Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24 (James 1:17)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  (NIV)

I go to church and sing songs of praise.  I get frustrated with a project at home and blow my stack.  I am sweet and loving to our children.  I descend into dark places of worry about my job.  I give to those in need.  I waste money on junk I do not need.  In short, I am a mixed bag of good and bad.  I try my best, but come up short.  In this regard, I am completely unlike God.

God does not change.  Think about that for a moment.  The God we worship as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the same God who created the universe before human beings existed.  The God Who loves you when you do His will perfectly is the same God Who loves you when you commit the most heinous of sins.

It is His faithfulness, not ours, that transforms us and makes us holy.  Yes, we must strive to be like Him, but when that striving is from our own strength, it will fall short.  Neither you nor I have it in us, and it does not matter how much Scripture we have memorized, how many ministries we have served, or how much time we spend in church.  What a relief that is to know!

Father, I so much want to be like Jesus, perfectly loving, in humble submission to You, and serving Your will in all that I do.  You and I both know how far away from that goal I really am.  Thank You for Your unfailing love and grace.  Continue Your good work in me, I pray.  In the name of Jesus, my Lord, amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17 (John 5:19)

I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (NIV)

It is natural for children to imitate their parents, and for this reason, there is a huge burden and responsibility on parents to live their lives in a worthy manner. Like it or not, our children will do what we do.

No matter the relationship you have with your earthly parents, as you grow and mature in the Christian faith, you come to see that there is only one Whom you must imitate, your heavenly Father. Jesus Himself claimed that He did only what He had seen His Father doing.

So what have you seen your Father in heaven doing? What things has He done in your life? If you are not sure, then look to the pages of the Bible. They are filled with stories of His guidance, provision, love, power, grace, mercy, forgiveness, creativity...the list goes on and on. How can you be like Him?

Father, I want to be like you, for You created me in Your image. What part of Your life, Your work have You called me to? Grant me the grace and strength to grow in You so that, just as it was with Jesus, others can see You when they see me. In the name of Jesus, Who reflected You perfectly, amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 10 (Philippians 2:6-7)

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (NIV)

General relativity and quantum mechanics are two of the most successful theories in physics. Their accuracy for describing the created order is unparalleled. The bad news is that these two theories do not work well together. General relativity is great when it comes to describing the universe, but it falls apart at the subatomic level. If you want to understand atoms, you need quantum mechanics, which is utterly useless when looking at outer space.

As scientists continue to search for a theory that would unify the very large and the very small, we can note that this unification has in fact already happened. No one can conceive the true vastness of God. The far-flung galaxies and the broad sweep of the universe are smaller than He. Yet the immensity of God entered into creation, becoming human in Christ Jesus. He diminished Himself still further by becoming not a human king, but a human servant, and one who died the death of a criminal at that.

This grand unification of glory and obscurity served one purpose, to restore you to a loving relationship with God. Is there any reason this would not prompt your undying allegiance, faithfulness, and service to Him every single day of your life?

Father, I tremble at what You have done for me. I am not worthy in the least that even one iota of Your glory should have been diminished. That You would suffer for me is more than I can bear. May my life bear witness in all that I do, say, and think to the incomparable gift that is the life, death, and resurrection of my Lord, Jesus. In His name I pray, amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June 3 (Titus 1:6)

An elder must be blameless.... (NIV)
In the first chapter of his letter to Titus, Paul gives instructions for the qualifications of church leaders and begins with being blameless.  This might well be enough to cause many people to throw up their hands, stop reading, and move on.  Surely Paul is asking a bit much by requiring that leaders be blameless!
Not only does Paul say they should be blameless, but this is the baseline qualification.  He goes on from there!  Is it possible that we have become a bit lax?  We are right to acknowledge our failures and remind ourselves that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cover all sins.  The problem is that we too often stay just at that point.  God's grace is also sufficient to transform us into what we were made to be.  God is not content to leave us in our state of failure.
Read back through the passages of Scripture talking about the Christian life.  They are challenging.  They may be describing something far out of our reach.  Do not give up.  Pray to God for the strength of His grace to achieve what He desires you to be.  Being blameless is not impossible for those whose lives are fully surrendered to Christ.
Lord, give me the courage and persistence to stay on the path, to reach the goal that You have set for me.  Help me to root out the sin in my life while developing the spiritual gifts and disciplines that will make me a fit servant in Your kingdom.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins