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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions In Romans
Devotional - Avoid Divisive People
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jan 28, 2016
Devotional - Avoid Divisive People

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” – Romans 16:17

 

In an article entitled “Anatomy of a Church Split,” Emmitt Cornelius Jr. describes the “perfect storm” at the church he was once a senior pastor. After the founder and senior pastor of the church retired, Emmitt, who had been the Christian Education Director, became the senior pastor.

He was the senior pastor for five years and things started out well. But below the surface were divisive members of the congregation. These divisive people magnified slights, sought alliances, and brought about a church split.

Emmitt summarizes the problem: “The biggest problem in our church was one that many churches face: one or more prominent members who are hungry for power. These people often feel their membership, relationship to the founder or financial means give them some sort of carte blanche in exerting control in the church.” Divisiveness is contrary to loving, serving people. As Christians, we need to show the love of Jesus Christ to everyone. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His love for you and the opportunity to love others. Avoid divisiveness and seek to bring glory to Christ.

 

“Discord and division become no Christian. For wolves worry lambs is no wonder, but for one lamb to worry another, this is unnatural and monstrous.” – Thomas Brooks

 

God’s Word: “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.” – Titus 3:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Build One Another Up
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jan 27, 2016
Devotional - Build One Another Up

"Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” – Romans 15:2

 

In December 1941, ten days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, residents of North Platte, Nebraska heard a rumor that soldiers from their town, part of the Nebraska National Guard Company D, would be coming through on a troop train on their way to the West Coast. About five hundred people showed up at the train depot with food, gifts, letters, and love to give the boys.

When the train showed up, it was not the Nebraska National Guard Company D boys on board; it was the soldiers from the Kansas National Guard Company D. The North Platte residents decided to give out their gifts to these soldiers they did not know. It was a spontaneous act of genuine devotion and encouragement that touched both the soldiers and the people who came to the depot that day.

A few days later, a 26-year-old woman named Rae Wilson wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper recounting the profound experience they’d shared that night. She then suggested the town organize a canteen, so they could do something similar for every troop train that came through. She offered to lead the effort as a volunteer.

For the next four and a half years, the people of North Platte and the surrounding communities met every troop train that came through their town. Every day, they prepared sandwiches, cookies, cold drinks, and hot coffee. They had baskets of magazines and books to give away to the soldiers, and snacks for the train. There were even birthday cakes for anyone having a special day. And they did this, some days, for as many as eight thousand soldiers and sailors.

The statistics are staggering. By the time the last train arrived on April 1, 1946, the North Platte Canteen had blessed six million service members. Forty-five thousand volunteers had served faithfully until the war was over and most of the troops had been transported home.

If the residents of North Platte were that dedicated to doing whatever they could to help win World War II and serve the military, Christians should be even more committed to serve the Lord any way they can.

 

Are you building up people as you go along in life? Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the people He has placed in your life and seek to encourage them in Jesus Christ.

 

“Encouragement is perhaps one of the greater gifts friends can ever give. An encouraging friend is a lifeline to steady a floundering heart, to bring sunshine to a cloudy day, and to deliver a blessing just looking for a place to land.” – Susan Duke

 

God’s Word: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Being A Good Citizen
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 26, 2016
Devotional - Being A Good Citizen

“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” – Romans 13:6-7

 

In an article entitled “On Waving Flags and Washing Feet,” Christian author Chuck Colson writes the following about citizenship: “Disciples of Christ often find themselves in a state of tension between dual loyalties.  How can they simultaneously be responsible citizens of the state and subjects of the Kingdom of Heaven?  The answer lies in neither conflating nor severing the two.  A Christian's allegiance to Christ may fuel his or her allegiance to the state, prompting him or her to be the model citizen.  Our first loyalty must rest with Christ alone, but we honor Him by acting as the best citizens that we can be, praying for, supporting, and serving our nation with a critical patriotism, evaluating every national decision and policy to determine its conformity with the Gospel.

We cannot withdraw from the world and pretend we are somehow dwelling in heaven now; nor can we embrace the world and assume earthly governments can be claimed for Christ.”

 

Being a good citizen brings honor to Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can be a better citizen and bring glory to the Lord.

 

“The duty of obedience to secular authorities is a temporary one, for the present period of ‘night;’ in that ‘day’ which is ‘at hand’ a new order of government will be introduced, when ‘the saints shall judge the world.’” – F.F. Bruce

 

God’s Word: “‘Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, ‘You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.’ They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, ‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar's,’ they replied. Then he said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.’” – Matthew 22:17-21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Develop Your Gifts
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jan 25, 2016
Devotional - Develop Your Gifts

“so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach” – Romans 12:5-7

 

Leonardo da Vinci was born on 15 April 1452. The famous Renaissance man was an accomplished inventor, architect, engineer, sculptor and painter.  

In 1466, at the age of fourteen, Leonardo was apprenticed to the artist Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio, whose workshop was "one of the finest in Florence". He apprenticed as a garzone (studio boy), whose jobs initially were to clean the studio. Through the years, Leonardo would have been exposed to both theoretical training and a vast range of technical skills including drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, metal working, plaster casting, leather working, mechanics and carpentry as well as the artistic skills of drawing, painting, sculpting and modeling.

In 1472, Leonardo was 20-years old when Verrocchio began the work “The Baptism of Christ.”

Leonardo stood in such awe of his master's skill, and then Verrocchio asked the young man to finish the work.  At first Leonardo respectfully declined. But his teacher would accept no excuse. He simply said, "Do your best."

Trembling, Leonardo took his brush and began. With each stroke, his hand grew steadier as the genius within him awoke. Soon he was so caught up in his work that Leonardo forgot his timidity. When the painting was finished, the frail and weak master was carried into the studio to see it. Embracing his student, he exclaimed, "My son, I paint no more!"

 

The Lord has given you gifts you need to develop to build up others in Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the spiritual gifts you have received and seek to develop and use them for His glory.

 

“God has said that every Christian has at least one spiritual gift for the benefit of the whole body of Christ. No one has all the gifts, all have at least one gift, and some have two or more. We are dependent on each other.” – Francis M. Cosgrove, Jr.

 

God’s Word: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Living Sacrifice
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jan 24, 2016
Devotional - Living Sacrifice

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2

 

In July 1776, Thomas Nelson Jr. was one of the representatives of the Commonwealth of Virginia to sign the Declaration of Independence. He organized the Virginia Militia and supplied them with his own funds throughout the American Revolutionary War.

In September 1781, the American and French armies were closing in on Cornwallis who had decided to await evacuation of his army at Yorktown. When the French fleet arrived Cornwallis’ fate was sealed. During the siege and the final battle of the war, Nelson ordered his artillery to direct their fire on his own house that was occupied by Cornwallis, offering a bounty to the first man who hit the house. The home was heavily damaged and rendered inhabitable.

Nelson sacrificed his personal fortune for the Revolutionary War. He raised a substantial amount of funds for the French fleet using his own credit. After the war, he was never compensated. He lost his health soon after the war was won and was forced to resign as Governor of Virginia and live with his son. Thomas Nelson Jr. took serious and lived out the Declaration of Independence’s last line which reads: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

 

The Lord wants to do great things in your life, but you must be willing to sacrifice your goals for God’s glory. Today in prayer, praise Jesus that when we live for Him, we are blessed.  

 

“Leadership is an act of submission to God. To be a leader means listening to all kinds of people and situations. Out of that listening, we are hoping to discern the mind of God as best we can. This is the price of leadership - it's an act of sacrifice. So leadership is part and parcel of the work of submission to God.” – Richard Foster

 

God’s Word: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” – Ephesians 4:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

 

Devotional - Experiencing God's Grace
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jan 21, 2016
Devotional - Experiencing God's Grace

“And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” – Romans 11:6

 

On December 20, 1974, Chris Carrier, a 10-year-old, was walking home from school. David McAllister tricked the boy into going into his motor home, stabbed him with an ice pick and drove Chris to a desolate spot, where he shot the boy in the head from behind. Miraculously, Chris survived and lay in the Everglades for six days unconscious. He awoke the day after Christmas and was rescued by a farmer who was driving by. Chris was permanently blinded in one eye from the attack.

In 1996, twenty-two years after attacking Chris, McAllister confessed to the crime.

After learning of the confession, Chris, visited McAllister at his nursing home. But Chris did not go in anger or bitterness. Rather, he went to pray with his would-be murderer and share the good news of Jesus that had transformed his own life. In the last three weeks of David McAllister’s life, Chris shared the grace of God and gave grace to David.  

 

Grace is the unmerited favor of God. We did not earn it. We don’t deserve it. We can just receive it as the loving gift from the God who will judge all mankind. Today in prayer, praise Christ for His gift of grace.

 

“Grace is what God gives us when we don't deserve and mercy is when God doesn't give us what we do deserve” – Reinhold Niebuhr  

God’s Word: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - No Difference
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jan 20, 2016
Devotional - No Difference

“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him” – Romans 10:12

 

The Greek historian Plutarch wrote about Alexander the Great with his meeting of the Greek philosopher Diogenes. Diogenes was well known for his disregard for honor, wealth, and respect. He showed equal treatment to everyone.  

Plutarch recorded that it was in Corinth that Alexander the Great and Diogenes first met. He recorded: “While Diogenes was relaxing in the sunlight in the morning, Alexander, thrilled to meet the famous philosopher, asked if there was any favor he might do for him. Diogenes replied, "Yes, stand out of my sunlight". Alexander then declared, "If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes." In another account of the meeting of the two men, Alexander found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained, “I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave.”

 

There is no difference between men; Jesus Christ desires ALL to be saved. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that in His eyes, there are no differences between people.     

       

“Prejudice is a learned trait. You're not born prejudiced; you're taught it.” – Charles R. Swindoll  

 

God’s Word: “Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.” – Deuteronomy 16:19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Justifying Our Own Actions
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 19, 2016
Devotional - Justifying Our Own Actions

“Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.” – Romans 10:3

 

The Reverend Robbie Wilkerson, 47, is the founding pastor of New Birth Christian Center (NBCC) in the Chicago suburb of Austin, Illinois. In 2010, Wilkerson reportedly filed paperwork for the church to administer the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) — a service offered by an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — at 34 sites in Chicago.

Wilkerson submitted an operation budget of $446,440 to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the agency that administers the federal funding at the state level. By the time the program ended, Wilkerson and his co-workers turned in false claims to the ISBE worth more than $700,000. The church claimed to have served roughly 270,000 meals to low-income children over the course of the summer even though the number of meals it had actually served turned out to be less than 100,000.

Wilkerson and his colleagues allegedly pocketed the $450,000 for their personal expenses, which included roughly $46,000 of real estate in Chicago; more than $37,000 for the purchase of housing in Memphis, Tennessee for Wilkerson's parents; and nearly $30,000 for the purchase of a 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

Wilkerson and four others were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of embezzling about $450,000 from the federal government. The charges included two counts of wire fraud, theft of government funds and money laundering.

It is easy to justify sin when you establish your own righteousness. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that He is Righteous and with brokenness, humility and love we call Jesus Lord.

 

“There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who believe they are sinners, the sinners who believe they are righteous.” – Blaise Pascal

 

God’s Word: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - The Stumbling Stone
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jan 18, 2016
Devotional - The Stumbling Stone

“Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone.’” – Romans 9:32

 

Since 2002, every Sunday afternoon for seven years, Mary Hannaby, a homemaker from Hemel Hempstead, England, took a walk with her metal detector.

She'd never really found anything of value, but she liked getting the exercise, so she kept at it.

Then on one Sunday in June 2009, her detector beeped, and she bent down to dig up what she thought was going to be another common coin or old nail. Instead, she uncovered a 15th century postage stamp-sized gold pendant featuring an intricate carving of the crucifixion of Jesus.

She thought it was valuable, so she brought it to the British Museum. the pendant was described as "an important find," and they estimated the market value to be around £4,000 (about $6,600).

Still, they decided not to purchase it for their collection, so Mary took the pendant to Sotheby's.

The experts at the auction house felt the piece was much more valuable, because it was believed to be one of only three similar items known to exist. Their initial estimate was £250,000 ($415,900), but said it could easily sell for as much as £2.5 million ($4.1 million) thanks to its resemblance to another English treasure also found with a metal detector, the Middleham Jewel.

Mary found a treasure that many people through the ages had bypassed. Jesus was clothed as an ordinary man, but He is the most magnificent treasure we desire. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that when we pursue God by faith, we find all we ask in Christ.

 

“While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyes shall close in death, When I soar to worlds unknown, See Thee on Thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.” – Augustus M. Toplady

 

God’s Word: “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.’” – Isaiah 28:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - God's Providence
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jan 17, 2016
Devotional - God's Providence

“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.” – Romans 8:28

 

During WWII, Elmer Bendiner was a navigator on a B-17. He describes a bombing run over the German city of Kassel: “Our B-17 was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit. Later, as I reflected on the miracle of a twenty-millimeter shell piercing the fuel tank without touching off an explosion, our pilot, Bohn Fawkes, told me it was not quite that simple. On the morning following the raid, Bohn had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of unbelievable luck. The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell but eleven had been found in the gas tanks--eleven unexploded shells where only one was sufficient to blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. Even after thirty-five years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn.

He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up. They could not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer. Apparently when the armorers opened each of those shells, they found no explosive charge. They were clean as a whistle and just as harmless. Empty? Not all of them. One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured our base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually, they found one to decipher the note. It set us marveling. Translated, the note read: ‘This is all we can do for you now.’”

 

The Lord is Lord of All, nothing escapes His Divine purpose. Today in prayer, seek Jesus and His will and follow Him with your whole heart.”

 

“Providence has at all times been my only dependence, for all other resources seem to have failed us.” – George Washington

 

God’s Word: “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Hope In Christ
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jan 14, 2016
Devotional - Hope In Christ

“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope” – Romans 8:19-20

 

In 1932, 30-year-old Gladys Aylward arrived in China as a missionary. On her arrival in Yangcheng, Gladys worked with an older missionary, Jeannie Lawson, to found The Inn of the Eight Happinesses. For a time she served as an assistant to the Chinese government as a "foot inspector" by touring the countryside to enforce the new law against foot binding young Chinese girls.

She became a Chinese citizen in 1936 and was a revered figure among the people, taking in orphans and adopting several of them, intervening in a volatile prison riot and advocating prison reform, risking her life many times to help those in need. In 1938, Japanese forces invaded the region, and Gladys led over 100 orphans to safety over the mountains, despite being wounded.

Years later, Gladys led another harrowing journey out of war-torn Yang Chen during the Communist take-over. One morning, fear gripped her and she had no apparent hope of reaching safety. A 13-year old girl tried to comfort her by saying, "Don’t forget what you told us about Moses in the wilderness," to which Gladys replied, "Yes, my dear, but I am not Moses." The young girl replied, "Yes, but God is still God."

 

Those who trust in Christ have a living Hope who does not disappoint. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that your hope in Him has given you eternal life.

 

“My knowledge of that life is small, the eye of faith is dim, But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all, And I shall be with him.” – Richard Baxter

 

God’s Word: “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - The Law Brings Knowledge Of Sin
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jan 13, 2016
Devotional - The Law Brings Knowledge Of Sin

“What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’” – Romans 7:7

 

In December 2014, Supreme Court ruled that a police officer could stop a car based on a mistaken understanding of the law without violating the Fourth Amendment, which addresses search and seizure.  

The case arose from a traffic stop in North Carolina based on a broken brake light. But state law there required only a single working “stop lamp,” which the car in question had.

In an opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Supreme Court ruled that the officer’s mistake was reasonable and so did not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

The case arose from a 2009 traffic stop near Dobson, North Carolina, conducted by Police Sergeant Matt Darisse. The owner of the stopped car gave Officer Darisse consent to search and cocaine was found in the vehicle.

The car owner was charged with attempted drug trafficking, but he challenged the stop as a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the court’s decision “does not discourage officers from learning the law,” because only objectively reasonable mistakes were permitted.

“An officer can gain no Fourth Amendment advantage,” the chief justice wrote, “through a sloppy study of the laws he is duty-bound to enforce.”

 

Knowledge of the law brings recognition of our own sinful actions. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His law that through it we can recognize our own sin. And then thank Jesus for His grace; for it is in His grace we have life in Him.

 

“In the maxims of the law, God is seen as the rewarder of perfect righteousness and the avenger of sin. But in Christ, his face shines out, full of grace and gentleness to poor, unworthy sinners.” – John Calvin

 

God’s Word: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Gods Grace
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 12, 2016
Devotional - Gods Grace

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

 

Mez McConnell’s Irish parents abandoned him at age 2 years old. He was shuffled to different foster homes, abused, became a drug addict and was in and out of jail for various charges. While in his teens, Mez was living on the streets when he came across some Christians who were playing soccer. They told him he was going to hell and Mez responded angrily to them, he threw rocks at them and ran them out of town.

Soon after he got in a fight at a nightclub and he stabbed a couple of men. He was sentenced to six years in prison before he was 21 years old.

While in prison, a couple of Christians visited him and talked with him about Jesus. When he was paroled, he stayed at the home of one of the Christian men and the Holy Spirit began working on Mez. He accepted the Lord while reading Matthew Henry’s Commentary. Mez said: “By God’s grace I went back to school and Bible college, and I am now married and have children.”

Mez now serves as senior pastor of Niddrie Community Church in Edinburgh, Scotland, and founder of 20 Schemes, a ministry dedicated to building gospel-centered churches for Scotland’s poorest communities (“schemes”).

 

Our sinful actions would lead to death if it were not for the grace of Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise Jesus for His gift of grace and eternal life in Him.

 

“Grace is not sought nor bought nor wrought. It is a free gift of almighty God to needy mankind.” – Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:5-7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Forgive Much
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jan 11, 2016
Devotional - Forgive Much

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” – Luke 7:47

 

In January 1990, Robert Knighton (B.K.) broke into the Oklahoma home of Richard and Virginia Denny, murdered them and then robbed them of $17 and an old pick-up truck.

At B.K.’s trial, Richard’s daughter Sue Norton sat in the courtroom confused about how she should feel. Everyone in the courtroom was consumed with hate. They all expected her to feel the same way. But she couldn’t hate the way they did because she says, "it didn’t feel good."

The last night of the trial she knew there must be another way. She couldn’t eat or sleep that night and prayed to God to help her. When morning came, she had this thought. "Sue, you don’t have to hate B.K., you could forgive him".

The next day, while the jury was out for deliberation, Sue got permission to visit B.K. through the bars of his holding cell. Sue relates, "I was really frightened. This was my first experience in a jail. B.K. was big and tall, he was shackled and had cold steely eyes." At first B.K. refused to look at Sue. She asked him to turn around and he answered, "why would any one want to talk to me after what I have done?" Sue replied, "I don’t know what to say to you. But I want you to know that I don’t hate you. My grandmother always taught me not to use the word hate. She taught me that we are here to love one another. If you are guilty, I forgive you.

B.K. thought Sue was just playing games. He couldn’t understand how she could forgive him for such a terrible crime. Sue says, "I didn’t think of him as killer, I thought of him as a human being.

People thought that Sue had lost her mind. Friends would step to the other side of the road to avoid her. But Sue says, "There is no way to heal and get over the trauma without forgiveness. You must forgive and forget and get on with your life. That is what Jesus would do.

B.K. resides on death row in Oklahoma. Sue often writes to him and visits occasionally. She feels that B.K. should never leave prison, but she does not want him executed. She has become friends with B.K. and because of her love and friendship he has become a devout Christian.

Sue states that some good has come out of her Daddy’s death.

"I have been able to witness to many people about Jesus and forgiveness and helped others to heal. I have brought B.K. and many other men on death row to our Lord Jesus Christ. I live in peace with my Lord!"

 

One of the most powerful ways to show God’s love is forgiveness. Today in prayer, forgive those who have wronged you, just as Christ as forgiven you.

 

“We have a free, full, final, forever forgiveness in the atoning work of Christ.” – J. Sidlow Baxter

 

God’s Word: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14-15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2015, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN LUKE

Devotional - His Blood Saved Us
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jan 10, 2016
Devotional - His Blood Saved Us

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

 

On October 1, 2015, gunman Chris Harper Mercer entered a creative writing class at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. He ordered everyone to get on the floor. He executed one student and then began questioning students about their religion. He asked them if they were Christians and if they said “Yes” he shot them. Mercer murdered nine people and wounded seven others before he was killed by law enforcement.

One student he executed was Treven Anspach. With his last breaths, Treven rolled over and covered Lacey Scroggins who was laying was next to him.

Eighteen-year-old Lacey Scroggins is the daughter of Pastor Randy Scroggins, the senior pastor at New Beginnings Church of God. Pastor Scroggins said that after Lacey heard a shot close to her and she realized Treven had been shot and he was bleeding. Treven started rolling toward her.

"I felt Treven's body as it moved over mine," Lacey told her father.

Lacey played dead under Anspach's body when Mercer told her to get up. Mercer then passed by Lacey.

"The blood of that boy that covered my daughter saved her life," Pastor Scroggins said.

 

The blood of Jesus Christ covers us and has given us new life in Him. Today in prayer, thank Christ for His death on the Cross that has brought us salvation.

 

“There are some sciences that may be learned by the head, but the science of Christ crucified  can only be learned by the heart.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

 

“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit” – 1 Peter 3:18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Faith Rewarded
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jan 7, 2016
Devotional - Faith Rewarded

“What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." – Romans 4:3

 

Being a Christian in East Germany following WWII was harsh. Children from Christian families had particular difficulties. They were often openly bullied and discriminated against by both classmates and teachers.

But in the summer of 1974, Eckhard Neumann of East Berlin had the courage to start a Christian Youth Camp. Twenty children attended.

For the next 10 years, Eckhard continued the youth camps. Then in 1984, he began a four-month Discipleship Training School. This too had humble beginnings of 24 students, but it continued to grow through the years.

In 1988, Eckhard organized a faith conference in the Evangelical Gethsemane Church of Berlin. Thousands of Christians packed the church hungry for the Word of God.

As soon as the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, with newfound freedoms of travel, Eckhard began planning missionary work. He was an early missionary to other closed societies in Albania, Estonia, and Mongolia. The Lord rewarded Eckhard for his faith which began as a youth leader in a repressive society.   

 

The Lord is a rewarder of faith in Him. Today in prayer, give the battle you are facing to Jesus and when He has answered give the credit to the Lord.

 

“Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.” – Augustine

 

God’s Word: “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” – Genesis 15:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Righteousness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jan 6, 2016
Devotional - Righteousness

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” – Romans 3:20

 

Thomas William Medhurst came to the Lord through the preaching of Charles H. Spurgeon. He became Spurgeon’s first pupil and went on to become an excellent preacher. On the subject of righteousness, Medhurst said the following:

“How can a man trust in his own righteousness? It is like seeking shelter under one's own shadow. We may stoop to the very ground; and, the lower we bend, we still find that our shadow is beneath us. But, if a man flee to the shadow of a great rock or of a wide-spreading tree, he will find abundant shelter from the rays of the noonday sun. So human merits are unavailing; and Christ alone is able to save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him.”

 

In Christ alone our righteousness can be found. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that through His grace we are saved and it is the law that brought us to the realization that we are sinners and we need Christ’s grace.

 

“When you see that men have been wounded by the law, then it is time to pour in the gospel oil. It is the sharp needle of the law that makes way for the scarlet tread of the gospel.” – Samuel Bolton

 

God’s Word: “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’” – Romans 7:7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - God Is Faithful
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jan 5, 2016
Devotional - God Is Faithful

“What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness?” – Romans 3:3

 

James Hudson Taylor was a British Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission. He spent over 51 years ministering in that country and by his death there were 800 missionaries in China who began 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions.

Near the end of his life, he wrote the following in his journal about God’s faithfulness: “Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning...He sustained 3 million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all...Depend on it, God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply.”

 

God is faithful and we can depend on Him. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is truly faithful in all that He does.

 

“Cast all your care on God! That anchor holds.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

God’s Word: “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” – 1 Corinthians 1:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - The Lord Does Not Show Favoritism
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jan 4, 2016
Devotional - The Lord Does Not Show Favoritism

“For God does not show favoritism.” – Romans 2:11

 

In 2007, researchers Joseph Price and Justin Wolfers released a paper about prejudice in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The research looked at data collected over different periods from 1990 through 2006.

The Price and Wolfers’ study offered evidence that referees exhibited a negative bias against those of a different race. Specifically, their research indicated that white referees tended to call more fouls on black players, and black referees tended to call more fouls on white players. The authors said it was not because of explicit racism. Rather, it was due to an implicit bias, which indicated most people tend to have.

Following the release of the report, the NBA began educating the referees on the study and how to overcome their bias. In 2010, a follow on study from Price and Wolfers based upon data gathered from 2006 to 2010 was released. In the follow on study, the authors “find that racial bias completely disappeared.”

 

The Lord does not show favoritism in His love and neither should we. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His impartiality and pray that you will not show favoritism to others.

 

“Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart.” - Marguerite Gardiner

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Be Grateful
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jan 3, 2016
Devotional - Be Grateful

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” – Romans 1:21

 

Christian author and speaker Joyce Meyer wrote the following about being thankful: “The nature of human flesh, if it is not disciplined and controlled by the Holy Spirit, will always drift toward the negative. You never have to try to complain, but it does take a lot of faith and effort to maintain a grateful, thankful attitude.

You may think it's a little bit strange to say this but I think we need to learn to appreciate our trials a lot more than we do because they're what make us grow and mature in godly character.

You see, in hard times, we tend to experience more of His nearness and power in our lives. It's in those times that we really come to know Him.

Complaining actually opens a door for the devil. We need to learn to thank God in everything.

Don't go to lunch with someone and spend the whole time talking about your problems. Remember, recall and recount the good things God is doing in your life.”

 

As we begin this New Year, make every effort to be grateful for all of the Lord’s blessings. Today in prayer, thank Christ for the blessings He has bestowed on you and seek to be grateful to Him and to others throughout the day.

 

"The man who has forgotten to be thankful, has fallen asleep in life." – Robert Louis Stephenson

 

God’s Word: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good” 2 Timothy 3:2-3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

Devotional - Live A Life Of Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Friday Jan 1, 2016
Devotional - Live A Life Of Faith

“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” – Romans 1:16-17

 

In 2015, Christian author Ellen Vaughn visited a refugee camp in Iraq. She interviewed Christians who were persecuted by ISIS fighters. One woman, who had lost her left eye to a terrorist bomb a few years ago, shared with her that they had fled their home in Qaraqosh and had been living in the refugee camp for some time.

Ellen wrote: “When I asked her if it's hard to trust God in her circumstances, she smiled at me patiently, like a teacher with a remedial student.”

The woman replied: "These sufferings have increased our faith in God. Without God we can do nothing. Even when we were trying to escape to get here, God changed our direction on the road, away from ISIS. At 11 p.m. each night, we ring a bell, and we all pray here in the camp. We have confidence that God is with us and He will do what is good for us. He saved us from ISIS, and He will get us home."

 

Living a righteous life is living a life by faith in Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, thank Christ for this New Year and seek to please Him by living by faith.

 

“The righteousness of God is not acquired by acts frequently repeated, as Aristotle taught, but is imparted by faith.” – Martin Luther

 

God’s Word: “He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” – Proverbs 21:21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ROMANS

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