Devotionals

  • March 16: Law

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 4-5, Psalm 63, Matthew 26:17-35, Romans 10 Deuteronomy 4-5: Two great chapters are before us which defy easy summary in a few words, and yet at the same time must be understood simply if we are to obey their basic thrust, which is, “do not forget.” Deuteronomy 4:9, “lest you forget,” underpins much of the instruction of chapter 4 against idolatry. They had seen God speak to them out of the fire; they are the people that God has rescued from Egypt. They must be very careful not to forget these things and go after gods of wood and stone, gods that are no gods at all in reality. They are to teach these things to their children and their grandchildren. To whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48), and these people had seen God perform miracles, and it was their responsibility to pass…

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    March 15: Do Not Fear

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 1-3, Psalm 62, Matthew 26:1-16, Romans 9:19-33 Deuteronomy 1-3: The Book of Deuteronomy, the “second law,” is a series of Moses’ sermons given to Israel as they are on the verge of entering the Promised Land that recount the story of God’s rescue, God’s Word, and their needed obedience of that Word. “These are the words of Moses” (1:1), it begins, and so it carries on. The first chapter is the most remarkable of these three, perhaps. It tells the story we have already heard (Num. 13-14) of how God’s people were told to enter the Promised Land, how they sent out spies first, but then decided to go against the Word of God and out of fear refused to enter the Promised Land (1:19-33). Having realized their folly, they decided presumptuously to enter—even without God’s blessing—and were beaten terribly in battle as a result (1:34-46). Then come…

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    March 14: The Lord’s Commands

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 33-36, Psalm 61, Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 9:1-18 Numbers 33-36: The book of Numbers, or the wandering in the wilderness, is coming towards the end. It finishes on a note that captures the spirit of the book in some ways: “These are the commandments and the rules that the LORD commanded through Moses to the people of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho” (36:13). At first, though, there is a recapitulation of all the “stages” which Israel had gone through in their long journey. Each is faithfully recorded giving weight to the historicity of the text and the events that the text points to. They are told they must drive out the inhabitants of the land to which they are promised (33:50-56), for otherwise their practices will influence them, and they in turn will become a stench in the nostrils of God. “And…

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    March 13: Promise and Judgment

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 31-32, Psalm 60, Matthew 25:14-30, Romans 8:18-30 Numbers 31-32: These are not easy words to read. “Vengeance” is commanded (31:1-3), and does indeed ensue, upon the Midianites (31:4-12). In fact, when it is discovered that the victory over the people of Midian has been insufficiently thorough or harsh, Moses commands that every male child and every adult woman also be killed (31:13-18). How can we read this and not find our stomach churn? Reason is given: Balaam had deceived Israel by advising the Midianities to seduce the Israelites “in the incident of Peor” (31:16). Suffice it to say that such divine wrath against sinners pales into insignificance beside the place where “the worm does not die and the fire does not go out” (Mark 9:48) as Jesus called hell. You only have to read Revelation to realize that God is a God of judgment, and to cry…

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    March 12: Feasting and Vows

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 28-30, Psalm 59, Matthew 25:1-13, Romans 8:1-17 Numbers 28-30: Numbers 28 and 29 are a wonderful description of the intended rhythm of the ancient people of God with regard to their festivals, feasts, sacrifices, from daily, to weekly, to the great annual feasts as well. Each of them is intended to remind God’s people to give thanks to God, and to find in sacrifice atonement for their sins. In the perspective of the New Testament these feasts take on fresh meaning as precursors to the revelation of the Son of God who fulfills all the prophesied elements of these feasts and sacrifices and the typology therein. John’s Gospel, many think, has elements of the feast rhythm within its structure, and at any rate, of course, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is presented as a Passover sacrifice—no, as THE Passover sacrifice, of which the others were merely shadows.…

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    ChurchFolk: Songs of Death and Resurrection

    By Guest

    God Centered Life is pleased to welcome Erik Dewar, pastoral resident for worship and music, and Ruth Newby, ministry associate in worship and music, at College Church in Wheaton. Late last year, the ChurchFolk project began with 4 objectives: •To arrange well-known hymns as well as original lyrics and melodies in a folk style around specific holidays and seasons. •To gather musicians in the church to worship as we create and record arrangments together. •To reach out to family, friends and neighbors during the seasons/holidays with the recordings and videos. •To provide the sheet music from our arrangements for other churches to use in worship. Good Friday and Easter The season leading up to Good Friday and Easter is a wonderful time to reflect on Christ's death and resurrection. It is a time like no other. Churches hold multiple special services each year around the world. Believers and unbelievers alike are invited…

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    March 11: Who Can Enter?

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 26-27, Psalm 58, Matthew 24:34-51, Romans 7:13-25 Numbers 26-27: Numbers 26 is another census, but its significance should not be overlooked. Whereas when David counted God’s people, he sinned—for God had not commanded the census, and by so counting, he was, as it were, assessing or putting to the test God’s original promise that his people would be as numerous as the stars in the sky—this census was by God’s command. What is more, it was there to teach a particular lesson. The lesson is made clear at the end of the chapter when it says that none of those from the previous census (the people who had rebelled against God and of whom God had said would therefore not enter the Promised Land) were left. “Not one of them was left, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun” (26:65). Lest anyone…

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    Sermon Video: How God Helps Us When We Are Weak

    By Josh Moody

    Below, on March 6, 2016, Josh Moody preached a message on “How God Helps Us When We Are Weak” in the sermon series “Confident.” Taken from Romans 8:26-27, this message looks at how the Spirit helps us in our weakness through prayer in two ways: through groaning and through searching. Discussion questions about this sermon can be found here.

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    March 10: Strange Blessing and Atonement

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 23-25; Psalm 57; Matthew 24:15-35; Romans 7:1-12 Numbers 23-25: Now we get to hear what Balaam actually says. This strange figure, some sort of necromancer, diviner, but at the same time one insisting that he can only speak what God says. How are we to understand him? Balaam’s donkey is the best clue. If God can speak truly through Balaam’s donkey, he can certainly speak truly through Balaam, and the gifts of God do not necessarily equate with the fruit of the Spirit. This lesson is so important it is worth underlining: today we still often think that a gifted “communicator” necessitates high character, or that some with the gift of healing or prophecy or some other charismatic gift means that they are inevitably also holy. But the two do not necessarily go together, though sometimes they can with wonderfully marvelous results. Jesus…

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    March 9: Blessing from an Unexpected Direction

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 21-22; Psalm 56; Matthew 24:1-14; Romans 6:15-23 Numbers 21-22: Israel continues to journey and is first opposed in their movements by the Canaanites. When they promise to “devote their cities to destruction,” God guarantees that they will be victorious. Again, we must remember that the Old Testament people of God were a theocracy, a divine agent of justice and judgment against the people of the day whose wickedness had become infamous at that time. Do we complain when a law court sentences a murderer to jail? God’s people here were fulfilling God’s justice. If we want fairness then we want justice, and if we want justice, then we want a judge. And whose justice is it that we are going to have? Who is to decide what is just? We know that God’s justice is perfect, and in the last day there will be…

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