Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27 (Luke 22:19)

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them,
saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

This is a weekend of remembrance. Most people take time to remember
those who have died, whether in military service or in other
circumstances. Such remembrance is an important part of the heritage
we pass along to the next generation.

In the ancient world, this was the extent of what one could hope for.
Being remembered by the future generations was the only sort of eternal
life that anyone could imagine. After Jesus, we know there is much,
much more. We know this because the Lord we remember every day of our
lives and whenever we join for worship not only died, but rose again.
His resurrection guaranteed not only that we would remember Him for His
extraordinary work, but that He would remember us.

On top of that, He instituted a practice by which every assembly of His
followers could be a memorial day. By sanctifying the bread and wine
of His last supper, He provided us with the means for an ongoing
remembrance of what we have to look forward to and why it is a most
reasonable hope.

Lord Jesus, may we never forget the tremendous sacrifice of Your death
and the glorious miracle of Your resurrection. May You remember us
when we call upon Your name, that we may have true eternal life with
You. Amen.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20 (Luke 9:2-3)

[H]e sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  He told them: "Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic."  (NIV)
What does it take for you to do anything?  Most of us find it inconceivable to do our business without access to the Internet, usually via a smart phone and Wi-Fi.  Increasingly it seems that getting the news requires a computer, a worship service requires a Broadway production, and going for a walk requires ear buds and an iPod.
What trivial, meaningless, worthless task could Jesus have given his disciples that would have required none of these things, not even a walking stick, suitcase, food, cash, or a change of clothes?  It was nothing less than the greatest task anyone could ever have, to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  Had He told any of us to go and do likewise, we first would have planned the trip to the last detail through Travelocity and taken along a tablet on which to blog the details.
Technology is not bad.  You are reading this devotion as an email.  Yet we have to pause and ask ourselves.  How much do we think we need to do tasks of lesser importance?  What is God willing to provide to do all that really matters?
Father, help me to clear out the noise that comes from the stuff of the world around me, that I may hear Your call more clearly.  Help me to set aside my reliance on things and cling only to You.  In the name of Your Son, Jesus, Who embraced the wood of the cross to set me free, amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13 (John 19:26-27)

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.  (NIV)

An unmarried young woman agreed to the terrifying news that she has been chosen to be the mother of the Son of God, and thus began the most wonderful Mothers Day story ever told.  Mary went through all the worries of any mother, including the time when Jesus seemed to be lost, only to be found in the temple doing His Father’s business.  She was there when her Son performed His first miracle by turning water into wine.  Naturally, she was there at the end, when Her Son died for you and me.

So beautiful, so wonderful, so sublime was the relationship between Jesus and Mary that it has been the subject of countless paintings, sculptures, and musical compositions.  We are drawn to the exquisite Pieta by Michelangelo and the incomparable Stabat Mater by Jacopone da Todi.  Apparently, Jesus thought His relationship with His mother was special, too.  There, while hanging on a cross and struggling to breathe, He made sure she would be taken care of after He died.

What is Jesus saying to you through His relationship with Mary this Mothers Day?

O Lord, thank You for allowing us glimpses into the intimate bond You shared with Your mother on earth.  Thank You, too, for our own mothers.  May we honor them, according to the commandment, as You honored Yours.  Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6 (Acts 1:4)

Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  (NIV)

I never have to wait for anything.  In any moment when I could be waiting, I have a world of other options in my pocket thanks to my smart phone.  I can play games, check emails, update Facebook, send a tweet, see the latest headlines, get scores and updates for my favorite teams, or read just about any book ever published.  Hey, it sure beats circling the parking lot while my wife grabs something at the grocery store!

Then again, what are we missing when we fill every seemingly empty moment with activity.  I say that these moments are seemingly empty, for if we listened to the words of Jesus, they just might be filled with more than we can imagine.  They might be filled with God Himself.  Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His disciples, but commanded them to wait for Him.  How do you suppose they waited?  Did they bury their noses in scrolls, checking the results of the latest chariot race?

Can you remember what it was like as a child to wait for your birthday or Christmas?  You could think of nothing else.  You counted the days and then the hours.  It was all you talked about.  Your eyes were firmly fixed on the anticipated event.  This is the kind of waiting Jesus asks of His followers.  It is why God promised in Jeremiah 29:13 that if we seek Him and search for Him with all our hearts, we will find Him.

Lord, I want You and nothing else.  I want to seek You and not be distracted by lesser things.  Draw me closer to You, o God.  I am here, and I am waiting.  In the name of Jesus my Savior and by the power of the Holy Spirit I pray, amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins