Devotionals

  • April 9, 2018: How Long, O Lord?

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 20-21, Psalm 79, Mark 3:20-35, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 Psalm 79: Calamity breeds its own kind of despair. It is difficult to know how to respond when something tragic and terrible occurs. How can we answer the cries of those who are brought low? How can we find strength to help those trod down under foot? How can we discover the inner strength to keep going in the midst of a storm? But while any kind of calamity breeds despair, there is a particular kind of calamity that breeds a special kind of despair for the Christian. That calamity is when God’s people are defeated. It has certainly happened in church history. Augustine faced this when the pagans said that the reason why Rome was being destroyed was because it had gone over to the worship of Christ. What did Christians say when Constantinople was finally sacked by the Moslems? How…

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    April 8, 2018: Remember

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 18-19, Psalm 78:40-72, Mark 3:1-19, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Psalm 78:40-72: The psalm continues with a description of the capitulation of God’s people to sin and rebellion against God. It is a sad lament. Why does the psalmist spend so much time telling us of these things? The answer is that he writes these things to warn us. Immersed in this description of capitulation to rebellion and testing, there are elements where the psalmist describes the roots of the rebellion—things that we should be careful to avoid cultivating in our own lives, and in the lives of our communities. First of all, we should take note that high spiritual privileges do not necessitate long faithfulness. The Old Testament people of God had experienced God rescuing them from Egypt—which this psalm dramatically recounts. They had experienced God defeating their enemies in the conquest of Israel. And yet, they turned their backs…

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    April 7, 2018: Ephraim

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 15-17, Psalm 78:1-39, Mark 2:18-28, 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 Psalm 78:1-39: Family histories are normally replete with messages affirming the preeminence of that family’s particular genetic heritage. Sure, there are a few nuts in every family, but by and large it is natural for us to prefer the testimony of our family—with all its foibles—over that of any others. Similarly, national histories tend to whitewash over the stains of dishonor. The story of a particular battle, or calamity, that effects multiple nations is often told with very different moral lessons in the national histories of the various countries involved—invariably favoring the country which finances the telling of that particular history. History, it is said, is told by the victors, and they will advance a narrative of their own choosing to make the point of their preeminence. How strange it is then to read this “teaching” (78:1) of Israel’s family history! There…

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    April 6, 2018: I Will Appeal to This

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 13-14, Psalm 77, Mark 2:13-17, 1 Corinthians 5Psalm 77:In this psalm is a great principle that any disciple of God can use for their own suffering or perplexing situation still today. The psalmist is in difficulties. It is “the day of my trouble” (77:2). We are not told exactly what this “trouble” was, but that it is characterized as “the day of my trouble” underlines that it was beyond the mere normal regular annoyances of life. This was a particular day, a particular time, a particularly and especially difficult season. We say that certain seasons, in the famous words, are the best of times and also the worst of times. Even in terrible days, a little sunshine falls. But there is not even—so it seemed—any mitigating experience of the more positive for the psalmist at this moment. It is all “the day of my trouble.” Are you in that kind…

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    April 5, 2018: Fear God

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 10-12, Psalm 76, Mark 2:1-12, 1 Corinthians 4Psalm 76:  What is the least mentioned characteristic of God in the contemporary church? I suppose different answers could be given to that question, but to my mind the answer is given in this psalm: fear. We are quick to exult in God’s love (as we should), but without a balancing proposition of the fear of God, we create a Santa Claus character that has little to do with the God of the Bible—and ironically not much to do with love either. Love, to be real, and certainly to be the love of God, is expressed in the sheer wonder of “love to the loveless shown.” It is love that is so great precisely because it is so undeserved. And not only undeserved, a love that takes wrath that we might go free. Thus, the fear of God is necessary to any real…

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    April 4, 2018: His Name Is Near

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 8-9, Psalm 75, Mark 1:35-45, 1 Corinthians 3 Psalm 75: Why give thanks to God? There are many answers to that question, not least because of his saving grace wrought at the cross. But here the psalm has a particular and perhaps slightly enigmatic reason in its focus: “for your name is near” (75:1). The reason why, then, we are encouraged in this psalm to give thanks to God is because his name is near. The psalm then goes on to explain what it means by this phrase that God’s name is “near.” It is God who “appoints” and who “judges.” He it is that keeps the earth stable—with all the difficulties and calamities of our world, it is God who stops it all spiraling out of control: “it is I who keep steady its pillars” (75:3). He stops the boastful and the wicked (75:4-5). And it is God who…

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    April 3, 2018: Arise, O God

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 6-7, Psalm 74, Mark 1:21-34, 1 Corinthians 2 Psalm 74: Why do bad things happen to good people? Most of us have asked that question from time to time, and a species of that sort of question frames this psalm. “O God, why do you cast us off forever?” (74:1). The question of this psalm is not so much why do bad things happen to good people, but more why do bad things happen to God’s people. We all know that there is none who is truly righteous, and so in a sense we expect that in this fallen world we will all experience suffering on occasion. But the bigger conundrum for the believer is why God apparently lets bad things happen to his own people. It does indeed sometimes seem as if he has “cast us off.” The psalmist does not so much answer the philosophical question as in…

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    April 2, 2018: All Are Yours

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 3-5, Psalm 73, Mark 1:9-20, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Psalm 73: Have you ever felt as if the people who really have all the fun are those who are not following God? That is the feeling that this psalmist was wrestling with. He starts out by stating the pious truth that he knows he should believe: “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart” (73:1). But soon enough the reality comes in hard. Why? “I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (73:3). How is it that all those who do not follow God manage to do so well in life if it is really true that the “pure in heart” are so blessed by God? In his dismay at the reality of the prosperity of the wicked, the psalmist then goes to great length to record just how prosperous they are! (73:4-12). This description culminates…

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    April 1, 2018: The Whole Earth Filled with His Glory!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 1-2, Psalm 72, Mark 1:1-8, 1 Corinthians 1:1-17 Psalm 72: This is apparently a prayer “of David” (72:20) about his Solomon (“the royal son,” 72:1). There are three themes of this prayer: justice, blessing, and kingdom expansion globally. The first central theme of this prayer is “justice”: “Give the king your justice, O God” (72:1) “May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!” (72:2) “Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness!” (72:3) “May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!” (72:4) “For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their…

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    March 26-31, 2018

    By Josh Moody

    In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” March 26-31 then are intended to allow you to catch up on reading you may have missed or to study passages more in depth that intrigued you during the first 25 days of the month. With this in mind, God Centered Bible will not have a devotional for March 26-31, but will pick back up on April 1, 2018. We welcome your comments also during these days with insights you’ve found during the first 25 days.

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