You are welcome to use the writings on these pages or pass them on to others who might find a touch from God in the words. Our purpose is always to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Please remember to give credit to the Author who has given you everything, and keep in remembrance the vessel which He used to bring these words to you. We pray that this site may be a blessing to you and anyone with whom its been shared. All rights reserved. Peggy Hoppes
Christian Bible Study Pages
Travel PagesSalisbury Plain
Our Lord is so good, He grants us many blessings. We can see Him in the daily course of events, in our homes, our jobs, our lives. I pray that these words help you to grow in your faith and recognize His hand in even the most mundane circumstances.
The picture to the right is of a Celtic Chapel located in Cornwall England. This building is approximately 1700 years old, and contains a holy well known for its healing powers.
(Click for enlarged)
“Haven’t you known? Haven’t you heard? The everlasting God, Yahweh, the Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t faint. He isn’t weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might. Even the youths faint and get weary, and the young men utterly fall; But those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run, and not be weary. They will walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31, WEB
I am not a very good housekeeper. There’s always dust on the furniture and crumbs on the floor. There are always dishes in the sink. My carpets desperately need to be cleaned. It is a never-ending occupation; there is always something to be wiped down or put away. Changing the sheets on the bed is an exhausting and time consuming project. Housework seems like it is a never-ending occupation. I do what needs to be done, but I have to admit that it takes the promise of visitors for me to get around to doing more.
There is one household task that is more frustrating than others: the laundry. No matter how hard we try, there is always some dirty piece of clothing. Even as we empty the dryer and fold the final pair of pants or T-shirt, we still have a set of clothes on our back that will need washing. It can be discouraging to get to the bottom of the pile, only to have it reappear within minutes as kids toss this hour’s outfit on the pile. Perhaps you have certain jobs that are equally frustrating to you. Do you struggle with stacks of paperwork that never get smaller? Even as we are paying one bill, there are three more waiting for us. We can find solutions to the problems in our relationships, but it seems that just as we come to an agreement about something, there is another problem waiting.
It can be quite discouraging. We wonder, “Will I ever have a moment of rest?” Even in our relationship with God, we can weary of the tasks set before us, such as prayer. It seems that just as we see the answers to a prayer for a sick friend, two more ask for intercession. Just as we see someone we love come to a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ, there are two more that need to hear the Word. It is glorious to be able to do these tasks for the Lord, and yet there are moments when we cannot see the victory because it is buried under piles of things we need to do that we get discouraged.
In those moments when you are tired and weak, remember that the Lord God Almighty is your strength. He will give you all you need to complete the tasks set before you. Though you cannot see the end of the journey you are on, remember that the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus have already won the victory. Rest in Him, and know His peace.
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“Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. They came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus, the king’s personal aide, their friend, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day, Herod dressed himself in royal clothing, sat on the throne, and gave a speech to them. The people shouted, ‘The voice of a god, and not of a man!’ Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he didn’t give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God grew and multiplied.” Acts 12:20-24, WEB
The New Testament stories of Herod can become confusing because there were several. The Herod that killed the innocents of Bethlehem (Herod the Great) was not the same as the Herod that killed John the Baptist (Herod Antipas) who was not the same as the Herod that killed James and imprisoned Peter. The Herod in today’s passage is Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great. This can become confusing and it is difficult from the scriptures to truly understand the character and reigns of these kings.
Agrippa spent most of his life in Rome. He was sent there for his education and his safety because his grandfather was a cruel and suspicious king who killed his son Aristobulus, Agrippa’s father. Agrippa was friends with the son of Tiberius, but after his mother died, Agrippa spent the family wealth and went into debt. He left Rome, settled in Palestine and took a position in his Uncle Herod Antipas’s kingdom. He left that position to go to Egypt where he took a loan which allowed him to return to Rome. He wasn’t welcome in the court because of the debt, but when it was paid, Agrippa became a tutor for Tiberius’s grandson. He became a friend of Caligula. He ended up in prison because he said something negative about Tiberius, but on the emperor’s death Agrippa was set free and raised by his friend Caligula. He was made king of the region that had been ruled by Philip the Tetrarch. Antipas was upset by this, but Agrippa had the ear of Caligula so Antipas was exiled and Agrippa ended up with a vast territory to rule.
Agrippa was a Jew, despite having spent most of his life as a Roman. He became zealous about his Jewish faith when he became king, earning the friendship of his Jewish subjects. He vigorously rejected the Christian faith which had arisen while he was in Rome. He is remembered well by the Jews because he was able to create a mutual relationship between Judah and Rome. It was a time of peace, and the Christian faith threatened conflict. A story is told about a moment when Agrippa was to read the Torah for the people. Though most kings sat for the reading, Agrippa stood like the rest of the assembly. It is said that when he read Deuteronomy 17:15, Agrippa wept because he considered himself a foreigner. The people responded, “Don’t fear Agrippa, you are our brother.” Agrippa had a reputation of being kind and humble man, even carrying his own offering to the Temple like the common folk.
The New Testament portrays him differently, of course, because he was determined to end the cult that was following Jesus of Nazareth. The stories that come before today’s passage include the death of James (the brother of John) and the imprisonment of Peter. Peter was set to be executed also, but God intervened and sent an angel to rescue him. He appeared before the Christians in Jerusalem, surprising them. Some even thought it must be Peter’s ghost because they thought he was dead. He sent word to James (the brother of Jesus) and then escaped to Caesarea. Agrippa tried to find Peter, but when he could not do so, he ordered the death of those soldiers who were charged with his imprisonment.
Today’s passage comes immediately following. We are not told why Agrippa was upset with Tyre and Sidon. There is no reason to suggest that it is because the king blamed them for Peter’s disappearance. It is more likely that Tyre and Sidon, which were major ports, did something that harmed Agrippa’s economy. He nearly declared war, but the cities sent emissaries to make peace. He gave a speech and the people cheered him and called him a god. Despite his claim to faith in the God of Israel, Agrippa accepted the accolades. He met his end in a sudden and painful manner. Agrippa is known as the last king of the Jews because the Romans decided not to give the territory to his son.
James was dead and Peter had been imprisoned. The Christian faith would continue to suffer at the hands of their enemies, both Roman and Jewish. Most of the Apostles would be martyred, along with many others. Those who remained faithful to Jesus would suffer in other ways, such as exile from their families and economic difficulties. Despite the risks, Luke tells us that the word of God grew and multiplied. It didn’t matter to the faithful that they might die because they knew by God’s grace they would live forever. The story of Agrippa is interesting, perhaps a little frightful when we think about the people around the world who think they hold our lives in their hands. We know, however, that God is in control and that no matter what happens, He will make good come out of it.
The following links provide some specially chosen scripture that tell the stories of the Birth and Passion of our Lord as Saviour Jesus Christ, as well as a fictional perspective of the Crucifixion. Spend time in God's Word, read about His life and learn of the wonderful gifts He has for you. Know Jesus Christ and honour Him today. Thanks be to God.
When researching, I use several versions of the bible, including the New International Version and English Standard Version. Due to copyright restrictions, I have not included quotes for the scriptures on some of the archives, but highly encourage you to open your own bibles to read the scripture passages for yourselves. Where scripture is quoted, it is usually the American Standard Version or World English Bible which belong to the public domain. Any other versions used in quotes are identified.
The devotion posted on Wednesday is based on the Lectionary texts used by millions of Christians each Sunday. The Lectionary consists of four texts: an Old Testament passage, a Psalm, a passage from one of the Epistles and a Gospel text and follows the church calendar. Archives for these writings are found at Midweek Oasis.
You are welcome to use these words to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. Please remember to give credit to the Author who has given you these gifts, and keep in remembrance the vessel which He used to bring them to you. We pray that this site may be a blessing to you and anyone with whom you've shared it. Peggy Hoppes