1 Kings 18.1-46; Acts 11.1-30; Psalm 135.1-21; Proverbs 17.12-13
How would you have liked to have been in the crowd the day Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal? After all of the hullabaloo from the prophets of Baal with no response, God destroys Elijah’s soaked sacrifice in an impressive display of power. Maybe it is not fire from the sky, but what ways has God demonstrated his power to you?
At what point do you think the prophets of Baal thought: Man, this is getting us nowhere? And was there ever a point when their wailing proved successful?
What are ways people stand in the way of God and what he is doing to claim his people?
What reasons do you have to praise the Lord?
Reword today’s proverb with your own analogy: “It is safer to _______________ than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.
1 Kings 15.25-17.24; Acts 10.24-48; Psalm 134.1-3; Proverbs 17.9-11
If you study the movement of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts, you discover that most of the time, the Spirit comes upon people after their baptism. While this is consistent with some other things we read in the New Testament, in today’s story, the Spirit comes upon Cornelius prior to his baptism. If you look carefully, you discover the reason for this is to confirm that yes, Cornelius has been accepted by God. The presence of the Holy Spirit then serves to demonstrate relationship with God. How does the Spirit confirm and affirm the relationship you have with God?
How would you like to have been Ahab, the standard bearer for the worst king amongst bad kings?
Peter’s visit to Cornelius was actually breaking Jewish law. When is it OK to break religious law?
Who are the night watchmen in our society, similar to what we read about in this psalm? What is their importance for our faith?
What faults have you forgiven?
1 Kings 14.1-15.24; Acts 10.1-23; Psalm 133.1-3; Proverbs 17.7-8
It is a strange analogy for us … brothers living in harmony is like anointing oil running through the beard of Aaron. Why do you think the psalmist uses this illustration? Why is harmony so important for a life of faith?
Long after David had passed away, God continues to work “for David’s sake,” or because of the life David had lived for God. What sort of legacy do you think you are leaving to be remembered following your death?
Are there things we consider “unclean,” similar to the animals of Peter’s dream, that we need to consider clean today? What are they?
What was the purpose of anointing oil?
How would you explain the proverb’s writer’s mention of lucky charms in this proverb?
1 Kings 12.20-13.34; Acts 9.26-43; Psalm 132.1-18; Proverbs 17.6
All throughout Christian history, the more believers fear the Lord and the more time they spend in God’s word and in prayer, the stronger they become. There is a direct correlation. If we want to grow stronger as a group of believers, we need to spend more time in Him. What are ways you can strengthen your commitment to Him today and encourage others to do the same?
Jeroboam sells the worship of the two calves he made on the idea that it was “too much trouble to go to Jerusalem.” What are other examples you can think of where people have turned from God due to following an “easier” way of going about living for him?
Would you want to have the ability to raise individuals from the dead? Why do you think Peter had this ability?
Why do you think it was so difficult for people to understand what God really meant when he said a descendent of David would live on his throne forever?
How have you seen grandchildren be the “crowning glory of the aged?”
1 Kings 11.1-12.19; Acts 9.1-25; Psalm 131.1-3; Proverbs 17.4-5
It is interesting to consider what training the followers of Jesus had prior to sharing with others the Good News of Jesus. Saul, later Paul, is a great an example. Here is someone who spent most of his life opposing Christians, trying to defeat them in some pretty heavy-handed ways, yet once he has his Damascus Road moment, he immediately begins to preach to others. No seminary or college training. No long internship or mentoring program. Immediately. Which begs the question: How much training do we need to share the Good News we know about Jesus?
Why would Solomon not have considered the influence his wives/concubine’s gods would have on his own faith? What can we do to prevent us from doing the same?
How would you have liked to be Ananias, headed to visit with a known opponent of Christianity?
What practices do you do to ensure you have a calm and quiet spirit?
How can you work to avoid listening to gossip or slander?
1 Kings 9.1-10.29; Acts 8.14-40; Psalm 130.1-8; Proverbs 17.2-3
Throughout the book of Acts, we see the movement of the Holy Spirit. (In fact, some have suggested that the book should be entitled The Acts of the Spirit.) What is interesting is to note not just how the Spirit acts, but how the Spirit is given. In our story today, Peter and John lay their hands on the Samaritans, who then receive the Spirit. What purpose do you sense the Spirit played in this story and how is the way the Samaritan’s received the Spirit significant?
Why do you think we are told about the visit from the Queen of Sheba and her response to Solomon?
Why do you think Simon was trying to “buy” the Spirit? What was evil about his thinking?
How difficult is it for you to put your hope in God to cover your sins? In what ways do you at times assume there is no reason to hope in God BECAUSE of your sins? How can you reverse this thinking?
What does this proverb say about the wisdom we use to perform the tasks we have been given?
1 Kings 8.1-66; Acts 7.51-8.13; Psalm 129.1-8; Proverbs 17.1
Persecution and attacks on people dislike us are often done to eliminate those people. This would have been no different in the days in which Acts was written. Whether it be fear, jealousy, or a disagreement of policy, the people of God were persecuted which resulted in their scattering throughout the Roman Empire. What did NOT happen, however, was their message slowing down or being eliminated. In fact, just the opposite was true. What was meant to stifle actually fanned the flames. As people went to new places, they continued sharing the good news of Jesus as they went. We do not face similar persecution, but we do have the ability to share as we are going through our daily lives. How do you take advantage of this opportunity?
As you read the blessing the Temple Solomon built, what picture do you get of God?
Why do you think Stephen suddenly turned his defense from history lesson to attack on the Jewish leaders? Would you have thought this to be the conclusion of hearing his lesson?
How has God prevented your defeat, even in the midst of lifelong troubles or persecution?
Which do you prefer: dry crust and peace or a full feast and conflict? Why?