Sunday, June 26, 2016

There Is Only One God

June 26 (Isaiah 45:22; Acts 4:12)

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!  For I am God, and there is no other.

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  (ESV)

There is only one hope for the world…every country, every business, every family, every single person.  That hope is not education.  It is not a government program.  It is not a vague, sunshine and daisies belief in abstract concepts like decency and fair play.  The one hope we have is God, and even that does not mean a generic concept of deity.  The only hope we have is in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the one God fully revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

Does that sound exclusive?  Does that sound mean for not acknowledging other paths?  First, let us be clear.  This is central to both the Old and New Testaments.  God has made His unique identity clear in countless verses.  This is not the invention of any particular church or religion.  It is what the one true God has revealed about Himself.  But is it really exclusive?  In fact, you cannot find anyone or anything more inclusive than God.  He calls to all the ends of the earth.  Everyone who wishes to be saved…from sin, from hurt, from loneliness…everyone can come to Him.

We do not have to worry and wonder and strive to find something or someone to help us.  Almighty God has opened His loving arms to every single person and said with a smile, “Come!”  Why would we even consider any other?

Father, thank You for Your boundless love!  Oh, how sweet and good it is!  I bask in the radiance of Your love and grace.  Heal the broken places within me and help me to become ever more like my Savior, Jesus.  Amen.

Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Seeking Jesus

June 19 (Song of Solomon 3:1-4)

On my bed by nightI sought him whom my soul loves;    

I sought him, but found him not.

I will rise now and go about the city,   

 in the streets and in the squares;

I will seek him whom my soul loves.   

 I sought him, but found him not.

The watchmen found me

 as they went about in the city.

“Have you seen him whom my soul loves?”

Scarcely had I passed them    

when I found him whom my soul loves.

I held him, and would not let him go    

until I had brought him into my mother's house,    

and into the chamber of her who conceived me.  (ESV)

Full-blown, 21st century, First World disaster recently struck our family.  We lost cell and Internet service in our part of town.  I was scrambling with frustration and anxiety as if the flood waters were rising.  A quick trip to Wal-Mart secured a cheap phone for our old land line as a backup so relatives could reach us.  A visit to McDonald’s allowed me to send emails and alert others that we would be riding out the storm.  Yet even in the midst of this modern nightmare, I could not help thinking.  Do I seek God with such passion when I lose communication with Him?

I love this beautiful passage of poetry from Song of Solomon.  A young woman desires her beloved but cannot find him, so she goes out to look for him.  She keeps on searching, even asking others if they have seen him, and when she finally does find him, she embraces him and will not let him go.

In addition to being a delightful love poem, these verses show us the model of love between us and Jesus.  We must seek Him, and as He promises us in Jeremiah 29:13, we will find Him.  Which would truly upset your life more, down Internet or distance from God?

Jesus, may I always seek You more than any other thing.  May I pursue Your wisdom more than any other knowledge.  May I yearn for and seek an ever deeper relationship with You than with any other person I know.  And when I have found You, as You promise I will, may I never let You go.  Amen.

Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Glorious Calling of Jesus

June 5 (Ephesians 4:1)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called….  (ESV)

How can Paul, a prisoner, urge anyone toward a better life?  If we ask that question, then we need to get something straight.  We are all prisoners for the Lord.  Prisoners do not have rights, and when we surrender our lives to Jesus, we surrender our right to do things our way and for our own pleasure.

To those who do not know what it is to walk with Jesus, that can sound absolutely horrible.  God wants to take away my rights and imprison me?  In truth, this is not imprisonment for punishment, but when we are confined within the immensity of Christ, we are free to become what He has made us to be.  Apart from Him, we are bound by the constricting darkness of our own thoughts, the relentless chafing of the chains of our competing desires.

Ours is a glorious calling as the sons and daughters of God.  It is resplendent with purpose and meaning.  Why on earth would we want to walk clothed in anything other than righteousness and holiness?

Lord, I humbly acknowledge my identity as Your child, redeemed from the penalty of my sin by the blood of Jesus and empowered by His grace and guided by the Holy Spirit to walk boldly in the calling You have given me.  May my life ever bring You glory even as it directs others to You.  Amen.

Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins