Devotionals

  • 25 Days In

    By ruth

    In this first month of relaunching God Centered Life Ministries (GCL), we have been attempting to introduce you to our ministry as a whole. Through articles from our council and resources defining the passion, vision, and mission of GCL, I hope that you are beginning to get a small taste of the basic core of who we are. Today, I want to conclude this journey of introduction by taking time to explain in detail what it is we practically do as a ministry and the reasons behind what we do, all in an effort to live out our passion, vision, and mission. To begin, I believe that what makes us unique at GCL from other non-profit Christian ministries is our commitment to reminding our brothers and sisters in Christ of the core vision that we are to have as followers of Christ. Namely, the vision of living lives that are God-centered.…

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    Reaching the Campuses

    By ruth

    Reaching the Campuses of Our Great Cities by Planting Churches When we look back at the history of the evangelical church in recent decades, we sadly can see how the church often left and neglected the great cities of our country. It is an unfortunate part of our past that has greatly impacted these cities and the people who live in them. By neglecting these cities, not only did we pull back from them in general, but by those actions we were also neglecting the universities in those cities. Many of the key, culture-shaping universities in our nation are located in or very near more urban settings and for decades have had few healthy churches located within a reasonable proximity. So, hundreds of thousands of students in their most formative years as they wrestle with life and eternity-shaping questions have little access to a church where they can clearly hear…

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    The Vitality of Time and Energy in Church Planting

    By ruth

    One of the biggest challenges for church planters is the gathering of an effective core group. The planter is in need of more than warm bodies to fill those cold folding chairs in his basement. He needs devoted people who are passionate about the gospel and want to see it spread to their friends and neighbors. This group needs to have a pulse on the cultural context so they can effectively communicate gospel truth in understandable ways. These people need to be willing to stay up nights, talk to people they don’t know, go through a gauntlet of try and fail... Where would one find such a crack team of church planting missionaries? Every good church planter knows the answer needs to be “anywhere.” Everyone from the retired grandmother to the middle school teen can potentially add value to a core team. I would submit to you that one group…

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    Thought Crimes and the Silencing of Dissent: Part 2

    By ruth

    This article is the second in a two-part series. Find Part 1 here. Many of these issues are also explored in the author's book entitled A Wilderness of Mirrors: Trusting again in a cynical world (Zondervan 2015).   The Tyranny of Political Correctness Some people have to step up to the plate. No complex society can function without organizing principles and leadership. Even if one is (rightly) sickened by historical abuses of power, the only way of preventing their repetition is for the principled and virtuous to do their best with responsibility. There is always a risk. For as Abraham Lincoln noted, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” So who should exert it? The last millennium of European history could be seen as a parade of different factions getting their moment in the limelight. In crude generalization it went from:…

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    September 26-30, 2016

    By Josh Moody

    In keeping with the Bible reading plan we are using, the last days of each month are designated as “free days.” September 26-30 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 September 26-30, but will pick back up on October 1, 2016, with Jeremiah 1. We welcome your comments also during these days with insights you’ve found during the first 25 days. To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here.

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    A Primer on Justification: Part 4

    By ruth

    This article is the fourth in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we will gradually make available in the coming weeks. Find the other articles: Part 1: The Need For Justification, Part 2: The Centrality of Justification, Part 3: The Meaning of Justification.   The Source of Justification If righteousness is necessary for justification, where does it come from? As we have seen, our problem is that we have no righteousness of our own. So what is the source of justifying righteousness? The source of our justification is God’s free grace. The apostle Paul says it very simply: We “are justified freely by his grace” (Rom. 3:24). The Gospel Coalition gives a more expansive answer: “Inasmuch as Christ was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in…

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    September 25: Tremble at God’s Word

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 65-66, Proverbs 31, Luke 24:45-53, Hebrews 13:9-25 Isaiah 65-66: The end of Isaiah is cosmic in scope, but at its heart it has a spiritual principle that is picked up by Paul over and over again in his letter to the Romans, and is centered on the ministry of Jesus. God was found by those who did not seek him (65:1), while he spread out his hands to a rebellious people (65:2). What is going on is that Israel, God’s people, who apparently seek God, are actually keeping God at arm's length. They say (to God!) “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you” (65:5). But God will reach out to all nations to bring all peoples to himself. Grace is at work, and those who submit to God and his grace, not salvation by works or their own self-righteousness, will be saved.…

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    September 24: Rend the Heavens

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 62-64, Proverbs 30, Luke 24:36-44, Hebrews 13:1-8 Isaiah 62-64: Beautiful words, but what do they mean? We start by hearing of God’s care for his people. “For Zion’s sake,” “For Jerusalem’s sake” (62:1); God gives himself for the sake of his people. This atoning, substitutionary, redemptive focus goes throughout these chapters. We are told that his people will have a “new name” (62:2). “Delight,” “Married,” “A City Not Forsaken” (62:4, 12). And for this end we are to seek his kingdom with all that is in us, “Give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem” (62:7). Seek first the kingdom of God. Or, as William Carey famously said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” Somehow—and here in these pages it is not as clear as it will be in the New Testament—God’s wrath, and his salvation, are working together as an expression of his covenant love…

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    3 Types of Fool

    By ruth

    This article was written by Tim Challies and previously posted on his website at challies.com on September 13, 2015. Be sure to visit the website for other articles, book reviews and more.  In his book Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion, Os Guinness portrays three types of fools in the Bible: The Fool Proper, The Fool Bearer, and The Fool Maker. I found it a fascinating discussion. There are three types of fool in the Bible, and Erasmus restored the way of the third fool to recover the power of subversive persuasion in order to make his point. His point is crucial to our discussion, for the way of the third fool carries the power of the cross and contains the secret of creative persuasion that our Christian advocacy needs today. The first type of fool in the Bible is the character that might be called the fool proper. … [T]here is one fool…

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    September 23: Centered upon God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 59-61, Proverbs 29:15-27, Luke 24:28-35, Hebrews 12:14-39 Isaiah 59-61: It begins with a great promise: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;” (Isaiah 59:1) But then goes on to explain that their sin had led to a breach: “The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths… Therefore justice is far from us.” (Isaiah 59:8-9) What is the answer to this situation, this strange and difficult conundrum, that God is the Savior and able to save, and yet at the same time that God’s people are not acting in ways that concord with a saved people? The answer, Isaiah sees, is that God himself will intercede. “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his…

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