Devotionals

  • April 12, 2017: What Has Jesus Done for You?

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 1-3, Psalm 82, Mark 5:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:1-12 Mark 5:1-20: One of the more extraordinary stories in Mark’s Gospel, a demon possessed man, notorious for his unsocial and presumably dangerous behavior, is dramatically healed. But the details are initially strange, unusual, and for some a little disturbing. Why should it be that Jesus would allow the demons to go into a herd of pigs? There is symbolism at work. The man is possessed by a large number of demons who call themselves “legion.” Note the detail: the Roman military power was notorious for its military “legions.” And these pagan, military conquering, definition of unclean, “legions” are thrown into pigs—the very definition of unclean animals to the Jewish religion. Mark is showing us how Jesus had come to expel the real spiritual uncleanness from Israel, not by military conquest (in that way to throw out the military legions), but by spiritual…

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    April 11, 2017: The Potency of the Seed

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 24, Psalm 81, Mark 3:20-25, 1 Corinthians 8: Mark 4:21-41: The power of Jesus’ Word is now made evident in several parables, and one extraordinary miracle, that illustrates the reality of what Jesus has been teaching. First, the lamp under a basket: it is not normal to turn a light on in a house and then immediately cover it up. Similarly, those who have the light of God’s Word are to go about shining that light, in word and in deed. Then, with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. In God’s order of things, gifts, graces, and opportunities multiply through being well used and earnestly practiced. If you want to do great things for God, start by doing small things for God with great faithfulness. Before too long, in God’s providence, you will find that you have more and more and more great things that…

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    April 10, 2017: Good Soil

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 22-23, Psalm 80, Mark 4:1-2, 1 Corinthians 7:17-40 Mark 4:1-2: Jesus now teaches his famous parable of the sower. The contours of it are familiar enough for many. What is surprising to many is Jesus’ rationale for telling parables (4:11-12), where he seems to explain his parables in precisely the reverse way to how it is normally explained. Typically, we are told that Jesus told parables as a way of making his teaching easier to understand. But Jesus, quoting from Isaiah 6, teaches that the parables actually—in some way—are told that people may see but not perceive, hear but not understand. Parables, then, function like a sieve; those who understand will receive the kingdom: “to you has been given the secret of the kingdom of heaven.” Those who do not understand will be left “outside,” and everything will remain “in parables,” not clearly understood. This is the lesson that…

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    April 9, 2017: The Family of God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 20-21, Psalm 79, Mark 3:20-25, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16: Mark 3:20-25: Things are becoming sufficiently extreme, such that Jesus’ family comes to take charge of the situation. The crowds were so insistent that they could not eat, and people were beginning to say that he had lost his marbles, was out of his mind, and so the family comes to take over. Meanwhile, they are not the only ones concerned. The scribes say that he is demon possessed: by the prince of demons, he casts out demons. This is a serious charge, for not only does it ascribe his work as satanic, but it cleverly insinuates that even whatever good he does is only proof of the demonic in him. This approach has often been used since of Christian leaders. Their work for good and impact for good can only be explained by some cunning malevolent plan that must lie…

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    April 8, 2017: Disciple

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 18-19, Psalm 78:40-72, Mark 3:1-19, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20: Mark 3:1-19: Jesus’ opponents are now watching him closely—but not in a good way. They are watching to see if they can trap him in what he does or what he says. They want to “accuse” him. Irrespective of their ill intentions, Jesus, in his mercy and love, goes ahead and heals the man on the Sabbath. He attempts to use the healing as an object lesson: should you do evil on the Sabbath (that is to plot to kill Jesus) or good (that is to heal this person). They are against him doing something on the Sabbath—even something good—while on the Sabbath they are breaking God’s law by plotting to kill him. How blind is sin. A great crowd follows Jesus—so large he has to push off shore in a boat to stop from being crushed by them. He commands…

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    April 7, 2017: New Wine and New Wineskin

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 15-17, Psalm 78:1-39, Mark 2:18-28, 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 Mark 2:18-28: Jesus was constantly attacked by the Pharisees for seeming—in their eyes—to take liberties with the law. They wanted him to stick to their particular human interpretation of the law and not stray one inch either way, and it was a formula for controlling him and bringing him back into line with their theories about what was right and proper. It starts with a debate about fasting. John’s disciples fasted, but Jesus’ do not. Fasting—if medical condition allows and not taking it to dangerous extremes—is a perfectly valid way to find extra time to pray and read the Bible. When you fast, it is remarkable how much more time you have. You are not eating, you are not preparing food, you are not cleaning up after meals. You gain so much extra time to focus upon God with seriousness and…

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    April 6, 2017: What a Savior!

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 13-14, Psalm 77, Mark 2:13-17, 1 Corinthians 5 Mark 2:13-17: Jesus’ extraordinary love, compassion, and anti-religious true religion continues. He calls a tax collector to follow him. Tax collectors were not just disliked because they were collecting taxes—they were collaborators with an occupying army, like the traitors who helped the Vichy regime in occupied France in World War 2. Jesus is not the typical kind of religious zealot who loves to surround himself with people who will make him look more righteous and special. He goes out of his way to call to himself one of the most hated people in the area. What is more, Jesus goes to his house. And not only does he grant a blessing upon his house, he participates in a party where many other tax collectors and “sinners” (those viewed as beyond the pale ceremonially and morally by the dominant Pharisaic party) were…

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    Interview with Thomas R. Schreiner

    By Josh Moody

    I recently talked with Thomas R. Schreiner, the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, about biblical content and its importance today in contemporary culture and the church. Below is our interview. JM: Tom, you’ve spent your life committed to studying and teaching the Bible. Isn’t a rather archaic thing to be doing in our contemporary world? TS: It is archaic in one sense, but sometimes the old truths are the best truths because they are the true truths. I could answer this in a number of ways, but here I want to say that I see no evidence that contemporary people, who have abandoned the scripture, live happier or more fulfilled lives. Instead many marriages are dissolving, many children grow up in homes plagued by fighting, and many wander from thing to thing in utter boredom.…

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    April 5, 2017: An Amazing Claim!

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 10-12, Psalm 76, Mark 2:1-12, 1 Corinthians 4 Mark 2:1-12: The famous story has a point that is not always well elucidated. At the core of this interaction, Jesus is making an astonishing claim. When he says, “Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus is making an implicit claim to be God. The scribes understand this is what Jesus is saying, by remarking “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” The logic of this connection is quite often lost on people today. Think of it like this. If someone hits you, then you can offer them forgiveness. But if someone hits you, and a bystander looks at the person who hits you and says, “I forgive you,” then that would strike you as at the very least strange. What has that person done to the bystander that they can offer them forgiveness? The reason why Jesus’ claim is so outrageous is…

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    April 4, 2017: Focus and Compassion

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 8-9, Psalm 75, Mark 1:35-45, 1 Corinthians 3 Mark 1:35-45: Jesus sets a model for us to follow. He rose early in the morning while it was still dark, found a place to be quiet, and prayed (1:35). Think for a moment, beloved. If the Son of All Glory, God Incarnate, Jesus the Christ, need pray—and pray with sufficient passion and conviction to rise early in the morning—then who among us dare begin any new venture, make any significant decision, attempt any major new initiative, without committing the time to pray? It shows the humility of the Christ, his wisdom and his utter dependence that he so prays. What an example for us to follow! Take no extra time to worry about the day ahead; commit it to the Lord in prayer, cast your burdens there. Having so prayed, Jesus now decides with clarity about his future direction. He…

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