Tuesday, December 06, 2016

December 6, 2016 ... More Kindness Please!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 341

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Glen Campbell singing … Try A Little Kindness … poignantly and powerfully singing of something sorely needed in this world today.


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Highlight Verse: Ephesians 5:32 [NKJV] … 
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. … 
But are we?
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Highlight Passage [context]: Ephesians 4:29-32 … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, exhorts Christians to be kind to one another in word and deed.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Psalms 141:3-4 … USE THIS LINK
… King David’s warning against all unkindness and wickedness.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... Galatians 5:22-23 … 
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 
… Our call to fruitfulness by God. But are we?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David Roper, uses an illustration from literature to illustrate God’s call for us to be kind to one another. He writes: When I was a child I was an ardent reader of L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz books. I recently came across Rinkitink in Oz with all the original artwork. I laughed again at the antics of Baum's irrepressible, good-hearted King Rinkitink with his down-to-earth goodness. Young Prince Inga described him best: “His heart is kind and gentle and that is far better than being wise." 
How simple and how sensible! Yet who has not wounded the heart of someone dear to us by a harsh word? By doing so, we disturb the peace and quiet of the hour and we can undo much of the good we have done toward those we love. "A small unkindness is a great offense,” said Hannah More, an 18th-century English writer. 

I really don’t need to add very much to all that’s above today. So, … if you’ve taken in the pertinent, poignant, and powerful message of Glen Campbell’s lyrics in his linked song above as well as David Roper’s reflections AND especially the truths from God’s word above, it really says it all, doesn’t it? So, for once I won’t be too wordy!

So, how about it? … Let’s just do all we can today to “try a little kindness” in what we think, and especially what we say and do.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, help me to be as kind to others today as You have been to me ALWAYS. ... 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, December 05, 2016

December 5, 2016 ... Lights of Christmas

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 340

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Matt Redman singing … Light of the World … poignantly singing of King Jesus as the light of the world, Who came into the world as flesh to shine our way out of the darkness of sin to live in/with our Lord forever.


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Highlight Verse: Jonn 8:12 [NKJV] … 
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again [the Pharisees and His followers], saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” 
… Jesus declares clearly His witness to all who were to follow His light.
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 8:12-20 … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus declares clearly that He is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD!!
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 Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Luke 2:8-9 … 
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 
… God, with His own light show announces the coming of King Jesus!!!

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... Philippians 2:5-11 … USE THIS LINK
… My favorite Scripture passage at Christmas, declaring how Jesus came so humbly to mankind as our King and Savior.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, C.P. Hia, from Singapore, writes how his country lights up at Christmas [see photo], declaring Christ as the light of the world. He writes: Each year for several weeks around Christmas, Singapore’s tourist belt, Orchard Road, is transformed into a wonderland of lights and colors. This light-up is designed to attract tourists to spend their money at the many stores along the street during this “golden month of business.” Shoppers come to enjoy the festivities, listen to choirs sing familiar Christmas carols, and watch performers entertain.

Personally, I love the lights of Christmas, even tho I know that they are to promote the sale of holiday products. To me, all the traditional lights and Christmas carols create an atmosphere which honors what the advent season is all about; … and that is the humble, yet glorious, coming of the One Who would declare Himself to be the “light of the world.” [See the highlight passage above].

Yet, when King Jesus was born into the world, even though God’s light show and His angels announced His coming, it was not with a showy display of light for all to see. His initial light show was humbly displayed to small group of shepherds, considered by others to be the lowliest of all in those days (see Luke 2). But as the Apostle Paul would later write (in Philippians 2:5-11), Jesus may have set aside His glory and majesty, coming as a man, to live and die for the sins of mankind; … but nonetheless, our Christmas lights should reinforce the truth that He came as Matt Redman sings, as the “Light of the World,” to show our way to the glory of salvation.

So, when we see the lights of Christmas, may we all see God’s glory, the One Who came to shepherds and kings - and to us - a Babe in a manger - to become our LORD and Savior, … King Jesus! And as the Light of the world, He is the One who will come again to light the way for all, who come to Him in faith, to experience eternal glory.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, You sent the Light of world to save me. O glory, in this Advent season, … forevermore!! ... 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, December 04, 2016

December 4, 2016 ... God’s Truth Treasure

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 339

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the Maranatha Singers singing … Thy Word … poignantly singing of the value of God’s word to lead us to His glory.


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Highlight Verse: Psalm 119:162 [NKJV] … 
162 I rejoice in Your word as one who finds great treasure. 
… Do we see God’s word as a treasure trove from Him to His family?
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 119: 161-168… USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist expresses the reality of the treasure he cherished which is God’s word
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Isaiah 55:11 … 
11 So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me void. But it shall accomplish what I pleas, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. 
… God’s promise of the priceless treasure which is ours from possessing His word.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Keila Ochoa, writes of a significant archeological find in Mexico. She writes: In 1932, Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso discovered Tomb 7 at Monte Alban, Oaxaca. He found more than four hundred artifacts, including hundreds of pieces of pre-Hispanic jewelry he called “The Treasure of Monte Alban.” [see attached photo] It is one of the major finds of Mexican archaeology. One can only imagine Caso’s excitement as he held a jade cup in its purest form. 

What great joy Caso, the archeologist, must have sensed holding the treasure trove he discovered, much of it glimmering in priceless gold. But thousands of years earlier, a psalmist, the author of Psalm 119, wrote of a treasure which was an even more valuable gift from God. And to this Old Testament believer, God’s word was the greatest treasure on earth; and it had transformed His life and was leading him to glory.

Today the ODB author summarizes the comparison between the treasure discovered by Alfonso Cast and the treasure depicted in Psalm 119 and the song sung by The Maranatha Singers (linked above). Ochoa wrote: Caso’s name is remembered today because of his discovery in Tomb 7. We can enjoy it if we visit a museum in Oaxaca. However, the psalmist’s treasure is at our fingertips. Day by day we can dig into the Scriptures and find diamonds of promises, rubies of hope, and emeralds of wisdom. But by far the greatest thing we find is the person whom the book points to: Jesus Himself. After all, He is the Author of the book. 

My friends, every day when I come into my quiet place to be with God to start my day and to write these journal thoughts, I have the opportunity to share in the greatest treasure on earth, given to mankind to save us from ourselves and lead us to eternal life. My treasure trove is God’s word; and I pray that anyone reading here shares in this treasure with me.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, Your word is my greatest treasure from You. It has saved me; and it lights my way to You every day. ... 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, December 03, 2016

December 3, 2016 ... Helping the Needy

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 338

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the group Avalon singing … Orphans of God … poignantly speaking of the need for the Body of Christ to reach out to the most vulnerable of us, as with widows and orphans, often treated as orphans to bring them into the family of God, helping them in need.


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Highlight Verse: James 1:27 [NKJV] … 
27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. 
… God charges His family of true believers to reach out and live their faith by helping the most vulnerable in the family, … widows and orphans.
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Highlight Passage [context]: James 1:22-27 … USE THIS LINK
… James wanted his fellow Christians to be doers of the word, not just listeners and to see this manifest in helping those in need.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Proverbs 14:31, 19:17, 21:13 … USE THIS LINK
… Solomon’s wisdom on the must for believers to help the needy.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... Matthew 25: 37-40 … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus speaks of when He will come to judge mankind, telling all that only those who lived their faith by helping the needy will be worthy of God’s eternal kingdom.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, uses a personal illustration, with which most of us can identify, to teach on our prayer life with God. She writes: The phone rang in the night for my husband, a minister. One of the prayer warriors in our church, a woman in her seventies who lived alone, was being taken to the hospital. She was so ill that she was no longer eating or drinking, nor could she see or walk. Not knowing if she would live or die, we asked God for His help and mercy, feeling particularly concerned for her welfare. The church sprang into action with a round-the-clock schedule of visitors who not only ministered to her but showed Christian love to the other patients, visitors, and medical staff. 

The Church universal is the family of God; and Jesus’ brother, James, wrote to Jewish Christians of hIs day to help them see what Avalon sings in the linked song, today … that there are NO ORPHANS in God’s family. And He wanted Christians to see that we must see and meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our “family” if we are to truly BE the Family of God.

Right now, my local church is committed to living our faith by financially and spiritually supporting a local rescue mission (as pictured in the photo), reaching out to help the homeless in our area, … providing food, shelter, and the Gospel message of salvation. And this local mission support has saved the souls and lives of thousands of men over the years.

We are blessed to be an active part of an effort like this to serve God’s family and His kingdom in this life. I hope that any reading here have ways to live out our faith as James preached in the highlight passage above. We are to be DOERS of the Gospel, not just HEARERS.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, help us to see those in need and then DO SOMETHING to help them … even 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, December 02, 2016

December 2, 2016 ... Talking To Myself and God

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 337

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Dolly Parton singing her prayer in song … Hello God … poignantly speaking openly to God in song with a prayer of contrition and a plea for God’s love.



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Highlight Verse: Psalm 116:7 [NKJV] … 
7 Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. 
… The Palmist talks to himself of how God has dealt with his soul.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 116:1-7 … USE THIS LINK
… The Psalmist has a quiet conversation with God and himself.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Psalm 62:5, 103:2 … USE THIS LINK
… King David has a self-directed conversation in song, knowing that God is listening.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, James Banks, uses a personal illustration, with which most of us can identify, to teach on our prayer life with God. He writes: Do you ever talk to yourself? Sometimes when I’m working on a project—usually under the hood of a car—I find it helpful to think aloud, working through my options on the best way to make the repair. If someone catches me in my “conversation” it can be a little embarrassing—even though talking to ourselves is something most of us do every day. 

And we do, don’t we? … Well, at least I do. And quite often, especially here in the later stages of my life, I find myself talking with myself, … but knowing that my Lord is listening … even bending down to monitor my self-talk, which includes Him (see how God listens to us in Psalm 116:1-2).

In fact, I come to a quiet place every morning to be with my God with few earthly/personal distractions; and I quite often find myself speaking to myself, believing - no, KNOWING - that my God hears me in my self-directed conversations.

In this morning’s linked song, you can hear Dolly Parton praying in song; and you get the sense that she’s just having an open conversation with God, believing strongly that He not only hears but He cares.

I hope that others, reading with me here, take the time to get alone - and yes, daily - to talk to ourselves, reciting our blessings and thankfulness to God as the Psalmists in today’s highlight scriptures above; and then pouring out our hearts, openly and verbally, with our confessions , thankfulness, and petitions; … because our God even bends down to hear our words of contrition and concern.

He so loves and cares for His children!!!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, oh my soul is so weary of my selfishness. May I surrender more to You, Lord, … seeking Your will and Your way thru Your word … every day!! ... 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, December 01, 2016

December 1, 2016 ... Light of the World

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 336

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the Australian group Hillsong leading a large audience and receptively singing the chorus of the old hymn … Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus … poignantly singing of how when we focus on Jesus, His light shines on us and gives us a view of life that reflects His glory. … And THEN TO THIS LINK to see images and images from Matt Redman’s song, Light of the World, giving us God’s prospective our our walk in this world, with His Light shining to light our way.


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Highlight Verse: John 1:9 [NKJV] … 
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 
… John the Baptizer gives witness to the true light of the world … and that is Jesus, our Messiah. 
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Highlight Passage [context]: John 1:1-14 … USE THIS LINK
… God’s word give believers a view of a darkened earth which produces the Light the world needs to bring light into the darkness and peace from the turmoil of this world.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Isiah 26:3 … 
3 You [LORD] will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
... When we focus on our Lord, we can find peace and see light in the darkness of our world.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... John 14:6 ... 
6 Jesus said to him [a fearful Thomas], “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” 
... Jesus is the light of life when we are fearful or lost in the darkness of the world.  

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, uses an apt word picture, of seeing earth from space, to illustrate how we can see the world when we focus on Jesus in faith, trusting in His sovereignty. He writes: “My perspective on earth changed dramatically the very first time I went into space,” says Space Shuttle astronaut Charles Frank Bolden Jr. From four hundred miles above the earth, all looked peaceful and beautiful to him. Yet Bolden recalled later that as he passed over the Middle East, he was “shaken into reality” when he considered the ongoing conflict there. During an interview with film producer Jared Leto, Bolden spoke of that moment as a time when he saw the earth with a sense of how it ought to be—and then sensed a challenge to do all he could to make it better. 

It’s true, isn’t it? When we focus on the world, things can look very, very dark, … even foreboding. But as the group Hillsong and Matt Redmon sing [linked above], and we read and believe in the truth from God’s word above, when we “Turn Our Eyes Upon Jesus,” and truly see Him, in faith, for Whom He is, … “the things of this world, grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

Need I say more? I think not.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, help me to focus on Your light, the Light of the world, and let You shine on my path through this world. ... 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, November 30, 2016

November 30, 2016 ... My Worth In Christ

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 335

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Big Daddy Weave singing … Redeemed … singing of how we receive our worth from the redemption provided by Christ’s blood sacrifice.


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Highlight Verse: 1st Peter 1:18-19 [NKJV] … 
18 … knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, or from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 
… What really gives us self worth … only our relationship with Christ.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1st Peter 1:17-23 … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Peter, reminding Christians from whence comes our worth … in the redemption from Christ’s atoning blood.
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : ... Luke 9:23 … 
23 Then He said to them all (followers),  “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. …” 
... Our worth in Christ creates newness, redemption, and freedom.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : ... 2nd Corinthians 5:17 ... 
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
... Our worth in Christ creates newness, redemption, and freedom.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : ... Ephesians 1:7 [NKJV] … 
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. 
... Our worth comes ONLY from the redemption offered by Christ’s blood covering our sin.  

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder, uses an historical story to illustrate how we must find our self worth from our relationship with Christ. He writes: There is a story that in 75 bc a young Roman nobleman named Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held for ransom. When they demanded 20 talents of silver in ransom (about $600,000 today), Caesar laughed and said they obviously had no idea who he was. He insisted they raise the ransom to 50 talents! Why? Because he believed he was worth far more than 20 talents. 
What a difference we see between Caesar’s arrogant measure of his own worth and the value God places on each of us. Our worth is not measured in terms of monetary value but by what our heavenly Father has done on our behalf. 

Family identification, position, power, wealth, traditions are all factors which so often create our identity … i.e., our self-worth. But as Peter disclaimed to his fellow Christians (and to you/me) [see nightlight passages] our worth ONLY comes from the redemption offered by Christ’s atoning blood, which was shed for all who are redeemed by faith in Him.

As Big Daddy Weave sings in the song today (linked above), we are set free from self-identification and created anew in Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:17 and Eph. 1:7); … but only when we become identified in/with Christ … FOREVER!!

So today’s devotional screams for us, as Christians, to set aside seeking our image/worth in the world or from fleshly lusts/pleasures, and seek only to go deeper into the newness and fruitfulness which comes from our identification with/in Christ.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, help me to come here daily seeking to grow closer and closer to You and to surrender more, as You commanded, denying self, taking up my cross daily, and following only 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.