Hello, Friends! Thank you so much for your continued prayers for us out at camp. And pray for other camps too, that God will help them to stand strong in the truth and be able to love on the kids who are attending their camps. When kids get away from the noise of social media and the constant pressures they deal with, there is quiet space for them to think, soul search, and listen to pastors teach from the Bible. It’s not all do’s and don’ts. There are a lot of true accounts from the Old Testament that our campers have been hearing. They are both entertaining and thought provoking lessons. My reading this week has certainly been thought provoking.
2 Chronicles, chapters 2-4 records how Solomon built the temple for the Lord. It took him about 20 years. When it was finished, he dedicated it to God and the priests brought the ark of the covenant to the inner room–the Holy of Holies, where it was to stay.
God’s presence filled the temple as a cloud so thick that the priests could not even perform their duties.
In chapter 7, Solomon dedicated the temple, and when he had finished praying, fire came down from heaven to take the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. “The priests could not enter the into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord…” (vs 1-3)
Can you imagine??
I have been thinking about the question, “How do you know that God is real?”
It makes me think of the time that my youngest son asked me if they have Costco in heaven. He was little and LOVED Costco samples. He couldn’t imagine not having something that great in heaven. Then Covid happened and Costco stopped giving out samples. I stopped taking my children many places because children were not welcome everywhere and I wanted to reduce the exposure they had to the surreal “reality” that was happening around us. Our home was our oasis.
Last week I took all of the kids shopping with me, and Costco just happened to have several samples. They loved it. Later, my son asked me, “Why does Costco have samples? Is it so that people will buy more?” I think the answer boils down to yes, but it’s more complex than that. Costco is a buying club. You pay less for more, but you pay more than you would for less. It’s a tongue twister, but it’s another way of saying that when you buy bulk at Costco, it is an investment. Most people don’t want to make an investment without knowing that they like what they are getting. If customers complained to others or returned their purchases, that would be bad advertisement. But by giving samples, they allow customers to confirm that they like what they are getting, and they accomplish more than that. When you see other people walk by with their samples and they are “Mmm-ing” and saying “Oh, yeah, that’s good,” you are already looking forward to finding that sample and trying it for yourself. You see them with it and you think, “Oh, man, I want to try that. It looks good.”
That is called witness.
When you go home and tell your best friend that new product is so good and share some of what you bought with your sister, that is called testimony.
In the book of Acts, when God poured His Spirit out on Jesus’s disciples, He made his arrival evident by appearing as tongues of fire. The nation of Israel was used to God coming down as fire. It was a sign they could recognize. And again, when Peter witnessed to the Gentile Cornelius and his family and they believed, the Holy Spirit again came upon them as tongues of fire because the Jews needed to see this sign to understand that God really was including the Gentiles in His Salvation plan and their conversion was genuine. The tongues of fire served as a witness.
In both instances, the Believers who had been baptized by the Spirit of God broke into other languages, being able to share the gospel with nations that they could not previously communicate, and they brought glory to God. This was another sign that what they received was from God and it was good. This was a testimony. God filled his New Testament temple, His people, and when others saw what they had, they believed that the gospel was indeed good news and they believed. Acts 2:41 says that on the Day of Pentacost, when the disciples went out and people saw and heard what had happened, about 3,000 were saved.
My questions for Believers are: Are you in awe of God? Are you daily thankful for Him and all that He provides?? Can others see this in your life? Is your witness and your testimony available for them to see that God is with you and He is good??
If not, why not? What message are you sending?
And for those who aren’t sure what they believe: God says to taste and see! Ask Him to show you. He will. He will open your eyes to see what He is doing around you. He speaks through His word. I recommend starting with the book of John. It will carry you through the life of Christ so that you can see how God loves you and Jesus came to be your Savior. He speaks through others who are witnesses to what He has done in their lives and if you ask them, they will share their testimony and help you find answers to your questions. God also reaches out in personal ways. He still shows up in dreams. He still speaks in ways you can recognize if you ask and pay attention, but He never, ever, ever contradicts the Bible which He inspired. If you think God is talking to you, and what you hear is not consistent with the Bible, it is NOT God. Super important to know and believe because the spirit of the anti-christ is out there, and he is also real.
God is still a God who shows up. He is good. He is true to His word. He is sweet… the Provider of all that we need!
Images by Stefan Keller, Hanjörg Scherzer, and It is not permitted to sell my photos with StockAgencies from Pixabay.