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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions In Matthew
Devotional - We Will See Him
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 30, 2013
Devotional - We Will See Him

“Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you.” – Matthew 28:7

 

In 1997, at the age of 29, Julie Papievis was in a car accident that left her in the balance between life and death. Dr. John Shea says, "The brain stem is really the vital center of where we breathe. It controls our heart. It's sort of our center of life. Anybody that has pinpoint purples and the abnormal posture that she had, the survival rate is very poor. She had a serious brain stem injury that I did not think she'd ever wake up."

Julie remained unresponsive in a coma. After several weeks, hospital staff gave no hope of recovery and urged her parents to release her to a nursing home.

While in the coma, Julie had been given a glimpse of heaven.

"It was so vast, and there was no real beginning or end to it. It was just perfect peace. I knew that I was there in that place, because I was dead. I knew that, and I was not afraid. I was not afraid to be there. I was happy. It was like I was home, and I wanted to stay there."

She remembers her deceased grandmother suddenly standing with her.

"My grandmother said, 'No, you can't come with us. You have to go back.' I said I can't go back. I'm not physically okay, and I was pointing to my left side that was paralyzed. She said, 'Your body will heal.' I felt right then like someone had come and put a warm blanket around me and their arms around me, and I knew right then that I was in the presence of our Lord. I felt it. I knew it, and then she said, 'Go back and be happy.' Then the next memory I had was waking up in the rehab hospital."

Julie fully recovered from her injuries and ten years after her accident she trained for and finished an indoor triathlon.

Julie said: "I have more purpose here on earth to fulfill, and I take that very seriously. The Lord is with me, which I knew, but it just makes it so much clearer that He has been with me through all of it and that He has an intention, a good intention, for my life.  I feel a much closer personal relationship now that He really has a definite purpose for my life, for this story and for this gift of hope."   

 

Heaven is real and we will one day see Jesus face-to-face. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His resurrection and that one day we will see Him.

 

“Belief in the Resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith.” – John S. Whale

 

God’s Word: “In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'” – Luke 24:5-6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

 

Devotional - When You Face Death
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 29, 2013
Devotional - When You Face Death

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.” – Matthew 27:50

 

Watchman Nee was a Chinese church leader who ministered during the first half of the 20th century. He and his wife Charity were imprisoned in 1952 for their faith in Christ. In 1971, Charity died, but Watchman was not allowed to attend her funeral. Charity's eldest sister then took the responsibility to care for him in prison.

Watchman died in prison on May 30, 1972. There was no announcement of his death nor any funeral. His remains were cremated on June 1, 1972 before his family arrived at the prison.

Watchman's grandniece recounted the time when she went to pick up his ashes:

"We could only see his ashes... Before his departure, he left a piece of paper under his pillow, which had several lines of big words written in a shaking hand. He wanted to testify to the truth which he had even until his death, with his lifelong experience. That truth is-"Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ. Watchman Nee."

When the officer of the labor farm showed us this paper, I prayed that the Lord would let me quickly remember it by heart... My granduncle had passed away. He was faithful until death. With a crown stained with blood, he went to be with the Lord. Although God did not fulfill his last wish, to come out alive to join his wife, the Lord prepared something even better-they were reunited before the Lord.”

 

We will all cross the dividing line between life and death. But the question is: Who will you trust as you cross the line? For those who trust in Christ as their Savior - there awaits eternal life. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Lord that through His death on the Cross, your sins are forgiven and you have eternal life with Him.

 

“Christ took your cup of grief, your cup of curse, pressed it to his lips, drank it to its dregs, then filled it with his sweet, pardoning, sympathizing love, and gave it back to you to drink for ever!” – Octavius Winslow

 

God’s Word: “Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.” – Luke 23:46

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Using Your Talents
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 26, 2013
Devotional - Using Your Talents

“For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” – Matthew 25:29

 

Florida police sergeant Gary Gross is not only a Christian, but he is a treasure hunter. He often searches with his metal detector and finds lost keys, discarded nails, and other metallic items near his home in Lakeland.

Gary is also a talented sculptor and has fashioned his finds into a metal cross that is eight feet high and five feet wide. The Cross is even topped by a crown of thorns made out of rusty nails wrapped together by strips of copper.

"People just threw these things away, but I just couldn't," he said. "I just started collecting it after I got five-gallon buckets full of metal and I started playing around with it."

Gary said the idea of making a cross of all of his finds came to him from both a desire to honor his deceased parents and the memory of a 12-foot wooden cross his son-in law made for his church in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

"I have always had a fascination with crosses," said Gary.

After all the modifications, Gary proudly put his cross on display in his backyard underneath two palm trees.

"It really hit me when I got done with it," he said. "It didn't really when I was doing it.  It didn't feel like a major sense of accomplishment until it took three of us to move it into the yard. That's when I really felt the effect. It helped me escape the everyday stress of being a police officer."

Gary's family and friends flocked to see the cross. He described the feeling as overwhelming, with many of them just standing and watching in amazement.

 

No matter what the circumstances, use your talent in such a way that it will bring glory to Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you wisdom how to best utilize the talents He has blessed you.

 

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no bird sang there except those that sang best.” – Henry van Dyke

 

God’s Word: “Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” – Mark 4:25

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Be Watchful
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 25, 2013
Devotional - Be Watchful

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” – Matthew 25:13

 

On the 13th of June 1942, Coast Guard Seaman John Cullen was on patrol about a half-hour past midnight on the eastern Long Island shore. His task was to patrol beaches looking for signs of lurking German submarines or perhaps someone or something suspicious on the sand. He remembers it was “so foggy that I couldn’t see my shoes.”

It was then that John spotted four men. “Who are you?” John called out, shining his flashlight at the group, his Coast Guard insignia visible.

The man closest to him said that he and his companions were fishermen who had run aground. He spoke English well enough, but one of the others, dragging a bag, shouted something in German.

Seaman Cullen was “armed” only with a flare gun for sending signals when he came across what he figured were surely German spies. Moments later, he fled from the men and ran back to his station to sound an alarm.

John’s alert watch led to the arrest of eight German spies, the only German spies found on U.S. soil during World War II.

 

As events unfold each day, we need to keep watch for Christ‘s return. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that Jesus Christ will return. Seek to faithfully prepare for His arrival.

 

“The best way to prepare for the coming of Christ is never to forget the presence of Christ.” – William Barclay

 

God’s Word: “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” – Luke 12:40

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Real Christmas Star
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 24, 2013
Devotional - The Real Christmas Star

“and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” – Matthew 2:2

 

Retired Rutgers University astronomer Michael Molnar is the author of the book, "The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi."

"I set out to find what a stargazer of Roman times would have recognized as the star of a new Judean king," he wrote.

Dr. Molnar's extensive research in primary sources led him to a set of conditions that "pointed like an astrological road sign to Jerusalem." On April 17, 6 B.C., the royal planet Jupiter rose as a morning star and was eclipsed by the moon while it was located within the constellation Aries.

In August of that year Jupiter appeared stationary and then "went before" through Aries where it became stationary again on December 19, 6 BC.

The astronomical term is retrograde motion, and could explain why Matthew 2:9 states that the Star stood still over Bethlehem.

The birth of Jesus around December 6 B.C. fits what scholars know from other sources, since the gospels indicate that Jesus was born before the death of Herod, which occurred in 4B.C.

 

The real star of Christmas is Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for becoming a man. “The birth of Jesus is the sunrise of the Bible.” – Henry van Dyke

 

God’s Word: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:8-11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTION FOR CHRISTMAS

 

Devotional - Loving Your Neighbor
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 23, 2013
Devotional - Loving Your Neighbor

“Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'”” – Matthew 22:37-39

 

In December 2013, with the first winter snows falling on South St. Paul, Minnesota, Howard Gustafson begins shoveling his walks and driveway as well as digging out his 90-year-old next-door neighbor.

"She doesn't have any money to hire anyone, and I suppose I'm testing my muscles," Howard grinned. Normally that would not be news, but Howard is 98 years old. 

Sometimes, he even clears the snow for half a dozen neighbors even though most of them are half his age.

Howard has no plans of putting away his shovel any time soon.

"I like the rhythm," he said with a laugh.

The retired Postal worker enjoys using his shovel -- or turning to one of his two snow blowers.

"I call them my winter toys," he said. "They're toys because I'm in my second childhood."

He also mows his neighbors' lawns in the spring, summer and fall. He also gets his church ready each Sunday service before he sings with the choir.

 

The Lord desires us to love our neighbor and to actively live our life for Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can love your neighbor.

 

“He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.” – Bede

 

God’s Word: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.’” – Mark 12:31

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Be A Servant
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 22, 2013
Devotional - Be A Servant

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:26-28

 

In November 2013, Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona honored Dorothy Rowe, age 88, during her retirement ceremony. Dorothy has spent 70 years serving her country. She is the longest-serving civil servant that has worked for the Air Force and the second-longest civilian worker that has served in the Department of Defense.  

She was awarded a medal during the ceremony presided over by the Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning. 

Dorothy's career began in 1943 during World War II when she was 17. She worked as a clerk typist at the Columbus Army Depot in Ohio. She transferred to Luke in 1953, where she has been for the last six decades, eventually working her way up to financial analysis chief. 

To put her longevity into perspective, Dorothy has served under 13 U.S. Presidents.

Dorothy said she will miss the people she came into contact with every day.

"It's like one big family," she said.

But even in retirement, she plans to serve others by doing volunteer work for the military.

 

Christ came as a servant, and so we too must also serve others. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can serve others in His name.

 

“Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to seem poor in this world.” – Thomas a Kempis

 

God’s Word: “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” – Mark 9:35

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Dangers Of Wealth
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 19, 2013
Devotional - The Dangers Of Wealth

“Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:21-23

 

German billionaire Adolf Merckle acquired much of his wealth from inheritance. He also developed his grandfather's chemical wholesale company into Germany's largest pharmaceutical wholesaler.

In 2007, Merckle was worth US $12.8 billion by most estimates. But he then made a speculative investment on Volkswagen shares and lost hundreds of millions of dollars. By December 2008, he was worth $9.2 billion, a loss of $3.6 billion.

On January 5th, 2009 Adolf Merckle committed suicide by stepping in front of a moving train in the town of Ulm.

The 74-year-old billionaire had been "broken" by the loss of so much money and slipping from the 44th richest man in the world to just the 96th richest man in the world. The suicide note which Merckle left for his wife, Ruth, and four grown children provided no clues to the motive for his suicide. It simply said: "I'm sorry."

 

The love of riches has destroyed many men. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you wisdom on how to be a steward of the possessions He has blessed you.

 

“There is nothing wrong with people possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess people.” – Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:24

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Walk Humbly
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 18, 2013
Devotional - Walk Humbly

“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:4

 

Jessie Duarte was the personal assistant to Nelson Mandela from 1990 to 1994. He remembers Nelson’s humility:

“He always made his own bed, no matter where we traveled. I remember we were in Shanghai, in a very fancy hotel, and the Chinese hospitality requires that the person who cleans your room and provides you with your food, does exactly that. If you do it for yourself, it could even be regarded as an insult.

So in Shanghai I tried to say to him, ‘Please don’t make your own bed, because there’s this custom here.’ And he said, ‘Call them, bring them to me.’

So I did. I asked the hotel manager to bring the ladies who would be cleaning the room, so that he could explain why he himself has to make his own bed, and that they not feel insulted. He didn’t ever want to hurt people’s feelings. He never really cared about what great big people think of him, but he did care about what small people thought of him.”

 

During this Advent Season, remember the Lord and walk humbly with Him. Today in prayer, confess any sin of pride and humbly seek the Lord in all that you do.

 

“We can never have more of true faith than we have of true humility.” – Andrew Murray

 

God’s Word: “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Signs Of The Times
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 17, 2013
Devotional - The Signs Of The Times

“The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” – Matthew 16:1-3

 

In May 2013, an Academy Award-winning imaging software developer for the film industry helped develop the world’s most accurate software app for weather forecasting. The Montreal startup SkyMotion Research spent five years developing technology called “Nowcasting,” that translates Doppler images from the National Weather Service in the United States and Canada into real-time forecasts that are delivered every five minutes to the app.

Adding to the accuracy claim are reports from airport forecasters and other localized weather sources.

“There are limitations in technology today,” said SkyMotion CEO Maxime Julien. “In Phoenix, Arizona, for example, the radar will see rain 200 feet from the ground, but it will vaporize because it’s too hot. Forecasters would report rain, but the people on the ground would not experience it.”

In Montreal, the same goes for snow, which often sits in the clouds for awhile before it falls, Julien said.

"We fill the current gap in the weather forecast," Julien said. "We can tell what cloudy really means."

 

We may be able to predict the weather, but we need to look to the Lord to know the times. Today in prayer, worship the Lord that He has come into the world to save sinners and He will one day return.

 

“Jesus Christ is God’s last word. Beyond Jesus Christ the revelation of God cannot go. Here is God’s plan for all to see.” – William Barclay

 

God’s Word: “He said to the crowd: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'It's going to rain,' and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, 'It's going to be hot,' and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?” – Luke 12:54-56

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - True Worship
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 16, 2013
Devotional - True Worship

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” – Matthew 15:8

 

In February 2000, British rock singer Boy George said the following about a worship service he attended: "On Sunday I attended the christening of my year-old godson Michael, and he was as restless as everyone else. The priest was a lovely man with impeccable dress sense, but I was confused from the moment he took the pulpit. Most of us only ever go to church for weddings and funerals, so sticking to the Book is pointless...and what's the point of rattling on about sin when most of us are doomed to eternal damnation? It doesn't warm people to Christianity; it only makes them feel like hypocrites. Worse still are the utterly depressing hymns. I'd like to see live music, acoustic guitars, and percussion. Church should be a joyous and liberating experience--[it] badly needs a facelift because it is God's theatre on earth, and he should be packing them in."

 

Our worship does need to be joyous and honoring to Jesus. Today in prayer, spend some extra time worshipping the Lord and seek to follow Him throughout the day.

 

“God is not moved or impressed with our worship until our hearts are moved and impressed by Him.” – Kelly Sparks

 

God’s Word: “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’” – Isaiah 29:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Showing Compassion
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 15, 2013
Devotional - Showing Compassion

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” – Matthew 14:14

 

On a frigid fall evening in November 2012, New York City Police Officer Larry DePrimo came across a homeless man, Jeffrey Hillman. Jeffrey was leaning against the wall near the entrance to a shoe store --the man was barefoot.

“I looked over and someone was laughing at a homeless man who had no socks [and] no shoes,” said Larry. “You could see the blisters from a distance.”

So he asked Jeffrey if he had anything to cover his feet.

“It’s okay, sir, I’ve never had a pair of shoes,” the homeless man replied. “But God bless you.”

Rather than cite Jeffrey for public nuisance or loitering, Officer DePrimo knew he needed to help him. Larry went into the shoe store and bought the man a pair of size 12 all weather boots and thermal socks. And rather than just giving the socks and boots to the man, Larry knelt down and helped Jeffrey put them on.

 

Jesus was known for His compassion to others and as His followers that should be our hallmark. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can be more compassionate to others.

 

“The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.” – Arthur H. Stainback

 

God’s Word: “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.” – Mark 8:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - We Need To Repent
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 12, 2013
Devotional - We Need To Repent

“Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” – Matthew 11:21

 

In 1819, Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Jefferson's design was for an "academical village" consisting of eight independent schools. It lacked the administrative discipline of other American colleges. Instead, students chose their own classes and earned a degree after meeting a school's requirements. To encourage self-government, the university vested power in the rector and in the faculty chair rather than in a president.

Within the first year, the misbehavior of students led to a riot in which professors who tried to restore order were attacked. The following day a meeting was held between the university's board, of which Jefferson was a member, and defiant students. Jefferson began by saying, "This is one of the most painful events of my life," suddenly he was overcome by emotion, and burst into tears. Another board member asked the rioters to come forward and give their names. Nearly every student did. Later, one student said, "It was not Mr. Jefferson's words, but his tears."

Just like the students who were moved by Jefferson's brokenness, so is God by ours. When we are truly broken and sorry for our sins, this leads to repentance.

 

The Lord wants us to take responsibility for our sins, confess them, and turn away from them. Today in prayer, repent of any sin in your life and seek to follow Christ in all that you do.

 

“One of the most fundamental marks of true repentance is a disposition to see our sins as God sees them.” – Charles Simeon

 

God’s Word: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” – Acts 3:19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Your Need To Rest
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 11, 2013
Devotional - Your Need To Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

 

On the web site "The Gospel Project," Matt Capps has written an article entitled "Why Do We Need Physical Rest?" He writes: "The psalmist proclaims that God will "neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:4). How different from us? We need rest. If we do not rest it has massive implications for our physical, emotional, and mental health. However, God does not need rest. Not only is God all-powerful (not needing rest), He is ever-watchful (watching us while we rest). For some of us it is a scary thing to consider that we lay down all control and consciousness when we sleep. The most powerful people in all of humanity spend a third of their lives asleep, as helpless as an infant, and the world still progresses. Simply put, we are not God.

God handles the world quite well while on His own. God is sovereign over our world while we are awake, even more so when we are at rest.  John Piper once said, ".Sleep is like a broken record that comes around with the same message every day: Man is not sovereign." We've all heard the hard worker wax all self-righteously about his/her early morning and late night working hours, as if they run the world. How silly. It's better to work well and sleep well, rather than to sacrifice rest in an effort to stay in control."

 

Are you tired, needing rest? Today in prayer, come to Jesus and you will find rest in Him.

 

“I've learned that when I lie down to sleep it helps me to say to myself, "God, I am powering down, even though there is a ton to do, and lots to worry about, You are awake, working, and in perfect control, so I trust You to handle what I can't." It helps me rest well knowing that everything is in His hands" - Matt Capps

 

God’s Word: “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” – Psalm 62:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Pray For Those Who Are Persecuted
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 10, 2013
Devotional - Pray For Those Who Are Persecuted

“All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” – Matthew 10:22-23

 

In 2013, the civil war in Syria brought renewed persecution to Christians. Noura Haddad, an 18-year-old Christian, had to flee from Homs region. It is estimated that some 80,000 Christians in Homs have fled or have been killed.  Noura is now staying with relations in the town of Zahle in the Bekaa Valley. 

"We left because they were trying to kill us," she said. "They wanted to kill us because we were Christians. They were calling us Kaffirs (a racial slur), even little children saying these things. Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house. I've kept in touch with the few Christian friends left back home, but I cannot speak to my Muslim friends any more. I feel very sorry about that."

 

Many Christians in today’s world are being persecuted. Today in prayer, pray for Said and others who face persecution daily.

 

“Persecution for righteousness’ sake is what every child of God must expect.” – Charles Simeon

 

God’s Word: “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Mark 13:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Pray For Workers
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 9, 2013
Devotional - Pray For Workers

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” – Matthew 9:37-38

 

In 1952, Doctors Milton Giles Fort Jr. and his wife Wana Ann were the first doctors in Southern Rhodesia. The Texas native's medical experience included various specialties: family practice, general surgery, ophthalmology and anesthesiology.

When asked why he would go on the mission field and give up a lucrative medical career in the United States, Milton replied, "Sir, Jesus said, 'Life does not consist of the abundance of things' and 'If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.' What He said is true!"

For 36 years, the couple labored on the mission field and they helped build Sanyati Baptist Hospital. "This hospital has been built to tell the story," Dr. Fort said at a dedication ceremony of new hospital buildings in 1970. "Through its healing ministry, we are here to tell the story of the love of God for all mankind -- for every little baby, every boy and girl, every man and woman who may come here."

Dr. Fort said the following about missionary service: "The cost of doing the Lord's work is great, but the rewards are rich and bountiful. Blessed are they who seek to obey the Lord to carry -- and send -- His work to those who do not know."

 

Everyone needs to know the love of Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, pray to the Lord that He will raise up more workers to share His Gospel and ask how you can help.

 

“Every heart with Christ is a missionary, and every heart without Christ is a mission field.” – Dick Hillis

 

God’s Word: “He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Luke 10:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Putting It In God's Hands
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 8, 2013
Devotional - Putting It In God's Hands

“When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” – Matthew 8:10

 

On October 19, 2013, Tasha Bradford married “Buck” Storey in Panama City, Florida. The two were crazy in love with each other and with the Lord.

They honeymooned in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and had a fun week being goofy and getting to knowing each other as husband and wife.

On Sunday October 27, they woke up in the dark to return home to Panama City to make the evening church service. They traveled south on Interstate 85, Tasha went to sleep in their SUV while Buck drove.

Suddenly, the SUV left the highway and began rolling. No one knows what happened for sure. Buck was pronounced dead at the scene, but Tasha didn't learn that until after she was airlifted to a hospital. She had to have her lower right leg amputated. When she learned her husband had died, Tasha said:

"I said 'Lord, Peace be still with him, and he's in a better place.' And I cried a little. I knew God had his side because he was such a good, Christian man. I had no doubt where he was going to go."

Physically, doctors are optimistic and she will be fitted with a prosthetic leg.

Emotionally, she grieves the loss of the life she was just starting. Now, instead of sharing her life with her new husband, she's wondering what the future holds.

"I think about having children ... it hurts. All these other people are having kids," Tasha said. "But God has a plan. I think of all the beautiful children in church I got to teach. That fills a void. It makes me want to strive even harder, to work my legs to where I can sit on the floor and play with them."

 

No matter what happens in this life, we need to rest in faith that the Lord is in control. Today in prayer, ask Jesus to give you faith in all that you do and to rest in Him. 

 

“Faith is seeing the invisible, but not the nonexistent.” – A.W. Tozer

 

God’s Word: “Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” – Matthew 15:28

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Jesus Answers Prayer
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 5, 2013
Devotional - Jesus Answers Prayer

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:6-7

 

In May 2013, the "Jascon 4" tugboat was towing a tanker 15 nautical miles from the coast of Nigeria. A sudden storm came up and the tug capsized.

More than two days later, divers arrived at the floating, but still capsized vessel. The team of South African divers scoured the waters for body recovery operations. They began hammering on the hull of the boat and were shocked to hear faint hammering in reply. One crewman, Harrison Okene, was found in an air pocket of the boat. 

The 29-year-old Nigerian cook was the sole survivor of the twelve man crew. Harrison was in the restroom when water swept into the ship around 5 am.

He remembers: "All around me was just black, and noisy. I was crying and calling on Jesus to rescue me, I prayed so hard. I was so hungry and thirsty and cold and I was just praying to see some kind of light."

He had been underwater in the air pocket for almost 60 hours when he heard the hammering on the deck.

 

Jesus does answer our prayers! Today in prayer, bring before Him your needs, worries and cares and be confident that He will answer them.

 

“The whole canon of Bible teaching is to illustrate the great truth that God hears and answers prayer.” – E.M. Bounds

 

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 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Do Not Waste Time On Worrying
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 4, 2013
Devotional - Do Not Waste Time On Worrying

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” – Matthew 6:25

 

J. Arthur Rank, was an English industrialist who made his fortune in flour and in banking. He was a strong Christian who was of the first men to bring "family-friendly" films to theaters. He promoted Christian values through his charity The Rank Foundation.

He came upon a novel practice for worrying. He decided to do all his worrying on one day each week. He chose Wednesdays. When anything happened that gave him anxiety and annoyed his ulcer, he would write it down and put it in his worry box and forgot about it until the next Wednesday.

The interesting thing was that on the following Wednesday when he opened his worry box, he found that most of the things that had disturbed him the past six days were already settled. It would have been useless to have spent any time or energy worrying about them.

 

Do not waste your time worrying. Instead fix your mind on Jesus Christ who gives us His peace. Today in prayer, give Christ your worries and rest in His perfect peace.

 

“Stop thinking about your difficulties, whatever they are, and start thinking about God instead.” – Emmett Fox

 

God’s Word: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Be Reconciled
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 3, 2013
Devotional - Be Reconciled

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24

 

In 1994, Francois Gauthron was a tour guide in Normandy, France. It was a time when many veterans were returning to Normandy for the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day. Because most were in their 70s, the men knew it would likely be their last chance to make the journey.

Francois was hired to guide an American bomber squadron's reunion. He took them to sites connected with their war experiences. One evening Francois ended a long day of touring by taking the men to a local bar. The room already contained quite a few people when they entered, most of them were men about the same age as the American veterans. When Francois heard that they were speaking German, he guessed that they were veterans from the other side of the conflict.

Conferring with the German group's guide, he received confirmation of his surmise. "Your guys dropped bombs on my guys during the war," the other guide told him. "This could get interesting."

As the American vets entered the room, Francois watched with a bit of apprehension. It didn't take the Americans long to overhear the conversations in German and figure out who the men were. There was a period of awkwardness as the veterans found seats, and then finally one of the Americans went over to a table where some of the elderly Germans were sitting. He introduced himself in German and struck up a conversation. Soon another veteran did the same.

"After about ten minutes, everybody in the room was talking to each other and sharing stories," Francois recalled. "The Germans talked about what it was like to be young and scared that the next bomb was going to land on them, and the Americans told them what it was like to be young and scared as they flew planes amid anti-aircraft fire. For two hours they talked non-stop, and at the end of the evening they exchanged addresses with each other.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of them are still corresponding to this day." The veterans were reconciled to each other.

 

Are you estranged from anyone?  Today in prayer, take the first steps of reconciliation. Confess any sin to the Lord, forgive any wrongs that others have done to you, and seek to have restored relationships that are centered on Jesus Christ.

 

“The number one problem in our world is alienation, rich versus poor, black versus white, labor versus management, conservative versus liberal, East versus West . . . But Christ came to bring about reconciliation and peace.” – Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - When To Flee
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 2, 2013
Devotional - When To Flee

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

 

The Reverend Marty O'Rourke, in an article entitled "Escaping Sexual Sin Before it's Too Late," gave the following recommendations when to flee from sexual temptation.

"When do you need to flee?

· When you find yourself thinking about a "friend, co-worker, ministry partner, counselee" and how much you enjoy being with this person -- FLEE!

· When you look forward to spending more time with this person and you make sure you look especially nice if you know you might see your "friend" that day -- FLEE!

· If you begin to fantasize about being with this person or knowingly start touching your "friend" in "innocent " ways -- FLEE!

· When you become more secretive about your interaction with your "friend" because people like your spouse might "misunderstand" your friendship -- FLEE!

· If you receive cards, e-mails or presents from this person that you would not want your spouse to see -- FLEE!

· When you find yourself comparing your spouse in an unfavorable way to your "friend"-- FLEE!

· If you start confiding in your "friend" about your marital problems -- FLEE!

Anytime we feel we must keep something secret, this would indicate that sin is crouching at our door. If you are experiencing sexual attraction to someone - or experiencing some other kind of temptation over a few days - go to your spouse or someone you can trust in the Body of Christ. Bring the secret out into the light of day and ask for prayer and accountability."

 

We each face temptations, but only Jesus can truly satisfy us. Today in prayer, pray that the Lord would lead you away from all temptation so that you may walk with Him.

 

“If you're losing the battle against a persistent bad habit, an addiction, or a temptation, and you're stuck in a repeating cycle of good intention-failure-guilt, you will not get better on your own. You need the help of other people. Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for you, encourages you, and holds you accountable.” - Rick Warren

 

God’s Word: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Promised Son
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 1, 2013
Devotional - The Promised Son

“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.” – Matthew 1:17

 

In 1985 Julie Delio of Arlington, Texas asked her mother to write a family history, but she decided her mother’s notes were completely unreliable.  So in 2013, she became a participant on the television show “Genealogy Roadshow” in Austin, Texas. The television show is designed to trace genealogical roots.

Genealogist Kenyatta Berry researched Julie’s family and told her that her ancestors came from Ulster Province in Ireland.  The family immigrated in 1735 or 1745 to Philadelphia and then moved to Rockbridge County, Virginia.  There were clergy in the family, one of whom built a Presbyterian church in Rockbridge.  Julie was stunned to find out that one of her ancestors was the legendary Texas governor Samuel Houston. She was also surprised to find out that that she was a relative of the current Texas Governor Rick Perry. 

 

Though some people have an interesting family tree, only Jesus is the son of Abraham and the son of David. Jesus Christ is the Promised Son. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He became a man, just as our Heavenly Father promised.

 

“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.” – C.S. Lewis

 

God’s Word: “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli … the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” – Luke 3:23, 38

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2013, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

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