Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August 30, 2016: Christ Touching Others

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 243  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing … I Want To Be Just Like You, poignantly expressing what should be the goal of influence for all Christians … to follow Jesus’ example and to be just like Him for the world.


Highlight Passage: Colossians 3:12 [NKJV] …  
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; … 
… Doing life Christ’s way was touching the world with God’s love …
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Highlight Context … Colossians 3:12-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, through Paul, teaching on the influence of the “new man” to others
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Reference Passage #1 … Luke 9:23 [NKJV] … 
23 If anyone is come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 
… Following Christ allows us to have His influence in the world with others, especially our family.

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 2:3-5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… We influence others when we think of them before self … as did Christ

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Randy Kilgore, used an historical illustration to teach on the influence of Christlikeness in our lives. He writes: A few years before he became the 26th U.S. president (1901–1909), Theodore Roosevelt got word that his oldest son, Theodore Jr., was ill. While his son would recover, the cause of Ted’s illness hit Roosevelt hard. Doctors told him that he was the cause of his son’s illness. Ted was suffering from “nervous exhaustion,” having been pressed unmercifully by Theodore to become the “fighter” hero-type he himself had not been during his own frail childhood. Upon hearing this, the elder Roosevelt made a promise to relent: “Hereafter I shall never press Ted either in body or mind.” [see photo] 
The father was true to his word. From then on he paid close attention to how he treated his son—the very same son who would one day bravely lead the landing of Allied soldiers on Utah Beach in World War II.  

We know that Teddy Roosevelt’s nature was one of brashness, boldness, and bravery, which often overwhelmed others. Therefore, to influence his very sensitive son, the President had to become gentle, like Jesus; and he did just that, which ultimately produced a son who led thousands in to battle on D-Day in WW2.

The Apostle Paul was a bold, brash and brave warrior for Christ; but he had learned to imitate the character traits of Christ in witnessing to others. So, in his letters from prison late in his life, he exhorted his fellow Christians to reach out to others with gentleness, kindness, and love when sharing Christ with others [see verses from Colossians and Philippians above]; and Paul’s influence to Christ’s church changed the known world from the character of conquering Rome to the nature of Christlike love.

And don’t you think we could use more of that Christlikeness today?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Help me to be an agent of Your love to someone today, especially to my family.  Amen    

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016: Rough Road Ahead

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 242  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Paul McCartney and the Beatles singing … The Long and Winding Road, poignantly expressing the reality of life being a long and winding road … but [and it’s my take on the song’s meaning] that our desire as Christians should be to led, by repentance and transformation, to the door only Christ can open unto salvation and sanctification.


Highlight Passage: Isaiah 40:3-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Isaiah even prophesies another prophet, coming to announce The Messiah’s coming 
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Highlight Context … Isaiah 40:1-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Isaiah prophesies the coming of The Messiah to make the way straight for His people. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Luke 9:23 [NKJV] … 
23 If anyone is come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 
… Following Christ is the only way to find our way down the long and winding road of life.

Reference Passage #2 … John 16:33 [NKJV] … 
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
… Our road in life is rough; but Christ has overcome the world.

Reference Passage #3 … Revelation 3:20 [NKJV] …  
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 
… Jesus’ promise of fellowship and help - IF - in faith we open the door to let Him into our lives.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Mart DeHaan, used an illustration of one of the toughest roads for tourists to travel to see the breathtaking scenery in Madagascar. He writes: Madagascar’s National Road 5 offers the beauty of a white sand coastline, palm forests, and the Indian Ocean. Its 125 miles of two-track road, bare rock, sand, and mud, however, have given it a reputation for being one of the worst roads in the world. Tourists looking for breathtaking views are advised to have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, an experienced driver, and an onboard mechanic.

Seven hundred + years before John the Baptist came as the last Prophet of God to call for repentance of God’s people and to announce The Advent of The Messiah, Isaiah had prophesied John’s coming and how God’s Messiah would make the rough road smooth for His people (see Isaiah 40 passages linked above). John, the Baptizer, recognized that His cousin, Jesus, was THE ONE; but he also knew that God’s people were going to have to repent and turn from centuries of religious dogma and selfish living to find the path to salvation by following Christ in faith.

And our lives are like that long and winding road The Beatles sing about, … aren’t they? And that road can only lead to our Savior when we repent of self and come, in faith, to follow The Savior. And when we are willing to repent of self and seek the Savior, as He promises in the red-letter reference passages copied above, He will help us overcome the rough road we face in life.

And I don’t know about you fellow readers, … but I’m all in for those promises!!

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Show me the way, Lord, and I will follow.  Amen    

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

August 28, 2016: He Sees Me

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 241  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing … Your Grace Still Amazes Me, poignantly expressing the wondrous grace of a God who would reach out to save and transform one like me.

 
Highlight Passage: Exodus 4:10-12 [NKJV] …  
13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 
… Hagar is the first person to give God a name … “The God Who Sees” = El Roi
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Highlight Context … Genesis 16:1-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God cares for Hagar’s child and her life.
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Reference Passage #1 … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s mercy and grace are new every morning … and God is so great!

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 3:23, 5:8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… In spite of who/what we are, God provides His saving grace to all who would receive it.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, illustrates God’s infinite compassion by His sending the pre-incarnate Christ to visit Hagar in the wilderness, telling her what will come from Ishmael, her son; and she gives God the fist name from any earth dweller … “The God Who Sees.”

As a pagan like Hagar named our God, He is the “God Who Sees” all and has compassion on all … yes, even those born in sin … like me … and maybe you. Even as the sinners we are, He sees us and reaches down (see attached photo) and is willing to provide His saving grace to any/all who would receive His wondrous, saving grace.

I pray all who read here join me, with thankful hearts, expressing what Phillips, Craig, and Dean sing (linked above) … that we serve a God who sees us … everyday and is willing to reach out to us with His mercy/grace … (see Lam. 3:22-23).

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Everyday and in every way, Your grace, Lord, amazes me.  Amen    

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

August 27, 2016: God’s Agent

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 240  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Steve Green singing … People Need the Lord, poignantly expressing the reason we have been called by God to share the Gospel message with the world.


Highlight Passage: Exodus 4:10-12 [NKJV] …  
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” … 11 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” 
… Moses reluctantly becomes God’s “mouthpiece” to His people and Pharaoh.
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Highlight Context … Exodus 4:1-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God charges Moses to be His messenger - His a agent - to Pharaoh and God’s people 
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Reference Passage #1 … Matthew 28:19-20 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Christ’s “GREAT COMMISSION” to all His disciples … to go and be His Gospel mouthpiece to all the world.

Reference Passage #2 … Acts 1:8 [NKJV] …  
8 … “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 
… Christ challenges all disciples to be His witness to the world.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Boucher Pyei, uses Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush to illustrate our often reluctance to be God’s agent to the world.

If we’ve seen Charlton Heston play Moses in the epic movie, we may have trouble identifying with what Moses accomplished when he went before Pharaoh and then became God’s mouthpiece through all those plagues; and finally when he wondrously led God’s people across the Red Sea to freedom. Moses, in all those miraculous feats was such spiritual giant, … wasn’t he?

But in today’s highlight passage above, I think many of us can empathize Moses’ feelings of inadequacy when God appointed this Jewish shepherd to become God’s agent to Pharaoh and His messenger to the world. He cringed with fear [see attached photo] that he was not up to the task; and that’s the same fear most of us have when we consider the charge that our Lord, King Jesus, has laid before all of His disciples … to be God’s mouthpiece - His witness - to a lost and dying world (see Acts 1:8), … i.e., taking His Gospel message to those around us and to the entire world (see Matt. 28:19-20).  

And so often when when we’re confronted with someone who needs God’s “good news,” … maybe a lost soul, even a family member headed to hell, … we balk just as did Moses at the burning bush.   But just as Steve Green sings in today’s linked song, … so many we will confront today or those we know, need the Lord. And so, are we going to be God’s mouthpiece to them? … Or not?

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … I pray that I don’t balk today if you give me some divine appointment to share Your good news, Lord.  Amen    

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Friday, August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016: Honorable Christian Living

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 239  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Brian Doerksen singing … Just As I Am, poignantly expressing to God that we come to give our all for Him just as we are; … and He receives us in faith.

 
Highlight Passage: 1st Peter 2:9-10 [NKJV] …  
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 
… Now we are God’s chosen and a royal priesthood, called to live for God.
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Highlight Context … 1st Peter 2:9-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Peter exhorts Christians to avoid the world and live honorably for Christ’s sake.
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Reference Passage #1 … Romans 12:1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul’s exhortation on living for Christ, … giving our all as “living sacrifices”

Reference Passage #2 … Galatians 1:10 [NKJV] …  
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. 
… Paul on trying to avoid pleasing man so as to please our Lord with our lives.

Reference Passage #3 … Ephesians 4:1-2 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul wanted all Christians to live lives worthy of our calling as Christians.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, Illustrated his teaching with a story about a British statesman rebuking members of Parliament for dishonorable behavior. He wrote: While delivering a well-publicized speech, a respected leader and statesman got the attention of his nation by declaring that most of his country’s honorable Members of Parliament (MPs) were quite dishonorable. Citing lifestyles of corruption, pompous attitudes, unsavory language, and other vices, he rebuked the MPs and urged them to reform. As expected, his comments didn’t go well with them and they dispatched counter-criticisms his way. 

Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of that kind of political rhetoric being slung around in public debate these days by American candidates who accuse each other of dishonesty and dishonorable living. In fact, it’s hard to find anyone going into politics these days who can honorably represent the values of Christ.  And that’s the call of the Apostles in today’s ODB scriptures above; … that we would surrender our lives and live honorably for the One Who died of us all, … our Lord and Savior, King Jesus.

So, as I acknowledged coming in faith to surrender myself for Christ years ago (see/hear song link), I’m challenged today with the exhortations of Peter and Paul to live in a way which honors/glorifies my Lord, avoiding the ways of the world and living TOTALLY for Christ.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … My prayer today, Lord, is that I live in a way which honors You … today and all days.  Amen    

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

August 25, 2016: Truth Hidden in the Heart

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 238  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from Keith and Krystin Getty singing … Speak O Lord, poignantly praying that God’s truth and light be seen in us and His truth shines through our words.


Highlight Passage: Psalm 119:11 [NKJV] …  
11 … Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 
… God’s word, memorized deeply our hearts will be with us all our lives
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Highlight Context … Psalm 119:9-11, 17-19, 130-134 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God, thru the Psalmist, shows the value/power of God’s word
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Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 55:11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… God’s word, when heeded and applied to our lives for God’s purposes, always has power.

Reference Passage #2 … Matthew 5:14-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Jesus charges His disciples to live our lives shining the truth of His word in how we live.

Reference Passage #3 … 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul instructs Timothy and us on the power, influence, and helpfulness of knowing God’s word.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Cindy Hess Kasper, taught with a position taken by a physician about the value and power of having God’s word imbedded deeply in our consciousness. She wrote: One difficult part of growing older is the fear of dementia and the loss of short-term memory. But Dr. Benjamin Mast, an expert on the topic of Alzheimer’s disease, offers some encouragement. He says that patients’ brains are often so “well worn” and “habitual” that they can hear an old hymn and sing along to every word. He suggests that spiritual disciplines such as reading Scripture, praying, and singing hymns cause truth to become “embedded” in our brains, ready to be accessed when prompted. 

I’m not going to write very much here to expand on the ODB observations above … as well as the song from Keith and Krystin Getty. And I will pray that when one takes in those truths, we will be motivated to do what the author of Psalm 119 wrote, … writing that great poem/song to honor the power and application of God’s word to our lives.

My fellow Christian, many years ago, a mentor thought enough of me to convey the truth of the reference Scriptures above; and helping me to memorize over 70 key passages from God’s word, … which utterly changed my life - for God’s good. And that’s why you find me here each morning, digging deeper and deeper into God’s truth, thru His word, so that my mind/heart will prayerfully reflect His power/love.

O how I pray that readers here share the passion for God’s word which the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 119 and the Gettys have in their song, linked above.

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Every day here, Lord, You build Your power into my life through Your word.  Amen    

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24, 2016: Taking the High Ground

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 237  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of images from t Bebo Norman singing … I Will Lift My Eyes, poignantly praying what each of us who know Christ as Lord/Savior should pray … to take the high ground of prayer when we’re down in life.


Highlight Passage: Mark 14:38… [NKJV] …  
38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
… Jesus on how to avoid temptation in spiritual warfare … 
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Highlight Context … Mark 14:32-42 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus taking the high ground of prayer in His battle with Satan in the Garden.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 121:1, 123:1 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Songs of ascent to the high grounds where God resides

Reference Passage #2 … Ephesians 6:13-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul in describing our armament and strategies for spiritual warfare, gives us the #1 battle strategy in verse 18 … taking the high ground of prayer.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st Peter 5:8 [NKJV] …  
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 
… Peter knows that we all … ALWAYS … are in a battle with our arch enemy.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Keila Ochoa, a Mexican evangelist, used a story of war to illustrate our need to be vigilant in the daily battles of spiritual warfare. She wrote: From my window I can see a 1,700-meter hill called the Cerro del Borrego or “Hill of the Sheep.” In 1862, the French army invaded Mexico. While the enemy camped in the central park of Orizaba, the Mexican army established its position at the top of the hill. However, the Mexican general neglected to guard access to the top. While the Mexican troops were sleeping, the French attacked and killed 2,000 of them. 

Would any of my readers here deny that we, … Christians, … are in a constant spiritual battle, which requires daily and disciplined vigilance to do battle against our spiritual enemies? [See 1st Peter 5:8] And our enemies, … Satan, the world, and our own flesh, … are powerful, aren’t they? Do I sense an “AMEN!” of agreement?

Well, with that agreement, what are we to do to walk in victory? Well, Jesus, when He was battling His arch enemy in the Garden of Gethsemane, gave us a strong clue as to a primary battle strategy. Above in the highlight passage from Mark 14, Jesus exhorted an inner group of Disciples to watch and pray with vigilance lest they fall to the enemy. And the Apostle Paul in exhorting Christians as to how to do battle (see Eph. 6:13-18) ended His teaching by emphasizing the need for us to take/hold the high ground of prayer in battle.

And that reminder and exhortation was my primary take-away from today’s ODB … that we simply must do what is depicted in today’s photo and song … to take the high ground in battle with prayer, lifting our eyes to God daily, … even momentarily, … and then holding that high ground with an attitude of surrender and thankfulness (see Phil. 4:6-7).

My Prayer Today:  O, Heavenly Father, … Every day here, Lord, I lift my eyes to You for help and strength for battle.  Amen    

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.