So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
Do you remember playing Connect the Dots? I love this game! It’s fun to stare at the dots and try to determine their final formation. It reminds me of living each day for Jesus. Together let's play the Connect the Dots game. Read through Acts 12:5-18. Here are the highlighted points of God's connections...
Peter was thrown into prison.
The Church was constantly praying for his release.
He was chained and guarded by four soldiers.
Plans were set for Peter's execution.
But it was against the law to have a trial or sentencing during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. God's perfect timing began to unfold.
Peter slept. He wasn't worried, mad, frustrated, or blaming God. He was just resting.
Boom! An angel appeared, and he struck Peter on the side.
Peter’s chains fell off. He obeyed the angel and followed him out the prison doors.
After the angel departed, Peter realized God had released him from prison.
Immediately God directed Peter to go to Mary's house.
The church was gathered in one accord at Mary's house, praying for Peter's release.
He knocked on the door of the gate. He knocked and knocked until someone answered.
The prayer warriors couldn’t believe their eyes.
In the doorway stood the reality of their answered prayers— Peter!
Peter didn't have a clue about God's plan. He just trusted. In the midst of the prayer warriors praying, God answered! Tracing the dots backwards we see how each one connected to God's final purpose and plan. Think for a minute… how did Peter's imprisonment affect others? This Dot Chart is still bridging gaps today. Oh, God's perfect plan doesn't unfold all at once. It is revealed in His perfect timing!
AN AMAZING CONNECT THE DOTS TESTIMONY
I dedicate this to my dear friend Theresa Donlon and her daughter, Anne. I must share a personal testimony about connecting the dots—one that is forever embedded in my heart.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
6:30 a.m. Before my head leaves the pillow, the Holy Spirit begins nudging me... “Wake up. I am calling you to pray for every Reflecting Him Sister who is doing the Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It Bible study.” Immediately this gentle nudge turns into a sharp prod. With my arms raised to heaven, I drop to my knees praying, "Oh Lord, whoever has her Reflecting Him book open, please give her understanding. Pour into her, through the Holy Spirit, sweet revelations from Your Word." This prayer continues throughout the day.
7:00 p.m. Teaching Reflecting Him - Week 3 Senses of the Soul live at Magnolia Bible Church. I share the freshness of God calling me to pray for all Reflecting Him Sisters. The lecture focuses on believers in Jesus loving and encouraging each other. Just like a physical cut to the human body causes platelets to rush in to form scabs and white blood cells to show up to fight germs, the Body of Christ needs to jump into action. When one is hurt by divorce, death, financial difficulties, or anything else, some of us need to rush to the scene, ready to bring a meal, provide transportation, or help however needed. Others need to show up to pray against the enemy!
8:00 p.m. As the lecture ends, one of the ladies, Theresa, literally runs to me. Holding her phone out she says, "Read my Facebook post from this morning at 7:05 a.m. Great time with the Lord this morning in my Bible study. God is connecting the dots!" Tears flow. Embracing one another, we thank God for uniting our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
Thursday, February 9
I receive an email from Jackie, the Bible study coordinator at a church in Bandera, Texas. Their group agreed to be Reflecting Him Sisters with the Bible study at Magnolia Bible Church. They were praying for one another as they all went through the Bible study. Jackie’s email confirms how much their Bible study group enjoyed praying over their Reflecting Him Sisters at MBC.
Saturday, February 11
I receive a Facebook message from a friend, "Carla, I don't know if you heard the news, but yesterday Theresa's daughter, Anne, died in a car wreck." Shock sets in. I read the message three or four times to make sure I didn't read it wrong. Tears form. Heart aches. Prayers pour.
Rushing home, I get on Facebook to read Theresa’s posts. Reading her words causes my chin to quiver, "My heart is about to burst. I miss her so much! How can this be happening? God, I trust you even when it doesn't make sense." Encouraging messages flood her page. A mama's heart is breaking. All I can think about are the events leading up to that day… How God prepared my dear friend in His own way and timing.
Monday, February 13
I see on Facebook that Theresa's oldest daughter recently moved to Bandera, Texas, population 927. God bumps encompass my body. Immediately, I send a message to Jackie, the Bible study coordinator in Bandera, informing her of the tragedy.
Tuesday, February 14
9 a.m. I receive a phone call from Jackie. I hear a crack in her voice, "Carla, are you sitting down? You are not going to believe this! Theresa's daughter who lives in Bandera is my best friend's daughter-in-law! It's amazing how God called us to pray over Theresa BEFORE this tragic situation occurred.” Sitting in My Prayer Chair I am in awe of God Connecting the Dots!
2 p.m. Anne's Memorial Service is packed. Complete silence fills the room as Theresa approaches the podium. In humbleness she shares her heart, "God will be glorified and is glorified through my Anne's death. Over the past three weeks God prepared me through my Bible study, Reflecting Him. God has a plan. I trust His plan even though it doesn't make sense." Not a dry eye in the room. I sob. In silence I cry out to God, "If you wrote Reflecting Him through me just for my friend, I praise you. I am yours. To You belongs the glory forever and ever. I submit to you. Use me as your hands and feet here on earth. Amen!"
God continues to use Anne's life to draw others to Himself. A number of people accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior on the day of her memorial service. Praise the Lord! Thank you to the whole Donlon family for allowing God to shine through all of you, for trusting Him when it doesn't make sense, and for focusing on Him in the midst of your pain. God is using all of you in mighty ways to further Kingdom purposes as He continues to connect the dots!
Ask God to show you His connections in your life. Open your eyes to see the people He brings into your family activities. Watch for situations that open the doors to conversations about Jesus and
God’s Word. Take opportunities to pray for others throughout the day.