Devotionals

  • September 17: Focus and Fear

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 44-45, Proverbs 26:17-28, Luke 23:32-37, Hebrews 10:1-18Isaiah 44-45:This section begins with wonderful promises for God’s people—“I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring” (44:3)—in the context of which the instruction to “Fear not” (44:2, 8) makes sense. How often it is that we fear because we do not focus! We fear the results of some eventuality because we have lost focus on the promises of God! We fear the effects of some calamity because we have lost focus on the face of God! We fear the impact of some decision because we have lost focus on the Word of God! We fear the vagaries of fate because we have lost focus on the power of the Spirit of God!In order to remove our fears, we must first regain focus. Take a moment to think through, write down, and externalize what God has promised you. What in these verses can…

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    The Value of Suffering in the Life of the Church

    By ruth

    It is scary to think of, I know. Who wants to suffer? I know I do not. Yet Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 1, beginning in verse 7, “...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” Share in the suffering. And why? Because suffering for something of such great value and worth as the gospel is a pittance, a light and momentary affliction indeed, compared to the eternal weight of glory awaiting us. Even more, suffering is often the means by which God purifies his church. Suffering sifts through those who see Jesus as their Greatest Treasure from those who see Jesus as nothing more than fire insurance. Suffering causes the church to bear down in…

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    September 16: Comfort and Encouragement

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 42-43, Proverbs 26:1-16, Luke 23:26-31, Hebrews 9:11-28 Isaiah 42-43: Again, stupendous chapters, filled with hope and promise. One way of looking at the “LORD’s chosen servant” (42:1) is through what he will do and what he will not do. He will “bring forth justice to the nations” (42:1). He will “faithfully bring forth justice” (42:3). The mission of God’s servant, the suffering servant that Isaiah is predicting, is to bring forth justice on a global scale. This is what he will do—at the cross, and finally when he returns in glory. What will he not do? He will not “cry aloud or lift up his voice” (42:2). A “bruised reed he will not break” (42:3). A “faintly burning wick he will not quench” (42:3). This suffering servant then is not a bully, is not unkind, is not aggressive or stomping on the weaknesses of others to fulfill his agenda.…

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    Truth Matters

    By ruth

    We live in an age when truth has become increasingly subjective and perspectival. What is truth for me may not be truth for you. As a result, the whole notion of absolute truth has died, and, in terms of the conventional definition, there is no more truth; all that is left is varying points of view. Not that this is entirely new. Over a generation ago, apologist Francis Schaeffer lamented the very same phenomenon he perceived already in his day and felt compelled to coin the term “true truth” (as if there were false truth!) to affirm emphatically that truth still existed. That truth, Schaeffer maintained, is grounded in the one God who “is there and is not silent,” having revealed himself in the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins and came back to life again. The Christian gospel thus gives meaning to our lives…

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    September 15: Take Comfort; Be Strong in God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 40-41, Proverbs 25:15-28, Luke 23:13-25, Hebrews 9:1-10 Isaiah 40-41: At last! Isaiah 40 arrives like a glass of chilled, cool water after a long, hot journey in a desert! “Comfort, Comfort, my people” (40:1). Words made famous by Handel’s Messiah, filled with hope, joy and meaning. Isaiah proclaims forgiveness: “her iniquity is pardoned” (40:2). He proclaims that there will be a “voice” (fulfilled in John the Baptist, John 1:23) who will prepare the way for the LORD (40:3). And the glory of the LORD will be revealed (40:5). We almost feel like we are in the New Testament—and indeed, in a sense, we almost are! “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (40:8). This blessed comfort, preannounced, will not fail, for God’s word will not fail. It is “good news” (40:9). And the cities will say, “Behold your God!” (40:9). What…

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    Donkeys for Christ

    By ruth

    As I was preparing for Palm Sunday this year, I recalled a story I heard years ago. It was a tale of the donkey that carried Jesus on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Afterward, as he was led back to the stable, the donkey spoke excitedly to his fellow donkeys. “You won’t believe what happened to me today.” “What was that?” they asked. “The people cut down branches and waved them in my honor. Some of them removed their coats and laid them down for me to walk on.” “That’s amazing,” the others replied. “Yes,” said the donkey, “it was amazing. At one point they even wanted to make me King!” As I recalled this tale I was struck again by how easy it is to miss the point of being a donkey. Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on the foal of a humble beast of burden. This was…

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    September 14: Hezekiah

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 37-39, Proverbs 25:1-14, Luke 23:1-12, Hebrews 8:7-13 Isaiah 37-39: In these chapters we see Hezekiah at his best and at his worst. It is a reminder to us that even great men have their faults, and God uses us as we stand in faithful dependence on him—often despite (even because of) our failings. When we are weak, then we are strong. And it is when Hezekiah becomes a little proud—showing off all his possessions (39:1-2)—that he stumbles. First we see him responding in an exemplary way to a visceral, existential threat. He seeks out God’s word—by sending to hear from the prophet Isaiah (37:1-2). When the king of Assyria renews his threat against Hezekiah and God’s people (37:10-13), Hezekiah pours out his heart in prayer to God (37:14-20). His heart is pure and exemplary too: “O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms on…

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    Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

    By ruth

    What does the Bible say about divine sovereignty and human responsibility? Much high end research has been done on this challenging topic. This paper is a mere summary of the work done by many scholars, but it may be helpful for some because a) it is brief, b) it uses simple straightforward language, and c) it addresses a matter of theological importance. D.A. Carson, How Long, O Lord? (IVP, 1990) J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (IVP, 1986) Summary: People sometimes feel that a belief in the all-powerful God of the Bible necessitates a kind of philosophical fatalism. For instance, people ask, “If God is all powerful and all loving, why do people suffer?” Or, again, people ask, “If God is all powerful, why pray?” These questions are at root confusions about the relationship between the sovereignty of God and human responsibility. According to the Bible, the sovereignty of God and human…

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    September 13: Be Strong; Fear Not!

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 34-36, Proverbs 24:23-34, Luke 22:63-71, Hebrews 8:1-6 Isaiah 34-36: Isaiah 36 introduces the remarkable story of Jerusalem’s rescue from the hand of the Assyrians, but that story is connected organically to the succeeding chapter, and we shall then deal with that story tomorrow in that connection. Isaiah 34 and 35 first announce a worldwide judgment and then point to the means of salvation and rescue from that judgment. Isaiah 34 announces to the globe (“Draw near, O nations, to hear,” 34:1) that the LORD is “enraged against all the nations” (34:2). The universal sinfulness of humanity is taught in various places in the Bible, and it is necessary to remind ourselves of it, not so that we can be “negative” or “put people down,” much less decrease the intrinsic value and worth of each other, but so that we can rightly find the remedy. We all, in our honest moments,…

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    September 12: Relying on God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 31-33, Proverbs 24:1-22, Luke 22:54-62, Hebrews 7:11-28 Isaiah 31-33: One significant theme echoes throughout Isaiah 31-33 as it is introduced in the very first verse (31:1): Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord! Israel was tempted to rely on Egypt—the local superpower—and to rely on horses, the cavalry, and chariots, the equivalent of tanks and brigades of armored forces. All these looked “very strong.” It is so easy for us, too, to “rely” upon such things, to look to that which seems evidently to be “strong,” and to do what seems therefore the most natural and sensible thing to do, but which is, nonetheless, not the most sensible and realistic course of action.…

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