Author Archives: Debbie Kerr

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

Home • Devotion #4: Grandparents

“My husband I have been blessed with the sweetest, most beautiful grandchildren on the planet,” said every grandparent everywhere! Seriously, the first time you lay your eyes on one of your grandchildren you do not even understand how your heart can stretch so far it could burst. When you talk about order in the family, grandparents play a very important role. It is our job to spoil these precious ones we did not birth, and then hand them back to mom and dad to fix – much to their dismay, I might add. I remember receiving my children back home after a stay with my parents and I always said, “It takes two good spankings to get them back to normal.” Seriously though, they came home thinking they were large and in charge! Now, mind you, I was not raised that way by those people I called Mom & Dad! They lovingly ruled a tight ship where there was no shortage of a good spanking or a lecture followed by lots of laughter and ice cream! However, somehow when that first little granddaughter was born, the strict rules went out the window and the ice cream and pony rides were aplenty. I can visualize all the grandparents reading this, smiling from ear to ear with joy and delight as they nod their heads in agreement. 

What does God expect from us as grandparents? Some grandparents raise their grandchildren, and their role is back to the original plan to train up a child in the way he should go. However, for those who do not need to take on the responsibility of parenting, we still have a huge opportunity to influence and guide our grandchildren to love and obey Jesus. 

My mother’s parents lived four hours away when I was growing up. My precious grandmother taught Bible clubs from her home for many years. The principal at the elementary school would remind the children at the end of the school day and several would run down the street to Mrs. Becks for a Bible lesson, plenty of hugs, and warm cookies. She told the best stories and whenever we were together I would ask her to tell me my favorite one. I was always perplexed that each story she told had the same moral at the end. It is actually a verse in the Bible, found in Numbers 32:23b, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” I never forgot that story or the moral. I remember times growing up when I would put that verse to the test. God’s Word will always accomplish what it sets out to do, and my sins were always found out, in one way or another. 

Even though I only saw my grandparents a couple of times a year, they both left a very huge impact on my life. I now tell those same stories along with the moral to my grandchildren. Grandparenting is one of God’s greatest blessings, we get the best of both worlds. Enjoy the fun and games but do not forget to take advantage of every opportunity to impact their hearts and minds towards Jesus. It is their heritage.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4

Grow • Devotion #6: The Goal

“But grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18a 

I remember the night I was saved like it was yesterday. I was only 11 years old, but it was very real and powerful. I was baptized at the age of 12, and the following year, I dedicated my life to Christian service. All the spiritual boxes were checked, except for the growing part. I was raised in a great Bible-teaching church. My Pastor was one of the best verse-by-verse preachers in the country. My parents decided to make the 30-minute drive several times a week so we could learn and grow from the best. The Bible teaches, “To whom much is given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48). Based on how I had been taught, I fell into this category, what I do not know, or fail to apply is not from a lack of knowledge or teaching. I remember as a young teenager sitting on the front row of my church with my Bible, pen, and notebook in hand at every service. I was so excited to learn God’s Word and grow in my faith. I have always had a desire to know the truth and walk in it. I am still a student of the Bible because I love it, and I need it every day. It can never be exhausted, nor will I finish the course because the Bible is the living Word of God, fresh off the page each day for exactly what I need.

Today, I am thankful to belong to The River Church and the strong emphasis that is placed on spiritual growth. If you are not in a weekly Growth Community, I highly recommend that you join one. The Apostle Paul warns us, “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25). The walk of the believer is not to be done alone. We need each other for encouragement, accountability, friendship, and prayer. Studying God’s Word each week with other believers will not only encourage you but also boost your faith, and equip you to share the Gospel.

It is important to remember when studying God’s Word, context is key! Many times we treat Bible verses like a bowl of mixed nuts. We pick out the ones we like and ignore the ones that we do not like. All of the Word is useful and purposeful for correction, instruction, and encouragement in our daily growth. When we take a verse out of its context, we will most likely change the meaning, causing confusion and doubt. If you do not have a desire to grow in the Lord, I encourage you to pray and ask God to place that desire in your heart. 

The goal for every believer should be:

 To know God’s Word 

 To apply God’s Word 

 To memorize God’s Word 

 To teach God’s Word 

Lovingly Warned

Broken Tablets | Devotion 4: Lovingly Warned
Debbie Kerr  

“For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’” Exodus 32:23

Everything rises and falls on leadership. If we do not have good leadership, we start to flounder and lose focus. All throughout Scripture, we see the example of leadership. Some of the leadership is good, and some are not so good. For the believer in Jesus Christ, our ultimate authority (leader) is the Word of God. Secondly, we are given Pastors (also known as under-shepherds), parents, government, and others. There is always a chain of command, and that chain begins with God. Today’s passage definitely depicts poor leadership.

In Exodus chapter 32, we see poor leadership in action as things start to fall apart because their leader Moses had been away too long. Aaron was second in command, but under his leadership, the people became impatient, self-absorbed, and bored. When we are left to ourselves too long, the temptation can creep in to search for other things or people to satisfy us. We tend to worship them. The people of Israel were no different than we are today. If we are not careful, we can easily fall into the enemy’s lie that we need something more. We may begin to search for a feeling or a sign, or something a little more sensational. We think we have got this; we feel we do not need to go to church and be with the Body of Christ. We try to reason it out and justify worshiping so many other things than the God of the Bible. Often times, our lives begin to fall apart too.

My husband and I recently watched a very compelling and convicting documentary regarding the state of the American Church in our generation. Sadly, in many Bible-teaching churches, the Gospel is being added to or changed. It is no longer about Christ alone for salvation. The cross and the shedding of Jesus’ blood for our atonement isn’t exciting enough because there is no instant gratification or physical manifestation. This teaching is not new, but it is evolving into a more extreme level of false teaching and is considered one of the fastest-growing movements in Christianity. Some churches even teach the idea that when you witness, you should not tell people they are sinners, or that they need to repent. They are taught only to tell them how much God loves them. While that is a true statement, it leaves the lost person with only partial truth. It is about Christ alone; it is not about us! The Gospel is not a message that Christ died to make us happy, healthy, and rich.  Jesus said to find our life, we must lose it and die to ourselves daily. The minute we make it about us, we are worshiping a different Gospel, a different Jesus. Humanity is born with a God-given, innate need to worship! Everyone worships something or someone.

Our enemy, the devil, knows the truth and how to twist it. He only had to change what God said ever so slightly to deceive Eve. So listen carefully, know God’s Word, seek the truth, and walk in it. Pray that God will keep you from being deceived because the Bible warns about this in the last days. A false god in any shape or form is an idol. Consider yourself lovingly warned.

We are reminded in 1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” 

But I Will Be With You

Passover | Devotion 4: But I Will Be With You
Debbie Kerr

The book of Exodus tells many very exciting stories. If you grew up in Sunday School in the “olden days” like me, you were most likely taught these stories in living color by way of the ever popular flannelgraph board. These “stories” are true accounts to the letter. God always has a plan, a process, and a promise. All He asks of us is to have faith and be obedient; He will take care of the rest! It was the same way with Moses.

In Exodus 3:7-12a, we read how God rolled out His plan to Moses for His people, the Israelites, “Then the LORD said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘But I will be with you.’”

Moses felt unqualified, and questioned God’s choice, “Am I really the man for the job? Who am I to do such a thing?” Does this sound familiar? Has God ever asked something of you that you felt completely unqualified to accomplish? I know I have felt that way at times. Just last summer, I felt strongly that God was asking me to go to a ladies’ prison in Ohio with our Church Prison Team. I felt completely out of my comfort zone, fearful, and unqualified. How was I going to relate to these ladies, what if it is dangerous, what if I say the wrong thing? God’s reply to Moses was similar to the one I felt Him say to my fearful spirit, “But I will be with you,” and He was! It was truly one of the spiritual highlights of my life, and I could have missed an incredible blessing. There is nothing like being used by God, but it will not always feel easy or comfortable. Remember, God does the work; we are just the vessel.

“All the people of Israel did just as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.  And on that very day the Lord brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.” Exodus 12:50-51

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