Daily Devotion for January 13, 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 great Shirley Verrett, late in her career. (From a Broadway revival of Carousel.)
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer of Praise (from Psalm 86)
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon you: for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; and no works like those you have done. All nations whom you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and do wondrous things: you are God alone.
Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify your name forever.
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.
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.
I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith — to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
There isn't much substance to the end of Paul's letter, but we said we'd read the entirety of Romans, so there you are. Several of Paul's companions and the people giving him support in Corinth are named, and Tertius is allowed to write a line in his own voice, to credit himself with the draftsmanship.
Most Bibles call the final paragraph a doxology, or short hymn of praise to God, but it also touches several central themes of Romans. Paul briefly follows the entire history of religion leading up to Christ's resurrection. God's revelation to mankind and His eventual salvation had been a long process, accomplished largely through his relationship with the Jews, and Paul wants us to remember this.
Just as strongly as he wants the Gentiles to remember the Jewish history, however, he wants the Jews to understand that the relationship has changed, and that Christ has been given to all nations, no matter what their past. It is the same way in life; the worst miscreant on earth can repent, and Christ's grace will come to him. No person can be denied the gift of the Holy Spirit or God's forgiveness, through grace, of a lifetime of sin; no political dictator can stop it, nor poverty, nor past transgressions. It doesn't matter how smart or beautiful or well-liked you are. We do not need anyone's approval to gain the world of eternal peace; Christ will be ours if we listen and believe.