Happy Thursday! Sometimes the very thing we think is blocking our blessing is the very thing unlocking our faith. Trust God’s plan. Enjoy today’s message.
“About that time King Herod Agrippa[a] began to persecute some believers in the church. 2 He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. 3 When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. (This took place during the Passover celebration.[b]) 4 Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. 5 But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.” – Acts 12:1-5 NLT
In the times of the early church, we learn that there were leaders who were strongly opposed to the Christian faith. King Herod Agrippa I – favored the Jews and sought to please them, which resulted in additional persecution of the church. In these verses we see two Christians:
- Apostle James (John’s brother) who was killed by the sword for his faith.
- Peter was arrested (imprisoned) and was being held for trial.
Peter had been arrested before and the Lord intervened, Acts 5:19 – “But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out.” While King Herod Agrippa I remembered Peter’s prior escape and added extra guards to secure Peter, the church remembered the power of prayer (unlocked faith).
Sisters and brothers, there are different outcomes for every believer. Some believers lost their lives because of persecution and others died after a faithful life of serving Christ. The key 🔑 item in these verses that you should walk a way with today is the response of the church – “the church prayed very earnestly“. In spite of the bleak outlook, the church remained faithful in prayer.
Sisters and brothers, we can find dreary and miserable conditions all around us but we should never give up on our faith or stop praying. Our faith in Christ Jesus is our true hope, that even when the odds are against us we serve a mighty God who stands with us, who has already won the battle, who defeated death at the cross, who insured our salvation, and who has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. I think Paul (formerly Saul) said it best in Philippians 1:21-22, “21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.“
Don’t give up!
Keep pressing forward in faith.
Father God we thank you for your love toward us. Lord, we are so grateful for you and for your mercy toward us. Lord, you continue to build us up when the world seems to be falling apart. Lord, you strengthen our faith and you sharpen our character through trials and joy. Lord, there is no teacher that is greater than you. Lord, keep us humble and increase our dependence on you. Lord, you know our fears, disappointments and our hearts. Lord, remove our fears, repair our hearts and lead us into a closer relationship with you so that we will stand with our full armor on – ready and equipped to stand against the enemies schemes. In Jesus name, amen.
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