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Monday, November 14, 2016

Using God (Acts 8:18-19)

"And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

Are you trusting God today or are you using Him?

Luke records the story of the ten lepers who came to Jesus to be healed. Nine of the lepers received their healing and turned away. The tenth, a Samaritan, returned to thank Jesus for this great gift. He alone received healing and salvation. He wasn't using God; he was trusting God.

The central figure in this narrative is also a Samaritan but he seeks to use the power of God rather than trust the God of power. When he sees the amazing work of the Holy Spirit through Peter and John he offers money with which to buy this power. Peter rightly diagnoses his motives, immediately rebuking him for a heart not right with God that is poisoned by bitterness and twisted by immorality.

We are all tempted to use God rather than trust Him. Rather than depend upon Him in a crisis we demand He fix our problem on our time table. God, however, patiently exposes the motives of our hearts to lead us to repentance. God will not be used.


The nine lepers got what they wanted but not what God really wanted to give them. When you are tempted to use God beware lest He give you what you want and "send leanness to your soul" (Psalm 106:15)

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Acts 7:54-9:31
  • What does Steven say about Jesus that angers the Sanhedrin?
  • What does Stephen recognize about the body and the soul?
  • What characterizes the lives of those who've been scattered by the persecution?
  • Why was Simon drawn to Philip and his message? What does this tell you about how some view the gospel ministry?
  • What does Philip recognize about Simon? 
  • How does Philip share the good news with Jesus Christ?
  • What does the Ethiopian understand about belief? baptism?
  • How does God capture Saul's attention?
  • What does God's instruction to Ananias require of him?
  • What plan does the Lord have in store for Saul and how does God communicate this plan?
  • Describe the change in Saul following his conversion.
  • How does Barnabas relate to Saul? Do you have a Barnabas-like figure in your life and are you a Barnabas to others?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to show you where you use the gospel for personal validation. Ask Him also to help you become more aware of your responsibility to come alongside of others and of the people to whom you are encourage.