Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 24 (Psalm 69:30)

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.  (ESV)

I am thankful to God for the azure sky of fall, which forms the perfect canvas on which are painted the crimson, ochre, and gold of autumn leaves.  I thank Him for the orange, then pink, then deep purple of sunsets.  Praise the name of our God for stars that appear in familiar patterns at night!  Glory be to Him for the rainbows that appear in our kitchen when afternoon sun more than 92 million miles away casts its slant light through our window!  Thanks be to God for a cool drink of water.

Lord, I thank You for the blessing of friends and family, for hugs from my children, and for deep laughter over dinner.  Thank You for a job that allows me to serve You and provide for my family.  Thank You for a reliable vehicle that takes me to and from that job each day.

My heart pauses in gratitude for fingers that can type, eyes that can read, and a mind that can put words together.  I am grateful for eyeglasses that improve my sight, the doctor whose knowledge wrote the prescription for the lenses, and the development of technology that makes the grinding of glass possible.

From the simple to the sublime, how will you magnify God with thanksgiving?

Father, my heart overflows with gratefulness for all You have done.  When I think that on top of it all You have saved me through the life, death, and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus, I am overwhelmed and stopped in my tracks.  Glory be to You in and for all things!  Amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 17 (Numbers 14:24)

But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.  (ESV)

The choice is really quite simple.  It is as simple as it gets.  Trust God and enjoy life or do not trust him and miss life entirely.  Moses had sent spies to check out the land that God had promised, and ten of them came back with knee-knocking reports of giants and the recommendation to forego the whole thing.  Despite what they had seen of God’s provision as He led them out of Egypt, they could not bring themselves to trust him now.  God’s response in Numbers 14:20-24 was pretty blunt.  “Have it your way, but none of you who doubt me are going to enjoy the Promised Land.  Caleb will, because he trusts me.”

I have a tendency to go the way of the ten who feared.  I have seen God’s provision and His hand of love more times than I can count, and yet I still fear.  I still doubt.  Fortunately, God will help with our fears and our doubts, too.   Where the ten spies went wrong was in staying in their doubt.  When we present our fears and hesitations to God, He will lead us through them, back to a place of trust.

As the old hymn says, there really is no way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.  We can only trust if we truly believe God loves us.  If you can only risk this much faith, at least ask God to help you feel His love and trust Him.  He will come through.
Father, I am embarrassed, but You already know the truth of it, so here goes.  I need help believing Your love for me.  I need help to trust You.  I have a sense that if I could live out of this trust, my life would take off in amazing ways.  Help me to trust and obey.  In the name of Jesus, my Lord, amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10 (John 3:16)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  (ESV)

They say that familiarity breeds contempt.  It certainly gives rise to neglect.  The most famous verse in the Bible is one we too easily pass over.  We know what it says so well that we do not really know what it says.  It has become the foundation of our theology, but what does it really mean?

First of all, it says that God loves us.  Even this we have linguistically dissected to the point where it is just so many word roots lying cut up on the operating table.  We have heard that the original Greek for “love” means brotherly love, and so it does, but did you know it also means to caress and to cherish?  We have made something so lofty of this verse, so out of reach that we have forgotten that love reaches down from on high to embrace us.  Take away the exalted, theological sentiment for a moment and think about good, old-fashioned love.  Remember what that is?  That is how God feels about you.

How does that make you feel?  Seriously, what do you think about that?  If this were the person you had longed to notice you, you know exactly how you would react.  You would be on the moon.

God, it is so hard for me to grasp that You love me.  Maybe it is the enemy getting in the way.  Maybe it is just too big for my mind to grasp.  Open my heart and bypass my mind so that I may be filled with the love You promise.  In the name of the One Who brings that love, Jesus, I pray.  Amen.
Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 3 (1 Chronicles 28:9)

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind….  (ESV)

“Know the God of your father,” said King David to Solomon.  David had walked and talked with the one true God.  He had known Him when he defeated Goliath and when his life was being hunted by King Saul.  He had danced before the ark of His covenant and had wept before Him because of his own transgressions.  David knew God intimately and wanted the same for his son.

Do you really want your friends and family members to know and serve your god?  Is your god in fact God?  Every once in a while it is good to stop and do a quick lifestyle check.  Does your life truly reflect a relationship with God that you would want others to have?  Have you let other things creep in and take up more of your time, more of your thoughts, more of your activity?

For a quick test, think of a typical day in the last week.  Would it have been clear to anyone that the God of David was also your God?  We do not worship God for the sake of others, but if no one can tell from our life that the Lord is our God, then we have some adjustments to make.
Lord, help me not to get so caught up in the details of life that I forget You as I try to live life on my own.  Help me to be like David.  Whether in joy or in sorrow, I want You to be my everything.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven R. Perkins