of David de Vos
We all know the parable of the talents. A man went on a journey and gave his money to his servants. They were instructed to trade with this money and multiply their talents. On his return, the man called his servants to account for their actions.
One day Jesus sat down beside the offering chest in the temple and watched how much each person put in. Imagine if your pastor would do that! We would say: That is none of his business. But Jesus was not embarrassed as He watched what happened. At the end of the day He concluded: Nearly everyone gave from their abundance, except for the widow. She gave everything she had. It was only a few coins, but Jesus looked at her heart and knew that she had given everything.
The Bible passage about Peter’s release from prison is very encouraging for me. When we are in trouble, we pray. When we pray, God intervenes. And when God intervenes, we can hardly believe it and we start to reason. And when we do open the door, then the miracle (in this case: Peter) is standing on the doorstep to tell us what has happened.
That must have been quite special, the miraculous feeding of the five thousand! Mark wrote how there were about five thousand men, and this did not include women and children. So there could have been up to twenty thousand people.
Do you know the story of Peter who was released from prison by the angel? When they had passed the guards, a great iron gate opened. I always call this the first “automated door” in history! Once outside, they walked down one more street and then the angel left Peter suddenly.
We know the things Jesus said about doubting. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31NIV) And in Mark 11:23(NIV) Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” This suggests that doubt gets in the way of our breakthrough.
Peter is on death row. The night before he was to be executed, he was sleeping in the prison: between two guards and chained to them with his wrists. Pretty impressive, for who can sleep knowing they are about to die? Suddenly there is a great light: an angel! But Peter was sleeping so deeply(!) that he did not wake up. The angel needed to waken him!
When Peter escaped from prison with the help of an angel, he went to Mary’s house. A large group of people had gathered there to pray: “Oh Lord, do something! Free Peter!” After he had knocked on the door, the servant girl Rhoda came to the door. She was planning on opening it. But when she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so excited that she totally forgot to open the door.
Before Jesus came, John the Baptist was “THE MAN”. But when Jesus showed up, all of the attention was for Him. He started to change water to wine. Something that had never happened before. People came to John to listen to a good story and then they were baptized. But when Jesus showed up, restoration came. Suddenly miracles were taking place everywhere: the blind could see, the lame could walk, people with leprosy were healed. It was a revival!
“No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart.” John 1:18(NLT) Have you ever fallen asleep while praying or reading the Bible? I have, and I have felt pretty guilty about it. That is why I want to tell you something that may help you see it in a different light.
Manasse, my youngest, went on field trip recently with his school to an amusement park. He was so excited about it! He had a big smile on his face as he waved to me from the bus, that was packed full. Joyce had just left for London for a few days, so I had the kids to myself at home all weekend. Great fun of course, even though my boys like to see how far they can go with me. Daddy always lets them do more than Mom!
Recently I had a day in which I was upset with myself because I realized again I’m not perfect. Do you ever have that problem? That you run into stuff, things of which you thought: wait a minute, haven’t I already dealt with that? How is it possible that it keeps coming back? And that is followed immediately by the thought: see! I am not perfect! I am a failure! When I shared this with someone recently, he told me a beautiful story.