Daily Devotion for November 10, 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.)
O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who seek to destroy my life;
Romans 9:30-33 (ESV)
The Illusion of Good Deeds
What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.
Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written,
Notes on the Scripture
When the Jewish Messiah finally appeared, comparatively few Jews recognized Him or honored Him. They had been working, fighting, and keeping (more or less) the difficult laws of Moses for thousands of years, just so that they would be ready when their savior appeared. So when Jesus came, why were so few ready to follow him?
The answer is, because they became blindly accustomed to good works as the source of their righteousness. The quote by Paul is an intentional parody of Isaiah; the original verse read, "I lay a stone in Zion . . . a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation." Thus, salvation often seemed to come more easily to Gentiles, who were hungry for God and "poor in spirit", than to the Jews who had become proud and rigid.
How many people still make the same mistake? It is very common, at least in the United States. There is a great segment of the population who want to lead "good lives" and whose theology is, simply put: "If I lead a good life, I will go to heaven when I die. All those bad people will go to hell."
Those who truly believe in Christ will indeed (hopefully!) lead what is called a "good life". But we must be very clear about one thing: It is the faith, and not the deeds, that saves us from the wages of sin; for we are all sinners and we all fall short of glory of God. None of us has the required degree of "goodness" to survive the final judgment.
We must always remember that our salvation is a cherished gift, especially when we are tempted to become proud in our heart and judge others. We must always remember the Jews, who stumbled so badly over their pride in following God's law. They got so caught up in correct behavior, that they lost the very salvation they sought so arduously.