“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.””
Acts 12:5-8 NKJV
One of the dangers of being a Christian is the potential to focus on the temporal and not the spiritual. We become so caught up in this world that we forget that there is truly a God in Heaven, that He is alive and that He is watching.
We forget that Jesus is at His right hand, working through His church and fully aware of the issues and actions being formed in our hearts.
“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.”
Psalms 139:1-4 NKJV
Unlike the disciples, we are far removed from the physical presence of the God/Man, Jesus, and we have become used to connecting with the faith in principle, but not tangibly. We are overwhelmed by day to day life and unbelief creeps into us.
Once again in the book of Acts, this time in chapter 12, I see the account of Peter being placed in prison. During his time there, the church was deep in prayer for him as they knew of the danger he was in, as James had already been martyred.
They were praying in faith, with the expectation that Jesus was hearing. They did not know the answer, but they knew that He was faithful.
The spiritual realm entered the physical, as an angel appeared and freed Peter from his chains. He was supernaturally liberated from a man made situation, to the glory of God. After his freeing, he went to the house where those who were praying for him were staying
“So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.””
Acts 12:12-15 NKJV
Prayers had been answered, and like us today, they were surprised. I can imagine Rhoda standing there, mouth agap and eyes agog, staring at Peter, barely able to breath.
I suspect that we are going to see things in the coming weeks, months and maybe years, that we would never expect to see. The spiritual realm will collide with ours, and all that we think of as “real” will be changed.
Are we ready?
Many of us have lost that sense of the divine, that reality that God inhabits us as believers. So many have ceased to walk in the spirit, as we do things that are of the flesh, and act without regard for God. Because of this, we lack the power to be effective witnesses to a sick and dying world that is in dire need of the Gospel and examples of His transforming power manifested and shown in the lives of those He has saved.
In the coming season of global change, the Lord is going to be refining those who are His. Many will feel the refining weight of glory as God begins to deal with worldliness and personal sin. The conviction will heavy, and some may be tempted to fall away, in the hopes of escaping. There will be no escape.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
James 1:2-4 NKJV
There will be purpose for all that we will endure, as it all is for the advancement of the Good News into all the world, and for our preparation for all that is to come. We are going into greater reality, far beyond what we have in the here and now.
Let us begin now to walk according to the Spirit in all that we do, as we are going to need His power to accomplish all things that we have left to do.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Galatians 5:16-18 NKJV
In these perilous times with trouble down below, let us look up and consider the glory above, as that is where our help comes from. Let us also do good to each other, even when the urge is to do evil. Our unity is an essential example in these times as our divided world hungers for unity and peace.
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Ephesians 4:1-6 NKJV
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