Acts 12:1-4 NLT “About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John's brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish leaders, he arrested Peter during the Passover celebration and imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod's intention was to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover.”
Herod had just killed one of their main Christian leaders and now he apprehended the other—Peter, to publicly kill him. What started as great fellowship and unity for these Christians was turning into chaos. Their world was crumbing around them. There faith was greatly challenged. Was God really there behind the scenes?
What did these young Christians do? Acts 12:5 NIV says, “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” There is no mention of prayer for James. I don’t think they knew what to do at that point. This was all too new for them. James was killed. But, by the time Peter was apprehended, they got a clue. They got together to pray.
Let me park her for a minute. You might be in a hard place. You—like them, might begin to pray. But like them, you can’t see beyond your prayers. You can’t really see what God is doing. You can’t really see how He is working on your behalf in response to your prayers. Either you are holding up true prayers of faith and you trust the Lord, or you are putting out words of desperation with nothing more than desperate hope going forth. Hebrews 11 tells us that it is faith that pleases God because faith believes God and that He is working in your behalf!
So, while they are huddled in a room praying, what is going on behind the scenes? What is God doing? Let’s read and see:
Acts 12:6-19 NLT, “The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, chained between two soldiers, with others standing guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel tapped him on the side to awaken him and said, "Quick! Get up!" And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, "Get dressed and put on your sandals." And he did. "Now put on your coat and follow me," the angel ordered. So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn't realize it was really happening. They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate to the street, and this opened to them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him. Peter finally realized what had happened. "It's really true!" he said to himself. "The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jews were hoping to do to me!" After a little thought, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. 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!" "You're out of your mind," they said. When she insisted, they decided, "It must be his angel." Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally went out and opened the door, they were amazed. He motioned for them to quiet down and told them what had happened and how the Lord had led him out of jail. "Tell James and the other brothers what happened," he said. And then he went to another place.”
Do you see how God was working behind the scenes through their prayers of faith? God is working behind the scenes for you if you are drawing close to Him praying in faith! This is why Hebrews 13:5-6 NLT says, “…be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never forsake you." That is why we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper, so I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" Don’t panic! Pray in faith and trust Him!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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