Devotions

Author Archives: Debbie Kerr

Thanks Mom

Nurturing • Thanks Mom
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV)

When I think of the word nurture regarding parenting my mind immediately thinks of mothers. Nurturing comes naturally to women and traditionally, mothers spend the most time with the children. My mom still nurtures me even in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. I am not sure she is even aware of it, but it is her nature as my mother. Growing up, my mom was the disciplinarian, and my dad was the fun parent. He would never allow my mom to “hold off” disciplining or say “wait until your father gets home!” He did not want his daughters to dread his homecoming. My mother was perfectly suited to be the disciplinarian and did it like a boss, but my dad knew how to nurture and admonish as well. He would step in when needed, but she pretty much got the job done! Regardless of who did the disciplining, they always made sure we knew we were intensely loved before we were dismissed. None of us rebelled because their discipline was wrapped in a huge soft blanket of unconditional love, with the addition of a godly teachable moment. Otherwise, it is known as nurture and admonition in perfect harmony.

By definition “to nurture” means many things. The Webster’s Dictionary’s list includes: To train, nourish, care for, educate, encourage, support, nurse, comfort and cultivate, just to name a few. God gives us eighteen plus years to accomplish this as parents. It is nurture that takes a baby completely dependent on us into independent adulthood.

So, what does nurturing in the Lord look like? In Deuteronomy 6:7-9 God described to Moses, the Patriarch, what it looks like to raise a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He told Moses, “You shall teach them (the law and statutes of the Lord) diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between our eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” God wanted Moses and the Israelites to know that living a life of God’s principles is a 24/7 thing. It is not just reserved for an hour on Sunday morning; it must be consistent and a part of everything we say and do. What children learn and see modeled in the home will often outweigh all other influences. You cannot depend on the church solely to raise your children, but they will be a huge support and add to your efforts.

A great verse of encouragement given to parents is Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” There is no such thing as a perfect parent, we fail and make mistakes. However, when we follow God’s blueprint for parenting, we will have a higher spiritual success rate. Parenting is one of the highest callings a person can receive. It is long, amazing, exhausting, exuberant, exhausting, blissful, exhausting; you get my point! Parents and grandparents, we have an amazing opportunity to help nurture and shape the next generation to the glory of God. It is a priceless investment that yields an eternal return!

Greatly Troubled

Mary • Devotion #1: Greatly Troubled
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator

Can you think of a time you received a phone call or an email that instantly incited anxiety, confusion, fear, and doubt?  I remember the night four years ago when I was home alone in the early evening, and my phone rang.  A ringing phone is not usually a fearful event unless you are expecting unsettling news, which I was not.  I was unprepared for the news I was about to hear.  My sister’s trembling voice was on the other end of the phone, and I heard the dreaded words, “Debbie, Dad is gone!” Immediately, I was in a state of denial and thought, “there must be a mistake, I just talked to him the other day, and he sounded fine.”  The next voice I heard was a man I did not know.  My sister had handed the phone to a police officer who confirmed and offered his condolences in six of the most painful words I have ever heard, “I’m sorry for your loss, Ma’am.”  My state of denial quickly became my reality.  Instantly, I was flooded with all kinds of emotions, first and foremost being grief and sorrow, followed by immense fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.  I guess I would sum up those five emotions into one word, TROUBLED!  The news instantly sent my mind whirling in many directions.  The main concern was who is going to care for my sweet mother who could not be left alone for more than a few minutes due to Alzheimer’s disease.  God quickly calmed my fears and proved Himself faithful by going before us and having things and people in place.  God was very near to us during that time just as He promised in His word, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in Spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

I cannot even begin to imagine what a young virgin girl must have felt when the Angel of the Lord visited her one day with some of the most incredible yet terrifying and definitely unexpected news imaginable.  In Luke 1:28-29 we read, “‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.” My first thought is, greatly troubled….Ummm, NO KIDDING! If an Angel of the Lord visited me with an important sacred message, I might be slightly worse off than troubled.  Mary, a young teenage virgin girl, was just told that she was going to bear a son, not just any son but the Son of the Most High! Ok, right there I would have freaked out!  I would have gone on Facebook, and my status would have been labeled, Feeling Freaked Out along with the big eyes emoticon.  What in the world?!?!?  How can this be? What will I tell my parents, what will I tell Joseph, my betrothed? How will I ever show my face in public because who is going to believe I have not done something terrible! These are all the things I would have been thinking. 

Mary feeling troubled is completely understandable and appropriate. I am sure the initial shock and days proceeding were unsettling for sure, but God was with her just like He was with me when I faced trouble. Throughout Scripture we see God going before His people and preparing the way.  God never fails to deliver on His promise to provide all that we need when we cast our cares on Him. He freely gives us a peace that passes all understanding.  How awesome for Mary to be “Highly favored of God!” What an honor and privilege to be the one chosen to carry our Savior in her young womb. He turned her trouble into triumph!

Jesus said in John 14:1, “Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God believe also in me.” God wants all of His children to trust Him at all times but especially in times of trouble and great distress.  Remember, His ways are perfect. He has a purpose and a plan and will provide everything that we need. He will work all things together for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

I am Not the Christ!

Imprisonment and Doubt #1  November 20 I am Not the Christ!

“And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’”  John 1:19-20

Have you ever looked up to a Pastor, Bible teacher, or other religious leader as a replacement for the Word of God? If they said it, it is gospel, even if it is just their opinion or interpretation. This is what started to happen to John the Baptist in John chapter one. We learn a little about John the Baptist in the Gospels, he was known for many things and was gaining popularity among the Jewish people. People started following him, crowds gathered and the people listened. John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus, it is not clear how far removed they were but the Bible teaches they were related on their mother’s side. John the Baptist was a very wild man that lived in the wilderness, wore animal skins and his diet consisted of locusts and honey. He was an interesting character for sure, but God put a special anointing on him because he would be the one chosen to be the front runner to Jesus’ earthly ministry. John’s message was all about repentance and baptism to prepare the Jewish people for Christ’s message and offer of redemption. The Jewish people were excited because they had been waiting for the Prophet Elijah to come to free them from the tyranny of Rome and the religious leaders.

As John taught and baptized, the people became increasingly curious and confused regarding his identity and began inquiring, saying things like, “Are you Elijah the Prophet”? When he denied being Elijah, they asked, “Are you the Christ?” It was then that he revealed his purpose and the introduction to who Jesus was by saying, “I am not the Christ, I baptize you with water but the One coming after me, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Shortly after, Jesus arrived on the scene to be baptized, and John said to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by you, why do you come to me?” And Jesus replied, “John, this is the will of my Father.” Immediately following the baptism of Jesus, the heavens opened, and they saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and rested on Jesus, and behold a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)  John refused to be mistaken for Jesus. He even went on to say that he was not worthy to tie His sandals.  John 3:30 says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  

We need to be the John the Baptist’s of our day to the lost and dying world around us. We are not THE Christ, but we are called to be LIKE Christ. We are called to point people to Jesus to live our life in a way that reflects Him, not us! It is often said, “You are the only Jesus some people will ever see.”

Is your life reflecting Christ today? Do people see Him when they look at you or hear His grace, kindness, and love in your conversations? Jesus is coming back again one day, and there are still many people that need to know Him as their Savior. Every day we are one day closer to His return. 

Debbie Kerr
Office Administrator

Contentment #4 – Satisfied in Him

Contentment #4 – Satisfied in Him
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator

1 Timothy 6:6-10
“But Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 

Early in our marriage through many different circumstances, we found ourselves in a financial crisis that lasted a few years.  We had wonderful parents that were willing and able to help us out from time to time, and God was always faithful.  This type of trial presents many temptations if our focus is in the wrong place. It is very easy to become discontent with our situation as you see what others can do for their children, vacations they are taking, and the material things they can provide.  I have to admit I did not do very well during this season.  I am typically a content person and can adapt to various situations but this one hit me hard, not so much for me but because I wanted more for my children.  I bought the lie the world lays on us that “things” make us happy and fulfilled.  When we allow a spirit of discontentment to enter our hearts, all manner of sinful fruits begin to rear their ugly heads.  Sin will always produce sinful fruit, and discontentment will produce the sin of greed, pride, bitterness, anger, and so on.

The Apostle Paul addressed this issue more than once in Scripture.  Paul came from a very wealthy family of prestigious means.  After he was converted, he literally became a slave for Jesus Christ, imprisoned and many times beaten and left for dead. He trusted God through seasons of provision and seasons of lack. There were many times when he was penniless and homeless as he traveled and preached the Gospel as a missionary.  Paul wrote a letter to the church in Philippi saying in Philippians 4: 11, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”  God wants us to learn to trust Him in every situation; He is our provider.  We live a country where most of us do not go to bed hungry or lack for our basic necessities. We are a very blessed people in comparison to many parts of the world and yet we are probably the most discontented. Wealthy people commit suicide and have addictions and issues because wealth and prosperity do not bring lasting happiness and contentment. Only when we find our complete satisfaction in God, then and only then will we find true contentment. I love the quote by John Piper, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” 

Just As You Are

Lamb #4 – Just As You Are
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

Jesus has many titles in Scripture, one very symbolic being the Lamb of God.  In John 1:29 we find, “John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the multitudes saying: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!’”  This was a very important reference to the Jewish people.  John was letting them know their long awaited Messiah was here. Only, He did not look or act like a King ruling with an iron fist; He came as humble, gentle lamb, a servant, the Savior of the world.

Why a lamb? In Exodus 12, God instructed Moses and Aaron to tell the Jewish people to sacrifice a lamb without spot or blemish and put the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes. Then when He came in judgment over the people, He would pass over the homes with blood on the doorposts and spare their household from death. The blood of the lamb was the sacrifice.  God told them this custom will live on for generations and is still being observed today in Jewish tradition as Passover.  What John the Baptist was telling the people of Israel was that the ultimate lamb, the Lamb of God was here walking this earth shoulder to shoulder with us to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. No longer would the blood of an animal be required. The payment for our sins would be covered once and for all. What good news! We cannot gain access into Heaven apart from this blood sacrifice.  Many religions teach that our good works will gain us a place in heaven for eternity but the Bible clearly states in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Romans 3:10 adds, “None is righteous, no, not one!”  

The Bible says in the book of Revelation that right now around the throne of God, with Jesus the Lamb sitting at His right hand, the angels are proclaiming His holiness and righteousness. Revelation 5:12-13 says, “’Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’”

I pray you have received this free gift of salvation and eternal life by putting your faith and trust in the Lamb of God. You can do it right now, just as you are!



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