My First DL Candlelight Service #133

I thought I was prepared for my first candle light service. I had been told that after the Awards Ceremony most of the lights in Founders Lodge would be turned off. As we walked onto the porch, each of us would be given an un-lit candle. With candles in hand we were to walk by three gas lamps down to the railing that enclosed the swimming area. The Woodsmen counselors knew to have their campers stand in the center, the Pioneer Counselors took their campers to the right, the Indian Counselors and their campers went to the left. I was to stand inside the railing.

When in place, we could hear the generator stop. There was not a light visible in camp or on the lake. It was quiet, and pitch dark – except for, what looked to be, a million stars. Those of us who knew our constellations…there they were.

To all of camp gathered before me, I talked about the wonder of God’s creation, and pointed out the Big Dipper, Orion’s belt, and the Milky Way. I then talked about how the God of the universe knew each of us by name – that He loved us – and how many did not know of God’s love for them. Then I lit my candle and said that Jesus told us to be His light in the world (Matthew 5:14). Because of my candle, they could see me. Then I lit the section chief’s candles, they lit their counselor’s candles, and they lit their camper’s candles. Have you ever looked into 100 candles, each lighting one face? We Christians are to be light in our dark world.

“Pioneers to the Point, Indians to the Island.” Walking on root and rock filled trails by candle light is not easy. Those who remained at the beach could see nothing for several minutes. It was into this scene I found myself saying, in a voice loud enough to echo back from the Dug Mountains across the lake:

“Be strong and of a good courage…
Be not afraid…
Be not dismayed…
For the Lord thy God is with you…
Where ever you go!” Joshua 1:9

These were the words God spoke when He commissioned Joshua to be next leader of His chosen people, the Israelites. No one had told me to say these words, but there they were. Soon candles could be seen flickering in the woods as the Pioneers came to their waterfront. Then the Indians began to gather on their waterfront. When the candles stopped moving, the Woodsmen sang “Jesus is With Me Wherever I Go”, the Pioneers echoed, and then the Indians. The service ended with this benediction: May the Grace…Mercy…and Peace….Of God the Father…the Son…and the Holy Spirit…Be With…And Abide With Each of You….Both Now And Forever…Amen. And then, taps.

When Jesus was explaining to His disciples that he would soon be leaving them, He told them that “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” John 14:26 If I had not memorized Joshua 1:9, how could the Holy Spirit remind me of what the Lord had said to Joshua?

Why should we memorize Bible verses? “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”. Psalm 119:9,11

To memorize is tough for me. For years my wife, Sally Jo, has said “When Chuck loses his memory, no one will notice.” This is almost true! Yet, I have worked at Scripture memory. This week I will make a list of verses I have memorized, and that perhaps you could learn too. It will be on your screen next Monday as an “extra” IPWG.

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