Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27 (Psalm 119:105)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  (ESV)

I love the navigation system on my phone.  I do not have a mind for geography, so I use it to get many places, even close to where I live.  Recently, however, I did not understand why it was taking me in a particular direction.  So confident was I in this system based on past, flawless experience, that I ignored my own thoughts and followed the voice from my phone.

Has God ever steered you wrong?  As you listen to the stories of others, from antiquity to those of friends and family, have you ever once known of God leading someone off track?  Why, then, do we ignore His voice in favor of our own?

David sang that the word of God was a lamp for his feet and a light for his path.  Which will you follow, the darkness of flawed human reason or the brilliance of God's truth?

Lord, thank You for the guidance of Your word and the understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit.  May I follow You as Jesus did.  In His name I pray, amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20 (Job 1:20)

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.  (ESV)

I doubt that…  I am not sure that…  Worship would not be the first thing on my mind after learning that I had just lost my job and that my children had tragically died.  Tearing my clothes and pulling out my hair?  That would be reasonable.  Worshiping God?  Or as it says in the next two verses, blessing His name and not accusing Him of anything?  I would more likely do the exact opposite.

Yet Job is the example of how a man or woman of God should respond to adversity.  It may be difficult to relate to Jesus on the cross or even the glory of today, Easter Sunday.  That may be too far beyond our ability to comprehend.  Yet the sufferings of Job are the sufferings we see in friends and family.  We may even have experienced them ourselves.

How did Job keep his faith and honor God in suffering?  He did it the same way Jesus did it and the same way you and I can do it.  He surrendered it all to God.  He did not deny his human feelings.  He wept and mourned.  Yet as a man of God, he did what only faith allows.  He put praise on his lips instead of a curse.

Almighty God, thank You this day for the glorious resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  May His faithfulness and the faithfulness of all the saints who have gone before me strengthen me for the challenges I face.  In the midst of battle, may I stand as one already victorious in Him.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 13 (Matthew 10:32-33)

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  (ESV)

It is hard to put ourselves out there.  It is difficult to be exposed before others.  We may drop the occasional word about going to church, but we often keep our real relationship with Christ under wraps with our friends.  We do not share what He has taught us on Facebook.  We hide a truth of Scripture when we fear it may ruffle feathers.

Jesus knew just how hard it was to put Himself out there and to be exposed before others.  When He hung on a cross, He was as exposed and out there as He could be.  His wounds, which screamed pain every time He tried to shift position, were exposed to the mocking eyes of those who spat at Him.

We know that Easter is about more than chocolate, eggs, and bunny rabbits.  Do we also know that our faith and relationship with Christ Jesus are more than just private devotional time before we leave the house each day?  Do we know that we must put ourselves out there and risk not just exposure but also rejection, mockery, and every kind of death if we truly follow the One Who did just that Himself?

Jesus, help me to live a life that is brave, not safe.  Help me to disregard my own comfort as I strive for faithfulness.  Simply put, help me to be more like You.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 6 (John 15:13)

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  (ESV)

There are many things that motivate my actions.  I obey the speed limit because I fear a ticket.  I break the speed limit because I fear being late.  I tell jokes because I want people to like me.  I mow the grass because I will be embarrassed for neighbors to think I am not taking care of my house.  Yet how much of my life is motivated by love and relationship?

Jesus talks about laying down your life for friends as an act of love.  It is not about fulfilling the law.  It is not about doing something to get into God’s good graces.  It is not about doing something to avoid His wrath.  Jesus shows us that the greatest thing we can do is not motivated by any of the things that motivate most of our lives.  It is motivated by love and relationship.

How would your morning routine look if parts of it were motivated by love and relationship?  How would your arrival at work, the bulk of your day, and mundane, domestic chores look different?  I think I would feel a lot less stress and exhaustion, to say nothing of genuine joy and satisfaction, if my prime motivators in life were love and relationship instead of fear and consequence.

Jesus, I can’t put it any simpler than this.  Help me to live the way You did.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins