Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28 (John 1:22-23)

So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”   the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”  (ESV)

I love the answer that John the Baptist gave when he was asked the fundamental questions about his identity.  He did not say something about where he lived or what he did for a living or who his family was.  These are the kinds of answers we give.  Instead, he answered the only thing that truly mattered, who he was and what he was doing in relationship to God.

Think about that for a moment.  We meet people all the time and get similar questions.  What if we answered them the way John did?  “I look after God’s people in the emergency room of the hospital.”  “I help people steward God’s money at the bank.”  “I am a missionary for Christ in the local school.”  “I keep the cars that God has given people in good working order.”

God has equipped each of us with particular gifts to do jobs specifically designed for us to do.  Yet it is not the job itself, or the gifts, that define us.  Who we are is rooted in our relationship with God.  Our speech and our actions reveal just how much we realize that.

Jesus, it is so easy to fall into habits of work and family life that seem to exclude You.  My true identity in You becomes just one more compartmentalized fragment.  Help me to speak and live the truth, that I am Yours and living for You every minute of every day.  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21 (Matthew 7:9-11)

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!  (ESV)

I love it when our children steal French fries from me at a restaurant.  Every dad does.  When my dad was still alive and our children were really little, he loved it, too, and as a dad I know he loved it when as a boy I did it to him.  We want good things for our children.  We want them to have a good life, and we will do everything in our power to help them achieve it.

And we don’t know the half of it.  We think we love our children, but it does not hold a candle to how our heavenly Father feels about us.  To be honest, I understand the Father’s love even less as a dad, because I know just how boundless is the love for my children.  I cannot fathom a love greater than that, yet Jesus tells us that His love is infinitely greater than mine.

So, what are you waiting for?  Whatever it is, share it with your Father in heaven.  Confess it, cry about it, excitedly show it to Him, ask Him for help with it, talk with Him about it.  He loves you more than any earthly father ever could.

Father, thank You for Your unending love.  Even as an adult, I need You, my Dad, to be with me in all things.  Thank You for the grace that allows us to have the best Father-child relationship imaginable.  In the name of Jesus, Who made it possible, amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14 (John 1:18)

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.  (ESV)

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.  You can read right over it and not realize the earth-shaking truth it contains, but when it pops out at you, it will stop you in your tracks and leave you speechless.  Jesus is God.

It is amazing how many people seem to think that Jesus was just a good teacher.  They may acknowledge that He had some kind of special relationship with God, but He is actually God Himself and walked on earth for thirty-three years.  On top of that, this verse touches on the very mystery of God’s triune identity.  God is the Father, but this verse also says that God is at the Father’s side and reveals Him.  The One Who reveals the Father is Jesus.  When we consider the Holy Spirit as well, we see one God in three persons, a mystery to be sure, but the truth nonetheless, and a truth made known in no other philosophy or religion.  It comes through Jesus alone.

How does the truth that Jesus is God change your perspective on things?  How does it change your approach to prayer?  It truly makes all the difference in the world.

Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to earth to teach us, to save us, and to lead us to You.  May the truth of His divinity fill me so that I have absolute confidence in His present, active, and real love.  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 7 (Ecclesiastes 2:26)

For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting….  (ESV)

‘Tis the season of garage sales.  Everywhere you look, people are clearing out their clutter.  Our family is no different, and it goes something like this.  We take items from one room and put them in another to sort them…keep, sell, throw away.  Then we take the items to the driveway, arrange them, and label them with prices.  Stuff that does not sell we may keep if a friend is having a garage sale soon.  When all is said and done, unsold items go to Goodwill.

I hate it.  I hate how much of my life is spent shuttling items from place A to place B.  Whether it is for a garage sale or just general cleaning up, I often feel shackled by my possessions, overwhelmed with my stuff.  How many people in the modern world feel the same way?

Put your lifestyle against this verse from Ecclesiastes.  Is gathering and collecting stuff really what God wants for us?  If we focused on obtaining wisdom, knowledge, and joy, would we ever sell them on the cheap or wonder why we had them in the first place?

Father, You freely give me all that is truly worth having, yet I labor and sweat for things that choke my life.  Help me to seek only the highest good in You.  Save me from my own worst tendencies and anything that would hinder me from living the genuinely abundant life in Jesus.  In His name I pray, amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins