Devotionals

  • Eternal Souls Living in a Temporary World

    By ruth

      If you have ever explored the founding of the United States in any depth, you catch a glimpse into what exactly these brave, early American souls had long been seeking.  More or less, the John Adams and Thomas Jeffersons amongst them thought to themselves, “The world has become a place torn apart by power-hungry rulers, rigid prescriptions, and indifference towards the realities of human depravity. But now, here in this new land, we have a good shot at actually getting things right.” One would be terribly remiss to skip a key part of this nation’s founding—that it has Christian principles in its foundation.  I have found myself inspired and encouraged as I have read and learned of this facet of America’s heritage. However, I’ve also seen how an understanding of the virtue in our nation’s founding can deteriorate into wishful idealism or a misguided and naïve obsession with a…

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    October 21: Longing and Praise

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 52, Song of Solomon 5, John 6:41-59, 1 Peter 3:13-22 Jeremiah 52: And so we come to the end—or so it must have seemed to many at the time. What could be worse than the litany of destruction and defeat that we read about in this chapter? The horrors visited on Zedekiah and his family, the destruction of Jerusalem, the decimation of the temple, the killing of the priest, the people being taken into exile, the undermining of all the social structures to ensure no rebellion could come from this troublesome country again—even the king Jehoiachin sitting at the king of Babylon’s table with the other kings, albeit seated above them, and even as an act of grace on the part of Babylon, even that is pathetic. How the mighty have fallen. It is no great encouragement to see the president of the country sitting at a foreign ruler’s…

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    October 20: Judgment and Salvation

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 51, Song of Solomon 4:8-16, John 6:25-40, 1 Peter 3:8-12 Jeremiah 51: The judgment from God against Babylon is recorded in greater length and at greater extremity in this chapter. Once again, we need to remind ourselves of the yet broader context, not just of God’s judgment against all sinners who have not put their trust in the God of the Bible, but of the overarching principle of God’s justice and holiness. The God who is, the God of the Bible, is a God who is holy, who will not let wickedness and evil stand, and who will defend the rights of the marginalized, victimized, the widow and the orphan. There is a final judgment place for the evil that plagues our world and ruins our own hearts. That sin, in which to some measure at least we all partake, is either dealt with at the cross where Jesus…

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    Your Kingdom Come

    By ruth

    I’ll never forget the first time I stood in the Rotunda of the Capitol building in Washington D.C., and realized the extent of similarities between the pagan Roman Empire and the United States of America.  Laws were being argued and passed in the House and Senate below me and above me was Constantino Brumidi’s gorgeous fresco The Apotheosis of Washington, finished in 1865, after the Civil War ended. The fresco depicts President George Washington raised to the heavens and declared a god by the goddesses Victory and Liberty.  Surrounding him are scenes with six other Roman gods: Bellona (war), Minerva (science), Neptune (marine), Mercury (commerce), Vulcan (mechanics), and Ceres (agriculture).  I remember coming to the conclusion that here are the altars to the gods of America’s true religion.  After all, how can a nation modelled after the Roman Empire ever be truly Christ-like? The abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison thought the…

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    October 19: Flee and Trust

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 50, Song of Solomon 4:1-7, John 6:16-24, 1 Peter 3:1-7 Jeremiah 50: Babylon is famous throughout the Bible, in particular the New Testament, especially because of Revelation and its depiction of Babylon, and the use of Babylon in 1 Peter 5:13, for example. Here the reference is to the historic empire—and it is noteworthy to look on the ancient ruins of Babylon, situated in modern day Iraq, and ponder these words from the prophet Jeremiah. The lesson here, much as in previous chapters, is regarding God’s judgment on the nations—that is, on those who do not turn to him in repentance and faith. The particularity regarding Babylon is because of its role, under God’s sovereign hand, in exercising discipline against his people. “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains” (50:6). Despite Babylon’s role in God’s exercise of discipline,…

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    October 18: What Will Last Forever

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 49, Song of Solomon 3, John 6:1-15, 1 Peter 2:18-25 Jeremiah 49: If this were all the Bible you ever read, you would leave with a very skewed picture of God. Here we read God, through his prophet Jeremiah, pronouncing judgment on all peoples, without favor or fear, and the litany of judgment on these nations is only tempered by the occasional “in the latter days I will restore” them. But this is not the only part of the Bible that was ever written, nor the only part of Jeremiah, and the phrase “in the latter days I will restore” them hints at, opens a window towards, an aperture into a world of grace and mercy. That said, this chapter is also in the Bible and cannot be breezed over as if it did not exist. It is essential we read this chapter in its context of the Bible,…

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    A Primer on Justification: Part 7

    By ruth

    This article is the seventh in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we are gradually making available. Find the other articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5,  and Part 6.   The Means of Justification Earlier we defined justification both legally and biblically. Now we are in a position to clarify justification theologically: “Justification means a permanent change in our judicial relation to God whereby we are absolved from the charge of guilt, and whereby God forgives all our sins on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ, our judicial relation to God is one of condemnation—we stand condemned on account of our sins, both original and actual. When we are justified, our judicial relation to God is changed from one of condemnation to one of acquittal.”1 The Westminster Shorter Catechism offers a more concise definition: “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth…

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    October 17: Justice and Righteousness

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 47-48, Song of Solomon 2, John 5:31-47, 1 Peter 2:9-17 Jeremiah 47-48: More judgment on the nations. First on Philistia (chapter 47), and then on Moab (chapter 48). For Moab, there is a final respite: “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days” (48:47). But still, this whole section is a litany of judgment against the rebellious nations. How are we to read it and interpret it? “Cursed is he who does the work of the LORD with slackness” (48:10) refers to God’s work of judgment. To begin, we must ask ourselves whether we even wish that there was a God who exercised no justice at all. Most people want some final justice for all the foul deeds of this world—the Gulag, the concentration camps, Auschwitz. The deeds of these nations were foul indeed. What is more, they vaunted themselves over Israel (“Was not Israel…

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    October 16: Seek Not Greatness

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 44-46, Song of Solomon 1, John 5:16-30, 1 Peter 2:1-8 Jeremiah 44-46: Our section today has three “words” from God given to Jeremiah. The first, in chapter 44, is regarding the Judeans who had gone to live in Egypt. You will remember that Jeremiah had already warned them not to rely on Egypt, but instead to rely on God. But now that they are in Egypt, another word from God comes to them, through the lips of Jeremiah, to flee from the idolatry with which Egypt was infested. They are “making offerings to other gods” (44:8). And what they need to understand is that not only is this a sin against God, but thereby it is also wounding themselves. If someone cannot listen to the highest argument—that their sin dishonors the gospel—they might listen to a lower argument—that their sin hurts themselves. “Why do you commit this great evil against…

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    October 15: Heed the Word of God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 39-43, Ecclesiastes 12, John 5:1-15, 1 Peter 1:17-25 Jeremiah 39-43: How difficult it must have been to see all your prophecies come true and in such a sad way. Because Zedekiah did not listen to Jeremiah, but attempted to hold out in a siege against Babylon, Jerusalem was taken, his children were killed, he was blinded (39:1-10). Tragedy upon tragedy. Jeremiah is protected by God’s sovereign hand, and he remains in Judah (39:11-14, 40:1-6). But the remnant of God’s people, instead of obeying the command to settle down, mind their own business, and God would protect them, they soon start squabbling. There is murder and civil war. Jeremiah (chapter 42) warns them against going down to Egypt to protect themselves. But they ignore his warning and go anyway, even taking Jeremiah with them (chapter 43), and again Jeremiah prophesies calamity (43:13). How apparently so easy, and yet in practice…

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