WHAT’S NORMAL?:CHANGING THE WAY WE OPERATE
The book of Acts displays a community that lives in the power of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural. They represent to us what normal should be yet in our times we find ourselves that the normal has changed. For a lot of churches, we have settled for the possible rather than the impossible that can be met by God’s grace and I believe that the Lord is lighting people up to start changing what normal is. To change what is normal for us, we must begin by asking the Holy Spirit to change our thinking for how we think dictates the way we act. If we start thinking and believing that the supernatural lifestyle is possible and meant for us, than we begin to change the habits of our lives to accommodate that new way of living. Let our prayers be focused on thinking the way God thinks and living in such a way where we reflect His ways.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
12 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword, 3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.
James is the first apostle to die and Peter is arrested to be put on death row for being a Christian. To follow Jesus is not an easy thing for the early church yet the persecution doesn’t break their faith but only strengthens it.
The strength of our faith is shown through what is able to break it.
We see here that even the threat of death doesn’t break the faith that Peter has nor the early church, so how is this possible? It is possible because they have experienced the love of God through Jesus and continuously protect their love for Him. To live in the supernatural as part of your normal life, you need to protect it! What does that mean? It means that we cherish what we have with Jesus as a relationship that is not cherished and constantly guarded will eventually fade away.
A lot of us have fading relationships with Jesus because we are not guarding and maintain our relationship with Him.
If we have no hope of a lasting and loving experience with our earthly relationships without constant care, than how can we expect any different with God? Those who maintain their relationship with Christ daily will be able to guard that relationship when hardship comes. Those who have neglected it will find themselves letting it go when things get hard. If you have been neglecting it, grab onto it today and spend time with the Lord in prayer and reading of the word!
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
The church was in earnest prayer. What does it mean to be in earnest prayer? To do anything with earnest intent, is do something with purpose and seriousness. The church didn’t casually pray during this situation. The power of prayer and the importance seen by the church has diminished over time but I believe God has been opening the eyes of His people to the power of prayer. Prayer is one of our greatest tools for experiencing the power of God and His Kingdom because prayer brings God’s presence into our daily situations. To see the supernatural, you need the supernatural God to be present and prayer is one way of making that happen. We need to beef up our prayer lives to be more than praying about food or a quick hail mary prayer before a test. We need to be praying constantly for all things and it doesn’t mean we have to be on our knees all the time but can we talk to him to see how He thinks about a situation? About how God will approach a friend?
When we pray we are asking God to help us see, feel, and think about the situations, actions, and desires of our lives to reflect His perspective.
To make the supernatural normal, make prayer normal in your life.
9 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. 10 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.11 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.”
I like how Peter didn’t know that he was in the midst of a miracle!
Sometimes we are unaware of the miracles we are living in at the moment until we look back to only realize it after some reflection.
One way to realize the miraculous grace of God in our lives, get a journal and write down daily what is happening, your prayers, and any prophetic words of encouragement you get from God or people. After some time has passed, look back into old journal entries to see whether prayers have been answered, whether you see God has intervened in your life, etc. I realize that keeping a journal helps me to see with perspective, God’s hand in my life and when I see it, then a fire is lit up on my heart to continue to live in it more. If journaling is not your thing then find another way to collect your history to reflect but don’t make excuses for yourself because excuses forfeits the things that we should be rightfully getting if we simply just acted.
14 Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!”
What is so interesting is how the supernatural culture the early church lives in makes their logical answers seem so illogical to us! They deny the fact that it was Peter at the door but that it was more likely his angel! To have this mindset, you cannot simply dip into God here and there, but you must immerse yourself in it constantly. When God is so natural in your life because of your routine of constantly seeking Him, than the “normal” is actually abnormal for you.