Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 31 (Proverbs 29:11)

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.  (ESV)

Facebook.  Twitter.  Instagram.  All social media proves the truth of this proverb.  Now think about the break room at work, the hallways of the local high school, and the Starbucks where you meet a friend.  Is this proverb right, or is it right?

It has always been tempting for people to say whatever is on their minds the moment it lights up their brains, and today it is easier than ever to share that thought with the world.  It is natural.  Everyone is talking about something, and we want to be part of the conversation.

Yet consider this.  Does it really need to be said?  I know, I know.  You thought it, so it must be wonderful, but before you hit enter ask yourself if it really, truly needs to be said.  Does it honor God or make you look cool?  Does it help people see the truth of the matter or pour gasoline on a raging fire?  Is anyone the better for your sharing it?

Father, it is so easy for me to want to comment on everything going on around me.  There is much that I know is displeasing to You.  Help me to know when to speak and when to be silent.  If You want me to speak about something, give me the words that reflect Your love and Your will.  May I never speak rashly my own opinion just so I can be somebody in the eyes of the world.  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24 (Luke 22:19)

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  (ESV)

This Memorial Day weekend I am seeing my cousin Jim for the first time in twenty years.  He is recently retired from the United States Air Force and was a recruiting poster cadet at the Air Force Academy.  It seems appropriate that we get together again when our country remembers the heroes of our armed services.

We are grateful to all those who put their lives on the line for ours, including those in our police, fire, and other emergency departments.  Only the death of Jesus, however, saved us from the eternal death caused by our sins. Only Jesus rose again from the dead to prepare a place for us with His Father in heaven.  Only Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live within us and guide us toward Him.

As we remember friends, loved ones, and all the heroes we do not know personally who sacrificed for us, remember that all of us have the opportunity for true life and eternal life thanks to the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross.

Father, we ask Your blessing and protection on all those who work to protect us.  Thank You for them and most of all for the unbelievable gift of life through Jesus.  May our gratitude for His sacrifice grow every day.  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17 (Colossians 2:6)

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, justas you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.  (ESV)

Certain little weeds or bits of grass will get into the mulched area around our shrubs, but they are easy to pull out.  I grip them close to the soil, and with a gentle tug they quickly come loose.  Dandelions are not among them.  Those guys have strong roots.  I have to get the weed puller with spikes that go deep below the dirt to get them out.

When it comes to our faith, we want to be like the dandelions.  Better still, we want to be like oak trees.  We want our roots to be so deep in Jesus that nothing, not ill health, not tragedy, not job stress, not job loss, not relational difficulties, not death itself, can shake us.

In the spring many people tend to their flowers and lawns and gardens.  We apply treatments so everything will grow well.  How are your roots?

Jesus, I want nothing to separate me from You.  I know that nothing can separate You from me, but too often I let distractions or reliance on my own strength weaken my roots.  May all that I do come from deep, unshakable connectedness with You.  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 10 (Proverbs 18:2)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, in expressing his opinion.  (ESV)

Social media is incontrovertible proof that this verse is true.  We all have opinions, of course, but not every thought that passes through our minds needs to be expressed.  Yes, we need to share the gospel.  Yes, we need to stand for what is right and against what is wrong.  Yet as Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, there is a time for every purpose under heaven.

So how do you know whether or not to comment on that post on Facebook?  How do you know if you should speak that delicious thought with your colleagues?  The answer is simple.  Don’t do it.  No matter what, don’t do it until you have paused for a moment and listened to the guiding of the Holy Spirit.  As Jesus promised, He will lead you into wisdom.

And that brings us to the first part of this verse.  The truly wise person seeks understanding, and this more often comes from questions and listening than from trumpeting our own opinions.

Lord, show me when to speak and when to be silent.  When I speak, may it be what you want me to say, whether a question or a statement, rather than my own opinion.  Wisdom and understanding are what I truly seek, not popularity or fame.  In Jesus’s name, amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 3 (John 16:27)

For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  (ESV)

It is great to have friends.  It is fun to spend time with those you like, and quite often those relationships can lead to work and service opportunities that are truly fulfilling.  As for loneliness, few pains in life can be so bleak and unending.  It can feel as if the world is going on right outside your window, completely ignoring you.

Yet the person with a thousand friends and the person with none have something in common.  Their social situation is nothing compared with their relationship with God.  Friends come and go.  God never moves.  The darkness of being alone can be illuminated by the One Who is light.  Pause on these words from Jesus.  God our Father loves you.  He loves you.  Put your own name into this verse.  Say it out loud.  Let it sink in.  God.  Loves.  You.

Life is too much to bear alone, and if you think that you are handling it just fine with the friends and family around you, remember that they, like you, are only human.  Life is too much for mere human strength to handle.  God loves you, and that is your true source of strength.

Jesus, I do love You.  Thank You for reminding me that this love is not a one way street, that Your Father and mine loves me even more.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins