Daily Devotion for January 8, 2012
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 lyrics of this wonderful South African gospel song are "We are marching in the light of God", repeated over and over. The second piece they sing, "Siyabonga Baba (Jesu)" means simply "thank you, God (Jesus)".
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.
Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
~ C. S. Lewis
Paul the Minister to the Gentiles
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience — by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God — so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written,
and those who have never heard will understand."
Notes on the Scripture
As Paul winds up his letter, he realizes that his long lecture might sound presumptuous to a group of people he has never, for the most part, met. His tone has been one of instruction, and people being people, there were no doubt members of the church in Rome who might say, "Who is this Paul guy to be telling us what to do"?
So, he show some interpersonal skills. First he butters them up, telling them he is satisfied how good and knowledgeable they are, "able to instruct one another". Then, he gives them some credentials: He has preached and started churches from Jerusalem to Greece, always traveling to places nobody else has been, and performing miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit. He says it very nicely, but he's bragging a bit.
Most likely, he needn't have done so, since surely the Roman church would know well who he was; he had many friends and acquaintances in Rome, whom he had gotten to know in his lengthy travels throughout Turkey and Greece.
The quote is from Isaiah 52 (Isaiah 52:15) and is fairly quoted in context, for Isaiah was speaking of Gentile kings when he said "those who have never been told of him will see". Paul, who is the instrument of God and is fulfilling a prophecy made 800 years before, cannot help but sound somewhat boastful if he speaks of what he has done; he had indeed "fulfilled the ministry of the Gospel of Christ", by leaving the comforts of his home and his people, to bring knowledge of salvation to all the people of earth.