Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18, 2017 … Remaking Me Today

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 230 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing their song … He’ll do Whatever It Takes … a poignant song reminding us, as Christians, that our God is doing whatever it takes to reshape us into His own image.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 100:3 [NLT] … 
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. … 
… About as clear as one can say it … We are HIS!
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 100 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist declares that God is good, … in that He created us for Himself.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Psalm 139:13-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… He made me (and you) as His workmanship.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Jeremiah 18:1-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet lays out God’s truth … that God is the Potter and we are His clay.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … John 1:3 [NLT] … 
3 God created everything through Him and nothing was created except through Him. 
… He made it all!

Reference Passage #4 [NLT] : … Ephesians 2:10 [NLT] … 
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 
… He made me [and you] to be His masterpiece.

Reference Passage #5 [NLT] : … Philippians 1:6 [NLT] … 
6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 
… Yes, He made me … but He’s not done with me yet!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David Roper, got right to the point he was trying to emphasize today. The ODB author wrote: Each of us is an original from God’s hand. There are no self-made men or women. No one ever became talented, buffed, or bright all by himself or herself. God made each of us all by Himself. He thought of us and formed us out of His unspeakable love. God made your body, mind, and soul. And He isn’t done with you; He is still making you. 

Fellow Christian, … let me be blunt, as was David Roper above. If you believe, as do I, that the Bible is truth … ALL TRUE! … Then, if you’ve take in and meditated on the Scriptures above - ALL TRUE! - then you must realize that we Christians were made by God, for God, to be in Christ, for His glory. We are God’s masterpiece; but as the Potter (see photo), He’s not done with me yet. He is making me over into His image; and the closer I get to that image, the more I look like Him and the more I glorify Him.

So, I say. Do your thing, Lord? As the song reminds me, … you’re doing whatever it takes to remake me; and I pray I yield to your Hands this day. And as the Prophet Jeremiah declared (see above), You, … Lord, … are the Potter, I am Your clay.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Make me over into Your image today … and all days I live for You; … whatever it takes! … 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 17, 2017

August 17, 2017 … Our Real Home

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 229 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the young singer, Blandy Garcia, singing … Heaven’s My Home … a song reminding us, as Christians, that no matter where we live now, our real home is in heaven and now we’re just traveling thru life as sojourners.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Micah 4:4 [NLT] … 
4 Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. … 
… The Messiah will come for us and take us to His home, where we will live in peace and prosperity forever.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Micah 4:1-5 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet was reminding God’s people of His promise to return and take them into the Promised Land to live with Him forever in a home He has created for us.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … 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. 
 … Isaiah, prophesying to God’s people, along side of Micah, declaring God’s promise to lift up His people in their times of need.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … John 14:1-3 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus’ promise to His disciples (you and me too!) of an eternal home with Him.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Peterson, used the reality of the refugee status in this world to illustrate how our lives now are in temporary domiciles … that we long for our eternal home with Jesus. The ODB author wrote: Sixty-five million. That’s the number of refugees in our world today—people who have had to leave their homes due to conflict and persecution—and it’s higher than it’s ever been. The UN has petitioned leaders to work together in receiving refugees so that every child will get an education, every adult will find meaningful work, and every family will have a home. 

Today’s ODB author is reminding us, as disciples of Christ, that no mater where we live now, we can look forward to that day when we will live in peace and prosperity with our Lord … FOREVER. And as in the ODB illustration today, there are millions living as depicted and described above in refugee camps [see photo], … people who could latch onto that promise - i.e. that truth - as they live in squaller and pain.

But no matter what our status in life, or where we live now, as Micah and Isaiah reminded a displaced Judah in the OT [see passages from Micah 4 and Isaiah 41], and Jesus reminded His disciples in the the NT (see John 14:1-3), our Lord is going to return for His Bride and take us home to live in a wonderful place He has prepared for any/all who have believed on Him and received His saving grace.

So, as young Blandy Garcia sings in the linked song, we should all look forward to our permanent and eternal home in glory.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … As You promised Lord to Your disciples, come soon and take us home. … 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 16, 2017

August 16, 2017 … Fear or Faith?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 228 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Mia Fieldes singing her song … Fearless … a song repeated from my journal entry yesterday, poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, much choose where we are going to let God lead us forward or retreat in fear to the enemy.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Numbers 14:9 [NLT] … 
9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” 
… God’s people had a choice to follow their faith or retreat in fear. We have the same choice everyday as Christians.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Numbers 13:25-14:9 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Before entering God’s promised land, His people rebelled and balked at Moses’ leadership, choosing to follow fear rather than yielding to their faith in God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Joshua 24:15 [NLT] … 
15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” 
 … Joshua had a choice as to Whom he and his family would serve. We have the same choice today!

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Faith is always a measure of our trust in God, … fear, almost always, shows our faith in following our spiritual enemies.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … 2 Timothy 1:7 [NLT] … 
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 
… Any time we FEEL fearful at a choice that seems right in our faith, that CANNOT be from God, … but rather from Satan.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a personal story to illustrate how we can often let feelings of fear lead us in the wrong direction. The ODB author wrote: “My husband was offered a promotion in another country, but I feared leaving our home, so he reluctantly declined the offer,” my friend shared with me. She explained how apprehension over such a big change kept her from embracing a new adventure, and that she sometimes wondered what they missed in not moving. 

I’m not a betting man, but I would almost wager that any/all of us have been in places, as Christians, as pictured in the photo, where we’re faced with a choice of following our fears or our faith. I’m sure any reader here with me has a personal example, maybe even one we’re facing today.

The Israelites, in today’s highlight passage, had such a choice just before entering God’s promised land of milk and honey; but they balked and wanted to go back to Egypt and slavery. Certainly we can see that they were being led by fear rather than faith. Later, when Joshua was leading God’s people in the promised land, he told the people [see Joshua 24:15] they were going to have to choose the God (or gods) they would follow; but he stated clearly that He would follow his faith in God.

And we read from Paul, mentoring the new preacher/leader, Timothy, telling him (and us) that when we have feelings (i.e., a spirit) of fear, … that this ALWAYS comes from something other than our God, Who would NEVER give us a spirit of fear.

So, many days, … perhaps today, … we’re going to be faced with a fear verses faith challenge; and we’re going to have to decide which road we’re going to follow. I pray it will be the road of faith we follow ... and become, as Mia Fieldes again sings [link above repeated from my blog yesterday], … FEARLESS.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Help me to follow my faith in You and avoid responding to my feelings of fear. … 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, August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017 … Wings of Protection

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 227 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Mia Fieldes singing her song … Fearless … poignantly singing of how we can deal with the trials life without fear because of God’s protective wings.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 91:4 [NLT] … 
4 “He (our God) will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. 
… David uses a strong word picture of God’s protection for the righteous.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 91 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… King David shows his fearless attitude as he prays for God’s refuge and protection
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Psalm 17:4-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… King David is clear as to whom and why God provides His wings of protection.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Isaiah 26:3 [NLT] … 
3 You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those whose thoughts are fixed on you!  
… We all look for peace, don’t we? Well, here’s where to look!

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … 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 can be fearless (hear today’s song) with God lifting us up.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Linda Washington used an apt word picture from nature to illustrate God’s protective wings covering those who trust Him and rely upon Him. The ODB author wrote: When I think of protection, I don’t automatically think of a bird’s feathers. Though a bird’s feathers might seem like a flimsy form of protection, there is more to them than meets the eye. 
Bird feathers are an amazing example of God’s design. Feathers have a smooth part and a fluffy part. The smooth part of the feather has stiff barbs with tiny hooks that lock together like the prongs of a zipper. The fluffy part keeps a bird warm. Together both parts of the feather protect the bird from wind and rain. But many baby birds are covered in a fluffy down and their feathers haven’t fully developed. So a mother bird has to cover them in the nest with her own feathers to protect them from wind and rain. 

King David used this word picture too in two of His psalms [see the links to Psalms 17 and 91 [above, especially Ps. 91], where he liked God’s protection to the wings of a mama bird [see photo]. And the Prophet Isaiah also showed readers of God’s truth how God will provide peace and protection to those who trust in God’s wings of protection (see Isaiah 26:3 and 41:10 passages).

And most certainly there are times when we need the FEARLESS nature sung my Mia Fieldes in the linked sing. But, I know quite often it’s difficult to see God’s wings covering us in times of peril or fearful situations. The news these days is full of fearful images of potential danger; but we who are in Christ need to pray the truth of Psalm 91 back to a God Who desires to cover us with His wings of protection.

Yes, today!!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Your words from King David give me peace in times of trouble and trial, 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.

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14, 2017 … Loving the Kids

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 226 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from an anonymous chorus of children singing … Jesus Loves the Little Sining … poignantly singing of just how much God loves children.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Matthew 18:5-6 [NLT] … 
5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf[a] is welcoming me. 6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. …” 
… Jesus loved the little children and severely warned against treating them badly. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Matthew 18:1-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus makes it very clear that He loved children and that we, His disciples, needed to have attitudes of faith like a child to inherit the kingdom of God.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Matthew 19:13-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus rebukes [esp. v. 14] His disciples as they tried to shield him from the children; and once again (see Matt. 18 above) He showed his deep love for children.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … James 1:27 [NLT] … 
27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. 
… Our faith can only be genuine IF we have a heart to protect and provide for widows and children, especially the orphans.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder used an historical illustration to teach on Christians caring for children as a measure of the reality of our faith. The ODB author wrote: Thomas Barnado entered the London Hospital medical school in 1865, dreaming of life as a medical missionary in China. Barnado soon discovered a desperate need in his own front yard—the many homeless children living and dying on the streets of London. Barnado determined to do something about this horrendous situation. Developing homes for destitute children in London’s east end, Barnado rescued some 60,000 boys and girls from poverty and possible early death. Theologian and pastor John Stott said, “Today we might call him the patron saint of street kids.”

I’ve actually had people, who think of themselves as “progressive” thinkers, argue that since the Bible doesn’t condemn abortion outright that we, who call ourselves “Christian conservatives,” shouldn’t come down so harshly against it. And the argument always hinges on how one defines “children,” doesn’t it? Because if one defines an unborn fetus as an actual “CHILD,” then Jesus’ attitude and description of how we should view a “child” speaks forcefully against abortion.

In the Scriptures from Matthew 18 and 19 above, we read how Jesus rebuked anyone, including His disciples, against hindering any “CHILD” from being able to come to Him, saying that only those who came to Him so humbly as a “CHILD” will inherit the kingdom of God.  So, if one defines a fetus as a “child,” as I believe it is, then we must NEVER do anything to inhibit that child from being able to come to Jesus.

The argument is really that simple!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … May we do all we can to let the little children come to You and may we come to You with the attitude of a child. … 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 13, 2017

August 13, 2017 … Fear or Faith?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 225 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Cece Winans singing … His Strength Is Perfect … poignantly singing of how God is always there to give us His strength when our strength is seemingly gone.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Habakkuk 3:19 [NLT] … 
19 The sovereign Lord is my strength! 
… We should be grateful in all things.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Habakkuk 3:16-19 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet gained the faith to overcome his fear and was able to sustain his joy amidst trying, even disastrous, circumstances.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … 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. 
… But do we believe it?

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 
… One of God’s toughest truths to live out when we’re confronted by dire circumstances.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … 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. 
… In the midst of painful circumstances, Paul remembered Jesus’ words.

Reference Passage #4 [NLT] : … 2 Timothy 1:7 [NLT] … 
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 
… Feelings of fear CAN NEVER come from God.

  My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Karen Wolfe used a personal story to illustrate how fear can sometimes blunt or block our faith. The ODB author wrote: The doctor’s words landed in her heart with a thud. It was cancer. Her world stopped as she thought of her husband and children. They had prayed diligently, hoping for a different outcome. What would they do? With tears streaming down her face, she said softly, “God, this is beyond our control. Please be our strength.” 
What do we do when the prognosis is devastating, when our circumstances are beyond our control? Where do we turn when the outlook seems hopeless? 

My favorite OT character is the Prophet, Habakkuk. I so identify with his vulnerability and willingness to take his fears to God, which he did in the opening chapter of his poetic journal. And like the word picture in the ODB entry above, God, like the doctor, gave Habakkuk a very bad prognosis. And tho the Prophet didn’t want to hear God’s words, he finally realized that God was in control; and that God loved him and His people in spite of the impending horror. And, as one reads in Hab. 3:16-19, Habakkuk came to a place where he trusted God and was able to hold on to his faith in the midst of the fearful times.

If my readers today have taken the time to meditate on the linked song and the truths from God’s word above, we, who are in Christ, should realize that a spirit of (i.e., feelings) of fear NEVER come from God. Such feelings of fear are only provoked by our spiritual enemies and part of a default of our sin nature. But in Christ, as the song declares [and we read in 2Cor. 12:9], God’s strength is able to supplant our fears in the midst of trying times and give us the strength to live on in faith [see Isaiah 41:10 and 2Tim. 1:7].

My Prayer Today:   Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I Your strength today, 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.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 12, 2017 … It’s ALL His!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 224 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Amy Grant singing the old song … Count Your Blessings … poignantly singing of how we need to keep our lives in perspective by remembering God’s many blessings.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Deuteronomy 8:10 [NLT] … 
10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 
… We should be grateful in all things.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Deuteronomy 8:6-18 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Moses exhorts God’s people, about to enter the Promised Land, to be grateful for His providence and provisions.
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Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Deuteronomy 8:17-18 [NLT] … 
17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. 
… Remembering that without God we are nothing.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Romans 15:5 [NLT] … 
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 
… Jesus is clear to His disciples (i.e., you and me) that without Him we can not be fruitful.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … Philippians 4:6-7, 19 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK
… Paul on how to eliminate worry and remember that it is GOD Who supplies ALL of our needs in/for Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Cindy Hess Kasper used a personal story to teach on how we need to be grateful for God’s providence. The ODB author wrote: In Australia, it can take hours to drive between towns and fatigue can lead to accidents. So at busy holiday times rest stops are set up on major highways with volunteers offering free coffee. My wife, Merryn, and I grew to enjoy these stops during our long drives there. 
On one trip, we pulled in and walked over to order our coffee. An attendant handed the two cups over, and then asked me for two dollars. I asked why. She pointed to the small print on the sign. At this stop, only the driver got free coffee; you had to pay for passengers. Annoyed, I told her this was false advertising, paid the two dollars, and walked off. Back at the car, Merryn pointed out my error: I had turned a gift into an entitlement and become ungrateful for what I received. She was right. 

Oh how we’ve become a culture of selfish entitlement and a world of needless worry. And we forget Who supplies everything and watches over everyone. And if we take in today’s linked song and the Scriptures above, perhaps we all need to so - as I did this morning - taking inventory and being grateful - REALLY GRATEFUL - for all that God has done in our lives.

And beyond that, … we need to surrender to the reality that God created all - and controls all - for HIS glory, not ours. It’s all His!

And if we can do that, … everything will fall back into perspective and we can quit worrying.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … It’s all Yours, Lord … for Your good glory and for my well being as Your child. … 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.