Devotionals

  • May 13, 2018: Save Us, O Lord Our God!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 29-31, Psalm 106:24-48, Mark 13:14-31, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 Psalm 106:24-48: The litany of sins of God’s people continues. They refused to enter the Promised Land (106:24-27). They worshipped idols even in the desert (106:28-31). They even caused Moses, that meekest man on the face of the planet, to become bitter (106:32-33). They did not drive out the pagan peoples from the Promised Land, ending up following their detestable practices including child sacrifice (106:34-39). Therefore, God “gave them into the hand of the nations” (106:41). Many times, though, he delivered them, “when he heard their cry” (106:44). “For their sake he remembered his covenant” (106:45). Why does this psalm continue to tell this sorrowful tale of the failings of God’s people? We thought of several reasons when we looked at the first part of this psalm. In addition, though, and most importantly, the psalmist recounts this story to cause God’s…

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    May 12, 2018: A Strange Thanksgiving

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 26-28, Psalm 106:1-23, Mark 13:1-13, 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 Psalm 106:1-23: Surely few, if any, would write a song like this one today, or include its emphases in their annual report! This psalm starts out traditionally enough (“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever”), but it soon goes to unfamiliar territory. When the psalmist asks that God “remember” him with “favor,” it is quickly followed by a litany of the sins of God’s people! Not normally the subject of a song that we would write for praise today—all the mistakes, sins, rebellion of the people of God! The psalmist recounts their sin before they crossed the Red Sea, their sin in the desert, and their sin making a golden calf as an idol. It would be like writing a song today that instead of celebrating all the great…

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    May 11, 2018: Give Thanks!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 24-25, Psalm 105, Mark 12:35-44, 2 Corinthians 10 Psalm 105: We sometimes think that “giving thanks” is mainly a personal or emotional activity. Some people are more thankful than others by temperament. Others of us need to learn to be thankful. But in either case we are dealing with something that is internal, emotional—albeit able to be disciplined—but mainly related to the subjective, the personal. Here in this psalm, however, the thanksgiving is rooted in the objective work of God. We are to “give thanks” to the Lord because of his “deeds” and his “wondrous works.” And more specifically it is God’s work of salvation. The psalmist has four main lynchpins of such thanksgiving that fuel his praise. From verses 8 to 15, he recounts the story of Abraham to particularly emphasize that God made a promise to his people to give them the land of Canaan. This reminds…

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    May 10, 2018: You Are Very Great!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 21-23, Psalm 104, Mark 12:28-34, 2 Corinthians 9 Psalm 104: Once more we are being called upon to the “bless the Lord.” What it means to “bless the Lord” we considered yesterday. We said that “to bless God is akin to praising God; blessing God is a particular kind of praise of God. It is to say that God in his own person, and in his own deeds and actions, is blessed, good, perfect, and right.” This psalm, though, adds to our praises because it gives us—at some length and at great detail—a magnificent reason to praise God. It tells us what that reason is in the first verse, and then follows through to expand on that reason throughout the rest of the psalm. “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great!” The reason this psalm advances for us to bless God is simply…

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    May 9, 2018: Bless the Lord!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 19-20, Psalm 103, Mark 12:13-27, 2 Corinthians 8 Psalm 103: To be blessed by God is to be the recipient of his benefaction. It is to be declared by him as being in a blessed or favorable state. The blessedness of the redeemed is described by Jesus in the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in his famous Benedictions. And the blessedness of those who are glorying in the presence of God is exulted in the Book of Revelation. To be blessed by God is familiar language to us; but what it does mean for us to bless God? To bless God is not to give God something he does not already possess (as none of us can do that), but rather to declare that who God already is is blessed. In that sense, to bless God is akin to praising God; blessing God is a particular kind of praise of…

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    May 8, 2018: The Day of Distress

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 17-18, Psalm 102, Mark 12:1-12, 2 Corinthians 7 Psalm 102: One of the great challenges of some songs, and some published prayers, is that they give the impression that life as a Christian is one long feast of rejoicing and celebration. But while a song of triumph has its place, triumphalism is rarely warranted. Even in the midst of a celebration of a great event of kingdom advance, some will be mourning over a deceased husband or child. And too often when we look out at the morning we are unsure how—in our own human strength—we will be faithful to the evening. The psalmist of Psalm 102 is in great difficulty. It is the “day of my distress” (102:2). Perhaps you sense that for yourself today, or over the last few weeks or months. What do you do about such feelings, or when you are facing those kinds of…

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    May 7, 2018: A Prayer for Leaders

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 15-16, Psalm 101, Mark 11:27-33, 2 Corinthians 6 Psalm 101: A model prayer for any leader follows. David begins with praising God for his covenant love. All godly leadership is rooted in a personal relationship with God. Many leaders get into trouble when their leadership demands outstrip their spirituality roots. Make sure that you have a deep relationship with God, cultivate that relationship, nurture it; that relationship with God is the foundation for everything. But while it is foundational, a personal time of quiet with God is not enough. That relationship must produce real integrity of heart. And integrity of heart at home, “within my house.” No Christian leader will long remain effectual if his public persona is divorced from his private life. One key way to maintain such private faithfulness is to be careful what we look at and where we look. “I will not set before my…

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    May 6, 2018: Thanksgiving!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 14, Psalm 100, Mark 11:12-26, 2 Corinthians 5 Psalm 100: Thanksgiving is not merely reserved for the annual American celebration of Thanksgiving. It is a characteristic of the mature Christian life. Christians struggle; they have difficulties; they suffer. But in the middle of it all, there is open to us a life that is embedded with the spirit of thanksgiving. Psalms like this one can help us see why. It starts with singing. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” (100:1). If your natural vocal abilities are somewhat below average, that is no reason to avoid singing to God. There is something of a dearth of singing in churches these days; you look around at some gatherings and wonder whether anyone is really singing at all. It is time to put all that to one side and throw back your throat, open your mouth wide, and…

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    May 5, 2018: For the Lord Our God is Holy

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 11-13, Psalm 99, Mark 11:1-11, 2 Corinthians 4 Psalm 99: The beginning of this psalm makes a fascinating contrast with the start of Psalm 97. Psalm 97, verse 1: “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice;” Psalm 99 verse 1: “The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!” Both are appropriate responses to the reign of the Lord. It is appropriate to rejoice with exuberance because of God’s rule. It is also appropriate to tremble with fear. In fact, our joy is never so complete as when it is a fearsome joy. The man who rejoices at a pancake has significantly less joy than the man who rejoices at the top of Mount Everest. There is more fear at the top of the mountain, but also more joy. And so with God his fearsome reality is not conflicting with the joyful experience of him but confirming. Neither is it wrong…

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    May 4, 2018: Sing!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 9-10, Psalm 98, Mark 10:35-52, 2 Corinthians 3 Psalm 98: Once more the psalmist calls us to sing in joy to God! We are to sing a “new song.” It is easy to begin to go through life with furrowed brow and hunched back, looking down at your feet and smiling with the corners of your mouth turned down! Such ravens of religion, squawking their disaffection in melancholy tones, do nothing to commend the God they serve. Christians are to be joyful people, singing people. We all have times when we do not feel happy, and sadness, even depression, is an experience that is commensurate with genuine Christian faith. Christ was a man of sorrows himself. But the Christian is to sing! How strange it is to gather together in worship and for there to be no singing, or for the people not to sing at all. We…

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