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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions in DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON
Devotional - Be Merciful
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 30, 2016
Devotional - Be Merciful

“Be merciful to those who doubt” – Jude 1:22

 

On May 24, 1861, James Green awoke in his home, the posh Carlyle House in Alexandria, Virginia to the sounds of gunfire. Union troops had landed on the city’s shores. It would be the first day of a four-year occupation, the longest of any Confederate city during the Civil War.

The luxury hotel would soon be turned into a military hospital.

On July 21, 1861, the Battle of Manassas left more than 2,000 soldiers wounded and soon the 500 beds were filled.

Emma Green, the daughter of the Mansion House owner and loyal to the South, worked as a nurse. Mary Phinney, an abolitionist nurse from Massachusetts, also ministered at Mansion house for four years. The two women tended to both Union and Southern troops, giving mercy to all who needed it.

 

We are to be merciful to all, including those whose have doubts. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His faithfulness and seek to encourage others in their walk with the Lord.

 

“Too often we forget that the great men of faith reached the heights they did only by going through the depths.” – Os Guinness

 

God’s Word: “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.” – 1 Timothy 1:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Don't Be A Grumbler
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 29, 2016
Devotional - Don't Be A Grumbler

“These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.” – Jude 1:16

 

People will find just about anything to grumble about. Below are actual customer complaints: One young woman complained: “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort’. We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”

One disgruntled traveler wrote: “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”

One person griped: “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”

One tourist grumbled: “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”

Finally, one tourist wrote: “No one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

 

Grumbling begets grumbling. When we complain we are only practicing for our next complaint. Today in prayer, confess any constant grumbling in your own life and seek to find peace in Jesus Christ.

 

“By murmuring you undo your prayers, for it is exceedingly contrary to the prayer that you make to God. When you come to pray to God, you acknowledge his sovereignty over you, you come there to profess yourselves to be at God's disposal.” - B.J. Stockman

 

God’s Word: “Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” – James 5:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - The Godless
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 28, 2016
Devotional - The Godless

“For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” – Jude 1:4

 

Alice Bailey was born to a wealthy aristocratic British family and, as a member of the Anglican Church, she received a thorough Christian education.

At age 22, Alice did evangelical work in connection with the YMCA and the British Army. This took her to India where, in 1907, she met her future husband Walter Evans. Together they moved to America where Evans became an Episcopalian priest. The marriage did not last and Alice pushed for and received a divorce. She left with their three children after formal separation in 1915.

In 1917, Alice discovered the Theosophical Society. She quickly rose to a position of influence in the American Section of the Adyar society, moving to its headquarters at in Hollywood. She became editor of its magazine, “The Messenger.”

She became the writer of more than twenty-four books on theosophical subjects, and was one of the first writers to use the term New Age.

Her New Age ideas were to take God and prayer out of the education system, reduce parental authority, and to destroy the Judeo-Christian family structure. Unfortunately, many governments have acted on her ideas.

Alice dismissed Jesus as just another Master, like Confucius, and believed that salvation is the moment you realize you have a divine nature.

 

There are many imposters trying to lead people astray. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that as we study the Bible, we get to know better the only true God, Jesus Christ.  

 

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

 

God’s Word: “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” – Titus 1:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Peace
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 25, 2016
Devotional - Peace

 “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.” – Jude 1:1-2

 

In August 2004, the night before Hurricane Charley roared through southwest Florida, Danny Williams and his neighbors were talking about the storm's potential.

The subject turned to the 70-foot tall banyan tree in Williams' backyard.

"He always talked about that tree. He said 'It protects me,'" said Kathryn Green, a neighbor Williams often visited. "The night before he said 'That tree wouldn't hurt me.'"

But at the height of the storm, Williams was in a utility shed seeking peace underneath the tree when the high winds brought it down, crushing him. It would be another eight hours before his body was retrieved.

Williams, age 25, spent a lot of time in the shed, where he would watch television, smoke cigarettes or just hang out with his dog.

"He loved the shed. That was his domain," Green said. "He was in the shed he loved and he got killed by the tree he thought would never kill him."

 

Peace and protection can only be found in Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Lord that in Jesus Christ, no matter what our situation is in life, we have peace.

 

“Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?” – Gerald Majella

 

God’s Word: “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” – 2 Peter 1:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Be Reconciled
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 24, 2016
Devotional - Be Reconciled

“Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good-- no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.” – Philemon 1:15-16

 

In 1994 in Rwanda, a religious/ethnic civil war erupted and an estimated 800,000 lives were lost. Alice Mukarurinda, a Christian and the mother of an infant, was attacked by two militia man who smashed a nail-studded club into her head and chopped off her right hand. They killed her baby and Alice passed out.

In the years that followed, Alice said: “I had prayed to God to show me the person who cut me, so I could stop judging everyone. God did. Emmanuel came to me, he confessed, and he asked me to forgive him. I knew I must. To have refused him, when he was genuine in repenting, would have been a sin. You cannot carry sin through life and face God with it.”

Emmanuel Ndayisaba was one of the attackers and said he is humbled by Alice’s forgiveness.

Now two decades after the genocide in Rwanda, a survivor and the man who mutilated her stand side by side reconciled. Alice is the treasurer of the local reconciliation group and Emmanuel is the vice-president. They talk like old friends, softly, comfortably, with a considered nod here, a chuckle there. Their past is truly behind them.  

 

The Lord desires us to be reconciled to Him and to others. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that you are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ and seek to be reconciled to others.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” – 2 Corinthians 5:18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Share Your Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 23, 2016
Devotional - Share Your Faith

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” - Philemon 1:6

 

In August 1955, Billy Graham was invited to speak at the University of Cambridge by a small group of Christians attending there. Almost immediately, letters to the editor of the Times of London began pouring in essentially saying: 

I’m sure that Graham is a nice man, but he’s a fundamentalist Christian—the sort that believes that the blood of Jesus is required for salvation. And we all know that sort of thing doesn’t go over here. Further, I can’t imagine what the fine young men and women from the University of Cambridge can learn from a man like this.

Well, this worried Billy so he set about creating eight erudite, high-minded, scholarly lessons. They were totally different than he typically gave. He had one lesson for each night he was to preach at Great St. Mary’s church.

There were about 8,000 students at the University of Cambridge at that time and each night, Graham packed the church with 2,000 students and faculty. On that first Monday and Tuesday night, Graham delivered his prepared remarks and nothing happened.

So on Wednesday night, Billy set aside his prepared remarks and said, “Let me tell you what I know about the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

Dick Lucas', an eyewitness, shares his account: “I'll never forget that night. I was in the totally packed chancel sitting on the floor with the Regus Professor of Divinity sitting on one leg and the Chaplain of a College who was a future bishop on the other. Both of these were very good men, but completely against the idea that you needed salvation from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. So dear Billy got up that night and he began at Genesis and he went right through the whole Bible and he talked about every single sacrifice you can imagine. The blood was just flowing all over the place-everywhere for 3/4 of an hour. And both my neighbors were terribly embarrassed by this crude proclamation of the blood of Christ. It was everything they disliked and everything they dreaded. But at the end of the sermon, Billy Graham dismissed the audience and invited anyone who wanted to say behind and make a commitment to Christ. And that night to everyone’s shock, 400 young women and men stayed.” 

 

We need to share our faith in the good news of Jesus Christ with others. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His Gospel and share His good news with others.

 

“The real problem of Christianity is not atheism, or skepticism, but the non-witnessing Christian trying to smuggle his own soul into heaven.” – James S. Stewart

 

God’s Word: “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.” – John 1:7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Pray For Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 22, 2016
Devotional - Pray For Others

“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers” – Philemon 1:4

 

In 2010, Vicki Bowman from Atlanta, Georgia had been writing and praying for an inmate in a Georgia prison because she cared about prisoners. She’d been writing the inmate for several months when she and her family signed up for a church mission trip to Peru.

It was a tough time for Vicki. She’d been laid off from her job and finances were tight. “My husband and I are like most people,” she said. “We had a house payment, car payment and other bills to pay.” But she believed that she was called to go on that mission trip as much as she was called to pray for prisoners.

“I’ll raise the money by collecting aluminum cans,” she told everybody. But she also asked for prayers, and very naturally asked her inmate pen pal for his prayers and the prayers of other inmates.

One day she got a letter from another inmate at the same prison, Tom, a fellow she hadn’t written. “I’d like to sponsor you to go to Peru,” Tom wrote. At first she thought this had to be some joke. How was a prisoner going to send her money and where would his money come from? But she wrote back and gave Tom all the details. 

The next week Tom replied, explaining that his mother had died leaving him some money and he wanted to something good with it, “furthering the kingdom of God,” as he said, and that’s why he wanted to sponsor the whole family.

Vicki didn’t tell anyone. She couldn’t believe it was real. But then she got a call from the law firm handling Tom’s finances. The gift Tom wanted to make was no joke.

In June last year Vicki traveled to the prison in Georgia to thank Tom, the only time they’ve met face-to-face. “Thank you,” she said. “No, thank you,” Tom responded. “You have made me feel like part of your family when I had no family.” By the end they were both in tears.

Vicki continues to pray for Tom and sees God working in his life. But then, both of their lives have been transformed.

 

When we pray for others, the intercessor and those prayed for are blessed. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for your friends and pray for them that Christ would be glorified in your life and your friends’ lives.

 

“Intercessory prayer might be defined as loving our neighbors on our knees.” – Charles H. Brent

 

God’s Word: “God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you.” – Romans 1:9-10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Doing What Is Good
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 21, 2016
Devotional - Doing What Is Good

“Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.” – Titus 3:14

 

In August 2016, Sabrina Drude of San Antonio, Texas was doing what many teachers do before the start of the school year -- shopping for supplies for her students -- when she noticed a man standing in line at Wal-Mart examining her items.

With a cart full of hundreds of notebooks, pencils and markers, the seventh grade teacher was anticipating an eye roll or two as she checked out.

Instead, she got a question, several actually. The man behind her, Lester Brown, noticed she didn’t have any children with her, so he asked her why she needed the supplies.

Sabrina, a teacher at Francis Scobee Middle School, explained that she teaches in a very low socioeconomic area where kids can’t always afford what their peers can.

Touched by the woman’s kind gesture, Lester insisted on paying the $97 for the school supplies.

“That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard,” said Sabrina.

 

In all that you do, do good. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His goodness and seek to follow the Lord and do what is good.

 

“Goodness is something so simple: Always live for others, never to seek one’s own advantage.” – Dag Hammarkskjold

 

God’s Word: “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” – Titus 3:8

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

 

Devotional - Follow The Lord's Warnings
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 18, 2016
Devotional - Follow The Lord's Warnings

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

 

The purpose of the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch (M-LAW), with more than 2,000 supporters, is to increase public awareness about ridiculous lawsuits. By doing this, M-LAW believes more public pressure will be placed on judges who have the power to dismiss frivolous lawsuits. A concern about potential frivolous lawsuits, have led to a new cultural phenomenon: the wacky warning label. The following is a list of wacky warnings gathered by M-LAW:

A warning label on a baby stroller warns: "Remove child before folding."

A baking pan warns: “Ovenware will get hot when used in oven.”

In a parking lot near a pine tree: “Dropping Pine Cones Proceed At Your Own Risk.”

On a small ceiling-mounted smoke alarm: “Silence feature is intended to temporarily silence the horn while you identify and correct the problem. It will not extinguish a fire.”

Finally, A 13-inch wheel on a wheelbarrow warns: “Not intended for highway use.”

 

Unlike the world that gives us some wacky warnings, the Lord warns us to protect us and to provide for us. Today in prayer, praise the Lord loving you and warning you of potential danger.

 

“If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” – Catherine Aird  

God’s Word: “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.” – 1 Corinthians 10:11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Avoid Foolish Genealogies
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 17, 2016
Devotional - Avoid Foolish Genealogies

“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” – Titus 3:9

 

In August 2012, 12-year old BridgeAnne d’Avignon, of Salinas, California made news when she produced a family tree of U.S. presidents descending from King John of England. The groundbreaking family tree connected 42 of 43 U.S. presidents to the English monarch. King John, also known as John ‘Lackland’, is renowned for signing the Magna Carta in 1215, which limited the monarch’s power and helped form the British Parliament. He was also the villain in the “Robin Hood” stories.

Her 80-year-old grandfather, who has been tracing roots for nearly six decades, helped her make the presidential links. 

BridgeAnne started with the first U.S. president, George Washington, she traced both the male and female family lines to make the connection. 

Prior to BridgeAnne’s discovery, genealogists were only able to link 22 families of presidents, likely because they only focused on male bloodlines. 

The only former commander-in-chief not linked to King John is the eighth president, Martin Van Buren, who had Dutch roots. 

But critics point out that perhaps a third of all Americans may be descended from King John, and that the odds of being distantly related to other royalty are even higher.

 

Foolish genealogies and pointless controversies waste our time. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that in Him we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and seek to use your time wisely to honor Christ.

 

“Genealogy: a perverse preoccupation of those who seek to demonstrate that their forebears were better people than they are.”  – Sydney J. Harris

 

God’s Word: “nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith.” – 1 Timothy 1:4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Our Merciful Savior
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 16, 2016
Devotional - Our Merciful Savior

“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” – Titus 3:5

 

As a teenager Will Harper started racing motocross. "By the time I was 18 I had actually won a pro championship locally here in Southern California. I felt like I was on my way and a lot of people said, 'Man, you're going to be world champ. You got it.' It was a sense of accomplishment. I wanted to do it better than anybody else. I wanted to be somebody."

Racing took a toll on his body and injuries forced him to retire from racing at the age of 25. "I was angry at God. 'This isn't fair. It's not right.' I'd tried so hard, and I had so much promise and it was just dashed on the rocks."

Around this time, a friend offered him work doing motorcycle stunts in movies and television.

"I still had good skills and I didn't have to win a race. All I had to do was ride well enough to get a shot, which I could do that easily. And quickly became a top stunt man in Hollywood. (I worked on) the A-Team TV series, I doubled Sylvester Stallone in Rambo on the first, First Blood movie."

But stunt work also took a toll on his body and he started using and selling drugs for the next several years. Eventually, he was arrested and for the next four months in jail, Will began studying the Bible. He gave his life to Jesus and was discipled by a local pastor that worked with inmates. People noticed the change in Will and the judge reduced his sentence to two and a half years. Will was able to resume his stunt work and motorcycle riding, but now he shares his testimony of the mercy of God. "Don't get me wrong. The stunt business is incredible. It's exciting. The motorcycles, it's all exciting; But, it's nothing compared to working for God.”

 

It is only by God’s great mercy are we saved through Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, give thanks to the Lord for His mercy.

 

“Moral indignation never led anyone to Christ, but mercy has.” – William Dever

 

God’s Word: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” – 1 Peter 1:3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Be Humble
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 15, 2016
Devotional - Be Humble

“to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” – Titus 3:2

 

On January 15, 2009, United Airways Flight 1549 took off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport bound for Charlotte, North Carolina. Three minutes into the flight, the aircraft ran into a flock of Canadian geese. Pilots Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to ditch in the Hudson River after multiple bird strikes led to the failure of both engines. All 155 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus A320 successfully evacuated from the partially submerged aircraft. The incident came to be known as the "Miracle on the Hudson", and Captain Sullenberger and the crew were hailed as heroes.

In an interview after the crash, Captain Sullenberger was modest about his acts of courage, attributing his poise to his training over the years.

“One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education and training. And on January 15 the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”

 

In all that we do, we need to remove our pride and seek to be humble servants of Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His humble example on earth and seek to humbly follow Him.

 

“Humility is strong, not bold; quiet, not speechless; sure, not arrogant.” – Estelle Smith

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Obedience And Goodness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 14, 2016
Devotional - Obedience And Goodness

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good” – Titus 3:1

 

One of the difficult areas emergency response planners have to deal with is how to work with people during an emergency. Often civil liberties have to be temporarily suspended in order to protect lives during natural or manmade disasters. This is a very prickly subject and so Homeland Security has decided to work with local pastors. The “Clergy Response Team” was first used during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to convince residents to leave their flooded homes for their own safety.

Dr. Durell Tuberville serves as chaplain for the Shreveport Fire Department and the Caddo Sheriff's Office.  Durell said of the clergy team's mission, "the primary thing that we say to anybody is, 'let's cooperate and get this thing over with and then we'll settle the differences once the crisis is over.'"

Such clergy response teams would walk a tightrope during martial law between the demands of the government on the one side, versus the wishes of the public on the other. It is also a tightrope of being subject to rulers and authorities, while still doing whatever is good.

 

God has instituted leaders and authorities, but in everything we are to do good and to obey the Lord. Today in prayer, thank Christ for His commandments and laws. Desire to be obedient to His will in all that you do.

 

"The majority of us do not enthrone God, we enthrone common sense. We make our decisions and then ask the real God to bless our god's decision." - Oswald Chambers

 

God’s Word: “Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him.” – Deuteronomy 8:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Encourage One Another
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 11, 2016
Devotional - Encourage One Another

“These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” – Titus 2:15

 

During a difficult summer for police in the United States, Youth Pastor Jeremy Ulmer wanted to do something special to encourage the local Biloxi, Mississippi police.

So in July 2016, he invited a dozen law enforcement officers to the front of New Life Church for a special recognition by more than 100 children.

The children gathered around the altar during Vacation Bible School to lay hands on the officers as the church's senior pastor prayed for their protection.

"It will give them hope that what's been going on won't happen to them, and they know that He would protect them," said Colby Wilson, one of the children at the VBS.

Harrison County Sheriff's Deputy Christina Walters said it means so much to feel appreciated. "It's admirable that the kids want to think about us and they want to pray about us and they think about us when a lot of kids and a lot of people don't," noted Walters. "It's like I said, very admirable and honorable that they want to pray for us and it makes me feel very blessed."

 

We all need encouragement in this life and to follow Jesus. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for those who have encouraged you during your life and seek to be an encourager to others.

 

“We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.” – William Barclay

 

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 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Saying "No" To The World
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 10, 2016
Devotional - Saying

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” – Titus 2:11-12

 

David Boudia is a three-time Olympian. He wrote the following: “For much of my life, I bowed at the feet of gods fashioned of gold, silver and bronze.

My sole focus was to become an Olympic champion. I was going to win, and I would revel in the fame and the celebrity it brought.

In 2004, I qualified for the Beijing Olympics. It was a dream come true.

Except it was more of a nightmare. It nearly ruined my life.

My synchronized diving partner and I failed to make the podium early in the Beijing Olympics, and that was a reality check. I decided to invest everything in my individual event a few days later.

My poor results from a few days prior, hurt even more when I finished in a disappointing 10th place in the individual event. I felt as though I’d let down my team, my parents, and everyone who had invested in me. I felt like a complete and utter failure.

That’s what happens when your god betrays you. The Olympics – and my poor performances there – didn’t supply me with any joy or provide the happiness I thought they were going to bring.

I decided to get a fresh start at Purdue.

Being an Olympian on campus temporarily gave me the fame and glory I craved from those around me, but that satisfaction was fleeting and my life continued to feel so empty.

I went to my coach looking for a quick fix. Instead, he gave me Jesus.

Over the weeks ahead, I began learning more about the Bible, about Christ and who He was. That’s when my life totally transformed. I realized that God had given me this ability and platform for a specific reason: to bring Him glory.

In 2012, I once again made the Olympic team. This time, I went to London desperately seeking to honor the Lord. It was there that my faith-filled performance earned me the Olympic Gold Medal in the 10-meter platform diving competition.

I tell my story not to say that God will automatically give us what we want if we make Him the priority. I tell it instead to explain that God is a gracious, loving Father who lavishes His love and blessings upon His people. When I was desperately chasing everything other than God, He loved and pursued me anyway.”

Now He has given my life a new meaning and purpose, and a heart that wants to know Him and make Him known. The platform God’s given me to do that from is diving. And it’s from there that I share with others that He alone is the One who is mighty to save.

 

We need to say “no” to the world and its passions and temptations. Only in Christ is there salvation. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you self-control and the strength to say "No" to the world and “Yes” to Jesus.

 

“What makes resisting temptation difficult, for many people, is that they don’t want to discourage it completely.” – Franklin P. Jones

 

God’s Word: “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.” – Proverbs 1:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Walking With Integrity
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 9, 2016
Devotional - Walking With Integrity

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

 

Desmond Tutu was a South African social rights activist and Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He was asked by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) to identify the defining moment in his life Desmond spoke of the day in 1940 when he and his mother were walking down the street of his hometown of Klerksdorp, a city located in the North West Province, South Africa. Desmond was nine years old. A tall white man dressed in a black suit came towards them. In the days of apartheid, when a black person and a white person met while walking on a footpath, the black person was expected to step into the gutter to allow the white person to pass and nod their head as a gesture of respect. But this day, before a young Desmond and his mother could step off the sidewalk the white man stepped off the sidewalk and, as mother and son passed, tipped his hat in a gesture of respect to her!

The white man was Trevor Huddleston, an Anglican priest who was bitterly opposed to apartheid. It changed Desmond’s life. When his mother told him that Trevor Huddleston had stepped off the sidewalk because he was a man of God, Desmond found his calling. “When she told me that he was an Anglican priest I decided there and then that I wanted to be an Anglican priest too. And what is more, I wanted to be a man of God” said Desmond.

Trevor Huddleston later became a mentor to Desmond and his commitment to the equality of all human beings due to their creation in God’s image was a key driver in Desmond’s opposition to apartheid.

 

Each day, set a good example by walking with integrity. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you wisdom and strength to have Christ’s integrity in all that you do.

 

“Be such as a man, and live such a life, that if every man were such as you, and every life like yours, this earth would be God's Paradise.” - Phillips Brooks

 

God’s Word: “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” – Proverbs 10:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Teaching Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 8, 2016
Devotional - Teaching Others

“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” – Titus 2:2

 

Michael Funkhouser was named the 2013 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. But the Wardensville middle school teacher is also the preacher at three growing rural United Methodist churches. The bivocational pastor’s life was a scramble, but Michael believes it has stretched him in good ways.

“Teaching made me a better minister, and ministry made me a better teacher,” he said.

More than a few of Michael’s students would go on to become colleague teachers in Wardensville. Kathy Strawderman is one, and attends one of his churches, Shiloh United Methodist.

“He’s a minister, but he’s more of a friend,” said Kathy. “I’ve been around him for so long. He was a coach to me. He was a teacher to me. And he’s definitely a role model.”

 

In all that we do, we should be teaching others to love the Lord and love others. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that the greatest commandments are ones we can live by.

 

“The love of God and the God of love constrain you to love one another that it may at last be said of Christians as it was at first, ‘Behold how they love one another.’” – Ralph Venning

 

God’s Word: “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” – 1 Peter 2:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Encourage Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 7, 2016
Devotional - Encourage Others

“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” – Titus 1:9

 

In May 2014, Lee Wirtjes of Evansville, Indiana discovered he had a rare form of cancer. Doctors gave him less than a year to live. Lee had a family, a full life and a lot to live for. He decided to fight the cancer to the end. And his co-workers at the Toyota Plant decided to encourage him. They initiated a golf tournament where the proceeds helped fund Lee’s treatments. Some friends even shaved their heads to encourage fundraising and show Lee support.

"I feel guilty but I really appreciate everything people are doing to support me and my family," he said. "You really don't realize how many friends you have or how far they will go for you until something like this happens. It means so much."

 

Each of us needs to encourage believers and non-believers to follow Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the good news we have in Jesus Christ and seek to encourage others to closely follow Him.  

 

"God intends that we be people who use words to encourage one another. A well-timed word has the power to urge a runner to the finish line, to rekindle hope when despair has set in, to spark a bit of warmth in an otherwise cold life, to trigger healthful self-evaluation to someone who doesn't think much about his shortcomings, to renew confidence when problems have the upper hand." - Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr.

 

God’s Word: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - The Value Of Self-Control
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 4, 2016
Devotional - The Value Of Self-Control

“Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.” – Titus 1:8

 

Samuel Stokes, an American medical missionary from Philadelphia, walked through the Punjab of India carrying only a water-bottle and blanket, trusting wholly to the Lord and native hospitality. In one village he was given a particularly hostile reception. The elders of the village sat in chairs in a circle, smoking, leaving him the whole evening sitting on the floor. When he asked if he might nurse their sick and teach them, they hurled horrible insults at him; but he made no reply. Then they gave him stale crusts in a filthy bowl. He thanked them courteously, and ate. For two days this lasted, but Samuel maintained his self-control.

On the third day, the leader laid his turban at Stokes' feet as a token of respect. He explained that they had heard that Jesus' disciples were commanded to love their enemies, and they had decided to put him to the test. The result had amazed them. Now they brought him their choicest food, and were eager to hear his teaching. If Samuel had lost his temper or patience, he would have lost his chance to witness to the village.

 

When we are self-controlled, we bring glory to Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, give your gifts, time and talents to the Lord and be self-control.

 

"The Spirit whom Christians have received is the Spirit of holiness, and nothing unholy can be tolerated in one whom he indwells: self-control is part of the fruit which his presence yields in a believer's life."  - F.F. Bruce

 

God’s Word: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Do Not Be Quick Tempered
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 3, 2016
Devotional - Do Not Be Quick Tempered

“Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.” – Titus 1:7

 

In August 1988, Scott Robert Provstgaard, age 30, was booked into the Salt Lake County Utah Jail. He was charged with assault, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

But the next day, Police officers had a hard time getting Provstgaard out of jail.

The man so badly battered the cell door that officers could not operate the lock and had to remove the door by the hinges. West Jordan police dispatcher Mark Whetsel watched Provstgaard on a video monitor for more than an hour as the angry man swore continually and repeatedly flung himself against the steel door to the holding cell.

Several times the dispatcher saw Provstgaard wince in pain after hurling himself against the door, but the activity continued after he damaged several fixtures in the cell and bent the steel frame around the dead bolt on the door. He caused $600 in destruction to the cell and he was booked on the additional charges of damaging the jail.

 

The Lord desires that we would be self-controlled, not quick-tempered. Today in prayer, confess any anger in your life to the Lord and receive His peace.

 

“Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.”  – Chuck Norris

 

God’s Word: “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” – Proverbs 16:32

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - Strive To Be Blameless
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 2, 2016
Devotional - Strive To Be Blameless

“An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.” – Titus 1:6

 

In 2011, John Craven, a Christian preacher, was preaching on a street in Manchester, England. He had been street preaching for 14 years and regularly appeared at the Manchester city centre.

One day, two gay teenagers approached John and asked about his views on homosexuality. John said: “At the end of the day God loves everybody, but homosexuality is a sin and I am not going to contradict the word of God.” He then quoted Revelation 21:8 which describes the judgment of those who do not follow Christ.

The teenagers did not like what they heard from the Bible, found a police officer, and told the officer the preacher was causing them distress.

The officer wrongfully arrested John. He was held in jail for 19 hours until the police realized they had made a mistake and they had violated John’s civil rights of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

 

No matter what life throws our way, we should seek to be blameless in all that we do. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that when we follow Him, we can be blameless.

 

“When we quarrel, how we wish we had been blameless.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

God’s Word: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.” – Genesis 17:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - His Peace
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 1, 2016
Devotional - His Peace

“To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” – Titus 1:4

 

On July 15, 2016, Geno Roncone, the 23-year-old son of Pastor Gene and Rhonda Roncone, passed away in Aurora, Colorado. Geno had been battling Stage IV Burkitts Lymphoma — a rare, but very aggressive, and fast-growing cancer.

Geno said: “I remember looking out to the mountains and telling God and praying to Him by myself, saying, ‘Lord, I’m 23. I got dreams. I got goals. I got things I want to accomplish in life, but if this is my time to die, and this thing takes my life, I’ll be ready for it.’”

He would battle the disease valiantly and in great faith, and even though he knew his grip on life was tenuous, he explained that the peace of God was evident in his life and that it wasn’t so much about what God was bringing him through, but where God was bringing him to.

“I’ve never seen anyone go through seven months of suffering like he did — he was without complaint,” said Geno’s grandfather. “The testimony that he left . . . , the nurses at the hospital, when he was in ICU, would come down from the cancer ward to see how he was doing, and when he died, they all cried . . . his main oncologist fell on (Geno’s mother) Rhonda’s neck, and just sobbed. He died as he lived — a wonderful Christian, a victorious saint, and what a testimony to all of us that the last chapter hasn’t been written.”

 

As we draw closer to Christ, we find peace that can only be found in Jesus. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He is the Prince of Peace.

 

“I know men who would write a check for a million dollars if they could find peace. Millions are searching for it. Every time they get close to finding the peace that you have found in Christ, Satan steers them away. He blinds them. He throws up a smoke screen. He bluffs them. And they miss it! But you have found it! It is yours now forever. You have found the secret of life.” – Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” – Romans 5:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

Devotional - The Hope Of Eternal Life
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 31, 2016
Devotional - The Hope Of Eternal Life

“a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” – Titus 1:2

 

Nurse Gracie Schaeffler remembers taking care of a 5-year-old African-American boy. He was dying of lung cancer. His lungs filled with fluid, and he was unable to breathe. This little boy had a Christian mother who loved him and stayed by his side through the long ordeal. She cradled him on her lap and talked softly about the Lord. Instinctively, the woman was preparing her son for the final hours to come. Gracie told me that she entered his room one day as death approached, and she heard this lad talking about hearing bells. "The bells are ringing, Mommie," he said. "I can hear them."

Gracie thought he was hallucinating because he was already slipping away. She left and returned a few minutes later and again heard him talking about hearing bells ringing. The nurse said to his mother, 'I'm sure you know your baby is hearing things that aren't there. He is hallucinating because of the sickness."

The mother pulled her son closer to her chest, smiled and said, "No, Miss Schaeffler. He is not hallucinating. I told him when he was frightened -- when he couldn't breathe -- if he would listen carefully, he could hear the bells of heaven ringing for him. That is what he's been talking about all day."

 

When our hope is in the Lord’s shed blood, we have eternal life in Him. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that in Him we have been saved from certain death and have eternal life.

 

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

 

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” – John 3:14-15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2016, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN TITUS, JUDE, PHILEMON

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