Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25 (Hebrews 4:14)

…we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God…. (NIV)

When we were young, we wanted a friend to ask the teacher our question or to approach the person we liked sitting two rows away. As we grew older, we recognized the value of having someone to put in a good word for us when it came to getting a job or buying a house. To this day, my wife prefers for me to make certain phone calls for her or to answer the phone from an unidentified caller.

In essence, this is what a priest does. He speaks for us, on our behalf. As Moses learned, we cannot look directly upon the Presence of God. In our sinful state, we would be instantly consumed by the burning light of His perfection. Yet with Jesus, we have a priest Who pleads for us, Who argues our case, Who defends us against the slanders of our enemy.

This may not seem like much of a blessing in our do-it-yourself age. We want to be self-sufficient. We think we can do it all ourselves, but just how many failures do we need to experience to know that this is not true? I am a weak and incredibly needy person. I have to have someone who can present me before God, who can take the shabby and dog-eared pages of my resume and make me look good. How grateful I am that this someone is my Savior, my Lord, my Brother, Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, You know what I truly need, despite all that I babble about in prayer. Present the deepest needs of my heart to our Father. Draw me closer to Him. By Your grace, transform me ever more into Your likeness. Amen.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18, 2010 (1 Chronicles 17:1)

After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.” (NIV)

We are often so minimalist in our approach to the Christian faith that we think as long as people have access to a Bible, their Christian needs have been met and the work of God has been accomplished. Yet how much time, energy, thought, money, and resources do we put into our children’s sports teams, endlessly renovating our homes, or arranging for our entertainment? Are we doing all we can for our Lord if our churches cannot offer even cost of living increases to their staff, if the only Christian education in town is one hour a week on the weekend, or if counseling, poverty, and domestic problems are left to be addressed solely by government agencies?

We do not earn our way to salvation and we do not earn God’s love by doing good works. On the other hand, how much do we love Him if we are doing the bare minimum to serve His people? Would you really believe your parents, your children, or your spouse loved you if they did only enough to stay on your Christmas card list?

O Lord, You are so gracious to me, pouring forth blessings into my life beyond what I can imagine, and this on top of the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. What would You have me do with the talents and blessings You have given me? Into what part of Your kingdom work would you direct me? I am ready to do all that You command. In the name of Jesus, Who gave all for me, I pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11, 2010 (Isaiah 30:1, 2)

“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “…who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge.” (NIV)

We live in a world with various types of governments, and these are necessary. They serve a purpose and can be quite good in ordering life for their citizens. Yet no government is the source of all our needs, and we invite God’s anger when we look to human organizations as the source of our protection and refuge.

God is our rock and our salvation. He is the only good and therefore the only source of what is good and needful in our lives. Too often His people, the Church, have stopped living out their call to be salt and light in the world. Tasks that should be performed by the body of Christ have of necessity been picked up by governmental and other secular organizations. The result is that needs once served with the love and grace of our Lord are now provided in ways that do not acknowledge Him and at times bring more harm than good.

Think for a moment. What areas of your life are provided for by non-Christian organizations? What would it look like if you could receive those things through the Church? What talents has God given you to see to it that those things are in fact offered through the Church? What will it take for us to stop going to Pharaoh for our needs?

Lord, forgive me for living as if You are but one aspect of my life when in fact You are the very ground of my existence. Show me how to use what You have given me to build up the body of Christ so that it may truly be the light on the hill, able to welcome all who hunger and thirst. In the name of Christ Jesus, my Lord, amen.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4, 2010 (Isaiah 30:1)

“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin.” (NIV)

No one builds a house and then draws up the architectural plans. Even children know that you first have to open the freezer, then take out the ice cream, scoop it, and finally eat it. There is an order to doing things, and most Christians want the Lord to be part of that order. We go on the Internet to research the best places to stay, order our tickets, stop the mail, tell our neighbors we will be gone for a week, and then pray for the Lord’s blessing on our vacation. We think we are being faithful, when in fact we are closer to heaping sin upon sin.

God is not a genie in a bottle. He is not a magic talisman to be used when we need a blessing. Jesus taught us to pray that God’s will be done on earth as in heaven. This means that our plans must align with His. It may be His will that we travel to a certain place, make a certain purchase, marry a certain person. It may be His will that we do a particular thing for our children or enter into a particular business agreement. Yet we will not know if we do not seek His will before doing any of those things. We must align ourselves with His will and not try to strong arm Him into our plans.

Where is God in the order of things you have planned for today? If He is not first, then you have set yourself ahead of Him, and that is a dangerous place to be.

O Lord, my God, You are so gracious to me, heaping upon me grace and mercy beyond my comprehension or merit. May I seek Your will in all that I do. May my life be ever more conformed to that of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Through me, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven R. Perkins