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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: DEVOTIONS IN Thessalonians
Devotional - Don't Be A Burden
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 28, 2022
Devotional - Don't Be A Burden

“nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:8-9

 

According to a 2016 report from the Society of Grownups, one in three adults ages 21 to 45 still receives financial help from his or her parents, whether it's to cover the costs of a cell phone bill, buy groceries, or pay for insurance. (Of course, that's two out of three adults who aren't mooching off their parents to pay their bills—but we must admit that knowing one-third still are turning to their parents for help is shocking nonetheless.) What's more, that shocking stat doesn't just skew to the youngest adults as you might think. In fact, the report shows that nearly one-third of 30-somethings and more than one-fifth of 40-somethings receive what the Society of Grownups has dubbed as "significant, ongoing" financial support from their parents. And 70 percent of those who get parental help say they couldn't survive without it.

 

The Lord never desires that we should never be a burden to others. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the work He has given you and be diligent in all that you do.

 

“No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else.” – Charles Dickens

 

God’s Word: “And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.” – 2 Corinthians 11:9

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Beware of the Counterfeit
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 27, 2022
Devotional - Beware of the Counterfeit

“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie” – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11

 

In February 2022, a Home Depot employee was arrested for swapping out $387,500 of the store’s cash with counterfeit money, the U.S. Secret Service said.

Adrian Jean Pineda worked as a vault associate in a store in Tempe, Arizona — where he was responsible for preparing cash from registers for bank deposits, a process that included counting cash and sealing cash bags for transfer and deposit to a Wells Fargo bank. According to a criminal complaint, Pineda had been taking money from the deposits and replacing it with counterfeit currency during his shifts. The Home Depot store reported losing $387,500 between January 2018 to January 2022 due to receiving counterfeit notes in their cash deposits, the U.S. Secret Service.

Agents from the U.S. Secret Service office in Phoenix arrested Pineda and seized $5,000 in counterfeit money and recovered $5,300 in genuine currency. Agents recovered an additional $22,000 in genuine currency while conducting a search warrant on Pineda’s home.“This case illustrates the continued commitment of the Secret Service and the US Attorney’s Office to investigating and prosecuting counterfeit violations," Frank Boudreaux Jr. of the U.S. Secret Service office in Phoenix said in a statement, adding that Pineda's arrest "marked the culmination of a strategic investigation enacted by Phoenix special agents, Home Depot security personnel and Wells Fargo Bank. "Pineda has been charged with uttering of counterfeit U.S. currency and is set to appear in court on Feb. 7  for a status hearing at the federal district court in Arizona.

 

When evil comes, it will be disguised as good. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you discernment in all that you do.

“You may imitate, but never counterfeit.” – Honore de Balzac 

God’s Word: “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” – Matthew 24:11

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - God Is Just
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 26, 2022
Devotional - God Is Just

“All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result, you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.’ – 2 Thessalonians 1:5

 

Jesse Jackson tells the story of a visit to the University of Southern Mississippi.  While touring the campus with the university president, he noticed a towering male student, six feet, eight inches tall, holding hands with a midget coed barely three feet tall.  His curiosity piqued, Jackson stopped to watch as the young man, dressed in a warm-up suit, tenderly picked up the midget, kissed her, and sent her off to class.  The president explained that the student was a star basketball player.  Both parents had died in his youth, and he made a vow to look after his sister.  Many scholarship offers came his way, but only Southern Mississippi offered one to his sister too.

Jackson went over to the basketball star, introduced himself, and said he appreciated him looking out for his sister.  The athlete shrugged and said, "Those of us who God makes six-eight have to look out for those he makes three-three."

 

God will judge each person justly. Today in prayer, rejoice in God’s judgment and in His mercy toward you.

 

“None are ruined by the justice of God but those that hate to be reformed by the grace of God.” – Matthew Henry

 

God’s Word: “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you” – 2 Thessalonians 1:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Persevere In Your Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 25, 2022
Persevere In Your Faith

“Therefore, among God's churches, we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:4

 

On July 5, 2022, gunmen shot and wounded Reverend Daniel Umaru, pastor of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, as well as shooting and killing his sons, Kefrey Daniel and Faye Daniel. His daughter was also kidnapped but was released shortly after on July 8 after a ransom was paid for her release. The gunmen came to his house in Nigeria’s northern Adamawa state in the early hours of the morning.  

A resident of the area said, “He was shot and left to bleed to death. Both the wounded pastor and his wife, who became unconscious during the attack, were taken to the hospital.”

The Adamawa state governor expressed in a statement that the attackers “must be brought to justice” while condemning the attacks.  

On July 8, in the Adamawa state capital of Yowa, Yohanna Mbudai Bzegu, an engineering teacher at Adamawa State Polytechnic, was killed at his home.  

Another area resident described the attack to Morning Star News, saying, “The Christian lecturer was shot multiple times in his chest after the terrorists forcefully gained entrance into his house. Before this time, the terrorists had attempted breaking into his house more than four times but were unsuccessful.”  

Another resident asked for prayer about the ongoing attacks in Nigeria. They said, “please pray for God’s intervention in this state over unending attacks on Christians and churches.”

 

There are many areas of the world where Christians are persecuted for their faith in Christ. Today in prayer, pray for those who face persecution and that they may persevere in Christ.

 

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

 

God’s Word: “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:3-4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Pray Continually
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 24, 2022
Devotional - Pray Continually

“pray continually” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

In his book “Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name” author Bryan Chapell writes: “I have enjoyed watching a baker decorate a cake with an icing pipe. The icing is globbed into the tube as a yucky, unformed mess. But that’s not the end of the process. Attached to the end of the pipe is a decorator tip. When the baker forces the icing through the tip, the mess gets shaped into intricate designs that make the cake beautiful. The Holy Spirit similarly helps my prayers. I glob my desires into my prayers. I do not intend to make a mess of things, but with my mixed motives and limited vision, I have no assurance that my prayers match God’s design. In fact, I would hesitate to pray at all if my prayers were God’s only direction for accomplishing his purposes. Were my prayers truly capable of binding God’s hands, I would be dangerous. My finite, fallible will cannot devise the best course for the universe. Still, I pray because I believe the Holy Spirit works like that decorator tip. He forms my prayers into God’s beautiful design for all things.”

 

The Lord desires to hear from us continually as we live our lives. Today in prayer, open your heart to the Lord and talk to Him in prayer.

 

“Conversational prayer is a dialogue with God, not a monologue to God.” – Mark Stepherson

 

God’s Word: “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” – Ephesians 5:20

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Be Joyful
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 21, 2022
Devotional - Be Joyful

“Be joyful always” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16

 

Kaufmann Kohler was a German-born Jewish American biblical scholar and critic, theologian, Reform rabbi, and contributing editor to numerous articles in The Jewish Encyclopedia. He stated in The Jewish Encyclopedia that no language has as many words for joy and rejoicing, as does Hebrew.  In the Old Testament thirteen Hebrew roots, found in twenty-seven different words, are used primarily for some aspect of joy or joyful participation in religious worship.

Hebrew religious ritual demonstrates God as the source of joy.  In contrast to the rituals of other faiths of the East, Israelite worship was essentially a joyous proclamation and celebration.  The good Israelite regarded the act of thanking God as the supreme joy of his life.  Pure joy is joy in God as both its source and object. The psalmist says, “Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence, there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalms 16:11)

 

No matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, we can find Jesus. And in Jesus, we can find joy. Today in prayer, seek the Lord in all that you do and He will give you joy.

 

“One filled with joy preaches without preaching.” – Mother Teresa

 

God’s Word: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” – James 1:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS †

Devotional - Do Not Be Idle
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 20, 2022
Devotional - Do Not Be Idle

“And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:14

 

In 1720, at the age of 19 years old, Englishman Jeremiah Carlton went to bed – for 70 years! He was heir to a large fortune at 19, promptly went to bed, and stayed there for the next 70 years, just because he wanted to. More than 40 servants fed and bathed him until he died in bed at age 89.

Just what did Jeremiah do in bed? According to one account, he simply “lollygagged in repose, reading, sleeping and being waited on hand and foot. Music and books were his interests, and he indulged himself in whatever he wanted, as long as he could do it from the comfort of his boudoir.” Finally, Carlton died in his sleep on May 27, 1790. He is considered the laziest man in history.

The Lord warns us not to be idle but to be diligent to do His work. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for the work He has given you and seek to do it with all your heart.

 

“Even if you're on the right road, you'll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

 

God’s Word: “If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks.” – Ecclesiastes 10:18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Be Self-Controlled
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 19, 2022
Devotional - Be Self-Controlled

“But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:8

 

In an article entitled: “For Good Self-Control, Try Getting Religious About It”, John Tierney wrote about the findings of Dr. Michael McCullough: “He and a fellow psychologist at the University of Miami, Brian Willoughby, have reviewed eight decades of research and concluded that religious belief and piety promote self-control.

This sounded to me uncomfortably similar to the conclusion of the nuns who taught me in grade school, but Dr. McCullough has no evangelical motives. He confesses to not being much of a devotee himself. “When it comes to religion,” he said, “professionally, I’m a fan, but personally, I don’t get down on the field much.”

His professional interest arose from a desire to understand why religion evolved and why it seems to help so many people. Researchers around the world have repeatedly found that devoutly religious people tend to do better in school, live longer, have more satisfying marriages, and be generally happier.

‘We simply asked if there was good evidence that people who are more religious have more self-control,’ Dr. McCullough. ‘For a long time it wasn’t cool for social scientists to study religion, but some researchers were quietly chugging along for decades. When you add it all up, it turns out there are remarkably consistent findings that religiosity correlates with higher self-control.’”

 

We need to be self-controlled in all areas of our Christian walk. Today in prayer, as you face choices and challenges this day, ask the Lord to give you the strength to be self-controlled.  

 

“Control your appetites before they control you.” – John Climacus

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Our Hope Beyond This Life
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 18, 2022
Devotional - Our Hope Beyond This Life

“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13

 

On the subject of justice and hope, Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Those of us who call the name of Jesus Christ find something at the center of our faith which forever reminds us that God is on the side of truth and justice . . . Good Friday may occupy the throne for a day, but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant beat of the drums of Easter. Evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy a palace and Christ a cross, but that same Christ will rise up and split history into A.D. and B.C. so that even the life of Caesar must be dated by his name. Yes, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”

 

Only in Jesus Christ can we find true hope. Today in prayer, praise Christ that when we place our trust in Him, we receive eternal life.

 

“Do not look to your hope, but to Christ, the source of your hope.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

 

God’s Word: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Live A Quiet Life
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 17, 2022
Devotional - Live A Quiet Life

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

 

Andrea Palpant Dilley in an article entitled “Suburbia Needs Jesus, Too” writes: “In my early 20s, I lived by this vision. I served the urban homeless, worked with welfare families and volunteered with orphans in the slums of Nairobi. I beat my fists against my chest in a spiritual war cry for global justice and swore never to set foot in the insular space of suburbia. Nominal, consumer Christians lived in suburbia, I thought. Real Christians were out on the frontlines fighting for great causes. Then I got married, had kids, and settled down in a cookie-cutter neighborhood of Austin, Texas, where I found myself forced to rethink what it meant to follow Christ and serve humanity in the context of the suburbs.

I'm still trying to figure it out. My days are filled with activities that would make David Platt yawn with boredom: I change diapers. I scrub pee out of carpets. I wipe vomit off the kitchen floor. Most days, I'm lucky to get out of the house at all, and if I do, I'm usually taking my 10-month-old and 4-year-old to visit the elderly woman down the street. We take dog treats to her yippy dog, sit at her kitchen table eating pretzels and ask about her arthritis. What greater good do I serve? My widowed neighbor feels less lonely. My kids learn about hospitality and Christian love. That's about it.

From the outside, the life of mothers may look unremarkable, and yet I've come to believe—had to learn to believe, actually—that our mundane actions have profound purpose if we take a long view of both our own lives and the life of the world. We're raising our kids and rearing up the next generation of leaders.”

 

The Lord is honored when we quietly serve Him. Today in prayer, give thanks to Jesus for the quiet moments of each day.

 

“O God, make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace.” – Clement of Rome

 

God’s Word: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Be Holy
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 14, 2022
Devotional - Be Holy

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:7

 

To be holy means eliminating sin in our lives, as well as letting God fully dwell in us. This means ridding large and small sins. Gordon MacDonald, in his book “Ordering Your Private World”, told of an experience in his own life that illustrates this truth. “Some years ago, when Gail and I bought the old abandoned New Hampshire farm we now call Peace Ledge, we found the site where we wished to build our country home strewn with rocks and boulders. It was going to take a lot of hard work to clear it all out...The first phase of the clearing process was easy. The big boulders went fast. And when they were gone, we began to see that there were a lot of smaller rocks that had to go too. But when we had cleared the site of the boulders and the rocks, we noticed all of the stones and pebbles we had not seen before. This was much harder, more tedious work. But we stuck to it, and there came the day when the soil was ready for planting grass.”

 

The Lord calls us to be like Him and to be Holy. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that we are called to be holy and listen to Jesus to live a pure and holy life.

 

“Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervours, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills.”  – John Brown

 

God’s Word: “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” – 1 Peter 1:15-16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Avoid Sexual Immorality
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 13, 2022
Devotional - Avoid Sexual Immorality

“It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” – 1 Thessalonians 4:3

 

Gavin Tsuda is the Volunteer Director at New Hope Oahu in Honolulu. He wrote the following about this passage: “We are called to live lives that are holy and pleasing to the Lord. This includes refraining from sexual immorality, which is so commonplace in the world today. Sexual immorality has become the norm, and what is holy is pushed aside by the world as damaging. The Word is clear that sexual relations is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has not changed His mind on this matter, and He never will. God does not sway back and forth with the world or the desires of man. God desires that we live out the best life that He designed for us. As our designer, He knows what is best for us. Therefore, we should continually focus on our sanctification, living lives that are pure, holy, God-honoring, and aligned with the Word of God.”

 

Sexual immorality ruins lives and it is sin. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for His warning on sexual immorality, confess any sin of sexual immorality in your life and pray that you will not fall into any temptation.

 

“Within marriage, sex is beautiful, fulfilling, creative. Outside of marriage, it is ugly, destructive, and damning.” – John MacArthur

 

God’s Word: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS †

Devotional - May Your Love Increase
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 12, 2022
Devotional - May Your Love Increase

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

In June 1994, 73-year-old Alvin Straight, of Blue River, Wisconsin, learned his 80-year-old brother, John, who lived 240 miles away in Lauren, Iowa, had suffered a stroke.  Alvin knew he had to visit him.

Alvin couldn't see well enough to get a driver's license.  He bought a 1966 John Deere lawn mower, got a 10-foot trailer to haul gasoline, clothes, food, and camping equipment, and took off.

On his best days, he averaged about 5 miles an hour for about 10 hours a day.  When Alvin got within 90 miles of his sick brother's home, he ran out of money and had to camp out for several days while waiting for his Social Security check.

Finally, after 42 days on the road, Alvin made it to within two miles of his brother's house when his mower broke down again.  A farmer stopped and helped him push it the rest of the way. Now, that's brotherly love.

 

We need to bring the love of Christ to the world, even if it is uncomfortable for us. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that you can share the good news of the Gospel with those who He has placed in your life.

 

“Our Lord does not care so much for the importance of our works as for the love with which they are done.” – Teresa of Avila

 

God’s Word: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Resist Temptation
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 11, 2022
Devotional - Resist Temptation

“For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:5

 

Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition. His wife Misty asked the question: “I realize that, unlike God, Satan and demons cannot read minds or know what is in my heart. They also, unlike God, can't be everywhere or see everything. How then do they know what temptations we as individuals are susceptible to?”

Joe answered: “The question of how demons know about us can be illuminated, I believe, by comparing it to how your grocery store, Amazon, Google, or intelligence agencies like the NSA all use metadata to know our habits.

Take, for instance, the grocery store "loyalty card" that most of us carry. By using the cards, we get discounts on groceries, and the store gets detailed information about our shopping habits. Every transaction you make at the store can be tracked and stored in a computerized database. The metadata is the "data about data content" the store knows about you. When you swipe your loyalty card, the store's computer can know what you purchased (based on the price barcode), the time you bought an item (based on the computer's internal clock), what other items you bought at the time, and various other information about you. The store not only knows where you live and what you buy but could, based on the metadata collected in the past, even predict that on Friday evening you will buy Pop-Tarts and Diet Coke.”

 

We are all tempted in different areas of our lives. But the Lord is faithful and we can resist temptation through the power of Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, confess any weaknesses to temptation and ask the Lord to deliver you from sin.   

 

“Believe that as sure you are in the way of God you must meet with temptations.” – John Bunyan

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Be An Encourager
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 10, 2022
Devotional - Be An Encourager

“So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith” – 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2

 

The Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn grew up in a Christian home, but as a young man, he walked away from his faith. While serving as a captain in the Red Army during World War II, Solzhenitsyn was arrested and sentenced to eight years in the Gulag and then internal exile for criticizing Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in a private letter.

While he was a prisoner in a Soviet prison in Siberia, he became so weak and discouraged that he wished he would die. The guards would beat and usually kill anyone that stopped working. He decided to stop working so that the guards would kill him. As soon as he did so, another Christian drew a cross where Alexander could see it.

Alexander said that he was encouraged by remembering that God gives hope and courage. He decided to continue working because of a Christian who cared too much to let him give up.

 

We all need encouragement to grow in the love of Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for the encouragement you have received and seek to encourage others in following the Lord.

 

“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal.” – Robert Collier 

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 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Our Joy
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jul 7, 2022
Devotional - Our Joy

“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

 

In preparation for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, Norway's Lillehammer Olympic Organizing committee faced a problem: how to get dour Scandinavians to look happy and welcoming at the Winter Games. Their solution: the smile boeyle - in English, "smiling hoop"-a rubber band with plastic hooks that wraps behind the head and attaches to the corners of the mouth, forcing a grin. The LOOC will distribute 100,000 of them as part of its $120,000 "Smile-You're a Tourist Attraction" campaign.

Petter Ronningen of the Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee demonstrated one of the devices for visiting Olympic champion skier and Albertville Olympic president Jean-Claude Killy. "We Norwegians are a little strange," said Ronningen, smiling from ear to ear with the help of the brace strapped onto his head. "I can see that," replied Killy.

Though the device is meant as a jest when word of it leaked the LOOC was bombarded with complaints. Said the group's Torill Seeberg: "They were taking it too seriously."

 

There is a joy in living with Jesus and leading others to Him. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for all the people who have helped you in your Christian life and seek to help others in their walk with the Lord.

 

“A great part of heaven’s bliss for the redeemed will be the joyful presence of those whom they have been used to reach.” – John MacArthur, Jr.

 

God’s Word: “Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” – Philippians 4:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Living Lives Worthy Of God
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Jul 6, 2022
Devotional - Living Lives Worthy Of God

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

 

John Balca was one of the early pioneer missionaries in Eastern Europe. He was particularly focused on the country of Yugoslavia in the 1930-1950’s. In his autobiography, he writes of how an angry police officer beat him in Janosik as he was performing a wedding ceremony.

“When I confirmed my faith in God and His existence the third time, he became furious because he could not force me to deny God. He snatched up a revolver and began to beat me with it, raining blows all over my body. He thought with this outburst he would scare me into submission. In his furious anger he hollered, ‘Where was God when the fascists were murdering our women and children? How could He have watched this awful injustice?’ As he was ranting and raving, I suddenly felt sorry for him. I pitied him because he was under the influence of the devil, not knowing he was blaspheming God who is a God of love who loves all people. I was just getting ready to reach out to him and comfort him as an unhappy soul who was on his way to hell, when he hit me in a sensitive spot on the chest near the heart, and I began to lose consciousness. Only then did he stop beating me for fear of killing me. He became afraid because President Tito had just passed a law that killing was no longer allowed until there had been a fair trial.”

John was taken to prison, but that night the once angry police officer led John out of prison and said, “‘You need to teach people to tolerate each other in love so that people live in peace one with another.’ I replied, ‘We certainly do that, because we know that our God is a God of love, and He wants to save everyone who believes in Him and repents of his sins.’ Then he curtly dismissed us, ‘Get on the train and go home, not back to Janosik!’We traveled home, and on the way we praised the Lord for giving us patience and for counting us worthy to suffer for Him like the apostles.”

 

Live your life worthy of Jesus Christ. When you do, the Lord will bless you with greater opportunities. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for the wonderful news of the Gospel and be encouraged to let Jesus shine through in all that you do.

 

“God, the King, wants his royal children to live lives worthy of their paternity and position.” – J.I. Packer

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - the Tent-makers
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Jul 5, 2022
Devotional - the Tent-makers

“Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:9

 

Ray Gilder is the national coordinator for the Southern Baptist Convention Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network, as well as being a bi-vocational pastor. In an article entitled: “8 Reasons to be a Bivocational Pastor” he gives the 8 reasons:

1. If he is inspired by the example of the Apostle Paul. Paul supported himself by making tents (Acts 18:3) while he focused on preaching the Gospel and starting churches. He refused to be a burden to others (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9).

2. If he is willing to work so a small church can have a pastor.

3. If he does not view this church as a stepping stone to a bigger and “better” church.

4. If he is willing to invest his life in a small church setting which may never be able to pay him a full-time salary.

5. If he is interested in taking the light of Christ into the marketplace of the world.

6. If he would like to see his church invest more of its money in ministry and missions.

7. If he is committed to planting a church in a community where there is little or no Gospel witness.

8. If he feels led to be an intentional bi-vocational pastor, perhaps because he has a business or career that God had provided and is using to provide for his family. Many of these experience a call to ministry later in life.

 

Ministry is not just for the full-time pastor. Today in prayer, thank the Lord for tent-maker pastors and seek to be more involved in ministering to others.

 

“The man who has had the greatest impact on my life as a Christian and mentor was my father, who was a bi-vocational pastor. When he passed away a few years ago, the words he used to define his ministry were carved on his gravestone: ‘I work to live, but I live to preach.’” - Seaborn Dell 

God’s Word: “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Not Trying To Please Men
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Jul 4, 2022
Devotional - Not Trying To Please Men

“On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:4-5

 

A US navy investigation has revealed that shoddy management and human error caused fuel to leak into Pearl Harbor’s tap water last year, poisoning thousands of people and forcing military families to evacuate their homes for hotels. The investigation, on 30 June 2022, is the first detailed account of how jet fuel from the Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility, a huge second-world-war-era military-run tank farm in the hills above Pearl Harbor, leaked into a well that supplied water to housing and offices in and around the sprawling base. About 6,000 people suffered nausea, headaches, rashes, and other symptoms. After months of resistance, the military in April agreed to an order from the state of Hawaii to drain the tanks and close the Red Hill facility. A separate report the defense department provided to the state department of health on Thursday said December 2024 was the earliest it could defuel the tanks safely. The investigation report listed a cascading series of mistakes from 6 May 2021, when operator error caused a pipe to rupture and 21,000 gallons (80,000 liters) of fuel to spill when fuel was being transferred between tanks. Concerns the oil might migrate through the aquifer and get into the city’s wells prompted the Honolulu board of water supply in December to shut down a key well serving some 400,000 people. The problems stem from people’s reluctance to elevate the problems early enough to leadership who could have acted.

 

The Lord desires that we please Him, not the desires of men. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that we should live our lives so that we speak as men and women approved by God.

 

“Whether men be pleased or displeased, or how they judge you, or what they call you, will seem a small matter to you as their own interest, in comparison to God’s judgment. You live not on them. You can bear their displeasure, censures, and reproaches, if God be but pleased.” – Richard Baxter

 

God’s Word: “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Let Your Faith Be Known
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Jul 3, 2022
Devotional - Let Your Faith Be Known

“The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia--your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it” – 1 Thessalonians 1:8

 

In 1997, Tom Lehman was ranked the No. 1 golfer in the world. He won the British Open in 1996 and ended the year at the top in earnings. That year, he was named PGA Player of the Year.

Tom is also a Christian who came to Christ at age 15. He shares the following testimony: “My belief and faith in God is the grid that everything in my life passes through. What you believe is the core of who you are, so, therefore, whether it is golf, my family, the things I get involved with in my hometown of Phoenix, or just the daily choices I make, it is all influenced by my Christian beliefs. Golf is very much like life in that there are ups and downs, successes and disappointments: How you deal with them is what determines so much of what happens not only now but in the future. I believe the Bible and the words of Jesus provide a road map for how to deal with all of the challenges that come with both failure and success.”

 

Trust in the Lord in all you do, and let others know where your trust lies. Today in prayer, place your faith in Jesus knowing that you are in the best of hands.

 

“Everyone knows how to have faith.  We do it all the time in countless ways.  When I get in a car and turn the ignition key I have faith that my car will start.  When I pick up a ballpoint pen and press it down on a sheet of paper, I'm exercising faith in the ability of that pen to write.  When I sit down to eat and put my wife's cooking into my mouth I am exercising faith that my wife hasn't poisoned the food.  Day by day, in countless ways we exercise faith in the people or things around us.  Likewise, when Jesus asks us to have faith in him he is only asking us to do what is natural for us to do.” – Bill Gordon

 

God’s Word: “See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright-- but the righteous will live by his faith” – Habakkuk 2:4

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS  †

Devotional - Imitating Others
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Jun 30, 2022
Devotional - Imitating Others

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:6

 

In films like Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams proved time and time again that he was so much more than simply a comedic actor. In just a quick facial expression or a single word, Williams' was able to do impressions that captured the essence of his subjects, which encompassed everyone from his fellow Hollywood stars like Jack Nicholson and Christopher Walken to President Ronald Reagan.

It was on Saturday Night Live that Williams did a very memorable impression of the former President. Not only did he imitate Reagan’s speech patterns, but he also replicated Reagan’s mannerisms. He mimicked how Reagan would have answered a variety of questions if the President were wearing an earpiece and hearing the answers from a handler. In the comedy sketch, Williams bursts into his trademark “fast-paced” imitations of a variety of personalities as he supposedly heard interference in his earpiece from various police scanners and radio stations.

 

How much better it is to imitate Jesus Christ and godly believers. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for the example mature Christians have shown you and seek to be more like Jesus Christ in all that you do.

 

“Imitate Christ, who is supremely perfect and supremely holy, and you will never ere.” – John of the Cross

 

God’s Word: “Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” – 1 Corinthians 4:16

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN 1 & 2 THESSALONIANS †

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