Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23, 2017 ... All I Need

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 23 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Hillsong leading in worship and singing … Jesus, You Are All I Need … poignantly expressing the truth in worship that our Holy King Jesus is all we need to supply our needs in this life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Mark 6:7-9 [NKJV] … 
7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. 8 He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— 9 but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics. 
… The Twelve learn to depend on Jesus for their needs.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Mark 6:7-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus tests the faith of His 12 Disciples.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Solomon wrote of complete trust in God to show us His way and give us all we need to follow Him.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 9:8, 12:9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts Christians to trust God for all our needs.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Philippians 4:19 [NKJV] … 
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 
… True … but so tough to believe and live out when we’re tested by our human desires.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … 2nd Peter 1:2-4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Peter shows us the extent of God’s grace in supplying all our needs.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Poh Fang Chia, writes from the heart of his experience in teaching about trusting God for all our needs. The OBD author wrote: Imagine going on a trip without luggage. No basic necessities. No change of clothing. No money or credit cards. Sounds both unwise and terrifying, doesn’t it? 
But that’s exactly what Jesus told His twelve disciples to do when He sent them out on their first mission to preach and heal. “Take nothing for the journey except a staff,” said Jesus. “No bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt” (Mark 6:8–9). … 
Yet later on when Jesus was preparing them for their work after He was gone, He told His disciples, “If you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36). 
So, what’s the point here? It’s about trusting God to supply [all we need]. 

You’ve no doubt heard the old saying, “I couldn’t see the forest for the trees,” expressing our blindness to obvious truth in the midst of our human misperceptions. Well, … often, I’m afraid I can’t see the forest of God’s providence because of viewing only the trees of my desires.

Going thru today’s OBD and being led to the YouTube song (linked above), Hudson Taylor’s profound quote (see photo) rang loudly, with truth, for me. I needed to be reminded that when I’m truly pursuing God’s will, He will supply, with His grace, all I need. However, so often, I have trouble trusting my God to show me the way and give me all I need because I’m pursuing my desires rather than His will.

Enough said, right?!!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Help me to see Your way and trust You to provide me with all I need. … 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, January 22, 2017

January 22, 2017 ... Why God?!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 22 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Alan Jackson singing … Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus … poignantly expressing a plea for all who follow Christ to look at Jesus, … especially in moments where things seem dark and doubtful.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2Corinthians 4:6 [NKJV] … 
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 
… God will light the way
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2Corinthians 4:1-15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts all Christians to let the light of God shine in our hearts, especially when we’re surrounded by darkness.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Solomon wrote of surrender all in our hearts to follow the Lord God and avoiding doing life on our own.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NKJV] … 
10 Fear not, for I am with you; … be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, … yes, I will help you, … I will lift you up with My righteous hand. 
… God’s promise that He’ll be there for us in the tough times.

 Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Romans 8:28 [NKJV] … 
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 
… True … but so tough to believe and live out in the tough times.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NKJV] … 
7 … casting ALL your cares on Him, for He cares for you … 
… Yes, … but do we really?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Phillip Yancey, writes from the heart of his experience in teaching about following God in the tough times. The OBD author wrote: Much of my career as a writer has revolved around the problem of pain. I return again and again to the same questions, as if fingering an old wound that never quite heals. I hear from readers of my books, and their anguished stories give human faces to my doubts. I remember a youth pastor calling me after he had learned that his wife and baby daughter were dying of AIDS because of a tainted blood transfusion. “How can I talk to my youth group about a loving God?” he asked. 
I have learned to not even attempt an answer to these “why” questions. Why did the youth pastor’s wife happen to get the one tainted bottle of blood? Why does a tornado hit one town and skip over another? Why do prayers for physical healing go unanswered?  

I would imagine that all reading here with me identify with author Yancey in this ODB entry. Most, if not all, of us have come to our “WHY GOD?” moments, haven’t we? But as I meditated thru today’s song, by Alan Jackson, and the Scriptures above, I had to agree with something else Yancey wrote: One question, however, no longer gnaws at me as it once did: “Does God care?” I know of only one way to answer that question, and the answer is Jesus. In Jesus, God gave us a face. If you wonder how God feels about the suffering on this groaning planet, look at that face. 

My relationship with my Lord answers the “WHY GOD?” question; and the deeper my walk with Jesus becomes, i.e., the more faithful my walk, … the more I trust where He’s leading me … no matter where I’m led. And as the song rings true above, when I look to Jesus, “… the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … I’m following You, Lord, wherever You lead 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, January 21, 2017

January 21, 2017 ... All For God’s Team

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 21 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Brian Littrell singing a contemporary version of the old hymn … I Surrender All … poignantly expressing the need for all Christians to give our all for His team, becoming, as Paul called, “living sacrifices” to our Lord and King, Jesus.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 12:1-2 [NKJV] … 
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 
… Truth … but way tough to live!!  
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 12:1-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts all Christians to become Christ’s living sacrifices, giving our all for the Master. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Solomon wrote of surrender all in our hearts to follow the Lord God.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Luke 9:23-24 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus calls His disciples to deny themselves … and to follow Him as the coach and owner of God’s team.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 1Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul explains that Jesus, as the coach of our earthly team, would never call on us to do anything that we couldn’t handle … following His lead.

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … 2Corinthians 12:9-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Following Christ, on His team, we ought to revel in giving our all for Him; because when we’re weak, He will be strong for us.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, used a sports analogy to teach about surrendering our all for Christ. The OBD author wrote: When I played college basketball, I made a conscious decision at the beginning of each season to walk into that gym and dedicate myself totally to my coach—doing whatever he might ask me to do. 
It would not have benefited my team for me to announce, “Hey, Coach! Here I am. I want to shoot baskets and dribble the ball, but don’t ask me to run laps, play defense, and get all sweaty!” … Every successful athlete has to trust the coach enough to do whatever the coach asks them to do for the good of the team. 

Wow! … I really identify with Branon’s ODB analogy, being born/raised in Indiana where basketball is called “Hoosier Hysteria.”   In Hoosierland most every boy/girl dreams of what was depicted in the Movie Hoosiers [SEE THIS LINK ], … doing our all to win the game for the coach and the team. But to accomplish that feat in basketball, being a fast, team sport, the individual players have to avoid selfishness and play for the team.

And that was what the Apostle Paul was calling Christians to do in his letter to the Roman Christians in the highlight passage today. He was exhorting them (us) to be willing to be “living sacrifices” for God’s team … with Christ as our team owner, coach, and star player. And when we do, as is described in today’s song link and the reference scriptures above, we will be winners in this life … on to the next … where we’ll revel in the heavenly team banquet of all times.

My challenge today was asking myself if I’m truly surrendering my ego, my SELF, my ALL … to be on Christ’s team. We all have to decide to play by His rules and leadership, don’t we?

How about you?  Are you willing to be on God's team today?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … I’m on Your team; … all the way to the finals!! … 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, January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017 ... Breathe On Me, God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 20 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Hillsong singing … Breathe On Me, Breath of God … poignantly singing the prayer that God’s Spirit breathes on and in me as a child of God. … And ON TO THIS LINK  to hear the Heritage Singers powerfully praying in song that God breathes on a faithful believer in Christ to provide the life needed to be transformed and empowered to serve our Lord.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 2:7 [NKJV] … 
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 
… God brings life to mankind, breathing life into him (us).
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 2:4-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God forms man from the clay of the earth and breathes the breath of life into him (mankind). 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Job 27:2-3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… As long as breath was in him (i.e. the life of faith), because of his faith in God, Job recognized that God’s Spirit was in him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a personal story to illustrate how we, as Christians, have Gods’ breath of life in us when we have and hold onto the faith our Lord gives us. The OBD author wrote: On a cold and frosty morning, as my daughter and I walked to school, we enjoyed seeing our breath turn to vapor. We giggled at the various steamy clouds we could each produce. I received the moment as a gift, reveling in being with her and being alive. Our breath, which is usually invisible, was seen in the cold air, and it made me think about the Source of our breath and life—the Lord our Creator. For He who formed Adam out of the dust of the ground, giving him the breath of life, also gives life to us and to every living creature (Gen. 2:7). All things come from Him—even our very breath, which we inhale without even thinking about. 

We take so much of our life as Christians for granted, don’t we? … Fellow Christian, follow and do what I write here. … Take in a deep breath; and let it out in a deep sigh. Do you recognize that you have that breath of life because of God’s favor? … THANK HIM!! …

And take a moment in your time with God here to listen - even if it’s a quiet time. What do you hear? I hear the furnace running; … but little else; and I need to praise God that I can hear anything at all. …

And I can feel my fingers typing on the keyboard as I type this journal entry; so, I’m stopping to thank God that He gives me my sense of touch. Are you getting where I’m going with this inspiration today? …

We may have a lot of tough stuff going on in our lives. We may even feel oppressed or depressed. But in Christ we should be thanking God everyday for even the breath we breathe … in and out … in and out … in and out. As Hillsong and the Heritage Singers sing (linked above), I will pray along with their songs.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Breathe on me, breath of God, … fill me wilt life anew … 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, January 19, 2017

January 19, 2017 ... Sharing Our Luminous Treasure

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 19 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Chris Tomlin singing … Light of the World … powerfully singing of light of Christ we, as broken Christian jars of clay, we need to shine from our lives for others to see the light of our Lord shining for all to see His love.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 2 Corinthians 4:7 [NKJV] … 
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 
… God’s call for our witness of His light shining from our lives.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2 Corinthians 4:1-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle declares how we, tho broken jars of clay, need to shine the light of Christ from our hearts for all to see the glory of Christ in us.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 5:14-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus calls for believers to the the “light of the world …” as Chris Tomlin sings today.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … John 8:12 [NKJV] … 
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” 
… Jesus’ light should be shining from our lives for all to see the “Light of the world” from us.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … 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.” 
… When Jesus left this world, He charged all Christians to be His witnesses of light to a dark world.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder, used an archeological finding to illustrate how we, as Christians, must share the treasure of the ages - Christ - to those who need to see Him. The OBD author wrote: In March 1974, Chinese farmers were digging a well when they made a surprising discovery: Buried under the dry ground of central China was the Terracotta Army—life-size terracotta sculptures that dated back to the third century bc. In this extraordinary find were some 8,000 soldiers, 150 cavalry horses, and 130 chariots drawn by 520 horses. The Terracotta Army has become one of the most popular tourist sites in China, attracting over a million visitors annually. This amazing treasure lay hidden for centuries but is now being shared with the world. 

Most assuredly such an archaeological/historical treasure should be shared with the world. However, we, who’ve given our lives to Christ, have a much greater treasure we should be shining from our hearts for all to see; and that is the light of Christ. And as Paul proclaimed from today’s highlight passage/verse, we are like broken/earthen vessels with Christ’s light shining forth from the cracks of our brokenness to let other see “the Light of the world” to brighten this very dark world [see photo]. 

The question this OBD author asks of me is the challenge/charge Christ Himself gave to all Christians when he spoke from that Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 5:16) or when He ascended back to heaven after the resurrection (see Acts 1:8); and that question is: Am I witnessing His light to shine forth from my life for all to see the “Light of the World” shining from my heart? And that is what Chris Tomlin sings to challenge us all [linked above].

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Help me shine Your light brightly from my choices and actions; so that other will be drawn from the darkness of this world and their flesh to Your light/love. … 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, January 18, 2017

January 18, 2017 ... Legacy Shadows …

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 18 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from three friends, Clay Crosse, Bebe Winans, and Bob Carlisle singing … I Will Follow Christ … powerfully singing of the legacy and long shadow of Christ which we follow to cast a legacy shadow of Christlikeness to the world as we live our lives for Him.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 100:5 [NKJV] … 
5 For the Lord is good; … His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. 
… And what can we do in our lives to reflect the long shadows of goodness cast by our Lord. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 100 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist writes of our serving our God to show that His mercy is everlasting. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … 2nd Chronicles 16:36 [NKJV] … 
36 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting. 
… King David sings, quoting Psalm 106 that God’s shadow mercy/love is cast through all generations.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Psalm 96-99 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Songs from the Jewish traditions which resonate praise for God thru the ages.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Joe Stowell, used a personal story to illustrate how we, as Christians, can cast a long shadow of Christlikeness for the world to see our Lord in us. The OBD author wrote: Several years ago, my wife and I stayed in a rustic bed-and-breakfast in the remote Yorkshire Dales of England. We were there with four other couples, all British, whom we had never met before. Sitting in the living room with our after-dinner coffees, the conversation turned to occupations with the question “What do you do?” At the time I was serving as the president of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and I assumed that no one there knew of MBI or its founder, D. L. Moody. When I mentioned the name of the school, their response was immediate and surprising. “Of Moody and Sankey . . . that Moody?” Another guest added, “We have a Sankey hymnal and our family often gathers around the piano to sing from it.” I was amazed! The evangelist Dwight Moody and his musician Ira Sankey had held meetings in the British Isles more than 120 years ago, and their influence was still being felt. 

And reading how Christians dedicated to following Christ can have Godly influence through generations to come, I had to ask myself … “What am I doing in following Christ to influence others with a legacy of Christlikeness?”

And then taking in Psalms 96 - 100 (linked above), I realized that God’s people long ago sang these songs to reflect the long shadows of love/mercy cast by our Lord for us to follow, reflecting His light into a world so darkened by the long shadows of evil cast by Satan.

I’d exhort all reading here to listen to a song I often use to illustrate my journal entries (linked above); and then we all need to ask ourselves if we are casting long shadows of Christliness; because Joe Stowell summarized his ODB entry today with this quote: "Only what’s done for Christ will last."

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … Shine Your light brightly on my path; so that when I follow You I will cast Your shadow on those who follow 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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 17, 2017 ... He Lives In Me

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 17 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Dolly Parton singing her song … He’s Alive … powerfully singing the reality of God Christ’s resurrection to live in the hearts of all who receive His finished work on the cross in faith and allow Him to live in our hearts forever.


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 14:19-20 [NKJV] … 
19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 
… And that day is now in the hearts of all who believe in Jesus as THE CHRIST and Lord of our lives.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 14:1-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus teaching His Disciples what would come after His resurrection and who He would become to them.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … John, Chapters 20-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Sometimes our greatest blessings are when we discover God is with us all along when we come through the valley of the shadow of death (see photo).

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Romans 10:8-13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… And Jesus will live forever in the hearts of all who believe on Him as LORD.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Poh Fang Chia, used the story of a young, lost soul to illustrate Jesus coming alive in one who comes to believe in Jesus as The Christ. The OBD author wrote: The words of Ravi’s father cut deep. “You’re a complete failure. You’re an embarrassment to the family.” … These thoughts haunted him, but he talked to no one. … 
So Ravi struggled alone. Then while he was recovering in the hospital after a failed suicide attempt, a visitor brought him a Bible opened to John 14. His mother read these words of Jesus to Ravi: “Because I live, you also will live” (v. 19). This may be my only hope, he thought. A new way of living. Life as defined by the Author of life. So he prayed, “Jesus, if You are the one who gives life as it is meant to be, I want it.” 

Like this young man, I once was lost in my sin and self condemnation, then one day Jesus showed Himself to be real and overcame my doubts. He came alive for me. Well, maybe not the same way He did for some of his inner followers in John 20-21. However, as Dolly Parton sings in her song linked above, I discovered, over 30 years ago, that Jesus is The Christ, and HE LIVES IN ME. And all I had to do to experience King Jesus living in my heart was to express the faith Paul wrote about to us in Rom. 10:8-13. And when we do, He will live in our hearts forever.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … I pray that all who read here today know you as King Jesus, … The Christ, … and they are experiencing Your living love every day of their lives as do I. ... 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.