Acts 12:17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold
their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.
And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he
departed, and went into another place.
We have been studying the miraculous escape of Peter the night
before he was to be executed for loving Jesus. The angel had showed up in his
prison cell and led him out of the prison supernaturally and Peter had gone to
Mary’s house where he thought they might be meeting and praying and they were.
Rhoda came to the door when Peter knocked and was so excited she ran back into
the house without letting Peter in and they didn’t believe it was Peter until
they saw him. Now in verse 17 Peter begins to tell them about the goodness
of Father God and his prison deliverance.
That is what we are called to do, testify about what God has done for us. Every one of us has been in a prison of some kind in our lifetime and we are called to tell others of the good news of our deliverance. Our testimony encourages others because they know if God did it for us; He will do it for them. There is great power in personal testimony. Our job is to tell and then the Holy Spirit will do His part after that but we must go and tell.
Someone in the same prison you were in is waiting for a word of HOPE and we must not hold back any longer but rather share the good news of what Father God has done for us.
18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.
Peter became the talk of the town, this news spread like wildfire. The guards were there, the prison cell still shut, the prison gate shut, but where was Peter?
19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.
A sad commentary for the guards and their families but when a miracle happens, people will believe or they will become hardened in their hearts. When people become hardhearted they will begin to kill those around them (most of the time spiritually with negative words of doubt and unbelief). Friend, continue to be careful who speaks into your life. Words are powerful and the most dangerous words that can penetrate your heart are words of doubt and unbelief.
In the next few verses we see the darkness inside of Herod and it was simply PRIDE.
20 And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country. 21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. 22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
Pride, the downfall of so many; pride, an enemy we must all learn to hate and destroy in our lives. Greater than the false gods of this world is pride that tries to set up a kingdom in our heart. Many times we make fun of those worshipping Buddha but we worship
Pride is what caused Lucifer to get kicked out of heaven. Pride is what caused Adam to disobey. Pride is what caused Samson to go where he shouldn’t go. Pride in Saul’s
heart caused him to miss his destiny and we could go on and on proving pride
(selfishness) is the root of all sin. Pride is centered around self, in fact the middle letter in pride is “I”. Pride is when it’s about what I want, what I thought, what I perceived to be true instead of what does Father God want for me, what does Father God want me to do, what does Father God say.
Then we read this truth; 24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had
fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
The early church is being persecuted BUT God’s Kingdom grew and multiplied. The persecution had taken the church from daily addition to multiplication. If we are going to multiply then we must be willing to be persecuted for the gospel but it’s worth it.
Prayer Points: Father God, help me with the power of the Holy Spirit and the Blood of Jesus to destroy pride in my life. Help me to yield myself fully to your Kingdom in Jesus Name!
What a supernatural and divine deliverance we have been reading and studying in Acts 12! Peter, about to be beheaded the next day, is visited by an angel and delivered from the prison supernaturally. The Holy Spirit reminded me of this truth early Tuesday morning; when it seems like you are the closest to total destruction with no hope, it’s then that you are really closest to your greatest breakthrough. Three Hebrew children about to be burned alive, it was too late seemingly but God had already made a way. Friends, the good news is this, God has already made a way for you also.
12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
Peter is now standing outside the prison on the street and finally decides that he will go to Mary’s house because if anyone is up at this time and praying for him, it will be Mary. Aren’t you thankful for the Marys in your life that you know are praying for you? As a pastor, it is such a blessing to know there are people praying for us daily and if you are not, please do so. We need your prayer covering and so do others in your circle. Let them know you are covering them in prayer; it will greatly encourage them in their spiritual walk.
Then this story gets a little comical, let’s read; 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 14 And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
It’s dark, probably after midnight, and Peter is standing at Mary’s house trying to get in without waking up the neighborhood or bringing attention to himself. They are in the house praying for Peter’s deliverance when Peter knocks and Rhoda comes to the door and knows it’s Peter’s voice and she is so excited she runs back to the room where they are praying and tells them Peter is out of prison and standing at the gate. Imagine what Peter is thinking, someone please let me in.
15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
This is so amazing to me, they are praying for this deliverance and now it has happened and they are having trouble believing it!
Someone should have run to the door doing a Holy Ghost dance but they stood there having a discussion whether it’s Peter or Peter’s angel. This part blows my mind; if I can muster up the faith to believe its Peter’s angel knocking on my door, then surely I can believe its Peter! It’s so amazing that we can pray in faith but react in doubt. Friends, if you are going to pray, pray in faith knowing God is going to bring to pass what you are asking for. As long as you ask in faith according to God’s Word then you have the right to expect it to come to pass. Faith simply believes God’s Word to manifest in your life when you ask in faith.
Continue to picture the scene, it’s dark, it’s late and Peter is still standing there waiting for someone to let him in; 16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. I must ask would they have been less astonished if it had been Peter’s angel.
Friends, we should never lose our awe of Father God and His Presence and his power but at the same time we should be expecting the miraculous to take place in our lives. We must firmly believe this, if God said it, then it’s settled so I need to believe it. If the Bible declares we can lay hands on the sick and see them recover then we need to believe it when we lay hands on the sick (Mark 16).
We have been called to the miraculous so we must not only believe it but expect it. Expect cancers to fall off, expect the blind to see, expect the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, expect families to be restored, expect the intervention of God’s power when it seems like all is lost and there is no way out. I’ve said it before and many others have said it but Expectation is the Breeding Ground for Miracles.
There has never been a day in which you have awakened that a miracle was not available. Learn to expect miracles in your daily lives because we serve a God of miracles who loves us so much and who desires to demonstrate his power in our lives. God is not short on miracles and there is never a shortage in His miracle working power.
Prayer Points: Father God help us to believe your word to the point where we wake up each day expecting you to perform it. Remove any doubt or unbelief in our life that would block your word from coming to pass in our lives in Jesus Name.
For the past two weeks we have been discussing the supernatural peace of God we can live in even during the storms of life. In Acts 12 Peter found himself imprisoned for nothing he had done wrong but due to the fact that someone wanted to kill him because it pleased the religious people, He was about to be martyred the next morning but the church prayed and then we read this: 7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
As the body of Christ (the church) prayed, the prayers allowed an angel to be dispatched from heaven to deliver Peter from the prison which his enemies had assigned him. Many times in the Bible we read where people would pray and angels would be dispatched. I’m thankful for the angelic fighting force of heaven that God sends for the defense and deliverance of His children. Abraham prayed and an angel led Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus prayed in the garden and angels came down and minister to him.
Jacob had a dream in Gen 28:12 and we read; And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. This shows the activity in the heavenly realms, angels coming and going from this people planet but it’s all activated by believing prayers of the saints of God. I’ve always believed in angels even though I have never physically seen one but I’m thankful for so many who have literally seen the angels especially recently in our family church services. More than one person has seen four angels whom I believe have been assigned to The Bridge Family. The heavens are open and the river is flowing. God’s presence is so powerful! I believe every church has angels assigned to help each body fulfill the Kingdom purpose of each local body but they are activated by prayer.
An angel showed up in the prison where Peter was being guarded; the devil cannot construct a prison which keeps God out. God got in the fiery furnace, God got in the den of lions, God got in the tomb of Lazarus, God got in the tomb of Jesus and Father God can do the same for you.
The angel got in the well guarded, well secured prison and found Peter sleeping and had to hit Peter on the side and even help raise him up. I love picturing this, Peter in a peaceful sleep and felt someone tugging on him and finally helped him up and when he got up, the shackles fell off of him. Friend, the first step in getting out of your prison is getting up.
Sometimes (not in Peter’s case) when we are caught in the middle of the storm and the waves are splashing and the wind is howling louder than God’s voice, that you are trying to hear, it’s easy to stay down or stay under the circumstance but you must get up. We are made to trample on the demonic forces of hell not for hell to trounce on us. Listen carefully, many times the storm comes when you are by yourself and there is no one to pick you up, it’s then that you must pick yourself up. Change your atmosphere by charging the atmosphere with the Word of God and the power of Praise & Worship. When you feel the least like reading the word and praising Father God is when you need to do it the most.
Paul and Silas at midnight prayed and sang praises in the prison and God sent an earthquake to swing open every prison door and to destroy the foundation of the prison ensuring it would never imprison them again. There would have been no earthquake except for the fact that Paul and Silas got up.
So Peter gets up and then we read in verse 8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. Let me explain this verse, the angels said, “Get your clothes on, we are getting out of here and put your coat on also”. Friends, sometimes we are just not ready to get out of our pouting prison because we like the attention our prison brings to us. It’s time we get sick and tired of being sick and tired and begin to walk in the deliverance God has promised us and sent to us.
What a sight! Peter bound but yet sleeping between soldiers and sleeping so soundly, he has to be awakened and told to get dressed. Can you imagine the thoughts Peter was thinking? Is this real? Go back to sleep, it’s just a dream? Regardless of what he was thinking God had shown up and listen my friend He is showing up for you in your storm also. Your best is here, revival is exploding, believe it now!
Prayer Points: Father never allow me to live in the prison of doubt and unbelief, but remind me to get up in faith so You can get me out of this prison I’ve been living in.
Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
I want to continue our weekly devotion on the thought of supernatural peace in the storm. We find Peter who was about to be martyred the next morning full of peace, sleeping bound between soldiers with chains. What he was facing did not keep him up at night because he knew God was up working on his behalf.
As we get in full swing of the holiday season, it’s joyous, it’s exciting, it’s beautiful but if you begin to focus just on the season it can be stressful. Our bodies were not built for stress and it has been proven by medical science that stress can cause the following in our bodies; ulcers, hair loss, pain, heart problems, sleep problems, digestive problems, obesity, skin conditions, auto-immune disease and with more possibilities.
The devil uses stress to steal, kill and destroy what God want us to have according to His word which is a peace that passes natural understanding according to Phil. 4:7. Once again the promise of
Phil. 4:7 is boxed in with conditions to be met. In verse six, we find the conditions of prayer, presence, thanksgiving, trust while verses 8 commands us to only think on Godly things. We must learn to turn our stress into rest, relying fully on the power and presence of the Lord. Because of God’s promises we do not have to live in stress!
I feel a need to go deeper, let’s talk about stress for just a moment:
Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or that upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body's defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response.
The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.
The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.
I found this chart our about stress as I studied for this devotion and felt a need to share it:
Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms
Stress is a killer, a robber of time, energy and life itself. Learn to destroy stress before stress destroys you and robs you of what Father God wants you to enjoy. Just as Peter slept the night before his scheduled execution and just as Jesus slept in the midst of the storm on the boat, so too can we enjoy the life God has given us despite our dilemma. Nothing or no one is greater than the God you serve but the battlefield is the mind.
Over four hundred times the word peace is mentioned in God’s Word and I want you to be convinced of this truth; God is for you and His desire is that everyone of His children walk in peace regardless of the storm they are facing. Jesus even while on the cross had peace. Stephen while being stoned had peace and so can we.
Prayer Points: Holy Spirit help me to control my thoughts instead of my thoughts controlling me. Help me to walk in the promises of Father God’s Word and live in supernatural divine peace in Jesus Name.