1 Kings 11 & 12
The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. (1 Kings 11:9–11, NIV)
“It reminds me to advise others well and to take advise wisely. There are always consequences for actions, intended or unintended.”
When you think about King Solomon, what sort of characteristics or descriptions come to mind? Are your assessments generally positive or negative? Why is this the case?
If Solomon was the wisest man on earth, as some have said, why did he allow his heart to turn from God?
Do we recognize there are consequences for our actions, intended or unintended?
What are ways you can work to ensure you are following God with all your heart? Share some of those ideas with others by clicking “Leave a comment” below.
2 Corinthians 12:1–10
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:1–10, NIV)
“This saint that we tend to idolize in the church (Paul), even he had issues. Even he begged the Lord for things to change. Paul was desparate. Maybe it’s OK for me to be desparate too.”
What reasons do we typically think are good reasons to boast? What are some of your accomplishments that you might want to boast about?
We are never told what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” is, but we get some idea of how it helped Paul’s ministry. How have you found problems in your life to actually help you do a better job of trusting in and sharing about Jesus?
In what ways have you trusted in God’s grace to be sufficient?
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10, NIV)
“It makes me feel safe and at home and I like the general idea.”
When you think of a “fortified tower,” what images come to mind?
In what ways have you found God to be a place where you can run to find safety?
How does a greater focus on God and following him demonstrate more the the safety God to you?
How can you be reminded throughout the day today of the safety that comes from the name of the Lord? Share with others you idea by clicking “Leave a comment…” below.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 “ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:1–16, NIV)
Where do you want to be ranked? First or last?
How much would you have assumed the first workers would have been paid in comparison to the last? Why does this seem like the most logical pay scale?
Why are we so focused on what we consider “fair?” Do we have a similar emphasis on fairness for others?
In what ways are you thankful for God’s generous gift to you?
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” (Genesis 41:39–40, NIV)
Who would have thought that a young man sold into slavery would become second only to the Pharaoh in the most powerful nation of the day?
Why do you think God sent the dreams he did to Pharaoh? Do you think it unusual for God to work in this way?
In what ways did the Spirit of God guide Joseph, not only in this story but throughout his entire life? What was required from Joseph for the Spirit to work in the way he did?
How can you allow the Spirit of God to not only be present, but also direct how you go about your life?
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16, NIV)
If you have something “shiny” that needs to be shared, why would you hide it?
Think about a time you have been somewhere traveling and seen a city in the far distance. How far was that city and how amazing is it you can see those lights that far away?
Why is the message you have so important for others to hear?
Why do our good deeds help others glorify our Father in heaven?
What specific deeds can we do that helps others see our Father? Share those things with others by clicking on “Leave a Comment” below…
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16–18, NIV)
How would you respond to your challenger if you faced a threat that you absolutely, 100% knew you would overcome? What about it if you did not know with certainly you would succeed? How would you respond then?
As you read through Daniel 3, what moments stand out to you as nothing you could ever imagine facing? How do you think you would respond if you were these three?
How certain are you that God will rescue you, no matter the challenge you face?
Describe a time when you had to have the biggest amount of faith to stand up to something, while also facing the biggest risk, or at least perceived risk, that you might fail? How did God help you remain faithful to this challenge?
What specific things can you do to help you become the kind of person who, no matter the challenge or the results, will NOT back down from a faithful response? Share it and help others by clicking on “Leave a Comment” below…