Daily Devotion for June 28, 2017
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.
This rendition of the tuneful Swing Down Chariot, with its locomotive rhythm, will put some steam in your engine!
An Old American Prayer for the Work Day
Almighty God, I thank Thee for the job of this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer Thee the praise of work well done.
Prayer for Those with Harmful Obsessions
Heavenly Father, I remember today all the many people who damage or destroy their lives with one of the thousand obsessions that can plague the human mind: The alcoholic and addict; those with eating disorders; those with sexual compulsions; those who are driven to obsessive gambling; the superstitious; those who hoard obsessively and live in squalor; those whose only concern is their appearance, or wealth; or any of the myriad, baffling, and often bizarre behavioral disorders that may affect and burden the lives of your people.
Help me first to remember, when I am shocked by their behavior or critical of them, that they are your beautiful children whom you love. Give them the strength to seek help, guide them to people who can help them, and flood them with the power of your Holy Spirit, that they may control their disorders and find peace and contentment on this earth, and the eternal joy that awaits the faithful. I pray this in the name of Christ, who loved beyond all love and was always pleased to heal those who came to Him in faith.
[How do I damage myself?]
Community of Prayer
I pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.
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.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
1 Peter 3:13-17 (ESV)
Defending Your Beliefs
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed.
Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
Notes on the Scripture
o this point, Peter’s epistle has shown us that we have been called by God to be a great nation or race and taught us specific attitudes and behaviors that will help fulfill our calling. In the previous verses, he gave us a central tenet of his lesson: “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9)
Now he takes a diversion to discuss a tangential issue, the suffering one might bear for witnessing to Christ. The churches in Turkey to whom the epistle is addressed, remember, were full of Christians who had suffered persecution in Rome and were living in exile, torn away from their homes and jobs, and driven by soldiers into a distant land.
The first two sentences seem slightly contradictory. The first is a rhetorical question that seems to say, nobody can harm you for doing good. But the passage translates poorly into English.
Peter is saying, essentially, “compare the powers of your persecutors to the power of God.” In essence, the first paragraph means “Look at who might want to harm you for doing good. Even if they succeed in making you suffer, they cannot really harm you, for they did the same thing to Christ, and He was victorious over every harm they could do to Him, even death.”
Peter then encourages the reader not to be troubled at the slander and criticism one can receive, and not to be goaded into a harsh response. Harsh responses to slander are fueled by fear. If we do not fear even the nastiest criticism, we will not respond harshly. Our confidence will enable us to respond with the gentleness and respect of a good conscience, which will put the critics to shame.
In other words, the only effective response to even the most vile criticism of our beliefs is gentle and respectful. We must, above all, demonstrate the virtues we profess when we defend our beliefs.
Finally, he makes an interesting point. A human being will suffer. Is it better to suffer the criticism we get for being Christians, or to try to avoid that suffering by doing evil? By betraying our call to Christ? For we know that the harm of doing evil is to be cut off from God and to suffer eternal damnation.