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ACTS 12:7

And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands.

You really need to read Acts 12:1-19 to get the full story of Peter’s imprisonment and release. It’s a fascinating story of God’s miraculous power. This verse, in the midst of that story, is great. Peter is sleeping between two soldiers when an angel appears, wakes him up and his chains fall off.

Can you imagine Peter’s surprise? But notice too that Peter was sleeping. He was at rest in prison. He was not up all night wringing his hands. He was trusting his Savior with his outcome. Whether he was released, kept in jail or killed, he was at peace. We could take a lesson from Peter here. Even when in chains, trust.

APPLICATION

This story would be a fun one to act out. Get your family together and assign the parts (Peter, angel, guards, Rhoda). Kids learn a lot from role playing. Act it out two or three times, changing roles each time. You have to video this too. Make sure to get the reaction of “Peter” each time he is awakened by the angel.

Ask your kids what they would do if an angel woke them up in the middle of the night. Ask them if they would follow the angel’s instructions or hide under the sheets. Our children need to understand that God still performs miracles. He may never send an angel to them, but He is still working in their lives every day. They just have to keep their eyes open.

What would you do with an angelic message? More importantly, what will you do with the message of God’s Word? He is speaking to you, if you will listen. The Scriptures are God’s way of talking to you today. But you have to read it to receive the message. Take time each day to read it.

Thank You, Lord, that I am free wherever I am because of Jesus in my life. The chains of sin have fallen off of me.

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NOT BEING

1 PETER 2:24

“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

There is an interesting word in this verse. The phrase “we might die” is the Greek word apoginomai. It literally can be translated “from being.” Ginomai means to become, to begin.

This word apoginomai is only used right here in this verse. So, what is Peter trying to tell us about sin?

Christ’s death on the cross and the stripes and wounds He bore rescued us from the penalty of sin. We don’t have to be sinful anymore. We have been moved away from death and into life. We are to live righteously because of His sacrifice on the cross. Hallelujah!

APPLICATION

Children can come up with all sort of excuses for doing wrong. It’s their sibling’s fault. They just couldn’t help themselves. They didn’t know that was wrong. And the truth is, before Christ comes into their life, they don’t know any better. They are sinful creatures.

But if your children have accepted Christ as their Savior, there is no excuse for sin. We must point them towards living righteously. Read them this verse. Show them what Christ has done for us. He bore our sins. He took our punishment upon Himself. Ask your children if anyone has ever taken their punishment for them. Ask them how that would make them feel.

Do you realize, I mean really realize, what Christ has done for you? He has freed you to live righteously. The pain and suffering of sin has been paid for. You are debt free. How would you live if you were debt free financially? You are debt free spiritually, not because of anything you have done, but because of what Christ has done for you. Live like it today.

I am free to live righteously today. I praise You, Lord, for paying the price for my freedom. I will live today to honor You.

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YOU CAN TELL ME

JOHN 13:21-24

“21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.’ 22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23 There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, ‘Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.’” 

Have you ever wanted to know something that others knew? They had the inside scoop, and you wanted to know. It can be very aggravating to be left out, especially if the information is important.

When Jesus told the disciples that one of them was going to betray Him, they all (with the exception of Judas) wanted to know who it was. We see here in these verses that Peter leans over to John (whom Jesus loved) and basically said, “You’re His favorite. Surely you know.” I wonder if they had been told it was Judas if they would have done anything to stop him.

APPLICATION

Sometimes it’s important to keep information to yourself. Jesus couldn’t tell them who it was because this was all part of His Father’s plan. He had to be betrayed and die to save mankind from their sins. There was nothing Jesus would not do to accomplish His mission.

Is there anything you wouldn’t do to keep your children safe and protected? I bet not. They are precious to us and have been placed into our care by the Father. We will do whatever it takes to see our children grow up. But are you willing to do whatever

God asks of you? If you will listen, He will give you the secrets of raising your children. It’s all contained in His word.

Lean close to Jesus. Don’t you want to be called the one “whom Jesus loved”? He doesn’t keep secrets from you. He will tell you whatever you want to know when you are ready to hear it. He knows your future. Trust Him with it. He has much to tell you.

Father, I do trust You with my future. I do believe You know what’s best for me and will tell me what I need to know when I need to know it.

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WAVE WALKER

MATTHEW 14:28-33

“28 Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ 29 And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!’”

How cool is this? Peter actually walked on water. He was the only one of the disciples who got out of the boat and walked. You didn’t see James or Nathaniel or Matthew do it. Nope, just Peter. And when he got a little scared and took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. He cried out to Jesus to save him, and He did.

But what strikes me here is that Jesus didn’t say, “Way to go, Peter. You got so far before you sank.” No! He said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” He practically scolded him for sinking. You see, Jesus knew Peter’s thoughts. He knew he went from blind faith, totally trusting in Jesus’ words, to sheer panic when he saw his surroundings. Jesus cannot work through us if we are doubting His power.

APPLICATION

Have you ever been in the pool and had your children jump into your arms? Perhaps this was before they even could swim. The first time you tried to get them to do this was a challenge, wasn’t it? They knew you were there, but that water was too. They believed your words, but they also knew they couldn’t swim. However, after the first time of jumping and you catching, they had no trouble doing it again.

We tend to want to have proof before we believe something. It’s hard to just trust. But Jesus wants us to just trust Him. He doesn’t have to prove Himself to us. He is God. His word is enough. If He says, “Get out of the boat and walk,” we should jump out. He will never ask us to do something He is not prepared to see us through.

What has the Lord asked you to do that seems impossible? It’s not! It may seem far-fetched. It may seem beyond your ability, but if He has asked you, you are capable. How? Because it is through His power. You can’t, in your own power, do it. He doesn’t expect you to. Trust Him.

I am ready to do the impossible. I am prepared only because You have called. Send me.

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THE LORD RESCUES

2 TIMOTHY 3:11

“persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!”

Have you ever been rescued? We hear stories all the time of people being trapped in cars or on mountains who were rescued in just the nick of time. They are usually inspiring stories of survival and seemingly miraculous intervention by first responders or perhaps total strangers. Either way, rescues excite us.

Look at today’s verse as a supernatural rescue. Paul is reminding Timothy of all his narrow escapes. He knows it was the Lord who rescued him in all those situations. The Greek word for “rescue” goes beyond just snatching someone from danger. It means to snatch them away and INTO the arms of the rescuer. Now that is a beautiful picture. Paul knew he was safe, even now in this last imprisonment as he writes Timothy.

APPLICATION

Playing chase with our kids and grandkids can teach lessons, did you know that?  Our youngest granddaughter loves to play chase. She wants me or her Mimi to hold her while the other one pretends to chase and scare her. When they do, she just giggles and squeals and holds on tight to the one who is holding her. We are her safe spot.

As she gets older and this game wanes, it will be replaced, hopefully, with other ways she shows her safe feelings with us. We, as parents and grandparents, need to make sure our kids feel safe. But as safe as they are with us, that doesn’t do anything for them eternally. Our spiritual obligation is to ensure their safe with Jesus. When He snatches them to safety, they are secure forever. That’s a real rescue.

Are you rescued? Whom are you leading to rescue? All around you and me today people are dying without hope. They may not be stranded on a mountain side waiting for a helicopter nor in a raging river waiting for a lifeboat. They may be your neighbor quietly going through life unaware of their need for a Savior. But they need rescued. You can be the one who throws the life vest. Be watchful and pray.

Open my eyes, Lord, to those around me in need of rescue. Sometimes they are hard to spot, and I want to be ready to respond. Thank You for rescuing me.

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