Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26 (Deuteronomy 5:28, 29)

The Lord ... said to me, “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

God loves you.  He wants things to go well for you.  He has given us all the directions so that this can happen.  It really is that simple.

Of course, a thousand and one other things come into the picture to ruin it, including other people who do not know God and our own cranky selves, but take a look at what these verse actually say.  They are a picture of God's extraordinary love for us.  He truly does care for us and want our best.  We may want to blame Him when things go wrong, but we really have no cause to do so.  He has turned our lives over to us, giving us completely free will whether to obey Him or not.  If He had His way, we would all obey Him all the time, and things would go well for us and our children.

When we pray with Jesus for the will of God to be done on earth as it is in Heaven, we are praying for our own blessing.  God's will is that we live in harmony with Him, for He truly does love us.

Father, it is easy to point to others, and even to You, when things go wrong in my life.  Help me to take a closer look at how I am living.  Show me if there is any place where I am not following Your commands.  I want to obey You in all things.  Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19 (Deuteronomy 1:32)

In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God. (NIV)

The Israelites had seen with their own eyes how God loved them and cared for them. They had been eyewitnesses to His passing over their homes and sparing their children while claiming the lives of the first born among the Egyptians. They were there when He parted the waters of the Red Sea, allowing them to proceed safely on dry land. They had followed His pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, which guided their journey. Yet when they were on the verge of entering the Promised Land, they balked, unsure of whether to trust the Lord's provision.

It is easy to mock such lack of faith from the long view of history, but how often do we also doubt His leading? Think for a moment. Where have you seen God at work in your life? Begin listing the things He has done for you, the things He has shown you. Now think about an area of life where you are hesitant to trust Him fully. Is the area of your doubt really so much greater than all His proofs of love and provision in your life, to say nothing of the countless proofs of His love and provision in the lives of those around you and in the pages of Scripture?
There was a consequence for the lack of faith among the Israelites. God allowed them to wander in their doubt for forty years until the entire generation had passed away. It would be the children of that generation who would inherit the land.

Father, forgive my lack of trust in You. You have shown me countless times how much You love and care for me. Help me to step out on my faith, a faith that is supported by Your strong arms. In the name of Jesus, Who trusted You to the cross and then to glory, amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 12 (John 21:17)

Do you love me?  Feed my sheep.  (NIV)

Do you enjoy getting caught up in singing praise to the Lord?  This is good, for He deserves our praise, and praising Him restores our souls.  Do enjoy getting lost in His word, in deep contemplation of His mysteries, or in heady discussion of His teachings?  This is good, for such things equip us for the work He calls us to do.  Yet if you truly love Him, there is one thing He asks of you.  Feed His sheep.

When Jesus reinstated Peter to relationship with Him after the resurrection, He asked him three times whether Peter loved Him.  Three times Peter said he did, and three times Jesus replied that he must feed and care for His sheep.  We do what our loved ones want because it makes us happy to be around them.  We do what they want because it pleases us to see them pleased.  We do what they want even when we do not feel like it simply because we love them.

Jesus has said it quite simply and directly.  If we love Him, we must feed His sheep.  However wonderful our praise and study may be, this is what He has called us to do, if we love Him.  If the measure of your love were to be based on your service to God's people, which includes those who do not know Him and those who outright reject Him, what would your love look like?

Jesus, I claim to love You more than anything, and I do.  Show me the areas around me where You are working so that I may join in that work.  I want to be closer to You and serve as You call me to serve.  Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August 5 (Acts 17:28)

For in him we live and move and have our being. (NIV)

I love watching the Olympics. I enjoy watching sports that I do not ordinarily get to see, and I thrill to the stories of athletes who achieve what no one has achieved before. Part of the pleasure for me is seeing the connection with the ancient Olympics and witnessing the grand play of history.

To be an Olympic athlete requires dedication, focus, and complete surrender to one thing. It requires an intensity most of us never know. This is unfortunate, for it is the kind of life proper to a Christian. In Christ Jesus we live and move and have our being. He is it. He is everything. He is our first and last thought at work. He is the reason we mow the grass. Our relationship with Him determines how we spend fifty cents at the discount store, why we choose a college major, and how we interact with strangers, family, and friends. He is the ground and goal of our being.

Is this how you live? For most Olympic sports there is an age after which one cannot hope to be successful. For the Christian life, there is always another chance. If your life does not reflect the kind of intensity implied by the verse today, what are you waiting for? Get into the game today.
My Lord, I love You more than anything or anyone else. May my life reflect my devotion to You in its smallest details and in its greatest acts. I want my life to be nothing but years of lived glory to You. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins