Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28 (Mark 12:17)

Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. (NIV)

As we near the end of the election season, many will be glad that it is over. From the national to the local level, many contests have been more contentious than any before. What is a Christian to do in the midst of such high stakes animosity?

One thing we must do is play our proper role as citizens. Jesus made it very clear in the verse for today. When it comes to taxes, voting, and other activities that support the structure of our society, we must do our duty. Yet we must always do that and every other duty from the position of those whose allegiance lies to another kingdom and another King. We must, even as we do our civic duty, give to God what belongs to Him.

What is it that God requires? The answer is simple. He requires complete surrender and submission to His will. A Christian must always vote not on what will give him a better life, but on what is consistent with the will of God. Nothing else should shape our political behavior. Nothing else should shape our lives.

Father, give us wisdom as we prepare to vote for the leaders of our land. What do you want us to see? What do we need to know to make decisions that will be pleasing to You? In matters of our government as in the rest of our lives, we pray that Your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. In the name of our only Lord, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 21 (John 21:7)

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. (NIV) Peter was one impulsive guy. Sometimes this was good, as when he was the first to acknowledge that Jesus was Lord. Sometimes it was bad, as when he sliced off the ear of a soldier who had come to arrest Jesus. Yet his heart was always the same. He loved his Lord and would do anything for Him. The moment he heard that it was the risen Jesus on the beach, he did not wait to row the boat to shore. He grabbed his shirt, jumped into the water, and started swimming. Is that how it is with you? Do you respond that quickly when you hear the voice of God? Evil people can get others to respond quickly out of fear. Peter responded with haste because he loved his Lord. He heard that He was near and could not wait to be with Him. Is that how it is with you? God speaks to us through His word, the Bible, and through the Holy Spirit, Who dwells within us. It is important to learn how to distinguish His voice and presence from the random thoughts of our own minds or the lies of Satan. If the voice makes you want to run toward it, you can be sure that is the voice of God. Lord Jesus, kindle in me the fire of Your love. Make my heart burn for You and for nothing else. May I, like Peter, be eager to follow You anywhere. Amen. Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 14 (Isaiah 58:13-14)

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken. (NIV)

Many, if not most, of us shoehorn our time with God into our busy schedules. We pray in the shower, listen to Christian radio while driving to a meeting, and do our ten minutes of due diligence reading the Bible each day. On the one hand, this is good. Our time with God should be woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We should be communing with Him in the midst of our most mundane activities.

Yet when was the last time you gave a day to God? When was the last time you gave him a full hour of your time? A church retreat can provide the occasion for intimate, dedicated time with God, yet He Himself has invited us to just such a retreat once a week. Think for just a moment of what it would be like to spend a day not rushing around doing things you have to do or even cramming in all the activities you enjoy. Imagine a day not going your own way or doing as you please, but finding your joy in the Lord.

If that sounds good to you, it should. You and I were made for Sabbath rest with our Father Who loves us. He is waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

Oh, Father, I long to be with You, to spend even a few moments in the midst of a hurly burly life in Your presence. Lead me beside quiet waters. Make me lie down in Your green pastures, for my cup has run low. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 7 (1 Corinthians 2:2)

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (NIV)

There are times when I think I really have it together. I am husband and father, a homeowner, and successful at what I do. I know how to handle car trouble and can do basic repairs around the house. All in all, I think I have a fairly good bead on things.

What a joke. I can become as frightened as a little kid and after decades of following Christ, I am still learning what it really means to be a Christian. For all the pride I like to take in my own abilities, I need to come back to nothing but Jesus Christ. I constantly have to strip away the false beliefs and misplaced confidence that seemingly grow up over night. Who am I, that God should be mindful of me?

Spend some time chipping away at the things that have encrusted your life. It may be activities, ambitions, or your interpretations of the Christian faith. Come back to Christ, and Him crucified. Let Him, and nothing else, lead and guide you once again.

Lord Jesus, show me the weakness in my imagined strength that I may stop living on what does not give me life and turn again to You. In Your holy name I pray, amen.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven R. Perkins