…he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison… Acts 12:17 (NKJV)
The cell was cold. The walls were gray. The paint was peeling. The treatment was harsh. The privacy was nonexistent. The despair was real. It was a prison.
How many of us find ourselves in such a place? For some, it is a real prison from our wrong choices, for others, it is a real prison from persecution. Yet for most of us, it is a prison with imaginary bars that trap us from the outside world, bound by fears, addictions, unforgiveness… What is the name of your prison?
My friend, today we’re going to lead you out of that prison into the marvelous light of Jesus. There is an amazing story in the book of Acts about Peter escaping from prison. It is so amazing that even Peter didn’t believe it was happening to him.
Peter was one of those in a real prison because of persecution. King Herod had just beheaded his friend James and now he was preparing to do the same for Peter. Herod put Peter in prison with FOUR squads of soldiers (Acts 12:4). While Peter was there the church was praying constantly (Acts 10:5).
Now here, dear sisters, is where you must remember the power of prayer. Those prayers of the early church were heard by God and He sent His Angel to rescue Peter!
This was no sweet angel singing anthems. This Angel of the Lord flooded Peter’s jail cell with bright light and struck Peter on the side. Then He pulled Peter up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And off they went, past the first and second guard posts, past the iron gates, and out into the city. Finally, the Angel disappeared and Peter found himself at the home of his friend John Mark.
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… Acts 12:11 (NKJV)
At John Mark’s home, the church people had been praying so hard for Peter. But when Peter showed up at the gate they didn’t believe it! How is that for not believing God can answer our prayers. Isn’t He amazing? God does answer all our prayers. Jesus does rescue us from our prisons. The Holy Spirit does carry us forth in victory.
I know, because I’ve been in various prisons over the years. One was in college before Jesus saved me. I was in such grief over losing my cross country team and coaches in a plane crash that I turned to food for comfort. This became an eating disorder called bulimia. There seemed to be no cure. One time I went to a gathering to help people with eating disorders and discovered four of my surviving teammates were also there. We had all dealt with the tragedy the same way. Some addictions you can choose to avoid, like smoking or drinking, but with an eating disorder, you have to keep eating. The only One who can rescue you from this prison is Jesus Christ. And He did. When I gave my life to Him, the eating binges disappeared and I was free!
A newer version of the hymn Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin has the chorus, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free…” That’s how it is when Jesus leads us out of the prison into His marvelous light. The enemy wants to keep us behind bars, but Jesus has the victory. Come, my friend, let the Angel of the Lord escort you out of your prison today.
Today’s TEA CUPP: My dear TEA friend, whatever you are facing today, in whatever prison you find yourself, turn to Jesus. Read the miraculous story of Peter’s prison escape in Acts 12:5-17. Imagine the Angel of the Lord shining His bright light upon you and saying, “Arise quickly.” And the Angel leads you out of your prison, past all the guards to the home of praying friends. And you are free!
Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me. Psalm 142:7 (NKJV)
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 (NKJV)
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37 (NKJV)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40 (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson