Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26 (Luke 18:13)

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. (KJV)

This is the man whom Jesus lifted up as an example, a tax collector with a reputation for cheating people out of their hard-earned money. This man knew how to confess. He knew how to repent. We may know a great many things about technology and how to advance in the world, but do we know how to confess and repent in the way our Lord approves?

Humans are the pinnacle of creation, made in the image of God. Yet humans are sinners, and so am I. My life may have all the marks of success, but not a day goes by that I do not sin in thought or word or deed, and often in all three. I need to acknowledge who I am, a sinner redeemed by grace, and I cannot focus properly on the grace and give proper glory to God without first admitting that I am a sinner.

O Lord, my God, You know every thought that passes through my mind, yet I must confess to You my sins. I have not done the things I should, and I have failed to do what You command. Of my own merits, I deserve nothing but punishment. Thank You, heavenly Father, for allowing Your Son, my Lord Jesus, to take that punishment for me. Restore me to a righteous life, one that can bring true glory and honor to You. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 12 (Matthew 25:30)

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)

Audio version available here.

Our children love to snuggle with both mommy and daddy. Even our son, who is all boy, loving swords and basketball and Legos, likes to be close to us. It is natural for children to want to be near their parents, and few things are as hurtful to a child as separation from a parent for any reason.

We learn in the first chapter of John that God is light. References to darkness, therefore, are about utter separation from God. Think about that for a moment. Try to imagine being separated from God forever and never feeling His presence or His love. Imagine knowing that there is nothing you can do to enter into His presence again and that the cold darkness will never end. Ever. Truly, there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

It is worth contemplating hell, if only because it causes us to run toward our Father, Whose arms are open and waiting for us. It is good for us to long for His Presence and to want to be ever closer to Him. It is, after all, what children do.

Father, I want to be closer to You today. I am deeply sorry for the things I have done that have pushed me away from You. I reject everything in my life that could separate me from You and run with my all my heart toward You. In the name of Jesus, my life and my light, I pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 5, 2011 (Ephesians 5:3)

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints. (KJV)

Audio version available here.

It is increasingly difficult to distinguish a Christian from a non-Christian. Our language and behavior tends to mimic that of the culture we are in rather than stand out as a contrasting example of a better way. We want to be just enough of a Christian to enjoy the fellowship of church and get that warm, fuzzy feeling from doing good things for others, but when it comes to our private lives, that is another matter.

Yet, as the saying goes, Jesus is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. That means I cannot dress however I want. In a land of free speech, my speech is limited. There are things I am called to do and things I must not do, however much I and those around me may enjoy them.

We are entering summer, a time when many of us take vacations. While we take time for those activities that recharge our batteries, will we take a vacation as well from acting like the Christians we claim to be?

Father, it is easy for me to slide into behaviors that are not pleasing to You. Give me the strength I need to stand against all temptations. May my life be an example to others of what You want from Your followers. In the name of Christ Jesus, to Whose lordship I have surrendered, amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins