“The angel of the Lord came upon him (Peter) 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” (Acts 12:7).
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God. . . . And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one’s bands were loosed” (Acts 16:25, 26).
This is God’s way. In the darkest hours of the night, His tread draws near across the billows. As the day of execution is breaking, the angel comes to Peter’s cell. When the scaffold for Mordecai is complete, the royal sleeplessness leads to a reaction in favor of the favored race.
Ah, soul, it may have to come to the worst with thee ere thou art delivered; but thou wilt be delivered! God may keep thee waiting, but he will ever be mindful of His covenant, and will appear to fulfill His inviolable Word.
–F. B. Meyer
There’s a simplicity about God in working out His plans, yet a resourcefulness equal to any difficulty, and an unswerving faithfulness to His trusting child, and an unforgetting steadiness in holding to His purpose. Through a fellow-prisoner, then a dream, He lifts Joseph from a prison to a premiership. And the length of stay in the prison prevents dizziness in the premier. It’s safe to trust God’s methods and to go by His clock.
–S. D. Gordon
Providence hath a thousand keys to open a thousand sundry doors for the deliverance of His own, when it is even come to a desperate case. Let us be faithful; and care for our own part which is to suffer for Him, and lay Christ’s part on Himself, and leave it there.
Difficulty is the very atmosphere of miracle — it is miracle in its first stage. If it is to be a great miracle, the condition is not difficulty but impossibility.
The clinging hand of His child makes a desperate situation a delight to Him.
From: Closed Doors, Open Windows, Mrs. Pamela M. Steiner
UPDATE FOR PALM SUNDAY, 2013. 2014! I originally wrote this for Palm Sunday in 2010. Not a lot has changed in 3 4 years…actually not a lot has changed in 2013 2014 years! But, Jesus is STILL the answer…Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever! Amen! (2014)
Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
Deliverance…what does that word mean to you? It has a very welcome sound to the captive…those who are held captive in any kind of prison, whether it be a prison with bars and high walls, or a prison of fear and isolation…the thought of deliverance brings hope and joy and peace. For many in today’s economy, there is a tremendous amount of anxiety over the future…people fear losing their jobs, others fear not being able to find a job. Retired folks are concerned about their savings running out too soon, or having health issues that will rob them of what little security they have left. Our nation is in turmoil over health care reform and the brittle financial and housing market. People look to our national leaders and hope that they will make some wise decisions that will bring relief, and yet that so-called relief often comes with a high price tag that will endanger the future security of our children and grandchildren for many years to come.
Where can we find this deliverance that we are seeking? Is there anyone who can come and set us free from our bondage to fear and doubt?
The Jews back in the time of Jesus were desperate for a leader who could deliver them from the tyranny of the Roman government. As Jesus entered Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday, the people cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (John 12:13) They hailed Him as their King and Messiah, but they were seeking an earthly king for an earthly kingdom.
A few days later, when Jesus was betrayed by one of His own disciples, He stood before Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate asked Him if He was the King of Jews. Jesus responded to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.”….”My kingdom is not from here…” (John 18:36) He went on to say in verse 37, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Jesus came to prepare our hearts for the kingdom that is yet to come, that is a Heavenly Kingdom. In the meantime, His Holy Spirit gives us strength and grace to endure the trials and tribulations that are common to all of mankind. He came to deliver us from all our fears and troubles. Do we still have financial difficulties? Do we still have health problems or other major concerns? Yes. As long as we are on this earth there will be trouble and sorrow……but hear what Jesus said in John 16:33~
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
|April 15, 2014
“You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3 (NKJV)
During the first couple of years I walked with the Lord, my prayers went something like this:
“God, help me get that job.”
“Jesus, please heal my throat.”
“Lord, send enough money to pay these bills.”
“Father, take away my fear.”
It took me a while to realize that those spur-of-the-moment prayers were not accomplishing much. I guess I thought the idea was to do the best I could on my own, and then if I needed a lifeline from God, I grabbed it. The only problem was I needed a lifeline every other minute.
I loved the Scripture verse that says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, NKJV). I took God at His Word and was asking, seeking and knocking on a pray-as-you-go basis. I also took to heart the verse that says, “… you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2b).
Great! I can easily remedy that, I thought, and proceeded to ask God for everything. But I still wasn’t happy, and I didn’t see the kind of answered prayer I desired.
One day as I was reading James 4:2, my eyes were opened to the next verse, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures”(James 4:3).
Could it be that the “God give-me-this, do-that, wave-your-magic-wand-here, get-me-out-of-this-mess” kind of praying was not what God desired for my prayer life? In utter frustration I said, “Lord, teach me how I’m supposed to pray.”
He did exactly that!
I came to understand that prayer is not just asking for things — although that certainly is part of it. Far more importantly, prayer is talking with God. It’s getting close to and spending time with the One you love. It’s seeking Him first, getting to know Him better, being with Him and waiting in His presence.
Prayer is acknowledging Him as the source of power upon whom you can depend. It’s taking the time to say, Speak to my heart, Lord, and tell me what I need to hear. It’s partnering with Him. It’s aligning our spirits with His to see that His perfect will is done. It’s establishing ourselves and our lives as being connected to God.
We can’t receive God’s best for our lives, and we can’t push back the things that were never God’s will for us, except through prayer. We can’t leave our lives to chance. We have to pray about everything all the time, not just when things go wrong.
We have to pray over anything that concerns us, no matter how big … “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37, NKJV) … or how small … “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30, NKJV).
The Bible tells us the basic qualification for prayer: “he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6b NKJV).
The more you pray, the more you will find to pray about, and the more you’ll be led to pray for others.
Don’t allow discouragement over unanswered prayer to cause you to doubt that God heard you. If you have received Jesus and are praying in His name, then God hears you and something is happening whether you see it manifested in your life now or not. In fact, every time you pray, you’re advancing God’s purposes for you. Without prayer, the full purpose God has for you can’t happen.
Dear Lord, Help me today to draw closer to You, in my words, my thoughts and my deeds. Help me share more of my life with You, and through that, help me discover Your perfect will. In His holy Name I pray, Amen.