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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions In The Letters of John
Devotional - Show Hospitality
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Oct 30, 2014
Devotional - Show Hospitality

“We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.” – 3 John 1:8

 

Karen Burton Mains, author of the book “Open Heart, Open Home: The Hospitable Way to Make Others Feel Welcome & Wanted”, decided one morning to read a novel instead of doing the house work. As it would happen, a person from church stopped by - the place was a mess - dishes in the sink, toys everywhere, last night’s newspaper all over the floor.

As Karen went to the door she could hear her father’s voice, "True Hospitality comes before pride." Mother and Dad knew it had nothing to do with impressing people, but everything to do with making them feel welcome and wanted. Of course that easy enough to say when your place is tidy. She swallowed her pride and let the person from church in. After the visitor came in and sat down her friend said: "I used to think you were perfect, now I think we can be friends!" Hospitality is making one feel at home in your house. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the opportunities you have to make others’ feel at home in your home.

 

"When you open your door to someone, you are sending this message: ‘You matter to me and to God.’"- Max Lucado

 

God’s Word: “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” – 1 Peter 4:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Love The Truth
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Oct 29, 2014
Devotional - Love The Truth

“The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth--and not I only, but also all who know the truth-- because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever” – 2 John 1:1-2

 

April 2003, author James Frey released his autobiography "A Million Little Pieces." The book became a best seller as it recounted the story of a 23-year-old alcoholic and drug abuser and how Frey coped with his rehabilitation.

The investigative web site "The Smoking Gun" began a search to find James Frey's criminal photograph. But after a six-week long investigation, they published an article called "A Million Little Lies". The article described fabrications in Frey's account of his drug abuse experiences, life, and criminal record. The story went national, stating that Frey "wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms and status as an outlaw 'wanted in three states.'" Frey admitted that the story was not the truth forcing his embarrassed publisher to rebrand his book as a fictional novel instead of an autobiography.

 

We never have to embellish the truth. When we tell the truth, we bring honor to the Lord, who is the Truth. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is truth and seek to follow Him in all that you do.

 

"Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.'' – Leo Tolstoy

 

God’s Word: “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.” – Leviticus 19:11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Refrain From Idols
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Oct 28, 2014
Devotional - Refrain From Idols

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” – 1 John 5:21

 

Bob Campos of Howell, Michigan is an extreme University of Michigan football fan. He has slowly, step-by-step, created a shrine to the football team. He has painted every square inch of his large, six-unit garage maize and blue.

On top of the garage, he installed a goal post with a football hanging between the two uprights, and he built a fountain with a U-M football helmet on top. He also painted an end zone in front of the garage.

At night, his shrine glows with maize-and-blue solar lights placed along the roof.

"Once I start doing something, God knows where I'm going to end up," said Campos, who is known as "Michigan Bob" at his local bowling alley.

His family supported Campos and knew better than to try to talk him out of the passionate painting project.

"They know Bob kind of does what he wants to do," he said.

Bob never played at Michigan, but has just followed them as a fan for several decades.

"I'm retired. I had to do something," he said.

 

Don’t let anything or anyone come in between you and your first love – Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is worthy of all of our worship and praise.

 

"The worship of the false in any form is idolatry." - William Purcell

 

God’s Word: “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” – Exodus 20:4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - The Bible's Purpose
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Oct 27, 2014
Devotional - The Bible's Purpose

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” – 1 John 5:13

 

In September 1914, Private Thomas Hughes, 26, of Stockton-on-Tees, England, wrote a letter to his wife. Thomas was transiting to France to fight in “The Great War.” Thomas placed his letter in a green ginger beer bottle with a screw-on rubber stopper. He also placed a note to the finder of the bottle. He tossed it into the English Channel. Two days later, Thomas died on the battlefield in France.

In March 1999, Steve Gowan, an English fisherman, found the bottle in the River Thames. It had floated undetected for over 85 years. Steve read the letter and the instructional note left by Thomas on what to do with the bottle. He found out that Thomas’ wife and daughter had later moved to New Zealand. Thomas’ wife had died, but his daughter Emily, who was two years old when her father went off to war, was still alive.

Steve flew to New Zealand to present the bottle and notes to Emily. She said it helped fill a void in her life. "It touches me very deeply to know ... that his passage reached a goal. I think he (my father) would be very proud it had been delivered. He was a very caring man," Emily said.

 

Your Bible has arrived safely in your possession after being written more than a thousand years ago. Our Heavenly Father has a purpose for His love letter. It is to those who believe in the name of the Son of God that they may know that they have eternal life. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that we know we have eternal life in Jesus Christ because of His Word.

 

“Some read the Bible to learn and some read the Bible to hear from heaven.” – Andrew Murray

 

God’s Word: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” – 1 John 1:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Fear's Grip
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Oct 26, 2014
Devotional - Fear's Grip

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

 

The rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria has put a chill into many people throughout the world. The al Qaeda splinter group has put fear into the hearts of those who resist their beliefs. Their masked faces and public executions have many people afraid of their movement.

So what are the members of ISIS most afraid of?

Many of these jihadists fear that being killed by a woman would cost them their promised "paradise" in the afterlife. One of the Kurdish commanders is Mayssa Abdo, known by the nom-de-guerre of Narin Afrin. She is a 40 years old woman who hails from the Aleppo province in Syria. She is the most feared adversary of the ISIS fighters.

Women involvement in the fight against the Islamic State plays a significant role in upsetting ISIS militants' mental state because they fear being killed by a woman will result in them being sent to "hell", said one 27-year-old female fighter named Tekoshin.

"I think [they] were more afraid of us than of the men. They believe they'll go to hell if they die at a woman's hands."

 

Fear can grip any of us at anytime. But we can overcome fear, by looking to the one who loves us more than life itself, Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His love for you and that you can overcome every fear through His love.

 

“The wise man in a storm prays to God, Not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

God’s Word: “But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.’” – Matthew 14:27

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - This Is Love
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Oct 23, 2014
Devotional - This Is Love

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:10-11

 

Elizabeth Joice of New York City was first diagnosed with a malignant tumor in 2010, though she was declared cancer-free after undergoing surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy.

After clearing that barrier, she and her husband, Max, wanted to start a family, but doctors told her it would be virtually impossible to conceive.

But Elizabeth was a fighter. She defied the odds yet again; she and her husband announced that they were pregnant in the summer of 2013, offering up unexpected joy to their friends and family.

But one month later, Elizabeth found out that her cancer had returned.

She and Max were faced with a horrific choice: Abort the child and begin treatment immediately, start treatment and continue the pregnancy - or delay much-needed medical care in an effort to protect the unborn baby girl.

Elizabeth ultimately decided to delay treatment.

Though she was due in March, doctors delivered baby Lily in January via caesarian section so that Elizabeth could begin treatment as soon as possible. But it was too late. The cancer spread and her health declined. Elizabeth died on 9 March 2014.

Elizabeth's physician, Dr. Joanne Stone, recalls: "She was holding the baby. Just the joy on her face was just incredible. She said 'This is worth it. ... I would do it all again to have this child.'"

 

God loved us so much that He left Heaven to lay down His life for us. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His love towards you.

 

"His purpose in sending Jesus into the world was to show his love and to draw men to himself." - Merrill C. Tenney

 

God’s Word: “"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Test The Spirits
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Oct 22, 2014
Devotional - Test The Spirits

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

 

In 2010, Pastor Don Gordon of Yates Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina preached the following:

"A pastor I know was one of a group of pastors invited to the MTV studios in New York City. A young, attractive lady in her late 20s gave them the tour. She was well dressed and obviously had a high IQ. Near the end of the tour she said, "MTV has done more research on young adults than anyone else in the world. We know more about this generation than anyone." These pastors, eager to get a handle on this intriguing generation asked, "So tell us about this generation." She said, "Almost all of them are very spiritual beings."

One pastor pressed her and said, "What does that mean? What do you mean when you say they are very spiritual people." She said, "They pray, but not to any particular God. They read sacred Scriptures but not limited to one religion. They are devoted to doing good to others. They don't know if God exists but they believe in some power outside themselves. They don't belong to an institutional religion but they enjoy having religious conversations."

 

Our faith is based on real facts. It is a thinking person’s faith which comes to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is who He said He is, the Son of God. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that we can test the spirits to see whether they are from God or not.

 

“As we well know, the imbecility of ‘profound’ philosophers is so immense that it is exceeded only by the infinite mercy of God." - Giovanni Papini

 

God’s Word: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.” – 2 Peter 2:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Greater Than Our Hearts
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Oct 21, 2014
Devotional - Greater Than Our Hearts

“This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” – 1 John 3:19-20

 

Pastor Jeff Durbin and his team from Apologia Church in Tempe, Arizona have a difficult ministry. The team goes to nearby abortion clinics and shares the Gospel. It isn’t combative, but rather a call for mothers to change their mind about their decision. In the past year, some 30 babies have been born because mothers reconsidered their actions.

At a recent church conference, Pastor Durbin introduced Tina, who was one of those women, along with her infant baby boy.

Tina then expressed thanks to the church for helping her save her baby's life.

"We're very, very grateful for them saving our baby's life and opening our eyes; and they've really helped us so much and changed our point of view. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't have my baby," she said tearing up.

Pastor Durbin pointed to Tina as she left the stage with her baby and said, "I have an irrefutable argument about bringing the Gospel to hard places despite all the conflict. That's my argument."

 

Jesus is interested in working on our hearts. He wants us to reflect Him in all that we do. Today in prayer, give every decision to the Lord and listen to Him to give you the right choices.

 

“In making our decisions, we must use the brains that God has given us. But we must also use our hearts, which He also gave us.” – Fulton Oursler

 

God’s Word: “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” – 1 Corinthians 4:4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - When You See A Brother In Need
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Oct 20, 2014
Devotional - When You See A Brother In Need

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” – 1 John 3:17

 

When 7-year old Caiden Perez of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, saw some homeless men he knew he had to do something. He approached his father, Manny, with the idea of throwing a pizza party for the homeless people in his community -- "because it makes them happy." But after talking it over, the pair decided to make "blessing bags" for people on the streets instead. Caiden filled the plastic bags with necessities such as clean pairs of socks, shampoo, toothpaste and bottles of water -- excited to give the items away.

In September 2014, Caiden and his dad documented their first outing of hand-delivering the bags, and Caiden spoke to a few of the locals as he passed out the items. The 7-year-old Good Samaritan is eager to do it again soon.

"He has wanted to help the homeless for a little bit now," said Manny. "Not just as a need to fulfill, but to make them feel wanted."

 

Seeing someone in need means you need to get involved, just as Jesus did. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for opportunities to get involved in people’s lives and show His love to them.

 

“The answer to the question, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ must always be ‘No! I am my brother’s brother.’” – Paul Klapper

 

God’s Word: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – Hebrews 13:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Stop The Lawlessness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Oct 19, 2014
Devotional - Stop The Lawlessness

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” – 1 John 3:4-6

 

Janet Boynes grew up in an abusive home in Minnesota. By the time she was 12, Janet was molested by a relative. A few months later, she was raped by an altar boy at church. She then turned to drugs, but soon another problem arose.

"I was starting to become more attracted to women," she said. "So many men had hurt me that these women, I thought, were a lot more like me."

Janet struggled to put those thoughts aside. She started attending a church and accepted Christ as her Savior. She got off drugs and started dating a man she met at church. But when he worked on the weekends, Janet started spending a lot of time with a woman she met at work.

"She introduced me to her family, who were Christians. Her dad was a pastor of a small church in the St. Paul area, and met her mother," Janet said. "It was late one night and I stayed there and we wound up sleeping together."

Janet then made a decision. “I told my fiancé what happened, gave him back his ring and I walked away from the Lord."

For the next 14 years, Janet lived a homosexual lifestyle and moved from relationship to relationship. She became deeply involved in drugs, cocaine this time, and developed bulimia.   

"My life was miserable. It was starting to go literally down the tubes," Janet said. "But I was refusing to come back to God."

In 1998, Janet had a chance conversation with a woman in a grocery store parking lot. The woman invited her to a women’s bible study.

“My name is Janet,” she said. “I’m living a homosexual life. But if you help me, I will live my life for the Lord.'"

More than ten years later, Janet is active in her church and ministering to others who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle.

 

We must forsake our sin and unite with Jesus Christ. It is only then do we stop the sin in our lives. Today in prayer, confess any sin that is in your life and live in Jesus Christ.

 

"We live in a world full of people struggling to be, or at least to appear, strong in order not to be weak; and we follow a gospel which says that when I am weak, then I am strong. And this gospel is the only thing that brings healing." - N.T. Wright

 

God’s Word: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Knowing Love
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Oct 16, 2014
Devotional - Knowing Love

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” – 1 John 3:1

 

Chris Shauble anchors the KTLA 5 Morning News in Los Angeles. In early 2014, he started the journey to find his biological parents. Chris grew up as the only African American child in an all-white family, so his adoption was obvious. But so was the unconditional love of his adoptive family.

"My mom is a PhD. My dad, God rest his soul, was a master's degree holder," Chris said. "They were well-educated people who valued life. In 1970 they decided to adopt, and I was that kid."

Still, at 44 years old, Chris felt his biological mom and dad were still the missing piece of his personal puzzle.

"What I can remember is we would go to church. There was this beautifully spirited African-American grandmother and whenever we sat by her she treated me with such love. I remember thinking is that how when someone is your biological child, is that what that love feels like?"

It was Chris's own children who inspired him to start looking for his biological family.

With some help, Chris was able to find out his biological father had passed away in 1995, but he was able to meet his biological mother in Florida. Amid tears of joy, Chris's mother, who had never given up hope herself, said: "I knew the good Lord wouldn't let me pass from this earth without knowing you were all right."

 

Though we have earthly families, we have a Heavenly Father who loves us far greater than we can ever know. Our sin has brought separation, but His grace reunites us with Him. Today in prayer, praise Jesus that He loves you and one day we will be reunited face-to-face with Him.

 

"Our doctrine of equality and liberty and humanity comes from our belief in the brotherhood of man, through the fatherhood of God." - Calvin Coolidge

 

God’s Word: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” – Galatians 3:26

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Continue In Him
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Oct 15, 2014
Devotional - Continue In Him

“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” – 1 John 2:28

 

Charles Leonard was born in Philadelphia on December 25, 1902. In 2012, he was a vigorous 109-year-old pastor before he went home to be with the Lord that same year. He preached at the Mount Zion Church of Christ in the lower East Side of Manhattan for more than 50 years. 

He credited his longevity to his faith in the Lord. 

"The secret is God," he said. "He keeps me alert. He keeps me active."

Charles got up at 4 a.m. every day because he was "raised up not letting daylight catch us in bed." He ate a big breakfast, read the Bible and visited with friends.

And he didn't drink or smoke.

"I live a clean life," he said proudly. "My generation coming up, young people, they were brought up in church," he remembered. "This is the way it was with me."

 

Our days are numbered by the Lord, but we can all make the most of them by offering ourselves as a living sacrifice and to continue in Him. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for your life in Him and give Him all of your life today.

 

“A living faith is not something you have to carry, but something that carries you.” – J.H. Oldham

 

God’s Word: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him” – Colossians 2:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - There Are Many Deceivers
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Oct 14, 2014
Devotional - There Are Many Deceivers

“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” – 1 John 2:18-19

 

Elizabeth Esther is the author of "Girl at the End of the World." The autobiography follows her upbringing in a network of about 50 or so fundamentalist fringe congregations once known as "The Assembly", led by her grandfather, George Geftakys. She introduces her eight-year-old self to readers by telling them, "I'm classically trained in apocalypse stockpiling, street preaching, and the King James Version of the Bible. I know hundreds of obscure nineteenth-century hymns by heart and have such razor-sharp 'modesty-vision' that I can spot a miniskirt a mile away."

While her cult-leader grandfather nurtured his double life of sexual immorality, and domestic violence ravaged her uncle's household, Elizabeth Esther's childhood home-turned-commune was characterized by the rancid fruits of her family's teaching. She recounts a childhood filled with unrelenting physical, spiritual, and emotional abuse.

Elizabeth, her husband, and their three children escaped from "The Assembly." She reports that counseling, medication, time, and a mustard seed of faith in Christ that survived the dysfunction of her childhood have all been helpful in healing the emotional scars of her past.

 

There are many deceivers professing they follow Jesus Christ, but have a destructive agenda of their own. Today in prayer, pray for those who are caught up in a cult that they may have the courage to leave and follow Jesus.

 

“By entertaining of strange persons, men sometimes entertain angels unaware; but by entertaining of strange doctrines, many have entertained devils unaware.” – John Flavel

 

God’s Word: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” – 2 Timothy 4:3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

 

Devotional - Tune Out The World
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Oct 13, 2014
Devotional - Tune Out The World

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.” – 1 John 2:15-16

 

During the mid-1800’s, musicians noted that errand boys in Westminster section of London all whistled out of tune as they went about their work. It was talked about and someone suggested that it was because the bells of Westminster were slightly out of tune. Something had gone wrong with the chimes and they were discordant. The boys did not know there was anything wrong with the peals, and quite unconsciously they had copied their pitch.

Soon it was discovered the bells at St. Paul’s Cathedral and “Big Ben” were also out of tune, causing others to follow their errant melodies. 

Likewise, we tend to copy the people with whom we associate; we borrow thoughts from the books we read and the television shows we watch, the radio programs to which we listen, almost without knowing it.

But God has said not to love the world, but to love His Word. His Word has the absolute perfect pitch of life and living. If we learn to follow His Word, we shall easily detect the false in all of the tunes of the world.

 

This is a fallen world and we should not love it. We are travelers on our way to heaven with our Heavenly Father. Today in prayer, give your heart to the Lord and seek to follow Him in all you do.

 

"Love not the world, for it is a moth in a Christian's life." - John Bunyan

 

God’s Word: “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” – James 1:14

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - God's Pardon
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Oct 12, 2014
Devotional - God's Pardon

“I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” – 1 John 2:12

 

In 1915, George Burdick, the city editor of The New York Tribune, refused to testify before a federal grand jury about his sources for an article on fraud in the United States Custom House in New York. Burdick said he might incriminate himself in his testimony. The federal prosecutor saw a quick Presidential pardon as the answer to this problem, and President Woodrow Wilson agreed.

Wilson gave Burdick “a full and unconditional pardon for all offenses against the United States” he might have committed in connection with the article and for any other matter the grand jury might ask him about.

But Burdick refused the pardon and was locked up.

The case went before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court held that Burdick was within his rights and ordered him discharged.

The Court ruled “A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws.” A pardon carries an "imputation of guilt", and accepting a pardon is "an admission of guilt".

 

On the account of Jesus Christ, we have been pardoned from our sins. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for forgiving you.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” – Hebrews 8:12

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Love Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Oct 9, 2014
Devotional - Love Others

“Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.” – 1 John 2:10

 

In September 2014, 60-year old Frank Henderson of Shoreline, Washington felt some stomach pains. He was examined and physicians discovered Frank had terminal cancer. Doctors only gave him a few weeks to live.

"Even though his time has been cut short, he has realized that you need to make moments all the time," his daughter Thea said. "We don't have years with him; we have days and weeks. And we're packing a lifetime into days and weeks."

One of Frank's favorite events of the year is Christmas and he loved stringing Christmas lights on the house.

Once neighbors learned about Frank's condition and his love for the holiday, they started getting into the holiday spirit - three months early. They've decorated their own houses with lights and other holiday accouterments in September to show solidarity.

"It wasn't necessarily meant as 'We're going to celebrate Dad's last Christmas' - as funny as that is, that's what it's turned into, which is wonderful - but it's really more about the Christmas lights, because my dad's kind of a nut-job when it comes to that," Thea said. "Loves them to pieces. . It's insane. That [first] night, there was a string of lights, and then, the next day, neighbors just kept putting them up."

It's even provided the Henderson family with some much-needed laughter. "My neighbor was like, 'I think this is the first time we've gotten sunburned while putting up lights,'" Thea said. "It's been pretty amazing. They all love my dad."

 

When we love others, people see the glory of the Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His love towards you and love others.

 

“To love another person is to help them love God.” – Soren Kierkegaard

 

God’s Word: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Walking With Jesus
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Oct 8, 2014
Devotional - Walking With Jesus

“But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:5-6

 

Pastor Brian Doten relates the following story: "Clayton Merwin was my neighbor growing up in Boulder, Colorado. He was an IBM engineer who was sad and grumpy most of the time. One day, a friend told Clayton his favorite place to be was in church. Clayton couldn't believe this was true, it didn't fit his experience of church so he decided to check out the church his friend went to. He came once . . . twice . . . three times until he became a regular church attender. After attending for a while Clayton realized he needed to commit his life to Jesus Christ. He did. And so did his wife Martha, too. And you know what? Clayton Merwin changed. Around the neighborhood he went from being a sad, grumpy man to a loving, kind, gracious person. God transformed Clayton Merwin's life . . . . because the fruit of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a transformed life."

 

When we walk with Jesus, our lives are transformed. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for new life in Him and seek to walk continually with the Lord.

 

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.” – Helen Keller

 

God’s Word: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” – John 13:15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Born A Rebel
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Oct 7, 2014
Devotional - Born A Rebel

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” – 1 John 2:3

 

By the time she was 24 years old, Dana Bryant was a bank robber, a meth addict and one of the most wanted criminals in northern California.

Dana says, "I knew that if I got caught that I would be going away to prison for a very long time. I didn't want to get caught, and I didn't want to live."

Raised in a middle class home, Dana says she felt worthless because she never felt she could measure up to her mother's expectations. In high school, she found that partying helped her cope.

"I became the one that drank the most at a party," says Dana. "I was the one that made a fool out of myself more than most. I eventually was the one that was going home with someone else."

After high school, Dana met a man she thought would fill every void she had. Soon, she discovered the love of her life had a violent temper.

Dana remembers, "He slammed me against the wall, choked me until I nearly passed out."

Eventually, Dana had a child with her boyfriend. But soon afterward, she developed another addiction - to meth. Unable to look after her child, Dana put her daughter in her mother's care. By now, she had lost her job and had no money. That's when Dana started robbing banks. She used a fake gun and each time, she played the victim and told the tellers that someone else was forcing her to rob them.

She was eventually caught and Dana remembers, "All the police had surrounded me. I remember getting in the back of the car cuffed, and being grateful. I had a cognitive thought of, 'Finally, it's over.' and I didn't care that I was going to prison."

Dana was charged with 9 counts of bank robbery and possession of a weapon. She faced 25 years in a women's federal prison. Then, on sentencing day the judge called her forward.

"He said. 'A very bad thing happened to a good girl,'" says Dana. "And he said, 'I'm going to give you a chance.' "He looked me in the eye, 'I'm going to send you to a program. I think you need help.' And because of that I only got a 5 year sentence."

After she went to a court ordered rehab program, she started serving her sentence. Dana went to a chapel service and she became a Christian.

Dana served out her sentence, and said during that time, God took away her addiction to meth and gambling. After her release she married a Christian man and they're raising her daughter and their two other children. They reach out to their community through their ministry called, 'Crossing the Jordan.' Dana shares with others that God is truly a God of a second chance.

 

We are all naturally born rebels. It takes a supernatural rebirth through Jesus Christ to be obedient to the Lord. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His goodness and His commandments and seek to follow Him with all of your heart.

 

"The secret of true obedience is the clear and close personal relationship to God.  All our attempts after full obedience will be failures until we get access to his abiding fellowship.  It is God's holy presence consciously abiding with us that keeps us from disobeying Him.  I must consciously include the Lord in every thought, activity, and conversation until the habit is established." - Andrew Murray

 

God’s Word: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” – John 14:15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Our Advocate
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Oct 6, 2014
Devotional - Our Advocate

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” – 1 John 2:1

 

Chris Boring grew up wanting to follow in his father Mike's footsteps. In September 2014, his dream came true. Mike and Chris are the father and son and also district attorneys in their respective Oklahoma counties.

Chris Boring was still in college at Oklahoma State University when his dad, Mike Boring, was elected DA of the Oklahoma Panhandle in 2002. But more than a decade later, Mike Boring, now 64, said he still loves his job. That helped inspire his son, now 34, to follow in his father's career.

After becoming an assistant district attorney in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 2011, Chris Boring sought and recently won election to District 26. His father is the DA in nearby District 1. Now one of the best parts of the job, the two say, is being able to talk about work issues with each other.

"There's always something unique or something you haven't dealt with come up, and it's nice to have a well-respected and experienced district attorney you can call and bounce things off of," Chris Boring said. "It just so happens to be my father."

 

In Jesus Christ, we have an advocate and a family member who can speak to the Father in our defense. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is Righteous and confess your sin to Him.

 

“If we sin, we’re not written off the list or kicked out of the family, for we have an advocate, a defense attorney in Jesus Christ.” – Jon Courson

 

God’s Word: “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” – Romans 8:34

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - We Need To Confess Our Sins
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Oct 5, 2014
Devotional - We Need To Confess Our Sins

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

 

In March 2014, Dr. Cornelius Plantinga, senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, said "In very many evangelical and confessionally Reformed churches these days, sin is a rare topic." He came to this conclusion from his experience of speaking in different churches most Sundays for the past 30 years, talking to evangelical friends, observing the content of worship music used by evangelical churches, and reading the books and articles of Dr. David Wells, distinguished senior research professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

Anglicans, Catholics and Lutherans continue to include confession or a rite of penitence as a regular part of their worship services, he noted. But in evangelical and Reformed churches, he sees "less and less" sin-related material every year.

Over 158,000 churches in North America get the music for their worship services from Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), Dr. Plantinga explained. CCLI provides a valuable service to churches by streamlining the process of obtaining licenses for their worship music. Churches can pay a single fee and obtain all the licenses from CCLI's library.

Looking at the content of CCLI songs, Dr. Plantinga observed that there are "very few penitential songs." The "biblical tradition of lament, which is all through the prophets and the Psalms is gone, just not there," he said.

This was not always the case with evangelical churches, Dr. Plantinga explained. "They used to be champions of the holiness of God, of contrition for sins against God's holiness, and therefore grace that justifies sinners," but "a lot of that has dissipated."

 

We need to confess our sins to Jesus. Today in prayer, confess your sins to the Lord and know He is faithful to forgive you and to purify you from all unrighteousness.

 

“The confession of evil works is the beginning of good works.” – Augustine

 

God’s Word: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Do Not Deceive Yourself
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Oct 2, 2014
Devotional - Do Not Deceive Yourself

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” – 1 John 1:8

 

In 2002, Darryl Kile was in the prime of his major league baseball career. The 33-year old St. Louis Cardinals pitcher was a fierce competitor, a role model and a mentor to younger pitchers on the team. So when Darryl did not show up for pregame warm ups on June 22, team officials were worried. They phoned the hotel where Darryl was staying and they found him in his bed, under the covers, dead of a heart attack. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was a 90-percent blockage in two coronary arteries.

On the night before he died, Darryl had called his wife Flynn. She felt something was amiss. Darryl suddenly asked her to remarry him. She said he was overly emotional and affectionate, as if he were preparing for something. She remembers he said "I don't want to get off the phone" but he eventually did because there was a game the next day. Just as he prided himself for not missing a start, Darryl also took pride that he was never late for pregame warm ups.

Though he had appeared to be in excellent health, Darryl Kile may have known that he was not right.

 

Whether it is a serious disease or sin, it can be deadly if not addressed. We should not deceive ourselves. Today in prayer, confess your sins to Jesus Christ and seek His grace.

 

"The problem with people who have no vices, is that you can be fairly certain that they have some pretty annoying virtues!" – Elizabeth Taylor

 

God’s Word: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” – Lamentations 3:40

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Walk In His Light
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Oct 1, 2014
Devotional - Walk In His Light

“If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:6-7

 

On February 20, 1962, the Mercury-Atlas rocket carrying the spacecraft known as "Friendship 7" lifted off from Cape Canaveral. Astronaut John Glenn was to be the first American space flight to orbit the earth. John spent 4 hours and 56 minutes in flight in "Friendship 7" and orbited earth three times.

Around the world, television and radio stations broadcast the play-by-play drama unfolding of the space flight throughout the day.

Among the things John observed from orbit was a sunset over the Indian Ocean and a dust storm over Kano, Nigeria. One of the inspiring sidelights of the orbital flight was an event in Perth, Australia. That Western Australian community had agreed in advance to turn on lights in all public buildings, residences, factories, schools and parks. All the lights of Perth would be burning brightly as an honorary signal for America's space hero. Informed of that wonderful, community-wide gesture only after he was in orbit, John Glenn looked down from 120 miles above the earth as he moved at a rate of 17,350 miles an hour and saw the bright glow from the Australian continent. 'The lights show up very well and thank everybody for turning them on,' he said. From that moment on, Perth became known worldwide as the "City of Light".

 

Once we meet Jesus, we have a friend we can count on and we can walk in His light. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His friendship and seek to follow and walk in His light.

 

“A habit of devout fellowship with God is the spring of all our life, and the strength of it.” – H. E. Manning

 

God’s Word: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” – 1 John 1:3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

Devotional - Our Eternal Hope
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Sep 30, 2014
Devotional - Our Eternal Hope

“The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.” – 1 John 1:2

 

Pecaut Square is a large concrete-and granite-clad plaza located in front of Metro Hall in Toronto, Canada.

Within the Square is a reflecting pool and in the pool is an eternal flame fueled by natural gas.

Unveiled in 1996, the "Eternal Flame of Hope" has burned brightly since that date. The idea of an eternal flame was inspired by the perseverance of disabled Canadians. It serves as a reminder that, as a society, we must be all-inclusive. Canada has more than 2 million disabled citizens.

The inscription reads:

"Symbolic of the hopes, aspirations and triumphal achievements burning within the human spirit. May courage never be extinguished, or light diminished nor spirits bound in pursuit of personal excellence."

Ironically in June 2010, the Eternal Flame of Hope was temporarily boarded up and extinguished for the G20 Economic Summit. There was a fear that protesters might become violent and the pool damaged because the protesters' economic views were not being included at the Summit.

 

Within the heart of every Christian is an eternal flame that burns brightly for Jesus. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Lord that in Him we have an Eternal Flame of Hope.

 

“For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.” – William Penn

 

God’s Word: “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN LETTERS OF JOHN

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