Daily Devotion for October 7, 2011
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.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
A small boy looked at a star and began to weep. The star said, "Boy, why are you weeping?" And the boy said, "You are so far away I will never be able to touch you."
And the star answered, "Boy, if I were not already in your heart, you would not be able to see me."
~ John Magliola
Romans 3:9-18 (ESV)
No One Is Righteous
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.
Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.
The venom of asps is under their lips.
Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Notes on the Scripture
Having used both his own witness and logic, Paul turns to another source of proof that the Jews are not righteous before God. The Jews cannot consider themselves righteous, because the Jewish Bible, i.e. the Old Testament, says that they are not. The Old Testament is filled with condemnations of Jewish rebellion against the law.
Paul is not trying to hurt his Jewish listeners here. He is acting more like a caring doctor who is trying to convince a beloved patient with a silent but fatal disease, such as high blood pressure, to take medicine that will heal him.
He addresses primarily the Jews here, but he has already shown that God will judge the Gentiles. The psalm has general application to the entire world. None of us is righteous. We lie, we curse, we get angry and forget God.
At no time has this been more true than today. It is sometimes painful to witness the world we live in deteriorate spiritually. Schools and universities founded and dedicated to the glory of God seem to have joined the other team. Sixty years ago, a parent complained to the headmaster of St. Andrew's School that he was worried that his son would not get into Harvard. The headmaster replied, "We prepare our students for the kingdom of God, not for the kingdom of Harvard." I wonder, today, how many educational leaders would say such a thing?
One hesitates to conclude too much cause-and-effect between the decline of spiritual emphasis in our society and our apparent economic and social decline; Christ did not promise material success to those who put him first. But you cannot help but notice the parallel. I often find myself wondering if the Amish are not happier, better-adjusted people, despite their poverty and myriad inconveniences, than those who spend their lives seeking secular self-fulfillment.
Contemporary Western society is hardly Rome — we don't keep slaves or crucify people because we dislike what they say. But Paul's words seem frighteningly descriptive of the direction we are headed.