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Daily Devotionals
by Peter Kennedy
Series: Devotions In The Minor Prophets
Devotional - The Arrogant
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Sep 21, 2022
Devotional - The Arrogant

“Her prophets are arrogant; they are treacherous men. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.” – Zephaniah 3:4

 

On July 25, 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) was born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. The healthy baby was delivered shortly before midnight by cesarean section and weighed in at five pounds, 12 ounces.

Before giving birth to Louise, Lesley Brown had suffered years of infertility due to blocked fallopian tubes. In November 1977, she underwent the then-experimental IVF procedure. A mature egg was removed from one of her ovaries and combined in a laboratory dish with her husband’s sperm to form an embryo. The embryo then was implanted into her uterus a few days later. Her IVF doctors, British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and scientist Robert Edwards had begun their pioneering collaboration a decade earlier.

On July 25, 2003, Louise turned twenty-five and Dr. Edwards did a rare but candid interview with The Times of London. “It was a fantastic achievement but it was about more than infertility,” said Edwards, then seventy-seven and emeritus professor of human reproduction at Cambridge University. “I wanted to find out exactly who was in charge, whether it was God Himself or whether it was scientists in the laboratory.”

Smiling arrogantly at the reporter, he said, “it was us.”

 

Arrogance is a sin. Today in prayer, confess any arrogance in your life and seek to walk humbly with Jesus.

 

“The first barrier to meekness arises whenever we claim as our own what is really a gift of God. To live in meekness, we must try to remember that all we are, have, and can do is a gift. It is an act of arrogance to place ourselves at the center of being and doing. Only God belongs there.” – Susan Annette Muto

 

God’s Word: “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” – Proverbs 8:13

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS  †

Devotional - Be Humble
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Sep 20, 2022
Devotional - Be Humble

“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger.” – Zephaniah 2:3

 

In 2006, thousands of American college students filled out a survey. They weren’t told what it was, but it was actually the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), a psychological evaluation that asks for responses to statements such as “I am an extraordinary person,” “I am more capable than other people,” Everybody likes to hear my stories,” and “If I ruled the world it would be a better place.”

The NPI has been given to college students for several decades. By looking at the change in responses over time, a recent study shows a 30 percent increase in narcissism over the last thirty years. Even more striking, in the 1950s, 12 percent of teens agreed with the statement “I am an important person.” In the 1980s, just thirty years later, 80 percent of teens agreed with that same statement. By our own reckoning, we live in an increasingly self-centered world. We need to seek humility.

 

Are you a humble person, or do you wrestle with pride? Today in prayer, seek the Lord with all of your heart and seek to be humble in all that you do.

 

“He who knows himself best esteems himself least.” – H.G. Brown

 

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

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS   †

Devotional - The Lord Is My Strength
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Sep 19, 2022
Devotional - The Lord Is My Strength

“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” – Habakkuk 3:19

 

Pastor Richard Mylander writes the following: “On my way to a conference in Colorado, I was driving uphill along a major interstate when I overtook a freight train going the same direction at a slower speed.  The train was being pushed uphill by two locomotives that sounded as if they were straining at full power.  I'm a flatlander from the Midwest.  IS THIS HOW TRAINS MOVE IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN?  I wondered.

A few minutes later, I gradually came alongside the front of the nearly mile-long string of cars.  There I found five more locomotives pulling the train.  Seven engines in all!  Where I come from, I rarely see more than three.

That train was a lesson for me.  I had been under serious strain for some time.  I was feeling tired and was wondering whether I could persevere under the pressure.

How like God, I thought.  When I am pushing a load uphill with all the strength I have and feel like my energy level is depleted, he wants me to know that he is in the lead pulling with power far greater than mine.”

 

We cannot rely on our own strength; it will fail us. Today in prayer, pray that the Lord will be your strength in all that you do.

 

“We can never obey God in our own strength, but we can always trust Him to provide the strength we need. If we trust ourselves, we will faint and fall; but if we wait on the Lord by faith, we will receive strength for the journey.” – Warren Wiersbe

 

God’s Word: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS   †

Devotional - Desire Renewal
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Sep 18, 2022
Devotional - Desire Renewal

“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” – Habakkuk 3:2

 

In his book “How Do You Make a Hole Whole? Conservators' methods for mending famous paintings”, author Daniel Engber writes about an accidental hole in a $139 million Picasso painting owned by about a hole billionaire Steve Wynn. “It was "a black hole the size of a silver dollar … with two three-inch long rips coming off it in either direction." Wynn had just agreed to sell the painting; now, the deal is off. Is there any way to fix the ripped Picasso?

Yes, but it will be slow and tedious work. The torn ends of the canvas can probably be lined up, and conservators can identify matching fibers on either side of the rip by inspecting them under a microscope. In general, you can expect the wefts in the fabric—that is, the crosswise yarns of the weave—to split at the site of the impact. The lengthwise warps tend to get stretched out, but they may not break.

The rip itself can be mended in a few different ways. First, the conservator can line up the torn ends and affix them to a new piece of fabric that lines the back of the painting. She might also try to attach the torn ends to each other using a method called Rissverklebung, in which individual fibers are rewoven back into place.

To reweave the warps and wefts, you have to figure out the proper placement of each individual fiber. Bits of paint that are stuck to the fibers must be glued in place or removed until the reweaving is complete. (Conservators map out the location of each paint flake they remove so it can be replaced in precisely the right spot.) Because an accident will stretch out some fibers and fray others, you sometimes have to tie off and shorten some threads while attaching new material to lengthen others. Threads attached to the back of the canvas will reinforce the seam.

Closing the tear is only the first part of the process. An accident like Wynn's can damage the painting in other places by stretching the fabric and distorting the image. To correct these planar distortions, the conservators try to change the lengths of individual fibers or small patches of the canvas. Applied humidity can make a fiber expand across its diameter and shrink across its length—and tighten up distended parts of the weave.

Bits of paint that have fallen off the painting must also be replaced.

Wynn might have surveyed the scene of the accident and saved any stray bits of paint for the conservators in a petri dish. Conservators have to touch up spots of missing paint with fresh material, color-matched to the surrounding area.

One more thing: Conservators always try to make their repairs reversible. That way, you won't cause any permanent damage to the work if you screw up, and someone can always try to improve on your work in the future.”

 

If a priceless painting can be restored by man, the Lord can renew our hearts when we toward Him! Today in prayer, praise the Lord for your new life in Jesus. Ask the Lord to renew that desire to love and follow Him.

 

“We've lost sight of the fact that some things are always right and some things are always wrong. We've lost our reference point. We don't have any moral philosophy to undergird our way of life in this country, and our way of life is in serious jeopardy and serious danger unless something happens. And that something must be a spiritual revival.” – Billy Graham

 

God’s Word: “Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” – Psalm 80:7

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS  †

Devotional - Living By Faith
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Sep 15, 2022
Devotional - Living By Faith

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

 

In his book “Long Journey Home”, Os Guinness writes: “A European recalled a conversation about faith with a Masai tribesman in Kenya.  The European used a certain word to define the concept of belief, but the tribesman rejected his definition with a snort.  The Masai word the European used simply meant ‘assent’ or ‘agreement.’

The tribesman likened this inadequate word to ‘a white hunter shooting an animal with his gun from a great distance. Only his eyes and his fingers took part in the act.’

But true belief, the tribesman said, could be pictured as a pursuing lion:  ‘His nose and eyes and ears pick up the prey. His legs give him the speed to catch it. All the power in his body is involved in the terrible death leap and single blow to the neck with the front paw, the blow that actually kills.  And as the animal goes down, the lion envelops it in his arms [Africans refer to the front legs of an animal as its arms], pulls it to himself, and makes it part of himself.  This is the way a lion kills.  This is the way a man believes.  This is what faith is.’”

 

We grow in righteousness when we live by faith in Jesus Christ. Today in prayer, ask the Lord how you can trust Him more.

 

 “The essence of faith is being satisfied with all God is for us in Jesus.” – John Piper

 

God’s Word: “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” – Romans 1:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS   †

Devotional - He Is Our Refuge
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Sep 14, 2022
Devotional - He Is Our Refuge

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” – Nahum 1:7

 

The US Fish and Wildlife is the federal agency in charge of the National Wildlife Refuges in the United States and its territories.

According to US Fish and Wildlife, the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to “administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.”

The largest of these refuges is the Mariana Trench. It has a total of 50,532,102 acres. It is not located near any US States but does border some territorial islands in the Pacific Ocean. 

The Mariana Trench contains some of the deepest known points in the global ocean. The Mariana Trench is also recognized by the international scientific community as the oldest place geologically on the floor of any ocean on earth. Due to its inaccessibility, the region is virtually unexplored, and the US Fish and Wildlife knows little about its ecological and biological characteristics.

 

Unlike the guardians of the Mariana Trench, God knows all about and loves those who take refuge in Him. Today in prayer, thank Christ that in Him we can find refuge in times of trouble.

 

“When we stray from His presence, He longs for you to come back. He weeps that you are missing out on His love, protection, and provision. He throws His arms open, runs toward you, gathers you up, and welcomes you home.” – Charles Stanley

 

God’s Word: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” – John 14:18

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS   †

Devotional - Love Mercy
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Sep 13, 2022
Devotional - Love Mercy

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

 

Instinct overtook panic for Daylan McLee when a Uniontown City Police officer crashed outside his home on June 21, 2020.

Officer Jay Hanley was responding to a call to assist his fellow officers when he crashed, shattering his leg. Daylan ran outside, thinking the person in the mangled car must be dead. He saw Officer Hanley was conscious and tried the door, along with Capt. David Rutter, but Hanley was trapped inside. Daylan heard people shouting, “It’s on fire! It’s gonna blow!” he recalled.

“I believe God took over then. Next thing I know, I was ripping the door open and pulled him out, and took him farther across the street,” Daylan said.

Hanley underwent surgery on his leg and recovered.

Daylan, a father of three, was recognized with a police lifesaving award at a Uniontown City Council Meeting and the board voted to declare June 21 as “Daylan McLee Day.”

What is truly amazing is that Daylan in 2016 had been mistakenly shot and innocently imprisoned for a year by police. When he saw Officer Hanley trapped in his vehicle, Daylan showed mercy, not revenge.

 

We need to appreciate the Lord’s mercies toward us and extend mercy to others. Today in prayer, praise Lord for His mercy and follow His example.

 

“The essence of justice is mercy.” – Edwin Hubbel Chapin

 

God’s Word: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” – Matthew 23:23

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS †

Devotional - God's Plan
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Sep 12, 2022
Devotional - God's Plan

“But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor.” – Micah 4:12

 

The Great British Baking Show is a British television reality show that began in 2010. It pits baker against baker. According to an article in Insider about The Great British Baking Show, each oven is tested every day to ensure fairness for each contestant. To do this, Victoria sponges, a British type of cake, are baked every day, using every oven at the same time.

Although it would be nice if everyone’s life were as predictable as daily oven testing that ensures complete fairness for every participant, it doesn’t always work that way. Some of us will go through life at higher acceleration rates, while others might feel left in their dust. God’s plan for your life is in the right order, and not based on the standard for everyone else.

 

The Lord’s plans for us are much greater than our own. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that God has a plan for your life and seek to do His will in all that you do.

 

“Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in his works unless his omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.” – Augustine

 

God’s Word: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 55:8

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS †

Devotional - He Listens To Our Cry
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Sep 11, 2022
Devotional - He Listens To Our Cry

“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” – Jonah 2:1-2

 

Rebecca St. James was an award-winning singer in her 20s. She had fame, fortune, and movie star good looks.

Instead, in 2000, St. James released “Transform,” and the single “Wait for Me,” unapologetically declaring she would practice abstinence until marriage.

For the next eight years, she spent her youth serving others.

Ministering to emotionally scarred youth.

Loving her family.

Talking about the Bible.

She was the textbook definition of a “good person.”

And yet, eight years later, St. James was swimming in “bad things.”

She was single, her career was in flux, and the only constant was getting another year older.

In a 2020 interview, St. James shared, “I think my goal has always been that, when God brought my husband, that I would sing and start having kids. That would be just very clean and tidy, and that was my plan. And, as every year went by and I'm still singing ‘Wait for Me’ and talking about this man that I pray will come – but there’s no guarantees in life that things will turn out the way that we want. … The Bible says, ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick,’ and I think in some ways my heart was sick.

“There’s also panic attacks happening on stage where, depending on how emotionally exhausted I was that day, would depend on how much I could breathe on stage – or not breathe on stage. … I think music just became increasingly more threatening.”

At the time, it seemed as if St. James was called to “retreat” to California.

Not long after landing on the West Coast, St. James was introduced to Foster the People bassist/film producer Jacob “Cubbie” Fink – and wouldn’t you know it – the words of “Wait for Me” began to come to fruition. Instead of latching on to anyone, St. James found the one.

St. James and Fink wed and, today, are the proud parents of three young children.

 

Distress is good when it drives us to a closer walk with Jesus. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that in our distress, our faith in Christ can grow.

 

“So let Your kingdom come

And Your will be done

On Earth as is in Heaven

Let Your kingdom come

And Your will be done

From now until forever

We'll keep our singing” – Rebecca St. James

 

God’s Word:  “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” – Psalm 18:6

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS  †

Devotional - The Reluctant Missionary
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Sep 8, 2022
Devotional - The Reluctant Missionary

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’” – Jonah 1:1-2

 

Shannon Brink is a mother of 4 kids, a nurse, a writer, and a Canadian Christian missionary in Malawi. In an article entitled “The Reluctant Missionary”, she wrote:

“If anything has become clear in this COVID season which never seems to end, it is that we cannot be a people about doing anymore. We came with agendas, we came with plans, we came with a lot of expectations behind and before us, but we are human hearts needing the grace of God not just to do something through us, but IN us. And now we are locked in our houses, homeschooling our kids, limited in resources and freedom of movement and would you believe, the Church and her Christ will still stand? Without our programs and ministries, without our perfect solutions and ideas, and without us at all.

So with every bit of pain I feel, I take comfort in the stripping away of who exactly I thought I would be in this space and think maybe it’s time to change my title and perhaps more so, actually change my heart. If, at the end of the day, we all realize we need Christ just a little bit, then this entire year would be worth it. Maybe if we possibly learned that we are just as inadequate as we ever feared but just as called as we ever dreamed, we might actually start being the Church instead of trying so hard to do Church.

Maybe, we’d stop trying to be missionaries and just be His.”

 

The Lord desires to be with us and to follow His call. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that His calling is sure. 

 

“Following Christ is not our initiative, merely our response, in obedience.” – Os Guinness

 

God’s Word: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” – Jonah 3:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS  †

Devotional - Foolish Pride
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Sep 7, 2022
Devotional - Foolish Pride

“Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down," declares the LORD. – Obadiah 1:4

 

Born to working-class parents in the Soviet Union, Anna Sorokin emigrated from Russia to Germany with her family in 2007. In 2011, she left Germany to live in London and Paris before relocating to New York City in 2013, where she interned for the French fashion magazine Purple. Sorokin conceived of a private members' club and arts foundation, which included leasing a large building to feature pop-up shops and exhibitions by notable artists she met while interning. She later created fake financial documents to substantiate her claims of having a multimillion-euro trust fund and forged multiple wire transfer confirmations. Sorokin used these documents, as well as fraudulent checks, to trick banks, acquaintances, and realtors into paying out cash and granting large loans without collateral. She used this to fund her lavish lifestyle, including residencies in multiple upper-class hotels. Between 2013 and 2017, Sorokin defrauded and deceived major financial institutions, banks, hotels, and individuals for a total of $275,000.

In 2017, the NYPD arrested Sorokin in a sting operation with the help of her former friend, Rachel DeLoache Williams, whom Sorokin had defrauded of $57,000. In 2019, Sorokin was convicted in a New York state court of attempted grand larceny, larceny in the second degree, and theft of services, and was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison.

Why did she do all of this? She foolishly wanted to become famous. Why didn’t the rich and famous, which she conned, report her earlier? Their foolish pride didn't want to admit that Sorokin had taken them in.

 

Foolish pride will bring about our fall. Today in prayer, confess any sin of pride in your life and humble yourself before the Lord.

 

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” – C.S. Lewis

 

God’s Word: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS   †

Devotional - Woe To Complacency
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Tuesday Sep 6, 2022
Devotional - Woe To Complacency

“Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!” – Amos 6:1

 

In January 2022, Richard Jacobson had been camping with a friend on top of Flatiron Summit in Lost Dutchman State Park, about 40 miles east of Phoenix, when he went to the edge to take a picture and slipped, a spokesperson with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday. Jacobson’s friend called 911 around 12:45 a.m. to report his fall. The sheriff's office search and rescue team was sent to the summit and found Jacobson's body "approximately 400 to 700 feet below," the spokesperson said. The Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter was called to assist with recovering the body.“Mr. Jacobson went to go take a photograph with himself and the city skyline in the background, and he lost his footing, and he slipped, and he fell,” Sergeant Doug Peoble, with the sheriff's office, told local station Arizona's Family.

He had become complacent about the dangers of being on the ledge of a cliff at night.

 

We need to examine our lives and rid ourselves of any spiritual complacency. Today in prayer, ask the Lord that “Thy will be done, not my will” and follow Jesus in all that you do.

 

“I hate to see complacency prevail in our lives when it's so directly contrary to the teaching of Christ.” – Jimmy Carter

 

God’s Word: “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them” – Proverbs 1:32

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS   †

Devotional - Helping The Poor
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Monday Sep 5, 2022
Devotional - Helping The Poor

“This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name.” – Amos 2:6-7

 

Every Monday afternoon, the Rev. Bob Book and his wife, Holly, have transformed the Church of the Common Ground in Atlanta into a spa for the homeless. The congregation is less than 100 people. But it is a “church without walls” on the downtown streets, providing support for the physical and spiritual needs of women, men and youth who live on the margins.

Bob and Holly scrub the feet of the city's forgotten, mirroring the act of Jesus washing his disciples' feet.

The service, repeated at clinics and churches elsewhere, isn't simply symbolic — it helps stave off foot infections, which affect the homeless disproportionately and can lead to more serious health problems. Men and women also leave having witnessed Christ’s love for all people.

 

The poor are always on the Lord’s heart. Today in prayer, thank the Lord that He has blessed you with many material blessings. Ask Jesus how you can give to those in need.

 

“The cry of the poor must either be heard by us, or it will ascend up against us into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” – F.D. Maurice

 

God’s Word: “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” – Galatians 2:10

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS  †

Devotional - God's Love
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Sunday Sep 4, 2022
Devotional - God's Love

“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” – Joel 2:13

 

In his book “Christianity Explained”, Ortberg – “The Life You've Always Wanted”, John Ortberg wrote: “Sometime ago I woke up in the middle of the night.  Dawn was hours away, but I could see quite clearly in our bedroom because moonlight was streaming through the window. I looked at my wife, Nancy, sleeping beside me, and suddenly, instead of feeling groggy as one might expect, I was overwhelmed by the most intense sense of love.  It was as if I saw our entire married life in one kaleidoscopic viewing.  One scene after another replayed in my mind: the afternoon we met, our first private joke, the first time we ever laughed really hard together, secret nicknames and hidden traditions, the way she smiled at me when she walked down the aisle at our wedding.  I saw all those kinds of events - some momentous, some trivial but for some reason unforgettable--that anyone who has ever loved will carry to the grave.

I thought what my life would be like without Nancy. I thought not just how empty it would be, but how that who I am now is somehow wrapped up in this one sleeping beside me.

For the longest time I just watched my wife in wonder as she slept.  I studied her face.  It was one of the most tender moments I have ever known.

Then something else happened that I did not expect.  Propped up on one elbow and watching Nancy sleep, I thought, while I lie in bed sleeping, God is watching me.  As the psalmist expressed it, ‘He who keeps you will not slumber.  He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.’

And the thought came to me that God was saying something like this: ‘I love you like that. While you lay sleeping, no one can see you, but I watch you. My heart is full of love for you. What your heart is feeling right now as you watch your wife, what a parent feels watching a child, is a little picture for you, a gift, so you can know--every night when you go to sleep--that this is my heart for you.  I want you to reflect on this at night before you close your eyes. I'm watching you, and I'm full of love.’”

 

God loves you. Today in prayer, praise the Lord for His love and rejoice that Jesus is compassionate towards you.

 

"The dying Jesus is the evidence of God's anger toward sin, but the living Jesus is the proof of God's love and forgiveness." - Lorenz Eifert

 

God’s Word: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS  †

Devotional - Repent Of Your Sins
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Thursday Sep 1, 2022
Devotional - Repent Of Your Sins

“Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.’” – Hosea 14:1-2

 

In his book “Christianity Explained”, Michael Bennett gives the following illustration: “When I become a Christian, Jesus comes to live in me spiritually, by his Holy Spirit. Then, over the days and years that follow, the Holy Spirit wants to change me from the inside out, to make me more like Jesus. When you buy a house there are two stages; MOVING-IN DAY (this happens once) and the RENOVATION and REDECORATION (which is ongoing).

Becoming a Christian is the moving-in day. This occurs once when God gives me the grace to repent and surrender to Jesus – when I ‘open the door’ and the Holy Spirit moves in to take up residence. This happens, genuinely, only once, although many Christians cannot specify the exact day on which it took place. Being a Christian is an ongoing or progressive work. The various rooms in the house represent all the aspects of my life: Marriage; Family; Money; Ambition; Leisure; Sexuality; Time; etc. The Holy Spirit is not content to remain in the lobby. Once he has entered my life, he will want to change me into his image of what I should be like. This does not happen all at once – it is gradual work, like renovating a house. The point is: that when I become a Christian, I must be willing for Jesus to become Lord of all. This willingness is the beginning of repentance, and what this means in practice will be worked out progressively as I grow in this new life, by his Spirit.”

 

The Lord not only wants us to repent from sin but also to follow Him. Today in prayer, confess any sin and your life and let Jesus become Lord of all.

 

“A Christian is not one who never goes wrong, but one who is enabled to repent and begin over again after each stumble—because of the inner working of Christ.” – C.S. Lewis

 

God’s Word: “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’” – Matthew 4:17

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS †

Devotional - Desire To Be Righteous
Posted by Peter Kennedy on Wednesday Aug 31, 2022
Devotional - Desire To Be Righteous

“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.” – Hosea 10:12

 

Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist and satirist. In his twenties, Muggeridge was attracted to communism and went to live in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, and the experience turned him into an anti-communist.

During World War II, he worked for the British government as a soldier and a spy, first in East Africa for two years and then in Paris. In the aftermath of the war, he converted to Christianity under the influence of Hugh Kingsmill and helped to bring Mother Teresa to popular attention in the West. He was also a critic of the sexual revolution and of drug use.

He wrote that he spent many years in India and Africa, where he witnessed “much righteous endeavor undertaken by Christians of all denominations.”  By contrast, however, “I never, as it happens, came across a hospital or orphanage run by the (atheist) Fabian Society or a Humanist leper colony.”

 

All that is good in this world comes from God. Today in prayer, desire Christ in all you do and thirst for His righteousness.

 

"My only hope is that I shall be clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ." - M. Lloyd-Jones

 

God’s Word: “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place” – Ephesians 6:14

 

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2022, Devotional E-Mail   

DEVOTIONS IN THE MINOR PROPHETS  †

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