Devotionals

  • The Immense Value of Missionary Biographies

    By ruth

      Outside of the Bible, biographies can be some of the most encouraging, inspiring, challenging, and beneficial types of books for Christians to read. We learn valuable lessons from reading about the lives of other people—their trials and their triumphs, their struggles and their strengths, their greatest mistakes and their greatest achievements. But there is one particular kind of biography that I believe has immense value for Christians, arguably more value than any other kind, and that is the missionary biography. So in the brief space I have here, I want to commend to you the practice of reading missionary biographies by highlighting just a few reasons why they are so valuable.  One, missionary biographies fuel and inform our prayers for missionaries. Reading their stories reminds us that most days on the mission field are a grind, not glamorous. We’re reminded that missionaries frequently face loneliness and discouragement. Often times,…

    Continue Reading >

    September 22: Conviction for Healing

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 56-58, Proverbs 29:1-14, Luke 24:13-27, Hebrews 12:1-13 Isaiah 56-58: There is blessing on offer in Isaiah 56, along with command, “keep justice” (56:1), and promise for “an everlasting name that shall not be cut off” (56:5). But Israel’s leaders are irresponsible—they are “blind” and “without knowledge” (56:10). They are drunkards, “let us fill ourselves with strong drink” (56:12). In fact, there are signs of their difficulties: “the righteous man perishes” (57:1). Sometimes godly people are taken through death to eternal life to save them from the calamity of the situation around them. The wicked of Israel had been debaucherous and practiced infanticide (57:5)—unwanted babies are a natural result of flagrant immorality. They have kept on with this, not let it weary them; they were not “faint” (57:10). But their “idols” (57:13) will not deliver them. The way of God is different. “I dwell in the high and holy place, and…

    Continue Reading >

    The Priority of Life

    By ruth

    Have you ever found yourself overbooked with just too many things to do? There have been such times in my life when I really felt “stretched.” It was during one of those times when there were many moving parts in the business I was leading that I sought advice from my friend Peter Drucker. In giving his advice, Peter reminded me in a very forceful way that the issues before me in the business were not about determining priorities but instead about determining the priority and doing it. He then gave me a history lesson on the use of the word "priority." It came into the English language in the fourteenth century, but it wasn’t until the twentieth century that it was pluralized. Later that evening as I was reading in the book of Matthew, I came to the words in chapter 6:33, “… seek first the kingdom of God and his…

    Continue Reading >

    September 21: A Word That Shall Not Return Empty

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 54-55, Proverbs 28:15-28, Luke 24:1-12, Hebrews 11:32-40 Isaiah 54-55: In these chapters there is given a multitude of reasons to sing for joy. Throughout all is the conviction that God will restore the fortunes of his people through the promised salvation—ultimately through the Christ. Listen to some of these promises: For the children of the desolate one will be more  than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 54:1) It is too easy for us to think that natural situations, ability, character, family will determine spiritual fruitfulness. Not so, says the Lord. Therefore: Enlarge the place of your tent (Isaiah 54:2) And: For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. (Isaiah 54:7) What is more: O, afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. (Isaiah 54:11)…

    Continue Reading >

    “The Authority of the Bible” Panel, September 25, 6:00 p.m.

    By Josh Moody

    Is Scripture authoritative? Can we trust Scripture as the very words of God Almighty? These are questions that God’s people have wrestled with from the beginning, and are questions that are extremely relevant in today’s skeptical Western culture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 declares, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Scripture itself makes the declaration that it is authored ultimately by God himself and that as a result, it is useful for all areas of life in order that the follower of Christ might be completely prepared to serve God. However, there are many skeptics both in the church and outside the church today that would argue that certain parts of Scripture should not be in the canon, that there are authorial integrity issues in…

    Continue Reading >

    Thought Crimes and the Silencing of Dissent: Part 1

    By ruth

    abThe Justice Behind Political Correctness Human experience has always shaped human language—how can it be otherwise? We experience something for the first time and so root around for the best words to articulate it. That way we can share something of it with others. But if that experience is genuinely groundbreaking, we must invent new words. With the last century’s rate of change showing no sign of decelerating in ours, it is no surprise that neologisms must to be forged almost on a daily basis.  "Internet cafe," "biometric," and "vlogger" would have been meaningless to our grandparents and many of our parents! But the opposite is also true. Life and society get shaped by our language and stories. Or as Oscar Wilde put it, “Life imitates art.” It’s harder (though not impossible) to conceive of something if we lack the vocabulary to describe it. Our stories mold the expectations in…

    Continue Reading >

    September 20: Him Who Died for You

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 51-53, Proverbs 28:1-14, Luke 23:50-56, Hebrews 11:17-31 Isaiah 51-53: More ground breaking, astonishing prophecies from Isaiah! First, God’s people, in Isaiah 51, are told to be comforted, to look to the “rock” from which they were hewn (51:1). Remember Abraham. Remember Sarah (51:2). Remember how God rescued them from Egypt. If God can do all that, can he not again rescue them? Then in Isaiah 52, they are told to wake up! Good news is coming; in fact, in the famous words, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news” (52:7). God’s servant, this suffering servant, shall act “wisely” (52:13), and as he was so marred and wounded, so shall his blood “sprinkle nations” (52:15). There is a redemptive act that is coming. Isaiah 53 is worth studying at length, memorizing, taking on board, letting it affect every part of your mind and heart.…

    Continue Reading >

    A Primer on Justification: Part 3

    By ruth

    This article is the third in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that will be made available over the coming weeks. Find the other articles: Part 1: The Need For Justification, Part 2: The Centrality of Justification.   The Meaning of Justification The vocabulary of justification comes from the law court, where “to justify” is a declarative verb. In its noun form “justification” is a legal word that refers to a person’s judicial standing. The biblical terms surrounding justification find their origin in legal relationships. The Greek verb dikaioo, which means “to justify,” is essentially a forensic term that “denotes basically a sentence of acquittal.”1 To justify is to render a favorable verdict, to declare a person to be in the right, to announce forgiveness in legal terms. Justification is vindication. It is a decision of the court stating that someone has a right relationship to God and his law. It is the pronouncement that—as…

    Continue Reading >

    September 19: Not Forgotten

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 49-50, Proverbs 27:15-27, Luke 23:44-49, Hebrews 11:1-16 Isaiah 49-50: I have often thought when looking at these momentous chapters of Isaiah, “Who is equal to these things?” Well is Isaiah often said to be the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. Chapter 49 deals with the disappointment of God’s people, their fear that he will forget them or no longer use them. But God says, “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (49:6). “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (49:15). It is hard to imagine a mother forgetting her nursing child—surely not! And yet even if that were possible, which it is at least highly unlikely, it is simply impossible that God…

    Continue Reading >

    September 18: The God Who Is and There Is No Other

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 46-48, Proverbs 27:1-14, Luke 23-38-43, Hebrews 10:19-39 Isaiah 46-48: Throughout these chapters, the fortunes of those who trust in idols are compared with the blessing of those who trust in God. The idols of Bel and Nebo are carried on beasts of burden—and even the beast cannot reliably carry them (46:1-2). In contrast, God’s people, the remnant of the house of Israel, have been borne by God himself (46:3-4). While idols are a burden that no man or beast can bear, God carries us, cares for us, and saves us. What a difference between the two! One is a burden and a failure. The other is a support and is salvation! Let us ask ourselves: is our idea of “religion” one of a burden, an impossible load that no one can carry (like the Pharisees approach to “religion”)? Or is our idea of God more like the real God…

    Continue Reading >