Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An Angel set Peter free (Acts 12 )

We found this hanging plant holder at a local Nursery.
Perfect for our small courtyard!
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

I'm back!  We've been having a lot of fun planting flowers and figuring out how to clean out the kitchen cupboards.  It's amazing how much stuff you can put away after 22 years together.  Oy!  I think my mind gets full of stuff I need to throw out too, like: past hurts, mistakes, embarassing moments. With Jesus, everyday is a new beginning when I confess my sin.  I've been saving money for quite awhile and was able to get some new graphic art tools for my Mac.  Now I just need to figure out how they work : )  I'm also working on setting up a new web site for my photos and artwork.  I'll post the link when I get it up and running.

If you've been watching the show AD on TV, this would've taken place after the end of the series. King Herod the (not so) great, was king in Jerusalem.  He was made king by the Romans.  I was totally amazed by how they showed the High Priest in Jerusalem praying with the Christian disciples.  They showed the Holy Spirit as a whisp of fire in the air joining both religions as one. 

Acts Chapter 12

1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.

The feast of Unleavened Bread was one of the feasts around Passover.  Jesus is the final Passover lamb.  I was on a Jewish Facebook page and read how some people believe the Jews crucified Jesus.  That's not true.  Jerusalem was a mess.  Romans crucified many people to try and gain control.  There were Jewish sects in Jerusalem, Pharisees and Sadducees.  The disciples and Jesus were Jewish.  It wasn't any one person who crucified Jesus it was all of us.  It was our sin from the Garden of Eden to 2015.  Out of amazing love, Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified for us.  That's more love than I can understand.  The Jews are still God's chosen people.  Jesus could've brought a legion of angels to set Himself free from the cross.  He chose to be our passover lamb instead.  Amazing love!  He died for Jews too.

5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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.” 9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”
During this time the Christians were multiplying and this upset the more traditional Jews.  They knew Messiah would come but this wasn't what they expected.  Some became comfortable in their present standing and didn't want change.  

12 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. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 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. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.
This is just plain cute.  So an angel rescued Peter from prison and possibly execution.  Peter was all excited and couldn't wait to get to Mary's house to hide.  So he knocks and instead of letting him in Rhoda gets all excited and starts talking.  That sounds very familiar actually... hmmm

16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.
18 Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. 19 But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death.
And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.
Ok so Herod decided he'd just kill all the guards.  Nice guy huh?  They were proven guilty with no trial.

20 Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king's personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king's country.

21 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.
That sounds terrible, "eaten by worms" EWWW!

24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.
(Acts 12:1-25 NKJV)

In the USA we've had a terrible tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina.  A young man decided he would kill people in a Church and then himself.  The suicide failed, and he's in jail now.  To me, it seems demonic.  Self-destruction and the destruction of others, isn't normal.  There's no glory in killing innocents.  Then to make matters worse, News media are trying to get more attention by claiming it's a racist issue.  I don't know any racist people.  Never met one.  I'm sure there are some, but it seems to me the more News Casters who claim racism only fuels a fire that shouldn't exist.  Then someone brought up White Supremacy.  I didn't realize there are so many Albinos in the USA.  They are the only "white" people I know of.  This isn't about skin color.  It's about young men who kill people, they are showing up in all colors and sizes. It seems the devil is prowling seeking to destroy before Jesus comes again.  It's definitely evil.  These verses came to mind:

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen
(1 Peter 5:8-11 NKJV)
Here's my prayer-
Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up those in Charleston, SC to You.  It must be so frightening to know young men would just go on a shooting spree toward innocent people.  I pray You will comfort those who mourn.  Please bring conviction to those who would use this tragedy for money on News shows.  It only inspires other young men to destroy lives.  I pray for peace in Jerusalem.  Bring peace to America.  Help us to come back to being good, noble people.  Help our president.  Grant us lots of wisdom as we elect the next President.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV)

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Here's a song from "for King and Country," Shoulders (link)"

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