Tuesday, March 5, 2013


When I was in upper elementary, my sister and I were walking through our neighbor's back yard when we crossed path with a boy who had thrown a prickly gum ball at my sister. It had hit her below her eye. I was a runt, and he was a bully. I didn't really realize how badly I was mismatched when I kicked the boy in the shin. I told him to apologize, and when he didn't, I kicked. He dared me to do it again, so I did, and then it was on. We were in a brawl, a fist fight, rolling on the ground. Lori ran to get mom, and she pulled us apart. I really hate bullies. He went home with a bloody nose, and I had a fat lip. That night my daddy called the boy's parents, and he taught me how to fight.

Acts 12 shows Herod is king and being part Jew himself, he attempts to please the Jews. So Herod begins to persecute Christians. Right off the bat the Bible in verse 2 says James is killed by the sword. James is the son of Zebedee and the brother of John. When Herod saw that pleased the Jews, he went after Peter. He imprisoned Peter during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This was a festival that was celebrated after the Passover. To give you a little picture into some background, Herod was related to Herod the Great that killed the children of Bethlehem. He was related to Herod Antipas who participated in the illegal trial of Jesus and had John the Baptist executed. Herod Agrippa I (this Herod) murdered James. He also got along with Caligula in Rome. So he had Peter arrested during the festival and had him imprisoned. He didn’t execute him immediately because he wanted the Jews favor. In verse 4 it says, Herod intended after Easter to bring Peter to trial. That was Herod’s intentions. In verse 5 it says, but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. (Resources Life Application Study Bible King James Version and Women’s Evangelical Commentary New Testament).

There are several verses that come to mind:

• Genesis 50:20 – You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

• Jeremiah 29:11 – "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

• James 5:16 -- …The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. It’s not the prayer itself that changes things. It’s the righteous man who is going to his Abba that changes things.

At some point in time in our lives, we all have someone who is difficult to deal with. I have a young friend in high school who considered suicide because the difficult people became unbearable. When we are dealing with those difficult people in our lives, please remember the three verses above. It is difficult. It is uncomfortable. It is unpleasant. But know without a doubt that God is going to use everything that happens for your good IF you will allow him. Know that God has a plan for you and that he has already prepared a way out for you, and it is never suicide. And then tell someone. Tell you some godly people and have them praying over you and for you daily. Get your walk with God closer than it ever has and pray. Pray for those who are making your life difficult – much easier to type than to do I assure you. Holding onto anger turns into bitterness and resentment. Failing to forgive is a sin, and failing to forgive is choosing to bind yourself to your torturers. It’s like drinking poison hoping that the other person will die – ever heard that quote? It’s true. Proverbs 25:21 says, If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. Verse 22, In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

It is so hard to keep your eyes on God when dealing with a bully, but that is where we HAVE to keep our eyes. We have to keep our hearts open to God because God is bigger than any situation, any problem and any difficulty we may encounter. If you continue to read in this chapter, you will see Peter is actually able to sleep. He sleeps soundly during all these things. That’s peace.

Whatever you are going through today will not be what you are going through in a year. This is a season in your life, and seasons come and go. Hang on. It will go. It always does.

And BTW (by the way), Herod gets his in the end. Read the rest of Acts 12. He dies a pretty gruesome death.

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