Devotionals

  • November 25: Turn Many to Righteousness

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 10-12, Job 22, John 13:31-38, Jude 17-25 Daniel 10-12: Daniel’s vision of a “man” is powerful, frightening, glorious: I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves (10:5-7) Then in chapter 11 Daniel is told of the succession of kingdoms and the persecution of the Jews, which also points to the persecution experienced by the church by anti-Christian forces, and yet is…

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    November 24: Urgent Prayer

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 9, Job 21:22-34, John 13:18-30, Jude 8-16 Daniel 9: Daniel’s prayer is more than worthy of emulation. First, he discerns a clear promise in Scripture (9:2). This is a principle for us to apply: once we have discovered in the Bible a word from God, a promise from God, then utilize that promise in our prayers to God. This is the way to “pray in faith” or “pray in Jesus’ name” or “pray according to God’s will.” We discover what it is that God has promised to do—in this context, bring God’s people back from exile after a certain length of time—and then we go to God in prayer and ask him to act according to his own promise. This prayer of the righteous man is powerful and effective. Second, prayer is combined with confession (9:4). Who can approach the holy God without being conscious of their need for…

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    Thanksgiving: Comparison or Cruciform?

    By Guest

    I’ve noticed something about Christians and their approach to Thanksgiving. They embrace this very biblical practice in a very pragmatic way. They seek to count their many blessings, naming them one by one, to create a mound of thanks that outweighs the mound of disappointment and regret that every one of us faces every day. It goes something like this, “I’m depressed and struggling with finances but really grateful that I have my physical health!” I imagine myself finding someone who is sick and asking them what they are thankful for. The sick person says, “I’m sick, but at least I don’t have cancer.” Then I find someone who has cancer, and they say, “I have cancer, but at least it’s not pancreatic or at least I have health care," or, or, or.  This bizarre game of comparison could go on forever. I’ve even heard some Christians use this to…

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    November 23: Glory and a Kingdom

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 7-8, Job 21:1-21, John 13:12-17, Jude 1-7 Daniel 7-8: Some aspects of these next two chapters are difficult, and as we approach this part of Daniel perhaps we are tempted to think that discretion is the better part of valor when it comes to reading them (let alone interpreting them). We may have sympathy with the great Bible commentator John Calvin who opted to skip over this part of Daniel. Nonetheless, there are truths here that are edifying, useful, profitable—as is all Scripture. In particular, it is good to know—and humbling and edifying—that some parts of what God reveals, his purposes, are too much for us. Like watching Olympic gymnasts going through their routines, the mere experience of knowing that what they are doing is well beyond us helps us realize that there is more to life than we have before grasped. Sometimes we need at least to know…

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    November 22: Writing and Lions

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 5-6, Job 20, John 13:1-11, 3 John 1-14 Daniel 5-6: Two famous stories—so well known that sayings from them and motifs about them have entered into common parlance and conversation even still today. First, “the writing on the wall” (Daniel 5). Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar, is proud; what is more, he arrogantly calls for the vessels taken out of the temple in Jerusalem and uses them in giving praise to the pagan gods of gold (5:1-4). This incenses the holy God and is an offense against him; a hand appears and writes on the wall (5:5). The apparition terrifies the king and his guests, and so they send for the wise men of their age to interpret the meaning of the writing but none can (5:6-9)—until the queen remembers Daniel (5:10-12). Daniel comes along, refuses the monetary reward offered to him, and correctly interprets the writing (5:13-28). Mene, Mene,…

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    November 21: Praise and Extol

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 3-4, Job 19, John 12:37-50, 2 John 1-13 Daniel 3-4: Two famous stories. First, the fiery furnace. The king makes an image of gold and commands everyone to worship it or else be thrown into a fiery furnace (3:1-7). The Jews are accused for failing to engage in such idol worship (3:8-12), and so they are thrown into the furnace (3:13-23)—but amazingly they are preserved (3:24-27). And even more so: “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods” (3:25). And recognizing this as God’s extraordinary miraculous intervention (3:28), the king recognizes God’s unique power: “there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way” (3:29). The king even says, “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation”…

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    November 20: The Lord Gave

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 1-2, Job 18, John 12:20-36, 1 John 5:13-21 Daniel 1-2: The book of Daniel—of great fame and fantastic storytelling ability—calls us also to faithful bravery, even in the midst of opposition. “Dare to be a Daniel.” At the same time, it also calls us to focus on the true and greater Daniel, Jesus Christ, who really sacrificed himself for us and withstood all the attacks of the enemy on our behalf. The first chapter, worthy of careful attention and frequent reading, is structured deliberately around an oft repeated phrase: “And the Lord gave” (1:2, 9, 16, 17). The message is that the exile was under God’s providence, as was Daniel’s bravery and the favor that Daniel earned as a result. What a difference it would make if we could look at the ups and downs of our lives, both negative and positive, as that which “the Lord gave”! It…

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    November 19: The Lord Is There

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 48, Job 17, John 12:12-19, 1 John 5:6-12 Ezekiel 48: The land is now divided up between the different tribes, much of which we had heard before in chapter 45. There is also a plan given for the city itself, and its new name. All this is written to encourage the exiles and assure them of God’s continued plan for them, his people, and to cast a wide vision for the fulfillment of all God’s promises, ultimately in Christ in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen, and to urge us to therefore be diligent in the pursuit of God’s kingdom, and to be prepared for the vision of heaven where God’s promises are finally fulfilled and his presence fully experienced. This last—God’s presence—is here wonderfully intimated, and more than suggested, but claimed and declared by the new name given to God’s city. “And the name…

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    November 18: Flowing Water

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 45-47, Job 16, John 12:1-11, 1 John 5:1-5 Ezekiel 45-47: The first two chapters of this section further describe the division of the land, the temple, the prince, the priests, and the responsibilities and duties in a way that suggests that the fulfillment of these matters is surely in a future gospel state that will far expand beyond the boundaries of the Old Testament. We read of these facts and figures, and other spiritual type, and in further fulfillment in the person of Christ and the gospel church, and see the scale of this gospel church that goes out to all nations, and is finally fulfilled in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Similarly, in chapter 47, Ezekiel’s vision of the holy waters, which if literally interpreted would not be so much sweet as foul, draining away the dregs from all the sacrifices, and seem most likely to…

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    Ora et labora. Pray and Work.

    By Guest

    Ora et Labora. Latin for pray and work. A young man sits scribbling on a manuscript lit by candlelight. Above him are the cool walls of his monastery, the only home he has known since he was seven. He will die here. Outside the walls, men and women walk in uncertainty regarding their government, their livelihood, and even their national identity. Everything has changed seemingly overnight. Fear quickly leads to anger and then despair. But inside the priest keeps writing. Doesn’t he get it? Doesn’t he care about the people’s needs? Yes, yes he does. He’s changing their world one word at a time. He is changing the shape of history itself. The man is Bede and the book, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, is his record of how the gospel of Jesus Christ went forth from Rome and came to the shores of England, Ireland, and Scotland—ultimately…

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