Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26 (2 Chronicles 30:10)

So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them.  (ESV)

King Hezekiah’s first order of business after taking the throne of Judah was to repair the temple.  When that was done, he sent messengers throughout the land inviting people to celebrate the Passover, which no one had done in a long time.  Many came, but many laughed at his invitation.

Not much has changed since the ancient days.  Some hear the call of God and respond with joy while others laugh it to scorn.  It is easy to get discouraged, especially if our primary windows on the world are social media, websites, and television.  Many will laugh at the invitation to worship God.  It happened in the days of Hezekiah and it certainly happens today.

Facebook posts are not the final arbiter of what we should do.  Scripture teaches and the saints model that we are to take the word of God to the world.  What people do with that word is their choice, just as it is ours.

Lord, help me not to be intimidated by those who mock You and Your word.  You are my rock and my salvation.  Through Your grace, may I have the courage to live boldly so that others may come to know You.  In the name of Christ Jesus, my Savior, amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 19 (2 Chronicles 29:3)

In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them.  (ESV)

When Hezekiah took the throne in Judah, his first order of business was to tend to the work of God.  I am willing to bet that there were plenty of people who had other suggestions for the new king.  Most of us want our leaders to do something for us.  We want them to make our lives better, and our ancient ancestors were no different.

How often do we pray for our mayor, our governor, or the President?  Do our representatives and senators, our school superintendents and town councils ever make their way into our daily prayers?  There are many voices speaking to our leaders and trying to influence them.  As a Christian, don’t you want one of those voices to be that of the Holy Spirit?

Add some local, state, and national leaders to your prayer list.  Lift them up daily.  They need our prayers and the wise counsel of God just as much as our friends and family do.

Father, thank You for the leaders in my life.  Guide them to lead from Your wisdom and to do that which is honoring in Your sight.  Protect them from temptations of greed and power and help them to serve others by serving You.  In the name of the greatest servant king, Jesus my Lord, amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 12 (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  (ESV)

“You have to do what is right for you.”  I hear that all the time, and it drives me crazy.  It is not surprising that this would become a rallying cry for those who do not have the Holy Spirit living within them, but it has no place in the mouth of a Christian.  The world has an odd understanding of freedom, one that demands each individual gets to do whatever he or she wants at the moment he or she wants to do it.  This places an unbearable burden on people to know what is best for them.

Those who have been born again and live with God Himself dwelling inside them experience true freedom.  Because I am not my own man, I do not have to figure out on my own what is best for me.  I can talk with God, reason with Him, and benefit from His wise counsel.  I do not have to be a slave to the temptations that call me this way and that but can live fully from desires rightly ordered by the One Who loves me.

I long for the guidance of my Father.  I yearn for and savor His good wisdom.  It makes my life infinitely better.

Father, what do You want from me this day?  You have blessed me with so many gifts and so many opportunities to live a rich and full life in and for You.  I want nothing more than to take each step in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who, thanks to Jesus, lives within me.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 5 (Philippians 3:14)

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  (ESV)

What distracts you from your focus on Jesus?  For me it can be just about anything.  I enjoy a good life, which means that there are many things to distract me, from my passions and desires to material things like books and social media and music and television and sports and….  You get the idea.

On the other hand, there is nothing like a blinding rain or snow storm to sharpen my focus in a hurry.  I am hunched over the steering wheel, straining to keep the center line of the road in sight

When the stresses and challenges of life come your way, embrace them as opportunities to sharpen your focus on Christ.  At the same time, be careful of seasons of peace and prosperity.  They are often filled with the most tempting distractions.

Lord, as I head into this new year, I want to live a life of peaceful focus on You rather than the life of hurried distraction that is so typical of living life my way.  Help me in that, I pray, so that like Paul I, too, may press on toward the goal of Christ Jesus, in Whose name I ask it.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins