Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27 (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  (NIV)

There are three reasons why we should operate in a constant posture of prayer.  First, we are commanded to do so.  Paul states clearly that rejoicing, prayer, and thanksgiving are part of the will of God for us.  This is the obvious reason and the one that we most likely know best.

Prayer is communication and communion with God.  Another reason, beyond the command, is our desire.  When you were in the first stages of romance with your beloved, you could not talk enough.  There were multiple phone calls during the day.  You could not wait to see each other again the moment you had to say goodbye.  If we love God as we say we do, then we will want to be in this kind of constant communication with Him.  There is no question that He loves us as He says, and He certainly desires this closeness with us.

The third reason for constant prayer is that it is a most formidable weapon.  The last thing Satan wants is you, counting on the promise of Jesus that whatever we ask for in His name will be done, to go before our Father with prayers to end abortion, injustice, or abuse.  He would hate it should we ever get serious about praying for healing, the restoration of relationships, or freedom from addictions.

Father, thank You for the freedom that allows me to come to You at any time, in any place, with the deep desires and concerns of my heart.  I pour forth to You now all that is in my life and on my mind, the good and the bad alike, confident that You hear and will respond according to Your unfailing love.  In the name of Christ Jesus, Who obtained for me the privilege of talking with You by His sacrifice on the cross, amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20 (John 1:14)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  (NIV) 
There are all kinds of people with whom, at the moment, I cannot easily relate.  For starters, since I am fluent in only English and Latin, with a smattering of ancient Greek, there is a language barrier between half the planet and me.  On top of that, I am not conversant in high finance, gangsta rap, or ice road trucking, to name just three out of the countless areas that would cause me difficulty in relating to people.
God knows that relating to people is the key to any relationship.  Relating…relationship…get it?  While He could have announced more about His plans for a relationship with us as He did with Moses on Mt. Sinai, when it came time for the most intimate relationship, He became one of us, and in doing so set the model for us to follow. 
When it comes to evangelism, which is simply sharing with others the incredible fact that they can enjoy a personal relationship with God through Jesus, just as we do, we really only have two choices.  We can, as some do, learn the language and go into the mission field.  We can also look around at those among whom we are already dwelling.  Who are the people with whom you share interests, passions, or similar life stories?  Are there any among them who do not know God the way you do?  Jesus left the glories of Heaven to draw people into relationship with Him.  What will you do? 
Father, You have placed me in a particular place at a particular time and with particular people.  Lead me in sharing the joy of the relationship I have with You through Your Son, my Lord, Jesus Christ.  In His name I pray, amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 13 (Revelation 1:17)

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.  (NIV)
The cost of everything continues to rise.  Along with prices, there is a steady and rapid increase in violence, injustice, and stress, and the natural response to all this is fear.  What would it be like to wake up and greet the day with bold confidence rather than grim anxiety?
Our fearfulness may be triggered by the conditions of our lives, but it stems from our self-sufficiency.  We are afraid that we cannot handle all that is coming our way, and we are right.  On our own, we can do nothing.  This is why we must, as John did on the island of Patmos, fall down at the feet of our Lord as though dead.  Our faith teaches us that through death comes life.  It is only when we have died to our own strength and resources that we can feel the comforting touch of Jesus and hear those words we long to hear.  “Do not be afraid.”
God has given you many abilities, but He never intended for you to use them apart from Him.  When the fear of life creeps in, do not try to be a hero and fight it back by yourself.  Lie down before Him, and He will raise you up with more hope and strength than you could ever have managed by yourself.
O Father, You know the things I am facing.  I would rather not look at them, but their images haunt me.  I surrender them along with myself to You.  Whom am I kidding?  I can handle none of this.  Lead me through these restless waters.  Walk with me along the way.  In You alone I place my trust.  Amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 6 (Exodus 3:11)

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  (NIV)
Hopefully you enjoy what you do for a living, but most of us do not have a deep and daily sense that we are involved in some grand adventure with eternal consequence.  Caught up in the humdrum details day in and day out, we may end up plodding through rather than intentionally and passionately living our lives.
Yet in the middle of the daily monotony, God has called you to something magnificent.  He has gifted you with particular abilities.  You have experiences that no one else has.  Taken together, these produce a unique person, one whom God not only loves, but was willing to die for.
Many of us will spend vast sums on objects that we sit on a shelf, but not God.  He did, in the midst of creating the fires of the universe, create you as a knickknack.  Jesus did not come to bring life just so you could do nothing in His collection.  Right now in your family, in your neighborhood, in and through all your both deep and casual relationships, God has a work for you to do.  Now there is a thought to start a new year!

Father, what do you have in store for me to do?  I begin by asking just for today.  What word would You have me speak?  What deed would you have me perform?  I can hardly wait to see the adventure You have called me to go on with You.  In the name of my Lord, Jesus Christ, amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins