Devotions

Author Archives: Debbie Kerr

Grow • Devotion #1: Study the Real Thing

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

Growing up is a painful and seemingly long process. When I was a young girl, I would complain to my mom that my legs hurt, and she would say, “You are having growing pains.” For me to grow up, my body had to work hard and endure the process, especially through the awkward phases. When we first come to faith in Christ, we are like newborn babies. We can only handle and assimilate a small amount, but as we begin to grow, we begin to tolerate solid food. This part of our spiritual journey can be discouraging because we need help to gain our balance to walk worthy of our calling. We fall and get back up again by the grace of God. Peter encourages us in 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow into salvation.” In order to grow spiritually, we need to develop an appetite to study and apply God’s Word. It takes time and discipline, but it is the most valuable investment of time we will ever make. 

When we decide we are going to make it a daily discipline to study God’s Word, beware the enemy will put every obstacle in our way to keep us from it. That, right there, should tell us how powerful and life-changing it is! We need to be intentional and dedicated to growing in the Word. I once saw a great object lesson on this. There was a huge jar filled to the top with beans, the person then tried to fit a tennis ball in the top of the full jar, but there was no room left. Then they emptied the beans from the jar and put the tennis ball in first then added the beans. Guess what? It all fit perfectly! The lesson is this: when we fit God into the first part of our day, we will accomplish so much more. Conversely, when we try to add Him in at the end of the day, there will likely be no room left.  

I recently joined a Bible reading accountability group. We use an app on our phone for the Scripture reading along with a ten-minute recap and application of the passages. In three months’ time, I will have read the entire New Testament chronologically. I look forward to my time in the Word every morning; it has truly become the very best part of my day. When we get into God’s Word, His Word gets into us. Even if we do not comprehend everything we read, the Bible says we will be washed by the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26). It is the only book that is 100% true, accurate, alive, and has the power to change us into His image!  

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” 

In 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV), we read, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Did you know you will not recognize a counterfeit by studying it?

You only recognize a counterfeit by studying the real thing!

Study the Truth!

Lesson Eighteen • Devotion #6: Through It All

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Life is hard, y’all! It has been hard since Adam and Eve. All throughout Scripture we read accounts of extreme hardship and suffering. Some suffering is a consequence of disobedience and life choices and then there are times we will never know the “why.” In this portion of Scripture, Paul is sharing his own personal experience with suffering which many believe is a physical ailment. We learn from this passage in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 that Paul asked God three times to take this condition from him, but each time God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Have you ever met someone who has had to endure extreme hardships in life, and yet they have chosen to rejoice in their infirmity? Joni Ericson Tada is the first person I thought of as an example of this kind of faith. Joni was a vibrant, healthy, athletic young woman when she unknowingly dove into shallow water and broke her neck. This accident resulted in her becoming a quadriplegic. She struggled with God’s plan at first but eventually made the decision to accept it and with His help turn it into something beautiful. Because she chose to rely on God’s grace and strength, she is able to use what little ability she has left to share the Gospel in a very unique way. Today, she is an internationally known mouth artist, author, speaker, and singer.

I often hear people say, “God won’t give me more than I can handle.” I hate to blow this saying out of the water but Scripture does not teach this. If you have read the account of Job, Paul, Jesus, and many others in Scripture you know how much they had to endure, many unto death. God never promised we would not be given more than we can handle, but He did promise we would not be given more than His grace can handle. In Through It All, Andrae Crouch put it this way,

I thank Him for the Mountains,And I thank Him for the valleys
I thank Him for the storms He’s brought me through
‘Cause if I never had a problem
I wouldn’t know that He could solve them
I wouldn’t know what faith in His Word could do

Lesson Five • Devotion #3: The Truth Hurts

“For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.” 2 Corinthians 2:4

It is never fun, easy, or popular to rebuke someone. It is just as difficult for the one delivering the rebuke as the one on the receiving end. The old saying “the truth hurts,” is very real and accurate. It can divide the closest of friends. In 2 Corinthians chapter 2, the apostle Paul is writing the church of Corinth, yet again, because they needed a loving reminder. He had a history with this church, this was not the first time they started to stray from the truth. Our sinful nature often wants to take control and do things our own way, and that is what was happening in this church. Paul was God’s messenger to the church, they did not have the printed Word of God like we do. Paul did not enjoy this type of confrontation, but it was necessary for their growth in the Lord. This is what Proverbs 27:5 is teaching us, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.”  The best way to show abundant love in Paul’s mind was and is to confront a friend who is falling away or following a different gospel or a different Jesus.

This is not a fun or popular thing to do nor has it been easy for me. With that said, I have a confession to make, I am a recovering people pleaser! I hope you still like me after you read this devotion. Seriously though, God has recently convicted me and with His help, I am becoming a strong defender of the faith. I have lost friends for speaking the truth of Scripture into their life. It would be much easier to let them believe the lies of the enemy, but that would not be loving. While we cannot make people turn from their unbelief and acts of rebellion, we must be obedient to the Truth. It is God who opens the eyes of the blind. Our job is to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). 

Every believer in Jesus Christ is called to contend for the faith. We are to warn our brothers and sisters who are enticed by signs and wonders or anything that adds or subtracts from the true Gospel. Are you willing to fight the good fight? If we truly love others we will be compelled to rescue them.

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:3-4

Grow • Devotion #5: Escalator

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Do you have a spiritual mentor? Are you mentoring a younger believer? Do you realize how important spiritual mentoring is to our spiritual growth? By definition, a spiritual mentor is someone spiritually more mature than the mentee. In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul was writing to the people of Thessalonica about the need to lead others in love and by example. The Bible teaches that when we are born again we are like newborn babies that can only tolerate and desire the simple things of Scripture. The Bible calls it the “milk of the Word.” 

If we are left to ourselves, it will be difficult to grow to maturity where we can tolerate the meat of the Word. Paul, Timothy, and Silvanus loved this body of believers so much that they were committed to sharing the Gospel with them and pouring themselves into them so they could grow in their faith. Salvation is the first step of the Christian life but it does not end there, it is the beginning of a lifelong journey with Jesus. Growth requires time in the Word, prayer, corporate worship, and the example of mature believers. Once we begin to grow in our faith and in the Word we should begin to serve. Children’s ministry is often a great place to start as we are learning along with them. In order to grow it is also vital to surround ourselves with stronger, mature believers. As we learn and grow we should desire to mentor someone younger in the faith. Weekly gatherings are vital to our growth but we cannot eat one meal a week. 

Can you remember a time where you were so spiritually on fire that you could not wait to serve and share the Gospel? That is a great feeling but we cannot exist on our feelings alone. We need the encouragement and example of stronger believers. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 1:6, “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord.” The Thessalonians were growing in their faith because Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy had spent time with them teaching them the deep things of God. They were compelled because of their great love for them. No man is an island. We need each other to encourage and help one another. It may sound scary but that is how every mature believer began their walk with God. The Christian life is like riding a spiritual escalator, we are either growing up or growing down, there is no resting platform!

1 John 4 • Devotion #1: Know the Truth

Do you believe everything you hear, or do you fact-check and consider the source? Sadly, it is sometimes more satisfying to believe a lie than the truth, that is why gossip is a favorite indoor sport! We often share or listen to information learned from someone other than the source. Consequently, the telephone game begins. The more it is shared, the more it changes and eventually becomes so twisted there is little truth left. The writer of 1 John is John, the beloved disciple of Jesus. He was a true eyewitness to the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. He learned first hand who Jesus was. He walked and talked with Him all the way through His resurrection and ascension into Heaven. In this small book, he needed to address this issue. 

In 1 John 4:1-3, John is instructing the church to test every spirit because false teachers had been sharing another gospel and another Jesus. I encourage you to read these three very important verses carefully and then read them again. What was happening thousands of years ago is happening today. There are many false teachers that are very convincing. They include just enough truth to confuse us with the lie. Does this sound familiar? John is warning us as well to test every spirit. Just because you hear or read the name Jesus, it does not always mean it is the Jesus of the Bible. There are 66 books in the Bible that reveal who the true Jesus is, yes, even in the Old Testament. We need to know the truth before we can recognize a lie.

Today, in many American churches, the true Gospel message is being changed and distorted. It is no longer about Christ alone for salvation. Teaching another gospel is not new, but for the first time in our history, it is seducing mainline denominations. Just in the past month, at least four popular Christian leaders or Pastors have denounced their faith and walked away from their ministries and Christ. Why is this happening? It is because the false gospel and false Jesus cannot deliver what is promised. It is counterfeit. Jesus said this would increase in the last days. I urge you to stay in the Word, learn the truth, and run from a false gospel. Teaching that claims to offer Christ plus something or Heaven on Earth is not the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-6



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