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by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions In Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther
Reaping What You Sow
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jun 29, 2011
Reaping What You Sow

Bible Study on the Books of Esther, Nehemiah, and Ezra

Strengthen your faith in God and increase your understanding of the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther with the Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther devotionals below. You can also sign up to receive daily devotionals in your email.


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Continue on below and begin with the first Revelation devotional, "Reaping What You Sow."

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

 

In 1908, Horatio Bottomley, a member of the British Parliament, was charged with conspiracy to defraud. Chaos of his record systems produced a hung jury and instead he was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1912, which forced him out of Parliament.

Bottomley used his newspaper, John Bull, to libel politicians and to gain his own popular support.

In 1918, Bottomley had cleared his debts and was elected again to the House of Commons. He created the "John Bull Victory Bond Club", purportedly as a mechanism for small savers to lend money to the Government, receiving prizes rather than interest. But it was a ponzi scheme, and in 1922, he was arrested and convicted of fraud, perjury and false accounting.

Bottomley was sentenced to seven years of penal servitude. One day in prison, he was busy stitching prison mail bags, when an old acquaintance visited him.

"Ah, Bottomley," the other man said, "sewing?"

"No," Bottomley bitterly replied. "Reaping!"

 

The actions we do sow, we sow also will reap. Today in prayer, confess to the Lord any sin in your life and seek to be Christlike 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

To Be Used By God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jun 28, 2011
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

 

In1802, following a brilliant student career at Cambridge University, Henry Martyn felt called to be a missionary. He marveled at the work of William Carey in India and David Brainerd working with North American natives. He became an Anglican priest but his heart was in foreign missions. He prayed, "Here am I, Lord; send me to the ends of the earth, send me to the rough, the savage pagans of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort in earth; send me even to death itself if it be but in Thy service and in Thy kingdom."

The Lord answered in a different manner. Upon the death of Henry’s father, Henry was unable to pay his father’s debts and lost the family home.

Needing to earn an income that would support his sister as well as himself, he obtained a chaplaincy under the British East India Company and left for India in 1805. For the next six remaining years of his life, he translated the New Testament into Hindi and Persian, revised an Arabic translation of the New Testament, and translated the Psalter into Persian and the Prayer Book into Hindi.

 

Our time on earth is all to 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Resolving To Do Right
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 27, 2011
Resolving To Do Right

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

 

In 1940, Father Pierre-Marie Benoît was a French national who lived in the Capuchin monastery in Rome. When war between France and Italy was clearly inevitable, he returned to his homeland and moved into the Capuchin monastery in Marseilles, France.

When the French Vichy government enacted laws against the Jews, Father Benoît knew he had to act.

He worked with border guides, the French underground, and other religious organizations to help smuggle Jewish refugees into Spain and Switzerland.

In April 1943, he met with Pope Pius XII and presented a plan to transfer Jews in Nice to North Africa via Italy. This plan was thwarted when the Germans occupied northern Italy. The German Gestapo discovered Benoît’s activities and he moved to Rome.

Though Father Benoît was now a refugee, he persevered in his rescue efforts with even greater energy. He was elected to the board of Delasem, the main Jewish welfare organization in Italy and when the Jewish president was arrested, Father Benoît was named the acting president.

He helped save thousands of refugees because he was willing to stand up for what was right.

 

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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

God's Perspective
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jun 26, 2011
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

 

The Italian artist Masaccio was born on December 21, 1401. He was a gifted painter and by the time he was twenty-one, he was being sought out to paint murals for church buildings. What made Masaccio one of the greatest painters of his generation was he was able to recreate lifelike figures and movements and bring the perspective of three-dimensionality.

Until that time, art was two dimensional and wooden looking. He used linear perspective in his painting, employing techniques such as vanishing point in art for the first time. Masaccio moved away from Gothic style art to a more natural mode that had greater realism.

Historians claim that he, along with Donatello and Brunelleschi, inspired the style of art that typifies art of the period of the Renaissance. In his short 26 years of life, he developed a style that used perspective in a new way.

 

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 change 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Giving To The Lord's Work
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 23, 2011
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

 

Horace Bushnell, the great Connecticut preacher, made an interesting list of those who might be excused from giving financially to God's work and to support Christian missions. Here is Bushnell’s list:

“They only may claim to be excused— Who believe that men are not lost in sin and do not need a Savior.

Who believe that Jesus made a mistake when He said to His followers: ‘Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.’

Who believe the Gospel is not the power of God, and that faith in Christ cannot save.

Who wish that missionaries had never come to our ancestors, and that we ourselves are still heathen.

Who believe that it is ‘every man for himself’ in this world, and, with Cain, ask: ‘Am I my brother's keeper?’

Who wish to have no share in the final victory of Christ.

Who believe they are not accountable to God for the money and talents entrusted to them.

Who are prepared to accept the final judgment of Christ: ‘Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.’”

 

The Lord desires that we be part of His work. That includes giving to our church and to Christian missions. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you wisdom on how to best give to others.

 

“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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Man's Stubbornness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jun 22, 2011
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

 

Mao Zedong led the Chinese communists to victory on October 1, 1949. For the next 27 years, he was the Chairman of the Chinese communist party and leader of China. He had enormous power over more than 1 billion citizens.

But for all of his power, he had extremely poor personal hygiene. He rarely bathed and never brushed his teeth. He instead rinsed his mouth with tea after he woke up and chewed on tealeaves. "He resisted all attempts to get him to see a dentist," Li Zhisui Mao's personal physician for twenty-two years wrote. "One aide said 'the chairman's teeth looked as if they were painted with green paint'...Mao's teeth were indeed covered with a heavy greenish film.” His gums were infected and caused him great pain. But he stubbornly refused to see a dentist and preferred to endure pain in silence.

 

Often we hurt ourselves through our own stubbornness. 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Studying The Word Of God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jun 21, 2011
Studying The Word Of God

“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

 

Dr. Ravi Zacharias ministered in Vietnam in 1971. One, of my interpreters was Hien Pham, an energetic young Christian. After Vietnam fell to the communists, Dr. Zacharias lost track of Hien. Then years later, Hien called him and related his story.

Soon after Vietnam fell, Hien was imprisoned. Through the months of torture and brainwashing, he began to doubt God. He awakened one day and gave up on his faith. The following day, Hien was assigned to clean the latrines. As Dr. Zacharias relates:

“As he cleaned out a tin can overflowing with toilet paper, his eye caught what seemed to be English printed on one piece of paper. He hurriedly grabbed it, washed it, and after his roommates had retired that night, he retrieved the paper and read the words, "Romans, Chapter 8." Trembling, he began to read, "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. … For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:28,38,39).

Hien wept. He knew his Bible, and he knew that there was not a more relevant passage for one on the verge of surrender. He cried out to God, asking forgiveness. This was to have been the first day that he would not pray; evidently God had other plans.

As it were, there was an official in the camp who was using a Bible as toilet paper. So Hien asked the commander if he could clean the latrines regularly. Each day he picked up a portion of Scripture, cleaned it off, and added it to his collection of nightly reading.”

Eventually Hien escaped from Vietnam, with 57 others, on a makeshift boat to Thailand. But it was the Scriptures that rescued him from hopelessness.

 

Do you desire to study God’s Word? Today in prayer, thank Jesus for the Bible and take some extra moments 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Strength From Our Father
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 20, 2011
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

 

Paul Gerhardt was a German Pastor and hymn writer who lived during the 1600’s. His best remembered hymn is “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” In 1666, Gerhardt and his family were forced to flee from their home because of religious persecution.

One night as the family stayed in a small village inn, homeless and afraid, his wife broke down and cried openly in despair. To comfort her, Gerhardt reminded her of Scripture promises about God’s provision and keeping. Then, going out to the garden to be alone, he too broke down and wept. He felt he had come to his darkest hour. Soon afterward, Gerhardt felt the burden lifted and sensed anew the Lord’s presence. Taking his pen, he wrote a hymn that has brought comfort to many. "Give to the winds thy fears; hope, and be undismayed; God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears; God shall lift up thy head. Through waves and clouds and storms He gently clears the way. Wait thou His time, so shall the night soon end in joyous day."

Within days, Gerhardt was invited by the Duke Christian of Meresberg to be the pastor of the church at Lubben in Saxony, where Gerhardt ministered until his death eight years later.

 

When we run out of our own strength, we can look to our Heavenly Father for His power. Today in prayer, thank your Heavenly Father 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Fearing God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jun 19, 2011
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

 

When Teddie Roosevelt was a small child, he developed a special fear of going to church. His mother Mittie had found that the future President of the United States was so afraid of the Madison Square Presbyterian Church that he refused to set foot inside it alone. His mother pressed little Teddie about his fear. He was terrified, she discovered, of something called the “zeal.” It was crouched in the dark corners of the church ready to jump at him, he said. When she asked what a zeal might be, he said he was not sure, but thought it was probably a large animal like an alligator or a dragon. He had heard the minister read about it from the Bible.

Using a concordance, his mother read him those passages containing the word “zeal” until suddenly, very excited, he told her to stop. In John 2:17 it reads: “And his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”

Teddie’s mother assured her son that zeal was not an animal but an eagerness for life. Teddie grew up with both a zeal for life and a fear of the Lord.

Teddie wrote in his book “Fear God and Take Your Part,” the following: “Fear God in the true sense of the word, means love God, respect God, honor God; and all of this can only be done by loving our neighbor, treating him justly and mercifully, and in all our ways endeavoring to protect him from injustice and cruelty; thus obeying, as far as our human frailty will permit, the great and immutable law of righteousness.”

 

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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Work With All Of Your Heart
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 16, 2011
Work 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

 

Adam Clark was a British Methodist theologian and pastor. He is remembered today for writing a commentary on the Bible that took him 40 years to complete and which was a primary Methodist theological resource for two centuries. This detailed commentary is still used by ministers to prepare sermons.

Dr. Clarke was a slow worker, and he could only produce his wealth of literary treasures by long and patient toil. But it was a labor of love as he slowly cataloged each nugget of truth he came upon.

Dr. Clarke made it his custom to rise early every morning. A young preacher, anxious to emulate the distinguished doctor, asked him one day how he managed it to rise up early every morning.

"Do you pray about it?" he inquired.

"No," the doctor quietly answered, "I get up."

 

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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

The Secret Of Success
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jun 15, 2011
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 2005, Carrie Underwood won the American Idol television contest. The 22-year-old country singer from the small town of Muskogee, Oklahoma is quick to give credit to her faith in Christ and her family for her success.

“I grew up in church and have a wonderful family that always supported that,” Carrie said. “I grew up going to church camp and reading my bible and having different faith books and movies in my life.”

She has gone on to have 3 top selling albums and is making her film debut in the movie “Soul Surfer.” The movie is based on the true story of American teen surfer Bethany Hamilton’s 2003 shark attack and her inspiring journey to get back on the board.

Carrie plays the Christian counselor who helps Bethany in her loss of her arm.

“I hope that it is very clear that the faith in this movie is more than an undertone, and that the reason Bethany got through everything was because of her faith in God," Carrie said.

“It’s easy to have faith when things are going great and you’re on top of the world – I’m winning, I’m selling, I’m on tour and this is all great! But this story is about having faith when the chips are down and how to deal with that. We can all learn something from Bethany’s story, even when the little things in our lives don’t go so well, we can take a lesson from her and realize how small that problem really is.”

 

The secret of success is to love Jesus and to have faith in 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

God Is Awesome
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jun 14, 2011
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

 

In 1932, Garland Franklin, a native Kentuckian, and his wife Ellenore, were working in various children’s ministries in Hyden Kentucky. After much prayer, the Lord laid it on their hearts to begin a Bible teaching outreach at the local schools.

As Garland was driving along a dirt road next to Troublesome Creek, the Lord spoke to him and said, “I want you to build a camp here.” The land wasn’t for sale right then, but Mr. Garland began praying about it. In 1936, the land did come up for sale. It was during the Great Depression, but enough money was raised in this poor area of eastern Kentucky to begin a Scripture memory camp. They called it Camp Nathanael, meaning “Gift of God.”

The camp was 66 acres and needed a well. After saving up their money, they found that they only had $75 to pay for the well–the digging, the installation of equipment, and any other associated expenses. When the well digger came, Garland asked him where he would like to dig. The man replied, “Mr. Franklin, I can see into the ground as far as you can.” So Garland pointed to a spot and said, “Dig right there.”

Most wells in the area were 200 feet or greater. The well digger charged by the foot. At 75 feet, they hit the water table. After putting in the pump and the permanent casing, enclosing the wellhead and attaching the pipes, the contractor totaled up his bill and presented it to Mr. Franklin. The exact amount was $74.99. They had one penny left over!

That well dug in 1936 is still pumping water and has never run dry. More than 500,000 people have attended the camp through the years and they have rejoiced that God is awesome in all His ways.

Our God is an awesome God! Today in prayer, praise Jesus that He is awesome in all of His ways.

 

“He is the awesome God who causes unbelievers to become terrified and believers to stand in awe, speechless at his power.” – Ron Ritchie

 

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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Take Courage
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 13, 2011
Take Courage

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

 

In March 2011, 12-year-old Jessie Rees was diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer. In the following two months, she endured 30 rounds of radiation, as well as chemotherapy treatments.

Jesse is the youngest daughter of Pastor Erik Rees, the pastor of Life Mission at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.

Erik has stepped back from his duties as pastor to be solely Jessie’s dad.

Through the treatment, Jesse has shown courage and joy.

“There were points when you would cry, when you would have those days. And there were points when you were good,” Jessie said.

She has inspired a foundation called NEGU (Never Ever Give Up).

When asked is NEGU how she felt, Jesse replied: “Yes, stay strong and you can get through it.”

With her foundation and special JoyJars, she helps other kids battling cancer — especially the ones who cannot go home from the hospital during treatment, like she was able to do.

“I just wanted to make them happier, because I know they are going through a lot too,” said Jessie.

She fills the jars with things kids will enjoy and then brings them to Children’s Hospital of Orange County where she has been treated.

“It’s just inspiring others to keep going and to not give up” said her mother Stacey. “And you know, even when it gets tough, that you can get through it, and I think that is what she is touching others with.”

 

When the going gets tough, look to the Lord and get going. Be of good courage and do not be afraid. 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Admitting Our Guilt
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jun 12, 2011
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

 

On August 28, 2007, Graeme Glass, of Arthurs Point, New Zealand, came home from work to find that a thief had broken into his house.

The burglar had smashed a kitchen window to gain entry. Apparently he had stolen a $1200 laptop, a camera and a wallet containing Glass’ American Express credit card.

The thief next went on an apparent shopping spree buying a basketball and two pair of baseball gloves with the credit card.

Then the home burglary took a different turn. The thief returned to the Glass home and returned the laptop, camera and the sporting goods purchased with the credit card.

The burglar - apparently racked by guilt –wrote an apology in Mr. Glass’ diary. In the diary, the thief expressed remorse for "violating the safety and security of your home".

The offender said he did not want to go to jail but understood if Mr. Glass wanted to seek "proper justice."

The offender also promised to leave cash in Mr. Glass' mailbox to pay for the smashed window "when I have enough money".

"I have never written truer words when I say that I wish that I had never done this to you and your family," the note read. "From the bottom of my heart I am sorry."

 

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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Fasting And Praying
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 9, 2011
Fasting And Praying

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

 

On April 25, 1985 the entire student body of Liberty University, prayed and fasted for one day for the healing of Vernon Brewer, the Dean of Students. Dean Brewer had a lemon-size cancer tumor and was given 6 months to live.

More than 5,000 students were given several days to prepare themselves for the fast, before beginning a 24-hour prayer vigil in the school chapel. The students alternated 1-hour segments in the chapel throughout the night and day, because the chapel only held 200 people. The chapel was always overflowing, so the windows were opened to allow students sitting on the grass outside to join in prayer with those inside.

The food services of the university were shut down, except for a small serving line for about 50 diabetic students, who prayed just as intensely for their dean’s healing.

After fasting and praying, three medical procedures were performed – surgery, radiation and chemotherapy on Dean Brewer.

Today, Vernon Brewer is alive and healthy and he gives full credit to the Lord for his miraculous recovery.

 

We become more attentive to the Lord’s will when we fast and pray. Today in prayer, praise Jesus that He desires to answer your prayers, and seek His 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Studying His Word
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jun 8, 2011
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

 

The Chicago Board of Trade is where many of America’s farm commodities are traded. It is an environment as stressful and chaotic as Wall Street. So it seemed like the perfect place for Roy Schwarcz to start a Bible Study and minister to those who trade commodities.

“They want answers, they want security, they want peace,” said Roy Schwarcz, the spiritual leader of the group. “They are dealing in risk with thousands of thousands of dollars, every day, every hour. People have gone from millionaires to owing millions in hours.”

The Bible study — which teaches Christianity from a Jewish perspective — exists to help traders and others calm their fears and to provide spiritual insight that they can apply to their lives in the marketplace. There are more than 50 people involved in the study.

“It allows people to operate in wisdom rather than panic, to be cautious rather than speculative, to be wise instead of foolish,” Schwarcz said. “It assures them that God is aware of their situation, and if they would just trust and believe His word and understand what His word teaches, they can experience a peace that the world cannot give them.”

 

In God’s Word, there we can gain wisdom and peace through Jesus Christ.  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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

There Is Joy
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jun 7, 2011
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

 

The Dinangat people of Papua New Guinea began hearing the Gospel message for the first time in May 2008. Since then they have grown spiritually.

Missionary wrote the following after returning from a home assignment:

"The people are different. They are new creatures with hearts pounding for the Lord. Their fear has been replaced with joy, guilt replaced by grace and bondage by freedom. They are indeed new.” Gary and his wife, Esther, recently described a Dinangat worship service. They were amazed at the depth of love shown. "It is indeed a joy to see them dance and worship in freedom and sincerity," wrote Gary. Recently Gary preached from Ephesians 1:13, and his Dinangat co-worker, Ronnie, had his eyes opened to new understanding. The verse reads, "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were marked with the Holy Spirit of promise." Ronnie took note and said, “Wait, you mean it’s not with water? The Dinangat religious leaders had always said that by baptizing babies with water they would be protected from illness, evil spirits and even death. So we thought they were marked with water.” Gary assured Ronnie: “God has marked us with the Holy Spirit -- not with water or anything else.” Then, as Gary sat down, applause broke out. "They did something they never do," Gary wrote, "they applauded! The applause wasn’t for me; it was in sheer joy and thankfulness to our gracious and loving Father. They are learning more and more of the freedom He desires for them.”

 

There is joy when we realize how much our Heavenly Father loves us. Today in prayer, give your heart to Jesus and receive His joy.

 

“To be simply ensconced in God is true joy.” – C.C. Colson

 

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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

God Is Watching
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 6, 2011
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

 

During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Jay Gould was a leading American railroad developer and speculator. He was vilified as a greedy, robber baron. In September 1885, he was traveling through west Texas and when the train broke down at the town of Hawkins. While needed repairs were being made, he walked into the village and found a sale going on, and the auctioneer calling out, "Fourteen hundred and seventy-five dollars." He inquired of a man what was being sold, and was told that it was a new church that the contracting builder had a claim on for the work. Mr. Gould, to help the sale, offered fifteen hundred dollars, which the auctioneer called a few times without a raise, and the church was sold to Mr. Gould at that bid.

Three gray-haired elderly men standing near watched the proceedings of the transfer and, approached Gould, not knowing who he was, and asked him what he intended to do with the church he had just bought.

"What is it to you what I do with it? It is mine now, to keep or to give away," said the multi-millionaire.

One of the men said: "This is what it is to us: We three men are trustees of that church house and were sent here to see and then report what disposal was made of it; and in the church, at this present moment, the entire congregation, with the presiding elders and preachers, are down on their knees before the God of Heaven, asking Him to Divinely interfere in some way to save our church, so that it may not be lost to us. That is what it is to our people."

Gould was touched by the men and signed over the deed to the church.  

 

The Lord is not only watching but He actively is in control.  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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

Don't Be Discouraged
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jun 6, 2011
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

 

John Robertson was the pastor in Cambuslang, Scotland from 1810 until his death in 1843. He was the nephew of the Scottish Enlightenment historian William Robertson, who was the Principal of Edinburgh University.

One day John was discouraged by his work. He sat and meditated and prayed late into the night; and as the day dawned he cried out in the anguish of his soul:

“O God, Thou didst commission me forty years ago, but I have blundered and failed and I want to resign this morning.”

But as he prayed and sobbed, he heard the voice of the Lord saying, “John Robertson . . . ’tis true you have blundered and failed; but . . . I am not here for you to resign your commission but to re-sign your commission.”

The fears and failures John was carrying were gone. From that day, John Robertson preached with a renewed purpose.

 

Do not be discouraged from following the Lord. Today in prayer, give Jesus your discouragement and re-sign your intent to 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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

No Limits To Giving
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 2, 2011
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 1936, Eunice Pike went to Mexico as a linguist and Bible translator to work with the Mazatec Indians. She found that there were some oddities of the Mazatec culture. The people seldom wished someone well. Not only that, they are hesitant to teach one another or to share the Gospel with each other. If asked, “Who taught you to bake bread?” the village baker answered, “I just know,” meaning he has acquired the knowledge without anyone’s help. Eunice said this odd behavior stems from the Indian’s concept of “limited good.”

They believed there is only so much good, so much knowledge, so much love to go around. To teach another means you might drain yourself of knowledge. To love a second child means you have to love the first child less. To wish someone well—“Have a good day”—meant you have just given away some of your own happiness, which cannot be reacquired. It was a Mazatec cultural barrier in their walk with Christ and their giving to others. 

 

There are no limits to God’s grace. He freely gives abundantly. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that there is no end to His giving. Ask Jesus to give you a cheerful heart to give abundantly to others.

 

“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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

The Great Shout Of Praise
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 2, 2011
The Great Shout Of Praise

“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

 

New Zealand born Brooke Fraser is a singer-songwriter at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. In 2006, she was in her bedroom when she began writing a song on her guitar. The verses and bridge of the song seemed to flow, but she was having difficulty writing a chorus. So she re-read her verses and looked to the Lord for what He was saying through the song. The last line of her first verse read: “The people sing, the people sing.” But Brooke did not immediately know “what do the people sing?”

She moved to another room, and began playing the song on the piano. This time, the Lord moved her to sing the chorus for the first time: “Hosanna, hosanna, Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna, hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.” The words from Jesus’ triumphal entry fit perfectly.

“The word ‘Hosanna’ is a cry of praise,” said Brooke. “And I love the idea that Hosanna has been sung for thousands of years and it will be sung by the generations still to come.”

 

Every day we have the opportunity to praise the Lord in a new way. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for He is good and He is worthy of our praise.

 

“I see the king of glory Coming down the clouds with fire The whole earth shakes, the whole earth shakes I see his love and mercy Washing over all our sin The people sing, the people sing Hosanna, hosanna Hosanna in the highest Hosanna, hosanna Hosanna in the highest” – Brooke Fraser

 

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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

 

His Calling
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday May 31, 2011
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

 

Christian author Parker J. Palmer was born in 1939 in a white, upper-middle-class suburb of Chicago. He graduated from Carleton College with a BA in Philosophy and Sociology. He went to the Union Theological Seminary, certain that the ministry was his calling. However, at the end of his first year, Palmer realized: “God spoke to me - in the form of mediocre grades and massive misery - and informed me that under no conditions was I to become an ordained leader in His or Her church.”

Palmer went on to earn a PhD and thought teaching was his calling. That did not work out. He became a community organizer, but that exhausted him spiritually.

In 1974 he opted to take a years sabbatical at Pendle Hill, the Quaker retreat center near Philadelphia.

He was trying "to find a vocation that seemed real and right." His Quaker friends told Palmer, "Have faith, and the way will be made know to you." He was getting very discouraged, until he discussed it with Ruth, a wise older member of the community whom he admired.

"Ruth," he said, "I've tried many different kinds of work, but nothing seemed right for me. My friends keep telling me that the way will open if I have faith, yet I've been praying and the way is not being made clear to me. Way may open for other people but it sure isn’t opening for me."

After a moment Ruth responded, "I've been a birthright Quaker for sixty-plus years, and way has never opened for me, " she responded. She paused and Palmer’s heart sank.

Then Ruth spoke again, "But a lot of way has closed behind me and that has the same guiding effect."

Palmer took the advice to heart: “There is as much guidance from God in what does not happen and cannot happen in my life as there is in what can and does happen. Maybe more.”

 

We often seek God’s calling, but the Lord has placed us where we are right now for a purpose. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for where you are in your life and seek to follow Him no matter where He calls you.

 

"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 2011, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

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