Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27 (Psalm 1:2)

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  (KJV)

I once read a description of a teacher reciting a poem for her class.  She encountered the words like old, familiar friends.  Is this how it is with you and Scripture?  Do you read and re-read the stories and the teachings, coming back to them with welcome familiarity, yet always finding something new?

We have a great many study aids at our disposal.  We have study Bibles and specialty Bibles for different aspects of life.  There are countless Internet tools to help us understand the original languages and the geography of the biblical stories.  Yet what we need most sometimes is simply to read and re-read.  We need to savor the stories, dwell in them, and realize that they have not ended.  We are living the next chapters of the story that started with Adam.

As we approach Christmas, read that most familiar of stories again.  Reconnect with old friends like Mary and Joseph.  Consider reading a part of the Bible with which you are less familiar, not from the perspective of learning facts, but with a view to adventure.  What new delights await you in a lesser-known book?  Rediscover your delight in God’s word.

Lord, what a precious gift You have given us in the Bible!  Help me to see it with fresh eyes and to find my joy within its pages of poetry and drama, of which I am a part.  Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20 (Ruth 1:16)

And Ruth said, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”  (KJV)

If you go to stay with a friend, even for a short time, there are certain things you can expect.  You know that you will eat at some new restaurants, see some new sights, and in general get a glimpse into how your friend lives.  Your own life will change as you adapt to sleeping in a new environment and following a different pattern of life.  The same would be true if a friend came to stay with you.

What would your friend see about your relationship with God?  When Ruth said that she would stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, she also knew that her life would change, and one of the expectations was that she would follow Naomi’s God.  In the ancient world, religion was a defining aspect of a person’s life.  Is your relationship with God a defining aspect of yours?  Would a non-Christian friend experience life differently for spending time with you, or would you hide this aspect of your life in an effort not to offend?

More than our jobs, our ethnicity, or our favorite sports team, our relationship with God must be the single most significant defining aspect of our lives.  There should never be a question in the minds of our friends what to expect from us in this regard.

Father, I want my light to shine before others so that they may glorify You, just as Jesus commanded.  Help me to live faithfully to you at home, at work, and at play.  Give me the grace and courage to live for You when I am alone and in public.  In the name of Jesus, my Lord, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13 (Luke 2:49)

“Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?”

Our church has multiple worship times throughout the weekend, and we usually attend on Saturday evenings.  This weekend, however, I was out of town, and our son had a basketball function, which he attended with my wife and daughter.  What she called to tell me on my way home humbled me.  The basketball function let out just a bit earlier than they had expected, and our son, who is eleven, asked if they could go to church.

Mary and Joseph were surprised to find their son in the temple, but Jesus was surprised by their surprise, wondering why they did not know that He would be about His Father’s work.  Perhaps adults are astonished when children say such things because they have become a bit jaded about worship or doing the work of God.  For us, it may have become simply one more thing to do in a long and growing list.  God uses unlikely voices to remind us of the important things.

What gets in the way of doing your Father’s business?  Is serving and worshiping Him the most or least likely thing someone would find you doing?

Father, restore to me the innocent surrender of youth, that with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I may serve and worship You.  In the name of Jesus, Who never lost sight of His Father’s business, amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 6 (Genesis 18:23)

And Abraham drew near, and said, “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” (KJV)

Life in Sodom had become so corrupt that God was intent upon destroying the entire city.  Abraham went to God and began to plead on its behalf.  We pray for ourselves and we pray for families and friends, but when was the last time you prayed for your city, your state, or your country?  Do you pray for your company and the school your children attend?

Not only is it not enough for Christians to wring their hands over the world’s woes, it is a waste of a powerful weapon.  We have the privilege of going to our Father in heaven at any time of the day or night, and Jesus encourages us that whatever we ask for in His name will be done (see John 14:13-14 and John 15:16).

What major problems of the day are you aware of, problems far outside your scope to address?  Are you bothered by the slaughter of abortion, a burgeoning porn industry, and anti-Christian sentiment?  Are you pained by the violence in foreign countries and our inner cities?  Jesus has invited each of us to do what Abraham did.  We can intercede in all these matters, confident that our Father will hear us.

Father, I come before You now with a heavy heart, burdened by the sins of our day.  As I lift these cares to You, inspire me with Your Holy Spirit to be Your hands and feet in the world.  I know that You will act in these areas.  Show me how I can help.  In the name of Christ Jesus, my Lord, amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven R. Perkins