Monday, January 22, 2018

January 22, 2018 ... An Attitude of Gratitude

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 22

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK ...  ... Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of the group Merck Me singing their song ... Even If ... poignantly singing of the attitude we need when we’re confronted with trials/troubles in life.

ATTITUDE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE

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Highlight Verse[s]: James 1:2 [NLT] ... 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 
... Peter teaching Christians that joy is a choice and not a feeling; and we can choose joy in the midst of troubles and trials.
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Highlight Passage [context]: James 1:1-12 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ...
 ... God, thru James, shows believers how an attitude of gratitude can overcome our doubts and fears and give us joy.
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Reference Passage : ... Matthew 11:28-30 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ...
 ... When we have burdens or worries, He wants to help us carry them ... BUT ... we’ve got to be willing to let Him.

Reference Passage : ... 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.
... God’s word will always accomplish what He desires to communicate to us, including imparting His promises to us.

Reference Passage : ... 1 Peter 5:7 [NLT] ... 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 
... Peter shows us where God wants to place our worries in the face of trials we encounter.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Anne Cetas, related a story to illustrate how our attitude can make all the difference when we deal with the trials/worries of life. The ODB author wrote: Regina drove home from work discouraged and tired. The day had started with tragic news in a text message from a friend, then spiraled downward in meetings with co-workers who refused to work with any of her ideas. As Regina was talking to the Lord, she thought it best to put the stress of the day aside and made a surprise visit with flowers to an elderly friend at a care center. Her spirits lifted as Maria shared how good the Lord was to her. She said, “I have my own bed and a chair, three meals a day, and help from the nurses here. And occasionally God sends a cardinal to my window just because He knows I love them and He loves me.” Attitude. Perspective. 
 As the saying goes, “Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it.”

Many of the readers here with me today may be facing some trials or challenges and it may be producing stresses, anxiety, or worry. Well, today’s ODB, the linked song, and the Scriptures on which God led me to meditate and share above certainly show us that God wants us to bring our cares to Him, doesn’t He?

The attitude of gratitude exhibited by Maria in the ODB story above is the key to choosing joy over worry; and God has given us His Spirit to help us deal with the anxieties of life. But we’ve got to choose to yoke our attitudes to His grace and let Him give us the power to be overcomers ... just as the Lord has overcome Satan, the world, and our flesh (see John 16:33, which is not above; so you go meditate on it if you don’t know it).

Prayerfully, ... we will choose an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE today and let God’s Spirit carry some of our woes instead of trying to carry them all ourselves.

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My THANKFULNESS: ... Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for implanting Your Spirit in my heart so that I can be an overcomer as my Lord was.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, ... King Jesus, ... Precious Spirit ... Today I bring my burdens to You, Lord. Help me carry them with Your strength because Your grace is sufficient to help me choose joy instead of worry. ... 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.</ span>

Sunday, January 21, 2018

January 21, 2018 ... His Promises

 Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 21

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK ...  ... Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of song writer Laura Story describing why she wrote her song ... Every Word Your Breath ... which describes the power and importance of God’s word in the lives of those who believe in it being the very word of God.

 {Imagine your Bible open in front of you as you study the word of God}

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Highlight Verse[s]: 2 Peter 1:4 [NLT] ... 4 And because of His glory and excellence, Hehas given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 2 Peter 1:1-9 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ... ... God, thru Peter, declares the power of God’s promises thru His word.
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Reference Passage : ... Psalm 119:9-16 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ... ... We stay pure by planting God’s promises in our hearts from His word.

Reference Passage : ... Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] ... USE THIS LINK ... ...Our God helps us by leading us through life by trusting in His promises.

Reference Passage : ... Isaiah 55:11 [NLT] ... 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. 
... God’s word will always accomplish what He desires to communicate to us, including imparting His promises to us.

Reference Passage : ... 2 Timothy 3:16-17 [NLT] ... 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
... God’s word is gives us God’s promises and His power to live the life He desires for us.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Adam Holt, related a personal story to illustrate why promises kept are so important to maintain relationships with love/trust. The ODB author wrote: My youngest daughter and I have a game we call “Pinchers.” When she goes up the stairs, I’ll chase her and try to give her a little pinch. The rules are that I can only pinch her (gently, of course!) when she’s on the stairs. Once she’s at the top, she’s safe. Sometimes, though, she’s not in the mood to play. And if I follow her up the stairs, she’ll sternly say, “No pinchers!” I’ll respond, “No pinchers. I promise.” 
Now, that promise may seem a little thing. But when I do what I say, my daughter begins to understand something of my character. She experiences my consistency. She knows my word is good, that she can trust me. It’s a little thing, keeping such a promise. But promises—or, keeping them, I should say—are the glue of relationships. They lay a foundation of love and trust.

Do we understand why God’s word is so important to our relationship of love and trust in His promises? Other than consuming and trusting in the truth of God’s word (i.e., The Bible), how would we ever come to believe in His promises and then live by them?

Some have ask me why I am here EVERY DAY, delving into God’s word; and the answer is simple. God’s word is where I find His promises and direction for life. That’s what is spelled out in the Scriptures linked/copied above. It’s what Laura Story relates in the commentary on the song she wrote. If we don’t know God’s promises and then live by trusting them, where are we? And the answer is ... “ON OUR OWN!”

 And that, dear one is a very scary proposition. And so, you can find me right back here tomorrow, taking in more of God’s true promises and then doing all I can to live by them.

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My THANKFULNESS: ... Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving me Your promises from Your word.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, ... King Jesus, ... Precious Spirit ... Today, again, I devour Your promises from Your word and then go out to live them. ... 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.</ span>

Saturday, January 20, 2018

January 20, 2018 … He Is Our Help

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 20 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images and lyrics from The Brooklyn Tabernacle singing a rendition from Psalm 121 … My Help … poignantly singing from the Song of Ascent in the Jewish culture of help we get from our God.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 121:2 [NLT] … 2  My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth! 
… The One Who made heaven and earth is our Helper.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 121 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… One of the Songs of Ascent, giving honor to God as the one Who is our Help in times of challenge.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Our God helps us by leading us through life.

Reference Passage : … Isaiah 41:10 [NKJV] … 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. 
… Our God will lift us up when we are down.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NKJV] … 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. 
… Our Lord provides us with His strength to cover our weakness.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Arthur Jackson, reminded me of one of my favorite Christian songs sung by the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (see photo). The ODB author wrote: For decades the renowned Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has blessed multitudes through their soul-refreshing gospel songs. One example is their recording from Psalm 121 titled “My Help.” … 
Do you feel alone, forsaken, abandoned, confused? Ponder the lyrics of Psalm 121. Allow these words to fill your soul with faith and courage. You’re not alone, so don’t try to do life on your own. Rather, rejoice in the earthly and eternal care of God as demonstrated in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. And whatever the next steps, take them with His help. 

And let me say this, beyond the encouraging words of this ODB author, … if you can use the link above and listen to the YouTube playing of the Brooklyn Tab, singing “My Help,” and not be lifted up by it’s truth in song, then I would say that you need to see someone for spiritual and/or emotional counseling.

And any or all of the Songs of Ascent (from Psalms 120-134) will also lift the spirits of any believer when we’re feeling down, just as they did for the Jewish pilgrims in King David’s day as they ascended to Jerusalem for the high Jewish feasts and celebrations of their faith.

I know that any time I’m feeling a bit down/out, I have that Brooklyn Tab song downloaded on my cell phone; and I’m ALWAYS lifted up by it and the reference Scriptures above, which I have memorized to allow God to be my helper.

Try it, let God lift you up with His songs.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your songs of ascent.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Lift me 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.

Friday, January 19, 2018

January 19, 2018 ... Moving Mountains

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 19 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with lyrics and song from Don Moen singing… God Will Make A Way … poignantly singing of the reality of our faith in following God when He calls, … no matter how improbable or even impossible the way may seem.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Zechariah 4:7 [NLT] … 7 Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it! 
… God’s calling is His enablement; and when He calls, not even a mountain could stand in the way of the faithful.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Zechariah 4:1-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet encourages the people to not let anything get in their way of rebuilding God’s Temple.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
…When God calls us to a task, he will provide the way to complete it.

Reference Passage : … 1 Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … 13 The temptations [or translated “trials, troubles, tribulations”] in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation [or trial] to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted [or tried], he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 
… God will make a way when there seems to be no way.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul shows us that, as Christians, we walk by faith and NOT by sight.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NKJV] … 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. 
… When we feel weak in carrying out God’s calling, we must remember that His grace is sufficient for us to move ahead.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Marvin Williams, related an actual story of how one man cut a road thru a mountain. The ODB author wrote: What do you do when there is a mountain in your way? The story of Dashrath Manjhi can inspire us. When his wife died because he was unable to get her to the hospital to receive urgent medical care, Manjhi did what seemed impossible. He spent twenty-two years chiseling a massive gap in a mountain [see photo] so other villagers could get to the local hospital to receive the medical care they needed. Before he died, the government of India celebrated him for his achievement. 

I’m quite certain that each person reading here has encountered tasks in life which seem like a mountain has been put in our way. And maybe we haven’t been motivated as this Indian man in this story to chisel thru the mountain. But a mentor of mine once told me a truth which helped me get over a mountain in my path years ago.

I had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and I was told that I simply had to lose weight. I was almost 250 pound with an ideal weight of 180. Losing that weight was my mountain. But my mentor told me… “God’s calling is His enablement;” which translated to God giving me - with my faith - the Spirit’s power to lose that weight. And over the next months I did, getting down to the target weight. And in doing so I was able to get my diabetes under control.

We may not be called by God to cut a road thru a mountain; but if we are convicted that He is calling us to a task, even one which seems like a mountain; then, as Don Moen sings in the linked song, “He will make a way where there seems to be no way.”

So, if a mountain is in front of you and God is calling you to the other side, … KNOW that He will give you the grace to empower you to get to the other side of that mountain. Those are God’s promises (see Scriptures above), not mine.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for giving me mountain moving faith when I’ve needed it in the past.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me today to keep moving on the road around or thru the mountain in front of 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, January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 … Our Walk Of Faith

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 18 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with lyrics and song from Kristyn and Keith singing their song… By Faith … poignantly singing of the reality of our need as Christians to walk by faith, patiently trusting that our Lord will lead us.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Genesis 45:7 [NLT] … 7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 
… Joseph knew that it is God Who is ALWAYS in control of our destiny.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Genesis 45:1-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Joseph knew that it was God who had sent him to Egypt in slavery and delivered him from prison at just the right time to save his family and be restored with them.
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Reference Passage : … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
…We walk by faith, trusting that God will lead us on His way and in His timing.

Reference Passage : … Romans 8:28 [NKJV] … 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.
… But when we’re challenged by delays, we need to believe this and then live by it, realizing - by faith - that God is ALWAYS in control.

Reference Passage : … 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul shows us that, as Christians, we walk by faith and NOT by sight.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David C McCasland, related a scenario with which we can all identify to illustrate that our our walk is by faith and not by sight. The ODB author wrote: A global computer system outage causes widespread flight cancellations, stranding hundreds of thousands of passengers at airports [see photo]. During a winter storm, multiple auto accidents close major highways. The person who promised to send a reply “right away” has failed to do so. Delays can often produce anger and frustration, but as followers of Jesus, we have the privilege of looking to Him for help. 

So often in life our patience and faith is tested by delays, such as the ones described above [again, see photo]. And I must admit, I’m not a very good example of Christlikeness when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit, … PATIENCE. It’s when we can’t get what we want, especially when our desires are blocked for a long time, that we find our faith being tested.

In the OT, Joseph (in the highlight passage) is a great example of a believer who learned to, as Paul put it (in 2Cor. 5:7), … “walk by faith and not by sight.” Time after time Joseph was severely delayed and tested by life’s circumstances going against him. But his faith that God was in it all pulled him thru and he was able, in God’s perfect timing and providence, to be reunited with his family and save them from possible starvation.

How often, in our walk of faith, as sung by the Gettys, are we challenged in life when our path is thwarted and we don’t get what we’d like to have? All too often, I think. Perhaps today, if we’re being delayed in some frustrating way, we need to take heart, believing and living by the truth that God gave us, thru Paul, in Romans 8:28.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for Your perfect timing.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … Help me to really trust You … at ALL times, in ALL circumstances so that I can walk by faith and not by sight. … Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled “Our Daily Bread,” distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January 17, 2018 … Thank You, Jesus!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 17 

Devotional Song:GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with lyrics and praise from Dennis Jernigan singing his song … Thank You Lord … poignantly, in worship, singing of our thanks to our God, Who made everything for our good and His glory.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1 Samuel 7:8 [NLT] … 36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. 
… Paul puts life in perspective for us all … in thankfulness because it all comes from in is for our God’s glory.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Romans 11:33-36 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Really all we have and ever will have comes from our Lord.
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Reference Passage : … Colossians 1:15-16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus made it all … all for His glory.

Reference Passage : … James 1:18 [NLT] … 17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. 
… Everything good in our lives in our lives comes from God, and some things we don’t see as “good” are, in fact, for our good (see also Romans 8:28).

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Lisa Samra, cites a truth from a line of poetry from George Herbert to illustrate just how thankful we should be to our God. The ODB author wrote: Would you like to cultivate a greater sense of gratitude? George Herbert, a seventeenth-century British poet, encourages readers toward that goal in his poem “Gratefulness”: “Thou that hast given so much to me, give one thing more: a grateful heart.” 
Herbert recognized the only thing he needed in order to be thankful was simply an awareness of the blessings God had already given him. 

The ODB author’s question is a good one for conviction - at least for me; because I do realize that I need to develop a deeper sense of gratitude … like that Dennis Jernigan wrote into the devotional song linked above. Perhaps any reader here joins me in realizing, as Paul wrote about in today’s highlight passage, God made all - i.e., EVERYTHING - that He created for our good and His glory. 

So, as Romans 8:28 declares (I hope you know this one by heart) … that ALL THINGS - not some things, but ALL THINGS - do work together for our good. So, even some things that we can’t see as “good,” things and may even seem “bad,” are in reality for our good; and we should be thanking God for them rather than stewing in our ungratefulness [see also James 1:17].

So, how about joining me in a prayer of thankfulness today, … even if it’s a stretch to FEEL thankful. And, fellow Christian, as the attached photo depicts, we should declare our thanks, as I write it here, … if for no other reason than for saving us.

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You, Lord for Your saving grace and for giving me the faith to repent and receive it.
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I’m here because of You; and I will be with You forever … BECAUSE OF YOU. So, thank You, 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, January 16, 2018

January 16, 2018 … His Power in My Prayer

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 16 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video with images and lyrics from Twila Paris and Dennis Jernigan singing this song … On My Knees … poignantly and powerfully singing of our need to get on our needs when we need God’s power in our lives.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1 Samuel 7:8 [NLT] … 8 “Don’t stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. 
… God’s people had faith in Samuel’s connection with God and that God would answer his prayers. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1 Samuel 7:7-14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet Samuel prayed for Israel’s deliverance from the Philistines; and God answered their prayer by confessing the enemy.
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Reference Passage : … Psalm 63:1-4 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God is MY GOD; and early each day I will seek Him in prayer.

Reference Passage : … Psalm 116:1-2 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… My God bends down to hear my prayers anytime and anywhere I pray.

Reference Passage : … Matthew 7:7-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus promises that prayer works. Enough said!!

Reference Passage : … Hebrews 13:8 [NLT] … 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
 … Since Jesus never changes, so His promises never change either!

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, uses a personal remembrance of a story about prayer power in the Old Testament which helped her gain peace thru prayer. The ODB author wrote: One day, when I was deeply concerned about the welfare of one close to me, I found encouragement in part of the Old Testament story of Samuel, a wise leader of the Israelites. As I read how Samuel interceded for God’s people as they faced trouble, I strengthened my resolve to pray for the one I loved. 

I hope NO ONE reading here thinks that our prayer power is any less than it was for Samuel in the aforementioned story from the highlight passage today. Because if you don’t believe the story above about Samuel praying is true, you can quit reading right here because I believe God answered His prayer and the Philistines were defeated because of His prayer.

I also know that God will hear my prayers just like a father will bend down to hear the words of his child (see Psalm 116:1-2). And finally, I know that Jesus has promised that my prayers, when in tune with His will, are heard and answered (see Matthew 7:7-8); and since Jesus never changes (see Heb. 13:8), I know that my prayer have just as much power as did Samuel’s in the Old Testament.

So, whether you believe it or not, I do; and I will be here every morning starting my day by offering up my “Ebenezer” to my God [see the story in 1st Samuel to know what that means]; … and praying the words of Psalm 63:1-4, praising God ... who is MY GOD. 

Good way to start the day, isn’t it?

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My THANKFULNESS: … Oh Lord, Jesus, thank You for hearing me as I prayer … even today. 
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My Prayer Today: Abba Father, … King Jesus, … Precious Spirit … I’m here this morning, as I am each day, knowing that you hear my payers. … 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.