Daily Devotion for May 31, 2017
During my vacation, I was privileged to visit the little museum in Colmar, France, where the Isenheim Altarpiece is on display. It dwells remarkably on the pathos and ugliness of the crucifixion. Notice the myriad sores and bruises on the body of Christ, and the unabashed weeping of Mary, from this panel.
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.
This pretty hymn is sung by the choir of the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School in Singapore.
1. For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
2. For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,
3. For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Music by John Rutter (1980)
Lyrics by Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1835-1917
Prayer to Thirst for God
Lord God, I have tasted your goodness and it has satisfied me, yet it has made me thirst for even more. I am so painfully aware of my need for even more grace than I now enjoy; and even when I do not want more, I am ashamed of my lack of desire. I want you completely, mighty God, and I want to want you even more than I do.
Fill me with longing for you; make me even thirstier. Show me your glory, I pray, so that I may know you always better and better, growing in my faith and love. From your infinite mercy, begin a new work of love within me this moment. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’ And give me grace to rise up and follow you, from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.
For God’s Protection
O Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, I beseech you to direct, sanctify, and govern both my heart and body, in the ways of your laws, and in the works of your commandments; that, through your most mighty protection, both here and ever, I may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Lord, in utter humility I thank you and glorify you, that you might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping your Spirit always in my mind; and bless me, I pray, that I might always follow your will and live in the radiance of your blessing.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
Which Bible verse tells us how we should handle lawsuits?
Psalm 118:19-24 (NKJV)
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
1 Peter 2:4-6 (ESV)
A Living Stone and a Holy People
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, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” [Isa. 28:16]
Notes on the Scripture
eter here makes an unmistakable reference to himself and to his special mission, given to him by Christ in Matthew 16:13-20, specifically verse 18, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The native tongue of both Peter and Jesus was Aramaic, and Peter's name in Aramaic — Cephas — literally means “rock.” And if this is not enough, the epistle (like the Gospels) was written in Greek, and the Greek word for rock is petras; so Peter's name means rock in both languages!
So when Peter tells us that we are “living stones rejected by men,” he is telling us that we may identify with him. We are like Peter. We are the rocks of which the church of Christ is built. Our commission to be the bearers of Christ's legacy stems from Christ himself.
We do not simply believe. Peter received his special commission immediately after he first confessed that he believed Jesus to be the Savior (see the quote from Matthew, above); and in just the same way, Peter is telling us that, by confessing our belief in Jesus as the Savior, the Christ, we become the living stones in the church. Once we believe, then, we are to think of ourselves as chosen by God.
Peter's first epistle was written largely to bolster the faith and hope of people who were suffering greatly for their Christian beliefs. This is evident both by the historical context of the people to whom it is addressed, who we know were being persecuted, and by the content of the epistle. So this is a good book to read if you ever feel persecuted or humiliated by scoffers.