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Daily Devotion for May 12, 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.
A pretty setting of Ave Maria by Mascagni. The melody is actually borrowed from an opera, Cavallaria Rusticana.
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
For Those in the Armed Forces
Almighty God, I commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
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 by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
1 Peter 2:11-12 (ESV)
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Notes on the Scripture
We are about to read through some of the most difficult passages in the Bible — not difficult to understand, but difficult for many modern Christians to accept. We must therefore keep today's verses in mind, when reading the rest of 1 Peter, for they create a foundation to truly understand what he means to say.
There are two major points in this short passage. The first is the concept of the passions of the flesh waging war against our souls. These passions are not limited to physical appetites, such as hunger and sexual desire. In fact, most of what follows in 1 Peter deals with a passion that is not physical, but mental, the king of sins: Pride.
Pride sits atop the pantheon of sins in Christianity, because it blocks so much goodness and, of all the sins, is the most likely to create a direct barrier between us and God.
Like almost every sin, it has a natural and good counterpart. Most sin represents an excess or misuse of some natural, God-given instinct. Is it wrong to eat food? No. But when we become obsessed with food and abuse it, it becomes the sin of gluttony. Is it evil to want to buy a new car? No. But again, wanting a new car can lead us into sin, such as covetousness, pride, or gluttony.
Pride is the same. There is a natural and good human pride; there is nothing wrong, for instance, with feeling satisfaction about doing a good job. But this is tricky, because our instincts immediately begin to lead us into temptation: to feel like we are superior to others, to seek higher status, or to boast of our accomplishments. More subtly, natural and harmless pride can lead us to a feeling that we have made ourselves righteous by our good works.
The second concept in today's passage is the idea of doing good deeds so that others ("Gentiles") will see them and glorify God. We must avoid sin, because one of the greatest things that drives people away from Christ is the hypocrisy of people who call themselves Christians. Yet, one of the sins we must avoid at all costs is pride, including taking excessive pride in our good behavior! This can be tricky. If we behave well, we cannot let our good behavior make us feel better than others. We must always remember that we are saved by grace, not by our good works, and always examine our feelings pride in our prayers and meditation.