Daily Devotion for May 4, 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.
This is a rare recording, a technically clear audio version of Mahalia Jackson at her best.
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 for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
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.
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.
First, 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.