Please believe I am not bragging when I say that for many years now, people from all over the world have found the Messianic devotionals I have written to be helpful and inspiring for their daily walk in Yeshua. I give all glory and praise to Adonai for this, because whatever encouragement or insight I have to offer, it is only because I have gained it (usually the hard way!) by His loving and compassionate hand.
Yet, I mention this not to call attention to myself or the character of the devotionals, but to point out the fact that we as believers in Yeshua primarily seek information and inspiration for one purpose: self-edification. While I am personally pleased that my writings have been edifying for so many, the purpose of the devotionals (as well as everything produced through Perfect Word) has never been for self-edification, but always for discipleship—the means by which we first become edified, then multiply that edification by passing it on to others. This, however, is not the way most of us approach a “devotional” or any other kind of spiritual experience—rather, it is generally with the intent to focus ourselves on the Master and increase our devotion to Him.
Such goals are in no way wrong. On the contrary, in a world that is constantly trying to steal our focus away from God, we need to use every means possible to keep our hearts and minds dedicated and devoted to Him. Where we do go wrong, however, is that we tend to stop there, feeding only ourselves, and forgetting the most important reason to increase our own devotion: everyone else. Indeed, the walk we walk in Messiah is ultimately not for our own benefit; rather, “Let no one seek [good for] himself, but each [one for] another’s.” (1Co. 10:24)
It is because of this Scriptural imperative that, when I write a devotional, I think of it not merely as a devotional, but rather as a “disciplnal.” (Completely awkward, yes, I know. It will never catch on—but, hey, it works for me.) By seeing through this lens, it helps me to stay focused on why I am not writing the devotionals, in the hopes that they will yield the desired result when someone else is reading them. In other words, it is not my goal to offer a few inspiring but fleeting moments of spiritual stimulation or encouragement, but to provide a tool by which others will be discipled and therefore equipped to turn around and make more Yeshua-disciples of their own.
That said, I am not naïve enough to think that the few minutes it takes to read one of my devotionals is sufficient to make a disciple. What I do believe, however, is that the content of the devotionals (which, of course, is based on and includes Scripture), coupled with their consistent, daily reading and devotional reflection, is likely to have a measurable, lasting effect. By the time you reach the end of one of the devotional books, a change in thinking and behavior will have been imparted to you. Suddenly, you have become a link in an unbreakable chain, participating in an ancient tradition engraved on the template of Scripture: when “in person” is not possible, the life of Messiah may be passed on from writer to recipient. And indeed, it is discipleship.
So even though I may not be able to physically sit across the lunch table from you, pouring my daily walk and passion for the Scriptures into your life, my hope is that through the devotionals, the “inspiration” you receive will motivate you to not hoard the life of Messiah for yourself, but to zealously give it away to someone else. Maybe it’s someone from your congregation, your neighborhood, or workplace—perhaps even someone in your own home. Whoever it is, if you have received in discipleship, then in discipleship you are equipped to give.
I want to encourage you to begin thinking beyond the boundaries of yourself, and invite someone else to share in your secret place. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover just how much you have to give… and how much you will be edified by giving yourself away.
Yes, your devotionals are getting through to me on a discipleship level. We have just taken in a homeless man and it is a great opportuntiy. you’re devotionals also provide me and my husband a type of “Same page” balance, so we can work together. We don’t want this homeless person to feel obligated to (outwardly) agree with us because he’s a sitting duck.
Recently, I took a Menorah to a craft show- with no price tag on it because I wasn’t trying to sell it. It did generate some discussion, however. One cowboy said -“I’m not Jewish. Why would I want a Menorah?” Iasked if he believed in Jesus, and he said yes.,to which I replied, “Jesus was Jewish.” I left it at that, because I could see that it got him thinking- and I didn’t want to be pushy. God is a gentleman, and doesn’t intrude. Little things like this. They may seem insignificant, but someone has to plant the seed. You’re devotionals do keep me focused. And more so your workbook The Messianic Life. How I labour and toil over it! I love that it shakes me and makes me tremble in fear of the Lord. It’s a good kind of hurt. It’s a n honest gut-wrenching look at self, with the goal of getting it together to give self away.. Don’t despair, Kevin- it’s working, and God isn’t forgetful of your labours.
I should also mention that some of us live in isolated places, and have no community of like-minded believers to encourage us. Self-edification from your devotionals isn’t a bad thing as long as we don’t quit with self.
I live in a community of farmers and ranchers, a good 40% being German. Imagine the daunting task of witnessing to these folks as a Gentile Messianic Believer. Wherever God has placed us, there is work to do, and God gives us the tools to help us do it. Kevin, your devotionals are such tools. I have to feed myself- no one is going to do it in this community in which I live.
Kevin, if you lived here and said half the things you say, folks would socially run you over with their tractors. You’d become well known as a trouble maker. This post has been up for a while now, and so far I’m the only one who has responded. I believe that your words convict us, and instead of seeing it as a good thing, a catalyst for change, we shy away from it.
Folks don’t like change, sometimes even when it is for the better. If I tell the local Lutheran congregations how this denomination blatantly stands against the Jews, they deem it a political thing best left to the ministers. They haven’t a clue that most Jews don’t believe in Yeshua and frankly don’t care. As far as they are concerned, it doesn’t directly affect them, and isn’t worthy of their attention. I’ve been thrown out of numerous churches in this small town of 4,000. But I keep going, keep speaking, even if it’s to the cashier at the grocery store.
People will throw rocks, even if you confront them in the most gentle and loving manner. The more love you show, the more scared they get. I tread as lightly as possible, without compromising the truth, and I am painfully aware of the possibility of people reacting in fear. They are rejecting G-d, not me personally.
Kevin, your devotionals are instruments of transformation. We lift our wills to Yeshua, and if we are honest, we will see how spiritually high maintenance we are, how desperately we need His help. May Yeshua bless you for you diligence and obedience.