5 But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
— Acts 12:5 NLT
Jesus had instructed Peter to feed His sheep. He was basically appointing Peter as the leader of the church after His ascension. He had also told Peter that satan desired to “sift him as wheat”. That is a metaphor meaning that satan wanted to separate Peter from the others like a farmer separates the chaff from the wheat when he winnows it. By stirring up King Agrippa to have Peter arrested and put in jail, satan was attempting to sift Peter. The leaders of the Jews were recruited by satan and joined by encouraging Agrippa in his acts of persecution. Peter was chained in prison with sixteen guards assigned to do nothing but watch him. God sent an angel to free Peter from his chains and they walked right past all of those guards. Peter thought it was a dream or a vision until they gates to the city swung open of their own accord and the angel left Peter. I can imagine that about the time Peter realized that it was for real, he probably remembered that Jesus also said “but I have prayed for you”. Jesus had prayed, was now at the right hand of God praying and the whole church was praying late into the night. God had a plan for Peter and Jesus had prepared Peter for that plan. The enemy’s plans to thwart God’s plans were defeated because of prayer. All the demons of hell and the earthly recruits were not enough to overcome the prayers of a handful of saints. We need to be prayer warriors and spend more time praying fervently for God to rescue our nation and keep our families safe. God is able to protect us and provide for us when He selects us for Kingdom work. We will not be defeated!
9 In the night I search for you; in the morning, I earnestly seek you. My soul wants to be with you at night, and my spirit wants to be with you at the dawn of every day. — Isaiah 26:9a NLT
Isaiah 26:7-12 NLT
Do you remember the first person you were infatuated with or really in love with? Do you remember how often and how much you thought about them? From morning to night to morning, they were the last person on your mind before you went to sleep and the first person on your mind when you woke up. You couldn’t wait to get to school just to see that person. Do you remember walking down the hall carefully watching to see that person and to see if they were looking for you? If they smiled at you, do you remember that feeling you got? As that relation grew and liking turned into loving, do you remember never wanting to let a day go by without telling that person that you loved them. That is what God wants from each of us. He wants us to go to sleep talking to Him or thinking about Him and wake up in the morning with our hearts and our spirits longing to spend time with Him. Do you imagine God watching you sleep and smiling? We should because He really is a “good, good Father, that’s who He is”. We should make sure that we speak to Him early and often. We need to tell Him out loud that we love Him and thank Him for all of His goodness throughout the day. If we practice doing this, we will have that “peace that passes all understanding” and the joy way down deep inside that no one can take away.
15 I will make you and the woman enemies to each other.Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies. One of her descendants will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.” — Genesis 3:15 NCV
God made satan a promise before He cast him out of the garden. God always fulfills His promises. That descendant of woman that God spoke about was Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross and said “It is finished”, the final blow was dealt to the head of all evil at the foot of the cross. It was crushed by the weight of the love of Jesus as He died for all mankind. We need to bring all of our sins, doubts and fears to the foot of the cross and allow Jesus to crush them for us. Lay them down and leave them there, Jesus will take care of the rest. But there are some good things that we need to bring to the cross and ask Jesus to watch over them and protect them. When we bring these things to Jesus we don’t leave them at the foot of the cross, we place them in the palm of His hand. When He receives those things from us they are placed under the loving care of the Father and legions of angels.
16 “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me
. — Isaiah 49:16 NASB
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. — Psalm 91:14 NLT
What an encouraging thought to know that God has promised to rescue those that love Him and protect those who trust in His name. No other entity of any kind can make such a brash claim and then live up to it without ever failing. There will be times in our lives when our parents can’t rescue. our friends can’t protect us but God will be there to deliver us from every evil. Nations have trusted in other so-called gods only to find that they have no power. Man-made idols have hands but they can’t touch or feel us, they have feet but they can’ run to your assistance in times of need. They have mouths but they can’t speak to us., they have ears but they can’t hear us. Only our God, the Creator of the universe and every thing in it is able to do exactly what He says He will do and nothing or nobody can stop Him from fulfilling every promise. So, let us run to Him and allow Him to protect us and provide everything we need. He is waiting with open arms.
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. — James 5:16b NLT
As small tots and children, we were taught prayers word for word. There were prayers to say before the meals we ate and prayers to say before we went to bed at night. These are wonderful experiences and great memories. But just as we moved from the “Dick and Jane” books, there comes a time when our prayers should become more personal. We are still presenting the same issues to God but now instead of rote memory, they should be from a heart that understands and knows that God not only hears our prayers but He answers them. Most of us may have had more faith that God would answer our prayers then than we do now. Those were prayers from innocent hearts and minds. Now, we have a lifetime of sins and doubts to overcome. But God is still the same God we prayed to when we were children and we must approach Him with that same childlike faith. We must become as little children in the Kingdom of God. Part of that process is to understand that all of our sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus. God sees each of us as the righteousness of Christ. So, when we pray let us believe that we are righteous people, that God hears our prayers and that our prayers do have great power. Not because of us, but because of Jesus and His work that He finished at the cross. We can know that our prayers have great power because Jesus is at the right hand of the Father praying with us and the Holy Spirit is praying through us and for us.
21 I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends.
22 For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return. — Job 16:21,22 NLT
Here and in other verses in this book, it is as if Job gets a glimpse of the future and the plan that God has in place to redeem fallen man. Job realizes that it is useless for a man to argue with God. We need a mediator and God had a plan in place to provide one for us. We are certainly free to state our case in any situation. When we are speaking to God, we should always be as honest as both Job and David. They were not afraid to pour out their disappointments to God. They did not blame God. However, just as we do, they questioned why God allowed certain things to happen in the life of His children. But when we do this, we must realize that we are in the presence of the Almighty God. We can be bold but at the same time, we must be humble and ready to accept His answers. God listens carefully, but He does not negotiate. In the end, we, like Job and David, must come to the conclusion that God is God and He truly knows what is best for us. We all must go through the valleys and the dark nights. But the key thing for us to remember is that we are going through, we are not going to be there forever. For every valley, there are two mountains and for every dark night, there is light on both sides. As the McKameys sing, “the God on the mountain is still God in the valley and the God of the daytime is still God in the night”. Do not be discourage or dismayed, our God will never leave us alone and He will never forsake us.
30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” — Acts 8:30 NLT
When the persecutions of the Christians started in Jerusalem, the believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Philip had been preaching and teaching about Jesus in Samaria. When Peter and John arrived, an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip and told him to go south along the road to Gaza. On his way, he met an eunuch from Ethiopia. This eunuch had been to Jerusalem to worship. He was reading aloud from a scroll of the Old Testament. This particular scroll contained the book of Isaiah. Since he had been to worship in Jerusalem and was in possession of a Biblical scroll and reading it aloud, we can safely assume two things. He was familiar with the Jewish religion and he was searching for something. So God had been preparing the heart of this eunuch to receive the Good News for some time. I think we can safely assume that God had big plans for this eunuch when he returned to Ethiopia, but whether God had big plans for the eunuch or just wanted to save the eunuch is not the point. The point is that God’s plans for Philip and the eunuch intersected at this point. The eunuch was seeking understanding of the Scriptures and God sent a man to him who could explain those Scriptures. Every day, our live intersect with other lives. This was, is and will always be God’s plan for spreading the Good News. Are we prepared to instantly obey? Are we prepared to explain God’s plan of salvation to those whose paths we cross? If not, why not spend some time today preparing to do just that? There is a heavenly reason that you are where you are today. It didn’t just happen. Look around you, there are lost people that you have been sent to speak to. God has prepared their hearts to hear and He has given you the words of life to speak to them, therefore speak.