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Series: DEVOTIONS IN Matthew
Devotional - Take Responsibility And Repent
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 12, 2019
Devotional - Take Responsibility And Repent

“Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” – Matthew 11:21

 

Nearly three years after the murder of Cesar Lopez-Flores, his killer pleaded guilty, saying he found God while incarcerated, which urged him to confess and repent. 

In a statement that shocked the court, Danny Dashay Holmes pleaded guilty minutes after his trial began in August 2019, confessing to the murder of Lopez-Flores. In a packed courtroom, Holmes addressed the court, explaining his decision to confess to the murder. He said over a year ago, God changed his life. He felt as if God was putting pressure on him to tell the truth and confess to the murder. 

"I knew the Lord was just on me, weighing on me over and over," Holmes said. 

"I’m 30-years-old, and I’ve been fighting for nothing all my life. I’ve been fighting for gangs. … I ain’t never fought for anything that made sense. But I knew the Lord was telling me to fight for him this time. I just knew he was stirring on my spirit." 

"Momma, you know I love you," Holmes said to his mother. "But Momma, I promise you, your baby boy, he’s going to serve the Lord forever."

Holmes recounted his flashy lifestyle to the court. He had money — lots of it — designer goods and expensive cars. Now he plans to tell all the young people he meets in prison about finding salvation through Christ, not cash or luxuries. 

"My consequences deserve a life sentence," he said. 

 

The Lord wants us to take responsibility for our sins, confess them, and turn away from them. Today in prayer, repent of any sin in your life and seek to follow Christ in all that you do.

 

“One of the most fundamental marks of true repentance is a disposition to see our sins as God sees them.” – Charles Simeon

 

God’s Word: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” – Acts 3:19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - You Need To Rest
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 11, 2019
Devotional - You Need To Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

 

W. Phillip Keller was the son of missionary parents in Kenya. He wrote more than thirty-five books on Christian subjects, including his most popular book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.”

In his book “As a Tree Grows”, Keller points out that in northern climates the dormant phase is in the winter, and in the tropical regions it is during the hot, dry season. “It is important to understand," says Keller, that dormancy is not death. A tree may appear to be dead, it is true. The leaves of deciduous trees will be all stripped off in the fall, leaving a stark skeleton. The tree is nevertheless very much alive—but at rest.”

He added that this dormancy is immediately followed by a period of active growth. The dormant phase is a rebuilding and reconditioning for the upsurge of vigorous activity ahead.

 

Are you tired, needing rest? Today in prayer, come to Jesus and you will find rest in Him.

 

“Work a modest day then step back and rest. This will keep you close to God.” – William C. Martin

 

God’s Word: “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” – Psalm 62:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Pray For Those Who Are Persecuted
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 10, 2019
Devotional - Pray For Those Who Are Persecuted

“All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” – Matthew 10:22-23

 

On November 3, 2019, a mob of more than 200 radical Hindu nationalists attacked Pastor Tukaram’s independent church in the district of Bagalkot, located in India’s Karnataka State. As a result, Pastor Tukaram was hospitalized with serious injuries to his eyes. Now that he is out of the hospital, Pastor Tukaram is still trying to put together the pieces of his life and ministry.

Recalling the November attack, Pastor Tukaram said, “An aggressive crowd of nearly 15 radicals climbed up the stairs to the second floor where more than 100 Christians were worshipping. They broke into the worship hall and without a word they started to beat everyone in the congregation.”

“The radicals then dragged me down the stairs where a large crowd of over 200 were waiting for me,” Pastor Tukaram continued. “Again, I was beaten brutally.”

Police soon arrived on the scene and took Pastor Tukaram and several other Christians into custody. The Christians were taken to the police station and denied necessary medical treatment.

“All of the sudden, my life, family, and church were broken into pieces,” said Pastor Chavan, age 32. “It was hard to take. I was not expecting that something of this sort would take place. However, I remember the commitment I made to God when I came to full-time ministry. I counted the costs of serving the Lord and know that He will lead me through these challenges.”

 

Many Christians in today’s world are being persecuted. Today in prayer, pray for Christians in Indonesia who face persecution daily.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Mark 13:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Pray For Workers
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 9, 2019
Devotional - Pray For Workers

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” – Matthew 9:37-38

 

In 2008, Pastor Rob Wilton and his wife, Annabeth, started a bible study in their home that would become Vintage Church of New Orleans. That church family multiplied all over the New Orleans region.

In 2018, the Wiltons heard the Lord call them to Pittsburgh. “There’s more than 2 million people, and the gospel hasn’t reached most of them,” Rob said. He has found that starting churches in Pittsburgh much harder than in New Orleans.

Rob went to Pittsburgh— not just to plant a church—but to reach the city by inspiring planters to work together.

“I’m planting a church in southwest Pittsburgh. Our new church has united with existing plants to recruit, train and send new planters. As one team, we’re already seeing how God is making us stronger together,” said Rob.

 

The Lord also desires to have everyone know that Jesus loves them. Today in prayer, pray to the Lord that He will raise up more workers to share His Gospel and ask how you can help.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Luke 10:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Put It In God's Hands
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 8, 2019
Devotional - Put It In God's Hands

“When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” – Matthew 8:10

 

In 1956, Keith Thibodeaux auditioned for Lucille Ball and the crew at the “I Love Lucy” show. At the time, Keith was just a small 4-year-old boy, but he went in and did what he loved – he played the drums. Such a small boy with a huge musical talent quickly caught the eye of musician and actor, Desi Arnaz. After an impromptu jam session, Desi said, “I think we’ve found Little Ricky!”

Keith’s life changed forever. For four years, he played “Little Ricky” and then went on to the Andy Griffith Show where he played Opie’s friend, Johnny.

After the family moved to Hollywood to follow Keith’s television career, he began to ask his father “Why did God pick me?” He wondered the purpose of his acting career might be. But his dad offered important advice that stuck with him “God’s got a purpose for you”.

Sadly, adultery, drugs, demons, and suicidal thoughts pulled him further and further from God. That’s when Keith talked to God. He agreed that if God could pull him out of the mess he was in that he would serve Him. He went to church with his mother and gave his life to Jesus Christ.

Today Keith and his wife work in the medium of the creative arts to reach others for Christ.

 

In all that you do, exercise your faith in Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you faith in all that you do and to rest in Him. 

 

“Faith is seeing the invisible, but not the nonexistent.” – A.W. Tozer

 

God’s Word: “Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” – Matthew 15:28

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Lord Answers Prayer
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Dec 5, 2019
Devotional - The Lord Answers Prayer

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:6-7

 

Dennis and Marcia Newkirk spent 43 years as the lead pastors of three churches, culminating in 25 years at Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. While at Henderson Hills, Maria contracted Eosinophilic Gastritis. After three years, she was near death. Marcia had lost a significant amount of her body weight and doctors could find no medical solution. They had only succeeded in finding medications that helped some but worsened her condition.

Finally, after exhausting all local options, the couple made an appointment for her to be seen at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. Dennis explained the problem to the church as they set off for Minnesota. The church prayed corporately for her and in many small groups.

Something strange occurred the night before Marcia’s first appointment; she awakened and said she was in absolutely no pain, for the first time in three years. She ate a little breakfast without pain. The doctors performed extensive tests and proved the disease that was destroying her life was healed. They had no explanation other than it was a miracle.

 

Jesus does answer our prayers! Today in prayer, bring before Him your needs, worries and cares and be confident that He will answer them.

 

“The whole canon of Bible teaching is to illustrate the great truth that God hears and answers prayer.” – E.M. Bounds

 

God’s Word: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Do Not Worry
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Dec 4, 2019
Devotional - Do Not Worry

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” – Matthew 6:25

 

In 1938 Russell and Darlene Deibler traveled to Indonesia as missionaries. They were the first missionaries to enter that region and bring the gospel to the Kapakau tribe.

In 1942, Russell was taken by the Japanese military to an internment camp for men at Pare Pare, north of Makassar. There he held Bible studies and ministered in various ways to the other prisoners. At the young age of thirty-seven, Russell Deibler died of dysentery on August 29, 1943. 

The evening that Russell was taken captive, Darlene found comfort in her devotional time. The reading for that evening said:

“O my God, my soul is cast down within me… Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee… Cast thy burden upon the Lord.” (Psalm 42:6, Isaiah 26:3, Psalm 55:22)

 

Nothing surprises the Lord. Everything is working together for His glory. Today in prayer, put all your worry in Jesus' hands and trust in Him.  

 

“Stop thinking about your difficulties, whatever they are, and start thinking about God instead.” – Emmett Fox

 

God’s Word: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Be Reconciled To One Another
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Dec 3, 2019
Devotional - Be Reconciled To One Another

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24

 

The classic children’s TV series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” starring a soft-spoken Presbyterian minister named Fred Roger, ran 1968 and 2001.

In 1998, Lloyd Vogel, an award-winning Esquire Magazine journalist, was assigned to interview Fred Rogers for a 400-word article about heroes. Lloyd traveled to Pittsburgh to interview Fred and through the next few weeks, the two become friends. During this time, Fred learned that Lloyd was estranged from his father. His father had left Lloyd and his mother once Lloyd’s mother had contracted cancer.

During the next few weeks, Fred encouraged Lloyd to overcome his past hurt and reconcile with his father. It wasn’t until Lloyd learned about his father’s heart attack that he was able to take the necessary steps of reconciliation with his father. The wonderful story is recounted in the movie, "A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood". 

 

Are you estranged from anyone?  Today in prayer, take the first steps of reconciliation. Confess any sin to the Lord, forgive any wrongs that others have done to you, and seek to have restored relationships that are centered on Jesus Christ.

 

“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: “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:19

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - Resist When Tempted
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Dec 2, 2019
Devotional - Resist When Tempted

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

 

Francois described himself: “As a kid,” he flatly stated, “I was a sugarholic and a junk food junkie! It made me weak and it made me mean. It made me so sick I had boils, pimples and suffered from nearsightedness. Little girls used to beat me up. My mom prayed… the Church prayed.”

He constantly fell to the temptation of laziness and junk food. But he "turned his life around" after listening to a public lecture about the benefits of good nutrition by health food pioneer Paul Bragg. He was able to resist the temptation to eat poorly and to be lazy. He began eating whole foods and drinking juices. He started a regime of exercise.

Soon Francois and others started noticing a difference.

He opened the country's first modern health club in Oakland, California, in 1936 at the young age of 21. He worked with a blacksmith to create many of the weight machines that you see in your neighborhood gym today.

In 1951, as television began, he started a health and fitness show. He changed his name to Jack. His television show ran for 34 years and today Jack LaLanne is remembered as an American fitness, exercise, and nutrition pioneer.

 

We each face temptations, but through Jesus can we overcome any temptation. Today in prayer, pray that Jesus would lead you away from all temptation so that you may walk with Him.

 

“If you're losing the battle against a persistent bad habit, an addiction, or a temptation, and you're stuck in a repeating cycle of good intention-failure-guilt, you will not get better on your own. You need the help of other people. Some temptations are only overcome with the help of a partner who prays for you, encourages you, and holds you accountable.” - Rick Warren

 

God’s Word: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

Devotional - The Promised Son
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Dec 1, 2019
Devotional - The Promised Son

“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.” – Matthew 1:17

 

In early 2019, Linda Greco took a DNA test to connect with new relatives online. While commenting on her Facebook post, Linda noticed that a newfound relative had also commented. The two women quickly realized they each had a family member in the New York City Police Department. Then they discovered that both their relatives were in the 19th Precinct.

With more ancestry research it was found that Officer Harley Greco, Linda’s grandson, and Officer Tyler Barbour, who work as Harley’s partner, are cousins. Their great-great-grandmothers were sisters. Barbour and Greco had served alongside each other for half a year before the discovery.

The 19th Precinct shared the story of the unexpected family tie on Twitter.

“They just took a DNA test, turns out they’re 100% --related!” the post wrote.

The discovery came just in time for Thanksgiving, giving new meaning to the concept of a “big blue family.”

 

Though some people have an interesting family tree, only Jesus is the son of Abraham and the son of David. Jesus Christ is the Promised Son. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that He became a man, just as our Heavenly Father promised.

 

“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.” – C.S. Lewis

 

God’s Word: “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli … the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” – Luke 3:23, 38

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2019, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN MATTHEW

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