Devotionals

  • April 20, 2018: How Long, O Lord?

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Judges 17-18, Psalm 89:19-52, Mark 8:1-13, 1 Corinthians 13 Psalm 89:19-52: The vision and the promise are clear. But where are the results? This is a confusing disjunction with which to be faced at the best of times, but especially when the vision belongs to God (verse 19), and the promise is guaranteed also by God (verse 35). “But now you have cast off and rejected; you are full of wrath against your anointed” (verse 38). We know that God’s “forever” promise to David was fulfilled in Christ’s “forever” kingdom. When God says that he will “establish his offspring [or “seed”] forever” (verse 4 and 29), we know that he is referring to the “seed” of Christ (Galatians 3:16). But we still have times when we wonder what God is up to. We still sometimes pray, “How long, O Lord, will you hide yourself forever?” At such times we can ask…

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    April 19, 2018: Forever

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Judges 16, Psalm 89:1-18, Mark 7:24-37, 1 Corinthians 12:14-31 Psalm 89:1-18: Do you want to give your life something that lasts forever? So many people down through the years have attempted to make a name for themselves that lasts beyond the merely temporal and immediate. Great works of art. Military conquest. The list goes on. And yet the sands of time give the lie to the ability of humans to carve out their own destiny with any degree of permanence. Perhaps the most famous reflection on this temporality of our efforts is the poet Shelley’s poem called Ozymandias: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. However “mighty” works appear now, soon they will be little more than dust. But, there is an…

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    April 18, 2018: My Soul Is Full of Troubles

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Judges 13-15, Psalm 88, Mark 7:1-23, 1 Corinthians 12:1-13Psalm 88:“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” This and other similar “old saws” suggest that we are most at threat from physical danger. Certainly, physical danger is not to be eschewed or ignored as if it were nothing. Only those who have never suffered real physical pain or suffering can pretend that the agony of which our body is capable is to be laughed at. No, sticks and stones can break our bones, and outrageous slings and arrows of fortune can leave us adrift and homeless or paralyzed or sick in bed.But, that said, there is a worse pain. When your “soul is full of troubles” (88:3). The strange truth is that a man or woman at peace with God and with themselves can be at peace when in physical pain. The soul at rest is…

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    April 17, 2018: This One and That One Was Born in Her

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Judges 10-12, Psalm 87, Mark 6:45-56, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Psalm 87: This psalm gave inspiration to one of the great hymns of the Christian faith. Written by John Newton in 1779, the hymn well expresses the essence of this psalm: Glorious things of thee are spoken Zion, city of our God… Savior, since of Zion’s city I through grace a member am, Let the world deride or pity, I will glory in Thy name. Fading are the world’s best pleasures, All its boasted pomp and show; Solid joys and lasting treasures None but Zion’s children know. Core to the believer’s confidence is the sure foundation of God’s purposes for his people, the church. It is well said that the church is the one institution that will last into eternity; therefore, invest in it! “The Lord loves the gates of Zion,” verse 2. At the heart of this psalm, in addition though,…

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    April 16, 2018: Incline Your Ear

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Judges 9, Psalm 86, Mark 6:30-44, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 Psalm 86: A prayer for help—“Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy” (86:1). Perhaps you feel like that this morning. You are in need. Listen to this psalm and let its word encourage you to pray to God for help. First, remember who God is. “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you” (86:5). The reason why so many of us don’t pray is because we have a wrong idea about God. A.W. Tozer once said that what a man thinks when he hears the word “God” is the most important thing that can be said about any man. And, if that is true, it is even more true that what we think of God will either drive us to our knees in joy or…

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    April 15, 2018: Righteousness Will Go Before Him

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Judges 8, Psalm 85, Mark 6:14-29, 1 Corinthians 10:14-33 Psalm 85: A few years ago Christians around the world would be found regularly praying for revival. Since then, that habit of asking God to restore his people—which is the theme of this psalm—seems to have waned. Why is that? One of the reasons, I suspect, is because the theology of revival is often insufficiently grasped. By and large, there are two predominant theories about revival which are expressed in congregations today. One is the theory that revival is so utterly a sovereign work of God that there is practically nothing we can do to advance it. This theory naturally tends to result in a kind of passivity where there is revival-talk, and therefore discerning pastors and Christian leaders (who fear lethargy and passivity among their people) tend to dissuade an emphasis upon revival. The other theory is that revival is something…

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    April 14, 2018: Home

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Judges 6-7, Psalm 84, Mark 6:1-13, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13Psalm 84:  One of the most compelling natural instincts we have is for “home.” You see it with the way that ex-patriots struggle to accommodate themselves to new cultures, with how missionaries on furlough sometimes feel quite disorientated, with that longing we have for the place where we grew up. But as we go on with the Christian life we become more and more aware that “this world is not our home.” What then? As the psalmist puts it, “even the sparrow finds a home” (verse 3). This Psalm models for us a longing for our “real home.” It begins: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” That’s the right vision we are all to have. To see that God’s “home” is the place to be! And so the psalmist continues, “My soul longs, yes faints for the courts of the…

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    April 13, 2018: That They May Seek Your Name

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Judges 4-5, Psalm 83, Mark 5:21-43, 1 Corinthians 9:13-27 Psalm 83: These kind of Psalms are hard for us to read, much less to interpret. We are not used to the idea of God’s judgment in any shape or form being expressed with confidence and certitude. And it is especially hard for us to read of this appeal for God to judge against the enemies of God’s people. Did not Jesus command us to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us? Why then does this Psalm model a request that prays “Do to them as you did to Midian…O my God make them as whirling dust, like chaff before the wind” (verses 9, 13)? Partly this is because in the Old Testament God’s people were a nation-state, and their association with the people of God as that nation-state gave them the power of the sword which in the…

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    April 12, 2018: You are gods

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Judges 1-3, Psalm 82, Mark 5:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:1-12 Psalm 82: Have you ever wondered why it is that religion can seem so corrupt? Hardly a day goes by, it seems, that we do not hear of some crisis or other in the world of religion. And then we are told that religion is the cause of all the troubles in the world—a statement that is factually inaccurate. Religion does not cause evil; people cause evil, but people can use the power of religion to advance evil ideas. Nonetheless, it is hard to gainsay or deny the idea that religion can at least sometimes seem corrupt. Even “Christian” religion. In this psalm, God, the Lord God, is in the midst of the “gods.” It is a strange thought; what does it mean? Jesus, in John 10:34, uses this psalm to explain how strange it is for the Jews of his day…

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    April 11, 2018: Listen

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Joshua 24, Psalm 81, Mark 4:21-41, 1 Corinthians 8 Psalm 81: The psalm begins with praise and ends with appeal. This morning, begin your day with praise, and then listen to the appeal that this psalm makes. The praise is loud! “Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!” (81:1). No moderate, refined praise is this! It is LOUD! It is a SHOUT! Roll back your sleeves, lift back your head, and with a full open throat bellow praise to God! (Not recommended if your spouse is asleep beside you as you read this psalm!). But not only is the praise loud, it is also musically variegated. There is a “tambourine,” a “sweet lyre” and a “harp” (81:2). Bang it, pluck it, shake it—sing it! To God be praised! Perhaps the psalm was first designed for a special “feast day” (81:3). And this praise is…

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