God Centered Bible – Daily Devotions

April 14, 2018: Home

April 14, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Judges 6-7, Psalm 84, Mark 6:1-13, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13Psalm 84:  One of the most compelling natural instincts we have is for “home.” You see it with the way that ex-patriots struggle to accommodate themselves to new cultures, with how missionaries on furlough sometimes feel quite disorientated, with that longing we have for the place where we grew up. But as we go on with the Christian life we become more and more aware that “this world is not our home.” What then? As the psalmist puts it, “even the sparrow finds a home” (verse 3). This Psalm models for us a longing for our “real home.” It begins: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” That’s the right vision we are all to have. To see that God’s “home” is the place to be! And so the psalmist continues, “My soul longs, yes faints for the courts of the…

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April 13, 2018: That They May Seek Your Name

April 13, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Judges 4-5, Psalm 83, Mark 5:21-43, 1 Corinthians 9:13-27 Psalm 83: These kind of Psalms are hard for us to read, much less to interpret. We are not used to the idea of God’s judgment in any shape or form being expressed with confidence and certitude. And it is especially hard for us to read of this appeal for God to judge against the enemies of God’s people. Did not Jesus command us to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us? Why then does this Psalm model a request that prays “Do to them as you did to Midian…O my God make them as whirling dust, like chaff before the wind” (verses 9, 13)? Partly this is because in the Old Testament God’s people were a nation-state, and their association with the people of God as that nation-state gave them the power of the sword which in the…

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April 12, 2018: You are gods

April 12, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Judges 1-3, Psalm 82, Mark 5:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:1-12 Psalm 82: Have you ever wondered why it is that religion can seem so corrupt? Hardly a day goes by, it seems, that we do not hear of some crisis or other in the world of religion. And then we are told that religion is the cause of all the troubles in the world—a statement that is factually inaccurate. Religion does not cause evil; people cause evil, but people can use the power of religion to advance evil ideas. Nonetheless, it is hard to gainsay or deny the idea that religion can at least sometimes seem corrupt. Even “Christian” religion. In this psalm, God, the Lord God, is in the midst of the “gods.” It is a strange thought; what does it mean? Jesus, in John 10:34, uses this psalm to explain how strange it is for the Jews of his day…

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April 11, 2018: Listen

April 11, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 24, Psalm 81, Mark 4:21-41, 1 Corinthians 8 Psalm 81: The psalm begins with praise and ends with appeal. This morning, begin your day with praise, and then listen to the appeal that this psalm makes. The praise is loud! “Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!” (81:1). No moderate, refined praise is this! It is LOUD! It is a SHOUT! Roll back your sleeves, lift back your head, and with a full open throat bellow praise to God! (Not recommended if your spouse is asleep beside you as you read this psalm!). But not only is the praise loud, it is also musically variegated. There is a “tambourine,” a “sweet lyre” and a “harp” (81:2). Bang it, pluck it, shake it—sing it! To God be praised! Perhaps the psalm was first designed for a special “feast day” (81:3). And this praise is…

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April 10, 2018: Restore Us, O God!

April 09, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 22-23, Psalm 80, Mark 4:1-2, 1 Corinthians 7:17-40 Psalm 80: When you are faced with a situation that is apparently beyond your ability to influence, what do you do? In this psalm we find a man calling out to God to ask God to “restore”; God is the only one who can do it, and so it is to God that this man calls. The prayer is simple, and repeated:   Restore us, O God;  let your face shine, that we may be saved! (80:3) This exact same refrain is prayed three times over: verse 3, verse 7 and verse 19. What is more, the same cry is another time made, but this time asking that God would “turn again” and save them (the word for “restore” and “turn” has the same root idea). Simple enough, and yet profound. For God’s people to flourish, for a church plant to thrive,…

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April 9, 2018: How Long, O Lord?

April 09, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 20-21, Psalm 79, Mark 3:20-35, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 Psalm 79: Calamity breeds its own kind of despair. It is difficult to know how to respond when something tragic and terrible occurs. How can we answer the cries of those who are brought low? How can we find strength to help those trod down under foot? How can we discover the inner strength to keep going in the midst of a storm? But while any kind of calamity breeds despair, there is a particular kind of calamity that breeds a special kind of despair for the Christian. That calamity is when God’s people are defeated. It has certainly happened in church history. Augustine faced this when the pagans said that the reason why Rome was being destroyed was because it had gone over to the worship of Christ. What did Christians say when Constantinople was finally sacked by the Moslems? How…

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April 8, 2018: Remember

April 08, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 18-19, Psalm 78:40-72, Mark 3:1-19, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Psalm 78:40-72: The psalm continues with a description of the capitulation of God’s people to sin and rebellion against God. It is a sad lament. Why does the psalmist spend so much time telling us of these things? The answer is that he writes these things to warn us. Immersed in this description of capitulation to rebellion and testing, there are elements where the psalmist describes the roots of the rebellion—things that we should be careful to avoid cultivating in our own lives, and in the lives of our communities. First of all, we should take note that high spiritual privileges do not necessitate long faithfulness. The Old Testament people of God had experienced God rescuing them from Egypt—which this psalm dramatically recounts. They had experienced God defeating their enemies in the conquest of Israel. And yet, they turned their backs…

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April 7, 2018: Ephraim

April 07, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 15-17, Psalm 78:1-39, Mark 2:18-28, 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 Psalm 78:1-39: Family histories are normally replete with messages affirming the preeminence of that family’s particular genetic heritage. Sure, there are a few nuts in every family, but by and large it is natural for us to prefer the testimony of our family—with all its foibles—over that of any others. Similarly, national histories tend to whitewash over the stains of dishonor. The story of a particular battle, or calamity, that effects multiple nations is often told with very different moral lessons in the national histories of the various countries involved—invariably favoring the country which finances the telling of that particular history. History, it is said, is told by the victors, and they will advance a narrative of their own choosing to make the point of their preeminence. How strange it is then to read this “teaching” (78:1) of Israel’s family history! There…

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April 6, 2018: I Will Appeal to This

April 06, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 13-14, Psalm 77, Mark 2:13-17, 1 Corinthians 5Psalm 77:In this psalm is a great principle that any disciple of God can use for their own suffering or perplexing situation still today. The psalmist is in difficulties. It is “the day of my trouble” (77:2). We are not told exactly what this “trouble” was, but that it is characterized as “the day of my trouble” underlines that it was beyond the mere normal regular annoyances of life. This was a particular day, a particular time, a particularly and especially difficult season. We say that certain seasons, in the famous words, are the best of times and also the worst of times. Even in terrible days, a little sunshine falls. But there is not even—so it seemed—any mitigating experience of the more positive for the psalmist at this moment. It is all “the day of my trouble.” Are you in that kind…

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April 5, 2018: Fear God

April 05, 2018:

Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 10-12, Psalm 76, Mark 2:1-12, 1 Corinthians 4Psalm 76:  What is the least mentioned characteristic of God in the contemporary church? I suppose different answers could be given to that question, but to my mind the answer is given in this psalm: fear. We are quick to exult in God’s love (as we should), but without a balancing proposition of the fear of God, we create a Santa Claus character that has little to do with the God of the Bible—and ironically not much to do with love either. Love, to be real, and certainly to be the love of God, is expressed in the sheer wonder of “love to the loveless shown.” It is love that is so great precisely because it is so undeserved. And not only undeserved, a love that takes wrath that we might go free. Thus, the fear of God is necessary to any real…

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