Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 23 (John 8:36)

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  (ESV)

Jesus has set me free from both the penalty of sin, which is death, and from the burden of its guilt.  The choice to walk in the freedom is entirely mine.

In what can only be described as moments of insanity, I choose to live my life as a slave to fear, stress, anger, worry, guilt, greed, and the very sin nature from which Jesus has set me free.  This truly makes no sense.  After the doctor removed the cast, would I choose to walk with crutches?  Would I continue to give the bank money after my mortgage had been paid?  Of course there are things in our lives that tempt us to fear, stress, and all the other things that have bound us, but we simply do not have to yield to them.  Satan wants us to believe that we must wrestle with this or that, that we should go ahead and give in to a certain behavior.  Jesus stands with His hands spread before us and reminds us it does not have to be that way.

Jesus has set you free from both the penalty of sin, which is death, and from the burden of its guilt.  The choice to walk in the freedom is entirely yours.

Jesus, it is so easy for me to revert to old ways of living.  Help me to walk in the power of the freed life You have given me.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 16 (2 Chronicles 32:18)

And they shouted it with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, in order that they might take the city.  (ESV)

The Assyrians were attacking Judah, and what did they do?  They spoke in the language of Judah and said things to scare the people.

What scares you?  For me it can be the long list of things I have to do.  It can be financial matters, concerns about things that are out of my control, or deadlines.  It is likely that what scares you does not scare me, and vice versa.  Satan knows this.  He may be evil, but he is not stupid.  He knows just the things to say to each of us in order to frighten us and move us farther from God.

The great thing is that God knows what scares us, too.  He has known about our fear of the dark when we were children, our fear of rejection as teenagers, and our fears about job and family today.  Satan may try to speak our language of fear, but we also speak the language of faith.  When the fears come, take them to the Lord.  He will comfort you as no one else can.

Father, it is easy for me to get caught in a web of fear.  I think things are going okay, and then something comes out of nowhere to wreck me.  Help me to listen to Your words of truth and life.  I want to listen to no one’s voice but Yours.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 9 (2 Chronicles 32:7-8)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.  With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.  (ESV)

I need to be reminded to be strong and courageous multiple times in every day.  The problems and challenges and worries that come against me may as well be the king of Assyria and a horde of warriors.  How about you?  What makes up your enemy horde?

Whatever it is, Hezekiah’s words still apply.  The problems we face are real, but their force is nothing compared with the Lord our God.  Seriously, the bills, job concerns, health issues, family matters, car maintenance, temptations, fears, worries…they have only an arm of flesh.  We have been chosen and adopted by the blood of Jesus Christ.  God is a good Father, and He will help us and fight our battles.  He really will.

Will you be like the people of Judah and take confidence from Hezekiah’s words?  Can you play the role of Hezekiah and inspire godly confidence in those around you?

Father, I am weak.  My flesh causes me to see only what is right in front of me.  Help me to see my battles for what they really are and to march forth in faith with You at my side.  May my confidence in You inspire those around me to find their confidence as well.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2 (2 Chronicles 31:20-21)

Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God.  And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered.  (ESV)

This is what I want on my tombstone.  I can only hope that the person delivering my eulogy will be able to say something like this about me.  Can you imagine coming to the end of your life and knowing that you will be remembered for doing what was good, right, and faithful before God?  Truly, that is what I want more than anything else.

So how did King Hezekiah rate such a remembrance?  Everything he did was in the service of God.  He sought the Lord in all things and did everything with his whole heart.

And this is why I know I have a way to go to get to Hezekiah’s level of faithfulness.  Many things I do are for my own service, and I do few things with my whole heart.  Too often I am distracted and do things halfheartedly at best.  Are you on a path to be remembered as Hezekiah was?

Father, I really do want to do all and only the things that please You.  Help me to focus on You and Your will.  I am so easily distracted by things that do not truly matter.  Help me do only the things that are good, right, and faithful and to do them with all my heart.  In the name of Jesus, my Lord, amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins