Devotionals

  • August 14, 2018: Be Wise!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Nehemiah 8, Proverbs 12:1-14, Luke 17:20-37, 2 Timothy 3:1-9 Proverbs 12:1-14: Again, it is possible to discern some grouping of these Proverbs into themes. It begins with an overarching statement about discipline: "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid" (12:1). In our culture—even in many of our churches—discipline is a negative word. Parents fear to discipline their children, and so create spoiled brats who hurt others and most of all themselves. Churches fear to discipline their members (or, as was more common in the past, turn discipline into legalistic control techniques, which is no biblical discipline at all) and thereby create doctrinally spineless, moral amoebas. No wonder the winds of false doctrine and ethical foolishness blow through our culture and churches unhindered: there is no discipline! Instead, we are to love discipline. Without it, how could we ever come to know anything? You need discipline to study. You need…

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    August 13, 2018: The Fruit of the Righteous

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Nehemiah 7, Proverbs 11:16-31, Luke 17:11-19, 2 Timothy 2:14-26 Proverbs 11:16-31: Sometimes it appears that the individual proverbs are grouped into sections that address a common theme. There are a few such sections in this part of Proverbs. First we have the theme of kindness: "A kind-hearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth"(11:16). "Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves" (11:17). We tend to think of kindness as weakness or an inadequate ability to be strong. But there is a type of kindness that is a companion of strength, and verse 16 describes this sort of kindness. A person who is kind-hearted gains honor. People think well of such a person. How could you be kind to someone who needs kindness? Of course, if you are ruthless, you might gain more money. But as Proverbs so pithily puts it: the ruthless men gain only wealth. Imagine…

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    August 12, 2018: Be Wise; Be Christlike!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Nehemiah 6, Proverbs 11:1-15, Luke 17:1-10, 2 Timothy 2:1-13 Proverbs 11:1-15: More “wise advice”—pithy and to the point! "The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him" (11:1). When weighing of goods or food was done with physical weights, it was possible to use a variation in the weights or the scales to gain a subtle profit for the seller. Such underhanded, under-the-table, unnoticed-to-people cheating is still noticed by God. And he detests it. Therefore be straightforward with your business deals! "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom" (11:2). Our culture tends to think of “pride” as a good thing. We encourage people to have high self-esteem, for instance, and tell people they should be proud about who they are. Often when we say things like that, we mean something different by “pride” than the Bible does. We might mean “confidence,” for instance. But…

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    August 11, 2018: Seek Wisdom!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Nehemiah 4-5, Proverbs 10:17-32, Luke 16:19-31, 2 Timothy 1 Proverbs 10:17-32: Each of these proverbs is like a Tardis: small on the outside but massive on the inside. We cannot do justice to them in totality, but can only comment briefly on each in turn: “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray” (10:17). Note then the contrast in this proverb. Discipline—and its opposite, ignoring correction—does not only have effects on our own lives, but also operates as an example to others. A disciplined person draws other people along a similar path, whereas someone who is not disciplined leads others astray. Humans have a tendency to mimic those around them, and while we can resist the siren cries of ill-discipline, it can have this impact: making us follow along a path that goes astray. “Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is…

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    August 10, 2018: Live Wisely!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Nehemiah 3, Proverbs 10:1-16, Luke 16:10-18, 1 Timothy 6:11-21 Proverbs 10:1-16: Now we come to a section of Proverbs where each verse is focused on a particular proverbial statement. Sometimes it is possible to detect larger themes, but often the overall larger theme is wisdom: the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom. Sometimes the Proverbs are not describing things as they should be, but instead are describing things as they actually are. It is important to not always assume that the description of a pattern of behavior in Proverbs is necessarily an endorsement of that particular pattern of behavior. Read these Proverbs and ask God to give you the wisdom in these areas that it is describing. Because “a wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother” (10:1), it is important for us to be the kind of son that would…

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    August 9, 2018: Wisdom or Folly?

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Nehemiah 1-2, Proverbs 9, Luke 16:1-9, 1 Timothy 6:1-10 Proverbs 9: With such warm praise of wisdom as the book of Proverbs has given us so far, it is natural to ask what could be the appeal of its opposite, that is folly? What is the way that wisdom invites us to follow its path, and what is the way that folly appeals to us to follow its contrasting way? This chapter answers that question. Verses 1-12 outline the invitation of wisdom. First, Wisdom’s house is stable (9:1) and celebratory (9:5). Wisdom is not a killjoy, but neither is it crazily unreliable. Wisdom is a joyful solidity, an effervescent reliability. Second, wisdom is characterized by the willingness to learn more (9:7-9). A wise person is noticeable by his constant desire to learn more. It is the fool who thinks he has no more to learn. Third, wisdom, at its very foundation, is…

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    August 8, 2018: Blessed Are Those Who Listen to Me

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Ezra 10, Proverbs 8, Luke 15:11-32, 1 Timothy 5:16-25 Proverbs 8: Occasionally, people give the impression that wisdom is something only attainable to a select few. It is hidden. You cannot see it. You cannot find it. Wisdom can be said to be something esoteric, or belonging only to the clever, or the highly privileged. But according to this passage of the Bible, verses 1-11, wisdom “calls out,” wisdom “raises her voice” (8:1). Wisdom is personified as crying out in the most visible and commonly trafficked places of the city: at the highest point along the way, where the paths meet (the crossroads), beside the city gate. The same is still true today. If you want to learn about God and his wisdom, then in many countries in the Western world, all you have to do is go and find a Bible teaching church. You may have to drive. But…

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    August 7, 2018: Keep My Commands and You Will Live

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Ezra 9, Proverbs 7, Luke 15:1-10, 1 Timothy 5:1-15 Proverbs 7: A great struggle for many people is maintaining fidelity to biblical norms regarding sexuality. How is this to be achieved? Many people assume that such fidelity to biblical norms is for all practical purposes impossible. But should we conclude this, we who have the Spirit of God within us and serve a God whose commands are not burdensome? Down through church history, multitudes of followers of Christ—facing all kinds of temptations not dissimilar to ones we face today—have rejoiced as they have found the daily bread necessary to stay strong and stay the course of biblical fidelity. This chapter gives us some more insight into how this fidelity is achieved, in particular with relation to avoiding adultery. The first key, verses 1-5, comes down to the Word of God. Our actions follow our thoughts, and the Word of God, if we…

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    August 6, 2018: Wise Advice

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Ezra 8, Proverbs 6, Luke 14:25-35, 1 Timothy 4 Proverbs 6: This chapter is filled with wise advice. We cannot parse out every aspect of it in this devotion. I will pick out the core themes of the thoughts which are particularly central. Verses 1-5 urge us to extract ourselves from a deal which leaves us stuck and vulnerable. Sometimes people shake hands on something, or commit themselves to something, and realize that they have fallen into a trap. What to do then? “Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler” (6:4-5). In other words, do something! Do something now about it! Which brings us to verses 6-11, where we are urged to work hard! “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” One…

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    August 5, 2018: Keep a Path Far from Her

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Ezra 7, Proverbs 5, Luke 14:15-24, 1 Timothy 3:11-18 Proverbs 5: Perhaps one of the most important chapters in the Bible today. We are told today—subtly, implicitly, overtly, and explicitly—that sexual liaisons, of various and many kinds, without the boundaries of a committed life-long marriage of a man to a woman, is healthy and beneficial. Adultery, fornication, sexuality of multiple kinds, multiple divorces, and more that this brief devotional cannot survey, let alone diagnose, are the issue du jour of our twenty-first century. If there is an idol we worship today, then surely it is the idol of sex. And yet when we come to this chapter, it warns of adultery in such stark and poignant terms that it is like a splash of cold water across our faces. When you read this chapter, you need to read it against the backdrop of the overall message of the Bible about marriage, as…

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