Together, we serve
to know Christ
and to make Christ known
for the glory of God

4 February 2021

Proverbs 16:26

The appetite of laborers works for them;
    their hunger drives them on.

Our appetite motivates us to produce. Hunger will drive even the laziest of persons to work to satisfy his hunger pain. How can you get a stubborn mule to walk? Hold an apple in front of him. It is a basic principle that success is predicated on hunger. It has become a sports cliché. Who will be the winner depends on who wants to win the most, who is the hungriest.

If appetite is a powerful motivator to work, then the control of one’s appetite is important. The degree of the appetite and the direction of the appetite must be considered. An appetite for food is essential for getting the proper nutrients for our bodies. A person with a poor appetite is likely to be malnourished. However, too strong of an appetite can lead to overeating with the health problems it brings. Likewise, a poor appetite for what makes a comfortable and secure life can lead to poor work habits, leaving individuals and their families in poor conditions, and too great an appetite for wealth and luxury can lead to out-of-whack work practices and the breakup of relationships. Too little an appetite and too much of one each brings their share of troubles, whatever the appetite is for. We should desire the appetite expressed in Proverbs 30:7-9:

Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, Who is the Lord?
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.

In the same manner, the direction of the appetite is significant. An appetite for financial security produces one pattern of behavior; an appetite for a happy family produces another. An appetite for a comfortable life produces certain behavior, while an appetite for serving Gods kingdom yet another. For which are you hungrier a pleasant, comfortable life or a productive, meaningful life? These things are not necessarily opposed to each other, but the appetite for one over the other will determine how you live.

Likewise, your appetite for God will affect how well you know and serve him. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). If you find the taste of the Lord good, then your appetite will spur you on to know him better. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). If that is your experience with God’s Word, then your appetite for his Word will lead you to read and study it.

Acts 12

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”

16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.

18 In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.

Herod’s Death

Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. 20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.

21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

24 But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from[a] Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.