Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 31 (Matthew 14:29)

“Come,” he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  (NIV)

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Now, then….  Whether it was the announcement of the Father that Jesus is His beloved Son or the episode on the Mount of Transfiguration, the life of Jesus shows us that moments of spiritual and emotional elation are quickly followed by getting back down to the task of living.  God desires our worship, and the praise we give Him this day is proper.  He deserves it.  If you really know Him, however, you know that He will not stay with you long at the party.

Can you not hear Jesus saying, “It is great that you are focused on my today, but what about tomorrow?  Will you keep your eyes on me when you go back to work, when you take the car in for what you hope is a simple tune up, when you are grocery shopping?”  Peter asked what we all ask.  He asked for Jesus to call him.  Okay, fine.  Jesus calls you.  Now what?

Peter was able to walk on water, despite the wind and waves, because he kept his eyes on Jesus.  It really is just that simple.  I don’t know about you, but I need to keep this Easter focus tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the day after that.  The great thing is that He will help even with this.

Lord, I truly do desire nothing but You.  I want You in my sight all the time.  Grant me the grace to turn neither to the right nor to the left, no matter how tempting or how frightening those things that appear around me.  Thank You for claiming me when You rose from the grave.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 24 (Ephesians 4:18)
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  (NIV)
I once asked my wife what life would like apart from God.   Since then, we have both seen far too many examples.  We all know that the murderer, the terrorist, and the thief are living outside a relationship with God, but that is not what I meant.  What about average folks?  What does a day look like for your neighbor, your friend, your relative who is separated from God?
Sadly, those can be some of the most painful lives to watch.  They are often filled with despair.  They tend toward self-centeredness.  They are marked by chronic anger, the desire for revenge, and a relentless chase for the things of the here and now.
If this is not you, thank God for the blessing of His relationship with you.  It is your most precious possession.  If it is you, in any way, stop.  Stop what you are doing right now and ask Him to restore you.  Do you really want to go on living like this?  If this is someone you know, hit your knees in prayer.  This person needs to know Jesus, and you may be the only one to intercede.
O God, thank You so much for loving me into a relationship with You.  I love You so much and never want to be separated from You.  Help me to keep my eyes on You and to love others into that same kind of relationship.  May everyone come to know such intimacy through Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 10 (Genesis 1:1)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NIV)
Recent discoveries have revealed that this verse has been translated incorrectly.  It should read, “In the beginning you created the heavens and the earth.”  Obviously, this changes some things.  As the creator of all that exists, you have a responsibility to see that it all keeps running…all the time.  You have to carry it all on your shoulders.  You must do everything, or everything will fail.  Now, get going.
This may produce nervous laughter as we realize it is not what Scripture says, but if Genesis 1:1 is correct, then why do we live as if it were not?  This whole thing…life, the universe, everything…is God’s project from beginning to end.  He has involved you and me in that project and has given us certain tasks, but the enterprise is essentially His.
How would the simple truth of the first verse in the Bible change your life if you took it seriously?  What would you do, or better, what would you not do, if you realized that the world, even the smaller world of your friends and family, did not wholly depend on you?  How would your life change if you realized that even you do not wholly depend on you?

Father, I am not telling you anything You do not know when I say that I take on way too much.  Help me to trust that You are in charge and that I take my directions from you, not from myself.  Guide me as I do all, but only, what You want me to do.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3 (1 Corinthians 4:3, 4)

I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.  It is the Lord who judges me.  (NIV)
We really do obsess about ourselves.  A lot.  All of the time.  Much of this self-obsession takes one of two forms.  We dwell on our sins and imperfections, beating ourselves up, or we concoct grand schemes of justification.  Such and such a thing is not really a sin for me because….
Paul’s words to the Corinthians may seem to support this latter form of self-justification, but in fact it flies in the face of all self-absorption.  He is so utterly and completely captivated by the vision of Jesus that he can see nothing else.  His relationship with God is all that matters.  It is without qualification.  It shapes and guides his life because it is his life.  He does not care what others think of him, but then again, he does not care what he thinks of himself.  He does not think of himself at all.  His all in all is Jesus Christ.
This is what I want.  I want Jesus to fill my vision so completely that I see all things through Him and in essence see nothing but Him.  What a joyous relief this would be from the agonizing and constant critique of me that goes on in my head!  How much more loving and gracious my relationships with friends and family would be!  Put simply, it would lead to a much less stressful and far more faithful life.
O Jesus, let me see nothing but You!  In the words of St. Patrick, I pray, “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit, Christ when I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.”  Amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins