Devotionals

  • January 25, 2017: Mission

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 50, Psalm 23, Matthew 10:1-20, Acts 15:1-21 Matthew 10:1-20: Famously, Jesus now calls the twelve to him (10:1), and then sends the twelve out from him (10:5). The apostles, therefore, are both uniquely called to Christ and uniquely sent out by Christ—“sending” being the root meaning of “apostle” etymologically. They are given a particular “authority” (10:1) to represent Jesus and to expand Jesus’ ministry. They are also given specific instructions (10: 5-20 and on)—instructions which are similarly unique to their role of apostle, but at the same time are filled with wise counsel for Christians who are to represent their Lord in mission (itself a “sent” ministry) and in the world in general where they are to shine the light of Jesus. First of all, surprisingly, they are told to only go to the “lost sheep of Israel” (10:6). This is not because Jesus has no concern to reach…

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    January 24, 2017: Sheep Without a Shepherd

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 49, Psalm 22:12-31, Matthew 9:27-38, Acts 14 Matthew 9:27-38: Jesus continues his ministry of going about healing and saving—while at the same time aware that the culmination of this ministry is at the cross, a culmination that was not yet widely understood (if at all), and so he is careful to ensure that his growing fame did not derail him from his ultimate goal. But such is the extraordinary nature of what he is doing that nonetheless more and more people hear of him. Two blind men have heard of his messianic status (“Son of David”), and they simply cry out, “Have mercy” (9:27). What a sweet thing it is in the ears of Jesus to hear sinners in need simply asking God for mercy! Would you do that, sinner stuck in your sin, blind to the truth, unable to see the way forward? God, have mercy! Those who…

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    January 23, 2017: New Wine

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 48, Psalm 22:1-11,  Matthew 9:14-26, Acts 13:26-52 Matthew 9:14-26: First a question from the disciples of John about fasting. Jesus’ disciples are not fasting: why? (9:14). Jesus’ answer is that they are not fasting yet. He is with them, but one day they will fast (9:15). This leads him to a make a more profound point: no one pours new wine into old wineskins. This would cause the old wineskins to burst (9:17). He is saying that what is required is not simply outward conformity to rules but an inward change of heart and life. As if in illustration of this power of Christ to change, a ruler comes up and asks for Jesus’ help to heal his daughter (9:18). Jesus goes (9:19), but on the way another woman touches him in desperation for her own healing (9:20-21). “Take heart daughter; your faith has made you well” (9:22). Faith in…

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    January 22, 2017: Not Righteous, But Sinners

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 46-47, Psalm 21,  Matthew 9:1-13, Acts 13:1-25 Matthew 9:1-13: Sin is a word that is rarely used in contemporary culture. We do not “sin”; we make “mistakes”—“my bad,” “whoops.” And when it is something more heinous that we have done, we are rare, if at all, to use terms such as evil, sin, wickedness. Yet when we avoid that kind of language, and when we avoid the reality that the language represents, we are not in a position to accept what we all need most of all: forgiveness from our sins by the only one who can declare us forgiven before God. When the paralytic is brought to Jesus, Jesus does not say “you are healed,” he says “your sins are forgiven” (9:2). Clearly, in this instance the man had some relation between his illness and his sins, though that is by no means always the case. The scribes who…

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    January 21, 2017: What Sort of Man Is This?

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 44-45, Psalm 20,  Matthew 8:23-34, Acts 12 Matthew 8:23-34: Jesus is typically presented as “meek and mild,” a sort of easy-going fellow, hail-fellow-well-met type, who will go with the flow, kiss babies like a good politician, and generally fit in with other people. Christians, those who follow Jesus, are likewise often viewed as being those who should not rock the boat too much, and have very little of the fearful or “awesome” about them. These two stories change that perspective. The first shows Jesus calming a storm. It is a “great storm” (8:24). Jesus is not in any way phased by the storm. So often that is true in our lives. We are surrounded by massive waves of circumstantial difficulties, complexities and controversies, illnesses, and even at times the very threat of death itself. And it seems to us, as it were, that God is asleep. It does not…

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    January 20, 2017: Come and Die

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 42-43, Psalm 19, Matthew 8:14-22, Acts 11:19-30 Matthew 8:14-22: We see now the beauty and the sacrifice of following Jesus. First, we meet Jesus among a family—Peter’s family. Jesus is not distant from the earthly realities of life, he does not sneer or act superior towards the needs of family, child, nursery, and mother-in-law. He was welcome in families and among family members. Devotion to Christ also does not mean a lack of care for those nearest and dearest to us. Peter cared for his family and his mother-in-law. Followers of Jesus, disciples like Peter, are to have a similar care for their families. Jesus sees the situation and acts upon the need (8:14-15). He touches her. We have seen Jesus healing at a mere word, now we see him healing at a simple touch. The touch of love, the touch of care, and the touch of healing. Often…

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    From Our Ministry Council in the New Year

    By Josh Moody

    God Centered Life Ministries is grateful for the Ministry Council that God has brought together. We regularly try to bring articles and resources to you from this group of godly men who are serving God in various arenas. This year, we hope to periodically bring collective pieces with several of the members contributing. Book Recommendations As we continue to move into the new year, Dr. Philip Ryken provides us with two book recommendations from 2016: On Larry Alex Tarrant, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist (Thomas Nelson, 2016). “Larry Tarrant’s intimate portrait of a Christian apologist’s personal encounter with the soul of avowed atheist Christopher Hitchens is more than a thoughtful exploration of faith and unbelief. It is a model for befriending Christianity’s cultured despisers as they search for truth and grace in their struggle with the realities and ambiguities of life,…

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    January 19, 2017: Faith

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 41, Psalm 18:25-50, Matthew 8:1-13, Acts 11:1-18 Matthew 8:1-13: Having taught so powerfully, Jesus “now comes down from the mountain” (8:1) and puts his teaching into practice—in powerful and amazing ways. First a leper is healed, at a word from Jesus, and “immediately.” No lengthy course of treatment. No weird magical incantation. God incarnate, Jesus the Christ, says it is so, and it is so. Bam. Better. Healed. Who is this? The leper is told not to spread the word about his healing (8:4), because Jesus did not simply want to be known as a miracle worker, and he did not want to become distracted from his core ministry of the gospel and of going to the cross. Because the understandings about the role of the Messiah were so miscued at the time (focusing on a military ruler), the more attention would just become a distraction. But he is…

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    January 18, 2017: Build Your House Upon the Rock

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 39-40, Psalm 18:1-24, Matthew 7:15-29, Acts 10:24-48 Matthew 7:15-29: Having explained his main teaching throughout this Sermon on the Mount, Jesus now moves towards the closing of the Sermon. And as he does so he strikes a note of warning, or “beware.” Given all that he has said about what makes a real Christian, a real follower of Jesus, someone who is characterized by these qualities, because in the end they are a supernatural work of God and of his Spirit – they have been filled as they hungered and thirsted for righteousness – given all that, what should be the conclusion to this teaching? Well, Jesus tells us that our conclusion should be to ensure that we really are his, that we really are following him, that we really are on the “narrow path” that he has described. Verses 15-23 shockingly tell us that even among so-called “prophets”…

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    January 17, 2017: The Narrow Gate

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 37-38, Psalm 17, Matthew 7:1-14, Acts 10:1-23 Matthew 7:1-14: Having orientated us towards seeking first God’s kingdom, Jesus now turns his attention to what this means in practice—interspersed with a call to ask God as our heavenly Father for what it is that we need. The sentence “Judge not, that you be not judged” (7:1) is probably the most well known verse in the Bible, and the most misunderstood. Jesus cannot mean “Do not exercise any critical discernment about anything whatsoever, or any person whatsoever.” In a moment (7:6), he will tell us not to cast our pearls before swine, which at the very least means making a discerning (in that sense “judging”) assessment of whether someone is by this standard a “swine” or not. In fact, the whole of the Sermon on the Mount is filled with judgments about what is right, what is not, what kind of…

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