Devotionals

  • January 5, 2017: Spirit and Fire

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 12-14, Psalm 5, Matthew 3:1-12, Acts 3 Matthew 3:1-12: “In those days John the Baptist”—so enters, in Matthew’s Gospel, this strange, extraordinary and great figure of biblical history: John the Baptist. He it is who prepares the way for the Lord, making straight his paths in the wilderness, declaring that Jesus is the Christ, is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and that his baptism is not merely with water but with the Holy Spirit and with fire. This John the Baptist figure has a “wilderness” ministry. He speaks out of the wilderness (3:1, 3). This is to underline the real situation that Israel found themselves in. They were still wandering in the desert, not having yet entered the Promised Land. And his baptism is a form of Jordan crossing; they must repent—unlike that generation who died in the wilderness—and bear fruit in keeping…

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    January 4, 2017: God’s Plans Cannot Be Thwarted

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 9-11, Psalm 4, Matthew 2:13-23, Acts 2:22-47 Matthew 2:13-23: Prophetic fulfillment and angelic intervention. It is clear, from Matthew’s account, that what is happening is of cosmic, supernatural, world-changing impact. Not all the time do angels appear in the Bible. They turn up fairly rarely in the Old Testament, and not much more frequently in the New Testament. But here we have multiple angelic visitations. Similarly, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy theme that runs throughout this section is underlining the significance of the event. Something truly unique is happening. The first prophecy is that God will call his son out of Egypt (2:15). Jesus therefore is being positioned as the perfect Son that Israel was not, in order to be the one who fulfills the destiny of the Son and through whose life (and death) victory is won for God’s people. The prophecy of Jeremiah is more somber…

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    January 3, 2017: Exceeding Joy

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 5-8; Psalm 3, Matthew 2:1-12, Acts 2:1-21 Matthew 2:1-12: The visit of the “wise men” is a famous story—but what exactly is it intended to teach us? To begin with, the focus is on “worship” (three times repeated in these twelve verses), and in particular, a contrast between the response of Herod and the response of the Magi (or the “wise men”). Herod responds in fear, and a vicious secret plot begins to brew in his mind to protect his kingdom from this apparent threat of the newborn king. The Magi have come to worship, and because of this, they experienced great joy, rejoicing with great joy (2:10). Herod pretends that he too wishes to worship, but the reality is very different. The Christ-child has always called us to respond either in faith in worship, or if we find his rule a threat, we may find ourselves responding in a…

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    A Look at Notable 2016 Publications

    By Josh Moody

    “There is no end to the making of many books,” says the author of Ecclesiastes. In the United States alone, there were close to one million titles published during the past year, with revenue approaching $1.8 billion. Hundreds of titles competed for our attention during 2016. I offer the following observations with the recognition that I have no doubt missed several important works that some of you would have included in such a survey. The books noted in this article are those that I think are worth noting, particularly for those who pay attention to the GCL website. Books make a difference for all of us. They shape our thinking, inform our perspective, expand our understanding, illuminate our world and our context, influence the way we encounter ideas, and touch our hearts. A New Start for a New Year As we conclude one year and turn the page to another,…

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    January 2, 2017: God and Savior

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 3-4, Psalm 2, Matthew 1:18-25, Acts 2:12-26 Matthew 1:18-25: The birth of Jesus Christ, as we remember at Christmas, is the fulcrum of the world, the center point of history, and the very pinnacle of God’s salvation plan—as it works its way out through the life, death, resurrection, ascension and return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This God-man, this baby, was born Savior of the world. But how strange it must have seemed to Joseph, and this part of the account in Matthew is told more from his perspective. Joseph, being an honorable man, resolved to divorce Mary quietly, keeping his allegiance to the law of God, but also avoiding causing unnecessary shame and pain to Mary and her family. But an angel of the Lord appears to him and explains the cause of Mary’s unexplained pregnancy: it is supernatural in origin, from God, and in fulfillment to all…

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    January 1, 2017: God’s Saving King

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 1-2, Psalm 1, Matthew 1:1-17, Acts 1:1-11 Matthew 1:1-17: Genealogies are not normally thought to be best-selling literature. But in certain contexts, and when rightly understood, they are thrilling. Missionaries tell me that in some cultures the translation of the Bible most eagerly anticipated is the genealogy. That is because, in cultures where family and heritage are greatly prized, these descriptions make it clear that Jesus is both real and of significant descent to claim the adulation rightly due his name. They also proclaim a message.[easy-tweet tweet="When rightly understood, genealogies are thrilling. They also proclaim a message. " user="godcenteredlife" hashtags="genealogies"] In general, that is the key with reading genealogies: think of them less as a family tree, with every branch arduously and specifically recorded, and more like a CV or resume, which are written truthfully but with an eye to telling a particular story about the individual. This story,…

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    In my prized possession is a letter from John Stott. He was replying to say that he supported me, as the new President of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, in my desire to revitalize the daily Bible reading and prayer life of the Union. Hardly...

    December 26-31, 2016

    By Josh Moody

    In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” December 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 December 26-31, but will pick back up on January 1, 2017. We welcome your comments also during these days with insights you’ve found during the first 25 days. To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here.

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    Joy to the World

    By Josh Moody

    John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." What better summary of the meaning of Christmas could there be than Christ’s own summary of the significance of that first Christmas Gift, and its resulting life, death, and resurrection! When I was on the mission field—my very brief foray into residential mission work and a slightly longer ensuing oversight-coordinating role of some pioneer mission opportunities in the same region of the world—a team member of ours from Denmark said that the Danish Christians called this verse “the little Bible.” Whether or not that is true, and I have no reason to doubt it (perhaps Danish friends will write and tell us otherwise!), it is a great explanation of the significance of this very well-known verse. In its brief statement, it encompasses…

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    December 25: The Sun of Righteousness

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Malachi 1-4, Job 42, John 21:15-25, Revelation 22 Malachi 1-4: The new temple had been completed, through the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah, but the great promised messianic age had not yet dawned. Why not? Malachi prophesies to explain the sins that God’s people were committing, and continues to look forward to the dawning new day of the coming of the Christ. The conviction that Malachi sought to bring to God’s people can be seen through these chapters by noticing the repeated inquiry, questioning, objecting of God’s people to the prophet’s intended preaching for conviction. They are not sure how it is true that God has loved them (1:2). The promised blessings of the covenant are not evident, so they doubt God’s love for them. God replies that his covenant commitment to his people is unwavering—a text quoted by Paul in the New Testament (1:2b-3/ Romans 9:13). The priests are told…

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