Daily Devotion for May 25, 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 pretty children's hymn, whose simple message is charming and pure.
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.
"There are many elements that go into the total concept of fellowship, as it is described in the New Testament, but the sharing together in suffering is one of the most profitable. It probably unites our hearts together in Christ more than any other aspect of fellowship."
~ Jerry Bridges
1 Peter 4:12-14 (ESV)
Suffering as a Christian
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Notes on the Scripture
The first sentence of today's passage is a chilling reminder of what these people's faith meant to them. When Peter speaks of suffering, we must remember he is addressing people who are in real danger of being dragged out and murdered, often in a gruesome manner. Imagine that you are faced with the possibility of being arrested at any time and, without a trial, transported to a sports stadium, where you and your church friends would be turned loose with a pack of hungry lions, while a crowd of cheering people mocked you.
How many of us would meet such a test of faith? Some, but not all; it is impossible to predict how people will react to extreme danger. But what would living under such a threat do to our faith? It would make us value our faith infinitely more. Those who must work hard or pay dearly for something, hold it more dearly.
We can give thanks that we live in a time and place where we will not be killed or severely persecuted; but there is a cost to our comfort, and that cost is less dedication. Like the children of rich parents, we lose toughness and drive.
But we do have a challenge, which is complacency. Christianity is being trimmed from society by degrees, slowly, as the government grows ever larger and ever more aggressively secular.
Peter asks us, "what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" We, all of us, must make an effort to support Christianity in every way we can: with our work, with our words, with our time. And, as Peter teaches us again and again, by our example: acting honorably in all things with an open profession of our faith.