Resting in the Midst of Trouble,Pastor Phil Sessa

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Acts 12:5-6, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.”  

Times of adversity have a way of testing our faith.  What do you do when adversity strikes?  Do you run away, pray, complain, and become depressed?  The gospel message that is preached by many at this time is this, “God has a wonderful plan for your life.”  Is this the Gospel that Jesus preached?  I don’t see this in the Scriptures.  Jesus said in John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Let me give you some background about the verse above.  James (one of the Apostles) was just beheaded.  Herod saw this pleased the Jews so he locked Peter up in prison to do the same thing to Peter that he did to James, take his head off with a sword.  Peter is sitting in prison, basically as far as he is concerned, on death row waiting to die.  He doesn’t stay up all night worrying; he is not even trying to escape.  What would you be doing at this point?  Do you think that you would be doing what Peter was doing, SLEEPING?!?!  This is truly faith in action.  How can Peter sleep during a time that his life is about to be taken?

1.  Peter leaned faith from the Master.  When the disciples were in the boat during the storm they were frantic, but Jesus was at rest sleeping.  They woke up Jesus and said ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Peter was no doubt experiencing this lesson which, unbeknown to him, he would need to apply while waiting to die in a prison cell. Who has shown you how to respond by faith during trouble?

2.  Peter applied the faith he learned.  Peter was sleeping like a parishioner in the back row of a church.  Peter’s faith was resting in Christ, because faith snoozes even in a storm.  Stephen had already been stoned, and James beheaded, yet Peter slept in the cell, as Christ slept in the boat. Paul admonishes us to, “Be anxious for nothing…”  Do you rest during times of trouble, or do you doubt, complain, worry, etc…?

3.  Peter’s faith surpassed understanding.  I wonder what the guards that he was chained to were thinking as Peter slept.  I can imagine that Peter fell asleep first and then because Peter was being an inactive prisoner they fell asleep after him.  Perhaps they said to each other, “how can this guy sleep when he is going to be headless tomorrow.”  This is speculation of course.  Peter was a man of prayer, and the church was also praying for him, which caused the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, to guard his heart and mind through Christ Jesus.”

Do you experience this kind of peace amidst your trials?  Do others see the peace of Christ in you during the storms of your life?  Do you share your faith with others so they as they repent and put their faith in Christ they too will know how to rest in the midst of trouble.  The unsaved are currently in the biggest trouble ever, awaiting Hell if they die without the Savior?  What are you doing about it?

Until the nets are filled…Blessings, Pastor Phil <><

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