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March 14, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: Joshua 12 – Joshua 15
Audio: Joshua 12 – Joshua 15

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Memory Verse of the Week

“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
(Acts 13:52 ESV)

Acts 12 (ESV)

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church.He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 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.”

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 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!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.

20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them.22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.

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Next: Acts 13

Back: Acts 11

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Acs 12:24 "But the word of God increased and multiplied."

    Jesus said in Luke 21:12-13 "But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness."

    From John Piper:

    The Danger of Comfort, Ease, and Prosperity

    "I think there is a tremendous lesson for us here. The lesson is not just that God is sovereign and turns setbacks to triumphs. The lesson is that comfort and ease and affluence and prosperity and safety and freedom often cause a tremendous inertia in the church. Inertia is the tendency of something that is standing still to stay standing still and of something moving to keep moving. The very things that we think would produce personnel and energy and creative investment of time and money in the cause of Christ and his kingdom, instead produce, again and again, the exact opposite—weakness, apathy, lethargy, self-centeredness, preoccupation with security." 

    Full Article: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/spreading-power-through-persecution

    Christianity is not comfortable and casual. Christians are not called to be aloof and apathetic. Disciples who are disengaged and distracted may not be disciples at all. 

    2 Corinthians 13:5 "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?"

     

  2. The Testing of Our Faith is Not Always Through Trials

    A Christian friend and I talked last night and again today about nominal Christianity — the casual, comfortable, "serve me, don't rock my boat and don't ask anything of me" faith that has become epidemic in the American church.

    The validity of our faith in Christ is being tested and we don't even know it, because it's so comfortable.

    In Acts 12, there's no comfort. There's only persecution. And it's exactly what Jesus said would happen in Luke 12. How does "comfortable Christianity" test our faith, though? 

    1. Are we comfortable because we allow fear of persecution to rule us?

    "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!" Luke 12:4-5

    2. Are we comfortable because we fear losing friends (or promotions), so we don't tell them about Jesus when clear opportunity arises?

    "And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God." Luke 12:8-9

    3. Are we comfortable because we refuse to listen or submit to the Holy Spirit?

    "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." Luke 12:10

    4. Are we comfortable because we have wealth and riches we spend on ourselves, when the needs of the ministry are great?

    "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:20-21

    5. Are we comfortable because we'd rather keep the peace than allow the division Jesus creates? 

    "Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." Luke 12:51-53

    6. Are we comfortable because we're having so much fun living for ourselves, we've forgotten our responsibilities as servants and stewards of the gospel?

    "And the Lord said, 'Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, "My master is delayed in coming," and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.'" Luke 12:42-48

    Have I allowed my personal comfort to become an idol? 

     

  3. 12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 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.

     

    I think I relate to Rhoda. I would probably do the same thing.

  4.  So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Acts 12:5

    When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. (Act 12:12 ESV)
    And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. (Act 12:13 ESV)
    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. (Act 12:14 ESV)
    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!" (Act 12:15 ESV)
    But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. (Act 12:16 ESV)

    The church was praying, but when the answer came, they were surprised. Too often this is true of me. I pray for something but do I really believe that God will answer my prayers? 

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