July 28

1 Chronicles 22:5,14 (NIV) 5David said, "My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it." So David made extensive preparations before his death.

14"I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the LORD a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone. And you may add to them.

Before David's death he had one great vision. He wanted to prepare everything for a house of God, the Temple. The tabernacle (tent of meeting) had served the purpose of a place to meet and worship up until this time. Now that they had settled and defeated their enemies, a fixed place could be constructed. David was not allowed to build it because of all the blood he had shed in battle. The house of the LORD was to be a place of peace. But David didn't just leave it all up to his son, Solomon. He did all that he could to amass the materials and laborers and create the plans.

The record of the amount of materials collected is staggering! David gave it his all. In life, we will have God given desires on which we cannot work directly. That does not mean we cannot give and help in many ways. David appointed singers, made instruments, wrote psalms, appointed construction workers, imported materials and many other things that became a part of the Temple, even though he would never see it. Most of the fruit from a surrendered life will not be seen in our lifetime. Only the view from eternity will tell the real tale of our life's investment in the things of God.

David invited his son to add even more. He was not making a monument to self. He wanted the very best for the worship of God, and the more, the better. He encouraged others to give to the great cause. Though that building was temporal, it was a picture of an eternal one.

Consider: How much more zealous should we be to see the temple of living stones built!

July 28

Acts 15:1-2, 28 (NIV) 1Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

Some of the group of the Pharisees had come to believe in Jesus as Messiah. They brought with them their intense desire to see that everyone obeyed the laws of Moses. When some of them visited Antioch, where a number of Gentile believers worshipped, they insisted that they learn all the details of the law. They even taught that unless they keep the law they could not be saved.

At that point, Paul and Barnabas began to debate with them. They had seen the Spirit of God poured out on people without the obedience to the law. How could they not be saved? The church in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to ask some of the original Apostles and elders about the matter. James, the brother of Jesus, was the spokesman for the Jerusalem group.

After Paul and Barnabas presented the issue, there was much debate. Finally, reminding them of Peter's testimony, James made what seemed to be a consensus decision. Their letter to Gentile believers stated, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..." This was the first of many church council meetings over the centuries to decide on matters of doctrine. They reached a consensus decision with the help of the Holy Spirit and had a witness in their hearts of His will. Here is our Biblical way of dealing with issues that arise in the church.

They asked the believers to keep the barest essentials of Jewish law so as not to offend the Jewish people. That was not required for their salvation, merely to keep from offending others.

Consider: The true spirit of Christianity is to give up our rights and freedoms so as not to offend others so we may better share Jesus.