Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sharing Jesus Regardless of Consequence

August 21 (Ezekiel 2:7)

And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.  (ESV)

When it comes to our sharing God’s word with people, it really does not matter whether they listen or not.  Oh, it matters, of course, with regard to their well-being, happiness, quality of life, relationships, outlook, calling, and eternal destiny, but it does not matter regarding whether or not we speak up and tell others what God has said.  That is a non-negotiable.  We are to do it and then let the chips fall where they may.

Jesus said the same thing.  In Matthew 10:5-15, He sends out the twelve apostles with the basic structure for evangelism.  Go out among people.  Do good works without asking for something in return.  Share the good news.  If people do not listen, shake off the dust from your shoes and move on.

If you have clicked on even one news website last week, watched one news program on television, or read one newspaper article, you know that almost all aspects of human society in just about every place on the planet are falling apart.  That is not an overstatement.  Don’t believe me?  Read even one more news article.  As followers of Christ, we know that the peace and restoration everyone is craving comes not from a government program or a school curriculum or any human philosophy.  What our hearts yearn for can only come from the hand of God.  If you would tell your friends about the special being offered at the grocery store, what holds you back from telling them about Jesus?

Father, You have blessed me not only with new life in Jesus, but You have given me a great and wonderful work to do in sharing that life with others.  Keep my eyes from distraction, that I may see those into whose lives You have led me.  Heal my ears from the deafness of unimportant noise, that I may hear the needs of my neighbors.  Loosen my tongue, that I may be quick to share the words that You wish to speak to those who hurt.  In the name of Jesus, Who saw and heard and spoke to me, amen.

Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Letting God Work In You

August 14 (Ezekiel 2:1-2)

And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.”  And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.  (ESV)

I imagine that if you heard God telling you to stand up, you would stand up, but that is not what happened with Ezekiel.  God told him to stand up and then God put him on his feet.  Notice that as God was speaking, the Holy Spirit entered him and accomplished God’s will.

This passage is like an oasis in the desert for those who are driven, high-energy, do everything all the time people.  God calls us to do this or that and then very often is quite willing to do that very thing through us.  Too often we hear a call from God, whether through Scripture or through a direct word in prayer or through someone else, and think to ourselves that it is too much, that it is just one more thing we have to do in an already burdened life.  Instead, God may simply be waiting to see if we will respond in the words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, “Let it be to me according to your word.”  (Luke 1:38)

What has God called you to do?  What have you put off because you thought it was beyond your means to accomplish?  It likely was indeed beyond your means, and that is why God is pleased to do it Himself through you.

Lord, I thank You for the gifts and abilities You have given me.  At the same time I want to stop relying on those gifts and abilities and rely directly on You.  Do with me and through me whatever You please.  In the name of my Savior, Jesus, Who modeled the perfect life of surrender, amen.

Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pain And Faithfulness

August 7 (Lamentations 3:21-23)

But this I call to mind,    

     and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;    

     his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;    

     great is your faithfulness.  (ESV)

For twenty verses the writer of Lamentations has gone on and on about suffering.  He speaks of broken bones, wasted flesh, and pain like arrows driven into his kidneys.  There are twenty verses of some of the most graphic pain descriptions.  And then come these verses.

Do you have twenty verses of pain?  Of course you do, which is why these verses feel like cool, soothing medicine.  It is why these verses became the basis for one of the great hymns, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”  Suffering is real, and it is a false religion or false philosophy that pretends otherwise.  Emotional and physical pain will be part of the world until Christ returns, “but this I call to mind….”

Can you call to mind examples of His love, not just in Scripture, but in your own life?  Can you call to mind examples of His mercy?  The incredible, wonderful, amazing thing is that even if you recall acts of God’s love and mercy toward you from yesterday, you will, for a fact, experience new ones today.

Father, great is Your faithfulness indeed.  Even when my faithfulness to You is weak or lacking, Your faithfulness and goodness toward me never cease.  Help me to focus more on the verses of Your grace than the verses of my pain.  In the name of Jesus, in Whom I live and move and have my being, amen.

Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins