Monday, October 16, 2017

October 16, 2017 …For Our Good

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 289 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images s from Laura Story singing her very personal song … Blessings … Poignantly singing of how the trials and challenges and pain of life are likely some of God’s greatest blessings.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 50:20 [NLT] … 20 You [Joseph’s brothers] intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 
… God’s mercy/grace is showing thru Joseph’s love for his brothers in spite of their intended ill will decades earlier.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 50:15-20 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Joseph’s brothers had intended their actions against their brother 2 decades earlier for evil God used them for His glory thru the mercy/grace shown by Joseph in sparing his brothers.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Job 2:9-10 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK 
… Job was willing - in faith - to accept his trials in spite of the horrible pain/suffering he had to endure.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 5:14-16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus taught that we Christians should shine His light into the darkness of the world … no matter the circumstances.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 28 And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 
 … Yes, ALL THINGS !!

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 2 Corinthians 12: 9 [NLT] … 9 But He [Jesus] said to me [Paul], “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 
… God’s grace is ALWAYS enough, … even in the worst of circumstances.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Dave Branon, used as story about a dying coach to illustrate how God’s grace can work in the worst of circumstances. The ODB author wrote: Jay Bufton turned his hospital room into a lighthouse. … The fifty-two-year-old husband, father, high school teacher, and coach was dying of cancer, but his room—Room 5020 [see photo] —became a beacon of hope for friends, family, and hospital workers. 
Because of his joyful attitude and strong faith, nurses wanted to be assigned to Jay. Some even came to see him during off-hours. Even as his once-athletic body was wasting away, he greeted anyone and everyone with a smile and encouragement. One friend said, “Every time I visited Jay he was upbeat, positive, and filled with hope. He was, even while looking cancer and death in the face, living out his faith.” 

The dying coach’s room number (5020) became very significant witness at the coach’s funeral when his friends reflected on how it pointed to the passage in Genesis 50:20 where Joseph exhibited God’s love working thru decades of trials, remembering what Joseph went thru because of his brother’s treachery, … ultimately showing God’s mercy and grace and love in their moment of reunion.

I hope that all reading here have taken in and meditated on all the Scriptures linked/copied above as well as Laura Story singing about how many of God’s greatest blessings come disguised in the most painful and troublesome trials of life. She wrote that song when she and her husband had discovered that he had a life-threatening brain tumor, which now has turned out to be events which have touched the lives of thousands in a positive way from their story.

And today, if any of us are going thru trials, like a Job or a Jay Bufton or a Laura Story, … I pray that we can still shine the light of Christ outward to others from those very dark trials [see Matt. 5:14-16].

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I pray that we all see the hope You have for us as we endure the trials 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.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 15, 2017 …Stewards of Creation

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 288 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Brian Doerksen singing … Creation Calls … Poignantly singing of how we all need to be aware and preserve all we see in creation, which God has given us, for His glory and our own well-being.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 1:28 [NLT] … 28 God blessed them [i.e., Adam and Eve] and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 
… Our charge is clear from God - to take care of what He has created.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 1:26-31 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God passes along the care of His creation to mankind.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Exodus 23:10-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... God gives His children instructions on the care of His creation.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 19:1, 115:16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... In song we are declared to declare the glory of Go thru His creation and to care for what He has given us.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 25:14-30 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
...  If we are to be stewards of all God has given us, we should be caring dearly for His creation.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David Roper, used a fishing illustration to teach on our need, as Christians, to be good stewards of God’s creation. The ODB author wrote: The “big browns” are spawning in the Owyhee River—brown trout beginning their fall nesting ritual. You can see them excavating their nests in the gravelly shallows. [See photo] 
Wise fishermen know that fish are spawning and try not to disturb them. They avoid walking on gravel bars where they might trample the eggs, or wading upstream from the nests where they might dislodge debris that can smother them. And they don’t fish for these trout, though it’s tempting to do so as they rest near their nests. 
These precautions are part of an ethic that governs responsible fishing. But there is a deeper and a better cause. 

And that principle - or “cause” - involves us being good stewards of what God has created for us to manage. In the highlight passage we see that God gave all the good that He had created for Adam and Eve and their progeny (that’s us!) to care for. And we read often in Scripture (see God’s word referenced above), that we are to be stewards of all God gives us. And that’s why you read of conservation-minded fisherman being very careful to care for the spawning grounds of the fish they harvest for food and recreation.

Today we read a lot in the news about ecologically minded people fighting - sometimes violently - to preserve the planet; but unfortunately, though their actions have merit to promote good conservation of nature, their motives are often misguided … and even selfish. We, as Christians, are charged, by our God, to care for any/all that He’s provided for us; and that certainly includes doing all we can to protect and preserve His creation for the well-being of the pinnacle of His creation … and that is mankind.

So, without becoming “tree-huggers” and making nature an idol, let’s just do what God has called us to do, … and that’s to protect this glorious planet for His glory and our well-being.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I pray that we all do all we can to protect what You have provided for us to share and steward 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.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 14, 2017 … Needing My Hugs Today

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 287 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Gordon Mote singing his song … Hold Me UP … Poignantly singing of how we all need to be held up by the love of our God … everyday we need Him … to hold us up.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 131:2 [NLT] … 2 But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.
… David found the filling for his love hole by pursing His God like a child pursues hugs from a mother.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 131 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… David’s plea, in song, for God’s love.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 63:1-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... David, like us, earnestly seeks to find and be with our Lord.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 18:1-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… As Jesus taught, we need to be like a little child seeking the love of our Heavenly Father.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Ephesians 3:14-21 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… Paul prays that his fellow Christians (that’s you and me, too!) be rooted in the love of God.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Monica Brands, used a personal illustration of our need, as children of God, to see and receive His love just as a young child seeks the hugs of his/her mother. The ODB author wrote: As I was nearing the end of lunch with my sister and her children one afternoon, my sister told my three-year-old niece, Annica, it was time to get ready for her nap. Her face filled with alarm. “But Aunt Monica did not hold me yet today!” she objected, tears filling her eyes. My sister smiled. “Okay, she may hold you first—how long do you need?” “Five minutes,” she replied. 
As I held my niece [see photo], I was grateful for how, without even trying, she constantly reminds me what it looks like to love and be loved. I think sometimes we forget that our faith journey is one of learning to experience love—God’s love—more fully than we can imagine. 

Wow! … This one touched me, … because, as a young child, my mother had trouble showing her love for me affectionately. In fact I don’t remember ever being hugged by my mother as a young child. And I desperately longed for that closeness.

So, ... when I was introduced to sexual images (i.e, P0RN) when I was 12, I mistakenly felt that it provided me with the love feelings I had missed as a boy; and so I began pursuing those images to provide me with long lost “hugs.” And it led me into an addiction for pursuing this pseudo-intimacy for many years. But finally, I discovered that the love of God comes, in abundance, by pursing a deeper, more abiding, relationship with Christ.

 And so now, this is why you find me here - every morning - getting my morning “hugs” from my Lord by being in this quiet place, sharing this intimate time with my loving Father in prayer and feeling His love coming thru His word. And every day I feel His hugs as He fills me up with His love.

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I pray that all reading here have gotten their hugs from You 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.

Friday, October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017 … What’s Your Name?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 286 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Joy Williams singing … Do They See Jesus In Me … Poignantly singing of how we Christians should desire others seeing us, even naming us. Do they call us “Christian?” And do we live up to His Name?


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Highlight Verse[s]: John 1:42 [NLT] … 42 And he [Andrew] brought him [his brother, Simon] to Jesus. … Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter [Aramaic for “rock”]
… Jesus sees character in Peter that even Simon couldn’t see at the time; and the Lord renames him to describe whom Simon would become.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 1:35-42 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus renames Simon, giving him a new name, “Peter,” to reflect the character the Lord saw in this newly found disciple.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Genesis 17:4-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
...  God renames Abram (“exalted father”) to be ABRAHAM (“father of many”).

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Judges 6:11-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
...  God sends an angel to charge Gideon with a new character (i.e., name) … that of “mighty warrior,” which Gideon could not recognize in himself.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 11:29 [NLT] … 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls
… The only place in Scripture where Jesus describes Himself - as gentle (meed) and humble … as “Christians,” can we describe ourselves in this way.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Marvin Williams, wrote about the power of names and descriptors to help us see our identity as “Christians.” The ODB author wrote: In the article “Leading by Naming,” Mark Labberton wrote about the power of a name. He said: “I can still feel the impact of a musical friend who one day called me ‘musical.’ No one had ever called me that. I didn’t really play an instrument. I was no soloist. Yet . . . I instantly felt known and loved. . . . [He] noticed, validated, and appreciated something deeply true about me.” 

Yeah; … What’s your name?! It’s a question people often ask of us when others don’t know us, isn’t it? But when we give them our GIVEN name, the one on our birth certificate, does it really describe who we are, … especially as “Christians?”

Names, especially in the Bible, quite often were used to describe character traits. And nominal adjectives were used to help biblical characters to identify with certain personality characteristics. In the highlight passage, Simon was given a new name, “Peter,” by Jesus to reflect whom he would become later in his life as an Apostle. Abram (see Gen. 17) was given a new name, “Abraham,” by God to reflect whom God saw him become, … “the father of many nations. “ A weakling, Gideon, was called “mighty warrior,” by God’s angel (see Judges 6); and Gideon couldn’t identify with the name. But he later became what that description (i.e., name) described.

Jesus, used only two descriptive adjectives in the NT to describe Himself (see Matt. 11:29); and they were “humble” and “meek.” And if someone calls us a “Christian,” do we see ourselves as being those two character traits? And that’s the primary question asked in the song linked today, isn’t it? … When others see me, … do they see Jesus in me? And am I doing all I can to know my Savior and become like He describes me as His DISCIPLE?

 My friend, ... Jesus call us (if we’re truly “CHRISTIANS”) … “FORGIVEN” … “HOLY” … “BELOVED.” (see photo); … but are we living up to how God sees us?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to live today as You describe 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.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October 12, 2017 … Our Good Shepherd

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 285 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Marty Goetz singing his rendition of … The 23rd Psalm … Poignantly singing Jesus becomes the Good Shepherd for us as Christians.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 40:11 [NLT] … 11 He (the LORD) tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; … He gently leads those what have young. 
… God, thru Isaiah, shows a caring Lord who watches over His own as a shepherd over his sheep. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 40:6-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet encourages His people (i.e. us) with the good news of our Good Shepherd. 
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Yes, The LORD, my King Jesus, truly is my Shepherd …

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Isaiah 26:3, 41:10, 53:6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... We find our peace by following our Good Shepherd.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … John 10:14-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 14 “I am the Good Shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me— 15 just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My life for the sheep. 
… Jesus declares to the Pharisees (and us) that HE IS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NLT] … 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 
… Peter’s exhortation for Christians to bring all cares to our GOOD SHEPHERD.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, uses a personal story of how our Lord becomes our Good Shepherd when we’re in moments of trial or trouble. The ODB author wrote: I sat in the hospital room with my husband, waiting anxiously. Our young son was having corrective eye surgery and I felt the butterflies jostle in my stomach as I fretted and worried. I tried to pray, asking God to give me His peace. As I leafed through my Bible, I thought about Isaiah 40, so I turned to the familiar passage, wondering if anything fresh would strike me. 
As I read, I caught my breath, for the words from so many years ago reminded me that the Lord “tends his flock like a shepherd” as He “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (v. 11). In that moment my anxiety left me as I realized the Lord was holding us, leading us, and caring for us. 

And this story very personally illustrates what the Prophet Isaiah was trying to convey to God’s people (and us); … that (as in the highlight passage) we have a GOOD SHEPHERD who will watch over His flock and we can trust in His loving care [see the reference passages].

The questions for me and any reader here today are these: … “Do we have a Good Shepherd … and … do we trust Him to care for us?”

I pray so!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … You are my Good Shepherd; and as Your lamb, I go to You. … 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, October 11, 2017

October 11, 2017 … Call On God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 284 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Gordon Mote singing his song … Hold Me Up … Poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, need to go to God, praying that He would lift us up, sustain us, … even heal us from our condition of humanity and/or our circumstances.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 38:4-5 [NLT] … 4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. 
… God, thru Isaiah, showed King Hezekiah and God had heard his prayer and would heal him of a deadly disease and save God’s city.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 38 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet helps King Hezekiah pray for healing from a deadly illness.
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 46:1 [NLT] … 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 
… Who else would we turn to in times of trouble.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 116:1-2 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… God even bends down to hear our prayers and concerns.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 11:28 [NLT] … 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. … ” 
… Jesus’ promise of His caring Spirit when we’re in need. … But do we believe Him?

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NLT] … 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 
… Peter’s exhortation for Christians to bring all cares to our caring God.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Poh Fang Chia, reports an archeological finding which supports the story of King Hezekiah in Isaiah 38. The ODB author wrote: For five years, an ancient clay seal remained in a closet in Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology. After the seal was dug up at the foot of the southern part of Jerusalem’s old city wall, initial examination failed to establish the significance of the nearly 3,000-year-old object. But then a researcher carefully scrutinized the letters on the seal, resulting in a major discovery. The inscription, written in ancient Hebrew, reads: “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah.” 

In Isaiah 38 - see highlight passage - we read of King Hezekiah praying to God for healing from some deadly malady; and God not only promised the King healing and longer life but also to deliver His people and Jerusalem from oppression and danger. And in Hezekiah’s case, God was there to heal and deliver the King and His people.

Now, … one can’t guarantee that God will ALWAYS heal us or deliver us in times of peril or danger; but we do know that He invites us to come to Him when we’re burdened (see Matt. 11:28-30 and 1Peter 5:7]; and that He ALWAYS will hear our cares and concerns [see Psalms 46 and 116]. But do we believe His word, His promises, … His truth? And if so, why do we ever hesitate to ask God to hold us up in times of trial or illness?

Hezekiah certainly didn’t; and I pray that we don’t either!

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … As Gordon Mote sings, “Hold us up, 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.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10, 2017 … Stay Awake for God’s Glory

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 283 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Gordon Mote singing his song … Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory … Poignantly singing of how we, as Christians, need to be aware of God’s glory every moment of every day.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Judges 6:14-16 [NLT] … Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 
… Christ admonished His church to wake up from a deathly sleep and pay attention to His calling for them.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Revelation 3:1-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Christ’s call for His Church to wake up, come alive, and live in His Name and for His glory. 
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Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 37:31 [NLT] … 31 The law of their God (i.e., God’s word) is in their hearts; … their feet do not slip. 
… Those who have God’s word deeply implanted in their hearts will stay steadfast to His truth.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Psalm 119:9-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... Again, any who have God’s word in their hearts will remain vigilant against sin.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Matthew 26:41 [NLT] … 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 
… Jesus admonishing His Disciples to remain alert and watchful because our flesh is weak and vulnerable against our spiritual enemies.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … Ephesians 6:10-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … God’s word [i.e., His full armor] helps all Christians to be alert and stand strong against our spiritual enemies.

Reference Passage [NLT] : … 1st Peter 5:8 [NLT] … Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 
… Peter’s warning for Christians to remain alert because of a powerful/prowling enemy.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, used a personal illustration to teach on our need, as Christians, to remain alert in the spiritual battles we will face daily. The ODB author wrote: During the years when I traveled frequently and stayed in a different city every night, I always scheduled a wake-up call when I checked into a hotel. Along with a personal alarm, I needed a jangling telephone to help get me out of bed and moving in the morning. 

The ODB illustration and the Scriptures provided today should wake us up to the reality that we need to remain alert - EVERY DAY - to face our spiritual enemies which are powerful and prowling around to take us down. And without the “wake up call” of God’s word every day, even every moment, we can become complacent and fall prey to the devices of Satan.

Jesus warned His Disciples (see Matt. 26:41), when they had fallen asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, to wake up and remain vigilant because of their weakened flesh. And He warned His Bride, the Church (in today’s highlight passage), to WAKE UP from their (our) deadly complacency … to be able, as Gordon Mote sings, to behold His glory.

My friends, that’s why you find me here - EVERY MORNING - responding to God’s wake up call, by getting into His word and getting His word deeply in my heart, so that I will be alert for my day (each day) where I will go to battle against Satan and his world.

Fellow warrior, have you placed your wake up call today to be alert for today’s battles?

My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Being with You, in Your word, this morning, Lord, has me awake and alert so as not to miss 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.