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Rhoda Part 5: Little Life Lessons

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Grab your cup and let’s drink in some grace! Rhoda’s story contains a kind of infectious joy and excitement I can’t help but love.

Rhoda was ready for an answer to prayer without putting limitations on how, when or what an answer might look like.  It’s humbling to admit, but I think I all too often pray with an attitude of “knowing when the answer might come and how I might see it” instead of expecting the unexpected from a God who can do the impossible.

Psalm 40:1 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” I look at that verse and say, “Man, I better just sit tight since the Lord only answers prayers if I pray them long enough.” But that’s not what “waiting patiently” means! I think it means praying with an attitude that God knows best and it’s in His timing rather than, now or a long time from now. Because God’s time is way different than ours. So, sometimes we pray and wait. Sometimes we pray and it happens immediately. But both times we need to approach it with a patient heart and realization that it’s God’s timing, not ours.

When Rhoda heard Peter’s voice, she was excited. When the others opened up the door and saw Peter, they were astonished.  I think sometimes I need a flashing neon sign that says, “MIRACLE HAPPENING HERE” with a big ole arrow pointing the way.  And sometimes I feel more astonished at God’s work than excited.  But let’s get excited!  And hold onto the excitement when we know God is working in our lives.

No matter who you are or where you are in life, God intends his handiwork and miracles to be for every and anyone.  Rhoda was a servant girl, but she was the first to know that Peter had been set free from prison.  We are all part of the same body of Christ.  We can all rejoice and get excited.

And don’t forget what was going on before and during this miracle.  Don’t forget where Rhoda was while it happened.  She was at the prayer meeting.  A group meeting with the purpose of a specific goal – speaking to their Savior on behalf of a life.  As moms, as wives, as women, we need to do this for our friends, our co-workers, our church, but most importantly for our children, our husbands, and our family.  Prayer is so important.  If a result of praying together helped free Peter miraculously from prison, imagine what praying together for the lives of our children could do…

And that’s Rhoda!

(Acts 12:1-19)

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Rhoda Part 4: She Kept Insisting!

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Welcome, welcome, welcome! Isn’t Rhoda a hoot? She didn’t even mean to the be first biblical practical joker, but she was!

Peter, after his miraculous escape from prison, went to Mary’s house and knocked on the door. And Rhoda, upon hearing Peter’s voice, left him standing outside while she ran to tell the others at the prayer meeting the good news.

“Peter is at the door!” Rhoda exclaimed as she burst into the room, interrupting the praying to announce Peter’s arrival. And joy and laughter and applause broke out!  Wait, that’s not what happened?  Isn’t that what they were praying for? Yes it was, but their response was disbelief. In fact, they told her, “You’re out of your mind.” (Acts 12:15)

Now, perhaps Rhoda was prone to telling stories. Or exaggerating. Maybe it’s just that the others hadn’t personally heard Peter’s voice.  Whatever it was, I’m going to give my girl, Rhoda, some mad props…ahem, kudos, for being persistent and insistent on what she knew to be true.

In fact, “she kept insisting” (Acts 12:15) She wasn’t put off or discouraged, swayed or talked out of it, or shown the error of her logic.  No, she knew God had performed a miracle, she was a witness to the amazing outcome of God’s handiwork. And she didn’t back down. She kept insisting.

I don’t know about you, but if I were Rhoda, there’s a good chance the rush of excitement I’d felt so greatly when I left Peter at the door would have started dwindling after hearing the saints of the early church telling me how it couldn’t be Peter outside, that it was probably just his angel now.  But the explanations that were thrown her way (coming from believers!) weren’t changing her mind.  Rhoda stood firm and insisted.

When we see God move in our life, when we see Him do amazing things, even little things, get excited–really excited and keep insisting.  Others may try to give alternate explanations, both nonbelievers and believers alike. Sometimes it’s hard to accept a miracle, especially when you haven’t personally witnessed or experienced it. But when it happens, don’t back down, insist on what you know.  Examine it with God’s Word and in prayer to be sure that it lines up with Truth, but get excited!  And remember, it’s not your job to prove to others what you know God has done in your life.  Rhoda “kept insisting” while Peter kept on knocking (yup, that’s right, he’s still just standing outside!)

When they opened the door, they found Peter standing on the doorstep. Rhoda was excited and insisted on what she knew, but then it was up to the others to take the steps to open the door and receive God’s miracle for themselves.  Now, if she had just opened the door in the first place, it could have saved a lot of time, but where’s the fun in that?  She got excited and ran to tell her friends the good news. And soon enough, her friends saw Peter and were excited as well. I wonder if she ever lived down her little knock knock joke?

(Acts 12:1-19)

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Rhoda Part 3: Knock, Knock…Who’s There?

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Welcome back! Grab your cup for some exciting grace today.

Peter has escaped from prison with the help of an angel who guided him out of jail and into the city before leaving him. Then, Peter goes straight to Mary’s house, where a group has been praying for him. Now, here’s the ultimate knock knock joke as performed by our dear girl, Rhoda.

“Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’ ” (Acts 12:13,14)

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Yup, she just leaves Peter hanging out at the door.  I love that girl.  I mean, who does that?  An overexcited girl who just got an audible glimpse of the miracle they’ve spent the night praying for, that’s who.

Rhoda is excited. Super excited. So excited she can’t think clearly. When was the last time you were so excited about what God was doing in your life that you couldn’t think clearly?  When was the last time that you prayed expectantly and when God answered your prayer, your very next action was to run and tell everyone?  That is the kind of excited joy I want!

Rhoda had only heard his voice and that was enough of an answer to prayer to make her crazy excited. It was a peek at the miracle.

My sister-in-law used to say, “Get EXCITED!” And I love that. I think we need to GET EXCITED! Become expectant of God’s amazing works and miracles and GET EXCITED! It’ll lift your spirit, your faith, and it’ll make you want to run and share the good news. That’s why Rhoda left Peter there. She GOT EXCITED that she ran to tell everyone the good news!

We need to get excited. God is good!  We need to be overjoyed. God is GREAT!  Think of the blessings in your life and try not to get excited by what God’s done. I’m talking the kind of lose your mind, forget normal reactions, and run to tell someone excited. Maybe they’ll get excited with you…or maybe they’ll think you’re crazy.  When you can see God at work in your life, that’s exciting stuff.

“She ran back without opening it (the door) and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!'” (Acts 12:14) So, leaving Peter standing at the door, Rhoda is off to tell everyone the good…the amazingly exciting news.

And their response? Well, it might surprise you…

(Acts 12:1-19)

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Rhoda Part 2: And Heeeeeeerrrrre’s Rhoda!

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Welcome, grab your cup and have a cup of grace with me!

Ok, we’ve got Peter in prison, a church prayer meeting going on, and now we’re getting a miracle!

Unbeknownst to the praying church, an angel was waking Peter up and telling him to gather up his clothes and sandals and get a move on. By the way, while in prison, Peter was being guarded by 16 soldiers, and he was bound with chains. Herod wasn’t taking any chances. Ha! Little did he know that his squads of guards and his iron chains were no match for our God!

Thinking he was dreaming, Peter grabs his stuff and follows the angel passed the first and second guards and through the iron gate to the city (which also just opened for them.) The angel walked with Peter down one street, then left him.  And that’s when Peter really woke up.  And then, Peter knew the Lord sent the angel to rescue him.

Woot woot! So, we’ve got a group praying–without ceasing–through the night over at Mary’s house while this spectacular rescue was going on. Anyone else making the connection? A prayer meeting…a miracle…yup, there it is…Prayer works!

So, after Peter comes to and realizes what just happened, he heads to Mary’s house.

Knock, knock!

“Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door.” (Acts 12:13)

FINALLY! Here’s Rhoda!  She was a servant of Mary’s so there’s a good chance she was at the prayer meeting. Dare I say she could have even been…participating in the prayer meeting? After all, as a member of Mary’s household, she would have heard about the Lord, and seen the faith of the believers. And we know that we are all one in Christ, “neither slave nor free” (Gal 3:28, Col 3:11) so my own personal guess is that Rhoda was in there praying for Peter.

And now, Rhoda is about to perform the ultimate knock knock joke. Wait, you didn’t know that knock knock jokes originated in the Bible? Ha! Stay tuned…

(Acts 12:1-19)

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Rhoda Part 1: Introducing…Wait, Where Is She?

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Have you ever heard of Rhoda? She’s a fun girl. But, for the first part of our story, she’s…well, she’s not really in it.

So, things were rough for the new church. And by rough, I mean putting believers to death kind of rough.  Herod Agrippa (grandson of Herod the Great, of baby Jesus’ days) was ruling and persecuting the church.  James the brother of John was put to death.  Herod Agrippa also arrested many including Peter, who was thrown into prison.  Yes, it was rough times.

While Peter was in prison, “the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” (Acts 12:5)  The King James Version says, “prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” I kind of love KJV language sometimes.  “Prayer was made without ceasing” just sounds more…powerful and serious. They got serious and prayed.  “Most strenuously” The Message Bible says.  Whichever version you read, the point is that they knew the only thing they could to do help Peter was to pray on his behalf.

In fact, there was a gathering a prayer meeting going on at Mary’s, the mother of John Mark, house. As Peter sat shackled in the depths of prison, a group of friends met at Mary’s house to pray for his safety. It wasn’t a book club meeting, it wasn’t a small group, it wasn’t even Bible study. It was a gathering with the sole purpose of praying. Pleading with the Lord for Peter’s life, standing in the gap, taking it upon themselves to ask for his safety, his deliverance, as well as maybe their safety and the church’s future. Peter was an important member of the early church, a great preacher and a high profile figure. The church still needed Peter’s boldness and his testimony. So they met with the sole purpose to pray.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Mt 18:19,20) There is power in prayer when believers meet to pray together.

It’s kind of like going to a sporting event with other like minded fans cheering for your team — there’s a certain energy that propels more enthusiasm and excitement.  When I go to a baseball game with my husband, I really watch the game, we talk too, but it’s much easier to focus on the action instead of when I’m home watching the game on TV.  Watching the game on TV, I get distracted by folding laundry, getting up to cook dinner, helping little guys with this or that, etc. Actually being at the game though forces me to pay attention.

It’s sort of the same idea with a prayer meeting. Gathering together with other “fans” propels and encourages you to pray and press in.  It’s an opportunity to meet with Jesus in a setting with fewer distractions to get you off track. And, when two or three come together, and agree in prayer, “it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” Those gathered at Mary’s house to pray may have remembered Jesus’ words as they prayed for Peter’s deliverance and safety.

So, no Rhoda yet…but soon…

(Acts 12:1-19)