Daily Devotion for November 18, 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.
This country/bluegrass number by The Isaacs is lovely.
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.)
"God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand you have failed."
~ St. Aurelius Augustine
Romans 11:17-24 (ESV)
Gentiles Like a Grafted Branch
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.
Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.
For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul continues an extended metaphor today, based on the "tree of Jesse", the historical depiction based on Isaiah 11: "And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Judaism and Christianity are frequently compared to a living tree, and the analogy works not only in the spiritual sense, but also in the physical sense, because Jesus was the blood descendant of Jesse.
But now, some Gentiles have become part of the tree, and some Jews have been lost from it. Paul compares the Christian Gentiles to branches being grafted onto an olive tree; and he compares the Jews who cannot accept Christ to branches that have been broken off.
Paul thus informs us that we have become part of a continuing religious tradition that goes back almost 4000 years, to Abraham; this is why we have the Old Testament in our Bible, because we are part of a living organism that began when God made his first covenant with humanity. As Christians, we are living members of a living society, those whom God has chosen as his children.
Paul cautions us not to get too full of ourselves. If God has broken some of the natural branches (unfaithful Jews) off the tree, he can just as easily break off the grafted branches — us. And he can also take the discarded branches and restore them to the tree, an analogy that was more important in Paul's time, when he was actively recruiting Jews to Christianity, than today, when Jews finding Christ has become much less frequent.
His message to us is clear: Do not become complacent in your salvation, for God can take it away as easily as he granted it. We must always seek to renew and revive our faith in Christ.