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Daily Devotion for October 12, 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 (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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.)
And in its pathway there is no death.
Romans 4:9-12 (ESV)
The Righteousness of Abraham
Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?
We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised?
It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul takes us back, in Romans 4, to the time when God first entered into a formal relationship with humanity. The story of Abraham is told in the middle chapters of Genesis. It is a long story, but Abraham believes in God and is faithful to him. As a sign of his faith, Abraham is circumcised.
The Jews became the "people of Abraham" — they were fundamentally Abraham's actual physical descendants — and they followed the practice of infant circumcision as a sign of their obedience, that they accepted the relationship. Over the centuries, the symbol of circumcision became a critical component of Jewish practice.
But it was faith that led to circumcision, not vice versa. It was their faith, not a mark on their bodies, that created the relationship between the Jew and God. As Paul puts it, faith was counted to Abraham before he was circumcised. Therefore it is faith, not circumcision, that lay at the heart of the convenant between the Jews and God.
But Paul takes it even further; if it was faith that lay at the foundation of Abraham's covenant with God, then Abraham was the father of all faithful people — not just the Jews, but also monotheistic Gentiles.
This theme reoccurs often in Romans, because the Jews were taught from childhood that they, and no others, were righteous before God. They were taught that a Messiah would come to rescue Israel. And, indeed, Jesus was the descendant of Abraham, Jesse, and David.
Thus, when the Messiah came, it was understandably hard for them to hear the opposite: that Gentiles as well as Jews were the beneficiaries of Christ's death and resurrection. But it was critical for Paul to reconcile Jewish and Gentile Christians, so that there would be one unified church, consisting of all those with faith in Christ. He wanted to demonstrate that Christianity, although the culmination of Judaic tradition, was available to all who believed in Christ.