Daily Devotional

The Words of Hope Devotional is a non-profit, donor-supported publication whose goal is to encourage readers to grow in faith through the practice of daily Bible reading and prayer.

Today's Devotional: 
January 21, 2022

Crescendos of Grace

Read: Romans 11:11-24

So do not become proud, but stand in awe. (v. 20 NRSV)

Lake Emma sits nestled in a small canyon at 12,000 feet in the shadow of Colorado’s Mount Democrat. Standing on one side, I yelled “Hello!” at the top of my lungs, counting four or five echoes before fading out. An echo provides an apt metaphor for Paul’s understanding of God’s mission with one exception. The echoes of God’s grace don’t fade; they grow in volume with each reverberation.

Listen for the echo of grace in today’s reading. God fulfills his promises to Old Testament Israel in Jesus. The gospel sounds off! Many Israelites rejected Jesus. In their “stumble” and “trespass” (v. 11), the gospel echoes to Gentiles, who are “grafted in among the others” (v. 17). Paul experienced this pattern through Acts. He began in each city by preaching to Jews. When they rejected Jesus, he preached to Gentiles, and many were saved (see Acts 18, for example). Paul desires for his own Jewish people to see the echo of God’s grace towards Gentiles and become jealous, and so be grafted in again by God (v. 14). Their return will be as “life from the dead” (v. 15), exploding in good news to the world. The crescendo of grace grows.

There is only one response for those of us grafted in after others’ rejection: “do not become proud, but stand in awe” (v. 20 NRSV). We did nothing to deserve being included. The growing crescendo of grace simply swept over us. May our inclusion lead many others to become followers of Jesus. —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, bow in awe of God’s grace.

Laura Sweet

A New Hope

Read: 1 Peter 1:1-9 He has caused us to be born again to a living hope. (v. 3) In his 1986 memoir, Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea, Steven Callahan recounts his desperate journey in a small inflatable life raft

Laura Sweet

A New Lifestyle

Read: Ephesians 4:17-32 To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life . . . (v. 22) Last year my youngest daughter, Meredith, adopted a dog that had spent a long time in the animal

Laura Sweet

A New Commandment

Read: 1 John 4:7-21 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. (v. 7) The night before he was crucified, Jesus gathered with his disciples to observe the Passover. He had many things to share with them;

Laura Sweet

A New Mission

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ. (v. 20) God has renewed us in so many ways! He has given us new hearts and new minds, and has regenerated us through a new birth. We have a

Laura Sweet

A New Family

Read: Romans 8:12-25 You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (v. 15) Jesus once told his followers, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children

Laura Sweet

A New Song

Read: Psalm 40 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. (v. 3) Life is not a musical; we do not spontaneously burst out in song as we go about our daily business.

Laura Sweet

A New Mind

Read: Romans 12:1-13 But be transformed by the renewal of your mind . . . (v. 4) Whether we make New Year’s resolutions or not, we all know that change is one of the hardest things to attempt to do.

Laura Sweet

A New Birth

Read: John 3:1-15 Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. (v. 3) While sitting in a hospital waiting room, I noticed a break in the background music that was playing. Suddenly, a short refrain of

Laura Sweet

A New Spirit

Read: Ezekiel 37:1-14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live. (v. 14) My husband’s enthusiasm for Civil War history has taken us to numerous battlefields and historic sites. I am always moved by the enormity

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