THINK: Who do you hang out with? You can tell a lot about a person-who they are, what they're into, where they're headed-by looking at the people they spend time with. That doesn't mean all your friends must have spotless character, and it certainly doesn't mean that you shouldn't associate with people who don't know Jesus. But who really shares your life? Who do look up to, open up to, and gain great inspiration from? Make sure there is at least one Elijah in your life-someone who sharpens you spiritually and challenges you to grow closer to God.
RESPOND: Why do you think Ahaziah wanted to consult false gods rather than the true God (1:1-3)? What does this say about the spiritual climate in Israel at the time? What was significant about what Elijah wore? (See 1:8 note.) Who were "the company of the prophets," and what was their connection to Elijah? (See 2:3 note.) Why do you think Elisha wouldn't let Elijah go from city to city without him (2:2,4,6)? What request did Elisha make before Elijah was taken from him? (See 2:9 note.) What does it mean that Elisha would have a "double portion" of Elijah's spirit? What did the way God took Elijah to heaven indicate about his life? (See 2:11-12 note.) What did the other prophets recognize about Elisha after Elijah was gone (2:15)? Why did the youths suffer such a terrifying consequence for taunting Elisha, and what message would this send the nation? (See 2:23 and 2:24 notes.) How is Joram an example of one who thought he was serving God, while still hanging on to sin (3:2-3)? What does 3:18 indicate about the nature of miracles? How did the miracle that provided water for the troops also bring a military victory (3:21-25)?
PRAY: Pray for people you know who look to sources other than God for guidance and hope. Give God thanks for the spiritual leaders He's placed in your life. Also, give thanks that no miracle is difficult for God.
ACT: Enter a mentoring relationship with a leader or older Christian from whom you can learn more about serving God, growing spiritually, making decisions and using your abilities to honor God. Ask if you can meet with him or her on a weekly basis to talk about such things. Also, examine and evaluate your possessions and wardrobe to ensure that none of these things conveys an arrogant, selfish or immodest impression that could hinder your witness for Christ.
THINK: Have you ever been broke? We're talking more that just running out of allowance or spending your last two bucks on a soda and fries. Put yourself in the widow's situation - destitute, in debt, and creditors coming to collect their due. Then picture yourself as one of the sons-about to be a slave. The last thing on your mind would be how much you have left to give. You certainly wouldn't want to do anything that might expose you to further humiliation. But would you trust God to bring anything good from the situation? At times God allows His faithful people to go through unexplainable difficulties so they can grow in faith and experience His grace in a deeper way. If you take what you have-whether a little or a lot - put it in God's hands, and if you do what He asks - whether it seems inconvenient, humiliating or unnecessary-then God can multiply your faith and efforts and do a miracle through you.
RESPOND: What can you learn from the miracles involving the widow and her son? (See 4:1 note.) How do you think she felt asking neighbors for empty containers? Why do you think Elisha asked the widow to act publicly, but then did the miracle privately (3:3-6)? How many jars were filled, and when did the oil stop (3:6)? What would have happened if she had gathered more jars? What does this indicate about the link between God's power and our faith? Why do you think God blessed the Shunammite with a son, but then allowed him to die? (See 4:8 note.) What does the woman's response right after her son's death reveal about her? Why do you think she told Elisha's servant, "Everything is all right" (4:26)? What does it mean that Elijah was a "man of God"? (See 4:21 note.) How does this challenge you personally? Why didn't Elisha come out to pray for Naaman personally, but instead sent him to the river? (See 5:10 note.) How are Elisha's instructions, "Wash and be cleansed," prophetically related to Jesus? (See 5:13-14 note.) What does Naaman's experience reveal about God's plan for all people? (See 5:1 and 5:15 notes.) Why did Elisha refuse Naaman's gift? (See 5:16 note.) How did Gehazi try to profit from God's work? (See 5:20 note.)
PRAY: Give God thanks for being faithful and growing your faith through tough times. Surrender all you have to God for whatever purpose or use He sees fit. Ask Him to help you become the man or woman of God He wants you to be.
ACT: Are you holding on to something God may want to use for a miracle? Give it to Him. Then boldly and actively trust Him to do something beyond what you can imagine. Also, if you're in any way using a ministry activity for personal promotion or selfish gain, ask God to forgive you and change your heart. Then serve for His honor only.