Prison Break

Acts 12

You know that feeling when things are going so well that you question if you’re dreaming? Maybe you ask someone nearby to pinch you or maybe you pinch yourself. Either way, this is the feeling I imagine Peter had the night before Herod was going to bring Peter to trial. I’d encourage you to listen to Acts 12. As you listen, visualize what this could have looked like. Go ahead and use a little bit of imagination, as we’re not given pictures to accompany the stories in the Bible. If I’m being honest, I sometimes forget that the Bible is a literary text, but this chapter allows me to pick out some details and things that make me consider the (historical) story, and smile.

I’ll mention a couple parts that I really like about this chapter, but other parts might jump out at you.

v. 7 – Peter must’ve been a heavy sleeper! First the angel appeared, with a light. That didn’t wake Peter, so the angel struck (or smote) him. A gentle, “Hey Peter, time to wake up” with a rub on the shoulder didn’t cut it…

v. 9 – Peter didn’t know what was happening. He thought it was a vision. I like how he follows the angel’s instructions though. I think this is a good example for us to follow. Even when we may be a little confused about what God wants us to do, we should still obey and follow through with whatever it is.

v. 11 – “Now I know without a doubt”. I like how confident Peter is at this point. Before he thought it could be a vision. Now he knows that this is real life, and this is all part of God’s plan.

v.14-16 – I understand Rhoda was excited, but it makes me giggle how she didn’t even open the door for Peter. She was so excited that Peter had to keep knocking! 🙂

I like this chapter a lot. I will be working at being confident while following God’s plan for me and I will work at being as excited as Rhoda about what God is doing in my (and others’) lives!

-Moriah Railton

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 2 Samuel 5-6 and Acts 12

Miracles and Praise

Acts 12 9

Acts 12

Acts 12:1-19
“but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening: he thought he was seeing a vision.”      Acts 12:9 “Pinch me! I must be dreaming.” We are not so different from Peter. When miraculous things happen, we doubt that they are real. When we finally accept the reality, we make ourselves crazy trying to explain it rationally.
I have had many moments where God has worked in a miraculous way. And I was so thankful for those moments at that time. But then those fade and you begin to question whether that was God or if it was just you hoping it was God. We all have those doubts. We have to ask – do we believe it’s God…do we want it to be God?  We all have those moments where God is speaking to us and we have to be able to recognize His voice.  The more we know God the more we are able to recognize miracles for what they are. God working in our lives.
Mighty God of Miracles, we confess that we try to explain your miracles rather than enjoy them. Help us to accept that you use all of your creation including other people to work your miracles. Open our hearts to your generous gifts and use us to deliver your miracles to others.
Next time something amazing happens to you or someone you know, don’t try to explain it away.  Accept it as a miraculous gift from God. Give Him the Glory!
Acts 12:19-25
On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God continued to increase and spread.” Acts 12:21-24
In Matthew 22:37, the first and greatest commandment for Christians is ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’.  Likewise, the 10 Commandments warn us against idolatry.  In today’s passage, Paul talks about Herod’s meeting with the people of Tyre and Sidon.  Once Herod won their approval, they praised and idolized him as a god. Giving another the praise God deserves is turning away from Him who gave you life and a way to salvation, including the death of His Son.  What more must God do to prove how much He loves you and deserves your love in return? We can even lose sight of His authority by relying too heavily on a fellow Christian for guidance. Give all your praise and honor to Him.
-Andy Cisneros