Thursday, May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018 … Sleep In Peace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 133

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  .Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of imaged and lyrics from Don Moen singing the old hymn… Peace Peace Wonderful Peace … poignantly singing how we can find peace when we surrender our anxieties to The Lord.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 4:8 [NLT] …In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. 
… David finds can sleep in peace knowing that HIs God watches over him.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 4 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… David, under great stress, surrenders his anxieties to God and finds peace
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Reference Passage : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … 10  Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with My victorious right hand. 
… We never need to let fear fear control us when our God wants to take our cares.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… It’s really a prideful sin to hold onto worries/stresses because Jesus faithfully gives us the option to bring them to Him {see also Matt. 11:28-30 linked here )

Reference Passage : … 1 Peter 5:6-7 [NLT] … 6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 
… Our only power over our stresses/worries comes when we humble ourselves and give over our worries to God.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Poh Fang Chia, used an illustration to which most of us can identify to teach on our search for restful peace as Christians in this stressful world. The ODB author wrote: What keeps you awake at night [see photo]? Lately I’ve been losing sleep, tossing and turning on my bed, trying to work out a solution to an issue. Eventually I begin fretting about not getting enough rest to handle the challenges of the next day! Sound familiar? Troubled relationships, an uncertain future, whatever it is—we all give in to worry at one point or another.  

Ever been there? I would expect most of us can empathize with this scenario. But when we have a deep/abiding/mature relationship with Christ we can have the peace which God promises in His word (see reference scriptures above).

When David wrote the song in Psalm 4, he was obviously under great duress and stress. Yet, because of His strong trust/faith in God, he was able to rest in God’s peace [see v. 8 above]. Really, it’s prideful sin to carry our anxiety to the point that it shackles us in our feelings. Why? Because God, thru Paul and Peter above promises in His word, and yes, even Jesus, Himself, to help us carry our burdens.

So, can I sense a “PTL!!!” And let’s just lay down our burdens to the Lord today and let Him help us carry them.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your uplifting strength to lift me up when I’m down.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … May I find the peace which surpasses all understanding by bringing my cares to You, my caring Savior. … 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, May 23, 2018

May 23, 2018 … No Mystery

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 132

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of a live performance by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing … More Than Enough … poignantly singing how our God’s grace is way sufficient to meet our needs.

Babushka Lady on the Grassy Knoll in Dallas
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Highlight Verse[s]: Acts 2:36 [NLT] … 36 “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” 
…Peter, the disciple who had denied Jesus, preaches truth … that Jesus IS Christ, the Son of God, … the Messiah.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Acts 2:22-36 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Peter, who had bolted from Jesus and denied him thrice, preached boldly of the resurrected, living Savior at Pentecost.
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Reference Passage : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … 10  Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with My victorious right hand. 
… We never need to run in fear because we children of the Living God.

Reference Passage : … John 20:19 [NLT] … 19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” He said. 
… And these fearful Disciples were never the same after this moment of confirmation of the Living Messiah.

Reference Passage : … Ephesians 6:10 [NLT] … 10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 
… God’s Spirit speaking thru Paul, exhorts us to stand strong in our relationship with Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder, used a mysterious figure present at the JFK shooting to illustrate how fear causes us to run and hide from others or ourselves. The ODB author wrote: The “Babushka Lady” is one of the mysteries surrounding the 1963 assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. Captured on film recording the events with a movie camera [see photo], she has proven to be elusive. This mystery woman, wearing an overcoat and scarf (resembling a Russian babushka), has never been identified and her film has never been seen. For decades, historians and scholars have speculated that fear has prevented the “Babushka Lady” from telling her story of that dark November day.   

This lady is not the only one who bolted in fear at the killing of a leader. Jesus’ disciples - all of them - bolted in fear after the crucifixion, confused and fearful of what the Jewish leaders and the Romans might do to them (see John 20:19). But we know that after Pentecost and the coming of God’s Spirit to all of them, they became warriors for the Gospel, standing strong for their Savior, Jesus, as the Messiah.

The question today: Are we standing strong as a disciple of Christ? Or are we cowering into our selves and bolting when we have opportunities to use our witness/testimony to declare His majesty? 

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving me Your strength to cover my weakness.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … May I stand strong when You give me the opportunity to be Your witness. … 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, May 22, 2018

May 22, 2018 … Rescued

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 131

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of a live performance by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing … More Than Enough … poignantly singing how our God’s grace is way sufficient to meet our needs.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Jonah 2:1-2 [NLT] … 1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. 2 He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me! 
…When we’re in trouble and we know that God hears us, we have only to call on Him for our needs. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Jonah 2:1-10 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… A disobedient Jonah, called on God from the belly of the fish; and God heard him and rescued him.
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Reference Passage : … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NLT] … 22  The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease. 23  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. 
… God’s mercies never cease. Hence, we can call on Him anytime for rescue.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NLT] … 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
… Jesus reminds Paul - and us - that His empowering/saving grace is more than enough to rescue us from any circumstances.

Reference Passage : … Ephesians 3:20 [NLT] … 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 
… When we’re “up a tree,” God’s always able to help.

Reference Passage : … Revelation 3:20 [NLT] … 20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 
… Jesus wants to rescue us from ourselves, inviting us to dine at His table; and all He wants us to do is open the door of our hearts and let Him in.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Elisa Morgan, told a personal story about her mom’s cat being rescued to illustrate how our God can/will rescue us when we’re “up-the-tree” of life. The ODB author wrote: My mother discovered my kitten Velvet atop the kitchen counter, devouring homemade bread. With a huff of frustration, she scooted her out the door. Hours later, we searched our yard for the missing cat without success. A faint meow whistled on the wind, and I looked up to the peak of a poplar tree where a black smudge tilted a branch. 
In her haste to flee my mother’s frustration over her behavior, Velvet chose a more precarious predicament. Is it possible that we sometimes do something similar—running from our errors and putting ourselves in danger? And even then God comes to our rescue. … 
After exhausting our efforts to woo Velvet down, we summoned the local fire department. With the longest ladder fully extended, a kind man climbed high, plucked my kitten from her perch, and returned to place her safely in my arms. [See photo]  

I don’t know about any other readers here today; but I really identify with this story in today’s ODB entry. For over 22 years of my life, i ran to escape my God, much as the cat ran up the tree; … or as Jonah did in the highlight scripture passage above. And in some respects I got myself in a horrible place in life, which threatened everything I held dear, … totally brought about by my own selfish choices.

BUT … when I needed Him the most, God came for me and rescued me from the pits of hell and invited me to join His family at His table of life [see reference passages above]. God truly can - and WILL - rescue us … in HIs good will and His perfect timing. But He does want us to be willing to call out to Him in surrendered faith.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for coming after me when I needed You the most.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me, Lord, as I open the door, hearing You knock today. … 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, May 21, 2018

May 21, 2018 … Forever Forgiveness

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 130 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Matthew West singing … Forgiveness … poignantly singing how forgiveness may be one of the hardest things we do … almost impossible … but that’s what we much do for others who’ve wronged us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Luke 6:27-28 [NLT] … 27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. …” 
… Luke’s account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and for His disciples to live with Kingdom values, especially forgiveness.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Luke 6:27-36 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… The early, post-resurrection church came together to form Christ’s Body.
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Reference Passage : … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NLT] … 22  The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease. 23  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. 
… God’s mercies never cease. Hence, we should never stop trying for forgiveness.

Reference Passage : … Matthew 18:21-22 [NLT] … 21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven." 
 … Jesus was saying that there are no limits to how much or how long we must carry on an attitude of complete forgiveness and a compassionate desire for reconciliation to others.

Reference Passage : … Ephesians 4:31-32 [NLT] … 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 
 … We’re exhorted by God, thru Paul, to reach out with forgiving hearts to be compassionate toward others, … yes, even those who wrong us.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, used an historical reference to illustrate how simple, but how challenging, God’s call for us to forgive others was simply and perfectly modeled - FOR OUR FORGIVENESS - on the cross. The ODB author wrote: In 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to integrate an all-white public elementary school in the American South. Every day for months, federal marshals escorted Ruby past a mob of angry parents shouting curses, threats, and insults at her. Safely inside, she sat in a classroom alone with Barbara Henry, the only teacher willing to instruct her while parents kept their children from attending school with Ruby. 
Noted child psychologist Robert Coles met with Ruby for several months to help her cope with the fear and stress she experienced. He was amazed by the prayer Ruby said every day as she walked to school and back home. “Please, God, forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing.” 

The little girl, of course, was quoting from Jesus on the cross [see Luke 23:34] as He forgave us for nailing Him to that Tree with our sins. And He prayed to His Father in Heaven that all those who had wronged the Son of God might be forgiven, which was forgiveness being modeled perfectly. And Ruby Bridges the young six year old, understood the impact and meaning of Jesus’ forgiveness. So, why can’t we, in these days-and-times, get it? Because so many don’t, do they?

I hope I do. …I hope we all do. Because if we don’t, the only REALLY bright thing in our future as Christians is the impending return of Jesus to rule a world which He preached about on that Sermon on the Mount and possibly anything we do to abide in Him while we remain on this earth. 

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for forgiving me.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to forgive any/all who’ve wronged me, 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.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

May 20, 2018 … A Unified Body

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 129 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Geoff Moore singing his song … The Body of Christ … poignantly singing how we are called as Christians to come together to be the working Body of Christ.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Daniel 3:17-18 [NLT] … 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.  
 Unity was the Spirit-imparted power of the early Church.   
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Highlight Passage [context]: Daniel 3:6-18 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK  
… The early, post-resurrection church came together to form Christ’s Body.   
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Reference Passage : … Ephesians 4:3-4 [NLT] … 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 
… God exhorts the Church to be united in oneness by God’s Spirit.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 2:3-4 [NLT] … 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 
… Avoiding pride and self sufficiency, Christians are to reach out to help others before self.

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 10:24-25 [NLT] … 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. 
 … We must resist our “natural” tendency toward individualism and control and come together in the Spirit of Christlikeness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Linda Washingtom, used a story about a friend’s daughter to illustrate the oneness we should pursue and achieve in the Body of Christ. The ODB author wrote: My friend Carrie’s five-year-old daughter, Maija, has an interesting approach to playtime. She loves mixing together dolls from different playsets to come up with a new community. In the world of her imagination, everything belongs together. These are her people. She believes they are happiest when they’re together, despite being different sizes and shapes. 

I’m afraid that readers here may be somewhat discouraged by taking in the linked YouTube song and meditating on the Scriptures above. They point to a unified Body of Christ, working together to be His ears, eyes, hands, legs, and his mind here on earth.

BUT … Is that the case? … I’m afraid we, as a culture, are driving - if not free-falling - toward individual pridefulness, self gratification, entitlement, and outright selfishness, … rather than coming to be - or become - Christ’s body, held together, activated, and empowered by His Spirit.

So, fellow Christ … what can we do today - or tomorrow - to be or become that One Body, reaching out from One Spirit, to serve a broken, darkened world? Certainly the least we could do is smile at someone and do all we can to help them.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving me Your grace to reach out and be You for someone today.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to smile at/for someone who seems to need Your loving touch today. … 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, May 19, 2018

May 19, 2018 … An “EVEN IF” Faith

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 128

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Mercy Me singing their song … Even If … poignantly singing how, in the midst of life’s worst challenges, our faith in a God Who is ever able to deliver us is all we have to sustain us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Daniel 3:17-18 [NLT] … 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” 
… These three had an “EVEN IF” faith … do we?
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Highlight Passage [context]: Daniel 3:6-18 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego would not bow down before the King’s idol …EVEN IF … they were to be thrown into a fiery furnace.
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Reference Passage : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
… Yes ALL things are for our GOOD, … EVEN IF … it doesn’t seem like that in the middle of the circumstances.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 9:8 [NLT] … 8 And God will generously provide all you need. … ALWAYS … EVEN IF it doesn’t seem like it at the time. 
… God, our provider will give us all we need, … and more, … EVEN IF things seem overwhelming.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NLT] … 9 Each time He [Jesus] said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
… Jesus provides Paul, in a time of great trial, the truth and hope that God’s grace will ALWAYS be enough to help us … EVEN IF … He doesn’t deliver us from the trouble immediately.

Reference Passage : … Ephesians 3:20 [NLT] … 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 
… For sure, our God is able!!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Alyson Kieda, used the story in the book of Daniel about the three boys who would not bow to the King’s idol [see photo] and were delivered by God from a fiery furnace … to illustrate the type of faith our Lord wants all of use to have, … an “EVEN IF” faith. … The ODB author wrote: Sometimes life deals us a tremendous blow. Other times the miraculous happens. … 
 God desires that we cling to Him—even if our loved one isn’t healed, even if we lose our job, even if we are persecuted. Sometimes God rescues us from danger in this life, and sometimes He doesn’t. But the truth we can hold firmly is this: “The God we serve is able,” loves us, and is with us in every fiery trial, every even if. 

Fellow Christian … if you take in and meditate on the story of Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego, and hear the linked song by Mercy Me, … I think you’ll get the message of this ODB devotional, … that God desires all of us to have an “EVEN IF” faith. And that is the type of faith the three boys had when they were thrown into the fiery furnace, … a faith to believe that God COULD deliver them, … EVEN IF … He didn’t.

And the question, as we face the fiery trials of life, is … do we believe God can deliver us; … and are we willing to hold on to our faith … EVEN IF … He doesn’t?!

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving me the faith to know You can deliver me.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I stand ready to be thrown into the fire, knowing that You, Lord, are able to deliver 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.

Friday, May 18, 2018

May 18, 2018 … Overflowing Grace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 127 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Laura Story singing her song … Grace Abounds … poignantly singing how, when our hearts are filled with God’s Spirit, in times of trial, … God’s grace abounds and overflows into our lives to help us to overcome our trials.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Romans 15:4-13 [NLT] … 13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. 
… Paul prays that fellow Christians can experience an overflow of God’s hope and grace.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 15:4-13 [NLT] …USE THIS LINK
… Paul cites multiple passages from God’s old covenant truth to help fellow Christians to allow God’s grace to flow into/out of our lives.
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Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 9:8 [NLT] … 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 
… God, our provider will give us all we need, … and more, … even enough to share with others in need.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NLT] … 9 Each time He [Jesus] said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
… Jesus provides Paul, in a time of great pain and trial, the hope that God’s grace will always be enough to help us in those times of trouble.

Reference Passage : … Ephesians 3:20 [NLT] … 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 
… Our all powerful God is always above to abound in His grace to do even more than we think.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Adam Holz, used personal illustration of how spills in our life are often considered bad; … but then there is one example where a spill can be God’s blessing. … The ODB author wrote: How many times have our kids tried to pour milk and misjudged the process, with white liquid flowing everywhere [see photo]. Or maybe we failed to remember that a two-liter bottle of soda just rolled around in the trunk . . . with explosively startling results. 
No, spills are almost never a good thing. But there might be one exception. 

Dear one, … perhaps you’ve been there, … when stresses or trials seem overwhelming; … but then, way beyond the circumstances, God’s grace pours into and out of our heart, overflowing to actually provide us with joy in the midst of the trial.

The Apostle Paul, who had experienced more trials then an army of Christians in his life, often wrote (see scriptures above) of how God could/would always provide believers with all the grace we need to handle life’s toughest circumstances.

So, take a few minutes and hear a very uplifting song, linked above, by Laura Story, relating in song how God’s grace is enough to allow us to deal with any/all trials which come our way. 

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your grace which is ALWAYS enough. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Pour Your grace into my heart even to overflowing so that I can find some joy in the midst of my trials. … 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.