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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions In Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther
Devotional - Reaping What You Sow
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 29, 2020
Devotional - Reaping What You Sow

“So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king's fury subsided.” – Esther 7:10

 

Evangelist Billy Graham told the following story about sowing and reaping: “I heard a story about a man who told his son, “Don’t go into that watermelon patch. The melons aren’t ripe yet.” Then the father drove into town. The boy went out to the watermelon patch and found one melon that he knew was ripe. He pulled it, broke it over some rocks, and ate it. He knew he had done wrong. He knew he had disobeyed his father, but he hadn’t been caught.

Several weeks passed. As the father was driving a cow up from the pasture, he saw a strange thing on the other side of the fence. He saw little watermelon sprouts by some rocks. He dug by the new plants and saw the old rinds with seeds sprouting. He knew what had happened. The boy was caught.”

 

We do reap what we sow. Today in prayer, confess to the Lord any sin in your life and seek to be Christ-like in all that you do.

 

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver

 

God’s Word: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” – Galatians 6:7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail    

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - To Be Used By God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jun 28, 2020
Devotional - To Be Used By God

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” - Esther 4:14  

 

In an article entitled “God Uses Ordinary People in Extraordinary Ways”, Pastor Dave Jenkins writes: 

“God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways for His glory. God used a lawyer in high school to disciple me to grow in His grace. He’s also used many “ordinary” people with no Bible college or seminary education to disciple me. God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways as a testimony for His grace and glory. So, the next time you feel you are a failure, that your sin disqualifies you from service or you are better than someone—remember the Gospel. The Gospel that saved you is sanctifying you and will one day glorify you is the power of God. God uses all sorts of people with all sorts of gifts, talents, and abilities as a testimony of His grace that His name would be made famous among the nations.  God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways to advance His Gospel.”

 

Our time on earth is all too short. The desire of all of us should be to do the will of our Heavenly Father. Today in prayer, consider what the Lord is a task calling you to do, and then enthusiastically follow Christ in all of your work. 

 

“God accomplishes His purposes through people.” – Warren Wiersbe

 

God’s Word: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” – Colossians 4:5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail    

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Resolving To Do Right
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 25, 2020
Devotional - Resolving To Do Right

“When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged.” – Esther 3:5

 

In the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, protests erupted throughout America. There was a cry for justice and that Black Lives Matter. One rally occurred in early June 2020 in Hartwell, Georgia. 

Georgia state trooper O’Neal Saddler was at the scene of the protest. O’Neal is African-American and when confronted by protesters over why he wasn’t kneeling in solidarity with them — he replied there’s only one person he takes a knee for.

“God,” Officer O’Neal said in an exchange caught on video.

“If I didn’t have any respect, I wouldn’t [be here],” O’Neal told the protesters.

“I was supposed to be out of town this weekend with my wife. I took off today, this weekend, but I’m out here to make sure y’all are safe.

“Don’t go there with respect, OK?” the state trooper added. “I have much respect, but I only kneel for one person.”

 

There are times in our lives when we must stand up for what is right. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you wisdom, courage and resolve to do what is right.

 

“To cling always to God and to the things of God--this must be our major effort, this must be the road that the heart follows.” – John Cassian.

 

God’s Word: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail    

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - God's Perspective
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jun 24, 2020
Devotional - God's Perspective

“because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.)” – Nehemiah 13:2

 

John McKay was the head coach at the University of Southern California (USC) from 1960 to 1975. In sixteen seasons at USC, McKay compiled a record of 127–40–8 (.749) and won nine conference titles. His teams made eight appearances in the Rose Bowl, with five wins. 

In 1966, following Notre Dame’s humiliating victory over USC by a score of 51-0, Coach John McKay of USC tried to give his losing team some perspective. McKay came into the locker room and saw a group of beaten worn-out and thoroughly depressed young football players who were not accustomed to losing. He stood up on a bench and said, “Men, let's keep this in perspective. There are 750 million Chinese who don't even know this game was played.”

 

We often do not have the full perspective of life. What might seem to be a negative can become a blessing from the Lord. Today in prayer, thank Jesus that life brings, knowing that He can turnaround any curse into a blessing.

 

"I have a point of view. You have a point of view. God has view." - Madeleine L'Engle

 

God’s Word: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Giving To The Lord's Work
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jun 23, 2020
Devotional - Giving To The Lord's Work

“Moreover, we will bring to the storerooms of the house of our God, to the priests, the first of our ground meal, of our grain offerings, of the fruit of all our trees and of our new wine and oil. And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all the towns where we work.” – Nehemiah 10:37

 

John Wesley was an English minister, theologian, and evangelist who was a leader of a revival movement within the Church of England known as Methodism. His work extended from England to America and today the Methodist church has 75 million members in more than 130 countries.

One of his distinguishing traits was Wesley’s giving to the Lord’s work.

From sales of his books alone, Wesley gave away £30,000 to £40,000 ($37,000-$45,000). That was an amazing achievement for someone who lived in the eighteenth century. When his annual income was £30, he gave £2 to the Lord. The next year, when his salary doubled, he continued to live on £28 and gave the Lord £32. The Lord entrusted him with increasing amounts of money so that in 1787 he was able to tell one of his preachers that he never gave away less than £1000 per year.

 

No matter how much you have, consider how to give to the Lord’s work. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you wisdom on how to best give to His work.

 

“For it is in giving that we receive.” - Francis of Assisi

 

God’s Word: “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” – Proverbs 3:9-10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Man's Stubbornness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 22, 2020
Devotional - Man's Stubbornness

“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them” – Nehemiah 9:17

 

In 1980, prior to the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington State, officials recognized the mountain was a volcano ready to erupt. Every resident of Washington State's Mount St. Helens area heeded the weeks of official warnings and evacuated, except one man.

Stubborn Harry Randall Truman refused to move.

Harry, age 83, knew better. Instead, he stayed put, insisting to reporters that the smoldering mountain behind him was just a molehill and that they were all acting like wimps. "The mountain is a mile away," Harry said. "The mountain ain't gonna hurt me."

Harry operated the Mount St. Helens Lodge on Spirit Lake and refused to evacuate.

Officials tried one last time on 17 May to persuade him to move, but Harry stubbornly refused. The following morning, Mt. St. Helens erupted and the entire area was obliterated. No trace of Harry was ever found.

 

It is only our stubbornness that prevents us from enjoying God’s love. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He loves us despite our stubbornness and is gracious and compassionate, desiring all people to come to Jesus for forgiveness.

 

“There are few people so stubborn in their atheism who when danger is pressing in will not acknowledge the divine power.” - Plato

 

God’s Word: “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” – Romans 2:5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Studying The Word
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jun 21, 2020
Devotional - Studying The Word

“So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.” – Nehemiah 8:2-3

 

In George Foreman’s book, God in My Corner, the former heavyweight boxing champion writes: “In 1974, before I went to Africa to fight Muhammad Ali, a friend gave me a Bible to take along on my trip. He said, ‘George, keep this with you for good luck.’ I believed the Bible was just a shepherd’s handbook, probably because the only verse I knew was ‘the Lord is my shepherd.’ But I was always looking for luck, so I carried that Bible with me. I had lucky pennies and good luck charms, so now I added the ‘lucky’ Bible to my collection of superstitious items.

After I lost the fight, I threw the Bible away. I never even opened it. I thought, The Bible didn’t help me win, so why do I need it? I thought I’d get power simply from owning it; I didn’t realize that I needed to read it and believe what it says. Since then, I’ve come to understand that the Bible is my road map, not my good luck charm.”

 

Do you desire to study God’s Word? Today in prayer, thank Jesus for the Bible and take some extra time today to study God’s Word.

 

"We have done almost everything that is possible with these Hebrew and Greek writings. We have overlaid them, clause by clause, with exhaustive commentaries; we have translated them, revised the translations, and quarreled over the revisions...There is yet one thing left to do with the Bible: simply read it"  - Richard Moulton 

 

God’s Word: “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” – Psalm 119:14-16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

 

Devotional - Strength From Our Father
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 18, 2020
Devotional - Strength From Our Father

“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’” – Nehemiah 6:9

 

Gladys Aylward rightly has been called the most noted single woman missionary of the 20th century. Born into a working-class family, Gladys did poorly in school and began working as a maid at the age of 14. She would have remained a maid for life if God had not intervened.

She came to the Lord through a pastor’s wife with a passion for the lost — whether they were rich or poor. After her conversion in her mid-twenties, Gladys began dreaming of telling the lost about her Savior. And not just in the corner of London where she worked. She felt distinctly called by God to go to China as a missionary.

The mission board to which she applied couldn’t have been less enthusiastic. That didn’t hinder Gladys. She set out by train across Europe and Asia. That she made it to China is a miracle. On one occasion, Gladys found herself in a deserted train, stranded in Siberia — less than a mile from where Russian and Chinese soldiers were at war.

Once in China, God allowed Gladys to undergo some harrowing experiences, but used her to win many Chinese to Himself. She demonstrated courage and physical endurance where many a man would have wilted. The secret wasn’t her background, education, or missionary training. By all those standards, she didn’t measure up. But because her life was centered on God alone, He was pleased to demonstrate His power through her.

 

God wants to show His power in and through each of us, whatever our circumstances and calling in life. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that He can carry and strengthen you to do His work.

 

“You become stronger only when you become weaker. When you surrender your will to God, you discover the resources to do what God requires.” – Erwin Lutzer

 

God’s Word: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Fearing God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jun 17, 2020
Devotional - Fearing God

“So I continued, "What you are doing is not right. Shouldn't you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?” – Nehemiah 5:9

 

In March 2013, a professor at Florida Atlantic University asked students to write the name 'Jesus' on a piece of paper, place the paper on the floor, and then stomp on it. While most blindly complied, some refused to do so, and one student even went to school administrators to complain.

Ryan Rotela, a junior at FAU who was enrolled in the Intercultural Communications class, told local media that he went to school officials to protest the assignment. "Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value … So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value."

Initially, FAU defended the assignment and the curriculum from which it was derived. They have since recanted and apologized. "This exercise will not be used again. The University holds dear its core values. We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused," said Florida Atlantic University, a multi-campus institution, in a prepared statement posted on its website.

 

We need to love the Lord and to follow Him in all that we do. Today in prayer, fear the Lord by loving and honoring Him in all that you do.

 

“The fear of God kills all other fears.” – Thomas Browne

 

God’s Word: “He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.’” – Revelation 14:7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - With All Of Your Heart
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jun 16, 2020
Devotional - With All Of Your Heart

“So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.” – Nehemiah 4:6

 

In a sermon entitled: “Serve Wholeheartedly”, Pastor David Simpson talks about barriers to serving God:

“There are some “barriers” to service that surround us every day. Here are some: cell phone, computer, television, or an easy chair.

In fact, any of these could be service sappers. They prevent us from seeing and responding to the needs that surround us constantly. Time spent with these items takes away from time that could be spent investing in others.

Take the easy chair for instance. It could be one of the most dangerous items in our homes. Not because of what it might do to you but rather because of what you might not do when you are in it. I mean the name says it all ‘Lazy Boy.’

These service sappers prevent us from performing the tasks that our Lord has asked us to do. I wish that service was as simple as washing feet, but it’s not. I wish that service was as simple as sending a text, but it’s not. I wish that service was as easy as responding to someone’s post on Facebook, but it’s not. I wish that service was as simple as sending an email, but it’s not. I wish that service could be performed from sitting in an easy chair, but it can’t. Service takes effort, and sometimes great effort.”

 

Love the work the Lord has given you and do it with all of your heart. Today in prayer, praise Jesus for the work He has given you and do it with all of your heart.

 

“Work as if you were to live 100 years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.” – Ben Franklin

 

God’s Word: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” – Colossians 3:23

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - The Secret Of Success
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 15, 2020
Devotional - The Secret Of Success

“I answered them by saying, ‘The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.’” – Nehemiah 2:20

 

In a sermon entitled “Biblical Keys For Successful Living”, Pastor Terry Buxton, Sr. says the following about money and success:

“Some people think that success is having lots of money. But success and money are not necessarily the same thing because there are a whole lot of things that money can’t buy. Money can buy you a palace of breathtaking splendor filled with the priceless art of Michelangelo, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Monet, but money can never buy you a home filled with people who love and respect you there. Money can buy you the services of the finest doctors in the world, but money can never buy you the blessings of God-given health. Money can buy you the company of lots of people for a while, but money can never buy you the genuine fellowship of true friends. Money can buy you a companion for the night, but money can never buy you real love. Money can buy you a bed of solid gold and the softest mattress in the world, but money can never buy you one minute of rest or one moment of inner peace. Success is not having money.”

 

The secret of success is to love Jesus and to follow Him.  Today in prayer, praise the Lord that we can have faith in Him, and in Him we have success.  

 

“A man is not far from the gates of heaven when he is fully submissive to the Lord’s will.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

 

God’s Word: “He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” – 2 Chronicles 26:5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail    

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - God Is Awesome
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jun 14, 2020
Devotional - God Is Awesome

“Then I said: ‘O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands’” – Nehemiah 1:5

 

What is the probability of a universe which life can form? That was the question British mathematician Roger Penrose sought to answer. He calculated—based on only one of the hundreds of parameters of the physical universe—that the probability of the emergence of a life-giving cosmos was 1 divided by 10, raised to the power 10, and again raised to the power of 123. This is a number as close to zero as anyone has ever imagined.

The number of 10 to the power of 123 is so large it is incomprehensible. There are an estimated 10 to the power of 78 atoms in the entire universe. In short, Penrose’s calculation of “accidental” creation of our universe is an impossibility.

Roger stated: “This now tells how precise the Creator’s aim must have been. If we were to write a 0 on each proton and each neutron in the universe, and we were to throw in all the particles for good measure, we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed.”

 

Our Lord is awesome! We cannot comprehend His greatness. Today in prayer, praise Jesus that He is awesome in all of His ways.

 

“Raise your hands, all you nations Shout to God all creation How awesome is the Lord most high.” – Jon Abel

 

God’s Word: “You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” – Psalm 68:35

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Take Courage
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 11, 2020
Devotional - Take Courage

“Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” – Ezra 10:4

 

Rifqa Bary grew up in a devout Muslim home.  She was sexually violated by an extended family member and received regular beatings from her father.  When she was 12, she gave her heart to the Lord and lived her Christian faith in complete secrecy for 4 years.  When she told her family, her parents and religious leaders planned on killing her.  A team of Christians helped her escape from her home in Ohio to live in Florida.  Rifqa lived in different foster homes until a Christian couple eventually took her in.  On her 18th birthday, Rifqa was free to live the life she wanted to for herself.  “I was so excited that I didn’t have to hide anymore, that I could just open up the Bible.” 

Though Rifqa is estranged from her family, God has healed her heart.  She prays for her family and hopes that they will also find the same freedom she has.  Despite this great loss, Rifqa says the whole ordeal was worth it.  “I have no regrets and would do it all again.” As a young girl, Rifqa faced a seemingly impossible situation.  But Christ gave her the courage to follow Him.

 

Be of good courage and do not be afraid, the Lord is with you! Today in prayer, praise Jesus that in His strength you can have courage in any situation.

 

“God, grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right, even though I think it is hopeless.” – Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

 

God’s Word: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Admitting Our Guilt
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jun 10, 2020
Devotional - Admitting Our Guilt

“and prayed: "O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.” – Ezra 9:6

 

In February 1922, the death of director William Desmond Taylor was big news. A police officer showed up at his Hollywood bungalow to find the 49-year-old dead on the floor with a bullet in his back.

One of the suspects was 19-year-old Mary Miles Minter, a budding teen star when Desmond started casting her in his silent films. After his murder, her nightgown was found in his bedroom, as was a love letter.

Nonetheless, the case went unsolved for years. Many years later Minter wrote an autobiography and admitted that she and her mother, Charlotte Shelby, were at the bungalow the night of the murder. Shelby had previously threatened the life of another director that made a pass at her daughter.

Legend has it that when Shelby suffered a heart attack, she attempted to summon a priest so she could confess to killing Taylor. With no priest nearby to confess, she told all to a nearby neighbor, and then she died.

 

When we realize the gravity of sin, we become racked with guilt. Today in prayer, confess any sin in your life to Jesus and give praise to Him that He loves you and died for those sins.

 

“You cannot repent too soon because you do not know how soon it may be too late.” – Thomas Fuller

 

God’s Word: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"--and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” – Psalm 32:5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Fasting And Praying
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jun 9, 2020
Devotional - Fasting And Praying

“So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” – Ezra 8:23

 

In 1861, at the onset of the American Civil War, newly elected President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in September, as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people of the nation.

Bishop Potter, of Pennsylvania, issued an address, recommending the strict observance of the Fast day appointed by the President. He said:

“At no period of our history could such an observance be more proper. Our greatest sin is forgetfulness of God; our greatest peril presumptuous trust in our own wisdom and might. Institutions in which we exulted with impious confidence are in jeopardy; a Union which we boasted that nothing could destroy totters to its fall; material resources with which we thought to defy the world take to themselves wings and fly away. Our reliance on the God of Nations and of Battles needs to be revived and strengthened; and where can this be done but at the footstool of the Divine Mercy? Let us, then, brethren, hasten to the throne of the Heavenly Grace in our closets, in our families and in the sanctuary, and implore of God that He do not forget or forsake us in this our sin, but that He bring us to repentance and a better mind. And on this day, set apart by the highest civil authority, let us assemble in our respective places of worship, and pour out our hearts before the Lord.”

 

We become more attentive to the Lord’s will when we fast and pray. Today in prayer, as America wrestles with sin from the past, may we seek Christ’s will through fasting and prayer.

           

“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” – Andrew Murray

 

God’s Word: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” – Matthew 4:1-2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Studying His Word
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 8, 2020
Devotional - Studying His Word

“For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” – Ezra 7:10

 

Matthew Henry was a nonconformist minister and author, born in Wales but he spent much of his life in England. He is best known for the six-volume biblical commentary “Exposition of the Old and New Testaments”. Today, the Matthew Henry Study Bible incorporates his biblical commentary.

Matthew was the son of a minister and at an early age developed an affection for the Bible. He learned to dote over its every sentence with curious avidity and treasuring up its sayings in his heart.

When he became an adult, Matthew remained a hard student. He often rose early: he usually in his study at five o'clock, sometimes as early as four; and except the hour allowed for breakfast and morning worship, remained there till noon, often till four in the afternoon. Nothing more tried his meek and patient spirit than intrusions on his studying time. "I am always best when alone. No place is like my own study: no company like good books, especially the book of God."

 

We only become more like Jesus as we spend time with Him in His Word.  Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His Word and spend some extra moments today studying it.

 

“Believe me, sir, never a night goes by, be I ever so tired, but I read the Word of God before I go to bed.” – General Douglas MacArthur

 

God’s Word: “Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” – Psalm 119:17-18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail    

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - There Is Joy
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jun 7, 2020
Devotional - There Is Joy

“For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.” – Ezra 6:22

 

At a church service in 1997, Darrell Evans and his worship team were providing a worshipful atmosphere for the congregation to pray. People were at the altar praying in what he describes as a very tender moment, as well as a significant one for many in the church. It would be the scene of his spontaneous writing of the song “Trading My Sorrows”.

During this time, Darrell began to think about his own life. What would he be bringing to the cross? “I got the picture of myself, too, on my knees at the cross. What would I be laying down in my own life?” he recalls. “The initial ideas of my sorrows and shame, and sickness and pain were rolling around in me-especially shame. That was a big one, as I though about my own failures and mistakes in life. I thought, Man, I'd like to trade those things in. And so I began singing that, which became the opening lines to the song.”

As the congregation continued to pray, in part led by Darrell's words, the band began to pick up the pace. Instead of a dirge, he said, it became a celebration. “Hey, I'm trading these things in for the joy of the Lord, which will be a renewed strength for me,” said Darrell. Later that week in his office, Darrell took the bones of the song and finished writing the song we now know.

 

There is joy when we know Jesus. Today in prayer, give your heart to Jesus and receive His joy.

 

“I’m trading my sorrow I’m trading my shame I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord” – Darrell Evans

 

God’s Word: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:46-47

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - God Is Watching
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 4, 2020
Devotional - God Is Watching

“But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received.” – Ezra 5:5

 

Giovanni Battista Cima was a Renaissance artist from northern Italy. He was a pupil of Giovanni Bellini and spent almost his entire career in Venice.

Cima’s major works are altarpieces, some thirty of which survive. One panel of an altarpiece that has survived is entitled “God the Father”. Created in 1515, the piece is now owned by London University.

In the painting, there is a gray-bearded old man, dressed in red and blue robes. He has a halo around his head signifying he is divine. You can only see his torso and head that are above the clouds. The figure is looking down through the clouds. It depicts a watchful, but distant God the Father. It is not the picture given in Matthew 1:23 which tells us that Jesus is “Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

 

The Lord is not only watching but He actively is in control and with us.  Today in prayer, praise Jesus that His eye is upon you.

 

“Faith is the gaze of the heart at God it is but the raising of our inward eyes to meet the all-seeing eyes of God.” – A.W. Tozer

 

God’s Word: “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” – 2 Chronicles 16:9a

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - Don't Be Discouraged
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jun 3, 2020
Devotional - Don't Be Discouraged

“Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.” – Ezra 4:4

 

William Ward was an English pioneer Baptist missionary, author, printer and translator. He served in India from 1799 until his death in 1823. His time was chiefly occupied in overseeing the community's printing press, which was used to disseminate the scriptures, once they had been translated into Bengáli, Mahratta, Tamil, and twenty-three other languages.

He saw numerous setbacks on the mission field, but he was not discouraged.

On the subject of discouragement, William wrote:

“Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God.”

 

Be encouraged! In Jesus Christ we have victory. Today in prayer, give Jesus your discouragement and follow Him in all that you do.

 

“A clear cut vision of what God wants you to do can survive under the pressures of discouragers.” – Marilyn Murphree

 

God’s Word: “Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” – 1 Chronicles 22:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - You Are Good
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jun 2, 2020
Devotional - You Are Good

“With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: ‘He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.’ And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” – Ezra 3:11

 

Marcel Mangel was born on 22 March 1923 in Strasbourg, France. As a young man, he wanted to become an actor. When the Nazis invaded France, Marcel, who took the stage name of Marcel Marceau, began working for the French Resistance.

His cousin was involved in smuggling Jewish children out of French orphanages into Switzerland.

He recruited Marcel, who posed as a Boy Scout leader to trick the authorities. “I went disguised as a Boy Scout leader and took 24 Jewish kids, also in scout uniforms, through the forests to the border, where someone else would take them into Switzerland,” he recalled.

Marcel’s talents as a mime were important in their mission.

“The kids loved Marcel and felt safe with him,” said his cousin Georges Loinger. “The kids had to appear like they were simply going on vacation to a home near the Swiss border, and Marcel really put them at ease.”

In all, Marcel made several trips into Switzerland and his goodness saved 70 children from the Holocaust.

 

God is good. Today in prayer, let the goodness of God be part of your life.

 

“The great gift of Easter is hope - Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.” – Basil Hume

 

God’s Word: “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” – Psalm 145:3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - No Limits To Giving
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 1, 2020
Devotional - No Limits To Giving

“When they arrived at the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.” – Ezra 2:68-69

 

In the 1950s, Ressa and Al Seibert took $4,000 out of their savings and gave it to Pastor Tru Robertson who wanted to start a Christian camp. Pastor Tru ultimately left his church so he could direct the Fort Wilderness camp ministry full-time. For the next 40 years, Ressa and Al sent money to the Christian camp in Wisconsin every month. The first year, only 19 children attended the camp, but now thousands come to the camp every year. While the camp director was on the front lines, Ressa and Al helped man the supply line with their monthly gifts. 1 Samuel 30:24 says those who stay with the supplies will share equally with those in the battle.

Interestingly enough, later in her life Ressa was talking with one of our staff and said, “we have never done anything significant for the Lord.” That staff member was then able to share with her all that God had done with their gift to impact the Kingdom of Heaven. Thousands have come to know Christ as their Savior, and thousands more have made significant spiritual decisions because friends were willing to step out and by faith fund a dream.

 

All that we own belongs to God; we are His stewards. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He has given you charge of some of His wealth and give to others as He would give.

 

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” – Amy Carmichael

 

God’s Word: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Devotional - His Calling
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday May 31, 2020
Devotional - His Calling

“In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing” – Ezra 1:1

 

Dr. Halverson pastored Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland, for twenty-three years. He did what pastors do-everything from preaching and counseling to marrying and burying. But he believed his most important function was pronouncing his carefully crafted benediction at the end of each service:

“Wherever you go, God is sending you.Wherever you are, God has put you there.God has a purpose in your being right where you are.Christ, who indwells you by the power of his Spirit,wants to do something in and through you.Believe this and go in his grace, his love, his power.In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.Amen.”

Dr. Halverson reminded his congregation of that simple truth week in and week out until his death on December 1, 1995. Then he reminded them one last time. At the conclusion of his funeral service, Dr. Halverson himself gave the benediction via recording. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place!

 

In Isaiah 6:8, Isaiah responded to God’s call by saying "Here am I. Send me." Today in prayer, consider how you answer the Lord’s call and then follow Him in all that you do.

 

"I would rather walk through a mile of burning brimstone every night than spend over again those midnight hours when I fought against the call of God." - Dr. Robert Bruce

 

God’s Word: “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing” – 2 Chronicles 36:22

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2020, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

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