Daily Devotion for May 22, 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 modern version of an old hymn, Sweet Hour of Prayer.
Prayer for the Morning
Father, as I face this new day, let me be aware of the work you have done for me as I slept. I praise you that your loving care never slumbers, but has been with me while I was least aware of it; and that you renew me and the whole world, fresh every day, preparing your plans for me.
I pray that I may seek your will this day, your plan for my life, and carry out your plan in my every action. I lay my hopes and fears on an altar before you, that your Holy Spirit may guide my hopes toward the light of your holiness, and may quiet my fears with the knowledge of your infinite peace, in total confidence that your grace will save me from the evils of this world. In Jesus' name I pray,
For Each of Us in Our Work
Almighty God, heavenly Father, who makes it possible for me to work and gives every creature its food, declaring your glory and showing your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in my work, from coveting material goods, from falling into the temptation of serving mammon and putting money in the forefront of my life. Help me to perform the work which you have put at my hand, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men as well as myself; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lived and died only to serve us.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
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.
And now, this is the sweetest and most glorious day that ever my eyes did see.
1 Peter 4:1-6 (ESV)
Suffering and Sin 
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
Notes on the Scripture
The theme of this passage begins in 1 Peter 3:18, "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 fact, Peter wrote his first epistle largely to instruct and comfort suffering Christians; he addressed it to persecuted Christians who had fled from (or been driven out of) Rome.
He tells us that those who have suffered have "ceased from sin". This must be put into context. First, his audience has suffered precisely because of their faith in Christ and their refusal to renounce their faith under threat of punishment. Their suffering "in the flesh" does not mean just physical suffering such as beatings; it encompasses all kinds of physical, mental and emotional suffering, for they had been impoverished, had been separated from loved ones, and had lost their jobs, homes, and even family members.
For clearly, we can suffer and continue to sin. Suffering in the flesh comes to everyone, for all kinds reasons or, even, no apparent reason at all. A Christian weak in faith may even be driven to sin by suffering. How many Christians have cursed God when faced with terrible life event, blaming God for their loss (and forgetting that what they have lost was given to them by God to begin with)?
So Peter's statement that his audience have "ceased to sin" implies that they have suffered for their faith and have remained steadfast. It also implies that they have not been led into sin by their suffering by cursing their tormentors, but have defended their faith "with gentleness and respect". (1 Peter 3:13-17)
If we can take this passage to heart, it gives us a model, a goal, a basic blueprint to become members of God's own holy nation, living stones from which Christ can build His church. We must ask ourselves one basic question: If we suffer a great loss, is our primary prayer that God undo our loss, or a prayer that God give us such strong faith and hope that our loss is less painful, for we are comforted by the great joy to come?