cwkennedy

Weekday devotionals for Christians

What He Really Asked For…

Mark 10:46-52
(46) And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
(47) And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
(48) And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
(49) And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
(50) And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
(51) And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
(52) And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

5. His call for help began with his call for mercy – vs. 47+ 48
What did Bartimaeus really want? He wanted mercy.  He showed wisdom by asking for mercy first. While this thought might be a little odd, understand that healing for him came through the vehicle of mercy from Jesus Christ, the Great Physician.  Not much is said, usually, about mercy in this story; but his healing came after he asked for mercy. Notice that the beggar was not fooled about his situation. So often our pride, stubbornness, etc… will prevent us from healing because in order for us to get the healing we need, we must first ask and beg for the Lord’s mercy.  Mercy is not getting the bad things that we really deserve.  Pride fools us into thinking that we are good and do not need mercy because we are good.  Remember this:
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
6. He overcame because Jesus had mercy on Him. – vs. 52
Do not fall for the trap that you do not need Jesus! We need Jesus! We cannot do what is needed with out His power, mercy, and grace! When Jesus stopped and summoned for Bartimaeus to come to Him, Jesus asked what he wanted.  Bartimaeus replied with a request to receive his sight. When we can show wisdom and in humility ask for mercy, we might be surprised as to what God might do for us!

When was the last time you asked for mercy? That’s right….YOU! When was the last time you asked for mercy? Make sure that you do not allow your pride to fool you into thinking that you are all good on your own and that you do not need mercy. I am not trying to be rude or unkind; I just want to point out that all of us need healing in some area of our life and we should start our request by asking for mercy!

7. The only one that really helped him was Jesus! – vs. 52
The only real help any of us get is from Jesus! Now before I get crucified; let me explain. I am not minimizing the importance of the human help that we get from others. I greatly appreciate all that has been given to me from others. I realize though that :
The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)
All of the help that I have received from every human hand came because they were following the leading of the Lord! I really appreciate those people who follow the Lord’s leading. Some of you who might read this are ones that the Lord has blessed me with. I know most of you who read this and realize that you want to follow the Lord Jesus and that is why you do the good things that you do! But remember, our help comes from the Lord! God is so good to all of us and one of the evidences is the presence of good people in our lives. Real healing for Bartimaeus came only from Jesus when no other human would help him. We should remember that, when others fail us Jesus never will!

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August 11, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quitting, Crying, Conquering

Mark 10:46-52

(46)  And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

(47)  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(48)  And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(49)  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

(50)  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

(51)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

(52)  And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

continued from Monday…..

  1. He was tired of his life’s situation. –vs. 48 I have found in life that most people like to complain about something rather than to fix the problem.  I am not trying to be unkind, but merely stating a fact of life.  I am there in many cases as well.  In order for change to happen in the life of an individual, that person must be so dissatisfied with their situation, that they are motivated and willing to do whatever it takes to change.  I have tried to help others who were not ready for change and it came back to bite me really hard.  In order for complete change to take place, someone has to be motivated in a life-altering way.  If they are not ready or motivated, then they are not really sick of their situation.  When life hits you hard and something bad happens, are you fully ready to do something about it or do you just want to complain about it.  So, how about you?  Is something bad happening in your life?  Is it bad enough for you to change?
  2. He was determined to be an over-comer. –vs. 48 I believe that this step is the next thing that happens.  He did the only thing he could and he became an over-comer with the power of Jesus! Notice that his actions only bolstered him to call out to Jesus more!  There is a lot of wisdom in this man’s act of faith.  What do you do when you get motivated to do something?  Do you go to Jesus first?  Do you cry out even more?  Have you ever tried it this way?  Go ahead and test God and see what He will do in your life?  He wants to be totally real and relevant in your life.

…to be continued…

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What School Did You Go To?

Mark 10:46-52

(46)  And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

(47)  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(48)  And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(49)  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

(50)  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

(51)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

(52)  And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

I have learned in life that (in my opinion) the most comfortable way to learn is through the school of wisdom.  While I realize that hearing advice from someone else is not always easy or comfortable, it is far better than getting burned and then suffering through a big ordeal because of it.  I look at the story of Bartimaeus the same way.  While there is not many details to go over, I would like to point out a few things from this story that might help you and me.

  1. He cried out to Jesus for mercy. –vs. 47 Herein is the essence of true faith, he turned to Jesus for help. How many times has it been said by Christians who are in a tuff time, “All we can do now is pray”.  I have said that, have you?  I believe the fast track (if there is one) to getting help lies with this as the first step.  If we can go to the Lord first, wouldn’t we be able to avoid some hardship, frustration, and pain?  Yet, what do we all do in time of trouble?  There is wisdom here that we all can benefit from.
  2. He cried out to Jesus in the face of opposition. –vs. 48  Isn’t this horrible?  The people around Jesus were trying to keep others from getting the help that they need.  This truly is bad.  I wonder if you have ever come across someone who should have helped you get relief and healing from the Lord, but instead they make it hard and some even will try to stop you from getting that help!  My flesh wants to rise up and lash out at them.  Let me encourage you to do what the Bartimaeus did and start crying out even more to Jesus!  Just think, if he started fighting with them, he would have lost his opportunity to get healed.  What he did was best: He devalued their opinions and started crying out even more.  Such is the case with us.  If you and I allow those haters to distract us away from the Lord, we will lose out because we will miss our opportunity to get the healing during that short window of opportunity.  This is something to keep in  mind when they want to rise up against you.

to be continued…

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Want It Now!

Mark 10:46-52

(46)  And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

(47)  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(48)  And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

(49)  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

(50)  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

(51)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

(52)  And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Here we have a story of a blind man.  Bartimaeus was his name and he heard that Jesus was in town and was passing by his way.  I want to stop and appreciate the Lord Jesus for a moment.  If you notice in verse 46 that nothing was mentioned about Him being in Jericho.  It only mentions that Jesus entered and exited that town, but what was mentioned is the interaction between Him and Bartimaeus!  Why do I point that out?  I believe that Jesus was coming to someone in need.

That’s right!  Jesus is coming to the rescue!  While I believe that Jesus was passing by Bartimaeus on purpose; Jesus did not go to Bartimaeus.   Bartimaeus had not received an RSVP from Jesus, neither did he call the secretary and set up an appointment with Jesus.  Why do I like this so much!  Let me try to explain below.

I believe that Jesus went out of His way to go to Bartimaeus to heal him.  I also believe that Jesus wanted to test Bartimaeus and see how bad he wanted to be healed.  I have learned in the Bible and in my experience that healing and opportunity comes in many shapes and forms.  In this story, Jesus made Himself available to heal a blind man, but that blind man had to show faith.

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

I believe that this verse explains this story well.  Jesus wanted to see his faith and gave blind Baritmaeus a life changing opportunity.  Bartimaeus responded in faith.  His response was action!  He called out to Jesus and did not let anyone stop him from getting to his Lord!  The world we live in trains us to think that God should be knocking down my door to help me.  This is far from the Biblical view point.  We must seek Him.  If we seek Him, He will be found and will reward us for seeking Him.

Matthew 7:7-8

(7)  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

(8)  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Let me encourage you not to have a welfare mentality when it comes to God.  God does not need to be the one seeking us.  We need to be the ones seeking God!  We will become victims to the “entitlement mentality” that is plaguing our country.  That mentality leads a person to think that God needs to seek me out, fix my problems, and take away all of my hardship…..and by the way God, make it fast!

What kind of attitude do you have toward the Lord?  Is it an attitude of faith or is it an attitude of entitlement?  Notice that the blind man called out to Jesus when he had the chance.  He was not focused on what he thought the Lord’s duty was to him; he simply called out to Jesus!  I have learned that God will not make it hard for us to come to Him, but He does want to see how determined we are in getting His help.  How determined are you at getting Jesus’ help?  He is near and waits for you to call for help!

 

to be continued…..

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Land Ho!

Here is the conclusion of the story:

Mark 6:53-56

(53)  And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.

(54)  And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,

(55)  And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.

(56)  And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

While the story does not specifically state that the disciples were healed or had soft hearts, what we see is a safe landing and a continuation of service with Jesus.   The difference between this story and ones that happen today is the fact that they did not burn out or quit.  No one stopped trusting Jesus, no one committed suicide, no one turned back and went to their old ways, no one falsely accused Christ, etc…

The main differences between the success stories and failures of today are clearly seen by their actions.  Those who recover continue to serve, while those who have a hard heart quit.  I am not trying to be critical of the quitters, but much is to be learned by those who once had a hardened heart who are now serving again.  Much satisfaction and true Joy comes for those who overcome with Jesus rather than giving up and quitting.

I would also like to point out that their faith in Jesus was restored.  How do we know that?  By their actions!  The simple fact that they still followed Him shows that they trust Him deeply.  Remember how He calmed the storm that they were in?  They gave Jesus a chance to help them by calling out to Him in their trouble.  Let me encourage you today Christian to give Jesus a chance to help you in your hour of trouble.

The disciples saw more miracles and were part of more miraculous things because of the healing of their hard hearts.  What a great thought!  When you give Jesus a chance, He gives you more opportunities to serve Him when you get healed.  You get to be a part of many more miraculous things!

So much is at stake when are hearts become cold and hard.  Let me finish by encouraging you to do what the disciples did in this passage:

  • They obeyed by getting into the ship.
  • They continued on even when they could not see Jesus.
  • They were busy working; they did not give up.
  • They cried out to Jesus for help.
  • They let Him in their boat

 

Will you let Jesus calm your storm and soften your heart?

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is Not A Sin To Have A Hard Heart…

It is not a sin to have a hard heart…

In order to fix a hard heart, we must notice what the disciples did to fix the condition of their heart.  In these verses, we are shown what happened to them and how their hearts were made better:

Mark 6:45-52

(45)  And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.

(46)  And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

(47)  And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

(48)  And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

(49)  But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:

(50)  For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

(51)  And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

(52)  For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

 

While it is not a sin to have a hard heart…You will sin though, if you leave it there.

A hard heart does not always come from indulging in sin, it can also come from serving.  Such is the case in this passage.  The disciples immediately left after the feeding of the 5,000 at the instruction of Jesus. Notice the actions found in the following verses:

  1. They got into the ship-vs. 45
  2. They went to the other side…without Jesus-vs. 46
  3. They were toiling in rowing…working and terrified for their lives-vs. 48
  4. They cried out-vs. 49
  5. They saw him-vs. 50
  6. They let Him into their ship-vs. 51
  7. They were amazed and wondered-vs. 51

These were not actions of rebellion.  The disciples were doing what they were told to do.  Now they are rowing in a ship for their lives.  These actions they took helped them get back where they needed to be.  Notice the actions again:

  1. They got into the ship-God always….ALWAYS…blesses obedience. When you find yourself having a hard heart, obedience is one of the vital ingredients to having it be tender again.
  2. They went to the other side without Jesus. Now, technically He was not in the boat; but He was right there in their time of trouble.  Jesus is always near!  Praise God!
  3. They were busy working…they did not give up and quit.  God always blesses hard work
  4. They cried out to God. When you cannot calm the storms in your life, cry out to Jesus…He is good at calming the storms.  You just might be surprised at how close He really is to you!
  5. They let Him into their ship! They could have rejected Him, but instead invited Him into their ship.  Notice that the storm in their life did not happen until Him entered the ship.  This is no co-incident.  Many people recognize that Jesus is the answer to their problem, but they never accept Him back into their life.  And in so doing, their storm never is calmed.
  6. They were amazed and wondered! Awesome things can happen when you do not give up on God!

Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion to the story!……I know, I know….kind of cheesy isn’t it… 🙂

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It wasn’t Immorality, Back-sliding, or Rebellion.

(52)  For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

As I want to stick with my main thought, I want to ask you a question:  What caused the disciples’ heart to be hardened?  Was it Immorality?  Was it from being backslidden?  Was it rebellion?  What was it?  The answer to the questions is found here:

(41)  And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 

The answer was from serving others.  What?!!!!  Their hearts were hardened from serving?  I will say that serving is not bad, neither is doing the Lord’s work bad either.  The hard hearts came from the weariness of serving.  If you have ever served to the point of weariness, you will understand where I am going. 

Our hearts can become hardened when are wearied from anything, especially serving.  This is why it is very important to make sure that you are not serving so much that you miss out on the main thing.  Well……..what is it?  The main thing is Jesus!  While I may not know the answer to a lot of things, I do know that much weariness can lead to a lot of bad outcomes.  I have seen it so many times in others and myself in the ministry.  Full-time paid ministry workers and volunteer workers are both effected by this. 

We run the risk of losing sight of Jesus when we do not balance our serving with resting.  No, I am not going to tell you to stop serving…LOL.  What we need to be aware of is the need for balance in the ministry.  I have seen so many great workers get burned out or become hardened because of the weariness that serving brings.  Serving is great;  we should always be willing to serve the Lord when He presents the need, but we also need to understand that we should be balanced in our service for the Lord.  I will address this in more detail in the next devotional.  I will also attempt to share with you what each Christian should do in maintaining a balanced work load while still keeping the main thing, the main thing.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s Hard Work Feeding All of Those People!

Mark 6:42-44, 49-52

(42)  And they did all eat, and were filled.

(43)  And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.

(44)  And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.

(49)  But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:

(50)  For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

(51)  And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

(52)  For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

Here we have 12 disciples that are worn out!  Why? What happened to make them worn out?  They just finished helping serve food to 5,000 men, besides women and children.  Jesus soon after constrained the men to get in a ship and cross the sea.  I believe Jesus wanted to test their faith by sending them alone.  As we examine this story, I want to encourage many of you who are active and faithful workers for the Lord.  We will see and learn some valuable lessons from the 12 men who walked the closest to Jesus.

I want to start out by saying serving is a wonderful and Christ-honoring thing for a Christian.  Those of you who serve and are faithful are a tremendous blessing to the work of the ministry and the cause of Christ!  Thank God for those who faithfully serve for Jesus! 

I do want to give you a warning though; when you serve, you WILL get tired and weary!  This is the by-product of serving.  It is a part of the sacrifice that the servers endure when they serve.  The service that you provide is more appreciated because there is a degree of suffering (sometimes great, sometimes small) that takes place.  One of the blessings of the server is that they are taking the difficulty from the one they are serving and putting it on themselves.  When a waiter at a restaurant takes your order, brings your drinks and food, and then makes sure that your needs are taken care of; they are doing that for you so that you do not have to do it.  The cook back in the kitchen, prepares and cooks your food to order so that you do not have to.  That is part of their service.  While I just stated the obvious, I did so to lay the foundation of the sacrifice of the server.

I will end today with this: Thank you for your service for the Lord!  Many times a “Thank You” is not said or expressed properly.  A lot of times, the “tip” does not equal the level of service one receives.  As a parent, the gratitude we receive rarely equals the sacrifice level that our children received.  I am not being unkind to the kiddos, just merely stating a reality.  BTW, I didn’t realize the level of sacrifice that went into parenting until I became a parent. 

I think the absence of a proper gratitude, to a small degree, adds to the sacrifice of the server.  So, when you “work your fingers to the bone” and it seems that no one really cares, know this that Jesus notices and He cares!

 Matthew 25:37-40

(37)  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

(38)  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

(39)  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

(40)  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

One of the things that helps me in my service, is to remember that at the very least, I am doing it for the Lord.  This helps me because I know that my service is an investment into receiving rewards in Heaven.

July 26, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It Is God’s Idea

Hebrews 10:22-25
(22)  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
(23)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
(24)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
(25)  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Continued from Wednesday…

3) Our shared gifts, talents and resources make us stronger.

None of us are as strong alone as we are together. The spiritual gifts listed in passages such as Romans 12:4-7, Ephesians 4:11-12, and I Corinthians 12:4-11 paint a great picture of how we work together and strengthen each other.

I can’t say it better than what is written in Ephesians chapter 4.

Ephesians 4:11-12, 16

(11)  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

(12)  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

(16)  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 

4) God ordained the Church as His organized plan for redemption.

It’s a powerful thought that God ordained only two institutions.  Marriage and The Church. That makes them both incredibly important, and it seems wise that we know what God has in mind for each one.  In this post, we’ll focus on the church.

Ephesians 3:10-12

(10)  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

(11)  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

(12)  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

If Church is God’s idea, then for believers, it’s worth more than academic consideration or participation during the holidays. Your life becomes deeper and richer as you give your whole heart to the people and the mission of the Church.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Lone Ranger was Not Real

Hebrews 10:22-25
(22)  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
(23)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
(24)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
(25)  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I want to share with you some summary thoughts and some thoughts that have come from my experience as well in relation to church attendance and being active in church:

It’s been my experience that when you disconnect from the church (the people), you begin to drift spiritually. That’s not always the case, but in the majority of situations, that represents reality.

We need Christ, and we need each other, that truth won’t change. The Church is the greatest force on earth to that end.

4 good reasons it’s important to be part of a local church:

1) We tend to drift spiritually when not connected relationally.

A church is not required for salvation but it is necessary in spiritual growth.  Without the Church as the foundation (the organized body of Christ), the message of Jesus travels much slower.

When we drift from a community of believers, the human mind begins to rationalize. “I love God, and He loves me, I don’t need to go to church.” That’s true, but it’s only a half-truth, and half-truths often lead us down a dangerous road.

The other half is the overwhelming evidence that when you are connected to a group of committed believers, the likelihood of your continued spiritual growth is exponentially higher.

2) God did not make the Spiritual Lone Ranger.

Christianity was never intended to be an independent endeavor.  There will be no crowns in heaven for those “Lone Rangers”.

The nature of Christianity is essentially relational. The primary relationship is between God and mankind. That relationship was perfect until broken by sin. (Genesis 3:1-19) The relationship was restored by a covenant. That covenant promise was fulfilled through Christ.

Christianity was never intended to be a “Lone Ranger” proposition. We need each other. There is no perfect church, and there are no perfect Christians, but together we help each other become the persons God intended us to be.  I have found that those who want to be the “Lone Ranger Christian” are those who can not accept any correction that comes and they bristle at the fact that they are a sinner in need of Christian fellowship like everyone else.  God has given us a gift of the fellowship of the church for us to be loved and admonished.  What a blessing!

Just a Quick note to my Wonderful Best Friend!….

Happy Birthday Angela!  I Love You!

July 21, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Member and Active-part 2

Hebrews 10:22-25
(22)  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
(23)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
(24)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
(25)  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

We are told in verse 24 to observe one another with the purpose of challenging each other. Notice that neither the Bible, nor I have said the word criticize, but rather challenge each other unto love and good works.  I do think it is funny that we need to provoke each other to love, but the more I think about it I realize that sin nature that we all have causes us to be the type of people that needs a challenge to love each other.  We naturally love ourselves mostly and if it is convenient then I will love someone else.  That is the day we live in.  Mature Christians will have more love for others because they have grown in the Lord.  Just like a parent who loves their child without any expectation of return, so we ought to love others in Christ.

We also are reminded to challenge each other to good works.  This can be tricky because you really need to have a good relationship with a person in order to do this.  No one wants to be made to feel like they aren’t doing enough, but if we really think about it and are honest with ourselves we will admit that we can do more for Christ.  If you were to honestly sit down and assess your situation and your schedule, do you think that you would be able to do more for the Lord?  I would guess that we probably could do more.  I believe that when we stand before God and have our works judged in Heaven, we will be shown that we could have done and still can do a lot more than we realize for Christ.

One last question…Are you really doing all that you can in relation to good works?  I am told to challenge you and I should be willing to let you challenge me as well to love and doing good works.

…To Be Continued…

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Member and Active Part-part 1

Hebrews 10:22-25
(22)  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
(23)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
(24)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
(25)  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

We live in day and age where church membership is not held in high esteem by the general population.  There was a day in America where stores shut down,  businesses would close, and churches would be full on Sunday.  That day has long past us.   The verses above admonish us concerning our church attendance and our activity in our churches.

In the next few devotionals, I want to share with you some thoughts that i came across in regards to being actively involved and attending a local New Testament Baptist church.

In verse 22, the subject is the “understood you”. It says that you need to let us draw near.  That means that while our lives take us away from each other through out the week, wee need to draw near again.  It is almost like having a spiritual family reunion every week.  We need this, not only for fellowship, but also for us to be washed with pure water.  There is a certain type of cleansing that happens when we draw near to each other.   Make no mistake, the drawing near does not cleanse us from all sin, but the Bible does say that a cleansing happens.  I believe it is a cleansing of the pure water of the Bible.  When the Bible is taught and preached, a cleansing takes place.

In verse 23, we are admonished to hold fast the profession of our faith. The profession of our faith is our testimony. When we draw near to each other, we are holding our testimony and keeping it protected.  We as Christians damage our testimony when we take our church attendance and involvement lightly.  We are also reminded that God is faithful and we should be challenged to be as faithful as we can.

-to be continued…

July 17, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Was Good!

Genesis 1:28-31

(28)  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

(29)  And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

(30)  And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

(31)  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

…continued from yesterday….

In verse 28, the phrase “replenish the earth” means to fill it up.  What an honor!  God wanted Adam to fill the earth up with his children and grand-children!  Can you imagine if the entire world’s population rested on you to bring forth children?  I do realize that Adam and Eve did not have the limitations put on them that we have today, but the simple fact of replenishing the earth being entirely on you is a great responsibility and a great honor as well!

The next statement, “and subdue it” is very interesting.  It means to conquer, to bring into bondage.  This statement flies in the face of all of the God-hating tree huggers and global warming crowd.  God commanded Adam to conquer the earth and subdue it.  I am tired of the politically correct (pc) crowd that values animals and trees more than human life!  They think that the trees and plants should have all the rights that a human should have.  That is wrong and ungodly!  God says several times in the Bible that we are of more value than the plants and animals (Matt. 10:31, Luke 12:7+27, Matt. 6:29).

I will finish this devotional on this last command found in verse 28.  The last command is to have dominion over the fish, fowl, and every living thing.  The word subdue means: to tread down, subjugate, to prevail against.  With this understanding, we are told by God to prevail against the fowl, fish, and every living thing.  That was and still is God’s original intent with man upon the earth.  God did not create man equal with the fowl, fish, and every living thing.  God made us superior to them.  The simple fact that I have to point this out, shows the narrative that is being pushed by this evil influence in the world is having an effect on us.  Don’t misunderstand me, I like clean air and clean water.  I am not for torturing any animal, but God put us at the top of the food chain on purpose.  I will presume that you already understand this and therefore do not need this, but it is good to be reminded what God has for us!

God ends the chapter in verse 31 with, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”  Man’s responsibility to grow, multiply, replenish, subdue, and have dominion over all of the earth was called good by God.  Only those who are anti-God will disagree.

In closing, I just wanted to share these few thoughts with you as the Lord put them on my heart from my devotionals.  I hope they are a blessing to you.  When you go to church on Sunday; thank God for all of the blessings that He has given to you and maybe these few thoughts will help you in your walk with God.  God Bless You!

-Pastor Kennedy

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Growing or Dying?

Genesis 1:28-31

(28)  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

(29)  And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

(30)  And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

(31)  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Let’s take a look at what God commanded the blessings to be:

In verse 28, the first command is to be fruitful.  I looked at the Hebrew definition.  It simply means to bear fruit, to grow, to increase.  Even though Adam was not a sinner, he still needed to grow.  Think about it…the perfect man was not complete, he still needed to grow.  This convicts me tremendously.  While I do believe that the Lord also meant to have children, the definition shows that growth is also a part of being fruitful.  Just as a sapling needs to grow in order to bring forth fruit, so likewise we also must grow in order to bring forth fruit.

The next word in verse 28 is multiply.  The word means to grow exceedingly, to grow in abundance.  Keep in mind that God did not say if you want to, He just said to do it.  This should challenge us to keep moving forward and continue to grow and keep growing.  I know this, if Adam needed to grow in the Garden of Eden, surely you and I need to continue to grow as we are sinners and Adam was not at this point in his life.

Are you bearing fruit?  Are you growing?  While God gave those commands to Adam, the principles of growth still apply today for you and me.  We should be a people that are continuing to move forward in Christ!  I believe with all of my heart that God wants us all to grow in grace.

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Original Intent

Genesis 1:26-31
(26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
(27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
(28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
(29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

In God’s Original Plan, one of things that I want to point out is that He wants us to have His image. Stop for a minute and let that sink in…..He wants us to look like Him! I looked up the word “image” in the Hebrew language and this is the definition:
tselem
tseh’-lem
image :
From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure

God wants us to be a representative figure of Him. This started back when Adam was made. Not only did God want us to have a resemblance of Him, but also wants us to be His representative. It is like a father that makes his son to be the representative of their family business.
Can you see God’s heart in this decision? Can you see His love for us? Can you see God beaming with pride as His most precious creation is representing Him? He didn’t choose the strong and majestic horse to represent Him. He didn’t choose the powerful and ferocious lion to represent Him. He didn’t choose the beautiful peacock to represent His beauty. He didn’t choose the stately bull elephant to represent His power nor the delicate and unique humming bird.  God in His love and wisdom chose lowly man to be the illusion, the resemblance of Him!  In my opinion, God has created many wonderful, strong, and even some very intelligent animals that could have represented many of His attributes better than what a common human can; but He didn’t choose them.  God chose His last creation; His best creation to be His representative! I am pointing all of this out not because I want to inflate someone’s ego, but rather because to show the importance of God’s Original Intent in regards to man. This reminds me of a political position that was created in our country called an “Ambassador”.  The Ambassador is a person designated and set apart with the sole purpose to represent the President of the USA to a given country. That Ambassador would be the “go-between” between the political leaders in the country that he is appointed to and the President of the USA.
I have a few questions for us in regards to this understanding with God’s Original Intent. Would you or I conduct ourselves any different knowing what God’s Original Intent for us was? Would you look at Bible reading any different? Would you look at church attendance any different? Would you look at giving to the Lord any different? Would your prayer life change if you were the official spokesperson for the Lord? Would your conduct in this world change if you had the title of “Ambassador of the Lord”? I want to finish the devotional today with those thoughts and I encourage you to think on what you would do differently as we are God’s Ambassador to this world.
Proverbs 13:16-17
(16) Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
(17) A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

-Pastor Kennedy

July 7, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teaching the Teachable

Philippians 3:10-13
(10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
(11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
(12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
(13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

3. Always learn from your past.
This is where the main thought for today is going to be. I believe one of the main frustrations in the life of any individual in the regards to personal failure is the inability to learn from your past. While we all have things in our past, including failures, if we learn from the past defeats or failures in our life, we will be able to grow and avoid the failure in the future. One of the reasons why God allows us to fail is for us to learn from our failures. I know that in my life, certain lessons could not be learned from succeeding. I would say that most of the lessons that stand out in my mind came from a failure so bad, I got burned. My body has a few scars on it from when I did not succeed. I have 2 scars on my right arm because I was running will a porcelain bowl that was filled with popcorn. I was 4 years old, and I was running from my mom who wanted some popcorn. It was a fun moment I was having with my mom, until I turned the corner and my foot slipped out from under me and I fell on top of the bowl. The bowl broke into pieces and a few of those pieces went into my arm. I was screaming bloody murder! Oh the pain! Oh the lesson I learned that day! That is probably my earliest memory ….a failure! Isn’t it amazing how we can remember a detailed description when we suffer? I learned that day not to run (especially from mom) when holding a porcelain bowl.
How good are you from learning from past mistakes, failures, and/or defeats? I would say that the ability to go to God and then be teachable enough to learn from your past will directly affect your ability to grow.
2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

What is hindering you from growing in the Lord? Whatever it is in your life, let me encourage you to remove any hindrances to your growth.

4. Help someone else learn from your mistakes.
Wow, this is not always easy. In order to do this, you must admit you have failed or have been defeated. Some people cannot handle this because their image is most important to them. How sad it is when individuals put their ego, their image, and yes their pride ahead of helping others. I have met many people who fit into that category. I also belong in that category when I allow my pride, ego, and image to get in the way of progress and helping others. We all have our moments of selfishness, but we can fight it and be a help to others.

Helping others learn also helps me learn on a different level. I learned in college a principle in education. That principle is this, “The person that does the work, is the person that does the learning.” This explains why the teacher who studies and prepares for the lesson that they will teach the class is the one who typically knows the most on the subject. When I help someone else learn the vital lessons that I had to learn the hard way, it engrains that lesson into my mind even more. You should try it. Teach someone a vital lesson that really helped you in your life. What starts to happen is growth in your life. Rather than feeling embarrassed, you will feel the gratitude from the heart of your teachable student.
Proverbs 9:9
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

 

June 30, 2017 Posted by | Devotional, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Daily…Really?

Philippians 3:10-15
(10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
(11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
(12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
(13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
(14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
(15) Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

I want to address another area in regards to growing, and that is dealing with failures.
Surprisingly most people do not realize it, but failures are a daily occurence.  I hate not succeeding! I would guess that you probably are the same as I am in that area. “I don’t play to lose”, is something that my girls will tell you about me when we play or do something that requires competition. I am a very competitive person. I always try to succeed in everything that I do. I have learned that the average person does not need to have an aggressive drive to succeed in order to enjoy winning. Most people strive for success.
What happens then when we fail or do not succeed at what we start out doing? Well….a lot of things happen, but what I want to address is what needs to happen after we lose or fail. If we first don’t succeed, ……. You know the rest of the statement. We need to try again. While I want to stay away from the self-help advice that usually is void of God and is primarily focused on the sheer determination of man; I want to point out a few thoughts on growing through past failures.
1. God is not surprised when we do not succeed on the first try.
Psalms 103:14
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

Praise God! Thank You Jesus! I have found that the average honest individual (there are exceptions to this), is harder on himself than anyone. We always expect to succeed on the first try and when we don’t we experience a lot of negative feelings and a range of frustration. If God is not surprised that we will fail, we need to be understanding of that ourselves as well. If we can do this, we will be able to do things like: encourage others when they fail, encourage ourselves when we fail, and learn from our past mistakes. In my failures, I have learned that the answer to my failure is out there, I just need help in finding that answer.
2. When we fail we should do the following things:
    A. Be teachable and seek the answer to the failure.
    B. Look to the Lord, before I look to man for the answer.
Proverbs 16:1
The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
…to be continued tomorrow…

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , | 1 Comment

20 Years From Now….

Philippians 3:10-15

(10)  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

(11)  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

(12)  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

(13)  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

(14)  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

(15)  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

In this passage, we must go back to verse 10 to understand what Paul was talking about in verses 12-14.  In verse 10, the apostle Paul is telling us that he wants to know Christ, and understand a special type of fellowship; and in doing that, that causes him to try to be a better Christian and is on a continual path of growth.  Verse 11 is the indicator that he is attaining unto something and verses 12-14 makes it clear that he is pursuing growth in Christ.  I want to point out that growth in Christ is not something that is automatic, neither is it guaranteed.  Growth in Christ takes diligent persistence on the part of the one needing growth.  When God chose to give us the ability to choose right or wrong, one of the by-products of that is now we must continue to decide to grow and improve in any particular area in life.  Make no mistake, this lesson is not about “becoming a better you” in your own strength and absent of the power of God; these devotionals are about becoming conformed to the image of Christ.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

The drive to constantly grow in Christ is something that most people do not have.  A continual growth in your life will be tiresome and exhausting, but also extremely rewarding.  I want to challenge you to do exactly what the Apostle Paul is admonishing us to do…Grow in Christ.  I am now 20 years past my High School graduation and the realization of this makes me feel old.  I clearly remember having conversations (20 years ago) with my fellow class mates and encouraging them to go to college of some form to get either a trade or a degree in some field.  I remember that a few of them did not want to further their education.  I and many of my class mates knew they would regret it later in life, but they would not be convinced to continue their education.  How sad it is now that we are 20 years removed from our graduation.  I wonder how I would look back on my life 20 years from now.  If I will continue the growth process, I firmly believe that I can be pleased rather than regretful; and so can you!

-Pastor CW Kennedy

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Forward In Christ!

Philippians 3:13-15

(13)  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

(14)  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

(15)  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

These verses come from God through the Apostle Paul to the church at Philippi.  The Apostle Paul is a man that committed murder in his past….that’s right…he is a murderer.  God saved him from a wretched life of sin and now he is bringing a message to the church and now us in  the church age.  What is the message?  The message is this: “Anyone can move forward, as long as they are in Christ!”  We all need to move our life forward in Christ.  It does not matter how successful we were in our past or if our past is filled with the graffiti of sin.  We all need to move forward.

Continue reading

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , | Leave a comment