Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29 (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:26)

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. (KJV)

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. (KJV)

It is right that we remember this weekend those who have died in the service our country, helping secure a place where we can be free. In no other place in the history of the world have people enjoyed a particular freedom that we have in the United States, the freedom of religion. We are free to practice our faith without interference from any agent of the government.

What does that mean for Christians? Among the many things, it means we are free to obey our Lord’s command without fear of reprisal. We can consume His body and blood in the form of communion without fear of being arrested for cultish or cannibalistic practices. And when we do this, it has an effect beyond our own blessing. As Paul reminds us, whenever we partake of this memorial meal that our Lord instituted, we are proclaiming to the world His death. In other words, when we remember Christ Jesus in the way that He instructed us to remember Him, we become the servants of His evangelistic message. The Good News is shown to the world when we remember Him through bread and wine.

Once again, God demonstrates His incredible love for us. Not only does He bless us through the celebration of communion, He uses this distinctly Christian event to bless those who do not yet know Him by giving them a picture of what He has done for them.

Gracious heavenly Father, how great is Your love for all mankind! We honor and praise You as we remember the sacrifice of Your Son at Calvary, a sacrifice necessary to secure our salvation and to send the Holy Spirit into our lives. We glorify You and Your Son, our Lord Jesus, along with the Holy Spirit, the one God of all creation. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22 (James 2:15-16)

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (KJV)

This is part of the famous teaching on faith without works. It is so famous that perhaps it has suffered from the contempt that familiarity breeds. Christians are among the best at serving. We have outreach ministries at our churches, food pantries, and assistance programs. We collect clothing for children in foreign countries and we give of our time and money.

If we think that this has fulfilled the teaching of Scripture, however, we are mistaken. Pause for a moment and look at the people we often do not see, those closest to us. We may spend a Saturday at an inner-city home restoration, but what needs do our elderly neighbors and relatives have? We collect canned goods for the food pantry, but is there a co-worker going through hard times who could use a meal?

Of course we must not stop reaching out to those whose names we will never know. In doing so, we must not neglect those whose names we do.

Lord, it is so easy for me to get caught up in the fast pace of life that I fail to see those around me. Help me to see with the eyes of Jesus and to move quickly to serve anyone whose need would have caught His eye. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 15 (Psalm 68:5)

Audio version available here.

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. (KJV)

With a word God spoke the blazing heat of stars into creation. With His breath He created the intricacies of the subatomic world. There is no human language capable of expressing the extent of His power.

What does it say, then, that He is a father to orphans and sees to the needs of widows? In the human realm, what kind of person does it take to parent an orphaned child? Can you imagine the care, love, and tenderness? For all of His vast and creative power, for all of His judgment of what is right and wrong, God is also a father of the fatherless and a judge for widows. Can there really be anything you are facing that He, as your Father, will not care about even more than you do? Is there anything that He will not help you with?

Father, I tremble at times to call You by that name. You are so awesome and mighty. I sometimes feel that You are too far from me to care about the troubles I face. Embrace me in Your love. Help me to know that You are indeed my Father. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8 (Revelation 2:4-5)

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works… (KJV)

I can still remember what it was like when I first fell in love with Jesus. In the summer between 8th and 9th grade, I was baptized. In those years, and those that immediately followed, I was passionate about my faith. I loved reading the Bible. Christian music was all I listened to. My thoughts were constantly on God and how I could live a life faithful to Him.

Do you remember what it was like? Can you recall the white-hot passion you felt when your faith was new? How long has it been since you felt that way? In the decades that have followed my first love, my relationship with Christ has gone up and down. I have drifted, come back, drifted, come back. He, however, has never changed. He still stands at the door and knocks.

The verses for today are quite clear. If you have drifted, stop where you are. Remember what you once knew and felt. Repent and start again. Our Lord is always eager for us to renew our relationship with Him.

Lord, it has been some time since I was as committed about my relationship with You as I once was. Forgive me the adulteries of my heart when I chase after things that do not matter. Draw me once again into Your sacred heart. I long to burn with love for You. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1 (Romans 8:26)

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (KJV)

What an incredible blessing this is! God the Holy Spirit lives within us. He prays for us when we do not know how or for some reason cannot pray.

Have you ever gotten to that point? Have you ever been so stricken with illness, so overcome with burdens or worries that words just will not come to your lips? The Holy Spirit knows. He dwells in our hearts and He knows. He will pray for you. Just as God the Son while on earth prayed to God the Father, so God the Spirit continues to pray for us. Think about that for a moment. God is praying for you!

Lord, there are times when I just do not know what to say. Too many burdens press in upon me. Hear the prayer of the Holy Spirit. Graciously accept the words of His intercession for me. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins