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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: DEVOTIONS IN Matthew
Devotional - Son Of The Resurrection
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 30, 2019
Devotional - Son Of The Resurrection

“Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you.” – Matthew 28:7

 

Dr. Joseph Hartounian was an American Presbyterian theologian and a former professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. He wrote widely on theological matters and on the role of the church in the world.

His family had immigrated to America from Armenia. One day a well-meaning friend said to him, “Your name is difficult to pronounce and difficult to spell–it could hurt your professional career.

Why don’t you change your name to Harwood or Harwell or something like that?”

Dr. Hartounian asked, “What do those names mean?”

His friend said, “Well, nothing. They’re just easier to remember.”

Dr. Hartounian replied, “In Armenia, when my grandfather was baptized, they named him Hartounian which means ‘Resurrection.’ I am Joseph Hartounian and I will be a son of Resurrection all my days.”

 

Everyone who believes that Jesus rose from the dead is a son of the Resurrection. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His resurrection and that one day we will see Him and be with Him.

 

“Belief in the Resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith.” – John S. Whale

 

God’s Word: “In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'” – Luke 24:5-6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Victor's Shout
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 29, 2019
Devotional - The Victor's Shout

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.” – Matthew 27:50

 

In his commentary on Matthew, William Barclay wrote the following about Jesus’ last moments on the Cross: “Some thought he was calling on Elijah; they must have been Jews. One of the great gods of the pagans was the sun--Hellos. A cry to the sun god would have begun "Helie!" and it has been suggested that the soldiers may have thought that Jesus was crying to the greatest of the pagan gods. In any event, his cry was to the watchers a mystery.

But here is the point. It would have been a terrible thing if Jesus had died with a cry like that upon his lips--but he did not. The narrative goes on to tell us that, when he shouted with a great shout, he gave up his spirit. That great shout left its mark upon men's minds. It is in every one of the gospels (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46). But there is one gospel which goes further. John tells us that Jesus died with a shout: "It is finished" (John 19:30). It is finished is in English three words; but in Greek it is one--Tetelestai --as it would also be in Aramaic. And tetelestai is the victor's shout; it is the cry of the man who has completed his task; it is the cry of the man who has won through the struggle; it is the cry of the man who has come out of the dark into the glory of the light, and who has grasped the crown. So, then, Jesus died a victor with a shout of triumph on his lips.”

 

For those who trust in Christ as their Savior - there awaits the victory over death. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Lord that through His death on the Cross, your sins are forgiven and you have eternal life with Him.

 

“Christ took your cup of grief, your cup of curse, pressed it to his lips, drank it to its dregs, then filled it with his sweet, pardoning, sympathizing love, and gave it back to you to drink for ever!” – Octavius Winslow

 

God’s Word: “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” – John 19:30

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Keep Watch!
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 26, 2019
Devotional - Keep Watch!

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” – Matthew 25:13

 

On 8 November 2018, a pilot of a small aircraft missed his destination because he was asleep. An Australian freight pilot fell asleep at the controls and overshot his flight landing, according to officials.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) classified the incident as “pilot incapacitation” after the flight between Tasmania and King Island carried on going and had to turn back.

The pilot was the only person on board the freight flight.

"During the cruise, the pilot fell asleep, resulting in the aircraft overflying King Island by 46 kilometres (30 miles)," the ATSB said in a brief statement.

Aviation expert Neil Hansford said that Australia had strict rules relating to pilot fatigue.

"There is no way in the world that someone should've taken on that flight fatigued," he said.

 

As events unfold each day, we need to keep watch for Christ’s return. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that Jesus Christ will return. Seek to faithfully prepare for His arrival.

 

“The best way to prepare for the coming of Christ is never to forget the presence of Christ.” – William Barclay

 

God’s Word: “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” – Luke 12:40

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Be A Big-Godder
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 25, 2019
Devotional - Be A Big-Godder

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” - Matthew 23:13-14

 

Dr. Robert Dick Wilson was a professor of Hebrew at Princeton Seminary in the early part of this century. He knew almost 40 languages! But he was not only a scholar; he was a man of faith. Once Wilson went to the seminary chapel to listen to his former student, Donald Grey Barnhouse, who returned to preach. Afterwards, he said to Barnhouse, “If you come back again, I will not come to hear you preach. I only come once. I am glad that you are a big-godder. When my boys come back, I come to see if they are big-godders or little-godders, and then I know what their ministry will be.”

Barnhouse asked him to explain. Wilson replied, “Well, some men have a little god and they are always in trouble with him. He can’t do any miracles. He can’t take care of the inspiration and transmission of the Scripture to us. He doesn’t intervene on behalf of His people. They have a little god and I call them little-godders. Then there are those who have a great God. He speaks and it is done. He commands and it stands fast. He knows how to show Himself strong on behalf of them that fear Him. You have a great God; and He will bless your ministry.”

 

The Lord desires us to exercise our faith, not lock it away. Today in prayer, draw near to Christ and place your faith in Him.

 

“So run the race with patience. Don’t lose heart. Don’t become discouraged. Don’t quit. Keep on running the race that has been set before us.” – Melvin Newland

 

God’s Word: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Christmas Star
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 24, 2019
Devotional - The Christmas Star

“and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” – Matthew 2:2

 

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who researches issues pertaining to science and the Christian Faith. In an article entitled “The Christmas Star” he wrote about Matthew 2: “From the biblical text, we infer that the Christmas star (1) was seen and understood by the magi, but no others, or at least no others are mentioned.  (2) The magi saw the star on at least two occasions: before meeting with Herod and again after.  They apparently saw the star when it first rose, and their meeting with Herod occurred less than two years later.  (3) The star moved or at least appeared to move, going ahead of the magi.  (4) The star stood over (remained stationary) over the location of Christ, apparently guiding the magi to the correct house.  This means the object must have revolved along with Earth’s rotation so as to remain directly above Bethlehem.  (5) The magi recognized this star as signifying the Messiah’s birth.”

Dr. Lisle does not come to a certainty of what the star was, but in his conclusion in the article he wrote: “Perhaps the main point of Matthew chapter 2 is that God’s chosen people, who should have been anticipating His coming, were largely oblivious to the sign of His coming.  So God allowed people from a pagan nation to be blessed with the opportunity to see the Creator of the universe enter His creation.  Is it possible that many Christians today miss out on God’s blessings because we too fail to seek the Lord?”

 

During this Christmas season, seek the real star of Christmas is Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for becoming a man.

 

“The birth of Jesus is the sunrise of the Bible.” – Henry van Dyke

 

God’s Word: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:8-11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTION FOR CHRISTMAS

 

Devotional - Loving Your Neighbors
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 23, 2019
Devotional - Loving Your Neighbors

“Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'”” – Matthew 22:37-39

 

Fred Rogers was an American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was the creator and host of the preschool television series “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood”, which ran from 1968 to 2001.

Fred had a difficult childhood. He was shy, introverted, and overweight, and was frequently homebound after suffering bouts of asthma. He was bullied and taunted as a child for his weight, and called "Fat Freddy".

In his television show, Fred taught children how to be a good neighbor. He taught young children about civility, tolerance, sharing, and self-worth "in a reassuring tone and leisurely cadence". He tackled difficult topics such as the death of a family pet, sibling rivalry, the addition of a newborn into a family, moving and enrolling in a new school, and divorce.

At its height, “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” was watched in 1.8 million homes.

 

The Lord desires us to love our neighbor and to actively live our life for Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can love your neighbor.

 

“He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.” – Bede

 

God’s Word: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.’” – Mark 12:31

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Serve A Great God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 22, 2019
Devotional - Serve A Great God

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:26-28

 

On June 5‚ 1998‚ Timothy Stackpole was severely injured in a five alarm fire in Brooklyn. Two of his fellow firefighters were killed and more injured in a collapse of the building. Timmy spent over two months in the Burn Center with fourth and fifth degree burns over 40% of his body. He endured many surgeries and months of painful rehabilitation. He had two goals: to recover and spend as much time as he could with his family‚ and to return full-duty to a job he loved. Against popular opinion‚ he succeeded. On March 10‚ 2001‚ Timmy returned to his lieutenant’s job serving full-time. He was promoted to Captain on September 6‚ 2001‚ and was in FDNY headquarters‚ off-duty‚ the morning of September 11. He responded and was one of the fire fighters that ran into the second tower on September 11, 2001 to try to save some people. When he did, it collapsed and took his life. He knew his calling—to serve and save people.

 

During this Christmas season, seek to serve our great God – Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can serve others in His name.

 

“Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to seem poor in this world.” – Thomas a Kempis

 

God’s Word: “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” – Mark 9:35

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Dangers Of Wealth
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 19, 2019
Devotional - The Dangers Of Wealth

“Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:21-23

 

The results of three studies over the last seven years show that people driving expensive cars were more likely to cut off other motorists and less likely to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. They drive like entitled jerks. They're middle-finger-pointing, ride-up-your-trunk-bullying, outta-my-way motorists. That's the authoritative word from researchers who keep track of this sort of thing.

Dr. Paul Piff, a University of California, Irvine, professor of psychology and social behavior who conducted a motoring study of his own, "money makes you more likely to exhibit the characteristics of being a jerk."

 

Wealthy people, Piff said, are less willing to take up the perspective of another person and less concerned about another's well-being, and they tend to equate being better off with being better than others. Money makes people feel more deserving of success, he added, and less needful of others.

 

The love of riches has destroyed many men. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you wisdom on how to be a steward of the possessions He has blessed you.

 

“There is nothing wrong with people possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess people.” – Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:24

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Walk Humbly
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 18, 2019
Devotional - Walk Humbly

“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:4

 

Hogan Assessments, a leading maker of workplace personality tests has unveiled a new 20-item scale early in 2019 designed to measure humility in job seekers and candidates for leadership posts said Ryne Sherman, chief science officer for the company. The scale will prompt people to agree or disagree with such statements as “I appreciate other people’s advice at work,” or “I’m entitled to more respect than the average person.”

“Most of the thinking suggests leaders should be charismatic, attention-seeking and persuasive,” Dr. Sherman said. “Yet such leaders tend to ruin their companies because they take on more than they can handle, are overconfident and don’t listen to feedback from others,” he said.

The apparel company Patagonia begins scrutinizing job applicants for humility as soon as they walk through the door for interviews. Managers screening new recruits follow up by asking receptionists, “How did they engage at the front desk?” said Dean Carter, global head of human resources for the Ventura, Calif.-based company.

In interviews, he asks applicants to tell him about a time when they experienced a major failure. “If they say, ‘Wow, let me think about this because there are a lot of times when I’ve messed things up,’ that says a lot,” he said. “If they have to pick among a lot of humble learning moments, that’s good.”

 

During this Advent Season, remember the Lord and walk humbly with Him. Today in prayer, confess any sin of pride and humbly seek the Lord in all that you do.

 

“We can never have more of true faith than we have of true humility.” – Andrew Murray

 

God’s Word: “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Signs Of The Times
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 17, 2019
Devotional - The Signs Of The Times

“The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” – Matthew 16:1-3

 

How accurate are weather forecasts? According to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration a five-day forecast is accurate 90% of the time. The last two days of a seven forecast can be accurately predicted about 80 percent of the time. And the last three days of a ten-day forecast can be accurately predicted only 50% of the time.  

Why such a drop off in accuracy? Meteorologists use computer programs called weather models to make forecasts. Since we can’t collect data from the future, models have to use estimates and assumptions to predict future weather. The atmosphere is changing all the time, so those estimates are less reliable the further you get into the future.

Jacqui Jeras, a television meteorologist in Washington D.C. said: “While there is so much science involved in our jobs, there are still many unknowns.”

 

We may be able to predict the weather, but we need to look to the Lord to know the times. Today in prayer, worship the Lord that He has come into the world to save sinners and He will one day return.

 

“Jesus Christ is God’s last word. Beyond Jesus Christ the revelation of God cannot go. Here is God’s plan for all to see.” – William Barclay

 

God’s Word: “He said to the crowd: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'It's going to rain,' and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, 'It's going to be hot,' and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?” – Luke 12:54-56

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - True Worship
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 16, 2019
Devotional - True Worship

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” – Matthew 15:8

 

Roger Babson, an American historian, was visiting the president of Argentina about one hundred years ago when the president said to him: “You are a student of history, Will you please tell me why it is that South America, with her unlimited resources, and having been settled earlier than North America, has nevertheless made much slower progress in civilization and material prosperity?”

Mr. Babson threw the question back upon the president by saying, “Mr. President, you evidently have studied this question yourself, and I would be interested to know your answer to it.

The President replied that he thought the explanation lay in the fact that South America was settled by Spaniards who came seeking gold while North America was settled by the Pilgrim Fathers who came seeking God.

 

Seek the Lord for He is God. Today in prayer, spend some extra time worshipping Jesus and seek to follow Him throughout the day.

 

“God is not moved or impressed with our worship until our hearts are moved and impressed by Him.” – Kelly Sparks

 

God’s Word: “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’” – Isaiah 29:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Compassion For Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 15, 2019
Devotional - Compassion For Others

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” – Matthew 14:14

 

On July 16, 2015, Sgt. Erica Hay, an Ocala (Florida) Police Department officer, drove into the parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts. She noticed a homeless man in the parking lot who was sitting alone, with his belongings around him. Hay, who was going to purchase breakfast for herself, decided to buy an extra sandwich and coffee to give to the man.

She came outside and approached the man, who was sitting on a curb. She said she asked if she could join him and he said yes. She asked if he was hungry and he again said yes, so she gave him the sandwich and coffee.

TiAnna Greene was driving by the area and saw Hay sit down by the man and give him the food, then begin talking with him on the curbside. Greene took a picture and posted it online. The story went national.

“I decided to take the picture as a moment to show my daughter about compassion and caring,” Greene said, “and also to show law enforcement - which has been depicted recently as negative - have a good side to them.”

She said she also wanted Hay to know that her kindness did not go unnoticed.

 

Jesus was known for His compassion to others and as His followers that should be our hallmark. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can be more compassionate to others.

 

“The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.” – Arthur H. Stainback

 

God’s Word: “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.” – Mark 8:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail 

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

 

Devotional - Take Responsibility And Repent
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 12, 2019
Devotional - Take Responsibility And Repent

“Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” – Matthew 11:21

 

Nearly three years after the murder of Cesar Lopez-Flores, his killer pleaded guilty, saying he found God while incarcerated, which urged him to confess and repent. 

In a statement that shocked the court, Danny Dashay Holmes pleaded guilty minutes after his trial began in August 2019, confessing to the murder of Lopez-Flores. In a packed courtroom, Holmes addressed the court, explaining his decision to confess to the murder. He said over a year ago, God changed his life. He felt as if God was putting pressure on him to tell the truth and confess to the murder. 

"I knew the Lord was just on me, weighing on me over and over," Holmes said. 

"I’m 30-years-old, and I’ve been fighting for nothing all my life. I’ve been fighting for gangs. … I ain’t never fought for anything that made sense. But I knew the Lord was telling me to fight for him this time. I just knew he was stirring on my spirit." 

"Momma, you know I love you," Holmes said to his mother. "But Momma, I promise you, your baby boy, he’s going to serve the Lord forever."

Holmes recounted his flashy lifestyle to the court. He had money — lots of it — designer goods and expensive cars. Now he plans to tell all the young people he meets in prison about finding salvation through Christ, not cash or luxuries. 

"My consequences deserve a life sentence," he said. 

 

The Lord wants us to take responsibility for our sins, confess them, and turn away from them. Today in prayer, repent of any sin in your life and seek to follow Christ in all that you do.

 

“One of the most fundamental marks of true repentance is a disposition to see our sins as God sees them.” – Charles Simeon

 

God’s Word: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” – Acts 3:19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - You Need To Rest
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 11, 2019
Devotional - You Need To Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

 

W. Phillip Keller was the son of missionary parents in Kenya. He wrote more than thirty-five books on Christian subjects, including his most popular book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.”

In his book “As a Tree Grows”, Keller points out that in northern climates the dormant phase is in the winter, and in the tropical regions it is during the hot, dry season. “It is important to understand," says Keller, that dormancy is not death. A tree may appear to be dead, it is true. The leaves of deciduous trees will be all stripped off in the fall, leaving a stark skeleton. The tree is nevertheless very much alive—but at rest.”

He added that this dormancy is immediately followed by a period of active growth. The dormant phase is a rebuilding and reconditioning for the upsurge of vigorous activity ahead.

 

Are you tired, needing rest? Today in prayer, come to Jesus and you will find rest in Him.

 

“Work a modest day then step back and rest. This will keep you close to God.” – William C. Martin

 

God’s Word: “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” – Psalm 62:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Pray For Those Who Are Persecuted
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 10, 2019
Devotional - Pray For Those Who Are Persecuted

“All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” – Matthew 10:22-23

 

On November 3, 2019, a mob of more than 200 radical Hindu nationalists attacked Pastor Tukaram’s independent church in the district of Bagalkot, located in India’s Karnataka State. As a result, Pastor Tukaram was hospitalized with serious injuries to his eyes. Now that he is out of the hospital, Pastor Tukaram is still trying to put together the pieces of his life and ministry.

Recalling the November attack, Pastor Tukaram said, “An aggressive crowd of nearly 15 radicals climbed up the stairs to the second floor where more than 100 Christians were worshipping. They broke into the worship hall and without a word they started to beat everyone in the congregation.”

“The radicals then dragged me down the stairs where a large crowd of over 200 were waiting for me,” Pastor Tukaram continued. “Again, I was beaten brutally.”

Police soon arrived on the scene and took Pastor Tukaram and several other Christians into custody. The Christians were taken to the police station and denied necessary medical treatment.

“All of the sudden, my life, family, and church were broken into pieces,” said Pastor Chavan, age 32. “It was hard to take. I was not expecting that something of this sort would take place. However, I remember the commitment I made to God when I came to full-time ministry. I counted the costs of serving the Lord and know that He will lead me through these challenges.”

 

Many Christians in today’s world are being persecuted. Today in prayer, pray for Christians in Indonesia who face persecution daily.

 

“Persecution for righteousness’ sake is what every child of God must expect.” – Charles Simeon

 

God’s Word: “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Mark 13:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Pray For Workers
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 9, 2019
Devotional - Pray For Workers

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” – Matthew 9:37-38

 

In 2008, Pastor Rob Wilton and his wife, Annabeth, started a bible study in their home that would become Vintage Church of New Orleans. That church family multiplied all over the New Orleans region.

In 2018, the Wiltons heard the Lord call them to Pittsburgh. “There’s more than 2 million people, and the gospel hasn’t reached most of them,” Rob said. He has found that starting churches in Pittsburgh much harder than in New Orleans.

Rob went to Pittsburgh— not just to plant a church—but to reach the city by inspiring planters to work together.

“I’m planting a church in southwest Pittsburgh. Our new church has united with existing plants to recruit, train and send new planters. As one team, we’re already seeing how God is making us stronger together,” said Rob.

 

The Lord also desires to have everyone know that Jesus loves them. Today in prayer, pray to the Lord that He will raise up more workers to share His Gospel and ask how you can help.

 

“Every heart with Christ is a missionary, and every heart without Christ is a mission field.” – Dick Hillis

 

God’s Word: “He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Luke 10:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Put It In God's Hands
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 8, 2019
Devotional - Put It In God's Hands

“When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” – Matthew 8:10

 

In 1956, Keith Thibodeaux auditioned for Lucille Ball and the crew at the “I Love Lucy” show. At the time, Keith was just a small 4-year-old boy, but he went in and did what he loved – he played the drums. Such a small boy with a huge musical talent quickly caught the eye of musician and actor, Desi Arnaz. After an impromptu jam session, Desi said, “I think we’ve found Little Ricky!”

Keith’s life changed forever. For four years, he played “Little Ricky” and then went on to the Andy Griffith Show where he played Opie’s friend, Johnny.

After the family moved to Hollywood to follow Keith’s television career, he began to ask his father “Why did God pick me?” He wondered the purpose of his acting career might be. But his dad offered important advice that stuck with him “God’s got a purpose for you”.

Sadly, adultery, drugs, demons, and suicidal thoughts pulled him further and further from God. That’s when Keith talked to God. He agreed that if God could pull him out of the mess he was in that he would serve Him. He went to church with his mother and gave his life to Jesus Christ.

Today Keith and his wife work in the medium of the creative arts to reach others for Christ.

 

In all that you do, exercise your faith in Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you faith in all that you do and to rest in Him. 

 

“Faith is seeing the invisible, but not the nonexistent.” – A.W. Tozer

 

God’s Word: “Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” – Matthew 15:28

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Lord Answers Prayer
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 5, 2019
Devotional - The Lord Answers Prayer

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:6-7

 

Dennis and Marcia Newkirk spent 43 years as the lead pastors of three churches, culminating in 25 years at Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. While at Henderson Hills, Maria contracted Eosinophilic Gastritis. After three years, she was near death. Marcia had lost a significant amount of her body weight and doctors could find no medical solution. They had only succeeded in finding medications that helped some but worsened her condition.

Finally, after exhausting all local options, the couple made an appointment for her to be seen at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. Dennis explained the problem to the church as they set off for Minnesota. The church prayed corporately for her and in many small groups.

Something strange occurred the night before Marcia’s first appointment; she awakened and said she was in absolutely no pain, for the first time in three years. She ate a little breakfast without pain. The doctors performed extensive tests and proved the disease that was destroying her life was healed. They had no explanation other than it was a miracle.

 

Jesus does answer our prayers! Today in prayer, bring before Him your needs, worries and cares and be confident that He will answer them.

 

“The whole canon of Bible teaching is to illustrate the great truth that God hears and answers prayer.” – E.M. Bounds

 

God’s Word: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Do Not Worry
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 4, 2019
Devotional - Do Not Worry

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” – Matthew 6:25

 

In 1938 Russell and Darlene Deibler traveled to Indonesia as missionaries. They were the first missionaries to enter that region and bring the gospel to the Kapakau tribe.

In 1942, Russell was taken by the Japanese military to an internment camp for men at Pare Pare, north of Makassar. There he held Bible studies and ministered in various ways to the other prisoners. At the young age of thirty-seven, Russell Deibler died of dysentery on August 29, 1943. 

The evening that Russell was taken captive, Darlene found comfort in her devotional time. The reading for that evening said:

“O my God, my soul is cast down within me… Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee… Cast thy burden upon the Lord.” (Psalm 42:6, Isaiah 26:3, Psalm 55:22)

 

Nothing surprises the Lord. Everything is working together for His glory. Today in prayer, put all your worry in Jesus' hands and trust in Him.  

 

“Stop thinking about your difficulties, whatever they are, and start thinking about God instead.” – Emmett Fox

 

God’s Word: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Be Reconciled To One Another
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 3, 2019
Devotional - Be Reconciled To One Another

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24

 

The classic children’s TV series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” starring a soft-spoken Presbyterian minister named Fred Roger, ran 1968 and 2001.

In 1998, Lloyd Vogel, an award-winning Esquire Magazine journalist, was assigned to interview Fred Rogers for a 400-word article about heroes. Lloyd traveled to Pittsburgh to interview Fred and through the next few weeks, the two become friends. During this time, Fred learned that Lloyd was estranged from his father. His father had left Lloyd and his mother once Lloyd’s mother had contracted cancer.

During the next few weeks, Fred encouraged Lloyd to overcome his past hurt and reconcile with his father. It wasn’t until Lloyd learned about his father’s heart attack that he was able to take the necessary steps of reconciliation with his father. The wonderful story is recounted in the movie, "A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood". 

 

Are you estranged from anyone?  Today in prayer, take the first steps of reconciliation. Confess any sin to the Lord, forgive any wrongs that others have done to you, and seek to have restored relationships that are centered on Jesus Christ.

 

“The number one problem in our world is alienation, rich versus poor, black versus white, labor versus management, conservative versus liberal, East versus West . . . But Christ came to bring about reconciliation and peace.” – Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Resist When Tempted
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 2, 2019
Devotional - Resist When Tempted

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

 

Francois described himself: “As a kid,” he flatly stated, “I was a sugarholic and a junk food junkie! It made me weak and it made me mean. It made me so sick I had boils, pimples and suffered from nearsightedness. Little girls used to beat me up. My mom prayed… the Church prayed.”

He constantly fell to the temptation of laziness and junk food. But he "turned his life around" after listening to a public lecture about the benefits of good nutrition by health food pioneer Paul Bragg. He was able to resist the temptation to eat poorly and to be lazy. He began eating whole foods and drinking juices. He started a regime of exercise.

Soon Francois and others started noticing a difference.

He opened the country's first modern health club in Oakland, California, in 1936 at the young age of 21. He worked with a blacksmith to create many of the weight machines that you see in your neighborhood gym today.

In 1951, as television began, he started a health and fitness show. He changed his name to Jack. His television show ran for 34 years and today Jack LaLanne is remembered as an American fitness, exercise, and nutrition pioneer.

 

We each face temptations, but through Jesus can we overcome any temptation. Today in prayer, pray that Jesus would lead you away from all temptation so that you may walk with Him.

 

“If you're losing the battle against a persistent bad habit, an addiction, or a temptation, and you're stuck in a repeating cycle of good intention-failure-guilt, you will not get better on your own. You need the help of other people. Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for you, encourages you, and holds you accountable.” - Rick Warren

 

God’s Word: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Promised Son
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 1, 2019
Devotional - The Promised Son

“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.” – Matthew 1:17

 

In early 2019, Linda Greco took a DNA test to connect with new relatives online. While commenting on her Facebook post, Linda noticed that a newfound relative had also commented. The two women quickly realized they each had a family member in the New York City Police Department. Then they discovered that both their relatives were in the 19th Precinct.

With more ancestry research it was found that Officer Harley Greco, Linda’s grandson, and Officer Tyler Barbour, who work as Harley’s partner, are cousins. Their great-great-grandmothers were sisters. Barbour and Greco had served alongside each other for half a year before the discovery.

The 19th Precinct shared the story of the unexpected family tie on Twitter.

“They just took a DNA test, turns out they’re 100% --related!” the post wrote.

The discovery came just in time for Thanksgiving, giving new meaning to the concept of a “big blue family.”

 

Though some people have an interesting family tree, only Jesus is the son of Abraham and the son of David. Jesus Christ is the Promised Son. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He became a man, just as our Heavenly Father promised.

 

“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.” – C.S. Lewis

 

God’s Word: “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli … the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” – Luke 3:23, 38

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

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