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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. You...

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January 1: 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 perspective....

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Reading the Bible

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 the late great...

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Advent Sermon: Your Best Christmas Ever

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 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 world – a team member of...

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December 24: Glorious Joy!

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 strong,” you might think “where...

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December 23: Real Joy!

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 withdrew to the district...

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Advent Sermon: A Non-Religious Christmas

Below, on December 20, 2015, Josh Moody preached the third of four Advent messages. This one is from Luke 1:5-25 entitled “A Non-Religious Christmas” from the Advent series, “It’s a Wonderful Christmas.” The theme of this sermon is how a godly person is surprised when he hears from God. ...

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December 22: Significant Joy!

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 2:16-18: When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah,     weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children     and refusing to be comforted,     because they are no more.” Now we come to the saddest part of the story, at least at a human level. Herod is...

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December 21: Sovereign Joy

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 2:13-15: When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” It was a busy season...

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