Daily Devotion for October 15, 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.
The fabulous Soweto Gospel Choir singing Jesus Died and Rose Again a capella. This gives me gooseflesh.
Prayer for the Morning
You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?
Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.
But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human race, O Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)
Peace with God Through Faith
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Notes on the Scripture
The word "Therefore" at the start of Chapter 5 indicates a turning point. Paul sums up, in two sentences, the long discussion he has just made. We are justified in our existence by our faith, and by virtue of this faith, Christ has brought us grace. Our sins will be forgiven, God's wrath will be avoided, and we will inherit eternal life and peace.
This is a turning point in Romans; Paul is starting a new section. He begins it by saying that we rejoice in our sufferings; really, he is saying we should rejoice in our sufferings — he uses "we" in this odd way throughout Romans. You might read "we" to mean "I and the other Christians who are fully instructed", or something like that.
But still, who is happy about suffering? Nobody, really (except some very odd people, such as someone extremely ridden by guilt). What Paul is saying is that he rejoices even when he suffers, because he suffers for Christ. He goes through an odd chain of causes and effects. Part of it is practical psychology: suffering builds character, he says, a phrase that has caused many a teenager to roll his eyes and sigh.
But Paul was, legitimately, one tough cookie. He spent his entire adult life traveling in the hostile lands of Turkey and Greece. Discomfort, insecurity, beatings, stonings, arrests, shipwreck and near-misses were his life. So he is well-placed to instruct us on how to handle suffering. And his instruction is that, if we suffer in Christ's name, we will do well to rejoice in the victory it will bring us; through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us, we will be sustained by God's love.
This can be helpful to us, for if we practice Christ's words in our daily lives, we will sometimes suffer. For example, if someone hits us (literally or metaphorically) and we turn the other cheek, we might get hit again. But there is advantage; because if we are hit again on the other cheek, it has meaning; it is pain we have endured solely by faith. Forgiving someone we hate can be really painful; but the pain will have compensation, for the Holy Spirit will give us peace.