Devotionals

  • February 25, 2018: He Is Highly Exalted!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 26-27, Psalm 47, Matthew 21:12-22, Acts 28:17-31 Psalm 47: Songs of praise have a way of entering into our bones with the marrow of joy. None better than this Psalm: “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” Note that there is nothing wrong with exuberance in worship. While when we gather to worship with other believers, it is unkind, unthoughtful, and inconsiderate to act in a way that distracts other people—and plain wrong to act in a way that detracts from the focus of attention being on God—such reverence, essential for all worship, is not akin to boredom or lack of passion and feeling, much less lack of excitement! We are urged here to “clap” in praise to God. All peoples: clap your hands in praise! And what is more, we are urged here to “shout” in praise to God. Our songs are to…

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    February 24, 2018: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 24-25, Psalm 46, Matthew 21:1-11, Acts 28:1-16 Psalm 46: This great psalm, made more latterly famous by Martin Luther’s famous A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, throbs with confidence. “God is our refuge and strength … therefore we will not fear” (46:1-2). There are many reasons to fear in this world. We live particularly these days in a time of fear, even of terror. “The nations rage” (46:6). There are wars and rumors of wars. There are stories of terrible atrocities. There are shootings. There are beheadings. There is enough to keep a sane man awake at night and cause a rational human being to tremble. Life has always had its insecurities. Nature itself is far from the idyllic picture that some naturalists want to make us believe: it is, as the poet put it, “red in tooth and claw.” Or as one comedian said, when he saw nature, he…

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    February 23, 2018: Rejoice with Gladness

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 21-23, Psalm 45, Matthew 20:17-34, Acts 27:27-44 Psalm 45: This psalm is apparently a “love song” (as the ascription puts it) and also written as “verses to the king” (45:1). At one level, the psalm ascribes to the king that he is the “most handsome of the sons of men” (45:2). It tells us that the princess, who is about to marry, is “all glorious…in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold” (45:13). It celebrates the progeny of the couple who will be “princes in all the earth” (45:16). It is then a love song and also a song about the victorious power of the king, that in his “majesty [he would] ride out victoriously,” that he is valiant truth, or “for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness” (45:4). The psalm then, at this level, encourages us to celebrate good authority. We find it very strange to think…

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    February 22, 2018: God’s Love

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 18-20, Psalm 44, Matthew 20:1-16, Acts 27:1-26Psalm 44:Sometimes it can seem as if you do all the right things, say the right things, believe the right things, but still you suffer. Why is that? The psalmist is struggling with that very question. He remembers the “days of old,” from verses 1 to 3, where the people won great victories “not by their own sword,” but by God’s “right hand and arm.” God did it!He also records, in verses 4 to 8, that this is his principle too. He does not trust in his “bow” or his “sword.” No, “in God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever.”However, despite this track record, and despite his personal commitment to God, the reality today in his own experience is very different. “But you have rejected us and disgraced us” (44:9). They are “like sheep for slaughter.” And…

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    February 21, 2018: Light and Truth

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 16-17, Psalm 43, Matthew 19:16-30, Acts 26:19-32 Psalm 43: Psalm 43 and Psalm 42 belong together. Psalm 43 ends with the same refrain that was repeated in Psalm 42: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him My salvation and my God” (verse 5; see Psalm 42:5, 11) But while Psalm 43 has a similar theme to Psalm 42, it picks up a different thread. The psalmist wants God to “vindicate” him (43:1). He wants God to “defend” him. In particular, he wants God to “send out his light and truth; let them lead me.” Perhaps you are in a situation where you are not only wondering “why” but also needing divine intervention. You sense that you need “vindication.” You need God’s “defense.” The psalmist is saying that the core of this intervention…

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    February 20, 2018: Hope in God

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 14-15, Psalm 42, Matthew 19:1-15, Acts 26:1-18 Psalm 42: The psalm begins with a beautiful, famous picture—“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (42:1)—but the reality behind that picture is rather starker than is often considered. The point that the psalmist is making is in the same way that a deer is desperate with thirst in a desert, so he feels desperate for God—and cannot find him. Perhaps you feel like that this morning. Other people talk of their wonderful experiences with God, but to you at the moment he seems like such a stranger. What do you do about that feeling, that sense that God is distant from you? What do you do when your “tears have been your food day and night” (42:3)? The first thing the psalmist does is “remember” (42:4). He remembers the good times he has had…

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    February 19, 2018: Blessed Is the One

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 11-13, Psalm 41, Matthew 18:15-35, Acts 25:13-27 Psalm 41: There are many motivations for generosity: a response to what Christ has done for us, an expression of genuine kindness, and even if somewhat less positively, the motivation of looking good by doing good. Charity is motivated by many wells of desires deep within the human heart. But one such motivation is alluded to here in the first few verses of this psalm: happiness. “Blessed is the one who considers the poor” (41:1). Perhaps you are someone with resources. Perhaps you are someone who has the means and wherewithal to give. In fact, everyone can give something. This is the lesson of Jesus’ story about the “widow’s mite.” What counts is not so much the amount we give as the amount we retain. God is looking for cheerful givers. And to give is “blessed”: more than mere passing happiness, it is…

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    February 18, 2018: A New Song

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 8-10, Psalm 40, Matthew 18:1-14,Acts 25:1-12 Psalm 40: For U2 fans, this psalm is made more latterly renowned by a song they sang named “40”—whose lyrics are modeled on that of this song. But whatever the entrance way that leads you to this psalm, you are blessed if you linger here and learn its lessons! Note how David said he “waited patiently” for the Lord (40:1). What a hard lesson this is for us! Is there some hurt, disappointment, or troubling question that plagues you? Perhaps you do not have the answer because you are not yet ready to understand it. A child cannot grasp the full answers to his questions and must do with either a half-answer or no answer at all from time to time. Similarly, with us, even children of God, our questions sometimes require answers that are beyond the capacity of our brains to…

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    February 17, 2018: Smile Again

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 5-7, Psalm 39, Matthew 17:14-27, Acts 24 Psalm 39: There are few things more provoking than someone acting in wicked foolishness—especially when they seem to get away with it. Perhaps you are facing some trial or trauma, and it is made worse by the “presence of the wicked.” Not only was what happened bad, but there are people who are wickedly misinterpreting what has happened, or they are misusing the situation for their own selfish gains. It is then tempting to speak too hastily and make things worse. And so David put a “guard” on his mouth. Sometimes the right thing to do is just to bite your tongue. Sometimes the right thing to say is to say nothing. Perhaps there is something that is frustrating you. Before you fire off an angry email or text message, put a guard on your mouth. Say nothing, nothing at all. But David…

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    February 16, 2018: Make Haste to Help Me

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 1-4, Psalm 38, Matthew 17:1-13, Acts 23:12-35 Psalm 38:: Sin has real effects. Here David outlines the way his sin has impact, even on his physical state. Perhaps there is some sin that you are toying with in your mind. Surely it isn't that bad. Surely God will forgive me. Surely no one will notice. But here in this psalm, there is remedy against the temptation of sin from a person who has sinned and is suffering terribly because of it. It is sometimes said that there is no one more miserable than a sinning Christian. A person who is not a Christian who sins has a conscience, but they do not have the Holy Spirit within that is grieved by their sin. But a person who is a Christian and who sins is in a miserable situation. One theologian used to remark that God had not made it so…

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