Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 26 (Luke 22:19)

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  (NIV)
In the United States we are celebrating Memorial Day weekend.  It is a time to remember those who have given their lives defending our country.  We hold parades, watch the Indianapolis 500, and have picnics with family and friends.  We put flowers on gravesites and display our flags.  Yet none of the things we do actually takes us into the very life and death of those we remember.
Consider now the Last Supper.  Jesus never once said, “Do as I say, not as I do.”  He always invited people into His life, which included His death that brought life to all.  When we partake of Communion or the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, we do far more than merely remember.  We enter into the life of the One Who came to give His life as a ransom for many.  Jesus was not interested in simple remembrance.  He invited us to remember Him by fully participating in His life.
We will not forget those who have died for their country come Tuesday, but the memory will move to the back a bit as we return to the activities of daily life.  It is not so in our memory of Jesus.  We carry Him, the risen Lord, with us.  He lives in us, guiding and inspiring us to live ever more like Him.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the greatest sacrifice of all.  You chose to die for me, even though You had done nothing wrong and I had not yet been born.  May my life reflect Yours in all that I do, say, and think.  Amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 19 (2 Timothy 1:14)

…the Holy Spirit who lives in us.  (NIV)

“I am not God.”  We sometimes use this as an excuse for bad behavior or to get out of something we think is too difficult to do.  Although this statement is, of course, true, as an excuse it is false.  God lives within us through the Holy Spirit.  If our lives do not reflect this, then one of two things must be the case.  God is inactive in us, or we are rebelling against him.  Have you ever known God to sit around and do nothing?
Do not misinterpret this as something to shame us into action.  Stop and think for a moment.  What does it really mean to have God dwelling within you?  He is as close as your next breath.  You can know Him as intimately as your own heartbeat.  The strength of the One Who defeated death is in You.  The creativity of Him Who spoke the stars into existence inspires your soul.
What will you and God, Who lives within you, do together?  Dare to dream.  Dare to ask Him.  Dare to live the life of one joined to God.

O God, I pray as if You are a million miles away.  Help me to know You intimately.  What would You do together with me?  I am Yours.  Show me how to live.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12 (Romans 6:6)

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  (NIV)
It is my right to say what I want to say when I want to say it.  What could be more freeing than to do exactly what I want to do?  Surely true freedom is just that, to act on a desire at the very moment I have it.
Does this sound familiar?  It is the rallying cry of just about every movie, television show, and news article.  We have all felt it ourselves.  It is, however, the lie of our great enemy that makes slavery appear as freedom.  You see, it is the tyranny of sin that says we must do this or that in answer to our appetites.  Genuine freedom is the exercise of free will to say no.
What a revolutionary concept this is!  What an amazing freedom is actually ours!  In His free choice to die, Christ said no to the ultimate slavery of sin and death.  He offers that freedom to us through His resurrected life.  What choice will you make?

Lord, too often I feel as if I have no choice in my life, forgetting, ignoring, or even rejecting the powerful freedom You have given me.  Help me to live boldly in the freedom of Your grace, free to reject what seems to have power over me and free to live the true life that You have designed.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5 (Nehemiah 8:10)

[T]he joy of the Lord is your strength.  (NIV)
Nothing is more difficult to write about than joy, and to talk about the joy of the Lord is nearly impossible.  First of all, most of us know little about joy.  We are quite familiar with happiness and pleasure, but joy?  Not so much. 
Joy is something that does not grow naturally in this world.  It has to be imported.  The difficult thing in talking about this is that there is no list of things to do.  We can tell each other how to achieve happiness and pleasure, but joy is simply something to be experienced.  We must be still.  We must pay attention.  We must allow God to bring the joy.  Only a heart being transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ is capable of recognizing joy for what it is.
And only then is there something for us to do.  We must hold on to it.  We must choose not to draw our strength from any other source, and this is a great effort indeed.  Yet the reward is worth it, for the strength that comes from the joy of the Lord is capable of facing anything.
Jesus, grant me not only Your joy, but the grace to see it for what it is.  As my identity grows deeper in You, may I take my strength solely from Your joy.  In Your name I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins