March 11, Saturday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on March 26, 2016, is provided by Pastor Jason Sato who, along with his wife Jessica and three young children, serves in Japan as an AMI missionary. Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.), moved to Tokyo in 2022 where he plans to, the Lord willing, plant a church. 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“The Limitless Power of God”

Acts 12:5, 12-17 (ESV)

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

[12] When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. [13] And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. [14] Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. [15] They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” [16] But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. [17] But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

During one trip to China, I was reading John 3 (being born again) with a young man who was a member of the Communist Party.  I asked him what he thought about the passage, and he said he needed God to make him into a new person.  Tentatively, I asked him if he wanted to be born again right then, and he said “yes.”  So shocked by his response, I almost asked him if he was sure; instead, I led him in the sinner’s prayer.

Over the years, I’ve led short-term mission teams to various places.  Every trip, we pray earnestly for the power of God and the salvation of the lost.  More often than not, we are surprised when God actually answers.

In our passage, the Jerusalem church is earnestly praying for the Apostle Peter.  Though Peter is closely guarded by Roman soldiers, an angel miraculously leads him out of the prison.  When Peter shows up at the prayer meeting that has been convened specifically for him, no one believes it could actually be him.

Sometimes we can assume prayer is about the experience rather than the result.  Of course, spending time in communion with our Heavenly Father is important and worthwhile in and of itself, but at the same time there is real power in prayer!

More than anything else, Peter’s miraculous escape from prison demonstrates the limitless power of God.  The believers in Acts will continue to face opposition and persecution; sometimes they will be rescued, but other times they will face prison or execution (as Peter eventually would).  However, the power of God is always greater than the power of the world and God’s plan to bring salvation to the nations cannot be stopped.

May God grant to us boldness in our prayers and our witness, knowing that He is faithful and strong.

Prayer: Father, so often I am discouraged by circumstances and I doubt even as I pray.  Help me to trust in Your Holy Spirit and not myself, that I might be bold in calling people to Your Son. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 13, Esther 1

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