cwkennedy

Weekday devotionals for Christians

Christmas Lights

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Lesson #8

The tree must be placed in a good, solid tree stand.

Lesson #9

The tree must be watered in order to last through the season.

Lesson #10

The tree is decorated by it’s owner and has no choice in what is put on it.

Lesson #11

The Decorator knows what ornament or decorations to use to cover up the “gaps, imperfections, and blemishes” on the tree to make the tree look as if there was nothing wrong with the tree at all!

Lesson #12

The Christmas tree is decorated with lights for others to see when it is dark.

This is part of the decorations.  The lights illuminate the tree and the decorations when it is dark out.

Application

We are supposed to be a light to a very spiritually dark world.  We are not commanded to “fit in”, but rather to stand 0ut like a light.  We are supposed to be totally different than those that are around us!  We should not be antagonistic about our differences, but rather our differences should illuminate what God has done in our lives.  Let me ask you a question, are you a light to the lost and dying world that we live in?  Can others get light from your testimony of what God has done in your life?  God wants everyone to see what He has done in your life!  Others can not see what He has done if we are constantly trying to fit in with the unsaved crowd.  We are supposed to be different in everything that we do, the music we listen to should be different, the places we go should be different, the habits or hobbies should be different, how we handle stress should be different, and Who we run to in time of need should be different.  One word that should summarize our life is “light”.  Our light should be helpful for others to find the way to Jesus!  How about your light?  Is it bright?  Is it there?  Can others see it?  The only one that can stop your light from shining is you!

 

 

 

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January 3, 2012 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Picture Perfect…Almost

 

Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 

Isa 59:17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.
Isa 59:18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.

Lesson #7

Once the Tree is home, it has to be put in a tree stand and stood up!

Lesson #8

The tree must be placed in a good, solid tree stand.

Lesson #9

The tree must be watered in order to last through the season.

Lesson #10

The tree is decorated by it’s owner and has no choice in what is put on it.

Lesson #11

The Decorator knows what ornament or decorations to use to cover up the “gaps, imperfections, and blemishes” on the tree to make the tree look as if there was nothing wrong with the tree at all!  I know you have done it.  Used certain ornaments or garland or lights to cover up the holes or bad branches.

Application

If we do that with our tree, what do you think God does to us?  God knows where our gaps are, so tell Him in humility and ask for Him to help you.  Guess what, He is infinitely better at decorating us, than we are decorating trees!  Let God decorate you, He wants to!  I am not saying that you need to walk around proud or boastful; just let God bring the things in your life that will cover up certain scars that were left from moments of foolishness.  God wants you to have a good life in His will, but you have to let Him decorate you.  Before you know it, people will look at you and think “you don’t know what I am going through, you never had anything go wrong in your life!”  Deep down inside you and the Lord know better than that!  Wouldn’t it be nice for that to be said about you?  If that ever happens…Praise God!

December 28, 2011 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Firm Foundation

1Co 2:5  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 

1Co 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand

Lesson #4

Everyone that goes to the tree lot or tree farm is looking for the right tree.

Lesson #5

To be used, the tree must be cut down.

Lesson #6

Now that the Tree is cut down, it must be put on a shaker to get the dead needles off of it.

Lesson #7

Once the Tree is home, it has to be put in a tree stand and stood up!

Lesson #8

The tree must be placed in a good, solid tree stand.  It needs a stable foundation to hold it up or any slight imbalance or bump will knock it over.  I found this out the hard way.  I didn’t tighten the bolts down hard enough, because I was afraid to hurt the tree.  What happened was the tree fell over and broke a branch and caused some frustration to me, the owner.

Application

We as Christians need a stable foundation and that is the Word of God.  The world is full of advice that is not evil, but that advice is not Godly.  Anything that is not of God is therefor ungodly.  Anything that is not of the Bible is unbiblical.  We as Christians should do everything in our power to live Biblically and Godly.  The world says follow your heart or discover your heart. The Bible says:

Jer 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 

Pro 18:2  A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself. 

I can go on and on with many illustrations, but I will say this: just because it sounds good, that does not make it good.  The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  Good intentions never justify doing ungodly and godless things.  I am talking about those daytime talk show hosts that give their opinion and expect you to listen to it like Dr. Phil, Oprah, and more.  I am not trying to throw a stone but look at the top to I Corinthians 2:5, that verse is for all talk show hosts, but that is not all.  It is also for me and you!  What!  What am talking about?  Anytime I exalt my opinion above the Bible’s and God’s, I just put myself in the place of God.  Be careful, there are some very smart people out there that can manipulate words very well.  Use the Bible as the filter for all of those opinions.  What is your foundation?  Is it logic, science, or academics?  What ever it may be, know this: your foundation should be in Christ!  If it is not,  you will fall, break something, and cause a lot of frustration!

December 23, 2011 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stand

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Eze 22:30  And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 

Lesson #1

You have to go where the trees are and search all of the trees.

Lesson #2

The Pine Christmas Tree is an Evergreen Tree…it is always in bloom.

Lesson #3

The Christmas Trees are planted and grown for a specific purpose.

Lesson #4

Everyone that goes to the tree lot or tree farm is looking for the right tree.

Lesson #5

To be used, the tree must be cut down.

Lesson #6

Now that the Tree is cut down, it must be put on a shaker to get the dead needles off of it.

Lesson #7

Once the Tree is home, it has to be put in a tree stand and stood up!  The Tree is no good to me and my family if it is laying on the floor.  All of the growing, fertilizing, watering, searching and shaking and bringing it home is pointless if I never put it in a tree stand to fulfill the tree’s purpose

Application:

We as Christians must stand for Christ if we are going to be effective Christians.  If you are saved wonderful!!!  Now what are you doing for Christ?  Standing for Christ might cause resistance from others, friction from family, and pressure; but that is ok!  That is why we have Jesus!  He said:

Mat 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Mat 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

God will take care of you!  He wants you to stand for Him!  It doesn’t matter what you call yourself if you don’t stand for Christ!  God is seeking someone that will stand for Him, will you be that one?  The Christian who does not stand for Christ is like a Christmas tree that is brought home and laid on the floor.  A Christian who does not stand for Christ is as useless as a tree that is laying down.  Will you stand for Christ?  God is looking for some one who will!

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Shook Up

 

Psa 51:7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 

Psa 65:3  Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. 

Psa 79:9  Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake. 

Lesson #1

You have to go where the trees are and search all of the trees.

Lesson #2

The Pine Christmas Tree is an Evergreen Tree…it is always in bloom.

Lesson #3

The Christmas Trees are planted and grown for a specific purpose.

Lesson #4

Everyone that goes to the tree lot or tree farm is looking for the right tree.

Lesson #5

To be used, the tree must be cut down.

Lesson #6

Now that the Tree is cut down, it must be put on a shaker to get the dead needles off of it.

This was an enlightening experience for me.  The first time I went a tree farm, they put the tree on a shaker.  I, at that point in my life, had never seen a machine that shakes a tree.  I literally thought is what some “redneck contraption” made by a guy working for a tip.  I was looking for the duct tape…ha ha.  I saw the guy put my tree up on the shaker, and immediately I felt, “take it easy man, that is MY tree.  Don’t hurt my tree!”  I did not say this, I just thought it.  As the worker was shaking it, I was asking the question why, when I was half-way through the question, I figured it out.  The worker instead gave me a better answer.  His answer was, “So you don’t drag a mess into your home!  There is a lot of “dead-ness and dead needles in the middle of the tree that you cannot see well.”  Wow, this guy had no idea, but he just preached me a sermon!

Application:

God wants to use me…Yeah!!!  In order for God to use me, He must put me through a “shaker” to get a lot of the dead-ness that I did not know was in my life, out of it.  God wants to use me and you but there will be a purging process that will shake our lives up a little.  Do not fight it, let it happen.  You don’t want to keep dragging a mess with you everywhere you go do you?  I don’t.  Sometimes I realize that I have some dead-ness; and there are times that I think that I am pretty good, but am full of dead-ness.  What am I talking about are things like: Bad Attitudes, Destructive Thinking, Iniquity, Besetting Sins, Baggage, Hurts, Depression, Bitterness, Etc.  There are so many things in our life that can hinder God’s will for us.  Will you allow God to shake-up your life?  By the way the shaker does not hurt the tree at all, it just spins it around for a short time.

December 21, 2011 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Me Home

Mat 10:37  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:38  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:39  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Lesson #1

You have to go where the trees are and search all of the trees.

Lesson #2

The Pine Christmas Tree is an Evergreen Tree…it is always in bloom.

Lesson #3

The Christmas Trees are planted and grown for a specific purpose

Lesson #4

Everyone that goes to the tree lot or tree farm is looking for the tree that:

A. Has no Big Blemishes

B. Has Green Needles

C. The Right Height

D. Mature

Lesson #5

To be used, the tree must be cut down.  Imagine this:  You and your family pack up all of your:

1. Presents

2. Decorations and lights (if you have lights, then you will need a generator to give power to those lights)

3. Food

and then you go to the tree farm and decorate a tree, put presents at the foot of the tree, and sing some Christmas Carols, Eat, open up presents, and have fun…all while you are at the tree in the tree farm.  This sounds silly doesn’t it?  Why would anyone go to all of that trouble to save the $30-$60 for cost of the tree.  You would probably have to explain to the police why your family is trespassing on someone’s property.  The best thing to do in this situation is to have cut the tree down and taken it in your home…this is why the tree was grown, to be cut down and taken home.

Application

The above story is a little strange and I don’t know anyone who would do that.  Spiritually, people do that constantly; they want to do what God wants for them, but they want to do it their own way.  They don’t accept or will not accept 4 things:

1. They (like the tree) will have to leave the old life.  This is a must even if you have had a good life in the past.  God’s will will cause you to leave the old life whether or not it was good.

2. They have to leave the old way of thinking.  What worked in the past is not necessarily going to work in the future.  God brings us through stages in our life and if we try to handle things, reason things out, solve problems the same way like we did in the past, then we will “mess-up” a lot of things in the future.

3. They have to leave (like the tree) the ones whom they grew up with.  This includes family and loved ones.  If you are not willing to leave father and mother, you are not worthy of Christ or His will for your life.  You MUST DECIDE Who is most important to you in your life…Jesus or family.

4. They must leave (like the tree) their comfort zone.  Just as the tree will have go to a drastically new place to fulfill it’s will, you will also go to new places and do new things that are drastically different.  They will not be comfortable…at first.  But once you get acclimated to the new environment, you will grow to love it!

-It will be a little painful as you are “cut away” from your old life.

-You won’t be able to get your nourishment from the old life; it won’t satisfy you anymore.

-You won’t fit in anymore once you are cut away from the old life.  God has a new place for you.

-You will be exposed to new elements:  for the tree it is children, pets, etc…

-You will be in a warmer and cleaner environment.  God’s will is exciting and fulfilling, but when He starts to change things around in your life, things will get a little scary…that is ok, because that is living by faith…allowing God to bring things in your life and trusting solely on Him to bring you through them as you “press on the upward way” for Christ!

-What will you do?

 

 

December 20, 2011 Posted by | Devotional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joseph’s Obedience

Mat 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Mat 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Mat 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
Mat 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

 

I started a little series on Joseph and I want to continue it today.  I have listed the first 4 points.  I will add one more.

1. Joseph did right, even when his ancestors and relatives did wrong.

2. Joseph reacted slowly.

3. Joseph respected Mary, even when he didn’t trust her.

4. Joseph waited and thought about what should be done, before he did anything.

5. Joseph obeyed God.  I want to point out a few things on this point:

1. He had to listen, to hear the instructions.  Sometimes we disobey God and do not intend to disobey, because we are to busy talking and not listening.  Have you ever told your child to be quiet so that they can listen to your instructions?  That is what God feels.  By the way, were you listening in church yesterday?  Were you in church yesterday?  God is talking, the question is Are you listening?

2. He obeyed, even when others did not understand.  This can be hard when you have loved ones looking at you like you are crazy.  If God tells you to do something then you should do it.  By the way, make sure it is God telling you to do it and not yourself convincing you that what you want to do is of the Lord.

3. He experienced embarrassment from obeying God.  Sometimes God’s instructions embarrass our pride.  That is ok, because our pride will destroy us.  If you do not understand what I mean, then do right in front of others that are not doing right.  They will not make you feel good.  The Will of God is not embarrassing at all, but fulfilling it in the eyes of those who do not understand God’s will can be embarrassing.  Joseph walked around with a pregnant fiance, at a time when that was shameful.  Will you be willing to sacrifice your pride for God’s will?

December 12, 2011 Posted by | Devotional, Sunday School | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Turn God

Mat 1:16  And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 

Mat 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Mat 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
Mat 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

I started a little series on Joseph and I want to continue it today.  I have listed the first 3 points.  I will add one more.

1. Joseph did right, even when his ancestors and relatives did wrong.

2. Joseph reacted slowly.

3. Joseph respected Mary, even when he didn’t trust her.

4. Joseph waited and thought about what should be done, before he did anything.  I know that I kind of went over this two days ago, but I want to add something to it.  When Joseph waited and pondered what to do next, that allowed God to step in and inform Joseph of what to do and how to do it.  When we react slowly, we allow God the opportunity to step in and fix, explain, show, and solve the problem.  When we are quick to jump, we often find ourselves getting ahead of God and making the situation more complicated than it needs to be.

Notice in verse 20 the Angel of the Lord came to him and told him what he needed to hear and to do.  I would also like to point out that Joseph listened, he did not talk or interrupt or try to control the situation.  He allowed God to do what was best, and because of it he and Mary and Jesus were bettered for it.  When crazy things happen to you will you allow God a chance to do something, or will you jump ahead of God?  The choice is up to you!

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Devotional, Sunday School | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Revealed Respect

Mat 1:16  And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 

Mat 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Mat 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
Mat 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

I started a little series on Joseph yesterday and I want to continue it today.  I have listed the two points from yesterday.  I will add one more.

1. Joseph did right, even when his ancestors and relatives did wrong.

2. Joseph reacted slowly.

3. Joseph respected Mary, even when he didn’t trust her.  The custom back then with two people getting engaged or “espoused” was to wait 9 months to a year for a “proving time” for the woman to show that was “pure, chaste, and honorable.”  If she was impregnated before she was married, then the “waiting period” would reveal it.  If this happened, the man espoused to her would take her before the city and expose her and she would bear the shame for not being a virgin.  Joseph found out that she was pregnant and loved and respected her so much that he was not willing to make her a public example-verse 19.  Even in his broken heart, Joseph still did right by Mary.  I often ask myself what I would have done in that scenario, and I probably would not have reacted as good as Joseph did.  Here we have another example that it is never ok to do wrong even when it seems justifiable.

I believe that God knew how Joseph would react when put in this situation; that is why Joseph got used by God in such an miraculous way!  I could imagine that Joseph was probably feeling some stress at this point, and he revealed to everyone that he was a “Just Man” and that he can be trusted by God with Baby Jesus.  Do you think God would just put Jesus in any home?  No Way, Jose!  God  put Jesus in THE home that He could trust to raise His son right!  How about you?  How will you react to things that are tough?  Will you buckle under pressure or will you shine through like Joseph did?

 

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Devotional, Sunday School | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joseph the Just

 

Mat 1:16  And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 

Mat 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Mat 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
Mat 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

I love Christmas!  I love the Bible verses that tell us of the story of Jesus coming down on the earth.  Matthew chapters 1 & 2 and Luke chapter 2 are the main passages where the Christmas story comes from.  These verses are so rich with things that are beneficial to us today; I want to share a few thoughts with you concerning the verses listed above:

1. Joseph did right, even when his ancestors and relatives did wrong.  Joseph was in line to be king of Israel, but because his relatives before him lived wickedly; he suffered.  Joseph, in our reasoning, could have been justified in being bitter, but he wasn’t.  Joseph was more interested in being “Just”.  That means holy, equitable, and fair.  What will you do…How will you respond when you have to suffer from someone else “messing-up”?  How will you respond when your loved ones mistreat or abuse you?  Joseph responded correctly and God had respect for Joseph and used him to train God’s only Begotten Son.  That is very amazing considering that God could have chosen anyone!

2. Joseph reacted slowly.  In verse 20, he thought about what his reaction could be and should be to Mary being pregnant.  He didn’t know that it was the Holy Ghost that did it.  Even if Mary explained it to him, He probably still would not have believed her; still, he reacted slowly.  Slow reactions lead to better reactions.  Those who fly off the handle and over-react to life are in for a harder life.  Bad reactions only complicate the matter.  In our anger and hatred, we convince ourselves that over-reacting will solve the problem.  It only complicates the situation and makes a bad situation into a horrible situation.  When something happens that is out of your control, remember to react slowly.

December 7, 2011 Posted by | Devotional, Sunday School | , , , , , | Leave a comment