August 3

2 Chronicles 7:11-12 (NIV) 11When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, 12the LORD appeared to him at night and said: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

After Solomon finished praying, fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifices. It was a sign that God was involved in all that was done, and it was acceptable as a shadow of the heavenly temple. The glory of the Lord so filled the temple that the priests could not minister. Everyone fell on their faces and worshipped with the words they had sung earlier, "He is good; His love endures forever." Then Solomon sent the people home, and they were full of joy because of all God had done for David and Solomon and for His people. When we know God is at work in our lives for our good, we can be full of joy. When we see He is involved in our leaders' lives, we can be full of joy for we know they will be leading according to His direction.

Then, when all the festivity was over, the LORD appeared to Solomon. He promised that He had heard the prayer of Solomon. He gave Solomon the assurance that His eyes and ears would be open toward prayers prayed in that place. Even today the Jews claim this promise, praying at the Western Wall.

God chose that place for Himself as a temple of sacrifice. Almost 1000 years later, on that same mountain, He would present Himself as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He had indeed chosen that place as a temple of sacrifice. Sometimes, when the LORD speaks, He has much more in mind than we can fathom. His words are always filled with a depth that is beyond our comprehension. We do as He leads, and then He does the impossible and fills our meager labor with greater importance than we can imagine. Then He says, "Well done", as if we had a hand in all the greatness He accomplishes. He is good and His love endures forever!

Consider: Your obedience results in more fruit than you can imagine. Praise God!

August 3

Acts 27:23-25 (NIV) 23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.

When Paul returned to Jerusalem, James and the elders encouraged him to go to the temple with others for rights of purification. They reasoned that this would show the Jewish believers that Paul was one with them in keeping the Law. Some Jews from Asia spotted Paul. Making false claims, they stirred the crowd into a frenzy almost killing him. The Romans came to the rescue. After numerous indecisive trials, Paul appealed to Rome.

On the way to Rome, the ship ran into a fierce storm. Everyone gave up hope of surviving, but Paul had seen a messenger of the Lord. In the morning, he gathered them and told them of the visitation. This angel told Him the same thing Jesus had said to the disciples when they thought He was a ghost walking on the lake. "Do not be afraid!" God sees your situation and is there with you.

Paul was told that he had a job yet to do in testifying to Caesar, but He also said that God had graciously given him the lives of all who sailed with him. Paul must have been praying for them. What a testimony he was to the soldiers and other prisoners! Everything he said came to pass. His peace in the storm, his prayers for them, and his testimony on the island surely won a number of them to Jesus. Paul passed on to them what he had obtained from the Lord, courage and faith.

Remember: When we face the inevitable difficulties of life, let us follow this Christ centered example. Pray for others. Hear from the Lord, and pass on the faith and courage that He imparts to you for a testimony to those around you.