Summary: Peter's miraculous escape from prison. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Reading: chapter 12 verses 1-19:
Former heavy-weight boxer James (Quick) Tillis;
• Was a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s.
• He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa.
“I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under by arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, and I looked up at the Tower and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to conquer Chicago.’ “When I looked down, the suitcases were gone.”
• Life does not always work out how we imagine it to be!
• Often we are surprised, and the surprises are not always pleasant.
• Sir Alexander Mackenzie is a Canadian hero.
• He lived in the 1700’s and was a fur trader and explorer,
• He accomplished a magnificent feat when in 1793 he led an expedition;
• Across Canada from Fort Chipp-e-wy-an on Lake Atha-basca to the Pacific Ocean.
Mackenzie’s earlier attempt in 1789, however, had been a major disappointment.
• His explorers had set out in an effort to find a water route to the Pacific.
• They followed a mighty river (now named the Mackenzie) with high hopes,
• Unfortunately, it didn’t lead them to the Pacific Ocean, but into the Arctic Ocean.
• In his diary, Mackenzie called it the “River of Disappointment.”
This chapter could have been called a series of disappointments:
• But with God, even our disappointments, our trials, our difficulties;
• Can be opportunities for him to work, for us to grow & for others to be blessed!
(1). God Sees Our Trials (verses 1-4):
“At that time King Herod  caused terrible suffering for some members of the church. 2He ordered soldiers to cut off the head of James, the brother of John. 3When Herod saw that this pleased the Jewish people, he had Peter arrested during the Festival of Thin Bread. 4He put Peter in jail and ordered four squads of soldiers to guard him. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after the festival”.
• A little bird was flying south for the winter.
• It got so cold it froze up and fell to the ground in a large field.
• While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some manure on it.
• As it lay there in the pile of manure, it began to realize how warm it was.
• The manure was actually thawing him out!
• He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.
• A passing cat heard the little bird singing, and came to investigate.
• Following the sound,
• The cat discovered the bird under the pile of manure, and promptly dug him out;
• And then ate him.
• The morals of the story are:
• (1). Not everyone who drops manure on you is your enemy.
• (2). Not everyone who digs you out of a pile of manure is your friend.
• (3). When you’re in the manure, keep your mouth shut!
Experiencing trails and difficulties are part of:
• Life in general;
• And will be part of the Christian life.
• My subject last week at New Farm Chapel was 2 Timothy chapter 3 here in verse 12;
• Paul wrote: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life will face persecution”
• Years after the events of Acts chapter 12;
• Peter writing to Christians going through difficult times;
• Would encourage them by saying (1 Peter chapter 3 verse 12a):
• "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous"
• In other words he was saying; “Don’t give up, look up!”
• God is aware of your situation, so don’t handle it by yourself! In your own strength.
• The Herod clan were a scheming and murderous family,
• King Herod (that is Herod Agrippa)
• Was the grandson of Herod the Great,
• Who ordered the massacre of the Bethlehem children just after birth of Jesus.
• He was also the nephew of Herod Antipas,
• The man who had given the order for John the Baptist to be beheaded.
• So injustice, murder, and cruelty were part of the Herod clans genes.
• Anyone in their right mind avoided contact with them as often as possible.
Because of their background and history, the Herod’s were despised by the Jews,
• Herod Agrippa knew this; and so he persecuted the church;
• Hoping to convince the Jewish people that he was on their side (good vote winning policy).
• So we read in Verse 1: that he arrested some Christians;
• And in Verse 2: He arrested James, the brother of John,