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Daily Devotion for September 28, 2010



The Ten Crowns Overthrow Seven Deadly Sins by Frère Laurent, ca. 1311.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord’s Prayer

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.

Amen.

I think this is old enough to qualify as a “Saturday Oldie.”




For Salvation

O  Lord God of Israel, who has come to all the nations through your Son, Christ Jesus, there is no god like you in heaven or earth, for you are loving and kind and you keep your promises to your people if they only have faith and seek to follow your commandments. You have fulfilled your promise to our fathers Abraham and David, who were your servants, through the mightiest and humblest of all men ever to live: the Word made flesh.

And now, O Lord our God, fulfill your promise to all who confess the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, that we may live in faith of Him, loving you and following your ways as He did, that we might be sanctified as your children and heirs.

Amen.

For Those in Distress

I  pray to you, Master, be our helper and defender. Rescue those of our number in distress; raise up the fallen; assist the needy; heal the sick; turn back those of your people who stray; feed the hungry; release our captives; revive the weak; encourage those who lose heart. Let all the nations realize that you are the only God, that Jesus Christ is your Child, and that we are your people and the sheep of your pasture.

Amen.

Dedication

Oh Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being, I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget you, but remember that I am ever walking in your sight. In Christ’s name, I pray,

Amen.


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

Where in the Bible does Jesus discourage lawsuits?

Answer: Matthew 5:40



endless knot

Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad.


Blue Latin Cross

Romans 2:12-16 (ESV)

Those Who Do Not Have the Law

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.

They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.


Notes on the Scripture

T

oday’s passage is a continuation of Paul’s discussion of Jews and Gentiles. Those who “have sinned without the law” are Gentiles; those who “have sinned under the law” are Jews. A simple summary of this passage is that it does not matter to God who you are or what you know. The important thing is what is in your heart and how well you follow your conscience.

A similar situation exists today. We have all seen people and churches, who know the Bible backwards and forwards and can cite Scripture fluently; and yet, they say and do things that are patently wrong, sometimes downright evil. We see people using the name of Christ to advocate murder, race war, and polygamous child marriage. Even more common is stark hypocrisy — speaking Christian love and morality from the pulpit, while committing heinous crimes in private.

God so loved the world.

Most of us have also seen the polar opposite. There are people who, for whatever reason, have not been exposed to Biblical Christianity or have been alienated from organized religion by rank hypocrisy, but who lead lives of Christian virtue, both in thought and deed. This is the very situation Paul is talking about: “it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law . . . .”

Which of these is more likely to find forgiveness? Paul tells us, in effect, that although they may be unable to hear the law, there are Gentiles whose beliefs and acts bear witness to God’s righteousness.

We must always return to our own lack of authority to judge others. We understand how to find salvation for ourselves, because the Bible spells it out. But we have no idea how God will judge others. We are forbidden to judge the righteousness of others and we do not know how God will judge them. Christ said, in effect, that He was the way and the only way to salvation. But Paul seems to be saying that one might find salvation through Christ without ever hearing His name!

This idea is startling and interesting. Many theologians spin their wheels, thinking up ways in which Jesus might save people who died before they heard of him. But this area of speculation has no practical consequences for us, since we have all, in effect, “heard the law.” The lesson for us is that righteousness is not found in rhetoric. Righteousness is rather found in sincerity of belief, and in the actions that naturally flow from it.



Woman praying
Woman Praying, anon.

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