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February 3: Yes, Yes and No, No

February 03, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Exodus 7-9; Psalm 26; Matthew 11:20-30; Acts 16:16-40 Exodus 7-9: It is mysterious to human eyes why some believe and some do not, yet in the ultimacy of God’s purpose all is clear: Pharaoh made a conscious choice to refuse to “let God’s people go,” and he did so according to the will of God. This purpose of God is that the extraordinary power of God to rescue against all odds would be revealed to the whole world: “But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth” (9:16). God hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that God’s almighty power to save might be seen throughout the globe. The story continues in familiar ways. Pestilence after pestilence. Plague after plague. At first the magicians can match Moses’ signs (7:11-12, 22; 8:7), but…

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February 2: Bricks Without Straw

February 02, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Exodus 4-6; Psalm 25; Matthew 11:1-19; Acts 16:1-15 Exodus 4-6: Moses is not so sure this is a task that he is up to (4:1), and who could blame him? Going to the regional superpower, the leader of Egypt, and commanding said all-powerful leader to do exactly what you said. This was not a job for the faint-hearted! It must have felt like something of a fool’s errand. So the LORD gives Moses signs. First, a staff that can miraculously become a snake and then turn back again (4:2-5). Then, an ability to turn his hand leprous and immediately be well again (4:6-8). Finally, the ability to be able to turn Nile water into blood (4:9). As the story unfolds, it will become clear that these signs were the kind of special magic tricks that Pharaoh’s magicians delighted to use to fool the credulous (Ex.…

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February 1: Let My People Go!

February 01, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Exodus 1-3; Psalm 24; Matthew 10:21-42; Acts 15:22-41 Exodus 1-3: The plot thickens. According to God’s promise to Abram (Genesis 15:13), God’s people would go as strangers to a strange land, be servants/slaves there, and be called out to serve God afterwards in their own land. So also are we today serving God in a strange land, as pilgrims, one day to be called to the Promised Land. The masterful storytelling of the early chapters of Exodus sets the scene with a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph (1:8). God had prospered and multiplied the Israelites (1:7), and their very success and numerical strength was now viewed as a threat to Pharaoh and the structure of his religious and political hierarchy (1:9-10). When God’s people flourish, there can come a tipping point when those in power view them less happily than they once did. Wisdom…

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Top 10 Books of 2015

January 30, 2016:

Alec Hill, President Emeritus of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, joins God Centered Life Ministries today to share his Top 10 Books of 2015.  1.  Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Hector Tobar (Picador, 2015) In 2010, a Chilean mine collapse trapped 33 men for more than two months. Though the rescue story is exciting, the essence of the book is how the men bond together when all seems hopeless. My favorite character is Jose Henriquez, an introverted 54 year old laborer, who becomes known as “el pastor.” Gathering the men for daily confession, prayer and Scripture teaching (from memory – he had no Bible), Jose becomes the quiet glue that holds the community together.   2.  A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter by Michael Card (InterVarsity Press, 2007) Full disclosure: I love everything that Michael Card…

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Sermon Video: Money, Profit and Generosity

January 26, 2016:

Below, on January 24, 2016, Josh Moody preached a message on “Money, Profit and Generosity" in the sermon series “Biblical Answers to Life’s Big Questions.” Taken from 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, this message explains two reasons why we are to give generously: because it is good for us and because it honors God. Discussion questions about this sermon can be found here.

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January 26-January 31, 2016

January 26, 2016:

In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as "free days." January 26-31 then are intended to allow you to catch up on reading you may have missed or to study passages more in depth that intrigued you during the first 25 days of the month. With this in mind, God Centered Bible will not have a devotional for January 26-31, but will pick back up on February 1, 2016, with Exodus. We welcome your comments also during these days with insights you've found during the first 25 days.

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January 25: Promises Kept!

January 25, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 50; Psalm 23; Matthew 10:1-20; Acts 15:1-21 Genesis 50: Genesis closes with death (50:1-3), a land that is still a land of promise (50:24), forgiveness (50:15-21), and a confidence in God’s sovereignty over all human affairs (50:20). Joseph fulfills the promise that his father had made him agree to before he died (Gen. 47:29-31; 49:29-32)—to bury him back in the land of Canaan (50:12). Joseph secures the favor of Pharaoh to leave to accomplish this filial duty (50:4-6), and goes with great fanfare and impressive entourage to bury Jacob as he had requested (50:7-11), in the burying place that Abraham had bought (50:12-14). The patriarchs, even in their death, were memorializing their faith in the promise of God that Canaan was to be for them and their children’s children. Jacob having died, his sons now fear that Joseph might finally enact revenge against their betrayal…

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January 24: True Blessing

January 24, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 49; Psalm 22:12-31; Matthew 9:27-38; Acts 14 Genesis 49: Jacob’s final blessing on his children is a little mixed! If you were asked to “give a blessing” at a meal or to do the benediction as the last part of a worship service, you would be unlikely to use many of the words or ideas found here! Jacob is unstinting in his criticism and assessment of some of the actions and personality traits of his sons. Yet again, we find that these “heroes” of the Bible are people in need of redemption. And so in the context of that part of the overarching narrative of Genesis—which this blessing recapitulates—that we are all in need of a savior figure, Jacob also points towards the place of that salvation/redemption. He suddenly emits a word of praise in almost desperate longing: “I wait for your salvation, O…

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January 23: Blessing

January 23, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 48; Psalm 22:1-11; Matthew 9:14-26; Acts 13:26-52 Genesis 48: It is the end of Jacob’s life, and so Joseph goes with his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to pay his last respects to his father (48:1-2). The whole scene mirrors the similar but different scenario with Jacob’s own father, Isaac, in Genesis 27. Jacob now is also poorly sighted (48:10), though he seems to suggest that when the children are brought close to him he can (just?) see them (48:14). And in a touch of irony, Jacob passes down the line the strange favoritism that he himself received as the younger, insisting that the younger of the two boys is blessed by his right hand (48:12-19), indicating that he is above the brother who was born before him (48:19). The older shall serve the younger. Jacob blesses both (48:9, 16, 20), predicts that Joseph…

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