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: 
October 19, 2021

The Heart of the Matter

Read: Romans 2:12-29

Circumcision is a matter of the heart . . . (v. 29)

Many people bear physical symbols of their ethnic/religious traditions. South Sudanese Dinka scar the heads of young boys. Ethiopian Mursi women use small plates to stretch holes in their earlobes and lips. Hindus place a red ink spot (a bindi) on their foreheads. For faithful Jewish men, physical circumcision signified their inclusion in the covenant God made with Abraham (Genesis 17).

The early church was made up of people from both Jewish and Gentile backgrounds. The Gentile converts were not circumcised. Jewish converts who were circumcised sometimes held a sense of special status. Some went so far as to demand that Gentile men become circumcised like them (Acts 15). Paul’s message is that no outward sign can save us. In fact, because circumcised Jews had been raised with the Law, they were actually more liable (Rom. 2:12).

There is no mark on our bodies that makes us a Christian. Even the sacraments of baptism and Communion are, in the words of Augustine, “visible signs of an invisible grace.” That’s why Paul said, “Circumcision is a matter of the heart” (v. 29). This was not a new teaching but the fulfillment of Old Testament promises: “God will circumcise your heart . . . so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart” (Deut. 30:6). Likewise, “I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD” (Jer. 24:7). Our salvation is a gift to be received. Thanks be to God! —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask God to give you a circumcised heart.

Individual standing on fence by mountains raising arms
Leanne VanDyk

Jehoshaphat’s Prayer for Deliverance

READ : 2 Chronicles 20:5-17 O Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven? (v. 6) Messengers came to King Jehoshaphat one day with the terrifying news that an enormous army was gathered against the people of Judah.

Individual standing on fence by mountains raising arms
Leanne VanDyk

Samson’s Prayer of Revenge

READ : Judges 16:23-31 Lord God, remember me and strengthen me only this once, O God. (v. 28) Is it possible for someone to pray an authentic prayer that asks for revenge? That is exactly what Samson prayed for. This is

Individual standing on fence by mountains raising arms
Leanne VanDyk

Moses’ Prayer of Repentance

READ : Exodus 32:15-20, Exodus 32:30-34 But now, if you will only forgive their sin — but if not, blot me out of the book that you have written. (v. 32) What should have been a wonderful time of celebration and joy

Individual standing on fence by mountains raising arms
Rev. David Bast

A Word of Exhortation

READ : Hebrews 13:20-25 Bear with my word of exhortation. (v. 22) The book of Hebrews was written to encourage wavering Christians. Its recipients were people who professed the Christian faith, but now were having second thoughts. The writer of Hebrews

Individual standing on fence by mountains raising arms
Helen Brownson

Our Prayers are a Sweet Aroma to The Lord

READ : Revelation 5:6-12 “…Angels were holding golden bowls, full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (v. 8). “Another angel…was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints” (Rev. 8:3). Do

Individual standing on fence by mountains raising arms
John Muller

Love is the Greatest Virtue

READ : 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13 is well worth memorizing. It upgrades love to the top of the list of Christian virtues. In the

Victoria Elliot

Reflections on Noah’s Ark

READ : Genesis 7:11-16 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had


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