Daily Devotion for May 18, 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 great hymn echoes the important teaching of Peter in today's Scripture.
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Prayer for the Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer of Thanks
O Thou whose bounty fills my cup, With every blessing meet! I give Thee thanks for every drop, The bitter and the sweet.
I praise Thee for the desert road, And for the riverside; For all Thy goodness hath bestowed, And all Thy grace denied.
I thank Thee for both smile and frown, And for the gain and loss; I praise Thee for the future crown And for the present cross.
I thank Thee for both wings of love Which stirred my worldly nest; And for the stormy clouds which drove Me, trembling, to Thy breast.
I bless Thee for the glad increase, And for the waning joy; And for this strange, this settled peace Which nothing can destroy.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through 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.
A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered.
Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.
~ Charles H. Spurgeon
1 Peter 3:8-12 (ESV)
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
Notes on the Scripture
Think for a moment about what "being called" means. Someone cries out your name as a request that you come to them. Calling is verbal. It is a request from someone you cannot see to do something, hear something, perhaps learn something. As a child, a parent stood at the back door while you were playing to call you home for supper.
A God who we cannot see calls us, as individuals, to come and be saved. We do not hear a voice, because it is a spiritual calling, and we hear it with our spirit. We are informed that the time has come for us to change what we are doing. God calls us to come to him, like a parent calling a child to get off the railroad tracks, because a train is coming.
Why else would we pray, or read the Bible, or go to church? Something we do not hear with our ears calls us. It may be faint. Sometimes we may not be sure we have even heard it, but consider: Are you insane? If you have once prayed, if you have even once wanted to read the Bible, your spirit has heard the voice of Christ. Why else would you do these things?
This is the central theme of Peter's epistle. Sometimes we limit the idea of "calling" with becoming an ordained minister or full-time missionary. But Peter says no. The more important calling is the call to belief. By our call, and by answering our call, we have become members of a "holy nation" that transcends the temporal world of countries, languages, races, genders, and denominations.
But what, exactly, were we called to? Peter gives us a number of attributes of our calling: the first, "unity of mind", could fill a book, for brotherhood in Christ is contaminated by pridefulness. Christians have reviled and even killed each other throughout history. And these sins have had an ill effect, for many people mock the very word "Christianity" for this very reason.
God calls us to live in unity. Can we force others to bless us and call us brother and sister? No; if they are called, they will come to that conclusion eventually, but it is not our calling to revile others. It is our calling to bless.