Devotionals

  • November 9: A Momentous Day

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 24-26, Job 9:1-20, John 9:13-25, 1 John 2:1-11 Ezekiel 24-26: A momentous day indeed: the day the king of Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem (24:2). Ezekiel is to write down this day, this very day, to record it. And he is to tell a parable concerning what is going on (24:3). The parable—the story laid alongside the truth to illuminate the truth, an illustration—is a “pot boiler.” All the teeming, boiling, stewing fire of a pot boiled illustrates the kind of pressure and suffering that Jerusalem will experience. Most extraordinarily, Ezekiel is told that his wife will die (“the delight of your eyes”), but he is also told not to mourn her passing at all (24:16). And when the people come and ask the meaning of him carrying on as if nothing has happened, he is to tell them that God will profane their sanctuary (“the delight of your…

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    November 8: Knowing (and Forgetting) God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 22-23, Job 8, John 9:1-12, 1 John 1 Ezekiel 22-23: Ezekiel is asked whether he will judge Jerusalem—the “bloody city” (22:2)—and then given words to declare to her all her “abominations.” Basically, she has “become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made” (22:4). In addition, “You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths” (22:8). What is more, gross “lewdness” (22:9), sexual immorality, and the like have become common (22:10-11). And to cap it off, their business deals have become murderous and riven with extortion (22:12). But God they have “forgotten” (22:12). Here we may discern a pattern. Leaving God and replacing him with the worship of idols leads to desecration of God’s holy assemblies. This leads to sexual immorality, and in turn spirals down to destroy the economy with lack of trustworthiness and stability. The root of…

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    A Primer on Justification: Part 10

    By ruth

    This article is the tenth in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we have gradually made available. Find the other articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and Part 9.   Our Response One of the most beautiful affirmations of the biblical doctrine of justification comes from the Heidelberg Catechism, which asks, “How are you righteous before God?” (Q. 60). The answer is: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. In spite of the fact that my conscience accuses me that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have not kept any one of them, and that I am still ever prone to all that is evil, nevertheless, God, without any merit of my own, out of pure grace, grants me the benefits of the perfect expiation of Christ, imputing to me his righteousness and holiness as if I had never committed a single…

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    November 7: Then You Will Know That God Is the LORD

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 20-21, Job 7, John 8:48-59, 2 Peter 3:10-18 Ezekiel 20-21: Irony of ironies, the elders of Israel, or at least a portion of them, come to Ezekiel to “inquire of the LORD” (20:1). This is some kind of formal desire to hear from God through God’s prophet. But, the word of the Lord comes to Ezekiel, “Is it to inquire of me that you come?” (20:3). It is one thing to say that you are going to hear God’s word; it is another to turn up physically to hear from God’s word; it is another thing to actually be prepared to hear what God has to say, come what may. They say they are there to inquire from the LORD, but the facts prove otherwise. God then through Ezekiel recounts to the elders of Israel the long history of Israel’s relationship to God—how he has rescued them time and…

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    November 6: Turn and Live

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 17-19, Job 6, John 8:31-47, 2 Peter 3:1-9 Ezekiel 17-19: A riddle and a parable, chapter 17, of an eagle and of the vine, and of Israel’s rebellion against Babylon by seeking help from Egypt—“can he break covenant and yet escape?” (17:15). There is a principle behind God’s actions: “I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it” (17:24). He exalts the humble and brings down the proud. In the midst of all this judgment, it would be easy to think that God was not being just—and so chapter 18 addresses that question. God makes it clear that it is the person themselves, rather than their father, for whom they are held accountable: “the soul who sins shall die” (18:4). God wants people…

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    November 5: The Love of God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 16, Job 5, John 8:21-30, 2 Peter 2:17-22 Ezekiel 16: A beautiful parable, with startling application to God’s people, and final hope after all the crying of judgment and condemnation. First, we are told of how God’s people are from the land of Canaanites, their father an Amorite and mother a Canaanite (16:3). We are going way back to Genesis, the call of Abram, and before. God’s people’s origin is being brought to remembrance and her ancient history personified. God saw her, as it were, kicking about in her own blood—a child abandoned to die, helpless, vulnerable, desperate (16:6). He said to her “live,” and by the power of his word his people came to life! She grew and flourished and became beautiful—but then God’s bride, God’s people, went back to her old ways. She gave herself to the idolatry of her ancient history and became syncretistic in her…

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    November 4: Stick to God’s Word

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 13-15, Job 4, John 8:12-20, 2 Peter 2:10-16 Ezekiel 13-15: Ezekiel is told to prophesy against the prophets of Israel (13:2). The reason for this is because they are prophesying “from their own hearts” (13:2) and they “follow their own spirit” (13:3). In other words, these prophets who claim to be speaking God’s word are actually speaking their own words. They are not truly prophesying God’s word at all, and therefore the true prophet of God’s word, Ezekiel, is commanded to prophesy against the (false) prophets of Israel. As is typical with false prophecy, they are tending to make things seem better than they really are—if your north pole of preaching is what people want to hear (rather than what God is saying), then you will end up preaching things that people want to hear. And what people want to hear is “peace” (13:10). But “there is no peace”…

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    The Journey Continues   

    By ruth

    The month of October at God Centered Life was filled with great discussion and work on our response as Christians to the current cultural challenges we are facing. In a day and age where it seems like everyone is trying to discuss and debate highly in-depth, challenging, complex situations and issues in order to fulfill the self-centered dream and destroy other people, we as followers of Christ must think about how we keep God at the center rather than ourselves and our own interests. Rather than giving in to the temptation of focusing on the issues in our world as primary, we must hold fast to our ultimate identity as people of a kingdom that is eternal and not of this world. In this election season, we are so easily driven to pessimism, when instead we should be drawn to reliance upon the sovereign, majestic rule of God over all…

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    November 3: The Power of the Word

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 9-12, Job 3, John 8:1-11, 2 Peter 2:1-9 Ezekiel 9-12: This section begins with a wonderful, evocative description of the prophet’s experience of hearing God’s word. God “cried in my ears with a loud voice” (9:1). Unmissable, unmistakable, indubitably important: God’s word came to him loud and clear. Those who have the “mark on their forehead” (9:4), who have groaned over the sin of God’s people, shall be safe; the others shall die. All this is extraordinary, and yet God’s judgment over and over again is depicted as revealing “the glory of the LORD” (10:4), and so that “you shall know that I am the LORD” (11:12). We do not think of God’s judgment as honoring to God, but so it is: God’s justice is revealed either in judgment, or in mercy at the cross where his judgment for our sins is taken for us. Justice is necessary; there…

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    November 2: The Worst

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 4-8, Job 2, John 7:45-53, 2 Peter 1:12-21 Ezekiel 4-8: How do you communicate judgment to a recalcitrant people, a hardened people? In chapter 4, the answer is by Ezekiel being told to dramatically portray siege and judgment upon God’s people. And then in chapter 5, by a razor and shaving hair and casting it to the wind. The strangeness of the prophet’s actions was only matched by the horror of his words: “fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers” (5:10). The worst possible perversion of basic human loyalty will come as a result of this horrendous rebellion against God. It goes on and on. “An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land” (7:2). “Disaster comes upon disaster” (7:26). Hope seems to come in chapter 8. “The hand of the Lord God fell upon me there” (8:1).…

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