Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 26 (Romans 10:11)

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  (ESV)

What things shame or embarrass you?  It is usually something like realizing you have gone out with two different socks, calling someone by the wrong name, or thinking that the party you are supposed to plan for your friend is next weekend only to look at your calendar and see that is in ten minutes.  In other words, we are embarrassed when some aspect of our life for which we had responsibility has fallen apart.  We have dropped the ball, and there is no one else to blame for it.  Blush!

Paul tells the Romans that if they will trust in God, they will not be ashamed.  No matter what happens as a result of the decision to trust God, shame and embarrassment are not among the consequences.  We can trust Him, absolutely and without qualification.

When was the last time you trusted God like that?  Come on, now.  You are not at church.  There is no need to put on your Perfect Christian mask.  It is just you thinking about your life.  So when was it?  Yeah, I can’t really remember the last time, either.

Father, I want so much to trust You.  In my head, I know the words of  Scripture about Your faithfulness are true, yet it feels like jumping off a cliff with no parachute.  Strengthen my faith so that I can live a life of confident abandon, trusting really and truly in You.  In the name of Jesus, Who trusted You in all things, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 19 (Romans 1:16)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes….  (ESV)

It is a simple story, really.  God loved the people He made in His image so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to them.  Jesus revealed the true nature of God and went on to stand in the gap between life and death for us by dying in our place.  He rose again to prepare a place for us with God our Father.  Oh, and He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us, reminding us of all this and constantly redirecting us to Him.  What is there to be ashamed about in a story like that?

“Well, you just don’t understand.  I have co-workers who aren’t religious.  Some of my relatives have been hurt by the church.  Who am I to say that my private faith has to apply to everyone?  I don’t want to push my religion off on someone else.”


Lord Jesus, do not let me get caught up, swept in, and pulled under by misguided human reasoning.  Help me remember the simple, yet world-transforming power of the gospel.  May my life and my words at every moment of every day in every situation with every person I meet reflect the love of God that You have shown me.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 5 (Joshua 1:9)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  (ESV)

When we encourage someone, it is often like a Dixie cup of water offered to a parched marathon runner.  When God encourages someone, it is like a shot of nitrous oxide to a muscle car on the drag strip.  We want to encourage, but we don’t want to be too forceful.  We tell our friends to hang in there and not to worry, but we may as well add “pretty please” for as much power as our words sometimes carry.

Now look at how God encourages Joshua.  In nine verses He repeatedly tells Joshua to be strong and courageous.  He tells him what is going to happen and the specific things Joshua needs to do, and then God ends this encouragement with a reminder.  “This is not an option,” He tells Joshua.  “I have commanded you.  This is an order, buddy.  I am not suggesting that you not be frightened.  I am flat out telling you, and the reason is that I will be right there with you the whole way.”

What would it be like to receive that kind of encouragement from God Himself?  Because the words of Scripture are living words, we are in fact receiving the same encouragement that Joshua heard.  Of course, that can be a sobering realization.  Since God Himself is telling us to get up off the mat and face the world with Him at our side, we really do not have much choice but to do it.

Father, I often feel overwhelmed by the world around me.  I would say thank you for these strong words of encouragement, but I know You well enough to know that You do not just want to hear my words of gratitude.  You want me to get out there and live, strongly and courageously, with You.  That is what I am going to do.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins