Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 24 (Ephesians 4:11-13)

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  (NIV)
I enjoy few things as much as seeing people operate in the sweet spot of their giftedness.  A teacher who was born to teach, an artist who was born to create, an encourager who lifts others up…there is nothing like it.  Perhaps this is part of the reason I love making connections for people, helping them find those opportunities to work and to serve as God created them to do.
Now, the simple fact is that you are good at something.  It may actually be several things, but there is something that you especially gifted to do.  It may be something physical, a talent to create, for example, or it may be something more emotional, the ability to lift others up and draw them into the heart of God.  If you think about it, you will know what it is.  It is the thing that thrills you when you do it, the thing you most long to do, the thing in which you feel God operating through you.
So are you doing it?  Are you using that gift to His glory?  It may not be what shapes your daily job, and perhaps you have even disregarded it as a mere hobby or pastime.  Do not do that.  The body of Christ needs you to be and to do what God has created you, and only you, to be and to do.  How will your gifts bring Him glory this week?
Father, I too often get caught up in the details of daily life, ignoring my true calling.  Help me rediscover the gifts You have given me.  Guide me to develop them to their fullest so that as I come fully alive, You may be glorified.  In the name of Jesus, my Lord, amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 10 (Luke 4:18-19)

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  (NIV) 

This is what Luke records as the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  What an introduction!  Jesus says He has come to strike down the godless, to set forth an unambiguous set of rules for how to please God, and to whip humanity into shape.
Oh, wait.  That is not what He says at all.  Perhaps that is what some of us would like for Him to have said.  The problem is, that is not what He actually said.  He picked up a scroll, read from Isaiah, and then proclaimed that the prophecy had been fulfilled in Him.  Pause for a moment on each one of the five purposes that Jesus Himself claims were His.

If you never heard anything else about Him, would this alone not make you love Him?  Would you not drop everything and do whatever it took to find this man who boldly states that He is bringing good news, freedom, sight, release, and favor from God?  Pause again and see which one of these your heart needs most.  You will feel it.  One of those is speaking to you.  Now ask Jesus for it.  After all, He is the one who said He had come to bring it.

O Jesus, You know what my heart needs even more than I do.  Today I am dropping all the pretension and motions of my faith and just laying my heart before You.  Speak to me, Jesus, and bring into my life what You said You came to bring to the world.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February 8 (Matthew 7:11)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  (NIV)

Our daughter has recently been celebrating her birthday.  I use the progressive form of the verb because what once was a one day event has morphed into a weekend, perhaps even week long affair.  I love it.  She is our sweetie pie, and Daddy goes nuts over doing things for her, even going so far as to hand craft cake decorations.

I am just an average Joe, a high school teacher who has the tendency to eat too much pizza and yell too loudly while watching college basketball, and believe me, that is far from the worst of my sins.  Even a guy like me knows how to lavish love on his children.

Jesus compares our heavenly Father with earthly fathers to point out the sheer logic of trusting God.  That’s right.  It just makes sense to trust God to love us and provide for us.  If you ever find it unreasonable to trust the love of God, then realize you are thinking quite illogically.

Father, I admit that at times I listen to our enemy’s lies that You do not really love me.  I renounce those lies and stake my bold confidence on Your undying love, a love You have proved time and again, beginning at Calvary.  In the name of Jesus my Lord, through Whom comes the Holy Spirit Who guides me back to You, amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins