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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions in Letters of Peter
Devotional - The Day Of The Lord
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday May 30, 2012
Devotional - The Day Of The Lord

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." - 2 Peter 3:10

 

At the 1960 UN General Assembly, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev promised the world that they would see "something that has not been seen before”.  

On October 30, 1961, the Soviets detonated the largest nuclear bomb in the history of the world on the Novaya Zemlya Island in the Arctic Sea.

Nicknamed the “Tsar Bomba”, the area of destruction was 22 miles in radius. The Tsar Bomba’s mushroom cloud was 37 miles tall and it could be seen from a distance of 100 miles away. The Tsar Bomba had a yield of 50 megatons. That is the equivalent to 1,400 times the combined power of the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Initially, the bomb should have had a yield of 100 megatons, but this was changed in a later stage since a bomb that big would have posed serious safety issues and it would have affected inhabited parts of northern Soviet Union.  

After the explosion, the surface of the island was leveled, and the rocks had melted. Some reports indicate that windows were broken in northern Finland and Norway too.

Amid fears about radioactive fallout, in 1963 the US, Great Britain and Soviet Union signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty forcing all nuclear tests to be underground.

 

The Day of the Lord will be “something that has not been seen before.” It will be larger than any nuclear explosion and it will usher in a new Heaven. Today in prayer, pray for those who do not know Jesus Christ and Christ Lord to prepare their hearts to receive Him as Lord.

 

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

 

God's Word: "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Be Patient
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday May 29, 2012
Devotional - Be Patient

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9

 

R. O. Blechman is an American animator, illustrator, and children's-book author. For more than 40 years, his work has been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art and other institutions.

In his book, “Dear James: Letters to a Young Illustrator”, he shares a series of letters that he wrote to a younger fellow-illustrator. In one of the most poignant letters, Blechman addresses the reality of failure and the need for patience:

“Preliminary drawings and sketches often are discouraging things, pale shadows of one’s bold intentions. Seemingly nonsense, they’re especially dispiriting for beginners … ‘Is that what I did,’ the novice might ask, ‘and I consider myself an artist?! … Speaking for myself (but also for other illustrators, I’m sure), my trash basket is full of false starts and failed drawings … There should be a Museum of Failed Art. It would exhibit all the terrible art that would have ended up in trash bins and garbage cans, lost and unknown to the public life.”

 

In this life we need to be patient, because we will fail many, many times. Today in prayer, thank Jesus for His patience toward you and ask Him that you may be patient in all things.

 

"Be patient enough to live one day at a time as Jesus taught us, letting yesterday go and leaving tomorrow till it arrives." – John F. Newton

 

God's Word: "A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly." - Proverbs 14:29

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

 

Devotional - Be Stimulated Toward Wholesome Thinking
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday May 28, 2012
Devotional - Be Stimulated Toward Wholesome Thinking

"Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking." - 2 Peter 3:1

 

It started in the 1970s, Paul Russell was a teacher at San Diego State University and at Christian High School in San Diego. His wife Sheryl was also a teacher and a cheerleader adviser. In 1980, Paul and Sheryl's dream of bringing wholesome family entertainment to their community became a reality as they, and a small band of theater-loving friends, mounted a fully staged production of “The Sound of Music” at the top of Mt. Helix Amphitheater in La Mesa, California. More than 5,000 attended their first performances for that Christian Community Theater production.

One year later, in 1981, Paul and Sheryl began an after-school theater arts program for children and that first year 24 students were in the show “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”

Within 7 years, Christian Your Theater was operating in 9 areas around San Diego County and had 4,000 students in classes.

Today, Christian Youth Theater – USA has now grown to be the largest children’s theater organization in America with branches in 13 states and 31 programs.

 

The Lord desires us to have wholesome thinking in all that we do. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for your life and seek after Jesus in all that you do.

 

"Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit." - James Lane Allen

 

God's Word: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." - 2 Corinthians 10:5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Desiring To Be Lost
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday May 27, 2012
Devotional - Desiring To Be Lost

"They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness." - 2 Peter 2:15

 

Julian was the nephew of Constantine I and grew up in a Christian home.

In 355, Julian was summoned to appear before his cousin Constantius II, who had succeeded Constantine I as emperor. Julian was made Caesar of the West and ruled over the area of France and Spain.

When Constantius II died in 361, Julian returned to Rome to rule over the entire empire. His first political act was to preside over his cousin’s Christian burial, escorting the body to the Church of the Apostles, where it was placed alongside that of Constantine.

However, this act was only a demonstration of his lawful right to the throne.

Julian rejected Christianity and he stripped the Christians of their privileges, powers, and rights. Christians could not be teachers and many of them were forced out of public service.

Julian promoted paganism and hoped that Roman would return to being a pagan empire. He died abruptly 18 months into his reign. History remembers him as “Julian the Apostate” because he rejected any faith in Christ to chase after his own glory.

 

By nature, man loves to run from God. It is only by the grace of God that we are no longer lost, but found in the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that by His grace we are found; found in His love and mercy.

 

"There is no one so far lost that Jesus cannot find him and cannot save him." - Andrew Murray

 

God's Word: "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." - Luke 19:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Beware Of False Prophets!
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday May 24, 2012
Devotional - Beware Of False Prophets!

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

 

During the early 1970’s, Charles Spiegel, a psychology professor, became involved in a UFO cult. In 1993, he became its leader when the cult’s co-founder, Ruth Norman died. He took the name “Antares” and this false teacher taught that angels and aliens are guiding our destiny, and that various historical figures have reincarnated to help us along.

He began preaching to his El Cajon, California followers that the ancient land of Atlantis will emerge from the Caribbean in 2001. Shortly thereafter, 1000 extra-terrestrials from "Myton" in 33 spaceships will land there and bring new knowledge to humanity.

These aliens, Spiegel taught, will look like humans and will cure cancer. His former prophesies have failed and skeptics have laughed. However Spiegel said, “We will have the last laugh. We just speak the truth and let the truth take care of itself.”

Spiegel died in December 1999, before his ‘prophesy’ was exposed as a hoax.

 

False prophets will bring glory to themselves and not to Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, spend some extra time in the Gospels listening to the Jesus.

 

“False teachers invite people to come to the Master's table because of what's on it, not because they love the Master.” – Hank Hanegraaff

 

God's Word: "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 4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Pay Attention
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday May 23, 2012
Devotional - Pay Attention

"And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." - 2 Peter 1:19

 

In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, the Nobel Prize winning economist Daniel Kahneman uses a simple puzzle to show the importance of slowing down and paying attention. Kahneman writes, "Do not try to solve [this puzzle] but listen to your intuition:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs one dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?"

Kahneman writes that most people come up with a quick answer—10 cents.

The distinctive mark of this easy puzzle is that it evokes an answer that is intuitive, appealing, and wrong. Do the math, and you'll see. If the ball costs 10 cents, then the total cost will be $1.20 (10 cents for the ball and $1.10 for the bat), not $1.10. The correct answer is 5 cents.

If you got the puzzle wrong, don't be discouraged. According to Kahneman's research, more than 50 percent of students at Harvard, MIT, and Princeton gave the wrong answer. At less selective universities, over 80 percent of students failed the puzzle.

 

We need to pay attention to God’s Word and be students of the Bible. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to slow you down so you can pay attention to His teaching.

 

"The Word of God will stand a thousand readings; and he who has gone over it most frequently is the surest of finding new wonders there." - James Hamilton

 

God's Word: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." - 2 Timothy 2:15

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Adding Goodness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday May 22, 2012
Devotional - Adding Goodness

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge" - 2 Peter 1:5

 

In 1852, Archbishop John Purcell recognized that the city of Cincinnati needed a hospital that would provide care to people who couldn’t afford the medical treatment. The diocese purchased a 21-bed former eye hospital and turned it over to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. It was named St. John's Hotel for Invalids, and was the first private hospital in the city.

Three years after St. John’s opened, demand compelled the hospital to expand. Four members of the medical staff of St. John’s Hospital, as it had become known, paid the costs of relocating and renovating an old colonial mansion at the corner of Third and Plum streets to accommodate 70 beds.

The kindness of the sisters of St. John’s led directly to the expansion, relocation and renaming of the hospital as Good Samaritan Hospital. A destitute man suffering from typhoid fever spent several weeks of recovery at St. John’s, and when he recovered, the sisters gave him a job. A local banker, Joseph C. Butler had referred the man to the hospital, and when he attempted to pay the man’s bills, the sisters dismissed the charges, explaining that their care was “for the love of God.”

Impressed, Butler and his friend Louis Worthington, purchased a large hospital that was being sold by the U.S. Government at the close of the Civil War. The deed was presented to the sisters with two conditions: that no one be excluded from the hospital because of his color or religion, and that the hospital be renamed “The Hospital of the Good Samaritan,” in honor of the sisters’ kindness.

Today, Good Samaritan Hospital is the oldest and largest private teaching and specialty health care hospital in Cincinnati. Are you doing “good” that brings glory to Jesus?

 

Today in prayer, add goodness to your faith and bring glory to the Lord in all that you do.

 

“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” – John Wesley

 

God's Word: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Suffering Strengthens Our Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday May 21, 2012
Devotional - Suffering Strengthens Our Faith

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – 1 Peter 5:10

 

On the afternoon of May 11, 2012, Austin Anderson, Hannah Luce, and three others were flying from Tulsa, Oklahoma for a Christian youth group conference in Iowa. Their twin-engine Cessna suddenly developed engine trouble and crashed northwest of Chanute, Kansas. The three companions died instantly, but Austin and Hannah survived the crash. Hannah was trapped inside the burning fuselage, but Austin managed to pull her free and carry her from the crash site. Austin suffered burns over 90% of his body and yet he still was able to flag down a passerby to call for an ambulance, which then took them to a nearby hospital. Hannah survived her injuries and suffered burns on 28% of her body. She is expected to fully recover. Austin, a former Marine, made the ultimate sacrifice for his friend and died of his injuries in the hospital early the next morning.

 

Suffering is never pleasant, but it refines us and draws us closer to Christ. Today in prayer, pray for those who are suffering that their faith in Jesus may increase.

 

"Suffering can never ultimately be meaningless, because God himself has shared it." - Philip Yancey

 

God’s Word: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” – Romans 8:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Get Rid Of Your Worries
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday May 20, 2012
Devotional - Get Rid Of Your Worries

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

 

Ben Breedlove was 18 years old when he died on Christmas Day 2011. He was a high school student from Austin, Texas who told the world of his life-threatening heart disease through his own YouTube channel.

"It was a really good Christmas," said his sister, Ally. "We realized Ben got the best Christmas gift out of all of us. He got the gift everyone is going to get some day."

He used several channels called "OurAdvice4You" and "Breedlove TV" to explain effects the disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy had on his life and his ability to live it.

Ben had more than 60,000 followers of his videos.

In his final video posted one week before his death, Ben, who is a Christian, told his story by flashing hand-written placards.

"The first time I cheated death was when I was 4," he said on the cards he held. "I had a life-threatening seizure. Scary, right?"

He told of his memory of being rushed on a stretcher by nurses as his mother ran along by his side.

"There was this big, bright light above me," he said on the placards. "I told my mom, 'Look at the bright light' and pointed up. She said she didn't see anything."

He said he was overcome by a feeling of peace, which made him smile.

"I had no worries, like nothing else in the world mattered," Ben wrote.

"We miss him, but for Ben's sake we're thankful that he's in a wonderful place and he has the abilities now he didn't have before," said his mother Deanne. "On Christmas we gave our son back to God and now he has eternal life."

 

The Lord desires us to place all our worries on Him and to look to Jesus for your peace. Today in prayer, give the Lord all of your worries and anxieties and accept Christ’s peace.

 

"In all trouble you should seek God. You should not set him over against your troubles, but within them. God can only relieve your troubles if you in your anxiety cling to him. Trouble should not really be thought of as this thing or that in particular, for our whole life on earth involves trouble; and through the troubles of our earthly pilgrimage we find God." - Augustine

 

God’s Word: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - With Humility
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday May 17, 2012
Devotional - With Humility

“Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” – 1 Peter 5:5

 

In Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, went home to be with the Lord on June 14, 2007.  She was born in China of missionary parents and met Billy when they both attended Wheaton College in Illinois.  For almost 64 years Ruth was Billy’s faithful companion and beloved wife.  She delighted in doing things quietly behind the scenes - cooking for a sick neighbor, teaching Sunday school and visiting the prisons. 

Ruth often visited prisoners and fed many of them in her home after their release. One prisoner Ruth visited and often wrote to was Velma Barfield. Velma was a convicted murderer who came to the Lord and eventually she helped others to know Jesus.

In the last years of Ruth’s life, her son Franklin visited Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. He noticed some coffins were being produced by the inmates. In addition to making the caskets, the prisoners – many of them former hardened criminals who are now committed Christians – also prayed over them.

Franklin was struck by the simple and natural beauty of these caskets and requested that the prisoners design and build two of them for his parents. Billy and Ruth’s coffins were built by inmate Richard “Grasshopper” Liggett, with the help of others, whose names are burned into the wood.

So it was very fitting that humble Ruth was laid to rest in a coffin made by prison inmates.

 

The Lord loves a humble person. Today in prayer, ask Jesus to give you a spirit of humility.

 

“The true way to be humble is not to stoop until you are smaller than yourself, but to stand at your real height against some higher nature that will show you what the real smallness of your greatness is.”  - Philipp Brooks

 

God’s Word: “He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.” – Proverbs 3:34

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - We Will Overcome
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday May 16, 2012
Devotional - We Will Overcome

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13

 

In December 2007, two church members were shot to death and three others were injured after a gunman fired at parishioners at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Following the tragedy, the Lord gave songwriter Jon Eagan the song “Overcome” to minister to New Life Church. Singer Jeremy Camp heard the song and asked Jon if he could record it.

Jeremy knew it was a powerful song, but it hit him hard in the recording studio.

While recording the bridge of the song "Overcome" Jeremy was literally overcome with tears.

He had to stop when he got to these words:  

“We will overcome

By the blood of the Lamb

And the word of our testimony

Everyone overcome” 

Jeremy was overcome by what he said was God's presence in the studio. In the booth, he could see his producer and his father with hands raised.  

"I just started breaking down. I couldn't sing any more, and we were all just like, 'Did you feel that?'"  

"I started really thinking about what I was singing, and thinking of scripture. ... And I was just like, man, this is a God that we serve. We will, through him, by what He's done, and through his blood, overcome."  

 

The pain and suffering of this world will be overcome by the joy of seeing Jesus in Heaven. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that our suffering is temporary and Jesus has overcome the world to give us eternity with Him.

 

"We are always in the forge, or on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things." - Henry Ward Beecher

 

God’s Word: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” – Romans 5:3-5

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Remember To Always Pray
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday May 15, 2012
Devotional - Remember To Always Pray

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” – 1 Peter 4:7

 

In December 2010, Ted Williams was panhandling off Interstate 71 in Columbus, Ohio with a sign that read, "I’m an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times.’’ He caught the eye of Columbus Dispatch videographer Doral Chenoweth III. He shot a video of Ted doing a silky voice-over and it went viral, with more than 20 million views on YouTube. Ted was soon appearing on late-night talk shows and people loved his voice.  

For 17 years, Ted battled homelessness, alcoholism and drug addiction. And through it all, the 54-year old never lost his faith in Christ. “All through that journey, I never stopped praying,’’ Ted said.

Ted has been clean and sober for more than a year and is working again. He also has a home. “What a difference a year makes,” Ted said. “It’s a ‘hallelujah’ moment every day I wake up.”

 

In all things and at all times, pray. Today in prayer, invest some extra time in prayer to build your relationship with Jesus.

 

"As we are involved in unceasing thinking, so we are called to unceasing prayer." - Henri Nouwen

 

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 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - A Clear Conscience
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday May 14, 2012
Devotional - A Clear Conscience

“keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” – 1 Peter 3:16

 

On July 21, 2012, Laura Fotusky resigned from her position as municipal clerk in the town of Barker, New York. She left her position because her faith prevented her from signing a marriage certificate for gay couples, something she'd be required to do as a municipal clerk.

The 56-year-old has held the position for ten years. In her resignation letter, Laura wrote: “I believe that there is a higher law than the law of the land. It is the law of God in the Bible.  In Acts 5:29, it states, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’”

“The Bible clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and cultures. Since I love and follow Him, I cannot put my signature on something that is against God.  Deuteronomy 10:12 says, ‘…What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.’”

“I would be compromising my moral conscience if I participated in the licensing procedure. Therefore, I will be resigning as of July 21. I wanted you to know my position as I understand the marriage law goes into effect on July 24.”

 

The Bible can guide our conscience to what the Lord desires. Today in prayer, thank Jesus that He is God and seek to keep a clear conscience before Him.

 

"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: “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” – Hebrews 10:22

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2009, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Be Prepared!
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday May 13, 2012
Devotional - Be Prepared!

“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

 

Samuel Hoar was a prominent attorney from Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1802, and was admitted to the bar in 1805.

He once lost a court case because of silence. He was representing the defendant at the trial. When it was time to present his defense, he told the jurors that he would not insult their intelligence by arguing the facts of the case. The jury retired to deliberate and returned in a few minutes with a verdict of guilty. Hoar was astonished!

"How," Hoar asked, "could you have reached such a verdict?" 

The foreman of the jury replied, "We all agreed that if anything could be said for a case, you would say it. But since you didn't present any evidence, we decided to rule against you." Silence had lost the case.

How often the opportunity to speak a word of testimony for Christ is lost because we remain silent. Those who need to hear the gospel may conclude that salvation is not important enough to talk about.  

 

We need to be prepared to share our faith in Jesus Christ with others. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for the opportunities to share your faith. Ask Him how you can be prepared to share the Gospel with others.

 

"Jesus Christ didn't commit the gospel to an advertising agency; He commissioned disciples. And He didn't command them to put up signs and pass out tracts; He said that they would be his witnesses." - Joseph Bayly

 

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - A Blessing To Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday May 10, 2012
Devotional - A Blessing To Others

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:9

 

In February 1993, Oshea Israel, age 16, shot and killed Laramiun Byrd, age 20, after an argument at a party in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Oshea was tried as an adult and sentenced to 25 and a half years in prison. He served 17 years before he was released.

Laramiun was Mary Johnson’s only child and anger overcame her after his death.

“[The murder] was like a tsunami,” Mary said. “Shock. Disbelief. Hatred. Anger. Hatred. Blame. Hatred. I wanted him to be caged up like the animal he was.”

Mary is a Christian and decided to found a support group. She helped counsel mothers whose children had been killed and encouraged them to reach out to the families of their murderers, who were victims of another kind.

“Hurt is hurt, it doesn't matter what side you are on,” she said.

Then in 2005, Mary visited Oshea in prison. He was shocked that she wanted to see him and was kind to him and she even gave him a hug at the end of the visit.

She remembered: “I just hugged the man that murdered my son.” And all of the anger and hurt of the past 12 years was over.

Mary continued to visit Oshea in prison. When he was released in 2010, Mary introduced him to her landlord - who with her blessing he invited Oshea to move into the building, next door to Mary.

Looking at Oshea, Mary said: “I treat you as I would treat my son and our relationship is beyond belief."

 

Only the Lord can change our hearts, to take away the pain and make us a blessing to those who have wronged us. Today in prayer, ask Jesus how you can bless others so they may experience His loving grace.

 

"Love when you expect no love in return. Do good without expecting thanks. Lend when you do not hope for a return. This will make us act like the sons and daughters of the Most High." - Henrietta Mears

 

God’s Word: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” – Romans 12:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Live As Free Men
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday May 9, 2012
Devotional - Live As Free Men

“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” – 1 Peter 2:16

 

During the first year of the Civil War, in November 1861, Union forces captured Hilton Head Island. Most of the white population had fled the island, leaving several hundred escaped slaves.

In February 1862, there were at least 600 former slaves living in Union encampments on Hilton Head Island.

In April 1862, a military order was issued freeing the blacks on the Outer Bank Islands, a full eight months before President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that freed all slaves.

The newly freed slaves built Mitchelville on the island. It had neatly-arranged streets, one-quarter-acre lots, elected officials, various laws and a church.

The First Baptist Church was founded in 1862 with 120 members and with the ex-slave Abraham Murchison was the first pastor.

The church became a focal point of fellowship for the isolated island community of farmers, fishermen and artisans as the model town flourished.

In 2012, the First African Baptist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary. The current pastor is the Reverend Alvin Petty. Pastor Petty said: “This is one of the most historic and remarkable milestones many of us will see in our lifetime. ... The founding fathers of this church would be full of joy and pride to see what they began in 1862 as freedmen has lasted into the 21st century.”

 

Christ has freed us from sin, so we need to live as free men and women, bringing glory to Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that you are free in Him and serve Him with a glad heart.

 

“But what is freedom? Rightly understood, A universal license to be good.” – Hartley Coleridge

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Do Good
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday May 8, 2012
Devotional - Do Good

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” – 1 Peter 2:12

 

In 1990, 18-year old Heather Beazley was attending Bible schools overseas when she had the opportunity to visit Romania. Heather’s heart was torn by the many struggles the people of the war ravaged country faced. But her heart was most touched by the orphans. Heather had the strong desire to do good. In 1991, Heather’s parents, Ron and Jan, made the life-changing decision to adopt a little girl from Romania named Hannah.

Soon after little Hannah arrived at Beazley home in Portland, Oregon, Heather started an adoption and orphan care ministry called All God’s Children International. Her work took her to Romania and Bulgaria throughout much of the early 1990’s where she personally helped develop adoption and orphan care programs.

Today, All God’s Children has helped unite more than 2,500 children from 19 countries with their forever families. The ministry also has supplied overseas orphanages with the necessities the children would otherwise go without.

 

The Lord wants you to do good so your life may shine for His glory. Today in prayer, ask Jesus what good works you can do to bring Christ glory.

 

“Do what good you can, and do it solely for God’s glory, as free from it yourself as though you did not exist.” – Meister Eckhart

 

God’s Word: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - A Chosen People
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday May 7, 2012
Devotional - A Chosen People

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9

 

In 1865, William Booth was in the East End of London, preaching to crowds of people in the streets. Outside The Blind Beggar Public House some missioners heard him speaking and were so impressed by his preaching that they invited him to lead a series of meetings they were holding in a large tent.

Booth preached to the poor and destitute of London's East End and realized his calling was to preach to the poor.

He established the Christian Mission and from that ministry, the Salvation Army came forth.

In the early 1880s, operations were extended to other countries, notably the United States, France, Switzerland, Sweden and others, including to most of the countries of the British Empire: Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Jamaica, etc.

During his lifetime, William Booth established Salvation Army work in 58 countries and colonies, travelling extensively and holding, "salvation meetings."

In 1899, Booth was having difficulty with his eyes. His son Bramwell had the difficult task of telling his father that he would not recover.

 “Do you mean that I am blind?” the General asked.

“I fear we must contemplate that,” his son Bramwell replied.

The father continued, “I shall never see your face again?”

“No, probably not in this world” answered the son.  

“Bramwell,” said General Booth, “I have done what I could for God and for His people with my eyes. Now Shall do what I can for God without my eyes.”

And for the next 12 years until his death, William Booth continued to lead the Salvation Army and serve the Lord.

 

The Lord has chosen us to serve Him and to lead others to His throne of Grace. Today in prayer, give praise to the Lord who called you out of darkness.

 

“God does not always choose great people to accomplish what He wishes, but He chooses a person who is wholly yielded to Him.” – Henrietta Mears

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Depend On The Word
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday May 6, 2012
Devotional - Depend On The Word

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” – 1 Peter 2:2

 

On January 12, 2004, Kimani Maruge enrolled in primary school in Eldoret Kenya. What made it unusual was Kimani was 84 years old. Born in 1920, Kimani was a farmer in Western Kenya, a great grandfather and led the way in the fight for universal free education. He was not afforded his own education until 2003 when Kenya enacted free elementary education.

In 2005 Kimani, who was a model student, was elected head boy of his school.

His motivation for attending school at such an advanced age was to learn to read the Bible.

In 2008, when the interconfessional Gikuya Bible was introduced in Kenya, Kimani was one of the guest speakers. He read from the Gospel of Matthew: "God blesses those who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!" (Matthew 5:3, CEV).

 

Do you depend on the Lord? Then seek His Word in all that you do. Today in prayer, praise Jesus the Bible and spend some extra time today reading your Bible.

 

"Like Joseph storing up grain during the years of plenty to be used during the years of famine that lay ahead, may we store up the truths of God's Word in our hearts as much as possible, so that we are prepared for whatever suffering we are called upon to endure." - Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” – Psalm 119:103

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Love Deeply
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday May 3, 2012
Devotional - Love Deeply

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” – 1 Peter 1:22

 

On March 2, 2012, Stephanie Decker was at home when her husband texted her that a tornado was moving directly toward their three-story home in Henryville, Indiana.

Stephanie gathered up her young son and daughter and they made their way to the basement. Stephanie covered her children with a blanket, and then the three huddled in a corner of the basement. The tornado directly hit the Decker home destroying it. The wreckage broke seven of Stephanie’s ribs and almost completely severed both of her legs.

"I had two steel beams on my legs, and I couldn't move. I was stuck," she said.

Then, another storm came roaring through. She again covered her children the best she could, taking the brunt of the debris as her home collapsed around her.

"Everything started hitting my back. Beams, pillars, furniture. Everything was just slamming into my back. But I had my children in the blanket, and I was on top of them, and I was reaching around holding them," Stephanie said.

Stephanie lost parts of both legs, but she survived. Amazingly, her love for her children protected them and neither child suffered as much as a scratch.

 

Christ loves us deeply; He laid down His life so we may have salvation through Him. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His love for you and deeply love others.

 

"I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no more hurt, but only more love." - Mother Teresa.

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Prepare For Action
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday May 2, 2012
Devotional - Prepare For Action

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” – 1 Peter 1:13

 

On Sunday, 29 April 2012, people in the town of Troy, Alabama began the 6th Annual Bible Reading Marathon. The reading began at 7 pm and will run for 89 hours, concluding at noon on 3 May which is the National Day of Prayer.

Some 360 volunteers will read for 15 minute segments during the four day event.

Linda Adams, interim director of the Salem-Troy Baptist Association, said: "The purpose of the Bible Reading Marathon is to be faithful to God's Word and to honor it. By reading the Bible publicly, we are witnessing that we are committed to people hearing God's Word."

The Bible Reading Marathon took weeks of preparation to recruit the volunteers and organize the schedule. The Reading is in preparation for the 3 May Day of Prayer, where hearts will be ready to come to the Lord and to step out in action.

 

The best way to prepare for action is to be in the Word of God and to pray. Today in prayer, look to the Lord in the Bible and seek Him in prayer so you can be better prepared to serve Him.

 

"If any man should ask me what is the first, second, and third part of being a Christian, I must answer 'Action!'" - Thomas Brooks

 

God’s Word: “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning” – Luke 12:35

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2009, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - Trials Strengthen Our Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday May 1, 2012
Devotional - Trials Strengthen Our Faith

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” – 1 Peter 1:6

 

n January 2012, High Pointe Church in Altoona, Iowa was about to open its doors for its first Sunday service. Pastor Greg Pollak had just moved to Altoona and closed on a house, when his minivan was stolen out of his driveway. It was two days before the church’s first service.

Though Pastor Greg was concerned about his missing vehicle, it did not distress him.

“Satan’s always going to cause me to think twice, but the Bible tells me to count it all joy when you face various trials,” Greg said, recalling James chapter 1 that he strives to live by and applied to the stolen-vehicle situation.

“It’s not a battle against flesh and blood.”

Greg said this same philosophy defines the church plant’s overall mission and purpose within the Altoona community.

“We’re not here to provide a bunch of programs, but we will provide and meet needs in the community,” he said. “The ultimate need that everyone has, specifically in Altoona for us, is the Gospel, meeting our spiritual need.”

 

We will all face various trials in our lives, but the purpose is to refine us and make us more like Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, give thanks for the trials in your life. Look to Jesus, the hope of our faith to endure them.

 

"God sometimes snuffs out our brightest candle so that we may look up to His eternal stars." - Vance Havner

 

God’s Word: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” – James 1:2-3

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

Devotional - The Need To Obey
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Apr 30, 2012
Devotional - The Need To Obey

“who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” – 1 Peter 1:2

 

In 1870, Prussia had laid siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. Pierre Barlot was an artillery man at Fort Mont-Valérien, the strongest fortress protecting the city. One day he was standing by his cannon when General Noel, the French commander, came up and with his spyglass, spotted the Sevres Bridge. "Gunner," he said, "do you see the Sevres Bridge over there?" "Yes, sir." "And that little shanty in a thicket of shrubs to the left?" "I see it, sir," said Pierre, turning pale. "It's a nest of Prussians; try it with a shell, my man." Pierre turned paler still. He sighted his weapon deliberately, carefully, then fired it. "Well hit, my man, well hit!" exclaimed the general. But as he looked at Pierre he was surprised to see a great tear running down the gunner's cheek. "What's the matter, man?" "Pardon me, General," said Pierre, "it was my house—everything I had in the world."

 

Christ calls us to abandon everything and to follow Him. And when we do, He is a rewarder of all who faithfully follow Him. Today in prayer, confess any sin in your life to Jesus and eagerly obey Him in all that you do.

 

"Only he who believes is obedient. Only he who is obedient, believes." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

God’s Word: “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2012, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS LETTERS OF PETER

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