cwkennedy

Weekday devotionals for Christians

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

A Command Of Blessings

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.

(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.

A Command of Blessings are given to Adam and Eve in verse 28.  What do I mean by commands of blessings?  Well, in verse 28, God gave commands to Adam and Eve.  Usually a command has a mean and negative implication to it.  The commands found in verse 28 only have blessings attached to them.  When God told them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish and subdue, those were commands that God gave to them that were desirable.  Keep in mind that these commands were given out before the fall of man and therefore there was not a curse on the ground.

To further explain it, I will say it this way: Imagine if God gave you a command to eat your favorite foods with your favorite drink, and when you are done; go and enjoy your favorite hobby!  That is a man’s dream come true!  For me, that is to watch football with a big juicy steak in front of me with a tall glass of ice cold Pepsi.  And when I finish, I am supposed to go and enjoy my favorite hobby!  Wow, what a good life God was giving to Adam and Eve!

I believe that God has been given a bad rap from people.  God has been blamed for things that He had nothing to do with.  God’s heart for His people can clearly be seen in the scriptures.  I believe the cause of Him being blamed for bad things are people who are not in the Word.  And because they are not in the Word, they miss out on God’s reminders of His original intentions for us.

Let me encourage you today to be the type of person who search the scriptures daily to see God’s heart.   John 5:39 says, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  When we deprive ourselves of our daily bread from God’s Word, we then allow our lack of faith to blame God for the bad in our life.  If we really want to blame someone, we should go to Genesis 3 and see where Satan ruined all that was earthly good for us.  If you want to thank someone, thank God as you will see as he made coats of skin for Adam and Eve.  God might have to give out some justice which in turn will bring some form of heart ache, but His heart for us will always cause Him to be a part of the solution to our problems!  Just remember, God has given us a command of blessings.  We will enjoy some of that on this earth, but when we get to heaven, it will be totally amazing!

I hope you have a good day and a great week!

-Pastor Kennedy

July 10, 2017 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment