Daily Devotion for May 26, 2012
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
In this wonderful old tv clip, the Delta Rhythm Boys — known for their sense of humor — tell us what happened to some famous walls.
Prayer for the Morning
I bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.
Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for the Departed
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of your servants departed from this life and beseech you to grant them rest in the place of your rest, where all the blessed repose, and where the light of your countenance shines forever.
And I pray also to grant that my present life may be godly, sober, and blameless, that, I too may be made worthy to enter into your heavenly Kingdom with those I love but see no longer: for you are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of your departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto you I ascribe all glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Change your thoughts and you change your world.
~ Norman Vincent Peale
1 Peter 4:15-19 (ESV)
Crime and Punishment
But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"
Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Notes on the Scripture
In today's passage, Peter sums up a great lesson he has developed throughout the first four chapters of his epistle. Christians will sometimes suffer punishment from the societies in which they live. The degree of suffering varies widely; from great punishments such as being tortured and murdered, to the tiniest insult, of being called stupid or simply not being included in a group. We must expect such suffering and be ready to meet it.
What we must not expect is to be punished for committing civil crimes, such as theft. Except where something directly conflicts with our profession of belief, we must respect the government. Christ himself told us to pay our taxes, for instance. And this does not just apply to crimes, but also to unnecessary activities that anger others outside the church.
There is one law we must certainly not obey, for at this time, it was often against the law to worship Jesus Christ, and the penalty was sometimes death. In such cases, we must endure our suffering as Christ endured his, and as Peter would eventually endure his own.
It is not likely that we will be called upon to demonstrate our faith by suffering arrest, imprisonment, exile or death. But the very lack of a great threat can make us spiritually flabby. A Christian in Rome in the first centuries A.D. would hardly have noticed if somebody called him an "idiot" or "moron". His faith was muscular; it had to be, to meet the threats of the time. But a Christian today would probably be agitated by such an insult; he might lose sleep and would find it hard to be gentle in his response.
Freedom of worship makes us complacent; how to avoid this? Like an athlete who must stay in shape in the off-season, we must exercise. We must "work out" our faith by reading and prayer every day, to be strong enough to meet whatever suffering might come our way. We must stay prepared. The hour is always at hand.
The Stoning of St. Stephen, Pietro da Cortona c. 1660