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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions In 2 Corinthians
Devotional - Who Packs Your Parachute?
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Feb 28, 2016
Devotional - Who Packs Your Parachute?

“This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.” – 2 Corinthians 13:10

 

Charles Plumb was a US Navy fighter pilot in Vietnam. On his 75th combat mission his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Charles ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and he now gives motivational talks of lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Charles and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Charles.

"I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!"

Charles assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."

Charles couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Charles says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor."

Charles thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Charles asks his audiences, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone needs someone else who can provide encouragement and build them up throughout the day.

 

The Lord desires us to build up and encourage others in Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for the hope you have in Him. Seek to build up, and not to tear down others in Jesus Christ.

 

“When God calls a man to be a prophet, an apostle, an evangelist, or a pastor, he is pleased to give that man gifts, ability and certain authority. This power is not for the destruction, oppression, nor discomfort of the flock, but for their edification, to promote their faith, holiness, comfort and eternal salvation.” – Henry T. Mahan

 

God’s Word: “For even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it.” – 2 Corinthians 10:8

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - The Sin Of Jealousy
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Feb 25, 2016
Devotional - The Sin Of Jealousy

 “For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.” – 2 Corinthians 12:20

 

Debbi Wood, 42, of Leicester, England is so paranoid that her partner Steve Wood, 30, will stray that she checks his phone, email accounts and bank statements several times a day for evidence of infidelity. Debbi even makes her husband take a lie detector test to prove he has been faithful every time he leaves the house.

Steve, who started dating Debbie in 2011 after they met through a friend, is even banned by Debbi from watching women on television or looking at pictures of them in magazines.

Debbi said: “My jealousy has driven me to breaking point and sometimes I’ve thrown stuff across the room.”

Doctors have discovered that Debbi is suffering from Othello Syndrome, a rare psychiatric disorder that causes sufferers to believe their partners have been unfaithful – even without evidence. It is a rare condition that causes delusional jealousy. Othello Syndrome drives its name from the play by William Shakespeare, in which the character of Othello murders his wife Desdemona after suspecting infidelity.

 

Jealousy is a sin and it can inflame other sins. Today in prayer, confess any jealous thoughts to the Lord and seek to be thankful for all that is in your life.

 

“O! Beware, my lord of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” – William Shakespeare

 

God’s Word: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Endure Persecution
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Feb 24, 2016
Devotional - Endure Persecution

“That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

 

In February 2015, a group of ISIS terrorists beheaded 21 Christians. Months later, Emma Lane, a reporter with International Christian Concern, interviewed two family members of two of the victims of that atrocity. Emma first interviewed Jaya Stephanos Kamel: “She and her brother Bashir watched two of their brothers, Bishoy and Samer, lose their lives on that beach.  ‘All of us must be ready to die for our faith. We are proud of our brothers, but we have been told what we will face in this world, and should be prepared to accept that in faith and joy not matter what.’ Jaya's words have continued to replay in my head.  Her voice was firm and strong, seeping through deep emotions and scars that may never heal on this Earth.  The balance of deep loss measured against unrelenting faith in Christ was something I have never witnessed first hand.”

 

Many Christians such as Jaya and Bashir are enduring persecution for their faith in Christ. Today in prayer, pray for those who are persecuted that they may be strengthened in their faith as they endure hardship and that their persecution may soon end. 

 

“The servant of Christ must never be surprised if he has to drink of the same cup with his Lord.” – J.C. Ryle

 

God’s Word: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” – Romans 5:3-5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Not Your Own Strength
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Feb 23, 2016
Devotional - Not Your Own Strength

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 11:30

 

Trev Mahoney, age 46, is the senior pastor of Crossings Church in Goodyear, Arizona. He can also lift 600 pounds and he took first place in his weight and age division at the 2014 International Powerlifting League contest in Las Vegas.

Though weightlifting is a hobby, his passion is Jesus Christ. "When I became a Christian, it was a game changer for my entire life," Mahoney says.

He asked Christ into his life when he was 7 years old and soon after his father was sent to prison.

Instead of relying on his own strength, young Trev studied the Bible with Christian pastors, teachers and mentors. He developed strong bonds with his Christian mother, siblings, grandparents and a tight group of Christian friends.

Today, he is quick to credit the love of God and other Christians for helping him through his troubled childhood.

 

All of us need to acknowledge that we are weak and Jesus is strong. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is strong enough to overcome every obstacle.

 

“We live in a world full of people struggling to be, or at least to appear strong, in order not to be weak; and we follow the gospel which says that when I am weak, then I am strong. And this gospel is the only thing that brings healing.” – N.T. Wright

 

God’s Word: “But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Don't Compare
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Feb 22, 2016
Devotional - Don't Compare

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” – 2 Corinthians 10:12

 

Henri J.M. Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian. In his book, “Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith” he wrote: “Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, to even to be someone other than who we are. We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous. It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now.

We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do. Be yourself!”

 

The Lord has created each of us in a unique manner. We need to be humble in the descriptions of ourselves and not compare ourselves with others. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that that He has uniquely created you to bring glory to Himself and no comparison to others is needed.

 

“Comparison is the death of joy.” - Mark Twain

 

God’s Word: “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else” – Galatians 6:4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Giving Thanks To God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Feb 21, 2016
Devotional - Giving Thanks To God

“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:12

 

One of the early church fathers was John Chrysostom. He was an eloquent preacher and the Archbishop of Constantinople. In his writings: “Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew” he wrote:

“Let us give thanks to God continually. For, it is outrageous that when we enjoy His benefaction to us in deed every single day, we do not acknowledge the favor with so much as a word; and this, when the acknowledgment confers great benefit on us. He does not need anything of ours, but we stand in need of all things from Him. In point of fact, thanksgiving adds nothing to Him, but it brings us closer to Him. For if, when we recall the benefactions of men, we are the more warmed by affection for them; much more, when we continually bring to mind the benefits of the Master towards us, shall we be more earnest with regard to His commandments.”

 

Give thanks to God continually and your giving will increase with your affection for God and others. Today in prayer, give thanks to God and ask Him how you can give to others.

 

“Nothing is really ours until we share it.” – C.S. Lewis

 

God’s Word: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” – 1 John 3:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Excel In Giving
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Feb 18, 2016
Devotional - Excel In Giving

“But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” – 2 Corinthians 8:7

 

Leighton Farrell was the minister of Highland Park Church in Dallas for many years. He tells of a man in the church who once made a covenant with a former pastor to tithe ten percent of their income every year. They were both young and neither of them had much money. But things changed. The layman tithed one thousand dollars the year he earned ten thousand, ten thousand dollars the year he earned one-hundred thousand, and one- hundred thousand dollars the year he earned one million. But the year he earned six million dollars he just could not bring himself to write out that check for six-hundred thousand dollars to the Church.  He telephoned the minister, long since having moved to another church, and asked to see him. Walking into the pastor’s office the man begged to be let out of the covenant, saying, "This tithing business has to stop. It was fine when my tithe was one thousand dollars, but I just cannot afford six-hundred thousand dollars. You’ve got to do something, Reverend!" The pastor knelt on the floor and prayed silently for a long time. Eventually the man said, "What are you doing? Are you praying that God will let me out of the covenant to tithe?" "No," said the minister. "I am praying for God to reduce your income back to the level where one thousand dollars will be your tithe!"

 

No one excels more in giving than the Lord. Today in prayer, praise Jesus for all that He has blessed you with and seek to excel in giving to the Lord.

 

“What I gave, I have; what I spent, I had; what I left, I lost —by not giving it.” – Christopher Chapman

 

God’s Word: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.” – Psalm 37:25-26

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Godly Sorrow Leads To Repentance
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Feb 17, 2016
Devotional - Godly Sorrow Leads To Repentance

"yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us." - 2 Corinthians 7:9

 

Christian musician and songwriter David Crowder talked about the story of “Come As You Are.” He said: “Growing up in First Baptist Church in Texarkana, in Texarkana, Texas and we had this traveling evangelist come through and we had a revival that went a week long. At the end of each service in the nighttime he would end with the hymn “Just As I Am”. I had never written a song of invitation and so I wanted a song that reflected all the emotion that was in my chest when I heard “Just As I Am.” It was one of the easiest songs I have been part of writing and one of my favorite songs I have been part of writing. Because it throws open arms wide because you can’t have run too far, you can’t have done too much. Grace is extensive and vast and it's offensive in a sense. When we feel undeserving, it finds us there. And, this song announces that and I feel like it gives permission to turn around and come back home.”

 

The Lord wants us to have godly sorrow and to draw close to Him. Today in prayer, confess and repent of any sin in your life and follow Christ in all that you do.

 

"Come out of sadness, From wherever you've been. Come broken hearted, Let rescue begin. Come find your mercy, Oh sinner come kneel. Earth has no sorrow That heaven can't heal. Earth has no sorrow That heaven can't heal." – David Crowder

 

God's Word: "From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'" - Matthew 4:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Having Nothing Yet Possessing Everything
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Feb 16, 2016
Devotional - Having Nothing Yet Possessing Everything

“sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” – 2 Corinthians 6:10

 

In 1982, Mother Teresa visited Australia. A new recruit to the monastery in Australia was assigned to be her guide and “gofer” during her stay. The young man was so thrilled and excited at the prospect of being so close to this woman. He dreamed of how much he would learn from her and what they would talk about. But during her visit, he became frustrated. Although he was constantly near her, he never had the opportunity to say one word to Mother Teresa. There were always other people for her to meet. Finally, her tour was over, and she was due to fly to New Guinea. In desperation, the young man had his opportunity to speak to Mother Teresa. He said to her, “If I pay my own fare to New Guinea, can I sit next to you on the plane so I can talk to you and learn from you?” Mother Teresa looked at him. “You have enough money to pay airfare to New Guinea?” she asked. “Oh, yes,” he replied eagerly. “Then give that money to the poor,” she said. “You’ll learn more from that than anything I can tell you.” The young man was still trusting in his own resources rather than relying on the Lord.

 

We are made rich when we love Jesus and follow Him. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that His love for us has made us rich.

 

“Oh, how holy and how rich is the poverty brought on by giving alms!”– Francis de Sales

 

God’s Word: “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” – James 2:5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

 

Devotional - Today Is The Day
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Feb 15, 2016
Devotional - Today Is The Day

“For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2

 

William Reynolds was a well-known Sunday School teacher in Peoria, Illinois during the late 1800’s. One day a friend asked: "Mr. Reynolds, why have you not asked me to be a Christian? Did you know I was not a Christian?

"Mr. Reynolds replied: "Yes, I knew you were not a Christian." "Well," said the man, "did you care?" "Yes, I have cared all the time I have known you." "Why, then, did you not ask me," said the man. "Well," said Mr. Reynolds, "if you will come to my office now, I will spend the rest of the day with you."

Then the man smiled and said: "I was converted yesterday." He told the story of how he was converted. He entered a train in Chicago, and took the only unoccupied seat in the car. Just as the train was pulling out, a burly sort of a man entered and sat alongside him. He dropped his traveling bag, and took out a book and began to read. It was the Bible. After a while he closed the Bible and looked out of the window, and said: "What a wonderful day." The other man replied, "Very wonderful." Then the big man saw the harvests in the fields, and said to his companion: "You have fine harvests out here." "Yes" was the reply, "very wonderful." Then he added: "Is not God good to give such harvests as these?" There was no reply. "Why, are not you a Christian?" said the big man. "No, sir," was the reply. "Why, how could you not be a Christian? Read this." And with this he opened his Bible and began to read him some verses. Presently he said to him: "Why don't you bow your head on the back of the seat in front, and let me pray with you?" Telling his story, the man said: "Before I knew it my head was bowed and his arm was around me. When I lifted my head, I was a saved man. The train stopped at a station, and the man started out. He was almost gone, and I remembered that I did not know his name. I rushed to the car door, and put my hands to my lips and shouted — 'What is your name?' He looked over his shoulder and said one word — 'Moody."' It was D.L. Moody, the famous evangelist.

 

We don’t have to wait for a special time to share the good news of the Gospel; today can be the day of salvation! Today in prayer, pray for your friends and family who do not yet know Jesus Christ and be bold and loving as you share the Gospel with them.

 

“God does not violate the human will when he saves men. They are not converted against their will, but their will itself is converted.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

 

God’s Word: “This is what the LORD says: "In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances” – Isaiah 49:8

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - A New Creation
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Feb 14, 2016
Devotional - A New Creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Karim Shamsi-Basha grew up as a serious Muslim in Syria. He prayed five times a day, walking to his mosque every day before sunrise.

“Throughout my growing up as a Muslim, I searched for a God I can love more than I can fear,” he said.

He moved to the United States and was working as a photographer in 1992 when he suffered a sudden brain aneurysm that left him in a coma for a month. Doctors told his wife that he had less than a 10 percent chance of surviving past the first night.

When he came out of it, he began a journey—one that would take 20 years and see him endure incredible hardship. Along the way, Karim endured a divorce, the failure of another relationship, the death of his father and a period of homelessness.

A friend challenged him to read the Book of Acts. "The first time I read the ninth chapter of Acts, I said, 'Whoa! That's where I grew up,'" Karim said. Soon he could identify with the Apostle Paul and he asked Christ into his heart.

He wrote the book “Paul and Me.” In his book, Karim recounts that his search for the God of love was at the center of his long spiritual journey.

“It's a love story," he said. "God loves every person on the planet the same.”

“I would like to address any Muslim who might not agree with me. Love is mentioned in the Bible more than 500 times. A generous look at the Quran, and find out it is mentioned less than 30 times. I think it is worth investigating.”

 

Jesus Christ can change lives into His image. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that in His hands we can become new creatures and our lives can bring Him glory.    

 

“I felt myself absolutely born again. The gates of paradise had been flung open and I had entered. There and then the whole of scripture took on another look to me.” – Martin Luther

 

God’s Word: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Our Day In Court
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Feb 11, 2016
Devotional - Our Day In Court

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” – 2 Corinthians 5:10

 

During the 1990’s, the Oakland California Police Department had a group of four police officers known as “The Riders.” They were considered the best and the brightest, veterans whom rookie police officers tried to emulate. Their specialty: bringing in reputed drug dealers in record numbers from the crime-plagued streets of West Oakland.

But soon it became apparent that the officers were operating outside the law.

Charges included kidnapping, roughing up suspects, planting drugs, and covering up their crimes.

Litigation lasted for nearly fourteen years, the longest criminal trial in U.S. history. The trial took seven months and included 84 witnesses. Jurors had to read a mountainous 122 pages of instructions on 35 counts. They took four months to reach a verdict on eight counts (not guilty) but couldn't reach a verdict on the other 27 counts. The result was a partial mistrial.

 

The Lord promises that everyone will appear in His court and stand before Him one day. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that when you stand before Him your defense is that He paid the price for your sins on the Cross.

 

“The Christian making God's statutes his song, is a pilgrim to the judgment; the sinner treading upon the mercy of Jesus, and trampling upon His blood, is hastening to the judgment. ‘We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.’” – Richard Fuller

 

God’s Word: “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'” – Romans 14:10-11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Fix Your Eyes On Him
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Feb 10, 2016
Devotional - Fix Your Eyes On Him

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

In 1939, at what was then known as the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind in Talladega, six boys formed a gospel group and called themselves the “Blind Boys of Alabama. The group first sang publically in 1944. Since then, the group's output has spanned seven decades of tours and appearances, and produced five Grammy Awards.

The performing core of the group consists of eight musicians, including four blind singers. One of the original founding members is 82-year old singer Jimmy Carter.

When asked what is the message in their music, Jimmy replied: “Our message is God. We want to tell people about God. We sing for him. We're working for him. Our message is that God is here for you. If you're without hope, he can give you hope. If you go to one of our concerts, and you go back the same way you came in, we've failed you. We're here to touch people's lives and make them happy.”

 

Though we cannot yet see our Heavenly Father, we can hear and follow His Word. Today in prayer, set your heart’s focus on Jesus and follow His Word.

 

“It gives me a deep comforting sense that ‘things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal.’” – Helen Keller

 

God’s Word: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional- In Our Lives
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Feb 9, 2016
Devotional- In Our Lives

"For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body." - 2 Corinthians 4:11

 

In 1941, missionaries the Reverend Russell Deibler and his wife Darlene Deibler began working in the Baliem Valley of New Guinea. A year later, they were captured by the Japanese and placed in separate prison camps. Though her husband died in his camp, Darlene amazingly survived four years of torture, starvation, and solitary confinement.

Though she was crushed often as a prisoner, she could always rely on Jesus. She remembered one time when the Japanese camp commander told her of her husband’s death: “Mr. Yamaji, may I have permission to talk to you?” He nodded, sat down, then motioned for me to take the other chair.

“Mr. Yamaji, I don’t sorrow like people who have no hope. I want to tell you about Someone of Whom you may never have heard. I learned about Him when I was a little girl in Sunday School back in Boone, Iowa, in America. His name is Jesus. He’s the Son of Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth.”

God opened the most wonderful opportunity to lay the plan of salvation before the Japanese camp commander. Tears started to course down his cheeks. ‘He died for you, Mr. Yamaji, and He puts love in our hearts—even for those who are our enemies. That’s why I don’t hate you, Mr. Yamaji. Maybe God brought me to this place and time to tell you He loves you.’”

 

The Lord wants us to live fully in Him so He may be glorified in us. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He loves you and that He can be gloried in your life.

 

"When we are abandoned by the things we value, when we discover that no matter how much we have gathered we do not have enough, when we realize that even in the currency we value we are very poor, we are ready to start talking to God. Not before. Faith means betting our lives on the grace of God." - M. Craig Barnes

 

God's Word: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." - Romans 8:35-37

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail    

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - When Pressed On Every Side
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Feb 8, 2016
Devotional - When Pressed On Every Side

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

 

On January 29, 2016, Awdhesh Savita, a Christian living in Uttar Pradesh, India was forcibly taken from his home by 200 enraged Hindu extremists, who accused him of trying to convert three people to Christianity. Awdhesh was humiliated in public by members of the local branch of the Bajrang Dal, a militant youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, Hindu ultranationalists). The crowd surrounded his home in Randar (in Jalaun district), forced him to leave it, shaved his head, mustache and eyebrows and then led him to the organization’s headquarters.

Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), has sent an appeal to the Indian National Commission for Human Rights, demanding justice. He said: "The GCIC harshly condemns the public humiliation of this young man and extremist forces trying to foment and incite violence and hatred against the Christian minority."

When police arrived at the scene, the extremists refused to hand over the man. It was only after the arrival of reinforcements, was Awdhesh transferred to police custody.

 

When life presses in, look to Jesus. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Lord that in every situation, He is faithful to lead us toward Himself.

 

“More persecution—more growing!” – Samuel Lamb

 

God’s Word: “Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” – John 15:20

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - His Likeness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Feb 7, 2016
Devotional - His Likeness

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Many actresses from Elizabeth Taylor to Sophia Loren have portrayed the legendary Cleopatra. But in December 2008, a computer-generated image was revealed of her. 

Cambridge University’s Egyptologist Sally Ann Ashton believes the computer-generated 3D image is the best likeness of the legendary beauty famed for her ability to beguile.

Pieced together from images on ancient artifacts, including a ring dating from Cleopatra's reign 2,000 years ago, it is the culmination of more than a year of painstaking research.

The result is a beautiful young woman of mixed ethnicity  - very different to the porcelain-skinned Westernized version portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1961 movie Cleopatra.

Dr. Ashton reflected the monarch's Greek heritage as well as her Egyptian upbringing.

“She probably wasn't just completely European. You've got to remember that her family had actually lived in Egypt for 300 years by the time she came to power.”

The 3D image of the queen contrasts with a statue of Cleopatra exhibited at the British Museum in 2001 portraying her as plain, no more than 5ft tall and rather plump.

 

There is no reliable photo, portrait or 3D image of Jesus. The only Jesus many people will ever see is your transformed life in Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that you are being transformed into His likeness and let others see the glory of our Lord.

 

“We are called to be ‘stewards of the mysteries of God.’ . . . And the great mystery is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ . . . And that glory is the glory of God.”  – John Piper

 

God’s Word: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one” – John 17:22

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

 

Devotional - Liberty In Christ
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Feb 4, 2016
Devotional - Liberty In Christ

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17

 

Faneuil Hall located near the Boston’s waterfront has been a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1743. It was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams and others encouraging independence from Great Britain.

In its gallery, the largest painting is of Daniel Webster entitled: “Webster Replying to Senator Hayne.” The famous painting captures the moment when Senator Webster rebutted Senator Hayne’s proposal that the Southern states withdraw from the Union. Senator Webster declared that the Constitution had created a union of states, and the union’s law-making power is supreme over the states. He ended the debate with the memorable phrase, “Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable.”

In 1895, long after the Civil War, General William Booth, the founder and head of the Salvation Army spoke at Faneuil Hall. Behind him was the icon painting. Referring to the painting, the General proclaimed: “Union and liberty — union with Christ and liberty from sin—'one and inseparable, now and forever.”

 

There is liberty and freedom found in union with Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that in Him we have freedom.

 

“Man is really free only in God, the source of his freedom.” – Sherwood Eddy

 

God’s Word: “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” – John 8:31-32

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - The Pleasing Aroma Of Christ
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Feb 3, 2016
Devotional - The Pleasing Aroma Of Christ

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” – 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

 

In 1964, Australian chemists Isabel Bear and R.G. Thomas set about discovering what caused the distinctive smell of rain. They found the smell by drying clay and extracting and analyzing the oils within the clay. They pinpointed “an oily yellow material” that caused the smell.

Certain plants had exuded this oily yellow material during dry periods, whereupon clay-based soils and rocks absorbed it. During a rain, the oil was released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, which is emitted by wet soil, producing the distinctive scent found after a rain.

Bear and Thomas showed that the oily yellow material retarded seed germination and early plant growth. This means that the plants exude the oil in order to safeguard the seeds from germination under duress. And when the nourishing rains arrived, the sweet smell is released indicating the time of duress was over.

 

There is a sweet smell we enjoy when we are in fellowship with Jesus. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Christ, that there is a pleasing aroma of the knowledge of Him.

 

“When we lift our hands in praise and worship, we break spiritual jars of perfume over Jesus. The fragrance of our praise fills the whole earth and touches the heart of God.” - Dennis Ignatius

 

God’s Word: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

 

Devotional - The Way Of Forgiveness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Feb 2, 2016
Devotional - The Way Of Forgiveness

“Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” – 2 Corinthians 2:7

 

On Sunday, September 20, 2015, James Junior Minter entered Oasis Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama. He was distraught and sat down in the first row next to his estranged girl friend Sharnika Brown and their baby. He was upset over their recent breakup and visitation issues with his son. Suddenly he pulled a gun and shot Sharnika and the baby. Pastor Bob Carswell, 61, then grabbed Minter and the pastor was shot in the leg. All the victims survived. Pastor Bob was credited with saving Sharnika and the baby’s life. Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson. "The pastor was a good Samaritan, tried to get the gun from him and the pastor got shot."

Minter was arrested for attempted murder.

Just days later, Pastor Bob said of Minter: "I forgive him. I don't hold a charge to him."

 

Forgiveness is a difficult act of love, but it demonstrates God’s love for us. Today in prayer, let the Lord know you have forgiven those who have hurt you and then let them know that you forgive them.

 

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese

 

God’s Word: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

 

Devotional - Having A Clear Conscience
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Feb 1, 2016
Devotional - Having A Clear Conscience

"Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace." - 2 Corinthians 1:12

 

On November 11, 2015, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke accidentally parked his police vehicle in a handicapped spot for a Veterans Day ceremony at a war memorial.

The sheriff then instructed another officer to move his squad car to another spot.

However, the order was not followed through and Clarke returned from the ceremony to find it in the same spot.

Just as he would do to any other citizen, Clarke issued himself a parking citation.

Seeking to have a clear conscience, the sheriff explained that what happened was "inexcusable."

He said: "The rules are the same for my squad as any car except in an emergency or official business but not in a handicap area."

A county fine for this violation is $35. But Clarke went on to explain that because the city fine is higher, he has also donated $200 to an organization that works with people with disabilities.

Sheriff Clarke closed out his statement with a promise to open an internal investigation to discover why his initial order was not followed.

 

The Lord has given us a conscience to awaken us to sin. Today in prayer, confess any sin to Jesus and seek to keep a clear conscience before Christ and others.

 

"Conscience tells us that we ought to do right, but it does not tell us what right is--that we are taught by God’s word.” – H.C. Trumbull

 

God's Word: "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." - 1 Peter 3:15-16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

Devotional - Our Comforting Heavenly Father
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jan 31, 2016
Devotional - Our Comforting Heavenly Father

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

 

In August 2011, Hurricane Irene battered the Eastern seaboard leaving devastation in its wake. Vince and Sue Smith evacuated their home in Schoharie, New York before the raging waters took a toll on their home.

When they entered home after the storm, they many of their possessions had been destroyed. “We lost everything on the first floor,” Vince said. “The water must’ve been at least five feet deep here.”

“I felt sick,” remembered Sue as she surveyed all that was lost. “Vince is the organist at church, his reed organ in the living room a treasured antique. I loved listening to him play while I quilted. All the things I’d collected over the years—the handcrafted wooden baskets, the beautiful felt angels in the corner cabinet, my autographed children’s books from teaching first grade.

We’d never be able to replace them. We didn’t have flood insurance. We lived simply on our teachers’ pensions—Vince had taught elementary school band and choir—and Social Security.”

As the worry of rebuilding engulfed Sue, she awoke one night “my hands clenching the covers. Dear God, please help me to let go, to trust in you. To believe in a future.”

A few days later a former colleague of Vince’s came by the house. “I posted a note about what you’re going through on Facebook,” he said. “I’ve heard from so many former students. They wanted me to give you this donation.” Inside the envelope was a check for one thousand dollars. Soon more money poured in.

Then, two weeks after the flood more than 20 Christians helped gut the house and rebuild it. And for weeks following the hurricane, more volunteers continued came to rebuild the battered village of Schoharie. In gratitude Sue wrote: “God is at work even in the midst of chaos and despair. Especially then. And thanks to that I know we’ll be okay.”

 

At any time, we can look to Jesus Christ and receive comfort in Him. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Christ, that He is Lord of all, and seek comfort in Him so you may comfort others in Christ.

 

“It will greatly comfort you if you can see God’s hand in both your losses and your crosses.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

 

God’s Word: “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus” – 2 Corinthians 7:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 2 CORINTHIANS

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