Daily Devotion for May 24, 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 song of dedication by the contemporary Christian group, Hillsong.
Prayer for the Morning
Blessed are you, O Lord my God, King of the universe, who removes sleep from my eyes and slumber from my eyelids. I thank you for all that you have done while I was asleep, watching over me and all your children while we slept unaware, and I pray that my thoughts and acts this day may show forth my love and thanks for you and all you have done for me.
Help me through your Holy Spirit, that I may remember what you have taught me in the Bible and it may show forth in my every deed. Let me not wander into the hands of sin, nor into the hands of pride or perversity, not into the hands of temptation, nor into the hands of shame, but steer my inclinations towards goodness and charity this morning and all the day. In the name of Christ I pray.
Thanks for the Life of Christ
Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great.
Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that he suffered at the hands of the powerful was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in his sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever 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.
But he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
1 Peter 4:8-11 (ESV)
Using Our Gifts
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
We must love each other earnestly, sincerely, deep within our hearts; putting on a show is not enough. And "each other" in this context does not mean just the people we like, just the people who go to our same church or belong to our same denomination. By our nature, we are going to like some people and dislike others, and this is true in any group — even our own families.
Peter says this for the very reason that there are going to be other Christians who we don't like. But the love he tells us to show and feel is the product of prayer and meditation. We must, in effect, forgive other people for not being more likable. We must realize that in part disliking someone is a product of our pride. In this, as in all things, we first seek to remove the "splinter in our own eye".
The love that results will cover our sin. Not that it will "cover up" our sin, in the sense of hiding it from view, but cover it in the sense of taking care of it or attending to it. For when we take the effort to love others whom we do not like by our nature, many sins disappear, either totally or in large part: anger, pride, envy, self-righteousness.
Peter then teaches us to use whatever gifts God may have given us in the service of this love, not in the service of our pride or our greed. Teachers, deacons, and such leaders must avoid the pridefulness that our minds force upon us, as humans, when we serve in leadership positions. Christ, remember, washed the feet of his disciples, as a living example of the ultimate humility. The very fact that Christ lived, that he was born of a woman, is an historical act of humility by God Himself.
And those who serve must not be angry or resentful, feeling their pride has been hurt, no matter how lowly they might feel their position is. The reward is the same for all of us. We are all working together, whether or not we have the maturity in our faith to realize it.