Daily Devotion for May 21, 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.
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
1 Peter 3:18-22 (ESV)
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.
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
Notes on the Scripture
We studied the first sentence yesterday. This long (it's the entire first paragraph) and tangled sentence is hard to follow, but it creates a necessary context for today's passage.
Peter compares unbelievers — the "spirits in prison" — to the unrighteous before the flood, and Noah and his family to those saved by Christ. Noah was brought to safety "through water".
The water for Noah was, of course, the physical manifestation of God's vengeance against the wicked. In the second paragraph, Peter turns this on its head, as water becomes the physical sign of God's grace in baptism. It isn't a complete turnaround in how water is used as a symbol, however; in both cases, it is water which divides those who are saved from those who are condemned.
Remember, from the first two books of 1 Peter, how much emphasis Peter puts on God choosing and calling those who will be saved. Water, in both the Noah story and the life of Christ, is used to separate the righteous. So although we usually think of water as a means of destruction and death in the Noah story, to Peter, the water is a blessing for Noah, in the sense that it identifies him as one who has been called and saved.
Peter then reminds us of a third property of water. We wash with it. Water cleans the physical dirt from our body, just as the water of baptism symbolizes cleaning the sin from our soul.
But Peter wants us to look at baptism a different way. Here he implies that the water of baptism is the water of the flood. It symbolizes our faith that Christ, like the ark that God told Noah to build, will save us from God's wrath. Water, the enemy of the wicked and the instrument of their destruction, becomes the friend of the righteous.