Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30 (Colossians 1:10)

[S]o that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

I once heard a Division I college basketball coach tell players at a camp that they needed to get better every day.  He went on to tell them that we all get better or worse each day, and the choice was up to them.

It is so easy to get lulled into complacency.  We slip out of our practices of prayer, reading the Bible, and deep fellowship with God and other Christians, and we do not sense that anything is wrong.  Yet our relationship with God and our spiritual life must be cultivated and developed the same as anything else in life.  We either grow, or we regress.

Where are you strong in your Christian walk?  Keep doing those things.  What has made you strong in the past that you have forgotten or set aside?  Pick those things back up.  God wants you operating in the sweet spot of the giftedness He gave you.  He wants a meaningful relationship with you.  What do you need to do to up your game?

Father, You have blessed me with many tools to train myself for the life to which You have called me.  I commit myself again to developing my gifts for Your service and to strengthening those disciplines that bring me close to You.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23 (Mark 5:34)

Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.  (NIV)
Much gets made of this verse regarding matters of faith and healing, and unfortunately, much that is said divides believers.  Step back from that for a moment and simply see what is going on here.  A woman who had been ill for twelve years, desperate and at the end of her rope, pushed her way through a crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’s clothes.  She was putting all of her hope in this one last attempt to be healed.
And what was His response?  What was the reaction of the popular rabbi Who was also  God on earth?  It was the most gentle, loving, sweet and tender reply you could imagine.  “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”  In the midst of the bustling crowd, time stops.  The noise and activity fade to the background, and there is nothing but this woman locking eyes with and hearing the words she has longed to hear from her loving Lord.
Jesus loved her no more and loves you no less.  He will speak the words of love and healing to you as well.  Will you hear Him?  Will you be a part of the pushing, shoving, noisy crowd whose ears are filled with their own voices, or will you press through the distractions and obstacles to put all your hope, all your desire, all your need into the hands of the One Who loves you?
Jesus, I want what this woman had with You.  I want that intimate moment of true relationship.  There is a great crowd between You and me, a crowd of fears, duties, and distractions.  Take my hand so I can make it through to You.  Amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16 (James 1:27)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  (NIV)
To celebrate Fathers’ Day, our children surprised me by taking me to one of our favorite state parks for a day of hiking.  We hiked trails we had never been on before, enjoyed lunch at the park inn, and concluded the day with a show at the park’s planetarium.  All along I kept telling them that they really knew their daddy well.
How well do we know our Father in heaven?  Do we know Him well enough to do what means most to Him, what is closest to His heart?  He does not leave us guessing about this.  We may hope that a friend or relative likes the gift we have picked out, but Scripture makes it clear what God wants.  It is to serve those in need and to become ever more like Him.
So what are you getting your Father this Fathers’ Day?  Not only has He told you what He wants, He will help you do it.
O Lord, my God and my Father, thank You for all that You are and all that You do for me.  I want to make Your heart glad.  I want to serve You by serving Your children.  May You be honored and glorified in all that I do, say, and think.  In the name of Jesus, Who more than anyone else has showed me how to love You, amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 9 (Isaiah 9:2)

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light….  (NIV)
This prophecy from Isaiah is quoted in Matthew 4, and there is quite a grammatical puzzle in the wording.  In the time of the New Testament, it would make sense to use the past tense “have seen,” for the people had indeed seen Jesus, the light of the world.  Yet would it not make sense that as a prophecy in Isaiah the verb be in the future tense?  After all, Isaiah was writing about what had not yet happened.  Would it not have been better for him to have written, “The people will see a great light?”
This is one of the many things I love about God.  His promises are sure.  They are rock solid, one hundred percent guaranteed.  You can take them to the bank.  So certain are the promises of God that the prophet Isaiah could use the past tense to describe an event that was still nearly 800 years in his future.
Usually the best I can do when our children ask to go somewhere special is to say, “We will see,” or “We will try,” or more likely, “Let me talk with your mother.”  They get beside themselves if I actually commit by saying, “Okay, we will go.”  Can you imagine the confidence I would need to have to say, “We have gone to the pool later today” as if it were an already accomplished fact?
Lord, it is so comforting, so strengthening to know that Your promises are sure.  I know I can count on You and Your word.  May Your words become my flesh, Your promises the very strength of my life.  In the name of Jesus, Who has proved Your faithfulness beyond measure, amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2 (John 10:10)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy….  (NIV)
An epic story in which the forces of evil are pitted against the forces of good.  It is the stuff of movies and summer novels, but if we think for one moment it is not the story of our own lives, then we have fallen for a subtle, yet powerful, trick of the enemy.  When I look back over my life, I see that it has been one battle after another.
Many people reading that will think I am talking about family chaos, the fight against illness, or some sort of natural disaster.  Dealing with any of those is a battle, to be sure, yet if you looked at my life, it would appear quite smooth.  On the surface.  Yet how often have I fought worry, fear, and despair?  How often have exhaustion and frustration threatened to overtake me?  How often have I been tempted to give up?  Then throw in even a little family chaos or illness, the kind that afflicts every one of us, and you begin to see.  There is a constant attack trying to take us out.  Sometimes it goes underground and is hard to see, but it is always there.
So what will you do?  Personally, I am going to call on the One Who has already defeated the enemy fighting against me.  He knows how to do it.
Lord Jesus, stay with me.  Never leave my sight.  In the midst of the battle, I need to see You and know that You are with me.  Help me to stand my ground.  I am confident that together we can defeat anything.  In Your powerful name I pray, amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins