Devotionals

  • November 12, 2017: The Good Shepherd

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 31-32, Job 11, John 10:11-21, 1 John 2:24-29 John 10:11-21: Jesus is not just a shepherd, not merely a ruler. Nor is he only a good shepherd, a particularly good ruler. No, Jesus is the Good Shepherd. How do we know that Jesus is who he claims to be? How do we know that he fulfills the Messianic promise of David, that there would be a shepherd ruler like David who could rule his people in justice and peace, and extend God’s kingdom to all nations? How do we know that he is the Good Shepherd, that he is filled with righteousness and kindness and love and purity? The answer Jesus immediately supplies is this: “the good shepherd lays downs his life for the sheep.” It is a principle of all exemplary leadership that the leader serves the people he leads. That he does not fleece the flock for…

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    November 11, 2017: Life to the Full

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 29-30, Job 10, John 10:1-10, 1 John 2:18-23 John 10:1-10: One of the most well-loved images in the whole of the Bible is now before us: Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The “figure of speech” that Jesus is using is drawn from the imagery of the Old Testament shepherd king, David. We are the sheep. Jesus is now the Shepherd King, in fulfillment of that Old Testament shepherd king, and he is the Good Shepherd because (as we will see in verse 11) he lays down his life for the sheep. This was characteristic of David, in his care for Israel, his protection of them against Goliath, and his protection of the flock when he was growing up as a shepherd boy. It is preeminently found in Christ who gave his life for the sheep. It is also found in all true shepherds who follow after Christ as his…

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    November 10, 2017: Blind Seeing; Seeing Blind

    By God Centered Life Admin

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 27-28, Job 9:21-35, John 9:26-41, 1 John 2:12-17 John 9:26-41: Tragedy and glory, sadness and empathy, passion and compassion—all bleed together into this closing section of this most extraordinary story of the man being born blind healed by Jesus. The disciples had asked whether the blind man or his parents had sinned (9:2). Jesus replied that neither, but rather that the works of God might be displayed in him (9:3). But now contrast the Pharisees! While Jesus has healed the blind man, the Pharisees are condemning the blind man for having been healed! They ask him again to tell them how he was healed (9:26). The blind man rightly replies that they have already heard the answer—and then with a touch of exasperation, if not cheek, inquires whether they too want to become Jesus’ disciples (9:27). This is too much for the Pharisees, and the veil covering their wrath…

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    November 9, 2017: I Was Blind but Now I See

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 24-26, Job 9:1-20, John 9:13-25, 1 John 2:1-11 John 9:13-25: John Newton’s most famous hymn, Amazing Grace, takes as its inspiration one line from this story: “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (9:25). Or as Newton put it: Amazing Grace how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see. They do not believe that this man has been healed, so they take him to the religious authorities, the Pharisees. Because it was a Sabbath day when the man was healed, there is a strong possibility of real controversy. If he has not been healed, someone is lying. If he has been healed, then he was healed on the Sabbath—and that, they thought, broke their religious laws. How often it is that people put their form, their structure,…

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    November 8, 2017: Seeing

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 22-23, Job 8, John 9:1-12, 1 John 1 John 9:1-12: The story begins with a terribly serious situation into which Jesus intervenes, and ends with an almost humorous disbelief on the part of those who had known the blind beggar before he was healed. Even in the most serious of ministry work there is humanity, and humanity, while dignified, is often graced with a touch of humbling humor—we take God seriously but not ourselves. First of all, the disciples notice a man who has been blind from birth. The disciples want to know whose fault this was, specifically who sinned, this man or his parents. They are assuming a connection that is invalid. They are assuming that physical ailments result from sin and ergo if someone has physical ailments, they (or their parents) must have sinned. But this is an invalid theological deduction. While it is true that all…

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    November 7, 2017: The Choice

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 20-21, Job 7, John 8:48-59, 2 Peter 3:10-18 John 8:48-59: The attacks continue. Stunningly, the Jewish leaders who are opposing Jesus associate being a “Samaritan” with having a “demon”! Not only does Jesus have a demon, he’s also a Samaritan! Perhaps they are remembering his success among the Samaritans. At any rate, they cast at Jesus two of the worst slanders they could find in their religious vocabulary: he is demon possessed, and he is part of the half-breed, religiously compromised, racial group known as Samaritans. It is important to remember that when people do not like what we stand for, they will not oppose the issue itself, but will find some other way to cast aspersions on our character. Such ad hominem arguments are par for the course; we should recognize them when they come, not be frightened of them, painful as they can be. Jesus refutes their…

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    November 6, 2017: The Truth Will Set You Free

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 17-19, Job 6, John 8:31-47, 2 Peter 3:1-9 John 8:31-47: Jesus establishes a great principle. If you keep God’s Word, then you are his disciples. How seldom is the connection between obedience to what God says and believing in God understood! We want to erect a mighty chasm between faith and obedience when here it is clear they are two sides of the same coin. If you are Jesus’ disciples, you will seek to do what Jesus says—all of it, even the uncomfortable sayings. The result of such obedience is actually freedom: for you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Here then is the principle: following Jesus means doing what Jesus says; doing what Jesus says means you will know more and more of the truth; and the truth will set you free. Could it be that your sense of not being free has…

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    November 5, 2017: Many Believed in Him

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 16, Job 5, John 8:21-30, 2 Peter 2:17-22 John 8:21-30: It is a strange truth, but when we are under intense pressure—opposition comes, even persecution—there lies an opportunity otherwise not available to us. It was “as he was saying these things,” and as the Pharisees were criticizing him, opposing, seeking to trap him, that “many believed in him.” This insight has frequently been confirmed through church history. The blood of the martyrs is the seed bed of the church. It was when the Reformation heroes Latimer and Ridley were being burned at the stake, that Latimer said to Ridley, “Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, we this day shall light such a candle as I trust by God’s grace shall never be put out.” Be of good cheer, too, then suffering sister, discouraged brother: you have before you an opportunity. People notice when you are being opposed, and they…

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    November 4, 2017: The Light of the World

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 13-15, Job 4, John 8:12-20, 2 Peter 2:10-16 John 8:12-20: Few more famous words were ever spoken: “I am the light of the world.” And yet spoken in a context when those who heard the words were willfully blind to that light. The great “Light of the World” painting by William Holman Hunt illustrates the point: Jesus stands holding light and being the light, and yet the door of the mind is obstinately closed to him. We must, by God’s Spirit, see the light to know that he is the light. Let us pray that God’s Spirit illumines our mind so that we are not blind but are seeing. The Pharisees did not. They ply Jesus with foolish questions and pointless cavils. If you have ever been in a situation where you are teaching a class of children, and a rather obtuse student refuses to accept what you are…

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    November 3, 2017: The Unparalleled Grace of Christ

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 9-12, Job 3, John 8:1-11, 2 Peter 2:1-9 John 8:1-11: There is considerable historical discussion as to whether this section belongs in John’s Gospel at this point or somewhere else, but to my mind the discussion is less important than this is something that Jesus said in itself—whether it belongs here in the Gospel or somewhere else. It is an important story today for us to consider for several reasons. To begin with, it shows us that Jesus does take sin seriously. He does not tell the woman caught in adultery that her sin does not matter, nor that the law that speaks against her is wrong, nor that such actions of which she was convicted are permissible. Some people want to say that Jesus is such a friend of sinners that they make him a friend of sin. But no, the reason why Jesus is a friend of…

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