5 But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
— Acts 12:5 NLT
Jesus had instructed Peter to feed His sheep. He was basically appointing Peter as the leader of the church after His ascension. He had also told Peter that satan desired to “sift him as wheat”. That is a metaphor meaning that satan wanted to separate Peter from the others like a farmer separates the chaff from the wheat when he winnows it. By stirring up King Agrippa to have Peter arrested and put in jail, satan was attempting to sift Peter. The leaders of the Jews were recruited by satan and joined by encouraging Agrippa in his acts of persecution. Peter was chained in prison with sixteen guards assigned to do nothing but watch him. God sent an angel to free Peter from his chains and they walked right past all of those guards. Peter thought it was a dream or a vision until they gates to the city swung open of their own accord and the angel left Peter. I can imagine that about the time Peter realized that it was for real, he probably remembered that Jesus also said “but I have prayed for you”. Jesus had prayed, was now at the right hand of God praying and the whole church was praying late into the night. God had a plan for Peter and Jesus had prepared Peter for that plan. The enemy’s plans to thwart God’s plans were defeated because of prayer. All the demons of hell and the earthly recruits were not enough to overcome the prayers of a handful of saints. We need to be prayer warriors and spend more time praying fervently for God to rescue our nation and keep our families safe. God is able to protect us and provide for us when He selects us for Kingdom work. We will not be defeated!
17 “Jeremiah, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything I command you to say. Don’t be afraid of the people, or I will give you good reason to be afraid of them. 18 Today I am going to make you a strong city, an iron pillar, a bronze wall. You will be able to stand against everyone in the land: Judah’s kings, officers, priests, and the people of the land.19 They will fight against you, but they will not defeat you, because I am with you to protect you!” says the Lord. — Jeremiah 1:17-19 NCV
God had just told Jeremiah to go and tell the rulers and the people of Jersusalem that the city would soon be overrun with armies from the north. Once the disaster started, it would be over quickly, like water pouring from a pot that has been tipped over. It is understandable that Jeremiah probably was not too excited about delivering that message to the kings and their armies. Jeremiah would soon learn the lesson that we need to learn. God never sends us on a mission that He has not prepared us to go on. He never sends us alone, He is always with us. If He says we will not be defeated, then we can be assured that He will prevail for us. It is our weakest moments that God uses for His glory. He wants the odds against us winning to be so great that when we do win and the world sees it, they have no choice but to say that our God is the Great Almighty God. Jeremiah was told to “gird up his loins” (KJV) to prepare himself physically for the battle since he would be facing people. Since our warfare now is not against people but against spiritual rulers and demons, we are told to “gird up the loins of our minds”. (KJV).
13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. — 1 Peter 1:13 NLT
Whether the battle is physical or spiritual, the battle is not ours, it belongs to the Lord. He will overcome and we will not be defeated. But, just as Jeremiah was directed to stand up and deliver the message to the people, our instructions are the same. So, we need to prepare ourselves and our minds for the tricks of the devil and be ready to stand up and tell the world everything that God will give us to say.
3 This is the voice of one who calls out:“Prepare in the desert the way for the Lord.
Make a straight road in the dry lands for our God.
4 Every valley should be raised up, and every mountain and hill should be made flat. The rough ground should be made level, and the rugged ground should be made smooth.
5 Then the glory of the Lord will be shown, and all people together will see it. The Lord himself said these things.” — Isaiah 40:3-5 NCV
John the Baptist was chosen to be the “voice in the wilderness” calling out “prepare in the desert the way of the Lord”. John was the son of Zechairah, a priest who was chosen by lot to offer sacrifices at this particular time and Elizabeth, his wife, who was a cousin of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. To fulfill this prophecy, when John became an adult, he actually lived in the desert. He wore rough clothing and his diet consisted of locust and honey. God has not called all of us to subsist as John did. However, He has called all of us to “prepare in the desert the way for the Lord”. While John lived in an actual, natural, physical desert, we live in a spiritual desert which we call the world. John could only preach about repentance from sin and being baptized with water since the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent to stay on earth. He preached about the One coming that would change all of that, The One who could baptize with the Holy Spirit. Our message is that Jesus has come and that we must accept that truth along with the truth that He died for us so that we could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Our message is that “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord”. Whether you will do that or not is not a choice, you will do it. The choice is when will you do it? You can do it now and spend an eternity with Jesus in heaven or you can wait until the “the glory of the Lord is shown” and all the people still alive see it. But, if you wait until then, it will be too late and your eternity will be spent in hell, a place prepared for satan and his demons. Each day as we go about in this spiritual desert, are we daily calling out to others that “Jesus is coming back again, get ready by accepting Him as your Savior, let Him make your paths straight and your pathway smooth”