Daily Devotion for May 31, 2012
St. Peter Preaching in the Presence of Mark, Fra Angelico c. 1430
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.
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Prayer for the Morning
Holy Father, who watches over your children by night and by day; blessed Jesus, my food and my strength; sweet Holy Spirit, the light and guide of my soul; I thank you for this new day and pray that you will watch over me. May my thoughts, my words and actions reflect the Spirit that dwells within me. And may every minute of my life celebrate the gift of grace, earned by the blood of Christ, in whose name I pray.
Prayer to Live Christ's Word
Gracious God, Jesus is calling me to a new beginning; to a fresh call to discipleship. You are asking me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow you. It was at my baptism that you claimed me as your child.
Today, I affirm that I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I surrender my will, my desires and my life to you, O God. I commit myself to your call to discipleship: to pray, study your Word, worship you, invite other people to a life of discipleship, encourage Christians in their life of faith, serve those in need, and give joyfully of the gifts that You first gave me. This I pray in Jesus' name.
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Fellowship means among other things that we are ready to receive of Christ from others. Other believers minister Christ to me, and I am ready to receive.
~ Watchman Nee
1 Peter 1:1, 13-15, 2:4-5, 3:13-15, 4:1, 5:6-11 (ESV)
Summary of 1 Peter
1:1To those who are elect exiles . . . .
1:13-15 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.
2:4-5 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.
3:13-15 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
4:1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
5:6-11 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. . . . And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
1 Peter was addressed from Peter, the first bishop in Rome, to Christians who had been exiled and scattered throughout Turkey. The purpose was to bolster their spirits and their faith, and to teach them about how to serve Christ best under persecution.
He begins by orienting them to their faith, reminding them to set their minds on their grace rather than being sucked back into the worldly orientation of their former lives. He reminds them how important this is, because they have a purpose, a mission. Just as Christ told Peter that he was the "stone upon which I will build my church", Peter tell them that they are living stones in Christ's church on earth.
He then teaches them how to serve Christ under persecution. As Christ suffered derision and ultimately death in His life, and yet remained gentle, they should consider that their suffering is not the product of wrongdoing, but a painful period that will make them blessed by God. But to best show Christ's glory to nonbelievers, they should not be nasty or hostile to the society even though it scorns them.
Rather, they are to be respectful and humble to all those in authority, subjecting themselves both to the leaders inside the Christian community and in the hostile society where they live. (And within the church, leaders should be humble towards those they lead, serving them rather than dominating them.)
Finally, he urges them to turn their great anxieties over to God and not to worry, for their Christian conduct will be the source of the greatest reward imaginable. God is ultimately in charge, and they do not need to worry as long as they stay strong in their faith.