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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions In James
Devotional - Correct In Love
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Mar 30, 2016
Devotional - Correct In Love

“My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” – James 5:19-20

 

Pastor and Christian author Gordon MacDonald wrote the following: “As a seminarian, I was asked to write and deliver a paper to a special forum of students and faculty. Typically, I put off writing the paper until the deadline loomed and then cut two days of classes to complete the assignment. When I had finished reading the paper and the audience had responded with applause and left the auditorium, a professor whose classes I'd dodged in order to write the paper found me and said, "Gordon, that was a good paper, but it lacked the possibility of greatness. Do you want to know why?"

I could hardly say no, and so he continued.

"You sacrificed your routine responsibilities to write it," he said. "Your ministry will not be successful if you make this sort of a thing a habit."

You listen carefully to an insight like that because it comes from a man forty years your senior whom you respect. He was less interested in the content of my presentation than he was the character pattern that framed its writing.”

 

People respond to correction when we correct them in love. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His loving patience with you and ask that you would be loving as you correct others.

 

“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

God’s Word: “"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” – Matthew 18:15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

 

Devotional - We Should Pray
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Mar 29, 2016
Devotional - We Should Pray

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” – James 5:13

 

Brenda Foltz of Princeton, Minnesota went on her first rock-climbing experience.

She was a young woman who was scared to death, but still managed to put on the gear, take a hold on the rope, and start up the face of the rock cliff. She got to a ledge where she could take a breather. Suddenly, the safety rope snapped against Brenda's eye and knocked out one of her contact lens. She is suddenly in a blurry world on a ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her. After searching her clothes and the ledge, she realized her contact lens was gone.

Desperate and upset, Brenda prayed to the Lord to help her to find it. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but her contact lens was not to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff.

She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole Earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?"

Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it!

 

The Lord answers our prayers in ways we cannot imagine. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that we have a loving Father that is always ready to hear our prayers.

 

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” - Corrie ten Boom

 

God’s Word: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." – Ephesians 6:18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Riches Can Bring Misery
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Mar 28, 2016
Devotional - Riches Can Bring Misery

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.” – James 5:1

 

Jack Whittaker was already a millionaire when he won a $315 million in a lottery in West Virginia in 2002. He gave 10% to his church and some money to other charities. But the then-55-year-old West Virginia construction company president claimed he went broke about four years later and lost a daughter and a granddaughter to drug overdoses, which he blamed on the curse of the Powerball win. “My granddaughter is dead because of the money,” he said. “You know, my wife had said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we had torn the ticket up, too.” Whittaker was also robbed of $545,000 sitting in his car while he was at a strip club eight months after winning the lottery. “I just don’t like Jack Whittaker. I don’t like the hard heart I’ve got,” he said. “I don’t like what I’ve become.”

“He’s the last person I would have prototyped for going completely crazy but he did,” said Don McNay, a financial consultant to lottery winners and the author of “Life Lessons from the Lottery”. “No question it was because he won the lottery.”

 

Only the Lord can satisfy our deepest needs. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for any possessions that you have and seek to use them to His glory.

 

“To be clever enough to get a great deal of money, one must be stupid enough to want it.” – G.K. Chesterton

 

God’s Word: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:9-10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Our Resurrected Lord
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Mar 27, 2016
Devotional - Our Resurrected Lord

“As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.” – Luke 24:28-31

 

In "The Romance of the Last Crusade," British Major Vivian Gilbert told of his advance toward Jerusalem during World War I.  He stopped one night to visit a field hospital that was in an old monastery. 

Gilbert spotted a nineteen-year-old soldier who was lying on a cot about to die.

The Major sat down and spoke about their location. They were at Emmaus.  Then he told him the story from Luke of two men on their way to Emmaus.

He spoke how the risen Christ appeared to His disciples just as night was coming on, and how, as He was about to go, one of them had entreated Him, saying, 'Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent;' and how He had stayed for a while, broken bread and blessed it, and gave it to them.

Just as the Major finished speaking, a ray from the setting sun stole in at the window and fell across the bed, lighting up the dying soldier's face. The strained, worried look had vanished, and a peaceful, almost happy and contented, expression had taken its place. His hand crept slowly from the side of the bed, and the Major took it in both of his. Then the boy whispered, “Thank you for telling me that story, sir.”

 

Christ is alive today and lives in the hearts of all who believe. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is alive and one day will return to earth.

 

“Christ has turned all of our sunsets into dawn.” – Clement of Alexandria

 

God’s Word: “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” – Luke 24:1-3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTION FOR EASTER

Devotional - The Innocent Died
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Mar 24, 2016
Devotional - The Innocent Died

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That's your responsibility.’” – Matthew 27:4

 

Author Ernest Gordon found faith in Christ while in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. He called it “the Miracle of River Kwai”. The following is Ernest’s account:

“A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel be produced, or else. When nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and threatened to kill them all on the spot... It was obvious the officer meant what he had said. Then, finally, one man stepped forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and beat the man to death. When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second tool check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a miscount at the first checkpoint.

"The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to save the others!... The incident had a profound effect... The men began to treat each other like brothers.”

 

Though He was innocent, Christ took all of the sins of the world and paid for them with His sacrifice on the Cross. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His selfless act of dying for you on the Cross and giving you the gift of eternal life.

 

“In the cross of Christ I see three things. First, a description of the depth of man’s sin. Second, the overwhelming love of God. Third, the only way of salvation.” – Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" For the third time he spoke to them: "Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him." But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.” – Luke 23:20-23

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTION FOR GOOD FRIDAY

Devotional - The Future Belongs To The Lord
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Mar 23, 2016
Devotional - The Future Belongs To The Lord

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” – James 4:13

 

People who predict the future are often made foolish. The following are some of the most infamous predictions of the future:

“Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.” – Dr. Dionysius Lardner, 1830

“The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty—a fad.” – -The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

“Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” – -Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946

"How, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense.” — Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton’s steamboat, 1800s

And finally: “There will never be a bigger plane built.” – – A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin-engine plane that holds ten people

 

The future belongs to the Lord, we cannot predict if it will bring happiness or sorrow. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is Lord of all and seek to humbly walk with Him.

 

“The next moment is as much beyond our grasp, and as much in God’s care, as that a hundred years away. Care for the next minute is just as foolish as care for a day in the next thousand years. In neither can we do anything, in both God is doing everything.” – C.S. Lewis

 

God’s Word: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” – Proverbs 27:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Do Not Slander
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Mar 22, 2016
Devotional - Do Not Slander

“Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” – James 4:11

 

Pastor John MacArthur writes the following on slander: “Recently I had an interesting phone conversation. There was a conference of pastors and I...someone told me that they were going to discuss me and that they were going to present the things that are wrong with me, and so forth. And so I asked what church this was going to take place in and I called the pastor on the phone. He answered the phone and I said, ‘This is John MacArthur, I understand that this evening you're going to have a discussion of me.’ And it got kind of silent on the other end, I confess, but I said to him, ‘I just want you to know that I'd be more than happy to be there and answer any question that anybody would have. I certainly would be more than willing to just stand there at a microphone and let anyone ask anything they wanted and do the best I could to answer truthfully what's really in my heart and what I really believe. If that would help you come to some meaningful conclusion about me, I would be more than happy to do that.’

His reply to me was, “Absolutely not. We could never allow that.’”

 

Slander is malicious, seeking to damage others. Today in prayer, confess any sin of slander and ask the Lord to keep you from all slander.

 

“He who slings mud generally loses ground.” – Adlai E. Stevenson

 

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” – 1 Peter 2:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Submit To The Lord's Warnings
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Mar 21, 2016
Devotional - Submit To The Lord's Warnings

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

 

In 1962 two American scientists, David Bernays and Charles Sawyer, reported seeing a massive vertical slab of rock being undermined by a glacier known as Glacier 511. If the rock were to fall, the scientists feared it would cause the obliteration of the town of Yungay, Peru. According to Dr. Sawyer, when this was reported to the Peruvian government, they ordered the two scientists to retract their finding or face prison. The government was trying to prevent panic in the town. The scientists decided to flee the country. Peruvian citizens were forcibly prevented from speaking of an impending disaster. Eight years later the scientists’ prediction came true.

On May 31, 1970, an earthquake in the region triggered the world’s deadliest avalanche. Glacier 511 collapsed, the vertical slab of rock fell killing over 20,000 people under a wall of ice and rock. Only 92 people from Yungay survived the avalanche.

 

The Lord wants us to listen to His warnings and to submit to Him. Today in prayer, submit your heart to the Lord and make His will your will.

 

“Our satisfaction lies in submission to the divine embrace.” – Jan Van Ruysbroeck

 

God’s Word: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” – 1 Peter 5:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Stupid Fights
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Mar 20, 2016
Devotional - Stupid Fights

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?” – James 4:1

 

In November 2014, an argument during a game of Monopoly turned nasty when a Hooksett, New Hampshire woman slapped her boyfriend across the face and ended up in handcuffs on an assault charge according to police.

Alyssa Ferraro, age 21, was charged with domestic violence-related simple assault.

Police said it was 11:59 p.m. Sunday when officers went to the home for a reported domestic disturbance.

Ferraro told officers she got into an argument with her boyfriend over a game of Monopoly and slapped him with an open hand in the face.

Police said the victim did not require medical attention but he did call police and he did pressed charges.

Ferraro was released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail pending arraignment in court.

 

We need to control our anger and not argue over inconsequential things in life. Today in prayer, give any anger you have to the Lord and pray that you may treat others with the love and respect you desire from them.

 

“Argument is the worst sort of conversation.” – Jonathan Swift

 

God’s Word: “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” – Proverbs 17:14

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Sow Peace
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Mar 17, 2016
Devotional - Sow Peace

“Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” – James 3:18

 

When World War II started in 1939, Irena Sendler immediately started protecting her Jewish friends in Warsaw. She worked as a social services director in Warsaw. She would make false documents for Jews in the city to help them escape. When the Warsaw Ghetto was erected in 1940, Irena saw the danger ahead. She talked to Jewish parents and let them know she could save their children.

Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of her toolbox she carried, and she carried in the back of her truck a Burlap sack for larger kids.

She also had a dog that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in, and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.

In 1943, Irena was caught by the Gestapo and tortured. She escaped and continued her protection of children.

During the war, Irena managed to smuggle out and save 2500 children.

She kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out, and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any of the parents that may have survived and reunite the family.

On October 19, 1965, the Israeli organization Yad Vashem recognized Irena Sendler as Righteous Among the Nations for her peaceful actions to save others.

 

Peace does not just happen; it is not the absence of war. Sowing peace is an action. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is the ultimate example of sowing peace and in Him we can have peace in our hearts and share that peace with others.

 

“Peace reigns where our Lord reigns.” – Julian of Norwich

 

God’s Word: “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” – Isaiah 32:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Avoid Envy
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Mar 16, 2016
Devotional - Avoid Envy

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.” – James 3:14

 

Pastor Greg Laurie wrote the following: “A fisherman who caught crabs would keep them in a bucket without a lid. Someone noticed this and asked him, "Don't you have to keep a lid on that bucket?"

He said, "No, they never get out."

"Why? Because they can't get out?"

"No," he said. "When one crab tries to go over the side, the others reach up and pull him back down again."

That is just like human beings as well. As one person begins to climb, others are thinking, How dare you succeed? How dare you do better than me? How dare you get that promotion? How dare you get that attention? How dare you do well when I'm not doing just as well? You get back down here with me!

It has been said that envy shoots at another and wounds itself. This is so true. Envy can eat us up inside. We need to recognize it as sin and repent of it.”

 

Envy is a sin that hurts oneself and often leads to other sins. Today in prayer, confess any sin of envy and thank the Lord that He is a generous God He has given you all that you need to bring glory to Him.

 

“Few men have the strength to honor a friend's success without envy.” – Aeschylus

 

God’s Word: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Who Is Wise?
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Mar 15, 2016
Devotional - Who Is Wise?

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” – James 3:13

 

Pastor and Christian author Ravi Zacharias told about doing a lectureship several years ago at the Ohio State University. As he was being driven to the lecture, they passed what was then the "new" Wexner Art Center. The driver commented, "This is a new art building for the university. It is a fascinating building designed in the post-modernist view of reality."

Ravi described this fascinating building. He said, "The building has no pattern. Staircases go nowhere. Pillars support nothing. The architect designed the building to reflect [the post-modernist view of] life. It went nowhere and was mindless and senseless.”

Ravi said, "I turned to the man describing it and asked, 'Did they do the same thing with the foundation?'" And the man laughed [and answered]: "You can't do that with a foundation."

Jesus says in Matthew 7 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

The deeds and structure of our life must be grounded on our foundation, Jesus Christ.

 

Do you want to gain wisdom? Then follow Jesus. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is our ultimate example. Seek to follow Him closely so you may bring glory to Him.

 

“Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God's holiness and sovereignty... acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours.” – J.I. Packer

 

God’s Word: “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness” – Titus 2:7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - The Triple Filter Test
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Mar 14, 2016
Devotional - The Triple Filter Test

“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” – James 3:5-6

 

The Greek philosopher Socrates had a practical way to deal with gossip. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied.

“Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

“Triple filter?”

“That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

 

An untamed tongue spreading gossip is like a destructive fire. Today in prayer, confess any sin to the Lord and ask Him to use your tongue to glorify Him.

 

“God doesn't listen to gossip except to judge it.” – Leonard Ravenhill 

 

God’s Word: “Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'” – Matthew 15:10-11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Teachers Judged At A Higher Standard
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Mar 13, 2016
Devotional - Teachers Judged At A Higher Standard

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” – James 3:1

 

In February 1999, Rob Bell Jr. founded Mars Hill Church in Michigan. By March 2011, Sunday attendance numbered between 8,000 and 10,000. In June 2011, Bell was named by Time Magazine as one of the "2011 Time 100", the magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

Then on September 22, 2011 it was announced that Rob Bell was stepping down from the church he founded. His teachings had veered from the Gospel.

Christian pastor and author John MacArthur said the following about Bell: “Historic evangelicalism has always affirmed the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture, while declaring (as Jesus and the apostles did) that the only way of salvation for fallen humanity is through the atoning work of Christ, and the only instrument of justification is faith in Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the gospel.

Rob Bell believes none of those things. His skepticism about so many key biblical truths, his penchant for sowing doubt in his hearers, and his obvious contempt for the principles of divine justice as taught in Scripture all give evidence that he is precisely the kind of unbelieving false teacher Scripture warns us about.”

 

The Lord was a teacher and he has a high expectation for teachers. Teachers are not only to teach well, but they are to live up to a higher standard and to love their students. Today in prayer, pray for those who teach and ask the Lord to look after them.

 

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Brooks Adams

 

God’s Word: “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers” – Ephesians 4:11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Action In Your Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Mar 10, 2016
Devotional - Action In Your Faith

“But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” – James 2:18

 

During the early 20th century, Madaki, the chief elder in the church, was also one of the most prosperous farmers in Kwoi, Nigeria. One Sunday the following announcement was made: "Madaki wants all the women to gather at his house tomorrow morning, Pass on the news." When the women went to his house next morning, Madaki asked them to go to his farm, about three and a half miles away, to carry home his field corn. One hundred and four women and girls responded and went to the farm with their baskets, little, big, and middle-sized. Some brought back a big load, others only a few ears of grain. One took such a load that her strength failed before she got home. When all the loads had been brought in, Madaki called the women together and told them that each might keep what she had brought! There were shouts of joy and thanksgiving, but also sighs of regret. "If only I had known, I would have taken a larger basket," was the complaint of some. There were those who had refused to go, saying, "I have work enough of my own." These went to Madaki the following morning (their work seemed less important now!) and begged him to let them go and bring in a load. But he told them quietly, "The time is past; the corn was brought in yesterday." Through this kind deed Madaki not only helped many needy families, but he also preached a quiet sermon. The Christians are telling and retelling the story all over town, always adding: "That is just how it is in the Jesus way."

 

We need to put our faith into action and we will reap rewards. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to strengthen your faith into action so you may follow Jesus Christ in all areas of your life.

 

“Faith must always have an accompanying action.” – Diane Benze

 

God’s Word: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Mercy Triumphs
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Mar 9, 2016
Devotional - Mercy Triumphs

“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” – James 2:12-13

 

On December 25, 2015 in Rock Hill South Carolina, longtime Municipal Judge Ray Long, a Baptist preacher, held court wearing a red sweater. He has white hair and a white beard and is stout. Yes – Judge Long looks like Santa Claus.

People accused of crimes from drunken driving to domestic violence to being drunk in public to shoplifting appeared in the tiny courtroom via video monitoring from the jail in the building. Judge Long used the word “mercy” several times during his decisions from the bench that Christmas Day.

One case involved a woman who was caught shoplifting a gift for her son.

Judge Long said help was available for the poor from so many places.

“If you had come to this police department and told somebody you needed Christmas for your children, somebody would have gotten your children Christmas,” said the judge.

The judge asked how many toys the child was set to receive on Christmas, with his mother in jail.

“One toy,” the woman said.

Judge Long then asked the woman how old was her child.

“He’s 7,” the woman replied.

The woman spoke of her father watching the son while she was jailed, and how her father has liver cancer. The woman then said words that caused the quiet little courtroom to be even more hushed.

“My son is disabled – special needs – and he can’t talk,” the woman said. “He likes things that spin. Things with wheels.”

The judge wept, and then wiped his eyes and his nose. Everyone in the courthouse was silent.

Judge Long counseled the woman to ask for help and not steal. He told her she would get a personal recognizance bond and be out soon.

Then he pulled out his wallet and turned to a police officer.

“Run by Walgreen’s – they are open today,” Judge Long said. “I saw it on my way in.”

Judge Long cried as he sat waiting for the officer to return with a toy for the boy.

 

The Lord is merciful and mercy triumphs over evil and brings reconciliation. Today in prayer, praise Christ for His mercy and seek to be merciful to others.

 

“Do you wish to receive mercy? Show mercy to your neighbor.” – John Chrysostom

 

God’s Word: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Be Kind To The Poor
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Mar 8, 2016
Devotional - Be Kind To The Poor

“Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” – James 2:2-4

 

In the early days of the church, Christians lived longer than others, according to Dr. Rodney Stark. Dr. Stark is professor of sociology and comparative religion at the University of Washington. He is also the author of “The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History.”

In his book, he writes: “in a world entirely lacking social services, Christians were their brothers' keepers. At the end of the second century, Tertullian wrote that while pagan temples spent their donations ‘on feasts and drinking bouts,’ Christians spent theirs ‘to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined to the house.’

Similarly, in a letter to the bishop of Antioch in 251, the bishop of Rome mentioned that ‘more than 1,500 widows and distressed persons’ were in the care of his congregation. These claims concerning Christian charity were confirmed by pagan observers.

‘The impious Galileans (Christians) support not only their poor,’ complained pagan emperor Julian, ‘but ours as well.’”

 

We need to take care of the poor. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can best use your gifts and talents to better serve the poor.

 

“When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.” – Rose of Lima

 

God’s Word: “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” – Proverbs 29:7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Don't Show Favoritism
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Mar 7, 2016
Devotional - Don't Show Favoritism

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

 

The reality television show “The Voice” uses a method of selection called “blind auditions.”  

This practice stems from a 1997 Princeton University experiment. It was discovered that different musicians were selected when the auditions were performed from behind a sheet or curtain rather than when the orchestra auditions were performed in view of the conductor and his committee. When the musician in question could not be seen, but simply heard, the best musicians were often chosen without other prejudices factoring in. For example, women have a 7.5 percent better chance of being selected for a trombone section if they audition behind a curtain where their gender cannot be discerned.  The curtain ensures that the decision-makers do not make snap judgments and are evaluating the person solely on performance, with no consideration of appearance, name, gender, educational background, previous work experience or other implicit bias. Today, many orchestras, such as The Vienna Philharmonic, use this impartial method to audition musicians.  

 

In all that we do, we should not show favoritism. Today in prayer, confess any sin of prejudice and seek to love others as the Lord loves you.

 

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices.” – Henry David Thoreau

 

God’s Word: “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” – Leviticus 19:15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Beware When Being Tempted
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Mar 6, 2016
Devotional - Beware When Being Tempted

"but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." - James 1:14-15

 

Adam Clarke was born in Northern Ireland in 1762. He became a Methodist in 1778, and was in a succession an exhorter, a local preacher, and a regular preacher. He served in various places and traveled throughout Great Britain, achieving fame as a preacher. He was also active in the service of the Wesleyan Missionary Society from its inception in 1814, making two missionary journeys in 1826 and 1828 to the Shetland Islands. He is remembered today for his “Commentary on the Bible.”

When he was young, he once worked as a sales clerk in a store that sold fine silk to people of the upper classes in London. One day his employer showed young Adam how he could increase sales and profits by stretching the silk as he measured it out. Young Adam looked his employer straight in the eye and said, "Sir, your silk may stretch, but my conscience won’t."

 

When temptation approaches, many fall into sin. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to keep you away from temptation and to deliver you from all evil.

 

"The devil tempts that he may ruin; God tests that he may crown." - Ambrose

 

God's Word: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin." - Hebrews 4:15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Persevere!
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Mar 2, 2016
Devotional - Persevere!

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12

 

In 1970, Diana Nyad entered the sport of long distance swimming. She gained national attention in 1975 when she swam 28 miles around Manhattan. In 1979, she swam 102 miles from the Bahamas to Florida, setting a distance record for non-stop swimming without a wetsuit that still stands today.

In 1978, at the age of 28, she attempted to swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida. She swam 78 miles, but had to quit her efforts because of rough seas.

In 1979, she completed her last competitive swim, swimming again from the Bahamas to Florida in record time.

Diana went on to become a broadcaster and journalist. But one swim kept needling her.

In 2010, at the age of 60, Diana went back into training. Her goal was to complete the 110 miles from Cuba to Key West.

After training for a year and a half, Diana began her second attempt only to stop after 29 hours in the water, after encountering strong currents and winds that pushed her miles off course.

She persevered and in September 2011, her third attempt was thwarted after 41 hours of swimming because of debilitating jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings.

In August 2012, her fourth attempt was abbreviated because of two storms and nine jellyfish stings, but she was encouraged because she had covered more distance than her three previous attempts.

Then on the morning of August 31, 2013, having just turned 64 years old, Diana began her fifth bid to swim from Havana, Cuba to Florida. Then after 53 hours of swimming, Diana successfully walked on to the beach of Key West, Florida.

 

As Christians, we are called to persevere in Christ. Are you feeling pressured or persecuted for your faith? Today in prayer, give the trials you are facing to the Lord and seek to persevere in Him in all that you do.

 

"Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success." - William Wilberforce

 

God’s Word: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:3-4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Dispelling Doubts
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Mar 1, 2016
Devotional - Dispelling Doubts

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” – James 1:6

 

Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigné was a Swiss Protestant minister and a historian of the Reformation.

As a young man, his parents wanted him to study commerce. But in college he instead decided his calling was in Christian ministry. Robert Haldane, the Scottish missionary and preacher, profoundly influenced Jean-Henri and became his mentor.

Robert led small extra-curricular groups outside of college classes, and it was in these groups that Jean-Henri and his peers studied the Bible.

Once when Jean-Henri was oppressed with doubts, and he went to the older experienced Robert for help. The old man refused to answer Jean-Henri’s doubts, saying, "Were I to rid you of these others would come. There is a shorter and more effective way of destroying them. Let Christ be to you really the Son of God, the Savior, and His light will dispel the darkness, and His Spirit will lead you into all truth."

 

Doubts dispel and our faith grows strong as we yield are hearts to God’s Word. Today in prayer, look to the Lord and place every area of your life in His hands.

 

“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” – Oswald Chambers

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

Devotional - Testing Of Your Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Feb 29, 2016
Devotional - Testing Of Your Faith

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” – James 1:2-3

 

On January 14, 2003, Detective Stephen Oake was stabbed to death during a counter-terrorist raid in Crumpsall, North Manchester, England.

Steve was a Christian who attended a Baptist Church in Poynton, Cheshire.

He left behind a widow, Lesley, and three children.

Lesley said the following at Steve’s memorial service:

"I have had a most fantastic life with my husband and I don't have any regrets.

All I want to say on behalf of Steve is that God is real and in every marriage, for every husband and wife to tell each other every single day that they love each other. Because that is what we did, and it gives us no end of joy.”

After the sentencing of Kamel Bourgass, the man found guilt of murdering Steve, Lesley explained she had forgiven Kamel and prays for him every day.

 

Through testing our faith can be strengthened. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that when we face trials, we do not have to face them alone. In Christ, we can endure them and preserve in our faith. 

 

"Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict. What is challenging your faith right now?" - Oswald Chambers

 

God’s Word: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” – 1 Peter 1:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN JAMES

 

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