Sunday, December 28, 2014

December 28 (Matthew 1:13)

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”  (ESV)

There was the joy of that miraculous night.  There was the star, the wise men, and the love that all new parents know, a love that shuts out everything else as the world contracts to the one tiny baby in front of you. Then the rest of the world came crashing in upon them.  Someone was trying to kill their baby.  Joseph did not have time to savor the moments surrounding the birth of Jesus.  He had to get down to the work of being a father.  He had to protect his wife and baby boy.

Christmas is over now.  Many people are still on vacation.  We need this time every year to celebrate the birth of our Lord and to be reminded of the miraculous gift of God.  Yet our great enemy is still trying to destroy Him.  Of course, he cannot hurt Jesus directly, but he attacks his followers.  The next verse says that Joseph did not even wait until morning, but escaped with Mary and Jesus to Egypt in the middle of the night.  I hope always to be so on guard that I answer God’s call the moment it comes.

Lord, keep me focused on the truth about Christmas after the lights have been put away.  Make me quick to serve others in the name of Jesus, Whom we have all celebrated.  May I give no thought to my own safety, but only to the Your call.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21 (Luke 2:11)

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  (ESV)

This is what it is all about.  Every single one of us needs a savior.  We are born needing one, and we have either accepted that Jesus is that savior, or we have yet to do so, but the fact remains that the savior of the world, Christ the Lord, was born on Christmas Day in the city of David.  Do you need a reminder of what that means?

He has paid the price for your sins.  You will live forever in glory with God.  The Holy Spirit now lives in You, guiding you and leading you toward all truth.  Your friend and brother is God Himself.  He listens to you and knows your every need.  Do I need to go on?

Sometime in the days ahead, get away by yourself and ponder all that Jesus is…to you and to the entire world.  Let the monumental truth of His identity and the meaning of His birth fill you and let that become the source for how you go about all the activities surrounding Christmas.

Jesus, it is impossible for me to conceive all that You are, all that You have done, and all that You continue to do.  May every word from my mouth, every action I make, every thought that crosses my mind bring You glory.  May my life do nothing but honor You.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14 (Psalm 86:11)

…[U]nite my heart to fear your name.  (ESV)

There is so much to do as Christmas approaches.  There are gifts to buy, cards to write, foods to bake, trips to arrange, houses to clean for guests, shows and parties to attend, and all the other things to do that you did not do the rest of the year and now feel the pressure to do before the year ends.  Sound familiar?

Many, perhaps all, of those things are good enough, but not one of them involves awe, and I am pretty sure that celebrating the birth of God in the flesh is an awe-filled event.  Awe requires absolute, single-minded focus.  Its proper expression is a dropping to the knees and bursting out, “My Lord and my God!” because your mouth has no choice in holding back the words.

This cannot happen when our hearts are divided, and that is why I love this verse.  It is a simple prayer that I need to pray often.

Lord, unite my heart to fear Your name.  In the midst of all that I must do, help me to see You.  In fact, give me the courage to drop anything, no matter how urgent or good it may seem, to praise You with all that I am.  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7 (Luke 2:11)

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  (ESV)

Bear with me for a moment.  I am going to reference a song by Led Zeppelin.  In 1970 Led Zeppelin recorded what has become the most famous version of a centuries-old tale.  In their version of the song called “Gallows Pole,” friends and family bring gifts to the hangman to save a beloved young man.  The hangman takes all the gifts, but in the final verse laughs as he prepares to hang the young man anyway.

Every human being who draws a breath is under a sentence of death.  We are born with a sin nature, and given the opportunity, we will live up to that nature every time.  As a result, we are separated from the pure perfection of God.  We deserve to die, and there is nothing we can give God, not gold or silver or good works, that can save us.

Enter Jesus.  It is God’s law that says we must die, yet it is God Who provided the way out.  He sent His Son to be born our Savior.  His laughter and joy fill the heavens when we accept this and surrender our lives to Him.  We do not celebrate Christmas because a cute baby was born.  Many cute babies are born each day.  We celebrate Christmas because our Savior has come.

Father, words cannot express how grateful I am that You sent Your Son to take my place in death.  I was born to die, yet You had already prepared a way for me to live.  Praise be unto You, O God, now and forever!  Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Steven R. Perkins