Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24 (Nehemiah 8:3)

And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. (KJV)

Can you imagine standing for hours, other than to get tickets for some event or to cash in on a Black Friday sale? I cannot imagine most of us paying any kind of attention to the books of the law, that is, the first five books of the Old Testament, without getting bored and skipping on to the more exciting parts.

What does it say that the Jews stood from morning until midday and did not just hear, but listened attentively to, the books of the law being read? It suggests only one thing. They believed in God. We may say that we believe in God, attend church, and do various Christian things, but pause for a moment. If we truly believed that there was a God at all and then believed that He had spoken, nothing would be more important to us. Nothing. For many of us, reading the Bible is just one other among a number of good things we try to do. It is on the list along with getting an oil change, having a six month dental check up, and paying our bills on time. Yet if this is our attitude toward the Bible, then we do not truly believe in God.

We are perhaps too enchanted with the advancements of the modern age. Blinded by smart phones, the Internet, and satellite movies, we would do well to be marveled again by God. There is no one and nothing like Him. He alone is omniscient, omnipotent, and worthy to be praised. He alone has spoken to each person on the planet individually and to all of us collectively, and what He has spoken lies between the covers of your Bible.

Lord, forgive my casual attitude toward the precious gift of Your words and at times even toward Your Word made flesh, my Savior, Jesus Christ. Restore to me the wonder and awe of You that our ancestors had. Fill me with delight in all that You have to say. In the name of Christ Jesus I pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17 (John 2:9)

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom. (KJV)

Why is it that some people can understand the acts of God for what they are, but others cannot? It is true that God can harden a person’s heart as He did with Pharaoh, but there can be a simpler explanation. Those that understand God have a relationship with Him.

In the story of the first miracle that Jesus performed, the servants were there for the whole thing. They listened to what His mother, Mary, said to them and then they followed His direction. The governor of the feast was nowhere around. When we know people well and have spent time with them, we understand the things they say and do far better than a stranger would.

Take a quick gut check. How is your relationship with Jesus? Are you close to Him, spending time talking with Him and listening to Him? Remember, He has never moved away from you.

O Lord, my God, I want to be closer to You. I want to see all that You have to show me, to hear Your words to me, and to follow all that You would have me do. I turn back to You today, Lord. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10 (Ezra 3:2)

…as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. (KJV)

At the beginning of the movie Gladiator, Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius speculates with his most trusted general about how the world will remember his name. Will he be known as the philosopher, the warrior, or possibly even the tyrant? Most of us do not ask that question, but it is good to consider. If you were to die today, how would you be remembered? Would it be for things that you had done, words you had said, relationships you had developed? Would it be for things you had owned? Most importantly, do you like the thought of the answer?

The verse for today is almost a throw away. It comes in a passage about building an altar to God and is not really about Moses at all. Yet the words jump out at us…Moses the man of God. Replace the name of Moses with your own. What phrase would most likely follow it? What would it take for you to be known as a man or woman of God?

Gracious heavenly Father, I know that we do not live for titles or to honored by others. Still, I would like to be known the way Moses was, not for the glory, but because I want my life to be so completely focused on You. Help me to weed out what is unimportant and distracting in my life and turn my eyes completely on Jesus, my Lord. It is in His name I pray, amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 3 (Daniel 6:5)

Then said these men, “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” (KJV)

If someone wanted to trick, trap, or harm you, how would he do it? Where is the chink in your armor? Is there a particular weakness or secret sin that could be the way to do you in?

When the leaders who served under King Darius of the Persian empire wanted to discredit Daniel, they realized that there was no way to do it. Their only hope was to set up a law opposing the law of God, for they knew that Daniel was so faithful he would obey God rather than the king.

I would love for that to be the case about me. I would love to live my life in such a way that it was completely honorable, with no crack through which someone could discredit me. On top of that, I would like very much to be known as a man that, if push came to shove, would obey God before anything else. Can what was true of Daniel be said about you?

Father, thank You for giving us examples like Daniel. May I follow in his footsteps, never surrendering to the culture around me, but always standing faithful to You. In the name of Christ Jesus, my Lord, Who was faithful to the point of the cross, amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins