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"The Life of D.L. Moody"


Jesus commands every follower, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Today’s devotional thoughts are about the life of D.L. Moody. He was born in Northfield, Massachusetts, to a Unitarian bricklayer’s family. His father died when Moody was 4, leaving nine children for his mother, Betsey, to raise. His mother never encouraged Dwight to read the Bible, and he only acquired the equivalent of a fifth-grade education.

He went out on his own at age 17 and sold shoes in his uncle’s Boston store. He also attended YMCA and Sunday school classes, where he became a Christian at age 18. Shortly after that, he moved to Chicago, where he sold shoes and worked toward his goal of amassing a fortune of $100,000.

It slowly dawned on Moody that, in light of his new faith, his life should not be spent on amassing wealth as much as on helping the poor. In 1858 he established a mission Sunday school at North Market Hall in a slum of Chicago. It soon blossomed into a church (from which, six years later, was formed the Illinois Street Independent Church, precursor to the now famous Moody Memorial Church). By 1861 he had left his business to concentrate on social and evangelistic work. He drew the children of the German and Scandinavian immigrant underclass to his mission with candy and pony rides, and he drew the adults through evening prayer meetings and English classes. He was convinced, "If you can really make a man believe you love him, you have won him." Having this in mind, he tried to mix effective social work with evangelism.

The Great Chicago Fire in October 1871 destroyed Moody’s mission church, his home, and the YMCA. He served as the president of the Chicago YMCA, which stood for Young Men’s Christian Association. He traveled to New York to raise funds to rebuild the church and the YMCA, but while walking down Wall Street, he felt what he described as "a presence and power" as he had never known before, so much that he cried aloud, "Hold Lord, it is enough!" He returned to Chicago with a new vision and conviction that preaching the Kingdom of God, not social work, would change the world. He now devoted his energies solely to the evangelization of the world in his generation. He used every opportunity to preach.

Through his revival work, he saw the need for an army of Bible-trained lay people to continue the work of inner-city evangelism. "If this world is going to be reached," he said, "I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent. After all, there are comparatively few people in this world who have great talents." In 1879 he established Northfield Seminary for girls, followed two years later by Mount Hermon School for boys.

Finally, in 1886, Moody started the Bible-Work Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society (renamed Moody Bible Institute shortly before his death), one of the first in the Bible school movement. From this work, he launched yet another work, the Colportage Association (later Moody Press), an organization using horse-drawn "Gospel wagons" from which students sold low-cost religious books and tracts throughout the nation.

Moody’s youth contains no hints that he would later become a famous evangelist. Most Americans today probably would fail even to identify Dwight Lyman Moody as a nineteenth-century evangelist. Yet during his day, he was internationally renowned. Moody often spoke to audiences of ten thousand to twenty thousand people. He presented the plan of Salvation, by voice or pen, to at least one hundred million people. An awkward country boy with a grade-school education, saved and transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, became the greatest evangelist of his time.

Here are some quotes by D.L. Moody that I hope inspire and encourages your faith.

  • “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.”

  • "Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian."

  • “So, if we only lead one soul to Christ, we may set a stream in motion that will flow on when we are dead and gone.”

  • “So if you turn one to Christ, that one may turn a hundred; they may turn a thousand, and so the stream, small at first, goes on broadening and deepening as it rolls toward eternity.”

  • “Before we pray that God would fill us, I believe we ought to pray Him to empty us.”

  • “Cling to the whole Bible, not a part of it. A man is not going to do much with a broken sword.”

  • “When I pray, I talk to God, but when I read the Bible, God is talking to me."

  • "The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation."

  • “You cannot heal the brokenhearted without the Comforter.”

  • “Many men want a religion in which there is no cross."

  • “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”

  • “He who kneels the most, stands the best.”

  • "We ought to see the face of God every morning before we see the face of man."

  • "If I walk with the world, I can’t walk with God."

  • "This lost world will never be reached and brought back to loyalty to God, until the children of God wake up to the fact that they have a mission in the world. If we are true Christians we should all be missionaries."

  • "A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine."

Much love and care,

Pastor Pat

Greece Assembly of God

In Partnership with

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