July 29

1 Chronicles 22:19 (NIV) 19Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD."

David had prepared the way for Solomon to reign in several ways. He had subdued the enemies of Israel. He asked the leaders to assist Solomon, and as we saw yesterday, he prepared everything for the building of the Temple. There was one last thing Solomon needed. David gave him the single most important thing he needed to reign, the instruction to devote his heart and soul to seeking the LORD. Unless that was done, all the other preparation would not help him.

If our heart's great desire is to know the LORD and His will, it is devoted to seeking the LORD. That only comes about when we value the things of God more highly than the things of the world. It is always an exercise in faith, for it is the desire for the unseen over the visible. David asked Solomon to set his compass toward the LORD.

The second great burden on David's heart was to see the Temple built, so he charged Solomon to get started. Once the Temple was built, the Ark of the Covenant could be placed along with the sacred articles. The presence of God would fill the place, and the people's hearts would turn toward the LORD.

Every group of worshippers needs the same thing. They need leadership who have devoted their hearts to seeking the LORD. Since they are the temple, they need the presence of God in them. They need the tools (gifts and abilities), with which to carry out that which God would direct.

Consider: Are all of those things in place in those with whom you worship? If not how can you work toward that end?

July 29

Acts 16:25-26, 33 (NIV) 25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose.

33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.

The Holy Spirit guided Paul and Silas through a night vision by forbidding them to go certain directions and guiding them to go another. In Philippi, they found some Jewish women who accepted the Word and believed.

After Paul had cast a spirit of divination out of a young lady, those who had used her to make money stirred up the town against them. They were whipped and thrown into prison. The prisoners must have been amazed to hear these men who had been beaten and sat in stocks singing praise to God. At midnight an earthquake opened the prison doors and their chains came loose. The guard was about to kill himself. Losing a prisoner meant his life would be forfeited. Paul stopped him by telling him all the prisoners were still there.

Most people would be looking for a way to escape. Paul and Silas were looking for opportunities to share Jesus. The grateful soldier washed their wounds and gathered his family to hear their testimony about Jesus. He and his whole family believed and were baptized before one o'clock in the morning! I don't think anyone slept that night. Most of us would wonder if God had made a mistake by allowing them to be thrown in prison. Paul and Silas praised God in everything and were given the opportunity to lead this Roman family, and probably many of the prisoners, to Jesus. God planned a midnight earthquake to establish a church in Philippi.

Consider: When circumstance leads you down a road that is not one you would have chosen, look for God to be working in or through your life. Your importunity is God's opportunity. Praise Him for it, and watch for His hand.