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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions in Acts
Devotional -Remembering Him
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 28, 2014
Devotional -Remembering Him

“After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.” – Acts 27:35

 

In the spring of 1943, American troops were deployed in Tunisia, North Africa. Just as Passover was about to occur, a US Army Division was preparing an all-night mobilization to attack the German Lines. Jewish Chaplin Rabbi Earl S. Stone gathered his Jewish troops in the desert and offered a fascinating Passover service. He remembered: "In an open field that night, I stood before some 300 hardened veterans of six arduous months of battle . I asked them to sit on the ground and to conjure up in their minds the memory of the Seder at home. I recited the Kiddush (the prayer over the wine) with an imaginary cup of wine in my hand and had everyone break an imaginary matzo (unleavened bread). At the end of the service man after man, with tears flowing down their cheeks, bade me Gut Yontif (Happy Holiday).”

 

Jesus is our Passover. His shed blood and broken body were given to take away our sins. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for Communion and the honor to remember Him at the Lord’s Supper.

 

“This meal (Communion) is for sinners only.” – David Watson

 

God’s Word: “Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.” – Matthew 15:36

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Keep Up Your Courage
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 27, 2014
Devotional - Keep Up Your Courage

“Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. – Acts 27:25

 

Levi Coffin is an unsung hero of the American anti-slavery movement. In the 1820′s the Coffins moved to Newport, Indiana and opened a shop. Their home soon became a central point on the famous Underground Railroad, a pathway from slavery in the USA’s South to freedom in Canada. People like Levi would take enormous personal risk to help fleeing slaves on their journey. The Coffins provided refuge for up to 17 refugee slaves at a time at his house, and so active was he that three major routes on the Underground Railroad converged at his place which became known as Grand Central Terminal.

Because of his activities Coffin received frequent death threats and warnings that his shop and home would be burned. Yet he was undeterred. Like many of the whites involved in the Underground Railroad he was driven by his Christian convictions. Coffin was a Quaker and explaining his courage saying: “The bible, in bidding us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, said nothing about colour.”

So successful was the Coffin sanctuary that, while in Newport, not a single slave failed to reach freedom.

 

The Lord desires us to live by faith in Him and to live courageously. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that He can be trusted and live your life boldly for Him.

 

"Jesus promised his disciples three things - that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy and in constant trouble." - G.K. Chesterton

 

God’s Word: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Desiring A Clear Conscience
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 26, 2014
Devotional - Desiring A Clear Conscience

“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, ‘My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.’” – Acts 23:1

 

In August 2013, a thief stricken with guilt returned a 200-year-old bible, 42 years after he stole it from the Holy Trinity Church in Hastings, England. The anonymous thief included a note accompanying the stolen item, confessing his transgression and saying he wanted a clean conscience.

The bible was returned in a package, sent from Germany, to church treasurer Simon Scott. Accompanying the package was an anonymous, typed note, which explained the story of a retired German man who, in 1971, made the foolish mistake of stealing the large, ornate bible from the Holy Trinity Church.

The thief explained in the letter that in 1971, he and his wife, who both spoke German, had recently married and had decided to take language courses offered at the church to improve their English. They were disappointed with the quality of the classes, however, and as a form of retribution for the money spent on the courses, the young man decided to steal one of the bibles sitting in the corner of the church. He said his initial intent was to read each chapter of the bible with the hope of improving his English, although he admits he never got around to it.

"Back home I felt my action was not correct. Even more my wife was very angry and tried to persuade me to return the book," the man wrote in the note.

Scott said that he mailed a return note to the address on the package, thanking the man for returning the bible, adding that he hopes the culprit may now rest easier at night after clearing his guilty conscience.

In all that we do, we need to honor the Lord and keep a good conscience.  Today in prayer, confess any sin to the Lord and seek to walk closely with Him and to have a clear conscience.

 

“A good conscience is the palace of Christ; the temple of the Holy Ghost; the paradise of delight; the standing Sabbath of the saints.” - Augustine

 

God’s Word: “Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.” – Hebrews 13:18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Following Him
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 25, 2014
Devotional - Following Him

“Then Paul answered, ‘Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’” – Acts 21:13

 

The son of Protestant peasant farmers, Ivan "Vanya" Moiseyev entered the Soviet army at eighteen to perform two years of required military training and service. Because he spoke openly of God, which was forbidden in the atheistic government, Vanya was persecuted by his military supervisors.

Once, after a discussion about God, Vanya was made to stand in the street throughout the whole night wearing their summer uniform. The temperature at that time was thirteen degrees below zero. He obeyed the order and stood at the street the whole night, remaining faithful to God. Miraculously, he could see his officers and move his body despite the terrible cold. All throughout the ordeal, Vanya only prayed for his persecutors. For the next twelve nights, Ivan continued to stand in the street outside his barracks. Miraculously, he did not freeze, nor did he beg for mercy. Ivan continued to speak about his faith to his comrades and officers.

Soldiers around him were converted, impressed by his ardent faith. His commanders continued to interrogate him, trying to get him to deny Jesus.

In his interrogation, Vanya testified, "I have one higher allegiance, and that is to Jesus Christ. He has given me certain orders, and these I cannot disobey."

At the age of 20, Ivan knew that the communists would kill him. On July 11, 1972, he wrote his parents, "You will not see me anymore." He then described a vision of angels and heaven which God had sent to strengthen him for the last trial. A few days later, a coffin arrived at his parents' home, welded shut. Vanya's mother insisted it be opened. They found his body had been brutally tortured.

Colonel Malsin, his commander, said, "Moiseyev died with difficulty. He fought with death, but he died as a Christian."

 

Our faith in Jesus Christ must be unconditional. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for those who have faithfully followed Christ to the end. Pray for those around the world who face life- threatening situations because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

 

“You can kill us, but you cannot hurt us.” – Justin Martyr

 

God’s Word: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Encourage People
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 24, 2014
Devotional - Encourage People

“When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-by and set out for Macedonia. He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece,” – Acts 20:1-2

 

Judy Tatelbaum, a Christian licensed therapist in Carmel Valley, California wrote the following: “As a young social worker in a New York City psychiatric clinic, I was asked to see Roz, a 20-year-old woman who had been referred to us from another psychiatric facility.  It was an unusual referral in that no information was received ahead of her appointment.  I was told to ‘play it by ear,’ and to figure out what her problems were and what she needed.

Without a diagnosis to go on, I saw Roz as an unhappy, misunderstood young woman who hadn’t been listened to in her earlier therapy.  Her family situation was unpleasant.  I didn’t see her as disturbed, but rather as lonely and misunderstood.  She responded so positively to being heard.  I encouraged her to start a life worth living—to find a job, a satisfying place to live and new relationships.  We hit it off well, and she started making important changes in her life right away.

The records from the previous psychiatric facility arrived a month after Roz and I began our successful work together.  To my complete surprise, her records were several inches thick, describing a number of psychiatric hospitalizations.  Her diagnosis was ‘paranoid schizophrenic,’ with a comment on her being ‘hopeless.’

That had not been my experience with Roz at all.  I decided to forget those pieces of paper.  I never treated her as if she had that ‘hopeless’ diagnosis.  I did find out about the horrors for Roz of those hospitalizations, of being drugged, isolated and abused. 

First Roz found a job, then a place to live away from her difficult family.  After several months of working together, she introduced me to her husband-to-be, a successful businessman who adored her.

When we completed our therapy, Roz gave me the gift of a silver bookmark and a note that said, ‘Thank you for believing and encouraging me well. That made all the difference.’”

 

Everyone needs encouragement in this life. Today in prayer, praise Jesus for the encouragement you have received from others and seek to encourage someone today to follow Christ.

 

“Flatter me and I might not believe you.

Criticize and I might not like you

Ignore me and I might not forgive you

Encourage me and I will not forget you.” – William Arthur Ward

 

God’s Word: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” – Hebrews 3:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Reach The Lost
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 21, 2014
Devotional - Reach The Lost

"One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’ So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.” – Acts 18:9-11

 

Pastor Bruce D. Weaver of Union Bridge, Maryland and his wife drove in their car to pick up their son from Vacation Bible School. The sky was growing dark and there was a storm watch in effect, but no rain was falling yet. The theme for their upcoming Vacation Bible School had to do with Noah's ark and the flood, so he joked with some of the adult leaders about going to great lengths this year with special effects. By the time he arrived home with his wife and son, the wind was blowing fiercely and lightning bolts were coming down all around them. They hurried inside the house and began to shut windows. Within a few moments they were without electrical power. They tucked their son into bed, trying not to betray their concern regarding the severe weather conditions outside. Suddenly the telephone rang. It was their neighbor informing them that a "tornado warning" had been issued for their area. That meant a funnel cloud actually had been sighted somewhere near. Bruce asked him why the siren in their small town was not sounding. The neighbor said that the siren could not be sounded because of a power outage. He further explained that he had heard on his police scanner instructions for everyone who could hear the scanner to call their neighbors to inform them of the "tornado warning." Bruce was thankful for his concern and he was also thankful that the funnel cloud sighted damaged neither his family nor anyone else in their area.

Later that evening, Pastor Weaver thought about his neighbor's concern for his safety and he reflected upon his own concern, or lack thereof, for his neighbors. The Lord was convicting Bruce that he needed to be more concerned about his neighbors' physical and spiritual condition because in due time Jesus Christ will return.

 

People everywhere need Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, pray for those who have not yet trusted Christ as their Savior.

 

“Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” – D.T. Niles

 

God’s Word: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” – Matthew 28:18-20

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Everyone Needs To Repent
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 20, 2014
Devotional - Everyone Needs To Repent

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” – Acts 17:30

 

Elizabeth Reid Cotton, better known in her day as Lady Hope, was a British evangelist. In 1882, months before Charles Darwin died, Lady Hope visited the scientist. Here is the account of her meeting: "He waved his hand toward the window as he pointed out the scene beyond, while in the other hand he held an open Bible, which he was always studying.

"What are you reading now?" I asked as I seated myself beside his bedside. "Hebrews!" he answered--"still Hebrews. 'The Royal Book' I call it. Isn't it grand?"

Then, placing his finger on certain passages, he commented on them.

I made some allusions to the strong opinions expressed by many persons on the history of the Creation, its grandeur, and then their treatment of the earlier chapters of the Book of Genesis.

He seemed greatly distressed, his fingers twitched nervously, and a look of agony came over his face as he said: "I was a young man with unformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything, and to my astonishment, the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them."

Then he paused, and after a few more sentences on "the holiness of God" and the "grandeur of this book," looking at the Bible which he was holding tenderly all the time, he suddenly said: "I have a summer house in the garden which holds about thirty people. It is over there," pointing through the open window. "I want you very much to speak there. I know you read the Bible in the villages. To-morrow afternoon I should like the servants on the place, some tenants and a few of the neighbours; to gather there. Will you speak to them?"

"What shall I speak about?" I asked.

"Christ Jesus!" he replied in a clear, emphatic voice, adding in a lower tone, "and his salvation. Is not that the best theme? And then I want you to sing some hymns with them. You lead on your small instrument, do you not?" The wonderful look of brightness and animation on his face as he said this I shall never forget, for he added: "If you take the meeting at three o'clock this window will be open, and you will know that I am joining in with the singing."

 

No one is beyond salvation, but all must repent and return to Jesus. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Lord for His Divine Sacrifice on the Cross. Repent of any sin and walk with Jesus.

 

“Of all the acts of man, repentance is the most divine. The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.” – Thomas Carlyle

 

God’s Word: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Be An Eager Reader
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 19, 2014
Devotional - Be An Eager Reader

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” – Acts 17:11

 

Henry Morris grew up in Texas in the 1920s and 1930s. He became a Christian at a young age and eagerly studied the Bible. He graduated from Rice University with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1939.

He went on to receive his Ph.D. in hydraulic engineering and was the department chair in civil engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). In 1963, while Dr. Morris and nine others founded the Creation Research Society, and Morris continued his creationist writing and speaking. In 1970, he left his faculty position at Virginia Tech and co-founded Christian Heritage College in Santee, California that led to formation of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in 1972.

It was Dr. Morris’ book, “The Genesis Flood” that brought him worldwide prominence. Dr. Stephen J. Gould, a distinguished evolutionary paleontologist, called the book "the founding document of the creationist movement."

All of Dr. Morris’ accomplishments can be traced back to his thirst to study the Bible. Following his death in 2006, the Henry Morris Study Bible was published. It contained over 10,000 study notes from Henry. Dr. John MacArthur has called it “an invaluable tool for the defense of the Christian faith.”

 

Are you an eager Bible reader? Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His Word in the Bible. Take some extra time today to study His Word.

 

“In all literature, there is nothing that compares with the Bible.” – John Milton

 

God’s Word: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.” – Psalm 119:33-35

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - How To Be Saved
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 18, 2014
Devotional - How To Be Saved

“He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’  They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household.’” – Acts 16:30-31

 

 

A stranger stopped 18-year-old Thomas Bach on the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark and persistently offered him a Gospel tract. "Why don’t you bother other people with your religion?" Thomas barked. "I’m quite able to take care of myself!"

Furiously, Thomas snatched the gospel tract from the stranger’s hand, ripped it into pieces, and stuffed it into his pocket. "You attend to your business, and I’ll attend to mine!" he snapped.

Instead of answering Thomas’s anger, the stranger simply turned away to a nearby doorway, folded his hands, closed his eyes, and began to pray. To the astonishment of Thomas, who was still watching, the stranger had tears on his cheeks.

Making his way back to his room, Thomas was overcome by curiosity. He dug the scraps of paper from his pocket and began to piece them together on his desk. Then he read the simple message that "while we were still sinners Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8).

"As I read," Thomas relates, "I came under conviction, and it seemed like the mighty hand of God was upon me. Before I had finished reading the tract, I was down on my knees asking God for the forgiveness of my sins. He was faithful, and then and there He brought me into the glorious liberty of the children of God."

Out of gratitude for what the Lord had done for him, Thomas served God for years as the General Director of The Evangelical Alliance Mission Team sharing the Gospel with others.

 

The Good News of the Gospel is Jesus Christ died for your sins. He desires to give you eternal life, if you put your faith in Him. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is our Savior and has blessed us with eternal life in Him.

 

“Christians are not men and women who are hoping for salvation, but those who have experienced it.” – M. Lloyd-Jones

 

God’s Word: “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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - By Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 17, 2014
Devotional - By Faith

“He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.” – Acts 15:9

 

Mariam Ibrahim is a Sudanese Christian woman. She was raised by her Ethiopian Christian mother. Her father, who abandoned the family when Mariam was an infant, was Muslim.  Mariam married an American Christian man, Daniel Wani. After several years, one of her relatives, a Muslim, filed a criminal complaint.

In May 2014, a Sudanese court considered Mariam a Muslim because her father was Muslim. She was charged with adultery, because a Muslim woman's marriage to a Christian man is illegal in Sudan. She was also charged with apostasy, accused of illegally renouncing what was alleged to be her original faith. She was sentenced to death.

She insisted she has never been a Muslim. She declared at her trial: “I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian."

Convicted when she was about eight months pregnant, she gave birth two weeks later while shackled in prison.

Mariam never waivered in her faith in Jesus. On 24 June 2014, Mariam was released on the order of a Sudanese appeal court. She and her family have since moved to the United States.

 

The Lord desires us to live by faith in Him. Today in prayer, thank Jesus that He is a rewarder of those who place their faith in Him.

 

“God does not call us to be successful. He calls us to be faithful." – Teresa

 

God’s Word: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Going Through Hardships
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 14, 2014
Devotional - Going Through Hardships

“strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.”– Acts 14:22

 

David Avery of Gaysboro, Vermont became a Christian after hearing the preaching of evangelist George Whitefield. After his conversion, Avery was determined to further his education and become a minister. He entered Yale as a freshman in 1765 and began training as both a surgeon as well as a minister.

When the American Revolution erupted, David brought his own medicine and instruments to supplement what was lacking in the army's supplies. He became both a surgeon and an Army chaplain. He was reported to be "intrepid and fearless in battle, unwearied in his attentions to the sick and wounded."

In 1777, he served with Washington when the army of 12,000 men wintered at Valley Forge. David suffered the hardships and deprivations of army life with a cheerful attitude, no doubt bolstered by his patriotism and love for his country. It was said that he was "everything Washington wanted in a chaplain." He often rode with General George Washington and took meals with him.

 

During all of our hardships and afflictions, Jesus is with us. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for any affliction you endure knowing that He is with you.

 

“God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them.” – John Aughey

 

God’s Word: “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” – Isaiah 48:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Jesus Changes Hearts
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 13, 2014
Devotional - Jesus Changes Hearts

"In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." - Acts 14:16-17

 

Janie Burkett was raised in a quiet town in Oklahoma. She was a pastor's daughter with a happy childhood and loving family.

But at age 10, her father became a traveling evangelist and Janie hated her new life on the road.

"My childhood from that point on was hard because everything that I had known was crumbling," Janie said. "I began to comfort eat. It was the one thing that would be there when everybody else left. I was 200 pounds at 15, 16 years old."

At the age of 15, while her parents were preaching at a revival, Janie was raped by a boy her age. After five years on the road, Janie's family settled down in a small Texas town. Janie plunged into the party life.

"I began to get in with the wrong crowd," Janie said. "Then when I took my first hit of cocaine at 17 is when it was 'over the top.' The whole insecurity faded. And, this is what caught me with the drugs, because it completely took away the reality of what I thought about myself. But, as soon as the high faded off the insecurity came right back. So, I was hooked, my first hit and I was hooked."

While her drug use was rising, Janie's weight was plummeting and she became bulimic.

Years went by and at age of 22, Janie was a high profile drug dealer with 17 warrants out for her arrest.

"They had set my bond at $1.5 million dollars," Janie exclaimed.

She was finally imprisoned. "I was transferred back to the Women's State Prison to serve out my 40 years," Janie said. "I remember looking out the window, seeing all that was before me, it was just me and Jesus.me and the Savior who died for me."

"And I said God, I have made a mess out of my life," Janie said. "I said if you can take this broken person and make something good out of it, then do it. And I ask you Lord, that if it be your will, would you please overturn this sentence? But if not, then give me grace to accept the fact that this is where I will spend most of my life and give me peace and love to do it."

"My inside began to change," Janie said. "I began to read my Bible. I began to pray, my anger began to break and my hate began to break and the love of God began to flow through me." Janie was paroled early because of good behavior.

Today, Janie is drug free and has completely reconciled with her family. She is also a full time speaker telling others about the love of Jesus that can change hearts.

 

Jesus Christ changes hearts and lives. Today in prayer, pray for those who do not know Christ and share with them your testimony how Christ changed your heart.

 

"So much so-called "testimony" today is really autobiography and even sometimes thinly disguised self-advertisement, that we need to regain a proper biblical perspective. All true testimony is testimony to Jesus Christ, as he stands on trial before the world." - John Stott

 

God's Word: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." & Romans 1:16

 

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Light To The World
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 12, 2014
Devotional - Light To The World

“For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" – Acts 13:47

 

In 1917, Cameron Townsend was a missionary in Guatemala. His job was to pass out Spanish Bibles among the Cakchiquel Indians. Many of the people he came in contact with had no idea who Jesus was. Whenever he would ask them, they would say "There is no Jesus who lives in our village; maybe he lives in the next village."

One day while he was passing out Bibles a Cakchiquel Indian started talking to Cam. Cam was talking to the Indian about God's sovereignty and how all the answers to life's questions can be found in the Bible. The Indian retorted back, "If your God is so smart, why can't he speak my language?" Cameron had no words. But the Cakchiquel Indian took the Bible anyway since he knew a friend who could read Spanish.

The question asked by the Indian haunted Townsend. Why wasn't there a Bible translation in the Caqchikel language? Soon after, Cameron resigned from the missionary organization that had sent him to pass out Bibles so he could translate the Bible into the Caqchikel language. He joined with Central American Missions (CAM) and for 12 years he studied the Caqchikel language and he finally produced a copy of the New Testament.

After translating the Bible into Caqchikel, Central American Missions wanted Townsend to stay and start a church among the people. Shortly after, Townsend resigned from Central American Missions, knowing his call from God was to go to areas of the world where the Bible had never been translated before. He formed Wycliffe Bible Translators which carries on the mission to bring light to the nations.

 

Jesus Christ has chosen us to be His ambassadors, to bring the light of the Gospel to others. Today in prayer, praise Jesus that we can reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “he says: ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.’” – Isaiah 49:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Called By God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 11, 2014
Devotional - Called By God

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” – Acts 13:2

 

From an early age, Kent Brantly was driven by his faith in God to make a difference. As a teenager, he took mission trips to Uganda, Honduras, Nicaragua, Tanzania and Haiti.

He decided to become a medical missionary.

In 2013, Kent went to Liberia with his wife and two children to serve a two-year fellowship through Samaritan's Purse post-residency program.

He was there initially to practice general medicine. But when the Ebola outbreak began, he took on the role of medical director for the Samaritan's Purse Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Monrovia. It's there that he tested positive for the virus. There is no known cure or vaccine for Ebola, and it has a mortality rate of up to 90%. His family has shown no signs of the virus. In August 2014, he was evacuated to the United States where he is undergoing experimental treatments.

Upon arriving in the United States, Dr. Brantly talked about God's call:

“When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding. God was reminding me of what He had taught me years ago, that He will give me everything I need to be faithful to Him.

Now it is two weeks later, and I am in a totally different setting. My focus, however, remains the same—to follow God. As you continue to pray for Nancy and me, yes, please pray for our recovery. More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.”

 

When Christ calls us, we need to be faithful to serve Him. Today in prayer, give this day to wholeheartedly serve the Lord.

 

“The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions, and the nearer we get to Him the more intensely missionary we must become.” – Henry Martyn

 

“So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” – Acts 13:3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Pray For The Imprisoned
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 10, 2014
Devotional - Pray For The Imprisoned

“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” – Acts 12:5

 

In June 2014, a judge in Egypt yesterday sentenced Bishoy Armia Boulous to five years in prison. Bishoy Boulous - formerly known as Mohammed Hegazy, was found guilty of being the first Egyptian to try to legally change his religious identity on his official ID.

According to Egyptian law, every citizen age 16 or older must carry a state-issued ID card. The card is necessary for anyone who wants to open a bank account, enroll children in school or start a business, among other activities. Religious identity also determines many of the civil laws to which one is subject.

The 31-year-old Christian received the prison term and a fine of 500 Egyptian pounds (US$70) for what the judge called "disturbing the peace by broadcasting false information" after documenting political unrest in Egypt brought on by numerous Muslim extremist attacks on Christians, attorney Wagdy Halfa said.

Halfa added that the real reason Boulous was charged and sentenced was because he abandoned Islam and became a Christian.

"The officer who arrested him, when he found that he hadn't committed a crime, made up things to keep him in prison so he could be sentenced," Halfa said.

 

There are many in the world that are being persecuted or are imprisoned for their faith in Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to strengthen those who are imprisoned and to hasten their release.

 

“Jesus promised his disciples three things – that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy and in constant trouble.” – G.K. Chesterton

 

God’s Word: “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.” – James 5:13-14

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - To Bear The Name
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 7, 2014
Devotional - To Bear The Name

“and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” – Acts 11:26

 

For one James Bond fan owning all the books and all of the movies wasn't enough. In 2006, David Fearn, a 23-year old council worker in Walsall, Stafford, United Kingdom legally changed his name to James Bond and included all Bond film titles as middle names.

He is now to be known as James Dr No From Russia With Love Goldfinger Thunderball You Only Live Twice On Her Majesty's Secret Service Diamonds Are Forever Live And Let Die The Man With The Golden Gun The Spy Who Loved Me Moonraker For Your

Eyes Only Octopussy A View To A Kill The Living Daylights License To Kill Golden Eye Tomorrow Never Dies The World Is Not Enough Die Another Day Casino Royale Bond. The 69 word name is the longest ever recorded in the United Kingdom. 

James said: "I wanted to be James Bond and now I am - it's the ultimate fantasy. I can't wait for the first time somebody asks me what my name is."

 

The name “Christian” is a proud name to bear and one we should always desire to be called. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that you are a member of His family and seek to bring Him glory in all that you do.

 

“God looks at you as if you were a little Christ: Christ stands beside you to turn you into one.” – C.S. Lewis

 

God’s Word: “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” – 1 Peter 4:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - No Favoritism
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 6, 2014
Devotional - No Favoritism

“Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” – Acts 10:34-35

 

In a 1957 interview, Billy Graham commended Martin Luther King for providing "an example of Christian love" as a means of confronting America's race problem. Both men were evangelical ministers who opposed racism and segregation.

Through the years, the two men teamed up in their ministries. In May 1957, Dr. Graham opened his summer-long New York Crusade. As part of this crusade, Graham preached from the steps of Sandy Ray's Cornerstone Baptist Church in July, calling for "anti-segregation legislation". Dr. Graham later invited Dr. King to participate in the New York Crusade, and on 18 July 1957, Dr. King joined him on the platform at Madison Square Garden. Dr. King led the congregation in a prayer, calling "for a warless world and for a brotherhood that transcends race or color."

Dr. King praised Dr. Graham's commitment to hold non-segregated revivals, commenting, "You have courageously brought the Christian gospel to bear on the question of race."

In the summer of 1960, the two men traveled together to the Tenth Baptist World Congress of the Baptist World Alliance. Dr. Graham held integrated crusades in Birmingham, Alabama, on Easter 1964 in the aftermath of the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and toured Alabama again in the wake of the violence that accompanied the first Selma to Montgomery march in 1965.

Following Martin's assassination in 1968, Billy mourned that America had lost "a social leader and a prophet."

 

The Lord has created diversity and we are not to show prejudice to anyone. Today in prayer, thank Jesus that He does not show favoritism and loves everyone.

 

“Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man. It was not reasoned into him and cannot be reasoned out.” – Sidney Smith

 

God’s Word: “Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.” – 2 Chronicles 19:7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Visions Of The Lord
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 5, 2014
Devotional - Visions Of The Lord

“While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."” – Acts 10:19-20

 

n 1982, Ian McCormack was an adventurous 26-year-old New Zealander. One evening, he was diving for lobster on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean when he was stung by five box jellyfish - one of the most venomous creatures in the world. Its poison can kill a person in four minutes. When an ambulance came, his body was completely paralyzed, and necrosis had started to set into his bone marrow.

On the way to the hospital, McCormack began to see his life flash before him. He knew he was near death. He was an atheist and didn't know whether or not there was an afterlife. As he lay dying, he saw a vision of his mother, who was the only Christian in his family, praying for him.

After being taken to the hospital, Ian died for approximately 15 - 20 minutes and had an incredible vision.

He saw Jesus and heaven opening up behind the Lord. He remembers: "Gazing out through it, I could see a whole new world opening up before me. I felt like I was standing on the edge of paradise, having a glimpse into eternity."

The Lord sent Ian back and he quickly began reading the bible. He became a Christian and he now is a pastor in a church in New Zealand.

 

The Lord will use every means at his disposal including visions and dreams to bring the lost to Him. Today in prayer, thank Jesus that He goes to great lengths to tell us that He loves us.

 

“We are experiencing an amazing phenomenon. Moslems in particular are having dreams and visions confirming the reality of Christ.” - Bill Bright

 

God’s Word: “he said, “Listen to my words: ‘When there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams.’” – Numbers 12:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Miraculous Answer To Prayer
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 4, 2014
Devotional - Miraculous Answer To Prayer

“Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.” – Acts 9:40-42

 

On March 9, 2008, Pastor Shawn Mitchell of New Venture Christian Fellowship in Oceanside, California came home and crashed on the sofa. His wife Laurie suspected something was wrong.  

"He wasn’t completing sentences. He was slurring his words a little bit, and I knew that was a symptom of a stroke."

Laurie was right. Shawn was rushed to the hospital, where doctors discovered he was in the middle of a massive stroke.

Laurie remembers: "Normally they would drill, but it was too deep to drill.  His brain was already swelling, and they had said if it doesn’t stop on its own, he will pass in 24 hours. It was a shock, but at the same time it didn’t seem real."

Shawn’s doctor, Dr. Mark Stengler, remembers getting a call from the hospital physician. He says, "He knew that Pastor Shawn was more than a patient of mine – he was also a friend.  He said, 'Sorry to tell you this, but I don’t think he’s going to be alive in the morning.'”

Word quickly got around to the members of the church and they prayed.

It would take a miracle for Shawn to live through the night.

The next morning, doctors were shocked. Not only was Shawn alive, the bleeding in his brain had stopped.

"You can only really attribute it to a miracle," Dr. Stengler said. "In medicine there is no treatment for it.  It was so severe it was untreatable."

Shawn not only survived but he resumed his duties as a pastor in less than 11 weeks.

"I sensed my Lord was there.  He was looking out for me.  I went to sleep that night, I woke up the next day, and Doctor Jesus had stopped the bleeding. I was the recipient of thousands of people in our church that were banging on Heaven’s door for me."

 

Our Lord loves to answer prayer. He is the author of miracles.  Today in prayer, give thanks to Jesus that He answers prayer and sometimes those answers are miraculous!

 

"Prayer needs to be a first priority and not a last resort." – Shawn Mitchell

 

God’s Word: “He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.” – Mark 5:39-42

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Helping The Poor
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 3, 2014
Devotional - Helping The Poor

“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.” – Acts 9:36

 

Every week for more than five years, staff and volunteers associated with Isaiah 61 Ministries have provided meals, toiletries, clothing and other forms of assistance to the homeless men and women of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as well as to the poor and elderly.

But in 2013, the county wanted to stop the ministry from using public land and they threatened to arrest ministry workers and volunteers if they continue their ministry on county property.

Immediately Christians came to the defense of Isaiah 61 Ministries.

“Serving the homeless and elderly is a central tenet of the Christian faith,” said Jeremy Dys, an attorney for the nonprofit. “Those who exercise their faith by caring for the poor on the streets of Harrisburg ought to be applauded for their kindness, not threatened with jail time.”

 

The Lord has called us to help the poor. Today in prayer, ask Jesus how you can better help the poor.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” – Luke 14:13-14

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Friends For The Journey
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 31, 2014
Devotional - Friends For The Journey

“But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.” – Acts 9:27

 

When Justin Skeesuck was 16, a car accident triggered a rare progressive autoimmune/neuromuscular disease that eventually robbed him of the use of his limbs. By his mid-20s, he was using a wheelchair full-time.

But the 38-year-old from a suburb of Boise, Idaho, never wanted to let his disability stop him from living a full life and his love of travel.

In 2012, Justin saw a television program about the 800-kilometre El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in northern Spain. He immediately knew it was for him.

"When I first learned about it, it was like something deep inside me was calling me to do it. Almost like I had to do it," he wrote.

Justin showed the episode to his childhood best friend, Patrick Gray.

Patrick's response: "I'll push you."

On June 3, 2014 the two friends set off on the long journey, with Patrick pushing Justin in a specialized off-road manual wheelchair. They completed their journey in July 2014.

Justin wrote on the importance of friendship: "But what if we swallow pride, soften our exteriors, admit these limitations, and ask for help? Can we learn that to achieve our goals requires trust and faith in others?”

 

All of us in ourselves are incomplete.  Today in prayer, thank Jesus for your faithful friends.

 

“A genuine friend helps out even when it comes at great personal cost. – Guy Caley

 

God’s Word: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Yes, Lord!
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 30, 2014
Devotional - Yes, Lord!

“In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered.” – Acts 9:10

 

A. W. Tozer was a man of God who was troubled with the idea that Christian profession does not demand obedience to Christ. He said:

"[Years ago] no one would ever dare to rise in a meeting and say, 'I am a Christian' if he had not surrendered his whole being to God and had taken Jesus Christ as his Lord as well as his Savior and had brought himself under obedience to the will of the Lord. It was only then that he could say, 'I am saved!' Today, we let them say they are saved no matter how imperfect and incomplete the transaction, with the [stipulation] that the deeper Christian life can be tacked on at some time in the future.

"Can it be that we really think that we do not owe Jesus Christ our obedience? We have owed Him our obedience ever since the second we cried out to Him for salvation, and if we do not give Him that obedience, I have reason to wonder if we are really converted! I see things and I hear of things that Christian people are doing, and as I watch them operate within the profession of Christianity, I do raise the question of whether they have been truly converted.

"Brethren, I believe it is the result of faulty teaching to begin with. They thought of the Lord as a hospital and Jesus as the chief of staff to fix up poor sinners that had gotten into trouble! 'Fix me up, Lord,' they have insisted, 'so that I can go my own way!' That is bad teaching, brethren. The person who says, 'Save me, Jesus, but stay out of my life!' is not a Christian."

 

When you hear God calling, do you say “Yes, Lord!” Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you a ready and willing heart to report for duty to serve Him this day.

 

“A servant of God has but one Master.” – George Mueller

 

God’s Word: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23-24

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Share The Good News
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 29, 2014
Devotional - Share The Good News

“Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” – Acts 8:35

 

Marcus Gray grew up in the projects of St. Louis. He never felt safe.  Even his own family couldn’t protect him.  His father was a drug addict and his mother was schizophrenic.

Marcus had to care for his mother while his father was away days at a time.

Marcus spent a lot of time with his grandmother, the only safe haven from the chaos.

“She was jolly, nice, sweet, kind. She was a Christian, so she would share stories and testimonies of things God had done in her life. She always let me know God loves you, he created you, He wants a relationship with you. And being around her just felt like I was an actual kid.”

Despite his grandmother’s influence, Marcus began to rebel, and started picking fights with other students at school.

He was expelled from school when he was sixteen.  Later that same year, his grandmother died of a heart attack and he felt lost.

It was then that his new girlfriend invited him to church.

The preacher’s words moved him. “What I was overwhelmed with from the Gospel message that day was Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you. And I was so overwhelmed with this love, you know, Jesus’ love, and I remember thinking like, he does love a bad person. And it sounded exactly like the things that my grandmother would tell me.”

Marcus prayed to become a Christian that day.

Today, Marcus is married and pursuing a degree in biblical counseling.  He’s also known as the hip-hop music artist “Flame.”  His mission is to reach out to others through Christ-centered music.

 

People need Jesus. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the people in your life and share the good news of the Gospel with those who do not yet know Jesus.

 

“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.” – Martin Luther

 

God’s Word: “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.’” – Mark 16:15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - It's A Calling By God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 28, 2014
Devotional - It's A Calling By God

“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’” – Acts 8:18-19

 

Kirby James Hensley was born as second in a family of seven children on July 23, 1911, in the mountains of Lowgap, North Carolina. For over 65 years he studied and preached religion throughout the United States. An illiterate his entire life, he hired people to read the Bible to him and later listened to recordings of the Bible on tape.

Hensley was ordained in the Baptist Church, but after preaching for several years he left that denomination and attended the Pentecostal Churches in the area.

Disappointed with the Pentecostal church, Hensley decided to venture on his own to find his religion. After five years of studying various religions, according to his own statements, Hensley concluded that the proper religion may differ for each person, and everyone is entitled to choose his or her own religion. No one should be criticized or condemned for wanting to practice the belief of his or her choice. Hensley incorporated in California on May 2, 1962 as Universal Life Church. He operated the church out of his garage.

He charged people $8.99 to become a minister of the Universal Life Church and more than 18 million people have become mail order ministers. No qualifications, no calling by the Lord, just $8.99 is required to become a Universal Life Church minister.

 

Being called to ministry is a serious calling. It is representing Jesus Christ in every situation of life.  Today in prayer, praise the Lord for your pastors and their commitment to follow Jesus. Thank the Lord for their character, their commitment, and their knowledge of the Bible.

 

“When appointing priests we should choose only those of spotless and upright character as our leaders.” – Cyprian of Carthage

 

God’s Word: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - When Persecuted
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 27, 2014
Devotional - When Persecuted

“And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” – Acts 8:1

 

Farshid Fathi was arrested on December 26, 2010 in a wave of arrests of believers in Iran. By the end of April, 2011, only Farshid remained in prison, though his family had paid an enormous bail sum. He spent nearly a year in solitary confinement.
Farshid, a Christian convert from Islam, was charged with “acting against national security through membership of a Christian organization, collection of funds, propaganda against the Islamic Regime by helping spread Christianity in the country,” and sentenced to six years of imprisonment on March 5, 2012. Though the charge is for his Christian work, authorities tried to cast his activities as political offenses.

Farshid’s appeal against the charges was rejected in June 2012. He is due to serve the rest of his sentence in Evin Prison.
 Farshid is a shining beacon for Christ, so much so that the son of an Iranian ayatollah commented on Farshid's sweet nature in a video. The two shared a cell. The man remarked on how beloved Farshid is among the inmates.

Farshid wrote a letter to his father in November 2012, which describes the condition of his heart during a very lonely time.

“Often I have been sorrowful because of certain things, but I have never been a slave of sadness. Often I have been insulted, humiliated and accused, but I have never doubted my identity in Christ. Some have deserted me, some have fled from me; in no way do I pass judgment on them. My Lord has never left me.

“…What really matters is I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine. This possibly is the sweetest truth of my life that I am His and He is mine.”

 

There are millions in the world who cannot openly worship or share their faith in Christ. Today in prayer, pray for those who are persecuted that the Lord will strengthen them and that the persecution would be short lived.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Forgiveness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 24, 2014
Devotional - Forgiveness

“While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.” – Acts 7:59-60

 

Erik Fitzgerald, a Georgia youth pastor, was awakened one morning in October 2006 with the news that his wife's car was struck head-on by a firefighter who fell asleep at the wheel driving home at the end of a 24-hour shift.

His wife, June, died instantly, along with her unborn child. Faith, his then-19-month-old daughter, survived the crash.

Amid the grief, Erik, recognized a God-given opportunity to practice the forgiveness at the heart of the message of Jesus he preached. Erik pleaded for lenient sentencing for 20-year old Matt Swatzell so he could avoid prison time, and he ended up with only community service and a fine.

Not long afterwards, Matt and Erik met by chance in a grocery store parking lot and began to talk - a circumstance both saw as God-ordained. That led to a friendship that continues to this day.

They credit their faith in Christ as the key to letting them heal from the loss and pain.

“You forgive as you’ve been forgiven,” said Erik. “It wasn’t an option. If you’ve been forgiven, then you need to extend that forgiveness.”

Erik's forgiveness has created a friendship now more than seven years strong. The men stayed connected by meeting at least once every two weeks, attending church together and eating meals at the Waffle House and other restaurants, just the two of them.

 

Does someone in your life need your forgiveness? Today in prayer, ask the Lord who needs forgiveness in your life and then seek to be reconciled.

 

"You have enemies; for who can live on this earth without them? Take heed to yourselves: love them. In no way can your enemy so hurt you by his violence, as you can hurt yourself if you do not love him. And let it not seem to you impossible to love him. Believe first that it can be done, and pray that the will of God may be done in you." – Augustine

 

God’s Word: “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” – Matthew 5:44

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Give Attention To Prayer
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 23, 2014
Devotional - Give Attention To Prayer

“and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” – Acts 6:4

 

In February 2014, Aldersgate United Methodist Church of Jackson, Tennessee erected a “drive through” prayer box in their parking lot since many commuters use its property to cut through traffic at an intersection. To use the box, an individual takes a 3x5 note card, and fills out the date and the prayer request. Included in the box is also a brochure inviting the person to attend worship at Aldersgate.

Barry Matthews, lay leader at Aldersgate, said: "We also have received many requests from other churches all over the country who have asked for more information on our prayer box. In fact, they're telling us that this is an answer to their prayers. They have similar situations where they have high volumes of drivers pass or go through their church parking lots and have always wanted to find a way to reach them in some way."

Barry added that before the prayer box got attention from local media, "we were getting about a half dozen prayer requests a week."

"Now that the article has been published in the local newspaper, that number has grown substantially. We're seeing requests that just grab your heart," said Barry.

"There are so many people out there who are going through challenges in their lives and are searching for answers. What we're trying to do is offer the hope in Christ that we all have and the peace in Him that goes beyond our understanding."

The prayer box was one of multiple ways Aldersgate has been looking to, in the words of Barry, "reach out to people outside our church walls."

"Our new team approach emphasizes missions, evangelism, adult and children's ministries, worship, shepherding and visioning," said Barry. "Instead of concentrating just on ourselves and what our current members want and need, we have boldly and intentionally become more outwardly-focused in recent months."

 

Is prayer a priority in your life? Today in prayer, come to your loving Father and pour out your heart, knowing that He wants to hear from you all of the time.

 

"I'd rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach." - John Henry Jowett

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - True Wisdom
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 22, 2014
Devotional - True Wisdom

“Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them” – Acts 6:3

 

John M. Clayton, in his book “Why I left Atheism,” writes what was a defining moment for him in rejecting atheism. He was a junior at college and a geology professor had stated that, “I'm going to show you that the Bible is a bunch of garbage.”

John was excited to hear his evidence. The professor asserted that everyone knew that the Bible said the earth was 6,000 years old. John asked where it said that. He replied that he believed it was in Genesis the 52nd chapter. John said, “Wait a minute; Genesis only has 50 chapters.”

John wrote: “He sputtered around a few minutes, but he never did find that passage. Of course, the Bible does not say the earth is 6,000 years old. The Bible is totally silent on the age of the earth and I realized that. This man made the statement that the Bible says that God created two cocker spaniels, two English terriers, and two German shepherds. We all had a good laugh when we figured out how big the Ark would have to be to hold the 20 million groupings of this kind. Once again, I asked where the word kind was defined in that way. It did not seem to me that the word kind meant that. We looked at it and he finally said he guessed that maybe it did not.”

“To make a very, very long story fairly short, when I turned in my final exam the last day of class, I said to this learned professor, “Sir, you have not really shown me any contradiction between what we have studied in this course and in what the Bible has to teach.” He jerked my paper away from me and said, “Well, I guess if you really study it, there is no contradiction.” I was shocked! I was appalled! Here was a man who had a Ph.D. and was a leading atheist, yet he could not answer the silly questions from an ignorant college junior who was on his side.”

Shortly thereafter John began studying the Bible and found true wisdom.

 

There is a difference between intelligence and having wisdom from God. Today in prayer, pray that you would be a person of the Lord, full of His wisdom.

 

“You cannot access wisdom by the megabyte. Wisdom is concerned with how we relate to people, to the world, and to God.” – Edmund P. Clowney

 

God’s Word: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” – 1 Corinthians 1:27

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Obeying God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 21, 2014
Devotional - Obeying God

“Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!’” – Acts 5:29

 

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh are two Iranian women who were born Muslim, though they did not practice the faith, and converted to Christianity in 1999.

In 2005, they met while studying theology in Turkey and quickly recognized in each other a shared passion for evangelization. Amirizadeh and Rostampour were convinced God was calling them to spread the gospel. They returned to Iran as smugglers -- sneaking thousands of copies of New Testament Bibles into the country over a three-year span to be distributed in neighborhood mailboxes.

Rostampour explained how the clandestine operation was thought by the Iranian government to have been the work of a sizable Christian underground.

"They didn't know it was just two girls with backpacks," she said.

Rostampour said she remembers the suspicious phone call that said Amirizadeh needed to come to the police station to "resolve an issue of court paperwork." When she returned from the dentist, Amirizadeh was gone.

When she heard the inevitable door pounding, she knew exactly what had happened to her best friend and roommate.

"I could have done many things at that point," she said, but like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, she calmly handed herself over for arrest while the police ransacked her apartment.

The police found hundreds of New Testament Bibles -- evidence the two were Christians.

Amirizadeh and Rostampour were subjected to long interrogations and threats of physical violence by Iranian law enforcement officials demanding information regarding the Christian network that had been filling their mailboxes with Bibles.

Rostampour explained they could have earned their freedom at any time; all they had to do was renounce Jesus.

"We could not deny him," explained Amirizadeh. "You cannot deny someone you're in love with."

After nine months, the two were released and now travel encouraging others to remain strong in the faith.

 

In all things follow Jesus and you will not be disappointed. Today in prayer, praise Jesus that He alone must be worshiped no matter what circumstance we face.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” – Matthew 5:11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Avoid Lies
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 20, 2014
Devotional - Avoid Lies

“Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?” – Acts 5:3

 

In December 2012, Rod MacIver, a painter and writer from North Ferrisburgh, Vermont, knew he hadn't run a red light when he was pulled over by police officer Jason Lawton in Shelburne, Vermont.

"As far as I know I’ve never gone through a red light in my life,” Rod told Officer Lawton.

The officer and MacIver soon became engaged in an argument. It ended when Officer Lawton wrote Rod a ticket and noted he can always try to contest it in court.

Considering it a challenge, Rod quickly filed a complaint against Officer Lawton and insisted on viewing the dash cam video from the traffic stop.

"I just want to see it for myself," Rod said.

The video indeed showed that Rod did not run the red light.

With the exonerating video footage finally in his possession, Rod took Officer Lawton to traffic court in March 2013. A thoroughly convinced Judge Howard Kalfus dismissed the ticket, and chastised the officer for testifying about an event he knew was incorrect.

 

There is no such thing as a “white lie.” Deceit in any form is a sin. Today in prayer, confess any sin of lying to the Lord and seek to make matters right.

“Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

God’s Word: “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.” - 1 Chronicles 29:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Be An Encourager
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 17, 2014
Devotional - Be An Encourager

“Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.” – Acts 4:36-37

 

During a practice session for the Green Bay Packers, things were not going well for Coach Vince Lombardi's team. Lombardi singled out one big guard for his failure to "put out." It was a hot, muggy day when the coach called his guard aside and leveled his awesome vocal guns on him, as only Lombardi could. "Son, you are a lousy football player. You're not blocking, you're not tackling, you're not putting out. As a matter of fact, it's all over for you today, go take a shower." The big guard dropped his head and walked into the dressing room. Forty- five minutes later, when Lombardi walked in, he saw the big guard sitting in front of his locker still wearing his uniform. His head was bowed and he was sobbing quietly.

Vince, ever the changeable but always the compassionate warrior, did something of an about face that was also typical of him. He walked over to his football player and put his arms around his shoulder. "Son," he said, "I told you the truth. You are a lousy football player. You're not blocking, you're not tackling, you're not putting out. However, in all fairness to you, I should have finished the story. Inside of you, son, there is a great football player, and I'm going to stick by your side until the great football player inside of you has a chance to come out and assert himself."

With these words, Jerry Kramer straightened up and felt a great deal better. As a matter of fact, he felt so much better he went on to become one of the all-time greats in football and was an All-Pro five times.

 

Life is hard, but encouragement to live in Christ is stronger. Today in prayer, thank Jesus for those who have encouraged you and seek to be an encourager to others.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” – Hebrews 3:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Sharing With Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 16, 2014
Devotional - Sharing With Others

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” – Acts 4:32

 

Randy Alcorn is an author and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching principles of God's Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world.

A New York Times bestselling author, Randy has written more than forty books, including "Money, Possessions, and Eternity."

In that book, Randy writes:

"God doesn't make us rich so we can indulge ourselves and spoil our children, or so we can insulate ourselves from needing God's provision. God gives us abundant material blessings so that we can give it away, and give it generously.

When God provides more money we often think, This is a blessing. Yes, but it would just as scriptural to say, "This is a test."

Abundance isn't God's provision for me to live in luxury. It's his provision for me to help others live. God entrusts me with his money not to build my kingdom on earth, but to build his kingdom in heaven."

 

One of the joys we can have is sharing with others. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for all that He has blessed you and seek how you can share those blessings with others.

 

"The opportunities for using our financial resources to spread the gospel and strengthen the church all over the world are greater than they've ever been. As God raised up Esther for just such a time as hers, I'm convinced he's raised us up, with all our wealth, to help fulfill the great commission. The question is, what are we doing with that money? Our job is to make sure it gets to his intended recipients." ― Randy Alcorn

 

God’s Word: “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” – Acts 2:44

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - We Cannot Help Speaking
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 15, 2014
Devotional - We Cannot Help Speaking

“For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:20

 

Tim Howard is the goal keeper for the U.S. National Soccer team that played in the 2014 World Cup. He also battles Tourette's Syndrome, and he is able to overcome it with his faith in Jesus Christ.

"Living with Tourette's is not easy. But God has blessed me with the gift of athleticism as well. He has done some powerful things in my life through the combination of these 2 gifts. He also has shown me ways to use my position as a professional athlete to encourage others with Tourette's syndrome," said Tim.

His grandmother is the reason for his strong faith today, as she was a pillar of strength and source of inspiration to continue working towards becoming an athlete. A gift he knows not to take for granted. He often tells others about the hope he has in Jesus.

"Today, I am blessed to be living a dream. And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace. That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that's the kind of peace Christ gives. It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding."

 

Hearts are hungry wanting to hear the good news of the Gospel. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for the Gospel and ask Him who you should share the good news of Jesus Christ.

 

“Our power in drawing others after the Lord mainly rests in our joy and communion with him ourselves.” – J.G. Bellet

 

God’s Word: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” – 1 Peter 3:15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Turning Toward God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 14, 2014
Devotional - Turning Toward God

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you--even Jesus.” – Acts 3:19-20

 

Craig Weaver once believed, "I thought I was smarter than everybody, and I thought if I had money that's all I really needed. I didn't need anything else."

The native Texan set out to earn as much money as he could. illegally.

"I picked up five ounces of cocaine and started selling cocaine," Craig confessed. "At the top of my lifestyle, I had a Trans Am. I was driving a BMW. Money was never an obstacle, and I had a raging drug habit that was controlling me."

"At age 15 I remember being at a church service, and they asked people to come up who needed to ask Jesus into their hearts," he recalled. "I got up, and I walked up there. I started crying, prayed the prayer, went back to my seat, and knew something had happened. I couldn't tell you what had happened to me."

But that feeling didn't last. When Craig was released from the boy's home, he returned to his life as a criminal.

He stole a car and then robbed a man in Dallas. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

It was in the prison's chapel, when something finally clicked. It was the same message about Jesus he had heard years before. A Catholic nun approached Craig after the service.

"I asked her, 'What's wrong with me?' She said, 'It's just Jesus.' I knew she was right. I knew that He had begun something He'd started a long time ago, and He has not stopped since. 'Better is one day in His house than a thousand elsewhere', and I've been a thousand elsewheres. And there's nothing like being in His house."

Craig repented and received Christ as his Savior. He was paroled from prison and left his old ways behind. These days, he has his own landscaping company and is married with four children.

 

When the Lord gets a hold of our life, we should have a new focus. Today in prayer, repent from any and every sin in your life and follow Jesus.

 

“That promise applies to you today…repent of your sins and they will be blotted out!” – Jerry Shirley

 

God’s Word: “And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” – Matthew 18:3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Give Him The Glory
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 13, 2014
Devotional - Give Him The Glory

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’” – Acts 3:6

 

Every year, citizens across Oklahoma donate countless hours to help the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) fulfill its mission.  Those volunteer hours help fill the gap and account for upwards of $37 million in annual savings to the state.

In May 2014, the Stillwater Church of Christ received a DHS Partner Recognition award for serving the folks in Payne County.  For more than 20 years they have provided monthly food distributions.  Last year alone they distributed more than one million pounds of food.  They also work with the Payne County DHS to provide clients with food, gas, prescriptions, gift cards and utility bill payments for families who are experiencing a difficult time.

“These individuals have such an impact on the lives of others,” said Karen Jacobs, Administrator of the DHS Office of Community and Faith Engagement.  “They share so much of themselves and their time working to make the world a better place.  It is not glory they seek, or fame or recognition, but merely the satisfaction of helping others.  This is our way of simply saying ‘thank you.’”

Ms. Jacobs statement is partially wrong. The church is seeking glory, but not their own. In describing their Food Bank ministry, the church writes: “It is a great way for us to show the love of Jesus to others and for us to get involved in service.”

 

In all that do, in all the awards and recognition you receive, give glory to Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is glorious and give Christ the glory in all areas of your life.

 

“He is altogether glorious – unequalled in splendor and unrivaled in power. He is beyond the grasp of human reason – far beyond the grasp of any scientific mind. Inexhaustible, immeasurable, and unfathomable – eternal, immortal and invisible. The highest mountain peaks and the deepest canyon depths are just tiny echoes of His proclaimed greatness.  And the blazing stars above, the faintest emblems of the full measure of His glory.  – Matt Redman

 

God’s Word: “you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Adding To Their Number
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 10, 2014
Devotional - Adding To Their Number

“praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:46

 

International Christian Center on Staten Island, New York is one of the fastest growing churches in the nation. The congregation grew 28% in 2012.

How did they do it?

Pastor Ronald Squibb, senior pastor of International Christian Center, credits his church’s growth due, in part, to Superstorm Sandy.

“We were able to reach people who we would have never reached before if it weren’t for that crisis. So out of that has come a Hope Center. We’re just ministering to the needs of our city. Out of that tragedy and out of that adversity, God has used that and has given us favor on the island. We’ve gotten out of the church more. We’re not waiting for people to come to the church. We’re investing in our community, reaching into our community” said the pastor.

So how did the church grow? Pastor Ron replied: “Prayer. Fasting. Discipleship. Just working a lot of hours. Developing our team. Training our workers, the pastoral staff and all the people who work in the church. Bringing them to a higher level. That’s making a difference.”

Worldwide, people are anxious to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can share the Gospel with others.

 

“The church exploded in growth because the people loved being together. When you get a group of people together who genuinely believe something and who really enjoy each other, it’s such a contagious atmosphere that you can’t keep people away from it.” – Bob Russell

 

God’s Word: “But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.” – Acts 4:4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Devoted Fellowship
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 9, 2014
Devotional - Devoted Fellowship

“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” – Acts 2:42

 

In December 1989, Nicolae Ceasescu's dictatorship in Romania came to an end when he and his wife were executed. Ceasecu's attempts to double the Romanian population in one generation left men and women fiscally unable to provide for their families and forced them to turn their children over to orphanages. In 1989, there were more than 150,000 children occupying these ill-equipped warehouse facilities. Caretakers had as many as twenty infants in their care, which left little time for any personal care beyond changing diapers and administering bottles. When foreign doctors came in 1989 and examined the children, they found "grossly delayed" development of mental and motor skills.

There was no real physical contact with other humans, especially any of the cuddling and holding that babies need to develop normally. They ended up in semi-catatonic states and often died from a lack of human contact. This medical condition is called “failure to thrive syndrome.”

We need to understand that “failure to thrive syndrome” can happen in our spiritual lives. It can be avoided and it can be cured. But, prevention doesn’t happen by itself, it requires fellowship with other Christian believers.

 

Are you in fellowship with other Christian believers? Today in prayer, thank Jesus for other believers and seek to draw closer to Christ by being in fellowship with other Christians.  

 

“Behind every saint stands another saint.” – Friedrich van Hugel

 

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 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - The Need For Repentance
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 8, 2014
Devotional - The Need For Repentance

“Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38

 

Annette Yancey knew from the time her son Albert was a child that he had a special anointing on his life.

"There was always a calling on him," Annette said. "But if a mother doesn't know how to protect that spiritual calling, it can really hurt."

Albert started to drift as an eleven year old and by the time he was 17 years old he was a gang leader.

Then on the night of September 7, 1991, Albert committed a murder. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The long days in prison brought him to repentance.

"On April 6, 1994, I gave my life to Christ," said Albert. "At first I was afraid to embrace it. I was afraid to walk away from the life I had succumbed to."

Today, Yancey serves as a praise and worship leader at the Jester Unit where he occasionally preaches sermons.

He also shares his testimony about his path to destruction with others through his organization, Prisoners Making Changes, a faith-based program designed by inmates to prevent youth from engaging in violence, drug abuse, gang involvement and other actions that could lead to prison.

"I can't even identify with the person I used to be," he said. "I was on the path to destruction. Had I continued to live my life the way I was living, I wouldn't have seen my 18th birthday.

"I like to say I wasn't arrested. I was rescued."

 

The first step in healing our relationship with God is to repent of our sins. We need to trust that Christ died for those sins and He has forgiven us. Today in prayer, confess any sin in your life to Jesus and receive His forgiveness.

 

“True repentance has a double aspect; it looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye.” – Robert Smith

 

God’s Word: “‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’” – Mark 1:15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Our Hope Is In Heaven
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 7, 2014
Devotional - Our Hope Is In Heaven

“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'” – Acts 2:26-28

 

Dr. Billy Graham was asked: "Do you think God gives some people a glimpse of heaven before they die? Why would He do that? Or is it just their imagination?"

Billy replied: "Our final assurance of heaven comes from God.

No, I don't believe it's just their imagination. Although it only happens occasionally, God apparently does give some people a glimpse of heaven's glory. The Apostle Paul told of being "caught up to paradise", where he experienced "inexpressible things" (2 Corinthians 12:4).

Why does God do this? The Bible doesn't say, but perhaps one reason is to give comfort and assurance to those who'll be left behind when a loved one dies. As a child, I recall hearing about a vision my grandmother had of heaven. It gave great comfort to her family, not only because they knew she soon would be going to heaven, but also because she glimpsed other family members who'd gone before her.

At the same time, our final assurance of heaven doesn't come from such incidents (some of which may not even be reliable or valid). Our assurance comes instead from Jesus Christ, and from what He did for us through His death and resurrection. By His death He took upon Himself the judgment for sin that we deserve, and by His resurrection He conquered death's power over all who put their faith and trust in Him. We can we know heaven is real, and we no longer need to fear death -- because of Jesus."

 

Our Hope is in heaven where Jesus is there to greet us. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that through Him we have eternal life and a hope in Heaven.

 

“Once a man is united with Christ, how could he not live forever?” – C.S. Lewis

 

God’s Word: “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” – Psalm 16:9-10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS 

Devotional - His Second Coming
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 6, 2014
Devotional - His Second Coming

“The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.” – Acts 2:20

 

One of the most famous legends about the city of Krakow, Poland is the Legend of the Trumpeter.

Historically, the city of Krakow could be seen from the tallest of the two towers of the Mariacki Church of Saint Mary. In a little room at the top of the tower a watchman stood guard over the city protecting it from danger. If an emergency arose, he would blow his trumpet alerting the people.

In 1241, the brutal Tartars invaded the land, burning farms, plundering and killing. One night on his watch, when most of the townspeople were in church, the watchman noticed a group of Tartars approaching the city intending to attack. He immediately blew a loud, clear warning on his trumpet. The townspeople responded to the alert. The Tartars shot arrows at the tower but the watchman continued to sound the trumpet until he was struck in the throat by an arrow. The enemy was forced out by the people, and the city was saved, but the trumpeter died from his wound.

Since that time, a trumpeter plays a little hymn called, "The Hejnal" every hour repeating it four times - once in each direction of the compass: north, south, east, and west.

The song always ends suddenly on a high note in honor of the trumpeter who gave his life for his people and his city.

 

On the great and glorious day of the Lord, Jesus will come with the sound of Gabriel's trumpet. That song will finish with us being reunited with our Lord. Today in prayer, praise the Lord He is coming and seek to follow Him every day.

 

"Consider the times: look for Him who is above time." - Ignatius of Antioch

 

God’s Word: “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” – Joel 2:31

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Filled With The Spirit
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Friday Jul 4, 2014
Devotional - Filled With The Spirit

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” – Acts 2:4

 

In July 2013, more than 1,400 children gathered in the Egyptian desert asking God to change them and their nation.

In a country rocked by change and division, some 1,400 eight to fourteen-year-old Egyptian children gathered to worship and ask God to change them to be the salt and light for Jesus in their communities.

The first ever "One Thing Kids" festival was held at the desert oasis of Wadi El Natroun from 16-18 July and televised live by Christian broadcaster SAT-7.

The Wadi el Natroun area was long an historic center for Christian prayer by monks and pilgrims, but at One Thing Kids, young children were center stage. Many of the children took a prominent role - some as part of the worship choir, others helping to lead prayers for themselves and their nation.

SAT-7's Egypt Director, Farid Samir, said: "In a conference like this we saw kids worshipping and praying from their pure hearts, hearing God's voice and sharing it. Some kids told their testimonies of special encounters with the Lord."

"Our vision is to have this generation praying and worshipping God, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit to be able to change the world," said festival organizers.

 

It is far better to be filled with the Holy Spirit than to be eloquent in speech. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit that you may do His will.  

 

“Savior, fill me with Thy Spirit, As I seek and wait and pray,

Bend and break me, blessed Master—Make me wholly Thine today.

Lord, I bow in full surrender, Yielding all I have to Thee:

Come and fill me with Thy Spirit—Sanctify Thyself in me.

I would tarry in Thy presence, 'Til endued with power and love:

I would know the mighty fullness, Of Thy Spirit from above.

Will He come in all His fullness, As I now obey Thy call?

Yes, oh, yes, for Thou has promised, If I come confessing all.” —Oswald J. Smith

 

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” – Titus 3:5-6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Look To Him In Prayer
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 2, 2014
Devotional - Look To Him In Prayer

“They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” – Acts 1:14

 

In May 2014, popular Christian singer Rebecca St. James was asked to evacuate her home during the California wild fires. Her representative took to Facebook to reveal that the singer's home was one of the homes in the path of the wild fires. "Prayers needed! Rebecca was just evacuated from her home in CA due to a wildfire," was the post.

The post contained a message from Rebecca informing her fans and asking for prayers. "We may have lost our house and everything we own to a fire today..." she said. "I saw the 2 story flames a few hundred yards away... Please pray for us. I got out with Gemma [her baby], our dog and a baby book in the car when police were arriving ordering evacuation."

Later the representative went on to add, "She's safe and at her parents-in-law now, but we do not yet know the status of their house. Praise God for safety. Prayers would be greatly appreciated."

Fans in the thousands took to Facebook with good wishes and prayers.

When Rebecca was able to return to her home, she was elated.

"A tree in our front yard was burnt and a water pipe burst, but our house is ok! Sounds like the fire came right to our back fence. It's a total miracle cause the wind changed right when the fires were about to take over our house. You can see the proof when you look at where the fire stopped, 3 feet from our back fence. The fire was a 2-3 story wall of flame, only meters away from our home!" she said.

 

The Lord deeply desires to hear and answer our prayers. Today in prayer, be persistent in your prayers and seek Jesus with your whole heart.

 

“Wherever we seek the Lord with true hearts he is found of us; whenever we cry unto him he heareth us. Every place is hallowed ground to a hallowed heart, and every day is a holy day to a holy man. From January to December the calendar has not one date in which prayer is forbidden.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

 

God’s Word: “pray continually” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Power From Him
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 1, 2014
Devotional - Power From Him

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

 

In 1947, Geoffrey Bull left London to be a missionary in China. He studied the Chinese and Tibetan languages, travelled thousands of miles preaching and teaching then he entered Tibet in 1950.

He first set foot on Tibetan soil on July 29, 1950, and wrote in his Bible: ''Just before noon, I crossed the River of the Golden Sand which flows from the upper reaches of the Yangtze and set my foot down on Tibetan soil - for me a very great event, and I also dare to believe a very great event in the history of the Gospel's advance in central Asia by the will of God.''

In the days and months that followed he suffered severe illness, experienced earthquakes, and witnessed to his faith to senior politicians. He met the advance guard of the invading Chinese Red Army, was taken prisoner, put under house arrest. So began three years and two months of captivity.

He endured solitary confinement in a dungeon and humiliating cross-examination. He established a daily routine that included praying, memorizing the Bible, singing hymns, composing poems, and meditation. Geoffrey was 29 years of age and branded as spy.

Later he wrote: "I pictured in my mind's eye that last morning as I was led out to die. Should I preach, should I pray or should I sing? I decided I would sing. I went over in my mind some of the songs of Zion and then chose this great chorus, determined that by His grace these would be my last words before I saw Him face to face:

 

'Some golden daybreak Jesus will come;

Some golden daybreak, battles all won,

He'll shout the victory, break through the blue

Some golden daybreak for me, for you.'

 

Geoffrey was eventually freed on December 19, 1953, and after a short rest he travelled the country sharing his experiences of sustaining grace while in prison.

 

When we do God’s will in God’s strength, we will receive power.  Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can be His witness in the world.

 

“It is always right that a man should be able to render a reason for the faith that is within him.” – Sydney Smith

 

God’s Word: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  – Matthew 28:19-20

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Our Hope
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 1, 2014
Devotional - Our Hope

“After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” – Acts 1:3

 

In 2012, Russian scientists announced that a frozen flower that was over 30,000 years old was regenerated. It was a Sylene stenophylla plant, which was regenerated from tissue of fossil fruit found in a squirrel burrow that had been stuck in the Siberian permafrost. It is the oldest plant ever to be regenerated and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds stated the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The Russian research team recovered the fruit after investigating dozens of fossil burrows hidden in ice deposits on the right bank of the lower Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, the sediments dating back 30,000-32,000 years.

Svetlana Yashina of the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy Of Sciences, who led the regeneration effort, said the revived plant looked very similar to its modern version, which still grows in the same area in northeastern Siberia.

"It's a very viable plant, and it adapts really well," she said.

She voiced hope the team could continue its work and regenerate more plant species.

 

Our Hope is in Jesus Christ who did rise from the grave and gives eternal life to all who trust in Him. Today in prayer, praise Christ for His resurrection.

 

“Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.” – Watchman Nee

 

God’s Word: “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” – Luke 24:36

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2014, Devotional E-Mail   

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