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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS
Devotional - Avoid Divisive People
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jan 30, 2019
Devotional - Avoid Divisive People

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” – Romans 16:17

 

When Theodore Bilbo became governor in 1915, he indulged in his love for poor whites (and contempt for blacks) and stirred up resentment of rich people and corporations.

After his governorship, he ran a gaudy and obnoxious campaign for the US Senate. He promised voters everything he could think of and blasted his enemies as “farmer murderers, corrupters of Southern womanhood, and skunks who steal Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms.” He claimed that the state was full of Communism and that he was needed to clean it up.

He won and arrived in Washington, DC, in 1935. He was known for his famous filibusters. He once attacked the nomination of a judge for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for five solid hours. It turned out that the judge, Edwin R. Holmes, had once sentenced Bilbo to 10 days in jail for refusing to testify at the trial of a fellow politician, who was accused of seducing a stenographer.

During his Senate career, he was most notorious for his vicious racism, introducing absurd bills to resettle America’s black population in West Africa. His biggest controversy came when he became chairman of the District of Columbia Committee and became known as the “unofficial mayor of Washington.” He took the position as a platform to rail against the city’s growing black population, demanding that they move out within the year.

Congress began to look into his possibly unethical offering of war contracts for generous payoffs. While an effort to unseat him was underway, Bilbo died in his home in Poplarville, Mississippi. Divisiveness is contrary to loving people. As Christians, we need to show the love of Jesus Christ to everyone. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His love for you and the opportunity to love others. Avoid divisiveness and seek to bring glory to Christ.

 

“Discord and division become no Christian. For wolves worry lambs is no wonder, but for one lamb to worry another, this is unnatural and monstrous.” – Thomas Brooks

 

God’s Word: “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.” – Titus 3:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Written To Teach And Encourage
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 29, 2019
Devotional - Written To Teach And Encourage

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4

 

One of the uniquely American traditions is the swearing in of the newly elected President of the United States. The President traditionally takes the oath of office with his right hand on the Bible. The following are specific Bible passages a few of the Presidents chose to encourage them and place their hands on while taking the oath:

Abraham Lincoln in 1865: Matthew 18:7: “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”

Andrew Johnson in 1865: Proverb 21: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

James A. Garfield in 1881: Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Benjamin Harrison in 1889: Psalm 121:1-6: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help…”

William McKinley in 1897: II Chronicles 1:10: “Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge thy people, that is so great?”

 

The Bible is God’s great gift to us to teach and encourage. But we need to apply God’s Word to our lives! Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the Bible and seek to apply His Word to your life.

 

“The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit, is the chief means by which men are built up and established in the faith, after their conversion.” – J.C. Ryle

 

God’s Word: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” – 2 Timothy 3:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Encourage One Another
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jan 28, 2019
Devotional - Encourage One Another

“Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” – Romans 15:2

 

Christian Author Michelle Cox relates encouragement she received from pastor and author Tim LaHaye: “I believe the International Christian Retail Show (still called CBA at that time) was in Denver that year. My first book had just been published, and I’d traveled to the retail show to do a book signing.

As I walked down a hallway with a friend, a man stopped me and said, “Do you have a book out?” I replied that I did and told him a little bit about my new book. “Great!” he said. Come do a radio interview with me tomorrow at 4:00.”

I got there a little early, and realized that my interview would be after beloved author Karen Kingsbury and famed artist Ron DiCianni. (Yes, I felt like I was in one of those “Which one of these people doesn’t belong in this picture?” papers that we used to do in grade school.)

Right before time to start my interview, Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye arrived to wait for the slot after mine. The irony of the moment wasn’t lost on me—a new author followed by two men whose books had sold millions of copies.

When I finished my interview with the host, Tim LaHaye walked up to me, clasped my hand and looked me in the eye, and then with great conviction he told me, ‘Don't you quit writing.’

I can't tell you what a jolt of encouragement that was for me as a new writer, and I've never forgotten his kindness that day.”

 

Are you building up people as you go along in life? Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the people He has placed in your life and seek to encourage them in Jesus Christ.

 

“Encouragement is perhaps one of the greater gifts friends can ever give. An encouraging friend is a lifeline to steady a floundering heart, to bring sunshine to a cloudy day, and to deliver a blessing just looking for a place to land.” – Susan Duke

 

God’s Word: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Do It In Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jan 27, 2019
Devotional - Do It In Faith

“But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” – Romans 14:23

 

The prison cell was dark and rank. With more than 20 men in a tight space, there wasn't even enough room for Bernard Ugwuoke, a Cru staff member, to sleep.

Before throwing him in prison, the Nigerian police had warned Bernard to bring money -- a bribe might lessen a beating. When the cell door shut, a wave of prisoners surrounded him: "Who are you? Why are you here?"

"My name is Bernard. I'm a missionary and I am here because a man falsely accused me of stealing a car," he said. "And I believe God has put me here to bless someone."

"You're a missionary?" a prisoner asked, his demeanor changing (missionaries are uncommon in Nigeria).

Fear clouded the prison. Many would soon go to trial, their fate to be determined. "Pastor, come pray for us," they said.

Over the next few days, 14 of the men agreed to follow Christ, including a former assassin. Bernard was in prison 5 days and later cleared of charges. "If God wants to save some men through hearing the gospel, I think sending His servant to jail is too little a sacrifice," he said.

 

Are you facing a decision or circumstance that requires faith? Today in prayer, look to the Lord for your answer and by faith follow Christ’s leading.

 

“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” – Oswald Chambers

 

God’s Word: “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” – 1 Peter 1:21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Being A Good Citizen
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jan 24, 2019
Devotional - Being A Good Citizen

“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” – Romans 13:6-7

 

In 2011, model Christie Brinkley was surprised when the United States Internal Revenue Service put a tax lien on her Bridgehampton, Long Island estate for $531,720.

She immediately resolved the tax lien, writing it off as an accounting error.

In a news release from her publicist, Ms. Brinkley properly said:

"I consider myself very lucky to have been employed since I was 17 years old...I have never had an issue with the IRS or any tax liens in the past and I have dedicated my time to giving back as much and as often as possible. I was surprised to learn of the tax lien filing and took immediate steps to rectify this matter, which for most people is a private matter. I discovered the tax lien was indeed the result of an error. My taxes will be paid in full by Wednesday, December 7th and I expect the tax lien to be released immediately thereafter. I regret not paying more attention to my accounting, but I have been, and remain focused on my whole family as both my parents navigate serious health issues. I am grateful for the outpouring of understanding and support I have received."

 

Nothing in a Christian life should detract from being a good representative of Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can be a better citizen and bring glory to the Lord.

 

“The duty of obedience to secular authorities is a temporary one, for the present period of ‘night;’ in that ‘day’ which is ‘at hand’ a new order of government will be introduced, when ‘the saints shall judge the world.’” – F.F. Bruce

 

God’s Word: “‘Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, ‘You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.’ They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, ‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar's,’ they replied. Then he said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.’” – Matthew 22:17-21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Your Gifts
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jan 23, 2019
Devotional - Your Gifts

“so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach” – Romans 12:5-7

 

David Watson, author of the book “I Believe in the Church” also enjoyed a thriving pastoral ministry in York, England. He suggested three inevitable results if spiritual gifts are employed within a church.

“First, inferiority and superiority complexes are banished from the church. If one is simply exercising a God-given grace gift, he has nothing of which to be proud or to be ashamed.

Second, Christians should earnestly desire spiritual gifts. A sensitive pastor or leader will seek out spiritual gifts. Then he will suit service to develop and expand those gifts. The end result will be a stronger church fellowship.

Third, we must use the gifts that are available. If we do not, we reduce people to cogs in a wheel. As a keen lay preacher once told me, ‘Pastor, if I cannot use my gift, I become a dumb priest.’ (He reflected the priesthood of all believers [1 Peter 2:9; Ex. 19:5-61].)”

The Lord has given you gifts to build up others in Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the spiritual gifts you have received and seek to use them for His glory.

 

“God has said that every Christian has at least one spiritual gift for the benefit of the whole body of Christ. No one has all the gifts, all have at least one gift, and some have two or more. We are dependent on each other.” – Francis M. Cosgrove, Jr.

 

God’s Word: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - A Living Sacrifice
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 22, 2019
Devotional - A Living Sacrifice

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2

 

Thomas Heyward Jr. of South Carolina was a signer of both the declaration and the Articles of Confederation. He drew the ire of the British when, as a circuit court judge, he presided over the trial of several loyalists who were found guilty of treason. The prisoners were summarily executed in full view of British troops. In 1779, he joined the South Carolina militia as a captain of artillery.

Heyward aided his country in the battle at Port Royal Island, where he helped General Moultrie defeat British Major William Gardiner and his troops.

Upon the surrender of Charleston, Heyward was captured by the British and sent to a prison in St. Augustine, Florida, which was reserved for people the British thought were particularly dangerous. He was held there for almost a year before being released. On route to Philadelphia for a prisoner exchange in July 1781, Heyward almost drowned. He survived his fall overboard by clinging to the ship’s rudder until he could be rescued.

During the British occupation of Charleston, Commandant Nisbet Balfour ordered the seizure of many estates in Charleston, including those owned by Heyward.

During his imprisonment, Heyward’s wife died at home, and his estate and property were heavily damaged. He took serious and lived out the Declaration of Independence’s last line which reads: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

 

The Lord wants to do great things in your life, but you must be willing to sacrifice your goals for God’s glory. Today in prayer, praise Jesus that when we live for Him, we are blessed.  

 

“Leadership is an act of submission to God. To be a leader means listening to all kinds of people and situations. Out of that listening, we are hoping to discern the mind of God as best we can. This is the price of leadership - it's an act of sacrifice. So leadership is part and parcel of the work of submission to God.” – Richard Foster

 

God’s Word: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” – Ephesians 4:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Experiencing Grace
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jan 21, 2019
Devotional - Experiencing Grace

“And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” – Romans 11:6

 

Sir Edwin Landseer was one of the most famous painters of the Victorian era. His talent developed early, and he had the first showing of his work at the Royal Academy when he was just thirteen years old. He was commissioned to do a number of official portraits of the royal family, and even gave private drawing lessons to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. But he was best known for his depictions of the natural settings and life in the Scottish highlands.

One day as he was visiting a family in an old mansion in Scotland, one of the servants spilled a pitcher of soda water, leaving a large stain on the wall. While the family was out for the day, Landseer remained behind. Using charcoal, he incorporated the stain into a beautiful drawing. When the family returned they found a picture of a waterfall surrounded by trees and animals. He used his skill to make something beautiful out of what had been an unsightly mess.

 

God works in much the same way in our lives. The things that we think of as weaknesses and handicaps can, through His grace, become our greatest strengths. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you grace and provide the strength to meet every challenge and overcome every weakness.

 

“Grace is what God gives us when we don't deserve and mercy is when God doesn't give us what we do deserve” – Reinhold Niebuhr  

God’s Word: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - No Distinction
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jan 20, 2019
Devotional - No Distinction

“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him” – Romans 10:12

 

On Saturday, July 9, 2007, thousands of people, including state and city officials, gathered in Detroit's Hart Plaza for a funeral. They all watched as a horse-drawn carriage made its way through the streets carrying a small pine casket adorned with a black wreath. The funeral, conducted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, wasn't for a person, though. It was for the racial slur commonly referred to as "the N-word."

The governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, spoke of the word's demise: "Good riddance to this vestige of slavery and racism, and say 'hello' to a new country that invests in all of its people."

Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit's mayor, said, "Good riddance! Die, n-word! We don't want to see you around here no more [sic]!" He went on to encourage black men to move away from disrespect of black women and themselves, saying, "You can't just bury the n-word. You have to bury all the nonsense that comes with it."

After its journey through the city, the coffin was ceremoniously placed in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery.

 

There is no difference between men; Jesus Christ desires ALL to be saved. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that in His eyes, there are no differences between people.

           

“Prejudice is a learned trait. You're not born prejudiced; you're taught it.” – Charles R. Swindoll  

 

God’s Word: “Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.” – Deuteronomy 16:19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Not Following God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jan 17, 2019
Devotional - Not Following God

“Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.” – Romans 10:3

 

In December 2018, Jerrell G. Altic, a former minister of Houston's First Baptist Church, was charged with stealing more than $800,000 from the church. He embezzled the money over a six-year period that ended in November 2017. Altic's attorney said Altic has admitted to stealing the money. Altic used the money to fund overseas trips, get a doctorate from Lancaster Bible School and live outside of his means. While prosecutors declined to detail how the theft took place, they said it was by a series of misrepresentations and forgery. "He's cooperating fully with the district attorney's office," said James Alston, Altic's attorney. "He feels horrible for what has happened and the pain that has caused everyone at the church and his family members, and he would want me to tell everyone that he's sorry." Alston went on to say Altic "knew this day was coming."

 

It is easy to justify our own sin, but it is not right. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that He is Righteous and seek to follow Jesus in all that you do.

 

“There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who believe they are sinners, the sinners who believe they are righteous.” – Blaise Pascal

 

God’s Word: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Don't Overlook The "Stumbling Stone"
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jan 16, 2019
Devotional - Don't Overlook The

“Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone.’” – Romans 9:32

 

In 2005, Philadelphia resident Norma Ifill was at a flea market when she came upon a necklace in a box on the ground. She liked it for its "tribal" look and purchased it for $15. She wore it 4 or 5 times and received compliments on the necklace, but it eventually made its home in Norma’s jewelry box.

A few years later, she attended an Alexander Calder jewelry exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It soon dawned on her that she might own more than costume jewelry.

The Calder Foundation in New York confirmed the striking brass necklace was by created by sculptor Alexander Calder. It had in been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943.

“I can’t believe I had a Calder necklace all this time and had no idea” she exclaimed.

Norma decided to sell the necklace at auction and it sold for $267,750.

Jesus was clothed as an ordinary man, but He is the magnificent treasure we desire. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that when we pursue God by faith, we find all we ask in Christ.

 

“While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyes shall close in death, When I soar to worlds unknown, See Thee on Thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.” – Augustus M. Toplady

 

God’s Word: “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.’” – Isaiah 28:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - His Providence
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 15, 2019
Devotional - His Providence

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

 

In the late 1800’s a member of Britain’s Parliament went to Scotland to make a speech. He got off the train in Edinburgh, and then took a carriage south toward his destination. Unfortunately, the carriage became stuck in deep mud. A local farm boy came to the rescue with his team of workhorses. In his gratitude, the politician offered a reward, but the boy refused, saying he wanted nothing.

"Well,” persisted the legislator, "Is there anything I can do for you? What would you like to do with yourself when you grow up?"

"I’d like to become a doctor" the young man replied.

The Member of Parliament promised to do what he could, and in fact he secured admission to the university for the young man.

During World War 2 more than 50 years later, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill lay dangerously ill in Morocco, suffering from pneumonia. A new wonder drug was administered to him, penicillin, which had been discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming, the Scottish farm boy of so long before. So who was the politician who had sponsored him to the university? He was Randolph Churchill, the father of Winston.

 

The Lord is Lord of All, nothing escapes His divine purpose. Today in prayer, seek Jesus and His will and follow Him with your whole heart.”

 

“Providence has at all times been my only dependence, for all other resources seem to have failed us.” – George Washington

 

God’s Word: “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

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DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Hope In The Shadow
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jan 14, 2019
Devotional - Hope In The Shadow

“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope” – Romans 8:19-20

 

In 1927 the wife of Scottish preacher Arthur Gossip died suddenly. When he returned to the pulpit he preached a sermon titled “When Life Tumbles In, What Then?” In that sermon Gossip compared life to watching a plane pass through the sky during wartime. There you are, lying on your back watching a plane fly gracefully across a brilliant sunlit blue sky when all of a sudden it is blown apart by gunfire and falls to earth a tumbling, tangled mess of metal. Only on this occasion the gunfire was the tragically unexpected death of his beloved wife.

Pastor Gossip went on to explain that he didn’t understand this life, but what he did know was that during this darkest period of his life he needed his faith more than ever. “You people in the sunshine may believe the faith, but we in the shadow must believe it. We have nothing else.” Without his faith there was no hope.

 

Those who trust in Christ have a living Hope who does not disappoint. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that your hope in Him has given you eternal life.

 

“My knowledge of that life is small, the eye of faith is dim, But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all, And I shall be with him.” – Richard Baxter

 

God’s Word: “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Knowledge Of The Law
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jan 13, 2019
Devotional - Knowledge Of The Law

“What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’” – Romans 7:7

 

In an article entitled: “15 Times You're Breaking The Law (And Didn't Even Know It), Taylor Macias gives the following three examples of breaking the law and not realizing it:

Thanks to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, it’s a crime to gain “unauthorized access” to a wireless router that is unsecured. Using an unsecured Wi-Fi hub is considered stealing. It is best to find a secure line.

Thanks to every anti-graffiti state law, it is illegal to actually own, or walk around with “broad-tipped indelible markers” in public. There is a potential that police believe they could be used in an act of vandalism. It is also illegal to buy permanent markers for any minor as well.

Finally, in Newark, New Jersey, it’s illegal to buy ice cream after 6 pm unless you have a written note from your doctor.

 

 

Knowledge of the law brings recognition of our own sinful actions. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His law that through it we can recognize our own sin. And then thank Jesus for His grace; for it is in His grace we have life in Him.

 

“In the maxims of the law, God is seen as the rewarder of perfect righteousness and the avenger of sin. But in Christ, his face shines out, full of grace and gentleness to poor, unworthy sinners.” – John Calvin

 

God’s Word: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Sin And Grace
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jan 10, 2019
Devotional - Sin And Grace

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

 

Brian "Head" Welch was the co-founder of the metal band Korn. The Chicago Tribune called the rap-metal band “perverts, psychopaths, and paranoiacs.” There music was very dark, even rock metal band standards.

In 2005, Bob realized his lifestyle was killing him.

"I got hooked on methamphetamines the last two years I was in Korn, and I did meth everyday," explained the guitarist. "I wanted to quit [but] I couldn't quit. I tried to quit. I went to rehab, and I just couldn't quit.

"[One night I prayed] 'Lord, if You're real … please take these drugs from me. Make them go away. Reveal Yourself to me and all that.' I think in a week or two, I got the urge to throw away all my drugs with the help of a friend. I was done."

Bob said: “I had everything. I had the money; there was girls everywhere, all the drugs – pills, doctors' prescriptions, illegal drugs, everything. And it was just empty, so empty. And as soon as I went to church, I felt the love from Jesus. That's when I was fully satisfied. And I was totally done with everything in the world because I was satisfied inside, and I got filled up.”

 

Our sinful actions would lead to death if it were not for the grace of Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise Jesus for His gift of grace and eternal life in Him.

 

“Grace is not sought nor bought nor wrought. It is a free gift of almighty God to needy mankind.” – Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:5-7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Be Reconciled
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jan 9, 2019
Devotional - Be Reconciled

“For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” – Romans 5:10-11

 

In October 1989, newly elected South African President FW De Klerk released Nelson Mandela's political mentor, Walter Sisulu, and seven other prominent prisoners.

Three months later De Klerk met Mandela and said he would release him in two days.

After being imprisoned for 26 years, Mandela’s response was surprising: “No, it is too soon, we need more time for preparation.”

Mandela realized that South Africa needed a plan for reconciliation after decades of apartheid.

For the next three months, De Klerk and Mandela negotiated a resolution for a “New South Africa.”

Then in May 1990, Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. He and President De Klerk shook hands in Cape Town after announcing an agreement on steps that led to talks on ending white-minority rule in the country.

 

Christ has healed the breach between God and man as well as the divide between men. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He has reconciled the world through the Cross and seek to be reconciled to others.

 

“Why should the world believe in reconciliation when it doesn’t see the church reconciled? And the church is not going to be reconciled even if it gets all of the issues solved. It will be reconciled only through Jesus Christ. He is the Reconciler.” – Richard C. Halvorson

 

God’s Word: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 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 5:18-19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - He Died For Us
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 8, 2019
Devotional - He Died For Us

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

 

In February 2018, Nikolas Cruz carried an automatic weapon into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He began shooting and when he finished 17 people died.

One of those who died was geography instructor Scott Beigel.

Scott had unlocked the door to his classroom to try and let in students who were fleeing from the rampaging gunman, according to a student, but was shot down before he could close and re-lock the door.

As students and staff at the high school began processing the brutal aftermath, many hailed Scott’s sacrifice.

“Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom,” student Kelsey Friend said as she burst into tears on television camera.

Kelsey said she was “100 per cent certain” that the teacher saved her life.

“If his family is watching this,” Kelsey said, “please know that your son or brother was an amazing person and I am alive today because of him.”

 

We, who accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, are alive today because He died for us. Today in prayer, thank Christ for His death on the Cross.

 

“There are some sciences that may be learned by the head, but the science of Christ crucified  can only be learned by the heart.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

 

“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit” – 1 Peter 3:18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

 

Devotional - Faith And Credit
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jan 7, 2019
Devotional - Faith And Credit

“What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." – Romans 4:3

 

In 1854, missionaries John and Helen Neviuses arrived in Ningpo China. Shortly after their arrival, the Neviuses began to study Chinese. But in 1856, Helen was not well and

she returned to the States for a year and a half. Meanwhile John wrote articles on China for new missionaries.

When Helen returned in 1858, the couple had to move to Japan for eight months because of rebel fighting in China.

In 1861, because of political upheavals and the severity of the weather at Ningpo, the Neviuses moved their mission activity to Shantung Province. From 1861 to 1864, he wrote tracts and discussed with other missionaries the needs for a theological school and for new methods of outreach. Cholera broke out in 1864. This, along with renewed rebel activity, drove the Neviuses south and for a time back to America. After three and a half years at home, the Neviuses returned to China in 1869 where John accepted an assignment to teach in the new theological school at Hangchow. After a year of teaching and after the Tientsin massacre in 1870, the Neviuses requested reassignment to Chefoo where they built a house and lived their remaining twenty-two years in China.

It was during this 22-year period, after 18 years of preparing, that John saw his ministry flourish. He taught indigenous churches how to evangelize and disciple so that the churches would grow and spread without a foreign missionary.

 

The Lord rewards men and women who walk with Him by faith. Today in prayer, give the battles you are facing to Jesus and when He has answered give the credit to the Lord.

 

“Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.” – Augustine

 

God’s Word: “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” – Genesis 15:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Conscious Of Sin
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jan 6, 2019
Devotional - Conscious Of Sin

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” – Romans 3:20

 

Dr. Leonard Mlodinow, author of “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior,” writes about how we make unconscious decisions:

“One thing that feeds into the way you experience the social world is your mood — and one thing that affects your mood is the weather. Researchers did a study and found that the Stock Market goes up much more on sunny days than on rainy days. So even though these stockbrokers are going to work thinking that they’re making rational judgments, those judgments are very much affected by their mood and the weather. Another example is when you go buy wine.

You think you’re picking the wine according to the origin, grape or price — various conscious factors. But one unconscious factor is your mood or your emotions.

Likewise in England, researchers did a study where they played German and French music alternately on a wine aisle where they had a mixture of German and French wines. On the day they played the German music, two-thirds of the people bought German wine. On the day that French music was played, they bought French wine.”

 

Have you been unconscious to your own sin? Today in prayer, ask the Lord make you conscious of sin and repent from it.  

 

“The conscious mind determines the actions, the unconscious mind determines the reactions; and the reactions are just as important as the actions.” – E. Stanley Jones

 

God’s Word: “When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.” – Job 1:5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - The Lord Is Faithful
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jan 3, 2019
Devotional - The Lord Is Faithful

“What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness?” – Romans 3:3

 

The doctor pointed his finger at newborn Angie Garber and told Angie’s parents, “That one won’t live.”

She was born with a severe facial deformity. The surgery to correct her appearance left her deaf in one ear.

In her teens, Angie contracted polio. She survived, but after months of agonizing therapy and exercise her left leg and arm remained weak. During this difficult time her mother became ill. Angie and one of her sisters cared for their mom for the next 10 years until she died.

But through it all, Angie kept praying that she could someday serve the Lord as a missionary-teacher. God honored her desire.

Following her mother’s death, Angie attended and graduated from Bryan College, spent a year at Wheaton College, and then graduated from Grace Theological Seminary in 1951 with a master’s degree in religious education.

When she was 38, Garber was asked to teach at the Brethren Navajo Boarding School in Counselor, New Mexico. She agreed, submerging herself in the Navajo culture and serving the people and the Lord for the next 47 years.

 

God is faithful and we can depend on Him. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is truly faithful in all that He does.

 

“Cast all your care on God! That anchor holds.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

God’s Word: “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” – 1 Corinthians 1:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - God Does Not Show Favoritism
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jan 2, 2019
Devotional - God Does Not Show Favoritism

“For God does not show favoritism.” – Romans 2:11

 

Researchers have looked at the cultural and religious prejudice of artificial intelligence (AI) and concluded that many human biases are being passed along to machines. In a paper about the study in the journal Science, the researchers wrote: “Our work has implications for AI and machine learning because of the concern that these technologies may perpetuate cultural stereotypes.”

“Our findings suggest that if we build an intelligent system that learns enough about the properties of language to be able to understand and produce it, in the process it will also acquire historical cultural associations, some of which can be objectionable.”

For example, AI often translates that all doctors are male and all nurses are female.

Another example is in 2016, a Microsoft chatbot called Tay was given its own Twitter account and allowed to interact with the public.

It turned into a racist, pro-Hitler personality with a penchant for bizarre conspiracy theories in just 24 hours.

One of the researchers, Professor Joanna Bryson, of Bath University, said that instead of changing the way AI learns, the way it expresses itself should be altered.

So the AI would still “hear” racism and sexism, but would have a moral code that would prevent it from expressing these same sentiments.

 

The Lord alone shows no favoritism in His love. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His impartiality and pray that you will not show favoritism to others.

 

“Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart.” - Marguerite Gardiner

 

God’s Word: “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.” – James 2:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Do Not Be Ungrateful To The Lord
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 1, 2019
Devotional - Do Not Be Ungrateful To The Lord

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” – Romans 1:21

 

"I have always been intrigued by the story of our Lord's healing of the 10 lepers. As they were on their way to show themselves to the priests who would attest to their cure, they were healed. But only one, a despised Samaritan, returned to our Lord to express his gratitude. Our Lord, surprised that only one had done so, then told this Samaritan to rise and go, for his faith had made him whole. It seems odd that Jesus should appear to repeat his cure, since the story had already recorded the healing of all them." 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa commented about the passage of Jesus healing the 10 lepers.

"I have always been intrigued by the story of our Lord's healing of the 10 lepers. As they were on their way to show themselves to the priests who would attest to their cure, they were healed. But only one, a despised Samaritan, returned to our Lord to express his gratitude. Our Lord, surprised that only one had done so, then told this Samaritan to rise and go, for his faith had made him whole. It seems odd that Jesus should appear to repeat his cure, since the story had already recorded the healing of all them." 

Tutu concludes: "I have thought that perhaps this Gospel story points to a deeper leprosy in the spirit, the leprosy of ingratitude. To be unthankful, to be unappreciative, is in fact to be diseased. To cleanse our spirits of depression, of self-pity and other forms of spiritual leprosy, we have to be thankful, appreciative persons."

 

As we begin this New Year, make every effort to be grateful for all of the Lord’s blessings. Today in prayer, thank Christ for the blessings He has bestowed on you and seek to be grateful to Him and to others throughout the day.

 

"The man who has forgotten to be thankful, has fallen asleep in life." – Robert Louis Stephenson

 

God’s Word: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good” 2 Timothy 3:2-3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Stay In The Race
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 1, 2019
Devotional - Stay In The Race

“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” – Romans 1:16-17

 

In 1959, the blockbuster movie “Ben Hur” premiered. It had the largest budget ($15.175 million), as well as the largest sets built, of any film produced at the time. One of the costliest sets was the chariot arena at a cost of $1 million.

In preparation for the chariot race, director Cecil B. DeMille talked to Charlton Heston–the star of the movie. He decided Heston should actually learn to drive the chariot himself, rather than just using a stunt double. Heston agreed to take chariot-driving lessons to make the movie as authentic as possible.

Learning to drive a chariot with horses four abreast, however, was no small matter. After extensive work and days of practice, Heston returned to the movie set and reported to DeMille.

“I think I can drive the chariot all right, Cecil,” said Heston, “but I’m not at all sure I can actually win the race.”

Smiling slightly, DeMille said, “Heston, you just stay in the race, and I’ll make sure you win.”

In a similar way, God says for everyone whose faith is tested: “You just stay in the race, and I’ll make sure you win.”

 

Living a righteous life is living a life by faith in Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, thank Christ for this New Year and seek to please Him by living by faith.

 

“The righteousness of God is not acquired by acts frequently repeated, as Aristotle taught, but is imparted by faith.” – Martin Luther

 

God’s Word: “He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” – Proverbs 21:21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

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