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Series: Devotions In Acts
Devotional - Eagerly Study The Bible
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 17, 2017
Devotional - Eagerly Study The Bible

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

 

Reverend Peter (Pete) Van Deison was the minister at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas. He told about a friend who visited New York City and got lost among the maze of streets. So he took an elevator up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building and looked out over the city. He carefully noted prominent buildings, landmarks, and major streets. Having them firmly fixed in his mind, he said to a friend, "Now I understand where we are and where I want to go." Pete commented, "He went back down to the busy streets and never got lost again. He finally understood where to go because he got an overview of the city."

To understand where we are going in life, we need to view life from above. We need God’s perspective. By studying the Bible, we can understand where we are and where the Lord wants us to go.

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

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - How To Be Saved
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 16, 2017
Devotional - How To Be Saved

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

 

Dana Candillo grew up in Independence, Missouri, where she lived in poverty. Her mom was a teenage drug addict and alcoholic, and her father was a convict. She felt no one cared. Then at age 8, she was sexually abused by an acquaintance of her mom’s. 

“(I was) just shattered; total brokenness. I felt like something was wrong with me.”

But that only deepened her need to be loved and accepted. By age 12 she found it through partying, drinking and using drugs.  

“I’m searching anywhere for love, for attention, for someone just to notice that I existed or to care.”

By age 17, Dana began working in a strip club in Nebraska. Her first night on stage led to 7-and-a-half years in the industry. 

“You feel like it’s glamorous and this attention is on you. And the money, when someone is laying down $100 bills at your feet, how do you say no to that? It’s like a drug. It turns into an addiction.”  

She later married and had a baby. But the marriage ended in divorce and Dana, now a single mom, had to keep dancing to make ends meet.

 “I was probably in the deepest, lowest part of my life at that point. I started thinking, ‘I have a 4 year old daughter. What if I’m her role model? What if she decided to follow in my footsteps?’ And that set off this reign of terror in me”

One day she got a call from her mother. She had become a Christian and invited Dana to church. Dana went to church and realized that something was different in her mother’s life.

The next Sunday Dana went back to the church. “I went straight to the altar and fully surrendered my life, and my life has never been the same again.”

“I cried out to God and said, ‘Please help me. If You are real, please come in and invade me. Invade my life. Invade my heart. Show me what to do and I will do it.’”

“I felt this real, authentic encounter with Him. It created this drive and this passion to change. He says. ‘I am your Father. You’re not fatherless.’” 

For the first time, Dana felt loved. She never returned to the stage, and went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in science and became a registered nurse. Today she works in fulltime ministry and is married to Rocky, a youth pastor.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Living By Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 15, 2017
Devotional - Living By Faith

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

 

Lauren Ashley McCain asked her mom about accepting Jesus when she was three-years-old. From that moment on Lauren had a passionate love for the Lord that shaped her young life. 

When the students at Virginia Tech headed out to class on the morning of April 16, 2007, no one could have predicted what lay ahead; that a disturbed student, Seung-Hui Cho, would methodically kill Lauren and 31 of her classmates before he turned the gun on himself.

At freshmen orientation, when asked what mark she wanted to leave upon her campus and the world, Lauren exclaimed, “I want everyone to know I love Jesus!” 

Lauren left a powerful statement about her faith on her personal web site. The 20-year-old had written, “The purpose and love of my life is Jesus Christ. I don’t have to argue religion, philosophy, or historical evidence because I KNOW Him.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Hardship And Trials
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 14, 2017
Devotional - Hardship And Trials

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

 

Maria Dyer was born in 1837 on the mission field in China where her parents were pioneer missionaries. Her life was marked by hardship and trials. Her father died when she was six years old. Her mother died when she was 10, and she was sent back to England to be raised by an uncle. The loss of her parents, however, did not deter her young heart from the importance of sharing the gospel. At age sixteen she, along with her sister, returned to China to work in a girl’s school as a missionary herself. Five years later, she married Hudson Taylor, a man well known today for his life of ministry, faith, and sacrifice.

After several years on the mission field, the Taylors went to England because of Hudson’s poor health. Their return trip to China was four-month voyage. On the trip, the ship was nearly sunk but survived 2 typhoons.

Hudson and Maria’s work was often criticized—even by other Christians. At one point Maria wrote, “As to the harsh judgings of the world, or the more painful misunderstandings of Christian brethren, I generally feel that the best plan is to go on with our work and leave God to vindicate our cause.” Of their nine children, only four survived to adulthood. Maria herself died of cholera when she was just forty-three. But she believed the cause was worthy of the sacrifice. On her grave marker these words were inscribed: “For her to live was Christ, and to die was gain.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Jesus Changes Hearts
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 13, 2017
Devotional - Jesus Changes Hearts

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

 

Cody Huff came from an abusive family and he ran away at 13 years old. He spent much of his teen years in and out of jail. Then after dropping out of high school he moved to Monterey, California where he lived with a group of hippies.

He also began taking drugs and soon he started dealing cocaine.

“I could go out and buy anything that I wanted to buy but that’s not happiness you know, it only makes you happy for a minute,” he said.

Over the next 27 years Cody spent a lot of time in jail. He also developed an addiction to heroin.

Hoping a change of scenery would help him break the cycle of addiction; Cody moved to Las Vegas and stopped using. But it wasn’t long before he discovered crack cocaine and he ended up living on the streets.

It had been almost a year when another homeless man told him about a church where he could get free food and a hot shower. There, Cody met one of the church’s members, Michele.

Michele said, “He came into the room that we were in when we have our Bible study.”

Cody said, “She said, ‘Cody, you look like you need a hug.’  And I said, ‘Oh no, don't come near me, I smell too bad.’  And she says, ‘No, you don't smell.’  And she hugged me.”

Michele replied, “And I said, ‘Well, you know, Jesus loves you.’”

Cody responded, “And I saw the love of Christ in her eyes that it was – it was complete total honesty, along with complete total love.”

As Cody started going to the church he was accepted with open arms.

“They didn't treat me like I was nobody.  They didn't treat me like I didn't matter.  They showed me love.  They showed me grace.  They showed me mercy.”

Today Cody is a pastor ministering to the homeless in Las Vegas.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

 

Devotional - Light To Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 10, 2017
Devotional - Light To Others

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

 

George Lisle was born into slavery in Virginia in 1752. As a boy he was taken to Georgia. His master Henry Sharp, who was a Baptist and a loyalist to England, freed him before the American Revolution began.

George became a Christian in 1777 and he worshiped in a white church for four years until loyalists were evacuated from Savannah to Britain. His former master Henry Sharp was a deacon in the church and he encouraged George in his preaching to slaves. He spent two years preaching to slaves on plantations along the Savannah River in Georgia and South Carolina. 

In 1782, he left for Jamaica, becoming the first American missionary. He preached at the racecourse at Kingston, where the novelty of a black itinerant ex-slave preacher attracted considerable attention.

Seven years later he’d baptized 500 believers. It is said that by 1814, George’s efforts produced about 8,000 Christians in Jamaica, earning him the name “Negro slavery’s prophet of deliverance.” 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Called To Serve
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 9, 2017
Devotional - Called To Serve

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

 

Christian poet Belinda van Rensburg has written the following poem entitled:

“Called to Serve”

 

“We've been called by God to serve

Whether or not we have the nerve,

For He promised to be there

To help us if we do our share.

 

Protected by the Lord Above

And filled with zeal and holy love,

We need to be obedient; trust

To do what we feel sure we must.

 

Enabled by the Holy Ghost;

Surrounded by angelic host -

God has supplied our every need

So that we might excel; exceed.

 

He gave us gifts for a good reason:

That we might in or out of season

Share the Word of God with others;

Future pastors, sisters, brothers.

 

Serving, helping, praying, preaching,

healing, warning, giving, teaching:

Doing all we need to do

Without expecting one ‘Thank you.’”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Prayed For The Imprisoned
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 8, 2017
Devotional - Prayed For The Imprisoned

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

 

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was once the popular governor of Jakarta. He is a Christian and in 2016 he ran for re-election. During a campaign speech, he made a reference to the Koran. An adversary video recorded the speech and edited out one word that changed the meaning of Basuki’s speech. This adversary then uploaded the video to the Internet.

The Muslim-majority in Indonesia was insulted by the video. Basuki not only lost the election, he was tried for blasphemy. Though Bakuki denied the blasphemy allegation he did apologize for any hurtful comments.

In May 2017, the Indonesian court found him guilty of blasphemy and he was sentenced to two years in prison.

Christians in Indonesia and throughout the world began to pray for him.

“We need to pray for the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama, who is on trial for what Muslims are calling blasphemy, which is ridiculous,” wrote Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham.  “He's the first non-Muslim governor of the Indonesian capital in more than half a century. They're coming after him because he's a Christian.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - The Proud Name To Bear
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Aug 7, 2017
Devotional - The Proud Name To Bear

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

 

In October 2016, 20-year-old Ukrainian Olexander Turin changed his name to

“iPhone Sim” (sim is seven in Ukrainian) to win the phone for free. Paying just around $2 to legally change his name in Ukraine, Sim avoided the hefty price of the iPhone 7 in Ukraine, about $850 USD.

The store offered a free device to the first five people to change their name, with Sim acting fast to become one of the five winners.

Sim said that while he plans to keep the name for the time being, he might consider changing it back to his birth name when he has children.

Tetyana Panina, Sim’s sister, said: “it was difficult to accept that and hard to believe it’s true. Each person in this world is looking for a way to express himself. Why not to do that in this way?”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Do Not Show Favoritism
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Aug 6, 2017
Devotional - Do Not Show Favoritism

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

 

Nat King Cole was a successful recording artist and the first African American to host his own national television program. In 1948, he purchased a beautiful home in the exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood of Hancock Park.

Nat and his family were breaking new ground as the first black people to live there. Their arrival sparked a storm of protest, beginning with a legal battle by the Hancock Park Property Owners Association to try to prevent him from buying the house. When that did not work, the association tried to buy the house from the star. And months of abuse followed, in which his dog was poisoned and racial insults burnt into his lawn.

When the local neighborhood association confronted him and informed him it didn’t want any undesirables to move in, Nat responded, “Neither do I. If I see any coming in here, I’ll be the first to complain.” He lived in that house until his death in 1965.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail    

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Visions Of The Lord
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Aug 3, 2017
Devotional - Visions Of The Lord

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

 

At 13, Ron Zaucha started using drugs. By 15, he was dealing. For the next 20 years, he was involved in the drug trade in Southern California. Then in the early 1990’s he finally got arrested and served time in Los Angeles County jail.

As Ron sat in the county jail waiting for his court date, something amazing happened.

 “I had a vision there in jail of Jesus Christ. He appeared to me as real as you are and finally spoke. I said, ‘What do You want?' And He said, ‘You.' I says, 'You can’t want someone like me. I’ve done all these things. Hurt all these people. Done all this stuff in my life.' And He said, 'I came for people like you.' When that happened, I knew I needed to change my life."

That night Ron called his mother and grandmother who bailed him out of jail. The first thing he asked for was to be taken to church. It was Easter Sunday and he gave his life to the Lord. After serving time, Ron was released and he became an ordained minister.

Today Ron shares the love and hope of Jesus Christ to both men and women incarcerated.   

 

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

 

"If you’re wondering if God speaks to us through dreams and visions, the answer is yes." - Lesli White

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Miraculous Answer To Prayer
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 2, 2017
Devotional - Miraculous Answer To Prayer

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

 

On October 19, 1997, eight-year old Landon Whitley was in the backseat of his parent’s Pontiac car, riding home from church with his mom and dad.

Suddenly, an ambulance ran a red light and hit their car on the side. Landon’s father died in the accident, his mother Julie was stabilized and taken to a local hospital. When they pulled Landon out from the back of the car, he was not breathing. Emergency personnel started working on him right away to bring him back.”

Landon was resuscitated and life-flighted to Carolina’s Medical Center. He died two more times that day and both times he was he was brought back to life. Doctors didn’t give Julie much hope for his survival. Julie prayed “as hard to Him as I’ve ever prayed in my life for Landon to live.”

She said: “They told me that if he lived, which did not look good, but that if he lived, that he would be like an 8-year-old baby. That he would not know how to walk or talk or to eat because of all the brain damage. I was so desperate that that was okay. I would take that just to have him.  He was all that I had.”

Landon said he vividly remembers going to heaven each time he died. Seeing “streets of gold” as well as Jesus, angels, his father and even two family members he never knew about.

“My mom had two miscarriages before me that I had never known about, never heard about,” he said. “I was able to see them.”

Landon has 23 metal plates in his head, his nose is reconstructed out of the back of his skull and he can’t see out of his left eye – but today, he lives mostly a normal life and gives thanks to God for his experience.

 

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

 

“There are parts of our calling, works of the Holy Spirit, and defeats of the darkness that will come no other way than through furious, fervent, faith-filled, unceasing prayer.” - Beth Moore

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Helping The Poor
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Aug 1, 2017
Devotional - Helping The Poor

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

 

When World War II began, Abbe Pierre was a Catholic priest in France. In 1942, he joined the resistance and helped to hide Jewish members of the community from the Nazi’s and Vichy police. Eventually, he was arrested, but he managed to escape and he fled to North Africa to join the free French led by Charles de Gaulle.

Following the war, he worked for different charities. Then in 1954 he made an impassioned radio broadcast on behalf of the homeless. His words touched a chord with the French public he said:

"My friends, come help... A woman froze to death tonight at 3:00 AM, on the pavement of Sebastopol Boulevard, clutching the eviction notice which the day before had made her homeless... Each night, more than two thousand endure the cold, without food, without bread, more than one almost naked. To face this horror, emergency lodgings are not enough.”

Abbe became the unofficial spokesman for the homeless. For the next 53 years, Abbe worked tirelessly to help the poor and homeless of France.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - We All Need Close Friends
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 31, 2017
Devotional - We All Need Close Friends

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

 

Dr. Robin Dunbar is a British anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist and a specialist in primate behavior at the University of Oxford. He is best known for formulating Dunbar's number, a measurement of the "cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships."

He decided to put the question: “How many of your Facebook friends are real friends? In other words, how many of your online friends would help if you were in trouble?”

Citing a "dramatic revolution in our social world," he wondered if the size of your social media network had any correlation to having more friends in real life.

The average number of Facebook friends possessed by people was around 150. But, out of those 150, only 28, on average, we recognized as low-level "friends." But when participants were asked how many of those friends would help out in a time of need, emotional distress, or other crisis, the average answer was four. Around 14 would at least express sympathy.

We might have 150 or even 5,000 Facebook friends, but our true relationship with the majority of these people is essentially insignificant.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Share The Good News
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 30, 2017
Devotional - Share The Good News

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

 

Paul Sohn is a Christian leadership coach, best-selling author, and speaker.

He has developed a helpful illustration:

“for complacent seekers and nominal church-goers to understand that it’s not enough to merely believe the right things about God or to just attend church.

Doing these things is like studying the science of aviation and then hanging around in airports. You can learn all about the physics of flight, know which airlines have the safest record, pick the best craft to fly in, reserve your flight, drive to the airport, go to the gate, double check the cockpit crew’s credentials. But it does no good unless you get on the plane. 

Knowledge alone won’t get you anywhere. You have to act on what you know. You have to climb aboard the airplane, trusting it’ll take you where you want to go. Similarly, it’s not enough to know all about Christianity. You can study until you’re the expert, go to church, even get involved in ministry, and not have a relationship with Christ. You finally have to take a step of faith and ‘get on board’ by receiving the forgiveness He purchased on the cross and entrusting your life and future to Him. What’s what it means to become a real Christian.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - When Persecution Strikes
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 27, 2017
Devotional - When Persecution Strikes

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

 

Eritrea has been called the “North Korea of Africa” because of its persecution of Christians.

Letay was a nurse in a military prison in the desert city of Assab, Eritrea. When she saw how her Christian brothers were suffering in prison, because of their faith in Jesus, she and another nurse were moved to help. She provided money, clothing and food to some of the prisoners. But when the guards found the money on the prisoners, they were able to trace it to Letay.

As a result, Letay spent the next six months in a hot prison. As a result of her time in prison, Letay said she no longer fears of what might happen to her. She was warned, on her release, to stop reading the Bible and meeting with other Evangelicals. She also doesn't have a job now.

She said, “I know I have to obey the authorities, as I read in the Bible, but there is a limit. Since this concerns my faith, I have to follow Jesus Christ and have fellowship with my Christian brothers and sisters.”

 

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

 

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

 

God’s Word: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Forgiving Your Enemies
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 26, 2017
Devotional - Forgiving Your Enemies

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

 

In April 2017, Robert Godwin Sr. was walking home after having Easter dinner. The 74-year old retired foundry worker from Cleveland met a stranger along the way.

The stranger pulled out a gun and killed Robert. Robert left behind 10 children and 14 grandchildren.

Robert’s daughter Tonya, speaking for her siblings, said: “The thing that I would take away the most from my father is he taught us about God ... how to fear God, how to love God, and how to forgive. Each one of us forgives the killer.”

Tonya credited her faith with keeping her strong.

“It's just what our parents taught us. They didn't talk it, they lived it. Neighbors would do things to us, and we would say, ‘Dad, are we going to forgive them really?’ And he would say, ‘Yes, we have to.’”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Give Your Attention To Prayer
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 25, 2017
Devotional - Give Your Attention To Prayer

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

 

It was on a cold, rainy Thanksgiving Eve in 1955, R. R. Schwambach, the 29 year-old pastor of Bethel Tabernacle Church in Evansville, Indiana picked up the receiver and recorded his first Dial-a-Prayer. Hooked up to his old rotary dial phone was a grey, typewriter-sized recording machine rented from Indiana Bell.

The prayer lasted just 43 seconds. There were no giveaways for a write-in donation tacked on at the close, no solicitation of funds. The idealistic young minister just wanted was to provide for anyone who desired it a free, 24/7 prayer of encouragement, compassion and hope.

The Evansville Courier ran a feature story about this novel use of the telephone, explaining that those feeling the need for comfort and inspiration could call at any hour, day or night.

Dial-a-Prayer quickly became so popular that the phone company reported a backlog of some 5,000 calls and ordered the church to install two additional lines. Pastor Schwambach continued to minister at Dial-a-Prayer long after he left the pulpit. 

As of today, more than five million calls that have been placed to Dial-a-Prayer.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Be Wise In All That You Do
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 24, 2017
Devotional - Be Wise In All That You Do

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

 

British businessman Roger Darlington wrote about wisdom he learned from a carpenter:

“The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. Upon opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His tan face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. ‘Oh, that's my trouble tree’, he replied. ‘I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again. Funny thing is,’ he smiled, ‘when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.’”

 

In all that you do, practice God’s wisdom. Today in prayer, pray that you would be a person of the Lord, full of His wisdom.

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Obeying God Rather Than Men
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 23, 2017
Devotional - Obeying God Rather Than Men

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

 

In 1956, persecution against Christians began to escalate in Romania. Lieutenant Dumitru Dumitru was given orders to search every ship coming into the Constanta harbor at the Black Sea.  If he should find bibles, he was to confiscate them and arrest whoever was responsible for bringing them into the country.

One morning as he and eight of his men were searching a ship, Dumitru discovered a large number of bibles.  He was overjoyed at finding the bibles knowing that this would bring an advance in rank.

While questioning the man who was responsible for bringing the bibles, Dumitru had his first personal encounter with the power of God.  He heard a voice telling him to help the man unload the bibles and cause him no harm.  When the voice persisted, Dumitru obeyed and helped the missionary to the fullest.

For two years Dumitru remained on the Black Sea helping missionaries that came through. The future seemed very bright for Dumitru, until the Communist government of Romania passed a law that would change his life forever.  They ordered that all soldiers in the Romanian army who are Christians or who came from Christian homes to be dismissed immediately.

At age twenty-four, angry and disappointed, Dumitru returned home and he became a pastor.

In 1973 Dumitru began smuggling large quantities of Bibles over the Russian border.  He had established many connections with outside missionaries who supplied him with bibles.  Through many miraculous occurrences, God continually protected Dumitru. In less than six years, Dumitru smuggled more than 300,000 bibles into Romania.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Avoid Deceit
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 20, 2017
Devotional - Avoid Deceit

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

 

In July 2016, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia pulled Sandra Bland over for failure to signal a lane change. The encounter quickly turned aggressive when Officer Encina arrested Bland following her refusal to put out a cigarette.

There was a video camera in Officer Encinia’s vehicle recording the incident.

In the video, Officer Encinia is shown pointing a Taser at Sandra Bland and yelling, “I will light you up!” after pulling her. Encinia claimed in his police report that Bland had assaulted him by swinging her elbows at him and kicking him in the shin. In the video, she does not physically assault him. In fact, Sandra tells him that she had epilepsy and that he knocked her head into the ground.

“Encinia violated protocol, acted unprofessionally and allowed the interaction to escalate quickly,”Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw said. “We require professional courtesy and display at all times, and clearly he did not do it in that situation.”

Officer Encinia was indicted by a grand jury for perjury based on the lies he told in his police report.

 

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

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Encourage Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 19, 2017
Devotional - Encourage Others

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

 

Vince Lombardi was one of football's most accomplished and respected coaches. He was the embodiment of hard work and encouragement to his players.

In 1958, the Green Bay Packers, which had five future Hall of Famers playing on the team, finished with a record of 1–10–1, the worst in Packer history. The players were dispirited, the Packer shareholders were disheartened, and the Green Bay community was enraged. The angst in Green Bay extended to the NFL as a whole, as the financial viability and the very existence of the Green Bay Packer franchise were in jeopardy. On February 2, 1959, Vince Lombardi accepted the position of head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers.

Lombardi created punishing training regimens and expected absolute dedication and effort from his players. The 1959 Packers were an immediate improvement, finishing at 7–5. Rookie head coach Lombardi was named Coach of the Year. He never had a losing season as a head coach in professional football, compiling a regular season winning percentage of 72.8%.

Lombardi encouraged others saying: “When we place our dependence in God, we are unencumbered, and we have no worry. In fact, we may even be reckless, insofar as our part in the production is concerned. This confidence, this sureness of action, is both contagious and an aid to the perfect action. The rest is in the hands of God – and this is the same God, gentlemen, who has won all His battles up to now.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Share With One Another
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 18, 2017
Devotional - Share With One Another

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

 

Pastor Dick Wulf in an article entitled “Share with One Another,” wrote the following:

“Biblical sharing is active, not passive.  Passive is when we are willing to share something if someone asks for it.  If a person’s power lawnmower stops working and it will take two weeks for it to be repaired, if that person comes to one of us and asks to borrow our lawnmower, that is passive sharing.  It is helpful but not much out of the ordinary.  However, if we hear that someone in our Christian Inner Circle has a broken lawnmower and we call to offer the use of ours, that is active sharing.  Active sharing is unusual in our culture and happens only occasionally, but it should be a normal thing in the kingdom of God.”

Pastor Wulf then gave an example from his own life:

“At least 35 years ago before there were personal computers, I instituted in our church of about 200 members what we called “Project Share”.  Circulating quite an extensive list from a Sears catalog index, we asked willing church members to check those things they owned that they were willing to share.  People could call up one another and borrow all sorts of things.  I remember borrowing a post-hole digger. How many post-hole diggers does a church of 200 need?  Rugged individualists would think they need to own one, so by that standard our church needed about 25 of them.  At $40 each, that would cost a thousand dollars.  However, the one digger owned by one member was good enough for our whole church, and those with more than adequate financial resources could give the saved money to our Missions Fund. It is natural for family members to borrow things from one another.  Therefore, it is just a small jump for Christian friendships to do so also.”

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - We Cannot Help Speaking
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 17, 2017
Devotional - We Cannot Help Speaking

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

 

In 1979, Peter Pretorious was a wealthy South African farmer living the “good life”. But his perspective changed when his father suffered two serious heart attacks in one hour. While breathing machines kept his father alive in intensive care, Peter remembered a healing he had seen at an Oral Roberts meeting 17 years earlier.

When Peter phoned a local pastor for help, the pastor came to the hospital and prayed for Peter's father who was miraculously healed. A few weeks later the same pastor shared the Gospel with Peter and his wife. The couple both accepted Christ. Three weeks after committing his life to Jesus, Peter started a church on his tobacco farm for his laborers.

In 1982, Peter founded Jesus Alive Ministries to spread the Gospel throughout Southern Africa and the rest of the world. Over the years, more than 11 million people have accepted Jesus through Jesus Alive Ministries.

Peter regularly proclaims: “All power, in the heaven and earth, is His.”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Completely Turn Away From Sin
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 16, 2017
Devotional - Completely Turn Away From Sin

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

 

Celestiano Delacruz was 20 years old and barely scratching out a living on the lean streets of Matamoros, Mexico, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. Then he was recruited to sell cocaine.

“I was really glad, thought it was a great opportunity. Of course I accepted. I felt it was my lucky day,” he said.

“I lived real well, had everything I wanted, a nice house, nice truck, a good wife, and lots of women. I wanted to be outstanding among my compadres, and I was. They looked up to me. I made a name for myself.”

But Celestiano became addicted to cocaine and was thrown into prison. Once he was released, he began using more cocaine than he sold. It didn't take long for his boss to catch on.

"One day, five guys grabbed me from a bar and took me out into the country to this ranch,” he said. They tortured him and then Celestiano did something he hadn’t done in a long time. He prayed. He said he hadn't prayed in years, even though his father had been a pastor and he knew the gospel.

"I started praying then, like I'd never prayed before. I asked God to protect my wife and my children because I knew I was going to die."

His compadres suddenly let him go and told him never to come back to Mexico. He went to Texas.

After a few months someone invited him to church.

"I rededicated my life to God, quit drugs for good, and have been serving the Lord ever since – for about the last eight years. I used to run with gangs, now I run with Jesus. I used to be a drug dealer, now I'm a pastor for Christ."

Today Pastor Celestiano holds church services and Bible studies on his patio in the rough, rural neighborhood where he lives near the border. He leads gang members and drug dealers to Jesus.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Give Jesus The Glory
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 13, 2017
Devotional - Give Jesus The Glory

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

 

Mitchell Paige was a sergeant in charge of a platoon of machine gunners at Guadalcanal during World War II. There was little opposition as they stormed the beaches, but only days later Sergeant Paige and the 32 men in his platoon faced an enemy attack led by Japanese troops numbering almost 3,000. When the fighting ended, Paige was the only one in his platoon still standing.

He had continued the barrage even as each soldier around him fell. A soldier found him the next morning with a small Bible open to Proverbs 3:5, remembering his mother's guidance of six years earlier: "Son, all I want you to do is trust in God. Don't try to figure everything out and God will show you the way."

Sergeant Paige received the Medal of Honor for his valor.

"I know that the Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award that can be bestowed on any American fighting man," Sergeant Paige said. "But the greatest honor of all is to know in your heart that you have talked to God and asked God to take over the throne of your life. And that's what I've done."

 

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

 

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

 

God’s Word: “Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!” – Psalm 66:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Adding To Their Number
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 12, 2017
Devotional - Adding To Their Number

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

 

One country that is seeing rapid church growth is Iran.  In 1979, persecution threatened to wipe out Iran’s tiny church of 500 Christians. Instead, the church in Iran has become the fastest growing in the world, and it is influencing the region for Christ.

David Yeghnazar, Elam Ministries’ executive director said: "Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Christians from a Muslim background. Some church leaders put the number at closer to 1 million."

Most Christians worship in small house churches where only 8-12 believers meet together. But the Iranian church has been faithful and bold to share the Gospel, despite persecution. The Holy Spirit is working through dreams, miracles and other wonders to bring men and women to Christ.

At a growth rate around 20% each year Christianity is growing faster in Iran than anywhere else.

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Devoted To Fellowship
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 11, 2017
Devotional - Devoted To Fellowship

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

 

Dr. Marvin A. McMickle is the president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Pastor McMickle in article entitled “Facts about Christian Fellowship,” he writes the following: “Fellowship is not defined solely by the times we eat together or laugh together at a social occasion. Fellowship is also built and strengthened in those painful moments when we find someone in the church with whom we can pray and share together about our children, our careers, our pains, our sorrows, our hopes and our fears. Fellowship occurs when you visit with someone who is in the hospital, or call someone who is confined, or send a card to someone who is going through a difficult time in their lives. It does not matter if you and I attend service every Sunday morning; if we are not sharing in the social and the service activities of the church we are simply ‘bowling alone.’”

 

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

 

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

 

God’s Word: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Our Need To Repent
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 10, 2017
Devotional - Our Need To Repent

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

 

Yehiel De-Nur was a Polish, Jewish poetry writer when he was arrested and imprisoned in Auschwitz concentration camp. He wrote his first book about the Auschwitz experience, Salamandra, over two and a half weeks, while in a British army hospital in Italy in 1945. When he regained his health, De-Nur moved to Israel.  

In June 1961, De-Nur was called to testify at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust. As he stepped into the courtroom and saw Eichmann, he broke down in uncontrollable sobs.

After a rambling opening statement in which De-Nur described Auschwitz as the "planet of the ashes", De-Nur suddenly fainted, in what is today remembered as one of the most dramatic moments of the trial.

Was De-Nur overcome by hatred? Fear? Horrid memories? No; it was none of these. Rather, as De-Nur explained in an interview, all at once he realized Eichmann was not the god-like army officer who had sent so many to their deaths. This Eichmann was an ordinary man. "I was afraid about myself," said De-Nur. "... I saw that I am capable to do this. I am ... exactly like he."

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Our Hope In Heaven
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 9, 2017
Devotional - Our Hope In Heaven

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

 

During the American Civil War, General William T. Sherman drove his troops on his decisive march to the sea. In a fort in Alltoona Pass, near Kennesaw Mountain, he left behind a small contingent of 2,000 men under the command of General J.M. Corse to guard the supplies.

On October 5, 1864, the Confederate Army attacked the fort, and a fierce battle followed. One-third of Corse's men were killed or wounded and Corse himself received a bullet to the face. Just as the Union Army was about to hoist the white flag and surrender, a message came through the signal corps set up on a chain of mountains. General Sherman was within fifteen miles of the fort and sent the message:

"Tell Allatoona hold on. General Sherman is working for you." 

Those few words brought hope and encouraged the defenders. They held on and kept the fort from falling into the hands of their attackers. 

 

Our heavenly Commander has also given us hope and has sent us the assurance that He is coming. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that through Him we have eternal life and a hope in Heaven.

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS 

Devotional - His Second Coming
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 6, 2017
Devotional - His Second Coming

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

 

In 1996, George Tulloch led an expedition to recover parts of the Titanic. He and his crew recovered numerous artifacts. Before leaving the site, Tulloch’s team set out to raise a 20-ton section of the hull, known as the “Big Piece.” They were successful in lifting it to the surface, but a storm blew in and the ropes broke and the Atlantic reclaimed her treasure. Tulloch was forced to retreat and regroup. Before he left, he did something curious. He descended into the deep, and with the robotic arm of his submarine, attached a strip of metal to a section of the hull. On the metal he’d written these words, ‘I will come back, George Tulloch.’

In 1998, George did return and recovered the “Big Piece.”

Many people disapproved of Tulloch’s recovery operation. However, he said he was not bothered by such criticism. Tulloch believed that what he was doing was important, and that it was important to exhibit Titanic artifacts to the public. “We're doing the work of the world.”

 

Jesus promised the same words to His disciples: “I will come back.” And He will keep his promise. Today in prayer, praise the Lord He is coming and seek to follow Him every day.

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Be Filled With The Holy Spirit
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 5, 2017
Devotional - Be Filled With The Holy Spirit

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

 

Pastor Vance Havner said the following about the Holy Spirit: “We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God. Too many people assemble at God's house who don't really believe in the power of God. Having begun in the Spirit, we live in the flesh (Gal 3:3) We say that we depend on the Holy Spirit, but actually we are so wired up with our own devices that if the fire does not fall from heaven, we can turn on a switch and produce false fire of our own. If there is no sound of a rushing mighty wind, we have the furnace all set to blow hot air instead. God save us from a synthetic Pentecost! Too many people assemble at God's house who don't really believe in the power of God. Having begun in the Spirit, we live in the flesh.

I heard of a boys' school where every morning before classes the youngsters were supposed to recite the Apostles' Creed. Each one was given a segment of the creed: "I believe in God the Father Almighty," and so on down the line. One morning they were getting along pretty well until all at once there was a dead stop and a profound silence. Then a lad spoke up and said, "The boy who believes in the Holy Spirit is not here this morning." I'm afraid that's happened in a lot of church prayer meetings these days.”

 

We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit in all that we do. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit that you may do His will.  

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

God’s Word: “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” – Titus 3:5-6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Come To Him With Your Problems
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 4, 2017
Devotional - Come To Him With Your Problems

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

 

After fleeing Hitler's Germany in the late 1930s, Albert Einstein found refuge in America. He purchased a quaint, old two-story house on a tree-lined street within walking distance of Princeton University. There the world's foremost mathematician entertained some of the most distinguished scientific and political personalities of the age. He discussed with his noted guests the issues that intrigued his celebrated mind; from physics to religion to human rights. Many of the great ideas that have shaped our modern world were conceived behind the green shutters of that modest little house.

But Einstein had another frequent visitor in his home. She was not a physicist or a world leader. She was a ten-year-old girl named Emmy.

Emmy heard that a very kind man who knew a lot about mathematics had moved into her neighborhood. Since Emmy was having some difficulty with her fifth-grade arithmetic, she decided to visit the man down the block and see if he would help her with her problems. Einstein was very willing and he explained everything to her so that she could easily understand it. He also told her she was welcome to come and knock on his front door whenever she encountered a problem that was too difficult.

When Emmy’s mother found out that her daughter had been asking arithmetic questions to Dr. Einstein, she exclaimed: "Why, Emmy! Professor Einstein is a very important man! His time is very valuable! He can't be bothered with the problems of a little schoolgirl."

Then Emmy's mother rushed over to Einstein's house and knocked on the door. When Einstein answered the door, she was so flustered at the sight of the famous face that she could only stammer incoherently.

After a few moments, understanding dawned on Einstein's face. "Ah! I think I understand. You're Emmy's mother, aren't you?"

"Yes," she said, sighing in embarrassment, "and I'm so sorry she's been coming over here and bothering you."

"Bothering me! Ach, no!" he laughed. "Why, when a child finds such joy in learning, then it is my joy to help her learn! Please don't stop Emmy from coming to me with her school problems. She is welcome in this house anytime."

 

The Lord takes joy anytime we come to him with our problems in prayer. Today in prayer, be persistent in your prayers and seek Jesus with your whole heart.

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Be His Witness
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 3, 2017
Devotional - Be His Witness

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

 

In 1939, Bill Rice and his wife Cathy moved to Illinois in preparation for God's call to evangelism. It was there in the same year that their baby girl, Betty, became gravely ill with spinal meningitis. Betty survived a close call but lost her hearing as a result of the high fever.

In the following years, Bill preached the gospel across the country, but his own daughter could not hear it. The Rices were dismayed that they could find no one who could help them communicate the gospel to Betty. So, with the aid of pictures and a black board, Cathy began to teach her daughter the Bible, beginning with the creation story and culminating with the gift of God's Son.

God used Betty's salvation to open their eyes to the great need of unreached deaf people across the country. The Lord convinced them that if they had a burden to reach deaf people, they should do something about it. They would reach out to the Deaf as they "did the work of an evangelist" in churches across the country.

In 1950, Bill Rice accepted an invitation to preach revival meetings in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Just as God had used their daughter to show them a need, the Lord now used this meeting to show them a place. The place was a ranch nine miles west of Main Street.

They purchased the property and invited deaf young people from across the state to come to camp free of charge. In 1953, the first Deaf Week camp had a total of twelve deaf campers.

Some 60 years later, the Ranch continues to host events for young and old, deaf and hearing, to reach people for Jesus Christ.

 

The Lord desires us to reach others for Him.  Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can be His witness in the world.

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

Devotional - Our Hope Lives
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 2, 2017
Devotional - Our Hope Lives

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

 

In January 2017, Gerry Ohst of Vista, California had an outpatient procedure done at a local hospital. The eighty-four year old had a heart attack during the operation. A blockage had formed and resulted with Gerry having a weak heartbeat.

Doctors worked on him giving him CPR, but were reminded Gerry had a directive to “Do Not Resuscitate”. He did not want to live on a machine. The family gathered and said their good-byes. Gerry was unplugged from all life sustaining machines. He was pronounced dead a few minutes later.

Then three hours after death confirmation, Gerry blinked. He opened his eyes. He groaned, “It hurts.” Then he became conscious. Doctors were called in. The CPR Gerry had received had resulted in 12 broken ribs. But other than his ribs, Gerry was in excellent shape. The blockage to his heart was gone. He had a strong heart beat once again. His cholesterol was much lower than it was the previous day. He was no longer pre-diabetic. Doctors called Gerry “the miracle man,” but Gerry bristled at that description.

“I’m not the miracle, it was The Almighty who showed up and made Himself known,” said Gerry. Gerry’s wife Charlotte agrees that the Lord should be glorified for her husband’s turnaround. She quoted Psalm 118:17 “I will not die but live, and proclaim what the Lord has done.”   

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2017, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN ACTS

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