Acts 12: 1 About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church.
Two things you can always count on when you are working in Father God’s Kingdom; 1. there will never be a shortage of persecution; 2. Father God will always turn the persecution into promotion.
Joseph was persecuted for doing good; falsely accused of attempted rape of his master’s wife, but God allowed the false accusations to position Joseph into a place which poised him for the greatest promotion of his life. You will never become all you can be for God’s kingdom without the spiritual sharpening of persecution in your life. It’s only when you are persecuted that you really find out the level of your spiritual walk and maturity. Persecutions are allowed to test our faith not to destroy our destiny.
The early church was birthed in the fire of the Holy Spirit but also birthed in the fire of persecution. King Herod was having Christians whipped, imprisoned and murdered in horrific ways. The next verse tells of one of the martyrs.
2 He had the apostle James (John's brother) killed with a sword. History points out that he was probably beheaded. 3 When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish leaders, he arrested Peter during the Passover celebration.
When you can be swayed by man, then you know you are not under the Lordship of Christ. Herod wanted to be a man pleaser instead of a God pleaser so he arrested the most famous of the disciples during one of the Jewish Feasts.
4 and imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod's intention was to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover.
Herod had Peter arrested and put him in a prison cell with four soldiers on each side of him. Herod had Peter surrounded to make it impossible for Peter to escape. Then after the Passover celebration Herod was going to bring Peter out for trial and take Peter’s life to further please the people. 5 But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
What a powerful verse for us today! Never in the history of mankind are so many people in prison of their own choices today. Invisible prison walls but yet walls that keep a majority of people from fulfilling their purpose in Father God’s Kingdom. But there is hope for the imprisoned; a praying church, a praying parent, a praying pastor, a praying spouse. I’m still convinced that all things are possible when believing prayer is prayed in faith with expectation.
So many prisons that mankind find themselves in today:
Prison of their past: many cannot live today because they never learn to let go of their past. Friends, Jesus died to redeem us from our past! Yes, we may face consequences by the decisions we made in our past but never judgment from God. When you ask Father God to forgive you, He casts your sin as far as the East is from the West never to be remembered anymore. The next time the devil tries to bring up your past, remind him of his future!
Prison of a negative mindset: because of the way many are raised up with angry, harsh, words spoken to them time and time again they begin to think negatively and even live in a world full of negativity. You will never live a victorious life with a negative mindset. Negativity is a prison that will isolate you not only from your enemies but also those who really love you. A negative mindset is a prison that will keep you locked up and unfulfilled.
There are so many spiritual prisons but the greatest prison is one that we all had in common and it’s called SIN. Sin: a transgression of God’s Law; disobedience to God’s Word. Sin is a destroyer. The wages of sin is death here and in eternity to come. Someone said that since the wages of sin is death, you better quit before payday. Sin will rob you, destroy you. Sin is enticing to our flesh and deceives our mind but there is a cure for sin and there is a key for every spiritual prison, the key of prayer which allows the blood of Jesus to set us free.
Prayer Point: Father God help me pass the test of persecution, never to be imprisoned in prisons of my own choices which keeps me from fulfilling the purpose for which you created me.