Daily Devotion for May 20, 2017
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.
There is a story to this recording. A few months before his death, Elvis was giving a concert in Montgomery when he suddenly announced that he would sing this gospel number. He had never performed it in public before and never would again. (He could only find sheet music for the piano and backup singers, so his band sat silent).
It is a touching moment, to see him moved by the Spirit, crying out to God in the midst of his many difficulties.
With my head bowed low,
In the darkness as black as could be.
And my heart felt alone
and I cried, oh Lord,
Don't hide your face from me.
Hold my hand all the way,
every hour every day,
From here to the great unknown.
Take my hand, let me stand,
Where no one stands alone.
Like a king I may live in a palace so tall,
With great riches to call my own;
But I don't know a thing
In this whole wide world
That's worse than being alone.
Music and Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong,
Frank E Wright, III, and Michael Pritchard.
Prayer to Dedicate Oneself to Christ This Day
Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day, I commit myself Your care. Mold me in your image. In everything I say and do, let my mind be on the eternal goodness of heaven rather than the vanities of earth, meaningless pride, or the anger and envy that tear apart my precious soul.
I dedicate myself to your holiness, Oh sweet and innocent Christ, and pray that you may be with me, to check my tongue before it can speak evil and to stop my hand when it seeks to sin. I come to you as a child. I will look to you for guidance and wisdom. Let me know the joyful feeling of having done something that pleased you; let me never feel the pain of knowing I have disappointed you. And let me live without fear, without confusion, always steady in the certainty of your forgiveness and ultimate victory, I pray,
For Workers in Foreign Lands
O God our Saviour, who wills that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, prosper, I pray thee, our brethren who labour in distant lands. Protect them in all perils by land and sea, support them in loneliness and in the hour of trial; give them grace to bear faithful witness unto thee, and endue them with burning zeal and love, that they may turn many to righteousness and finally obtain a crown of glory; through Jesus Christ,
[God created us to live in His image.]
All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 14:6 (ESV)
A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it,
But knowledge is easy to him who understands.
1 Peter 1:13-16 (ESV)
Called to Be Holy
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, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Notes on the Scripture
Today's passage continues the “pep talk” that Peter has sent to the exiled Christians in Turkey. The theme of the first sentence is commitment. His advice is as applicable to us as it was to his direct audience 2000 years ago.
irst, Peter tells us, take some time to prepare your mind. This is what many of us do each day, with the Daily Devotional or some sort of morning prayer: Take time to collect our thoughts, to think about the day ahead and to remember what is important to us that we do during our day. Second, we should be sober-minded as we plan our future, not thinking of frivolity, but thinking about how we will accomplish our most important and meaningful goals.
Finally, we must commit ourselves fully to Christ's grace. We cannot just have a vague hope that our actions will reflect our ambitions to live in Christ, for our bodies and minds will want to pull us astray. We must know and plan for temptations of the flesh. Will we be angry when, inevitably, someone displeases us? Will we allow our emotions or our greed or our pride to drown out the voice of the Holy Spirit? If we do not set our hope fully on Christ, we will be pulled away from Him.
The second paragraph is about willingness to change. When we are reborn in Christ, we set aside our old habits and attitudes, for they would lead us to death and misery. Temptation is like a poisonous cupcake, covered in frosting and pretty candy to the point where it is almost impossible to resist; and yet, once eaten, bringing us to sickness and death.
We must cast off our old habits, something that is never easy to do. We must learn to be obedient to Christ.
This is not a forced obedience, where we will be used as slaves working for someone else's good. This is the deliberate and voluntary obedience of a wise person, who grasps that someone else knows the way. Imagine that you must cross a great mountain range. Trying to do it yourself, you would die. But with a guide who knows what you do not know, you can accomplish the task and live if you will only follow his every footstep.
We are called to be holy. If you are reading this, rest assured that you have been called. You have been elected by Christ to receive His grace, as Peter told us in the first sentence of this epistle. He addresses the letter to “those who are elect exiles.” Anyone who is reading Peter's epistle with a mind to actually learning truth, with a mind open to finding how better to serve and follow Christ, is surely one of the people to whom the epistle is addressed.