cwkennedy

Weekday devotionals for Christians

Be Like a Hebrew Boy

Dan 3:23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
Dan 3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Dan 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

In this story we have 3 young men who are a part of the government of Babylon refusing to bow down to a false idol.  Keep in mind that they are liked by the king!  They are the “trophy” examples of what all young men should be.  When the king announced that everyone should bow down to the idol when the music played, these young men determined in their heart that they would do right (just like how they determined that they would not defile themselves with the king’s meat)!  In the face of death, they still stood with Jesus!  Wow!  That is totally amazing considering that they put not only their reputation on the line, but God’s reputation.  Keep in mind that their religious views were not shared by many people.  What would it take for you to bow to the kings wishes?

What if the Government asked you to do something that went against every fiber of your faith?  Would you be able to stand up like these three other boys and declare that you would rather die then to give in and bow down to the king’s commandment?  Notice that once they were thrown into the furnace, that Jesus was with them!  Let me point out something…when you are in a fiery furnace for Jesus’ sake, you will not be alone.  Jesus will be with you every step of the way!  Now, back to the story…I ask myself that same question.  I would like to think that I would have as much spiritual boldness as the three men did. I would like to think that Jesus means more to me than some government official.  That, hopefully, might not happen.  But will probably happen is that there will arise a situation for you to stand for Christ now…with your peers, co-workers, friends, family, or even a neighbor.  How will you respond?

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February 29, 2012 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can I Trust You With The Truth

Luk 15:12  And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
Luk 15:31  And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
Luk 15:32  It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Can you be trusted with the truth?  No, I am not talking about someone learning the dirt about someone else.  I am talking about the ability to handle the truth.  Some people that I encounter would not know what to do if someone was totally honest with them.  One thing that I have learned as I get older is that most people do not want to hear the truth, they just want to hear what is pleasing to them.  And that hurts progress for God’s kingdom.

In this story of the prodigal son, I will point out something that is kind of odd.  The father (who is the hero) never talks to the prodigal son.  Even when his son came back, the father only speaks to the servants and his oldest son.  Why is it that the father never spoke a word to his prodigal son?  While the Bible does not say why this happened, I believe that the Father could only trust the older son with the truth.  He rebuked the oldest son.  That is right, the son that stayed and did not forsake his dad; the son that was working still; the son that did not squander his father’s inheritance is the one that got rebuked.  While I am not justifying the older son’s attitude, I believe the Father only rebuked the older son because the Father knew he could handle the truth.

Can you handle the truth spoken in love?  This story shows that while the dad loved both sons, he could only trust one…the oldest one.  He was glad that his other son came back, but that does not mean that he could trust him.  Can God trust you?  God will give you things and tell you things that might not be comfortable, but they will help you.  As I examine the lives of both of the sons, I want to get the blessings that the oldest son will get by staying home with dad. But keep in mind that with those blessings will come truth.  The youngest son refused to handle the truth so he forfeited the blessings that his brother received.  Let me assure you that the blessings are well worth the dis-comfort of the honest truth.  By the way, the dad spoke the truth in love.  Truth should not have hatred put with it.  Truth can be swallowed better when it is coupled with kindness.

Last question, can you handle the truth?

February 28, 2012 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Got Fulfillment?

Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

One of the most thought provoking and frustrating questions I have ever pondered on is this:  “What is God’s will for my life?”  Here is another similar question that is equally frustrating: “Why is my purpose in life?”  Take a minute to ask yourself those questions………………………………………………………………………

……………….ok, now that you have thought about it, think about it some more.  While I am not trying to bring frustration in your life, I do want to point out that we all have a purpose with God.

Here is the same question that is worded as a statement with a hint of encouragement, “God made you to do something that only you can accomplish!”  I believe with all of my heart that Satan does not want us to think about those statements.  The reason for that is, those statements provoke us to do something for Christ!  I believe that God has created amusement and entertainment for us to enjoy, but our society has lived for the entertainment rather than our true purpose for which we are created.  I love football!  I love watching my team (Chicago Bears) play and win!  I hate seeing them get injured and watching the rest of the season go down the drain.  One thing I don’t do is skip church to watch my favorite team play.  Why?  Because that is to go against God’s purpose for my life.

What purpose did God create you for?  Are you fulfilling that purpose?  True satisfaction comes and true fulfillment comes when you do what God has for you.  Are you lacking a little satisfaction?  Need some fulfillment in life?  Find out what God has for you in and you will experience happiness and joy like you never could imagine!

February 24, 2012 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Power

Dan 3:25

He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Dan 3:26

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

Dan 3:27

  And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

 

When we follow what the Lord wants us to do in our life, trials will come.  It is a fact of life, junk happens even when I do good, try hard for Christ, and am kind to others.  Maybe you know that also.  If I don’t watch out, I will allow my thinking to convince me that God hates me; that I am some little pawn to mess with.  If you find yourself going in that direction, STOP!  Stop immediately and don’t entertain those thoughts.

We see here that the three Hebrew boys did nothing wrong.  They simply followed the Lord’s leading and strove to please Him.  These are the same boys who chose on their own free will not to take the portion of the king’s meat, but rather eat pulse and drink water with Daniel.  These guys were trying their best to obey God and look where it got them!  This last statement is what the devil wants you to focus on.

We are supposed to live by faith.  Living by faith means to live according to what God wants, even if it doesn’t make sense to me.  Living by sight is easy.  Living by faith is very challenging.  When we step out on faith, God will walk with us in whatever affliction that we are put into.  He walks with us to protect us, show His love to us, show His mighty power, and when it is all over with, He will promote us.  That is what happened with this story that we have read about.  If we will stick with God and allow Him the time and opportunity, He will exalt you…

1Pe 5:6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

1Pe 5:7  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

These three men were exalted and lifted up after their fiery furnace experience.  Remember that when your fiery furnace experience comes to you.  It will happen eventually.  Will you have the faith to allow God to finish His work in you?

Dan 3:28  Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

Dan 3:29  Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

Dan 3:30  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

February 23, 2012 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Are Due For An Update!

Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Rom 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

How many things in our life require an update?  Firefox, Google Chrome, Windows, Cell Phone, and i tunes are all important aspects of life to a lot of people that constantly require updates at frequent intervals.  Many people anxiously await a new cell phone or the newest iphone or ipad.  We love to update everything!  How about your spiritual life?

When was the last time that your walk with God received an update?  When was the last time that we became anxious at the prospect that God will update us on what is important?  In order to receive an update, we must be willing to receive the update.  We have to stay connected to God for Him to keep us “up to date”.  I cannot update my computer’s operating system unless I connect it to the internet.  That is the chosen path for my computer to receive updates.  We must stay connected to the Lord to receive the updates that we need.  Are you operating under the “old system”?  That old system might have some bugs and might be out of date and not able to connect properly or to be effective in your daily service.  Last question, when was the last time you got an update?

February 22, 2012 Posted by | Devotional, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chinese Chicken Nuggets

Psa 34:8  O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Psa 34:9  O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

Psa 34:10  The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

 

Verse 8 is one of my favorite verses in this chapter.  First of all, it involves tasting.  When I think of tasting, I think of food!  I love to eat good food!  Second, this verse talks of experiencing God’s goodness.  Third, it talks of the blessed man.  This verse has a great 3 point outline in it.

There has been several times in the past nine years of being a parent, that I tried to get the girls to taste something new.  It often is something that I am eating or have ordered.  In most cases they turned down the offer to stick with what they feel is a safer experience.  Most of the times this happens when we go out to eat at a restaurant.  Instead of trying something new with a lot of flavor, they choose instead to eat bland, tasteless chicken nuggets.  These girls have passed up on a lot of GOOD food for the “safer”experience…

or that is what they think.

Then it happened, we were at a chinese restaurant and I ordered a favorite of mine, General Tsou’s Chicken.  They looked at my food and wrinkled up their face at what I was eating.  They have seen me eat this dish several times, but not once did they try it.  So I decided to make a statement of trust to my girls.  I told them that if they tried 1 bite, I would get them a treat.  Well, you know what they said, “What kind of treat?”  After I met their demands, I got a piece of chicken on my fork and put it to their mouth.  They barely opened their mouth hoping that what little piece made it into their mouth would count as a “bite”.  I made them open their mouth and get a “big” bite, if they wanted the treat.  So they got a mouth-full.  And to their amazement, they really liked it!  Now I can’t keep them from eating my food!

I did all that to prove a point to my daughters about trusting their dad.  Little did I know that the Holy Spirit would drive that point home in my own heart.  God the Father has some wonderful things for us to try out and wonderful things for us to experience.  What stops us is our faith or lack of it in Him to give us something that we will like and benefit from.  Great conviction came to my heart that day on my lack of trust in God.  God wants you to trust Him.  He invites you to taste for yourself the goodness that He has for you.  Will you trust his “food selection?”  He really knows better than you what you will like.  You should have seen my daughters face when I told them that the General Tsou’s Chicken that they ate was really the same food that they had been eating all along…a chicken nugget.  It looked different, smelled different, and tasted different; it was just a fancy chicken nugget.  God may take what you already like and package it differently to test your faith in him.  What will your reaction be?

February 21, 2012 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

They Said WHAT??

(Psalms 109:1) Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; 

(Psalms 109:2) For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

Who else will jump up with me and say AMEN on this one?  If you have been alive more the 35 seconds I am sure the above Psalms has a ringing tone of familiarity to you.   We see in verse 2 that someone is using words to harm someone else.   Not to get all dug in on Friday night about who, what, when, and where.  Lets just say you opened your bible today and ran over these two verses.  Ok.. it happen to me so I am sharing some of  the conviction here :-)..   Now I am sure you already have the names of the people doing it.  Now lets really talk about something interest.  Let just start a whole new paragraph to do it.

WHO have you done it to?  Whom in your life right now may be praying for “Hold not thy peace” to God about YOU.  I know. It is pretty twisted, but just saying.  The mouth is the most effective weapon of war in our homes, work places, and yes even churches.  I am sure most of you are glad you read the Bible differently then I do.  Good news is.  We.. Yes we, can all change.  How to we do it?  Lets look at this last verse.

(Psalms 109:4) For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.

Guess that about solves it all.  What happens most of the time.  To combat the talk.  We join them.  Lets today join a different team and “give myself unto prayer” over all these issues.

Have a wonderful weekend folks.  See you Sunday 🙂

Bro. Ray

February 18, 2012 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Change!

Ephesians 3:20- Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Have you ever ask for something to change in your life?  I am sure  most of us have.  Now when we have the faith to believe and we receive the abundance that we asked for creates change in our life.  Most of the time some of the changes (aka BLESSINGS) if we are not careful may be received incorrectly.   Let me give you some examples.  NO LAUGHING AT ME… 🙂

We pray for our children to grow.    –  –   Then we have to sit in the DMV with them to get a learners permit (yes I lived through at least one heart attack this afternoon).

We pray for our relationships with others to grow.   –  –   Then we get to sit through some of the most heart breaking events over or with them.

We pray for our faith to increase.  – – Then we get put right smack in the middle of a place only God can help us.

So, where is all this going.  We need to remind ourselves that sometimes the changes we ask for may need to take us back a few steps to get a really good answered prayer.  I know that the above verse doesn’t mention much about change, but lets not forget that for things to become abundant the change must be walk in.

 

Bro. Ray.

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Did That Just Happen?

To keep everything on pace with today I decided to just wait to the last minute to complete this devotional today(better said tonight).   Seems like all of us at Grace have been in that position today.  I truly believe that the Lord doesn’t make ANY mistakes with any of these things.  Lets just look at a few things we as a church had to handle just today.

1. Pastor is bad sick!

2. Brother CW had surgery yesterday!

3. THEN without delay life ran head on into everyone of us just as normal.

I know today was very busy day.  About the time I got all the things that jumped in my way completed today.  I remember my promise to my brother.  WRITE a devotional.  Well.  Thinking tonight the devotional was meant to be a BIG round of applause to all of you.  I had a Navy buddy who is a youth director for his church up north visiting with me tonight.  He was amazed at how the members of our church stepped up and took charge of the church.  It is our church and boy did we act like it tonight.   What a wonderful night to have a good friend sitting on a pew next to me and see the unscripted love our church has for the Lord.  PEOPLE… we got it right to night.  Pray for our leadership to get back in the game as fast as they can.  But no matter what I know Grace Baptist Church will preach, teach, and spread the gospel under ANY circumstances.  Thank you Lord for all the riches you provided tonight.

Philippians 4:19    But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Bro. Ray 🙂

February 16, 2012 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rejoice In the Lord

Psa 73:28  But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. 

How do you respond to things around you?  Have you ever thought about your initial response when God allows things in your life?  I think about this all the time.  I want my responses to God’s moving to be that of faith.  This verse in Psalms has always tugged on my heart!  It IS GOOD for me to draw near to God!  I have put my trust in the Lord God!  Why…that I may declare all thy works.  God likes to shine through the works that He does through you!  One tough question for you…does God shine through your works in hard times, or does He look bad because of your response to hardship?  These are tough questions to ask, but they are very important questions.  Will you be a great display of God’s love or are you a display that blames God?  Can you say what Job said when God tested him:

Job 13:15  Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. 

Here is a song that might encourage you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyDOtcBX8M8

 

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment