Daily Devotion for May 20, 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.
Our "Virtual Sunday Church" takes us this week to St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The text of this anthem is Psalm 121 (reproduced to the right).
Prayer for the Morning
You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?
Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.
But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in us the fear of you and confirm in us love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord,
which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper:
the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in
from this time forth, and even for evermore.
1 Peter 3:18-20 (ESV)
Emulating Christ with Our Gentleness
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
Notes on the Scripture
Peter outdoes himself with his long sentences today! This passage occurs in the middle of a discussion of Christians who suffer generally for their faith, and specifically those who meet harsh critics with gentleness and respect.
Hearing harsh criticism of one's faith, which often includes personal attack and ridicule, hurts. Our instinct is to counterattack. In yesterday's lesson, Peter strongly urged Christians to avoid such an instinctive verbal reprisal. Anger has a peculiar effect of increasing a person's confidence. But Peter teaches us to take our confidence from the Holy Spirit. The more fully we know that Christ is truth, the less anger we need to keep from feeling vulnerable.
The primary purpose of this passage is to reinforce that lesson. Peter shows how Christ embodied the principle of confident, calm defense of truth. In essence, when we hear Christians called fools or evil hypocrites, we are suffering for the sins of others. Christ did it to "that he might bring us to God", and if we are to effectively defend Christianity and help others become closer to God, we must emulate Him.
Christ was put to death in the flesh but was raised again by the power of the spirit. When we are able to take vicious attacks against Christian belief calmly and reply gently, we imitate Christ's life. Our earthly pride may suffer, but our spirit becomes stronger. By His gentleness, both in word and in action, Christ freed those in the prison of sin. Our minor suffering will have the same effect. We must imitate Him; Jesus is our role model.
Finally, Peter makes a very creative and interesting comparison of Christ's life to the story of Noah. We must be utterly patient with nonbelievers. As God patiently waited for Noah to build the ark, to save only eight people, we must be patient in our defense of our faith. For only a few may ultimately hear the Word and even that may take time.