Devotionals

  • October 4: Knowing and Doing

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 7-9, Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, John 1:35-42, James 2:1-13 Jeremiah 7-9: Jeremiah is told to make a public pronouncement—to stand “in the gate of the LORD’s house” (7:2). He is publishing a press release in the religious media; he is hammering his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg. What is it that he must so publicly announce? Throughout these two chapters two points are being made, here introduced at the start: 1) If they repent, in practice and in deed and not merely in theory, then God will relent from his punishment: “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place” (7:3). 2) They are to beware of taking their confidence from a mere formal allegiance to the things of God, the notional reliance on the ceremony and ritual of Old Testament piety: “Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of…

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    A Primer on Justification: Part 5

    By ruth

    This article is the fifth in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we will gradually make available in the coming weeks. Find the other articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.    The Basis for Justification On what legal basis does God grant the gift of his righteousness? The Bible teaches that God “justifies the wicked” (Rom. 4:5). But if we are in fact wicked, how can he declare us to be what we are not? And how can he justify the wicked without being considered wicked himself? It would be an outrage for a righteous God simply to overlook or to excuse sin. If he intends to justify sinners, therefore, he must have some legitimate judicial basis for doing so. “Justification is not a synonym for amnesty,” writes John Stott, "which strictly is pardon without principle, a forgiveness that overlooks—even forgets—wrongdoing and declines to bring it to justice. No, justification is an act of…

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    October 3: Proclaim God’s Word

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 5-6, Ecclesiastes 2:17-26, John 1:29-34, James 1:19-27 Jeremiah 5-6: The prophet depicts a running to and fro on the streets of the city looking for just one person who is doing what is right (5:1). But none can be found! For surely they use the religious jargon (“As the LORD lives”), but they swear falsely (5:2). How common it is for countries and churches, which have long lived on the abundance of God, to learn to take his name upon the lips but without living out the reality of his name in their lives. We can too easily go through the motions, become Christians in name only, and not “do justice” or “seek truth” (5:1). It was the priest and the Levite who passed by the man in need, while it was the good Samaritan (from a despised raced) who fulfilled the law of God to love his neighbor…

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    October 2: Unmasking Delusion

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 3-4, Ecclesiastes 2:1-16, John 1:19-28, James 1:12-18 Jeremiah 3-4: We begin to see why he was called the weeping prophet! One controlling metaphor goes through these chapters, a picture that is common to the prophets in general, a picture of the rebellion of God’s people: adultery, prostitution, sexual immorality. “You have played the whore with many lovers” (Jeremiah 3:1) This picture is used of the idolatry of God’s people. They were: “…committing adultery with stone and tree.” (Jeremiah 3:9) That is, the adultery is not literal physical adultery—though many of the idolatrous practices may have involved adulterous liaisons—but a spiritual adultery of idols of rock and tree. The reason for this metaphor is the intimacy of the relationship that is intended between God and his people: “Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah…

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    October 1: Foolish As Well As Fallen

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 1-2, Ecclesiastes 1, John 1:1-18, James 1:1-11 Jeremiah 1-2: The “weeping prophet.” Why should we read such words that are only bound to make us miserable? Well, to begin with, the purpose is not depressive but repentant. The key call to Jeremiah has a dual purpose (a doubled-edged sword): “…to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10) Jeremiah is not only to announce judgment, he is also to prepare for a new building and new planting. Once judgment is announced (as Jonah found to his dismay with Nineveh), it’s announcement is a final call to repentance. If warning, tinged with conviction, does not suffice to generate a return to God, then perhaps a final declaration will generate that movement. For some in Jeremiah’s day, there was no doubt a response—though as a whole there was not a response…

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    25 Days In

    By ruth

    In this first month of relaunching God Centered Life Ministries (GCL), we have been attempting to introduce you to our ministry as a whole. Through articles from our council and resources defining the passion, vision, and mission of GCL, I hope that you are beginning to get a small taste of the basic core of who we are. Today, I want to conclude this journey of introduction by taking time to explain in detail what it is we practically do as a ministry and the reasons behind what we do, all in an effort to live out our passion, vision, and mission. To begin, I believe that what makes us unique at GCL from other non-profit Christian ministries is our commitment to reminding our brothers and sisters in Christ of the core vision that we are to have as followers of Christ. Namely, the vision of living lives that are God-centered.…

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    Reaching the Campuses

    By ruth

    Reaching the Campuses of Our Great Cities by Planting Churches When we look back at the history of the evangelical church in recent decades, we sadly can see how the church often left and neglected the great cities of our country. It is an unfortunate part of our past that has greatly impacted these cities and the people who live in them. By neglecting these cities, not only did we pull back from them in general, but by those actions we were also neglecting the universities in those cities. Many of the key, culture-shaping universities in our nation are located in or very near more urban settings and for decades have had few healthy churches located within a reasonable proximity. So, hundreds of thousands of students in their most formative years as they wrestle with life and eternity-shaping questions have little access to a church where they can clearly hear…

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    The Vitality of Time and Energy in Church Planting

    By ruth

    One of the biggest challenges for church planters is the gathering of an effective core group. The planter is in need of more than warm bodies to fill those cold folding chairs in his basement. He needs devoted people who are passionate about the gospel and want to see it spread to their friends and neighbors. This group needs to have a pulse on the cultural context so they can effectively communicate gospel truth in understandable ways. These people need to be willing to stay up nights, talk to people they don’t know, go through a gauntlet of try and fail... Where would one find such a crack team of church planting missionaries? Every good church planter knows the answer needs to be “anywhere.” Everyone from the retired grandmother to the middle school teen can potentially add value to a core team. I would submit to you that one group…

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    Thought Crimes and the Silencing of Dissent: Part 2

    By ruth

    This article is the second in a two-part series. Find Part 1 here. Many of these issues are also explored in the author's book entitled A Wilderness of Mirrors: Trusting again in a cynical world (Zondervan 2015).   The Tyranny of Political Correctness Some people have to step up to the plate. No complex society can function without organizing principles and leadership. Even if one is (rightly) sickened by historical abuses of power, the only way of preventing their repetition is for the principled and virtuous to do their best with responsibility. There is always a risk. For as Abraham Lincoln noted, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” So who should exert it? The last millennium of European history could be seen as a parade of different factions getting their moment in the limelight. In crude generalization it went from:…

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    September 26-30, 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.” September 26-30 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 September 26-30, but will pick back up on October 1, 2016, with Jeremiah 1. 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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