Thursday, June 21, 2018

June 21, 2018 … Our Time For Him

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 171 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Jim Croce singing his 1973 hit … Time In A Bottle … poignantly singing of how we we need to devote our time to things which have eternal value.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 90:12 [NKJV] … 12  So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 
… Moses praying to use His time wisely … for God’s glory.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 90:9-17 [NKJV]… USE THIS LINK
… Moses’ song and prayer that God will help him devote His time/life to God’s glory. 
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Reference Passage : … Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Solomon, helps us to remember who gives us our time and that it is for His glory.

Reference Passage : … Ephesians 5:15-16 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul exhorts fellow Christians to use their time wisely for God’s glory during the evil times in which we live [then, and now!}.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder, reflected on a quote from another author with wise words, making us think about how we use the time God give us. The ODB author wrote: “Westerners have watches [see photo]. Africans have time.” So said Os Guinness, quoting an African proverb in his book “Impossible People.” 
 And That caused me to ponder the times I have responded to a request with, “I don’t have time.” I thought about the tyranny of the urgent and how schedules and deadlines dominate my life. ”I don’t have time!” … 

Countless times I’ve thought it, … if not said it, … reflecting on the time pressures of life. How many times have you (readers) thought that … maybe even today as you look at your “TO DO” list on this date and checking out your watch [see photo].

But time management “gurus” will tell us that the concept of “time management” is an oxymoron. We can’t manage time, … we can only manage events in time. We all have 24 hours each day [i.e., if God gives them to us]; and the demands of life are going to dictate how we look at those 24 hours and how we choose to use them.

My questions each day, especially as I wake up and begin my day, are …
… Are the minutes, hours, and days ahead for me or for God’s glory? 
… Am I giving God the first fruits of my time or the left-overs? 
… Will what I do today impact God’s kingdom?

And often at the end of the day, I come out convicted that I didn’t do what Moses prayed in Psalm 90:12 or the Apostle Paul exhorted in Ephesians 5:15-16; … and today I’m praying that I can do what Jim Croce wrote in his song, linked above, and spend my time today for God’s glory in these evil times in which we live. … How about you?

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for for giving me time today to spend with/for You.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit ... O Lord, … help me to use my time wisely for Your kingdom today … and what You will give me tomorrow. … 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, June 20, 2018

June 20, 2018 … Joy, No Matter What!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 170 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Selah singing their song … Press On … poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, must press on to serve our Lord in spite of the circumstances of life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Philippians 1:21 [NKJV] … 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
… Living or dying … ALL for Christ.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Philippians 1:12-24 [NKJV]… USE THIS LINK
… The Apostle Paul, writing to Christians from prison, witnesses to his joy in serving his Lord … NO MATTER WHAT!!
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Reference Passage : … Philippians 2:14-18 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Our lives becoming an offering of service to our Lord.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 3:13-14 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK … Paul shows fellow Christians that even from prison and persecution, he can (as we should) press on for the goal of serving our Lord.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 4:4-9 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul again shows us how we must pray to Christ, and witness for His glory just as he had thru all the trials and circumstances Paul faced.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Randy Kilgore, reflected on a woman he had met who illustrated the way we, as Christians should live for Christ … no matter our circumstances. The ODB author wrote: When I met Ada, she had outlived her entire group of friends and family and was living in a nursing home. “It’s the hardest part of getting old,” she told me, “watching everyone else move on and leave you behind.” One day I asked Ada what kept her interest and how she spent her time. She answered me with a Scripture passage from the apostle Paul (Philippians 1:21): “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Then she said, “While I’m still around, I have work to do. On my good days, I get to talk to the people here about Jesus; on the hard days, I can still pray.” 

The letter from the Apostle Paul to fellow Christians in Philippi has always been an inspiration to me. What about you? …

Here was the Apostle, imprisoned for the “Nth” time, persecuted and beaten, and yet he writes about all of this being an opportunity to serve his Lord with his witness of life; and yet, finding joy in the realization that even death would bring him closer to His Lord [see all the passages above].

The letter reflects Paul’s attitude to “PRESS ON,” just as the group Selah sings in the linked song; and just as we should today no matter what we might be facing in life.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your enabling and empowering grace. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit ... O Lord, … give me a witness of joy in the midst of the challenges of life. … 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, June 19, 2018

June 19, 2018 … Bad Judgment - Good Judgment

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 169 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Mercy Me singing their song … Dear Younger Me … poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, would likely look back and change our choices to reflect more of Christ.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 7:1-2 [NKJV] … 1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 
 … We reap what we sow … to avoid hypocrisy in our judgment of others.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 7:1-6 [NKJV]… USE THIS LINK
… Jesus preaches on judging others.
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Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 5:17, 9:6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… The principle of reaping what we sow applies to everything we choose to do, giving us the opportunity to reflect the change in us from God’s Spirit doing His “do-over” of our spirit.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 1:6, 2:5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s Spirit is giving us the opportunity to make “do-over” choices which honor God with our Christlikeness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Linda Washington, in looking back on her life, reflected on attitudes and choices which did not reflect the Christlikeness she desired for herself later in life. The ODB author wrote: I’ve been quick to judge anyone I saw walking in the street while staring at a phone. How could they be so oblivious to the cars about to hit them? I’ve told myself. Don’t they care about their own safety? But one day, while crossing the entrance to an alleyway, I was so engrossed in a text message, that I missed seeing a car at my left. Thankfully, the driver saw me and came to an abrupt stop. But I felt ashamed. All of my self-righteous finger-pointing came back to haunt me. I had judged others, only to do the same thing myself. 

Can any reader, besides myself, identify? … In looking back at our lives, as is sung in the linked song, I would imagine there are things, especially attitudes and choices as Christians, that we’d like to change or DO OVER so as to reflect our Savior rather than our selves.

Jesus preached about that reaping and sowing principle in His Sermon on the Mount, didn’t He [see highlight passage]? He taught that we should not judge others lest we ourselves be judged. Well, I could write a lot of things on a card, as in the YouTube video, which I’d like to have a “do over” to change from my past. But the past is the past; … and the present is where the action is … to learn from the past and make choices which are Christ’s “DO-OVER” as He does his transforming work in me (see Phil. 1:6 and 2Cor. 5:17).

So, what kind of choices can we make today which can honor God and reshape His kingdom for His glory?

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your sanctifying grace and the opportunity to become more like You.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit ... O Lord, … pour the power of Your grace into all that I do in Your Name and for Your glory. … 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, June 18, 2018

June 18, 2018 … Grace, Not Works

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 168 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Phillips, Craig and Dean singing their song … He’ll Do Whatever It Takes … poignantly singing of how God will clean up our mess … IF … we surrender and let His grace go to work.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Geneis 28:15 [NKJV] … 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you [i.e., Jacob and God’s chosen people] wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” 
… God’s promise was (and is) FOREVER and did not depend on Jacob’s working for God’s blessing.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 28:10-22 [NKJV]… USE THIS LINK
… Most of his life Jacob felt that he had to work and compete with his brother for God’s blessing … NOT TRUE !!! … God’s blessing was always secure in God’s covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and to Jacob.
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Reference Passage : … Ephesians 2:8-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s grace of salvation/sanctification are His gifts and will always work themselves out in our good works … if we but surrender to His Spirit and let them do so.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 1:6 [NKJV] … 6 … being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; … 
… We can “take it to the bank” that God will ALWAYS finish His promise of remaking us into His own image …

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Monica Brands, used an illustration we have all likely experienced [see photo] to illustrate our nature of thinking we must do ALL the work of cleaning up our lives. The ODB author wrote: “I got myself into this mess, so I’d better get myself out,” … I sometimes find myself thinking.  Although I believe in a God of grace, I’m still prone to act as if His help is available only when I deserve it. 

Do I sense anyone, like myself, declaring “Amen; … Been there before!!” Yes, it’s true that our works are used by God to express our salvation (i.e., in sanctification). However, like it was with Jacob (see highlight passage), God’s promise to Jacob was that He, the Lord, would bring Jacob and God’s people the blessed promised land; and this did not require Jacob to do all he felt he had to, conning and conniving with his brother, for God’s blessing.

God’s ultimate blessing - of His saving/sanctifying grace - was worked out for us - COMPLETELY - by Jesus on the Cross; … and it’s God’s promise - as it’s expressed in today’s song - that God’ll do whatever it takes to bring us to the place where we’re reshaped into the image of His Son (see Phil. 1:6) and all we have to do is surrender to His Spirit and let our works be a reflection of His grace (see Eph. 2:8-10).

So, yes, our life is messy; … but today [and tomorrow] let’s let God, thru our works, clean up the mess … for HIS glory, not our own satisfaction.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your eternally offered grace which empowers me to work for Your glory.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit ... O Lord, … pour the power of Your grace into all that I do in Your Name. … 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, June 17, 2018

June 17, 2018 … He’s Our Refuge

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 167 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with Buddy Davis singing … God Is Our Refuge … poignantly singing of how God is our strength in times of trial or fear.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 91:1-2 [NKJV] … 1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” 
 … God is the place to run and hide when we feel anxious or threatened.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 91 [NKJV]… USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist expresses in song his trust that His God was the place to hide in moments of anxiety or fear.
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Reference Passage : … Psalms 46:1-2, 62:7-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… More than one psalmist sung of God being the refuge and strength of His people.

Reference Passage : … Isaiah 26:3 [NKJV] … 3  You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 
 … God’s prescription for peace when we’re feeling anxious.

Reference Passage : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul’s advice when we’re feeling anxious.

Reference Passage : … 1 Peter 5:6-7 [NKJV] … 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 
 … When we have great cares, we are to humbly bring them to our God.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Cindy Hess Kasper, used a personal story of an anxious moment to illustrate where we need to take our worries and fears, … to our Heavenly Father. The ODB author wrote: My very first job was at a fast-food restaurant. One Saturday evening, a guy kept hanging around, asking when I got out of work. It made me feel uneasy. As the hour grew later, he ordered fries, then a drink, so the manager wouldn’t kick him out. Though I didn’t live far, I was scared to walk home alone through a couple of dark parking lots and a stretch through a sandy field. Finally, at midnight, I went in the office to make a phone call. 
And the person who answered—my dad—without a second thought got out of a warm bed and five minutes later was there to take me home. 

The ODB author knew whom to call on when she was in danger, … her earthly daddy. But sometimes we don’t know who - in this world - to call when we’re anxious or fearful; and the Psalms above and the reference passages scream out God’s prescription when we’re feeling stressed out or fearful; … and that is to come to the One who will always be our hiding place, … the One Who’s always there for us.

If anyone reading here is feeling anxious or stressed out while reading this, I hope know have that Perfect Place to run and hide to find God’s Perfect Peace.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You always being my hiding place. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit ... O Lord, … hold Your own under Your wings of safety. … 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, June 16, 2018

June 16, 2018 … Rough Ride

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 166 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images and lyrics from Gordon Mote singing his song … Hold Me Up … poignantly singing of how God will do whatever it takes to help us thru the rough waters of this life.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 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.” 
… Jesus doesn’t promise a trouble-free life. He only promises to be our “overcomer” when we face the rough waters of life.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 16:22-33 [NKJV]… USE THIS LINK
… Jesus warns His disciples of upcoming storms in life; but promises His overcoming grace. 
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Reference Passage : … Luke 8:22-25 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… In the storms of life, we must have faith that Jesus will bring us thru … just as He promised.

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 13:5 [NKJV] … 5 … be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 
… God’s love and His promise of being with us ALWAYS when we need Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Xochitl Dixon, used a personal story an unanticipated rough time to illustrate God’s promise to be there when we need Him. The ODB author wrote: During a vacation, my husband and I signed up for a leisurely rafting tour down Georgia’s Chattahoochee River. Dressed in sandals, a sundress, and a wide brimmed hat, I groaned when we discovered—contrary to the advertisement—that the trip included light rapids. Thankfully, we rode with a couple experienced in whitewater rafting. They taught my husband the basics of paddling and promised to navigate us safely to our destination. Grateful for my life jacket, I screamed and gripped the plastic handle on the raft until we reached the muddy bank downriver. I stepped onto the shore and dumped water from my purse as my husband helped me wring out the hem of my soaked dress. We enjoyed a good laugh, even though the trip had not turned out as advertised. 

Good story in today’s ODB entry to illustrate going thru the rough waters of life; but I think today’s linked song, written/sung by a blind artist, Gordon Mote, is the perfect prayer for us as we travel the sometimes unadvertised rough waters we encounter in life. And the first graphic in the video with the lyrics to the song, we read a truth ALL Christians should know is true: … ”We may not know what the future holds; but we do know the One Who holds the future!”

Perhaps there are readers going thru a rough patch of unanticipated whitewater in life right now; but when we believe - TRULY BELIEVE - the truth of the scriptures above, especially John 16:33, Luke 8:22-25, and Hebrews 13:5, we will KNOW that Jesus is our eternal “Overcomer.” 

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You Your never-failing, enabling/empowering grace.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit ... O Lord, … hold us up!! … 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, June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018 … Lovable! - Me?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 165 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images from Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their song … He’ll Do Whatever It Takes … poignantly singing of how God will do whatever it takes to restore any brokenness in our relationship with Him.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Jeremiah 31:3a [NKJV] … 3 The Lord has appeared [a]of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; … 
… God’s covenant love is everlasting … FOREVER!!!
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Highlight Passage [context]: Jeremiah 31:1-6[NKJV]… USE THIS LINK
… God shows His people, thru Jeremiah, that His love for them, in spite of their unfaithfulness will never wane.
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Reference Passage : … John 3:16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… God’s love is eternally ours!!!

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 13:5 [NKJV] … 5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 
… God’s love and His promise of eternal love is for FOREVER!

Reference Passage : … 1 John 1:9 [NKJV] … 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
 … God’s love and His faithfulness are eternal!!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Adam Holz, used a personal story about his daughter to illustrate how much God loves His children. The ODB author wrote: “Lovable!” 
That exclamation came from my daughter as she got ready one morning. I didn’t know what she meant. Then she tapped her shirt, a hand-me-down from a cousin. Across the front was that word: “Lovable.” I gave her a big hug, and she smiled with pure joy. “You are lovable!” I echoed. Her smile grew even bigger, if that was possible, as she skipped away, repeating the word over and over again. 
I’m hardly a perfect father. But that moment was perfect. In that spontaneous, beautiful interaction, I glimpsed in my girl’s radiant face what receiving unconditional love looked like: It was a portrait of delight. She knew the word on her shirt corresponded completely with how her daddy felt about her. 
How many of us know in our hearts that we are loved by a Father whose affection for us is limitless? Sometimes we struggle with this truth. 

Unfortunately there are too many - even Christians - out there who question God’s love because of some past pattern of sin, … like the Israelites who were consumed by Babylon until God set them free and called a remnant of believers back to Jerusalem, showing them His eternal and covenant love for His children. But in their doubts of God’s love, the Lord, thru Jeremiah, brought them a strong message (see the highlight passage) that His love was [and is] a FOREVER love … just like the love of that father in the ODB story above had for his daughter; … and just like the Heavenly Father Who sent is Son into the world to save mankind (see John 3:16-17).

No matter what we’ve done in our past, God is faithful to forgive us (see 1John 1:9); and His love is eternal, which will ALWAYS be there for us (see Hebrews 13:5).

Take a few minutes and hear today’s linked song and realize that our Heavenly Father will always be there with His love … and His grace; and as the song says, “He’ll do whatever it takes” to restore His relationship with us if has been severed or broken in any way by our sinfulness past.

His promise … not mine!!! 

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You Your never-failing, eternal love. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit ... Help me to know and always hold onto Your promise of eternal 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.