All posts by Shannon Upton

Are You Eager for God? Are You, Are You?

Read it! Acts 17

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians,

for they received the message with great eagerness

and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

(vs 11)

 

Think it through

In Acts 17, Paul visits three different cities with three very different reactions to his message:

The Thessalonians were split. Some Jews “were persuaded” along with many Gentiles. The remaining Jews felt threatened and reacted violently. Not a great start to Chapter 17.

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What’s Your Holy Spirit Specialty?

Read it! Acts 16

During the night Paul had a vision

of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him,

“Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision,

we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia,

concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

(vs 9&10)

 

Think it through

Acts 16 is a study of where Paul goes… and doesn’t go. He goes to Derbe and Lystra, Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit kept him out of Asia. His group tries to enter Bithynia but “the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t allow them to.” (I would love to know more about that! What was that like, to be blocked by the Spirit of Jesus?) Paul doesn’t leave a jail cell when released by an earthquake, nor does he leave the jailer’s home when released by the magistrates. But the last words of Acts 16 are, “Then they left”!

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Are You an Encourager—Really?

Read it! Acts 13

After the reading from the Law and the Prophets,

the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying,

“Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.”

(vs 15)

Think it through

I like to think of myself as an encourager.   Whenever I take a “Spiritual Gift Test,” the gift of encouragement pops up as my secondary gift (the gift of teaching always comes in first!). I’m great at complimenting cute outfits and verbally admiring personal traits… but sometimes I find myself feeling too shy to give the real encouragement that Paul and Barnabus shared so boldly.

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Suffering for the Savior

Read it!: Acts 9

But the Lord said to Ananias,

“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles

and their kings and before the people of Israel.

I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

(vs 15&16)

 

Think it through:

From what I can tell, being God’s chosen instrument is rarely an easy thing. In Tarsus, Saul clearly thought that he was being God’s instrument. Saul probably thought he was suffering for the Lord when he left his home on the journey to arrest more “heretical” Christians.

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So Sometimes Being Young Isn’t All That Great

Read it!: This is a look back at the Young David Bible Study Series.

You may want to review any notes you’ve made, actions you’ve taken, or prayers you’ve written.

 

Think it through:

As I consider the things that the Lord’s been bringing to my attention through this study of Young David, I’m noticing a bit of a theme. (Hopefully you haven’t noticed it—as least not enough that it’s bothered or distracted you!)

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Should We Be “Two-Faced” for Jesus?

Read it!: I Samuel 24

When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed?

May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today.

(vs 19)

 

Think it through:

By I Samuel 24, King Saul had shown himself to be wildly jealous, delusional, and murderous. David has the perfect opportunity to kill the king—the men around him are urging him to do so! Instead, he confronts Saul with his face to the ground, calling him “My lord the king” and “my father.”   Saul sees reason (for once) and commends David for his action.

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I Want Holy Dice!

Read it!: I Samuel 23

Again, David asked,

“Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?”

And the Lord said, “They will.”

(vs12)

Think it through:

So if you’ve been wondering why there are dice next to my little sheep, here we go.

In I Samuel 23, David defends a nearby town against the Philistines despite the imminent danger to himself and his men. He does this on the direct order of the Lord; as in, he asks the Lord if he should go (twice!) and the Lord says “yes.”

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Give it up! (To God, That Is.)

Read it!: I Samuel 22

From there David when to Mizpath in Moab and said to the king of Moab,

“Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you

until I learn what God will do for me?”

(vs 3)

 

Think it through:

At this point in his life, David is on the run with a ragtag band of men who were “in distress or debt or discontent”—not so much followers of his but those unhappy with Saul. He’s moving from one place to the next, hiding from a king who wants to kill him. He knows the Lord has crowned him as the next King, but he’s not sure how or when that will come about.

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Breaking the Rules, Jesus-Style

Read it!: I Samuel 21

…The men’s things are holy even on missions that are not holy.

How much more so today!

(vs 5)

 

Think it through:

David made several questionable decisions in I Samuel 21. At the start, he lies to a temple priest about being on a mission for Saul. In the next chapter Saul kills the priest (and many others), an act that might not have happened if David had told the truth.

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How Not to be a Fair-Weather Friend

Read it!:  I Samuel 19 &20

Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it for you.”

(Chapter 20, vs 4)

 

Think it through:

Now here’s a story of a truly great friendship (perhaps the greatest friendship recorded in the Bible—or anywhere!), that between Jonathan and David.  These two friends loved each other greatly.  Can you picture them meeting one another, discovering their nearly instant rapport?  I can imagine them hanging out, sharing confidences with one another, and enjoying the ringing sound of their combined laughter.

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