Devotionals

  • A Primer on Justification: Part 4

    By ruth

    This article is the fourth in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we will gradually make available in the coming weeks. Find the other articles: Part 1: The Need For Justification, Part 2: The Centrality of Justification, Part 3: The Meaning of Justification.   The Source of Justification If righteousness is necessary for justification, where does it come from? As we have seen, our problem is that we have no righteousness of our own. So what is the source of justifying righteousness? The source of our justification is God’s free grace. The apostle Paul says it very simply: We “are justified freely by his grace” (Rom. 3:24). The Gospel Coalition gives a more expansive answer: “Inasmuch as Christ was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in…

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    September 25: Tremble at God’s Word

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 65-66, Proverbs 31, Luke 24:45-53, Hebrews 13:9-25 Isaiah 65-66: The end of Isaiah is cosmic in scope, but at its heart it has a spiritual principle that is picked up by Paul over and over again in his letter to the Romans, and is centered on the ministry of Jesus. God was found by those who did not seek him (65:1), while he spread out his hands to a rebellious people (65:2). What is going on is that Israel, God’s people, who apparently seek God, are actually keeping God at arm's length. They say (to God!) “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you” (65:5). But God will reach out to all nations to bring all peoples to himself. Grace is at work, and those who submit to God and his grace, not salvation by works or their own self-righteousness, will be saved.…

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    September 24: Rend the Heavens

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 62-64, Proverbs 30, Luke 24:36-44, Hebrews 13:1-8 Isaiah 62-64: Beautiful words, but what do they mean? We start by hearing of God’s care for his people. “For Zion’s sake,” “For Jerusalem’s sake” (62:1); God gives himself for the sake of his people. This atoning, substitutionary, redemptive focus goes throughout these chapters. We are told that his people will have a “new name” (62:2). “Delight,” “Married,” “A City Not Forsaken” (62:4, 12). And for this end we are to seek his kingdom with all that is in us, “Give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem” (62:7). Seek first the kingdom of God. Or, as William Carey famously said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” Somehow—and here in these pages it is not as clear as it will be in the New Testament—God’s wrath, and his salvation, are working together as an expression of his covenant love…

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    3 Types of Fool

    By ruth

    This article was written by Tim Challies and previously posted on his website at challies.com on September 13, 2015. Be sure to visit the website for other articles, book reviews and more.  In his book Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion, Os Guinness portrays three types of fools in the Bible: The Fool Proper, The Fool Bearer, and The Fool Maker. I found it a fascinating discussion. There are three types of fool in the Bible, and Erasmus restored the way of the third fool to recover the power of subversive persuasion in order to make his point. His point is crucial to our discussion, for the way of the third fool carries the power of the cross and contains the secret of creative persuasion that our Christian advocacy needs today. The first type of fool in the Bible is the character that might be called the fool proper. … [T]here is one fool…

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    September 23: Centered upon God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 59-61, Proverbs 29:15-27, Luke 24:28-35, Hebrews 12:14-39 Isaiah 59-61: It begins with a great promise: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;” (Isaiah 59:1) But then goes on to explain that their sin had led to a breach: “The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths… Therefore justice is far from us.” (Isaiah 59:8-9) What is the answer to this situation, this strange and difficult conundrum, that God is the Savior and able to save, and yet at the same time that God’s people are not acting in ways that concord with a saved people? The answer, Isaiah sees, is that God himself will intercede. “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his…

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    The Immense Value of Missionary Biographies

    By ruth

      Outside of the Bible, biographies can be some of the most encouraging, inspiring, challenging, and beneficial types of books for Christians to read. We learn valuable lessons from reading about the lives of other people—their trials and their triumphs, their struggles and their strengths, their greatest mistakes and their greatest achievements. But there is one particular kind of biography that I believe has immense value for Christians, arguably more value than any other kind, and that is the missionary biography. So in the brief space I have here, I want to commend to you the practice of reading missionary biographies by highlighting just a few reasons why they are so valuable.  One, missionary biographies fuel and inform our prayers for missionaries. Reading their stories reminds us that most days on the mission field are a grind, not glamorous. We’re reminded that missionaries frequently face loneliness and discouragement. Often times,…

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    September 22: Conviction for Healing

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 56-58, Proverbs 29:1-14, Luke 24:13-27, Hebrews 12:1-13 Isaiah 56-58: There is blessing on offer in Isaiah 56, along with command, “keep justice” (56:1), and promise for “an everlasting name that shall not be cut off” (56:5). But Israel’s leaders are irresponsible—they are “blind” and “without knowledge” (56:10). They are drunkards, “let us fill ourselves with strong drink” (56:12). In fact, there are signs of their difficulties: “the righteous man perishes” (57:1). Sometimes godly people are taken through death to eternal life to save them from the calamity of the situation around them. The wicked of Israel had been debaucherous and practiced infanticide (57:5)—unwanted babies are a natural result of flagrant immorality. They have kept on with this, not let it weary them; they were not “faint” (57:10). But their “idols” (57:13) will not deliver them. The way of God is different. “I dwell in the high and holy place, and…

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    The Priority of Life

    By ruth

    Have you ever found yourself overbooked with just too many things to do? There have been such times in my life when I really felt “stretched.” It was during one of those times when there were many moving parts in the business I was leading that I sought advice from my friend Peter Drucker. In giving his advice, Peter reminded me in a very forceful way that the issues before me in the business were not about determining priorities but instead about determining the priority and doing it. He then gave me a history lesson on the use of the word "priority." It came into the English language in the fourteenth century, but it wasn’t until the twentieth century that it was pluralized. Later that evening as I was reading in the book of Matthew, I came to the words in chapter 6:33, “… seek first the kingdom of God and his…

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    September 21: A Word That Shall Not Return Empty

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 54-55, Proverbs 28:15-28, Luke 24:1-12, Hebrews 11:32-40 Isaiah 54-55: In these chapters there is given a multitude of reasons to sing for joy. Throughout all is the conviction that God will restore the fortunes of his people through the promised salvation—ultimately through the Christ. Listen to some of these promises: For the children of the desolate one will be more  than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 54:1) It is too easy for us to think that natural situations, ability, character, family will determine spiritual fruitfulness. Not so, says the Lord. Therefore: Enlarge the place of your tent (Isaiah 54:2) And: For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. (Isaiah 54:7) What is more: O, afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. (Isaiah 54:11)…

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    “The Authority of the Bible” Panel, September 25, 6:00 p.m.

    By Josh Moody

    Is Scripture authoritative? Can we trust Scripture as the very words of God Almighty? These are questions that God’s people have wrestled with from the beginning, and are questions that are extremely relevant in today’s skeptical Western culture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 declares, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Scripture itself makes the declaration that it is authored ultimately by God himself and that as a result, it is useful for all areas of life in order that the follower of Christ might be completely prepared to serve God. However, there are many skeptics both in the church and outside the church today that would argue that certain parts of Scripture should not be in the canon, that there are authorial integrity issues in…

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