Sleeping in Prison

Bible:

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” Acts 12:6-11 ESV

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. I Peter 5:6-7 ESV

Reflection:

Fagin was a terrible man. He led a group of children and taught them how to steal, but he didn’t take care of them. Sometimes he beat them, and he made their lives miserable my making them part of his schemes. In the end, Fagin was caught and brought to trial, and he was sentenced to death. When he sat in jail the last night of his life, he was so full of fear and agony about his coming execution that he horrified the people who were with him. He seemed to be less than human in his terrible anguish. Every time the church bells rang, Fagin knew that he was an hour closer to his death, and his fear and horror increased.

Peter was also in prison, and he knew that Herod was planning to put him to death the very next day. But Peter wasn’t afraid or full of anguish. In fact, Peter wasn’t even awake! When the Lord sent his angel to rescue Peter, the angel had to hit Peter on the side to wake him up. Peter woke up and saw the chains fall from his hands. The angel told him to get dressed, and he did, and then the angel led him past two sets of guards, and out of the iron gate that opened by itself. When Peter was free, the angel disappeared, and Peter realized that he hadn’t been dreaming. He really was free! Peter hadn’t expected to be rescued, but even so he was never afraid. He trusted that God would take care of him in life and in death, and there was nothing that would shake that trust. That’s why he was able to sleep soundly during what he thought would be his last night alive.

We also can have the same calm trust in the Lord, no matter what problems come our way. God doesn’t promise to rescue us out of all our troubles all the time, but he does promise to be with us and to help us no matter what. Whether we live or we die, the Lord will never leave us, and we can be sure that nothing will ever separate us from his love. We know that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we belong to God, and in life and in death we will be with him, and we will know his love and his peace forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your loving care. Help us to always trust in you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Dickens, Charles Oliver Twist London: Richard Bentley, 1838.

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Peter in Prison

Bible:

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Acts 12:1-5 ESV

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” Revelation 11:15-18 ESV

Reflection:

Do you remember when King David’s son Absalom was trying to take his father’s throne from him, and there was a battle between David’s men and Absalom’s men? King David wanted to go out and fight with his armies, but they didn’t let him do that. They needed to protect their king, because if he died, everything would be lost. Other people weren’t as important, because only David had the throne. So King David stayed behind and didn’t fight with his men.

King Herod started to persecute the early church. He killed one of the apostles, James, who was John’s brother, and in doing that he removed a very important leader in the church. The Jewish religious leaders were very happy that Herod had done this, and so he decided to go after the apostle in the early church who seemed to be the most powerful person of all. Herod arrested Peter and put him in prison, and his plan was to put him to death also. He might have thought that he had captured the king of the church, and that killing him would be the end of the church. The other believers might have felt a little like that, too. What would they do without Peter? They were very upset, and they prayed together very hard that God would take care of Peter and set him free.

The truth is that Peter wasn’t the king of the church. Jesus was the king, and he still is. Sometimes terrible things seem to happen to Christians, and we wonder why God allows such things to happen, and how we will survive. But God reminds us that Jesus is our king forever, and that there’s nothing that can put an end to his rule. When he lived among us on earth, he was put to death on the cross, and it seemed as if that were the end of everything. But Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday, and because of that, we know that he has defeated sin and death and all the forces of evil, and that there is nothing that will ever put an end to his love and care for his people. We can always put our trust in Jesus, no matter what happens.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our king and for taking care of your church. Help us to trust in you when things seem hard. Amen.

New Brothers and Sisters

Bible:

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. Acts 10:44-48 ESV

And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit. Joel 2:28-29 ESV

Reflection:

Catherine Bunin was adopted. She had brown skin, but her mother’s skin was white, and she had a younger sister who was also adopted. Her little sister had much darker skin than she did. When people saw the two girls together or with their mother, they would sometimes ask Catherine, “Is that your sister?” People were amazed to think that they were a family when they didn’t look alike. It wasn’t the kind of family they were used to seeing. But Catherine knew that they were truly a family who belonged together, because adoption and the love of her parents had made it that way.

The Jewish believers with Peter were amazed when Cornelius and his family and friends received the gift of the Holy Spirit. This group of Gentiles was speaking in languages they hadn’t learned and praising God just as the first believers had done at Pentecost, and there could be no doubt that God the Holy Spirit had made them his own through faith. Peter knew that they needed to be baptized, and that there couldn’t be any argument to stop them from doing that. So Cornelius and his family and friends became the first Gentile believers who hadn’t first converted to Judaism. Even though they weren’t the kind of family members that the early church expected, God’s love and grace had made them part of the family. Peter stayed with them for a number of days and taught them more about their life in Jesus.

People who believe in Jesus have an amazing family that includes members from all around the world. Our brothers and sisters in Christ come in many different colors and speak many different languages. When we meet someone very different from us who is also a Christian, we can gladly say, “This is my brother,” or, “This is my sister.” The love of Jesus given to us on the cross opened the way for all people to be God’s children, and the gift of the Holy Spirit brings people from many nations and groups of people into God’s family forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your amazing family that Jesus won on the cross and that the Holy Spirit brings to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Bunin, Catherine and Sherry Bunin Is That Your Sister?: a true story of adoption Wayne, Pennsylvania: Our Child Press, 1992.

God Shows No Partiality

Bible:

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:34-43 ESV

[Jesus said:] I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 8:11 ESV

Reflection:

In the United States, there are some places where people who sell or rent houses might discriminate against people who are of a different color or culture, and sometimes for other reasons as well, such as how old they are or if there are children in a family. What this means is that people who are showing property for sale or for rent might show some people fewer homes, or homes in some areas but not others, or some types of homes but not others, or maybe offer some people better terms for paying for or renting a home. To try to stop this problem there is a job called a fair housing tester, and in this job people pretend to be looking for a place to live. The fair housing testers–perhaps some will be black and others will be white, for example–can compare their experiences and see if an agency is discriminating against people who are a different color or culture, and then show evidence of this discrimination.

In a way, Cornelius was a test to see if God discriminates against some kinds of people. Cornelius was a Gentile, and the Jewish people thought that God didn’t love Gentiles as much as he loved Jews. The early church wasn’t even sure that Jesus had died for Gentiles or that they should be included in the church, and for awhile they didn’t share the good news with them. But Peter was starting to see things differently. He saw that the Lord wanted him to tell Cornelius about Jesus, and he began his talk by saying that God shows no partiality, which means that he doesn’t discriminate. Then he told Cornelius and all his friends who had gathered to hear him speak all about Jesus and the forgiveness he had won on the cross.

It is good news for us and for all people that God doesn’t discriminate. We can be sure that no matter who we are, God loves us and sent Jesus to die for us. We can be sure that all people who believes in Jesus have all their sins forgiven and have eternal life with God. We know that it is true for us, and also that it is true for everyone we meet in our lives. We know that it is true for people all around the world, and it is our joy to share this good news and to support others who work hard in many places to tell others about Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your great love for us and for all people. Please help us to share this good news with everyone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

https://fairhousinginstitute.com/fair-housing-testers/

The Moment has Come

Bible:

The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” Acts 10:23b-33 ESV

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life! Psalm 119:33-40 ESV

Reflection:

Nick Charles was a detective taking a vacation in New York City with his wife when they discovered that an old friend named Clyde had been missing for three months, and that Clyde was suspected of murdering his girlfriend Julia. There were many people who might have had a motive for murdering Julia besides Clyde, and then Nick discovered that Clyde had also been murdered. In the end, Nick hosted a dinner party for all the murder suspects, and there he revealed to them everything that he had found out about them as well as the truth that Clyde’s skeleton had been found. Nick was getting ready to reveal the complete truth about who the murderer was. Everyone at the dinner party was tense with fear or anticipation, wondering what secrets would be revealed.

This is only a story, but it’s a little like what happened when Peter came to Cornelius’ home. Cornelius started by trying to worship Peter, but the apostle wouldn’t think of allowing that. He said that he was just a man like Cornelius. Then Peter reminded the centurion that it was against the Jewish law for him to visit the home of a Gentile, but that God had told him not to call anyone unclean. Then he asked why Cornelius had sent for him. Cornelius told Peter about the vision of the angel that he had seen, and how he had been told by the angel to send for Peter. Cornelius was ready to hear whatever word from the Lord that Peter could tell him. The moment had come. Everyone had told his story, and a new truth from God was about to be revealed.

Can you guess what that truth was? It really wasn’t completely new. The truth is that God loves all the people in the world, Jew and Gentile, and Jesus died to pay for the sins of all people. No one is excluded from God’s love, and he wants all people everywhere to trust in Jesus and to become his children. We know this truth, and all of the things God reveals to us, through his word, the Bible. We don’t have to look for signs or visions, but instead we look to God’s word to learn his ways and to be reminded every day of his love and forgiveness for us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for all people, and for your word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Van Dyke, W. S., dir. The Thin Man Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1934. Film.

I Have Sent Them

Bible:

Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So he invited them in to be his guests. Acts 10:17-23a ESV

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:4-5 ESV

Reflection:

Have you ever heard of a signet ring? In ancient Egypt, pharoahs, priests, and other nobles often wore them. They were made of stone or pottery and they had symbols on them to show who owned them. The symbol of a signet ring would be pressed onto wet clay, and this clay would seal letters, jars, or packages. When people received something sealed with a signet ring, they knew for sure who had sent it, because no one else would have a ring with the same design. Signet rings continued to be used throughout history, and some people still wear them today, although they don’t use them to seal letters or packages anymore. But back when they were used to seal letters, they were an important sign that the messenger was from a king or a nobleman, and that the message was genuine.

After Peter had seen a vision of animals on a sheet, the messengers from Cornelius arrived. These messengers had not only been sent by Cornelius, but also by God. The Holy Spirit told Peter to go with these men, because he had sent them. The men weren’t Jewish, and Peter might not have wanted anything to do with them before his vision and his message from the Holy Spirit. But God had given Peter the sign that he was the one who had sent the messengers, and that what they would tell him was from him. God the Holy Spirit had given these men something like a seal that their message was true, and so Peter invited them to stay with him.

God the Holy Spirit still speaks to us today and teaches us God’s ways. He teaches us through his word, the Bible. The Bible tells us everything we need to know about the ways God wants us to live, and more importantly than that, it teaches us what God has done for us. God sent his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us. Jesus died because we are sinful and don’t follow God’s ways, but his death paid for our forgiveness. He sends us his Holy Spirit to give us new life and to help us become the people God wants us to be.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your word, and for our Savior Jesus. Help us to follow your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/signet-ring-primer/

A Vision of Animals

Bible:

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Acts 10:9-16 ESV

The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers. Psalm 24:1-2 ESV

Reflection:

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten? In different parts of the world, people eat different things, and some of them might seem kind of strange to us. Some people in Japan eat tuna eyeballs, and some Cambodians eat deep-fried tarantulas. There are people in Canada who like to eat jellied moose nose, and people in Mongolia sometimes drink fermented horse milk. The Inuit people of Greenland eat frozen whale skin and blubber, and people from Ukraine eat smoked fat on rye bread. One challenge for people who go to live in a different part of the world is that they often need to learn to eat different kinds of food than they are used to. Eating a favorite food with people from a different country is a way to honor them and to let them share themselves and their culture, but it can be hard to do this sometimes!

Before the messengers from Cornelius came to Peter, God prepared him for what was about to happen by sending him a vision. Peter saw a sheet come down from the sky full of all kinds of animals. A voice told Peter, who was hungry and waiting for some food to be served, that he should get up and kill one of the animals and eat it. But Peter said that he had never eaten anything unclean. Jewish people had been given laws by God that didn’t allow them to eat some kinds of animals. They weren’t allowed to eat pork or shellfish and many other kinds of food that other people ate. Peter had always obeyed these rules about food, and he didn’t want to eat any of the unclean animals on the sheet. But the voice said that he shouldn’t call anything unclean that God said was clean. This happened three times, and then the sheet of animals went back up into heaven.

Can you guess what lesson God was trying to teach Peter? It wasn’t really about animals and food, but instead it was about people. Peter needed to learn that God loved all the people in the world, and not just the Jewish people. So far Peter and the other apostles had only told the good news of Jesus to Jewish people and people who had converted to the Jewish religion, and Philip had told the Samaritans, who were part Jewish. No one seemed to understand yet that God’s love was for all people, and that Jesus had died to win forgiveness for everyone. Peter and the early church were about to learn something wonderful about the love God has for all people, and it would begin the work of sharing Jesus with people from all around the world.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the wonderful love you have for all people in the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

https://www.roughguides.com/gallery/weird-food/

Cornelius Sees an Angel

Bible:

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. Acts 10:1-8 ESV

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. 
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him! Psalm 67 ESV

Reflection:

Julianne was trying out to be a cheerleader in her school. She practiced very hard to prepare a routine for the tryouts, and she also tried to be friendly and cheerful to everyone. She wanted to be one of the popular girls in her school, and to hang out with the other kids who were popular. But when cheerleading tryouts happened and the students voted for the girls who were to be cheerleaders, Julianne didn’t make it. She didn’t know why she didn’t make it. Maybe her routine wasn’t as brilliant as some of the others. Maybe she wasn’t pretty enough, or maybe her clothes weren’t right, or maybe the other kids just didn’t like her enough. Julianne felt very sad, and she also felt that she wasn’t good enough to become one of the popular girls at school because she hadn’t become a cheerleader.

Cornelius might have felt a little like that. He believed in the God of Israel, but he wasn’t Jewish. Because he was a Roman centurion, he wasn’t able to keep all of God’s laws for food and sacrifices and keeping ritually clean. He and his family and household could worship and pray to the true God, but they couldn’t become fully Jewish. Cornelius did what he could, and especially he gave gifts of money to people in need to show his love for God. But he always knew the Jewish people didn’t fully count him as one of God’s people. One day while Cornelius was praying, he saw an angel. He was really afraid, but the angel told him that God had heard his prayers and seen his good deeds. The angel told him to send for a man named Peter, and told him where Peter was staying. So Cornelius sent some servants and a soldier to find Peter.

Whether we are Jewish or not, none of us are good enough to be counted as one of God’s people based on our good deeds or our prayers. We have all become separated from God because of our sins, and there’s nothing we can do to make up for it from God’s point of view. But God came to us in Jesus to bring us back to himself. Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and everyone who believes in Jesus belongs to him. We live lives to please the Lord, not so that he will accept us, but because he already has made us his through Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to make us your children. In His Name, Amen.

Dorcas

Bible:

Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner. Acts 9:36-43 ESV

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. I Thessalonians 4:13-14 ESV

Reflection:

In the last several years before my mother died, every time I saw her she was busy knitting. Most of the time she was knitting warm, snug, colorful hats for seafarers. Her church supported a mission to seafarers who came into the city’s port. This mission shares the gospel with people who work on ships that sail around the world, and also helps seafarers by giving them warm clothes and hats and other things they need. Every year my mother knitted dozens of hats for them. I wonder how many seafarers are still wearing these hats during the cold, stormy winter months at sea?

I think my mother might have been a little like Dorcas. Dorcas, who was also called Tabitha, believed in Jesus, and she showed her love for Jesus and other people by doing kind things for people in need. Dorcas spent a lot of time sewing warm, new clothes for people who were poor. But one day Dorcas died, and everyone was very sad. They called Peter, who was staying near their city, and he came and found many people crying. They  showed him the clothes she had made for them while she was alive. Peter went upstairs where Dorcas’ body was, and made everyone else leave the room. Then he knelt down to pray, and after praying he said, “Tabitha, arise.” She got up, alive again, and he brought her out to all the people who had been so sad. Many people in their city believed in Jesus because of this miracle.

Dorcas lived for awhile longer in the world to keep on sewing and doing other kind acts for people. But someday both Dorcas and my mother, and everyone who believes in Jesus, will come back from the dead, and this time it will be forever. Jesus died so that everyone’s sins could be forgiven, and he rose again so that all his people who have died come back to life when he comes again to call us home. When someone who believed in Jesus dies, we are sad, but we have the comfort of knowing that we will see them again because of what Jesus has done for us.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for us and for rising from the dead. Thank you for the comfort of knowing that everyone who believes in you will rise from the dead and live with you forever. Amen.

Aeneas is Healed

Bible:

Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord. Acts 9:32-35 ESV

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. II Corinthians 2:14-17 ESV

Reflection:

Ancient Rome had an amazing system of water aqueducts. You can still see some of them today, and a few of them are even still partially in use. An aqueduct is a system for carrying water through a channel from one place to another, and Roman aqueducts carried water from reservoirs to cities. The aqueducts supplied private households, fountains, public baths, and latrines with water. Roman aqueducts didn’t use any kinds of pumps, but they operated by gravity. The water source would be higher than the city, and the water would flow downhill. Most aqueducts ran through ceramic, lead, or stone pipes under the ground, but there were some that ran along bridgework that looks similar to train or car bridges that cross gaps between hills.

An aqueduct by itself doesn’t help anyone, but the water that flows through the aqueduct is what is useful to people. Peter was a little like an aqueduct. When he saw a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed for eight years, lying helplessly in his bed, Peter knew that he himself couldn’t do anything for him. But he also knew that Jesus could heal Aeneas, and so he said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you.” Peter wouldn’t take any credit for himself, but instead the love and power of Jesus flowed through him the way water flows through an aqueduct. Peter told Aeneas to get up and make his bed, and Aeneas did that right away. This amazing healing caused many people in the city of Lydda, where Aeneas lived, to believe in Jesus.

The love of Jesus also flows through us to other people. We can pray for them and show them kindness and help, and most importantly, we can tell them what he has done for everyone when he died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Jesus wants to show his love through us so that other people can also come to know him and believe in him. It’s not up to us to persuade people to believe in Jesus, but instead he works through us and calls people to himself through our words and actions.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for the love and forgiveness you show us. Please show that same love to others through us. Amen.

Source:

http://www.crystalinks.com/romeaqueducts.html