Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 27 (1 Chronicles 22:5)

For David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it.” So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.  (ESV)
This is one of my favorite verses.  It is tucked away in a larger passage about building the temple, and it is easy to focus on all the verses describing its magnificence, but take a closer look at this verse.  All the verses that talk about the collection of wood and silver and gold are the fulfillment of a father’s desire to provide for his son.
Many parents think that providing for their children means making sure they have enough food and clothes and a good education.  It means taking them to sports practices and arranging for birthday parties.  David knew there was more to it than that.  Being a parent means providing for a child’s call from God.  David knew that his son would be the one to build the temple, so he made sure Solomon had what he needed.
If you are a parent, are you preparing materials in great quantity for your children to fulfill their calling?  This may not take the form of stockpiling silver and gold.  It may mean training them for service by taking them to serve along with you.  It means making sure they know how to pray, how to worship, and how to study the Scriptures.  It certainly means making sure they know how to hear God’s voice.
Father, You have blessed me through so many people to do what You have called me to do.  I want to be about the business of equipping others for service.  Show me what those around me need to do the work You have given them, that I may help them accomplish it to Your glory.  In the name of Christ Jesus, my Lord, amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 20 (Hebrews 12:1)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  (ESV)

I need all the encouragement I can get to live this Christian life, but then again, I get all the encouragement I need.  Hardly a day passes in which I do not see the hand of God moving in some gracious way.  Imagine that!  Here I am, a simple husband and dad, and I get to see the action of the Almighty!  Surely that would be enough to bear me up when I struggle, when I fear, and when I doubt.

On top of that, I have the stories of countless saints.  Scripture is filled with them, as are the annals of history.  These are the men, women, and children, the great and the small, who have tales of encouragement to share from their own direct experience with the same God I love and Who loves me.

May I suggest something?  When you are feeling overwhelmed and the pressures are building like a thunderhead, just stop.  Stop for a moment.  Shut everything off and out.  Reflect on what God has done in your life, likely that very day.  Contemplate the stories of those who have gone before.  You will feel strength rushing back to allow you to finish your race.
O Father, You have given me so much.  Day after day you guide and provide.  You give me more than I need to be what You want me to be.  Today I will draw my strength from You and all You have done.  In the name of Jesus, my Savior, amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 13 (Galatians 1:6)

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—  (ESV)

I must be an Israelite.  I can experience the love of God in the most direct and wonderful way, and then question whether He really loves me the very next moment.  I can see His hand of provision, and then wonder whether He cares for me.  I can feel His strength guiding and supporting me, and then I try to go it alone.  It is the familiar pattern of the Israelites throughout the Old Testament.

Actually, it is not so much that I am an Israelite, but that the Israelites and I are all human, and so are you.  There is not one of us who experiences a powerful worship service, a divine moment during private devotions, or something surprisingly transcendent in the midst of the ordinary who then does not go right back to business as usual, a way of life filled with fear and our own attempts to make things right.

If that describes you, and it does, if you are honest, then try this as a first step.  Stop beating yourself up over it.  Amnesia is part of the fallen human condition.  We all forget the glories we have tasted.  We are all, as one old hymn puts it, prone to leave the God we love.  Our Father knows this and still loves us.  His arms are always open to receive us back.  His Spirit is always there guiding us toward home.

Father, just for today, keep me close to You.  I do not want to drift, to wander, to forget.  I will pray this prayer again tomorrow.  In the name of Jesus, amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6 (2 Timothy 1:5)

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.  (ESV)

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and I recently posted on Facebook my gratitude to all the pastors and Sunday School teachers who helped lay the foundations for my faith.  In his second letter to Timothy, Paul acknowledges the two women who were so important in nurturing the faith of the young evangelist.

Who are those people for you?  Some of you may need to think back across many years and a long list of names.  Others may find the list of people and timeframe shorter.  No matter what your story with Christ, though, other people have been a part of it.  Take a moment to think of them and to thank God for them.  Then take another moment to thank them directly, if you can.

Those who follow Jesus must also be in that same work of nurturing the faith in others.  Whom are you influencing in a walk with Christ?  If you are not actively discipling someone, ask God to guide you into a deeper relationship with someone you know.  You do not need to go to the ends of the earth.  Lois discipled her grandson.
Father, thank You for those who have taught me, led me, encouraged me, mentored me, and discipled me along the way.  Bless them and strengthen them in their own faith.  Guide me to be that same kind of mentor in the life of someone else.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins