Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 26 (Psalm 62:5)

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  (ESV)

A friend once asked me how I could stand to eat alone.  While I have lively interactions with friends and love my family dearly, I do enjoy being alone sometimes.  I am quite content to eat alone, hike alone, or sit alone even in a crowded place.  Being alone allows me to be quiet and commune with God.

Now, lest you think I am a monk in disguise, please know that this rarely happens any more.  My life, likely very similar to yours, is a blooming, buzzing confusion of sensory overload.  Even when I am alone these days, I am find it nearly impossible not to be doing something, catching up on something, reading something.  Access to multiple email accounts, news feeds, and social media updates 24-7 gives me the unprecedented ability to be and do everything all the time.

Friends, this is insanity.  This mentality of doing it all is destroying our schools and our families.  It is ruining relationships, and none more so than our relationship with God, Who refuses to compete with Trivia Crack and Twitter.  If our hope is truly in the Lord, we must learn to silence our souls.

Father, I cry out to you.  Stop me.  Stop me from running to this and that, hurrying to do one thing so I can get on to another.  Turn my eyes toward you and away from the tyranny of the urgent and the attractive and immediate temptations that beckon me.  I truly want only You.  In the words of the old hymn, I pray that You would turn my eyes toward Jesus.  Let me look full in His wonderful face that the things of earth may grow dim in the light of His glory and grace.  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19 (Romans 5:8)

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (ESV)

Homer’s Iliad is the epic poem about the Trojan War.  In Book III, the goddess Aphrodite speaks with Helen, whose beauty it was claimed launched a thousand ships.  In Stanley Lombardo’s translation, we find the goddess a bit angry with the mortal woman.

Don’t vex me, b****, or I may let go of you
And hate you as extravagantly as I love you now.
I can make you repulsive to both sides, you know,
Trojans and Greeks, and then where will you be?

I cannot help but be struck by the stark contrast with the one true God.  The Greco-Roman gods were easily angered and vindictive.  They were thought to love you one moment and strike you down the next, and you could only hope and guess about which would happen.  Imagine, then, the shock when it was revealed to people whose only experience of gods was like this passage from the Iliad that the one true God loved them, even when they sinned against Him.

Two thousand years later, do we take this for granted?  How grateful, really, are we for the love of God?  There is no one, not one, on earth or in any other faith, like the One Who loves us, even in our sins.

Father, may I never take for granted the love You have shown me through the life, death, and life of Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ.  May all that I do reflect that gratitude to You and show others the joy of Your love.  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12 (John 13:1)

…having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  (ESV)

I have finally found what I want as the epitaph on my tombstone.  John wrote these words about Jesus as he described the Last Supper, and I can think of nothing else I want to be said of me as husband, father, and friend.

Love is a tedious thing.  It is mundane.  It is tiresome.  Certainly there are the skyrocket moments of romantic love and the excitement over a relative’s or a friend’s success, but the kind of love that lasts to the end is a plodding, day in and day out kind of thing.  It keeps on going when you do not feel like doing something loving.  It keeps on going when you are just too tired.  It keeps on going.

I like the idea that I am going to have the opportunity to love the people in my life until the day I die.  There is satisfaction in contemplating the long years of loving service.  Sometimes the acts of love are dramatic, but mostly they are small.  Yet taken together they make up the fabric of a life well lived.

Jesus, thank You for loving me at all times.  Thank You, too, for calling me to just such a life of love with those into whose lives You have placed me.  Thank You for the daily heartbeat of love.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April 5 (Matthew 28:6)

He is not here, for he has risen.  (ESV)

Many people have been brought back from death, especially in a time of advanced medical knowledge.  Only one raised Himself.  Note the language in this simple announcement of the angel to the women at the tomb of Jesus.  The angel did not say, “He has been raised.”  This would have implied that someone else did the raising. 

Pause.  That is a sobering thought.  Jesus was not raised.  He rose.  You rise when you get up out of your chair, but you do this because you are already alive.  Jesus was dead, and yet He rose.  He died because He was human.  He rose because He is God.

Jesus never shouted it, but everything He did and said pointed to the truth that He is God.  Easter is not about celebrating the life of a good man.  It is about acknowledging the truth.  The One with Whom we live as brother and friend, because He invited us to do so, is the living God of the universe.

Jesus, I praise You!  You are my God, my life, and my friend!  May every day of my life be one of praise to You!  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins