Devotionals

  • January 5: Blessed for the Purpose of Blessing

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 12-14; Psalm 5; Matthew 3:1-12; Acts 3 Genesis 12-14: God “had said to Abram” (12:1), and so “Abram went” (12:4). Abram’s obedience to God’s call sets in motion a whole stream of events whose promise is fulfilled in Christ and the gospel going to all nations. The first few verses of Genesis 12 are in many ways the most important verses in the Bible. Study them hard. Think about them. Most particularly, notice even then the universal, worldwide nature of God’s intended blessing to all nations through the blessing of Abram. Abram worships God, he builds an altar to God (12:7), he is a man who trusts God’s word and goes though he does not know where or how the promise will be fulfilled. His faith is extraordinary. But Abram is not perfect. His ruse to protect his wife, and more to the…

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    January 4: Scattering and Finding

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 9-11; Psalm 4; Matthew 2:13-23; Acts 2:22-47 Genesis 9-11: God makes a covenant with Noah (9:8-17) and gives him a sign of this covenant, a rainbow in the sky, invested with meaning and significance that God will not again drown the world through a flood, that his judgment will not come that way again, and that through the line of Noah there is to come the promised fulfillment of redemption. As the story continues (9:18-29), the relative poverty of the line of Canaan (the “Canaanites” who will be a thorn in the side of Israel when they enter the Promised Land) is explained through an action that itself requires some explanation. What exactly was it that Ham did? We are told he saw his father’s nakedness (Noah showing that he is not the perfect redeemer by getting so blind drunk he collapses in his…

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    January 3: Hope in Midst of Judgment

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 5-8; Psalm 3; Matthew 2:1-12; Acts 2:1-21 Genesis 5-8: We come now to the first of the well-known genealogies in the Bible (Gen. 5)---though actually it is not the first, that account being in Genesis 2 of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 2:4-7), which should immediately give us an important clue about these genealogies in the Bible. They are not family trees, a non-interpretative list of direct linear descendants. They are more like a storyboard for a movie, a selection of stories of particular characters, written with a particular intention to give a message. Words in English like “son of,” which always means immediate direct descent, can in the Bible mean a great distance between one and the other (Jesus, “the son of” David!). The genealogies also allow for matters like Levirate marriages. When you read a genealogy, then, you have to…

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    January 2: The Serpent Crusher

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 3-4; Psalm 2; Matthew 1:18-25; Acts 1:12-26 Genesis 3-4: We now enter two of the most famous (perhaps we should say “infamous”) and saddest chapters in the Bible. Reading them is not going to give you a feel-good pick-me-up at the beginning of the year, at least not in any superficial sense. We read about how Sin (we might say capital “S,” for we interpret Genesis 3 through the lens given us by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:12-21) entered the world through the rebellion of Adam, and then we read about its most practical, disastrous, and literally murderous results. Having said that, while these chapters are hardly likely to make a best seller list from a positive way of thinking, they are at the same time, though, extraordinarily hope-filled and jam-packed with grace, mercy, and the unfolding of God’s salvation, his historical plan of redemption.…

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    January 1, 2016: In the Beginning

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Genesis 1-2; Psalm 1; Matthew 1:1-17; Acts 1:1-11 Genesis 1-2: Critically, these two chapters have become deeply controversial in Christian circles and in non-Christian circles alike. What do they say (if anything) about evolution, creationism, science, the origin of life, the universe, and everything---not to mention the origin of evil (but that is more chapter 3)! It is impossible in these few words to cover these complicated matters other than to point to the intention of the author of Genesis itself. That intention is to ground all of reality in the primacy of God. “In the beginning God” (matched by John’s Gospel’s majestic countervailing origin, “In the beginning was the Word”) displaces all human origin myths with the truth of the Bible. You and I are not at the center of the universe, and life is not best understood through our own eyes, or from our own…

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    Reading the Bible

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody In my prized possession is a letter from John Stott. He was replying to say that he supported me, as the new President of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, in my desire to revitalize the daily Bible reading and prayer life of the Union. Hardly radical stuff. Or is it? Then, and again now, I sense that there is a renewed need for us to emphasize the basic daily habit of “Reading the Bible.” My observation is that it is becoming more common for us to be so distracted by other “spiritual content” that we focus less on the actual Bible and more on “devotionals.” The reason for this is not just because we are living a more fast-paced lifestyle than in yesteryear (a complaint that you can read about each year, going back hundreds of years), but more because we are experiencing a reality predicted by…

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    Advent Sermon: Your Best Christmas Ever

    By Josh Moody

    Below, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015, Josh Moody preached the fourth of four Advent messages. This one is from John 1:1-18 entitled “Your Best Christmas Ever” from the Advent series, “It’s a Wonderful Christmas.” This passage, John 1:1-18, is one of the great untapped resources for answering the questions of modern people about the unique truth of Christianity. It gives logical expression of the truth of the incarnation. Not just a beautiful story, the incarnation is the one great fact that explains God and all of life.

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    December 25: Endless Joy!

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here. John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. What better summary of the meaning of Christmas could there be than Christ’s own summary of the significance of that first Christmas Gift, and its resulting life, death, and resurrection! When I was on the mission field – my very brief foray into residential mission work and a slightly longer ensuing oversight-coordinating role of some pioneer mission opportunities in the same region of the…

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    December 24: Glorious Joy!

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. To receive these Advent readings directly in your inbox, sign up here. Luke 2:40: And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. Having covered most of the traditional “birth narrative” already in our devotional series leading up to Christmas, it feels a little flat to hear about the “child growing and becoming strong.” One of our family traditions growing up was always eating “shepherd’s pie” on Christmas Eve because (we heard half-ironically) the shepherds were watching their flocks that evening! To read on December 24 about the child “growing and becoming…

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    December 23: Real Joy!

    By Josh Moody

    by Josh Moody Each year our family has a tradition of opening one Advent Bible reading starting on December 1 and finishing on Christmas Day, December 25. This year I am sharing those Bible readings with some thoughts based on them for use as a devotional during this season. To receive these Advent readings directly in your inbox, sign up here. Matthew 2:19-23: After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he…

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