Devotionals

  • June 11, 2018: Help Me!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 19-20, Psalm 119:81-88, Luke 4:13-30, Ephesians 6:1-9 Psalm 119:81-88: Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you cannot take it anymore? You have been burdened by so many things, so much criticism, or such great calamity that you feel that you are at the end of your rope? The psalmist is somewhere close to that in this part of the psalm. He is “longing” for God’s salvation, “longing” for his promise (119:81-82), because he has “become like a wineskin in the smoke” (119:83). What an evocative description! Spluttering, hot, unpleasant! What is more, those who oppose him (“the insolent”) “have dug pitfalls” for him (119:85). They are out to get him, and there are traps everywhere. They also “persecute him with falsehood” (119:86). He really is in a tough spot. What can he do about it? In many ways, in this psalm that is all…

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    June 10, 2018: What to Pray When You Suffer

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 15-16, Psalm 119:73-80, Luke 3:21-38, Ephesians 5:1-21 Psalm 119:73-80: This part of the psalm continues with the psalmist’s reflection upon and resolution regarding his own suffering. Consider: “I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (119:75). Or again: “Let the insolent be put to shame, because they have wronged me with falsehood” (119:78). Apparently, the psalmist was not only suffering physically, but also was being accused of some wrong or had some wrong being done to him. There was relational as well as physical suffering. The old rhyme—“sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me”—has never been true. In fact, the verbal wrong—the “falsehood” spoken against you—can feel almost as painful as the metaphor by which we often describe it: a stab in the back. In this situation the psalmist is praying for some particular…

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    June 9, 2018: The Purpose of Suffering

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 13-14, Psalm 119:65-72, Luke 3:1-20, Ephesians 4:25-32 Psalm 119:65-72: The problem of suffering is one of the great perennial questions posed to Christians. How can a good God allow bad things to happen to good people? Asked like that, the question appears to be unsolvable. Either God is not really God (omnipotent), or he is not really good, or both. Which is it? But the problem of suffering needs to be asked in the correct form. Namely: how is it that a good God does not immediately send to hell his sinful creation? The answer is that he has found a way to redeem them through the sacrifice of his own Son at the cross. All this is theological and apologetic background to the particular aspect of this section of Psalm 119 that we have before us today. The psalmist has been “afflicted.” In layman’s terms, that means he…

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    June 8, 2018:The Lord Is My Portion

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 12, Psalm 119:57-64, Luke 2:41-52, Ephesians 4:17-24 Psalm 119:57-64: In some ways life is all about decisions. You cannot be everything. If you do not decide to be something, life will force upon you a something that you may not have wanted. You have to decide—to cut off yourself from various options and potentials in order to be able to embrace other options and potentials. Such is the nature of life: you can’t be every place at every time and in every career and in relationship with every person. You must decide. This psalmist is saying in our section this morning that he has decided for God. He has made the Lord his “portion” (119:57). That is, out of the various options and lifestyles and ways of being, he has decided to follow God. The Lord is the one that he has decided to be his Lord, and he…

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    June 7, 2018: A Biblical Way to Deal with an Affliction

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 11, Psalm 119:49-56, Luke 2:21-40, Ephesians 4:1-16 Psalm 119:49-56: The author of this great, as well as lengthy, psalm is clearly in some sort of difficulty at a personal level. There are various hints of this throughout the psalm, but one of the most pertinent and clear is in this section of the psalm in particular. He has an “affliction” (119:50); there are those who are “deriding” him (119:51); and he is experiencing frustration about the way God’s Word is being treated so that he has “hot indignation” (119:53). Perhaps he is not at home or is displaced, or maybe he feels that way in particular when he senses the brevity of life because of his sickness: he talks of the “house of his sojourning” (119:54). He may be suffering from sleeplessness, insomnia too: “I remember your name in the night, O LORD” (119:55). It is always an encouragement…

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    June 6, 2018: May God’s Love Come to You

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 9-10, Psalm 119:41-48, Luke 2:1-20, Ephesians 3:14-21 Psalm 119:41-48: Indubitably, the thing we most need is: love. And in particular, the love of God. His love, when all other loves fail, does not fail. And so this section of the psalm begins with this earnest cry: “Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord”(119:41). Would you pray that too this morning? Would you ask God to show you his faithful, steadfast love? The consequences of such assurance are great: “Then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me” (119:42). And “I shall walk in a wide space” (119:45)—not hemmed in, narrowed down, confined. But with a space to expand and grow and develop. And “I will also speak of your testimonies before kings” (119:46)—speaking and witnessing opportunities to influence the influential. All comes from this pouring out of God’s love upon the psalmist. Would you then ask…

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    June 5, 2018: God Tells the Man Who Cares

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 8, Psalm 119:33-40, Luke 1:67-80, Ephesians 3:1-13 Psalm 119:33-40: This section of this psalm once again gives the lie to the idea that the desire to keep the law (or God’s Word) in the way it is expressed here or in the Bible is in anyway legalistic. No, instead, the psalmist is ardently praying that God would help him, teach him, lead him, that he might be empowered to follow God’s Word. There is a need for God’s gracious intervention for us to be able to follow God at all. Listen to the number of times that the psalmist here asks God to help him keep God’s law, and the necessity of that before it is possible for him to do what God’s Word says. “Teach me…and I will keep it…” (119:33). “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law…” (119:34). “Lead me…” (119:35). “Incline my heart to…

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    June 4, 2018: Enlarge My Heart

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 6-7, Psalm 119:25-32, Luke 1:57-66, Ephesians 2:11-22 Psalm 119:25-32: What do you do when you don’t feel like studying the Bible? All of us at some point or other find that our feelings do not match our commitments. Worse still, what do you do when you find that you don’t feel like seeking God at all? The doctrine of our day and our time would be to follow your feelings. Anything else is viewed as repression and being disingenuous—or not true to who you really are. In that case, then, the answer would be to not study the Bible if you don’t feel like it, or not to seek God if you don’t feel like it either. But there is a better way, and that is to pray the prayer of this psalm. The psalmist finds that his “soul clings to the dust” (119:25). He finds that his soul…

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    June 3: Open My Eyes

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 4-5, Psalm 119:17-24, Luke 1:39-56, Ephesians 2:1-10 Psalm 119:17-24: One of the primary mistakes that we tend to make when we think of studying God’s Word is to under-emphasize its supernatural quality. That is, we treat the Bible too much as a puzzle to interpret by our own strength, instead of doing the truly hard work of asking God to show us its meaning. There is no replacement for knee work if we are to do Bible work, no alternative but to ask God to speak to us through his Word if we wish to hear what he has to say. Yet so often we go along readily enough through a passage of the Bible as if it is merely a text book or a blog, and not something that is a voice from heaven to us, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The…

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    June 2, 2018: How Can a Young Man Keep His Way Pure?

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Kings 2-3, Psalm 119:9-16, Luke 1:26-38, Ephesians 1:15-23 Psalm 119:9-16: The question with which this part of Psalm 119 opens is a question that has troubled young men from time immemorial. It is ever pertinent and important, and sometimes for some people seemingly unattainable. “How can a young man keep his way pure?” (119:9). While the psalmist asks this question, let us begin by giving him credit for asking it at all. First of all, it is apparent that he wants to be pure. Do you? If you do, that is a great first step! It is a sign of God’s work in you that you desire to be pure! “Give me clean hands and a pure heart”: is that your request and your desire? If so, be encouraged—even if you feel you have failed recently. It is a sign that God is at work in you: that you want to be…

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