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Daily Devotion for September 26, 2010
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.
The beginning of this moving song is sung in Kituba, a language widely spoken in central Africa. The Kituba lyrics are (thankfully) translated onscreen, but we have supplied the English lyrics for It is Well with My Soul.
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
What ever my lot you have taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come,
Let this blessed assurance control;
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, with my soul.
It is well, it is well with my soul.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin not in part but the whole.
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul.
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll.
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1876
Lyrics by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
For the Day Ahead
Oh Lord God, I come to you in the morning, full of hope that the day to come might be filled with joy and energy. Grant that I may do my work with a light and happy heart; and if there are tasks that I do not look forward to, or even dread, let me undertake them with courage and resolve. For this day could be perfect, if I can only live it in You and with You and for You.
Where I face frustration today, let me handle it with acceptance and faith that the outcome is in Your hands. Lead me away from anger or judgment of other people. Let me tend to my own garden instead of looking over the fence. If my neighbor's yard is filled with weeds, help me not to criticize, and keep me from envy of those whose tree bears more fruit.
And let everything I attempt be filled with the knowledge and guidance of Your Holy Spirit. I pray that the Spirit will be with me at every moment, and that I will always be aware of Him, and live every moment of this day in Your presence. In Christ’s name, I pray,
Prayer for Bearing Troubles
O God, our help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the prayers of your people; look down upon me, a miserable sinner; have mercy upon me, and deliver me from the troubles that torment me, even though I might deserve them. I acknowledge and believe, O Lord, that you give us the trials of this life for our chastisement, when we drift away from you, and disobey your will; deal not with me according to my sins, but according to your endless mercy, for I am the work of your hands, and you know my weakness. In the name of Christ I pray,
May God the Father bless us; may Christ take care of us; the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life. The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What do we need, in addition to God’s grace?
Answer: This is a bit of a trick question—not trying to fool anyone, but to make us all think—but the answer is “nothing.”
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Current vs. Eternal
In matters of style swim with the current; In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
~ Thomas Jefferson
Romans 5:18-21 (ESV)
Adam and Christ [Part 3]
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more; so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
he first paragraph is a summation of the preceding section, comparing and contrasting Adam and Jesus. Whether one thinks of Adam literally as a single man, or more metaphorically to describe the way in which all people, by their nature, choose to disobey God’s will, this universal disobedience condemns us to God’s wrath. But Jesus was certainly a specific man, whose act of obedience made God’s grace available to everyone.
The verses form a good example of how words may be read out of context of the entire Bible, resulting in a tragic misstatement of how salvation may be found. There were and are still people who believe in “universalism” and take the first paragraph of the passage to mean that Christ saved everyone, i.e., “one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” They seek to equate Adam’s curse, which later generations inherited whether they wanted it or not, with Christ’s salvation. Therefore, they reason, everyone was saved.
But the Bible repeatedly tells us that Christ’s salvation does not simply come to everyone. One must actively believe in Him. One must “abide” in Him. (John 15:6) The sentence just before (Romans 5:17) specified “those who receive” Christ’s grace will be justified before God. Even more, Christ himself, many times, made it clear that only those who made a conscious decision to follow him would be forgiven. The easiest example is the very famous quote in John 3:16, “to the end that all who believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The second paragraph, which states that the law “increase[d] the trespass”, may seem a bit odd. The law of Moses resulted in an increase in sin? But this is exactly what Paul means. Adam only had one rule to follow, “don’t eat the apple” (so to speak). But the law gave the Jews a multitude of rules to follow, resulting in a correspondingly great number of violations. (As we have learned previously, Paul’s point is limited; in truth, the sins existed even before the law; God gave the Jews the law only to show them the extent of their sin.)
But grace still triumphs. The main point is, that God’s grace is greater than all sin. No matter how much sin there may be, God’s grace is sufficient to overcome it.