Sunday, July 26, 2015

Life With the King

July 26 (Psalm 47:7)

… God is the King of all the earth….  (ESV)

Earthly leaders have their proper role to play, but not one of them has ever been, is now, or will ever be King of all the earth.  All of Psalm 47 is a powerful reminder of Who actually sits on the throne of the world.  Do you suffer from a poor leader at work?  Do you worry about bad, even evil, leadership in the world around us?  Such people will lead only for a season, and even then, they do not control it all.

On top of that, you know the King of all the earth.  You know Him personally, and He knows you.  You enjoy what all those who seek audience with earthly powers will never know.  You have a bright, joyous, and loving relationship with the King.  He calls you His child (Romans 8:16) and He calls you His friend (John15:15).

So what are you waiting for?  If the conditions of life are bringing you down, take them to your friend, the King.  If there are things you simply cannot handle, fears that are reaching out for you, or more pain than you can bear, take them to your Father, the King.  There is not one person on earth who can ever love you the way He already does.

Father, I spend far too much time living as if I were not what I am, Your child and heir with Jesus to Your kingdom.  Help me to turn my eyes from both the threats of this life and anything that pretends to give me life.  You are my life, and I draw all my life from You.  In the powerful name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Weed Pulling

July 19 (Matthew 13:27)

And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’  (ESV)

Our neighbors on either side of us are retired and keep immaculate lawns.  At this point, a weed would not so much as dare to grow in their yards.  At our house, weeds feel more comfortable.  In fact, they seem to invite their friends.  They undoubtedly feel welcome because we are not diligent about getting rid of them, spraying against them, and applying the proper lawn treatments at the right times of the year.

It had rained recently, and the soil was soft, so I took the opportunity to attack some of the weeds, carefully pulling them so they came out root and all.  It struck me that they came out much more easily when the soil was soft.  When the ground is hard, there is simply no pulling out a weed.  You can break off the stem, but you cannot pull out the roots.

The same is true in our lives.  When our hearts become hard, the habits of sin can take root, and it is difficult to remove them.  Our hardness causes us to think that we do not have a problem and that there is no need to address certain issues.  When our hearts are soft, however, we can more easily get down to the root of sins and habits in order to remove them completely.

Jesus, keep my heart soft with Your love and grace.  Busyness and the desire to do things my way make my heart hard.  With Your help, I want to remove all the weeds that threaten to choke out Your life in me.  Amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Monuments and Life

July 12 (Matthew 6:19-20)

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  (ESV)

Our family loves history, and we recently visited the battle grounds of Antietam and Gettysburg and numerous sites in Philadelphia.  As we visited the cemetery that held the grave of Benjamin Franklin and other founders of our nation, I noticed something.  Just two hundred fifty years after they were established, many of the stones were so worn by the elements that they were illegible.  Once deeply carved notations of life had nearly vanished or had in some places disappeared.

I pointed this out to our children, and we reflected on these words of Jesus.  Monuments and memorials are important to help us celebrate and remember our history.  They serve a function for those who follow.  Yet for the people whose lives they mark, they hold no meaning whatsoever.  Stones crumble.  Metal rusts.  As hard as it may for us to conceive, even the names of Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson will one day be forgotten.

There is nothing like the fallen remnants of the past to remind us of the glorious future that can be ours in Christ Jesus.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God says Scripture, and nothing can diminish the brilliance of eternal life with Him.  That, and that alone, is worth the focus of our life.

Lord, do not let me get caught up in the honors and things of this world.  It is so easy to think that what my effort can accomplish and what my money can buy are of some sort of genuine value.  Help me to remember with every breath that my true honor rests with You.  In the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 5 (Matthew 10:31)

Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  (ESV)

I was washing our car in the driveway recently and really wanted to do a good job.  I used a soft, cotton rag for the cleaning and dried it with a chamois.  I spent a lot of time detailing the glass, the seats, and the dashboard.  As I worked, I could not help thinking about the comparison with how God loves us.  If I cared that much about an object that would not last forever and that I had purchased with money, how much more must God care about His children who will live forever and that He purchased with His own blood?

It was a wonderful reminder of two things.  First, there is the unfathomable love of God that beggars all description and dwarfs any of our emotions.  Then there is His constant teaching, which He often accomplishes through our mundane tasks.  The daily activities that make up our lives are filled with opportunities to see His hand at work.

Where can you see God working in your life?  It may be in something grand, but it does not have to be.  It may be in something perfectly ordinary and routine.  And when you do see some new facet of His love or His grace or His truth, what will you do about it?

Father, thank You for pouring out on all of us more love than we could ever comprehend.  Thank You, too, for communicating that love in every moment of every day.  Give me eyes to see and ears to hear, that I may know and serve You more and better.  In the name of Jesus, Who bought my life with His, amen.

Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins