Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September 27, 2016: Letting Go for God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 271  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Brian Littrell singing … I Surrender All, poignantly singing of the attitude we all should have of God’s providence … to surrender it all to Him.


Highlight Passage: Luke 12:34 [NKJV] …  
34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also 
… How we handle God’s providence measures where our heart lies.
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Highlight Passage: Luke 12:22-34 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...  
… Jesus teaching his followers on trusting all to God for Him to provide for our well being. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 8:18 [NKJV] …  
4 Riches and honor are with Me, … enduring riches and righteousness. 
… It’s all God’s anyway … why hold on like we own what we have been given.

Reference Passage #2 … Matthew 6:19-21 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus’ clear teaching in the Sermon on the Mount about how we handle what God has provided in our lives.

Reference Passage #3 … Mark 10:17-22 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus’ counsel to the rich young ruler as to what our attitude toward God’s riches should be.

Reference Passage #4 … 2nd Corinthians 9:6-7 [NKJV] …  
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 
 … The Apostle Paul teaching on giving back to God from His providence.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Amy Boucher Pye, related a personal story, teaching about our giving back to God from what He has given us. She wrote: At the memorial service for my friend’s dad, someone said to her, “Until I met your father, I didn’t know a person could have fun while helping others.” Her dad contributed his part in helping to build the kingdom of God through serving people, laughing and loving, and meeting strangers who became friends. When he died, he left a legacy of love. In contrast, my friend’s aunt—her father’s older sister—viewed her possessions as her legacy, spending her latter years worrying about who would protect her heirlooms and rare books. 

I needed that reminder from ODB today as well as the Scriptures where Jesus taught about where our heart lies when we’re dealing with our money. It’s so easy to have the attitude of the “rich young ruler” when we deal with our money (see the Mark 10 passage), isn’t it? And someone once told me that all one would need to do is see our check book (or online account) and our calendar to see where our heart was when it comes to our real priorities in life [see Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34].

I have learned over the years as a Christian that Paul’s teaching on giving (see 2Cor. 9:6-7) is absolutely true; and that we can’t out give God, Who will always provide what we need in life. So, today’s ODB was a good reminder for me; … perhaps for you too.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, help me to do what Brian Littrell sings in the linked song today … to surrender all back to Your. 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, September 26, 2016

September 26, 2016: Seeking His Peace

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 270

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of the acapella group, Vocal Point, singing … Be Still My Soul, poignantly singing of the peace we can receive from God when we humbly bring our troubles to our Lord.


Highlight Passage: Matthew 11:28 [NKJV] …
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
… Seeking our peace by resting in Jesus.
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Highlight Passage: Matthew 11:25-30 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...
   … Our Lord is our only real source of peace.
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Reference Passage #1 … Psalm 23:4 [NKJV] …
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; … for Your are with me; … Your rod and staff, they comfort me. 
… Peace comes in following the Good Shepherd

Reference Passage #2 … Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul gives us God’s peace that surpasses all human understanding, which is ours when we bring our trials to the Lord in thankful prayer.

Reference Passage #3 … 1st Peter 5:6-7 [NKJV] …
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 
… And Peter says it too … to humbly bring our cares to God.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Joe Stowell, related a personal experience, teaching about finding God’s peace. He wrote: While attending a concert, my mind detoured to a troublesome issue that insisted on my attention. Thankfully, the distraction was short-lived as the words of a beautiful hymn began to reach deep into my being. A men’s a capella group was singing “Be Still, My Soul.” Tears welled up as I listened to the words and contemplated the restful peace that only God can give: ... [Hear the linked song above] 
"Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side! Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; leave to thy God to order and provide; in every change He faithful will remain." 

Whom among us hasn't needed, … perhaps now needs, or … at some future time, will need peace from the turmoils of life? … Duh!!! … Well, that’s all of us! … And today’s ODB addresses God’s prescription for receiving His peace, … that peace that is way beyond human understanding.

And above, in the Scriptures provided, no less than Jesus Himself, King David, and the Apostles Paul and Peter, tell us where we can find God’s peace. But it will be ours only when we’re willing to come to God, humbly surrendering our troubles, with a heart of thanksgiving, and casting all our cares before God’s throne of grace, knowing and trusting that our God can provide us with His peace.

I don’t know about you; but … I’m in for some God’s peace today!!

Today’s Prayer: Lord, I lay my trials at Your feet, seeking your grace and peace. Amen

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PS: If you want to read a powerful little book, written by a Godly friend of mine, about seeking/finding God’s peace, GO TO THIS LINK to solve God’s equation for peace.
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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, September 25, 2016

September 25, 2016: God’s Word Matters

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 269

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Kristyn & Keith Getty singing … Speak, O Lord, poignantly singing of God’s powerful word, speaking His truth into our lives as His disciples.


Highlight Passage: 1st John 4:1 [NKJV] …
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 
… John’s proclamation of the reality and power of Jesus being the “Word of Life!”
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Highlight Passage: 1st John 4:1 [NLT] …
1 We proclaim to you the One who existed from the beginning, Whom we have heard and seen. We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is the Word of life … 
... The NLT version of the highlight passage
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Highlight Context … 1st John 1:1-5 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… John declares that Jesus was (and is) the “Word of Life,” … i.e., He is the living word, which was seen and heard on earth in the flesh.
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Reference Passage #1 … Isaiah 55:11 [NKJV] …
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 please, and it shall prosper the thing which I sent it. 
… God, Himself, thru Isaiah, declares the power and importance of His word.

Reference Passage #2 … 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul declares the reality and power of God’s word for our lives as Christians.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, told a personal experience illustrating the power of God’s word. He wrote:  Early in my days of working as an editor for Our Daily Bread, I selected the cover verse for each month’s devotional.  After a while, I began to wonder if it made a difference. 
Not long after that, a reader wrote and described how she had prayed for her son for more than twenty years, yet he wanted nothing to do with Jesus. Then one day he stopped by to visit her, and he read the verse on the cover of the booklet that sat on her table. The Spirit used those words to convict him, and he gave his life to Jesus at that very moment. 

And I have my own personal experience of how God can use His word to change a life. On 4-13-83, I was a self-proclaimed and cynical agnostic who had been rejecting Christians who witnessed to me. But I was still seeking for “spiritual” strength in my life, primarily thru pursuing far-eastern mysticism.   Well, on that day, thru my secretary’s witness, she had put a brochure on my desk with a Bible verse on the cover: ”I can do all things thru Christ, Who gives me the strength.” - Phil. 4:13

And in that moment of my seeking for spiritual strength and the realization that the date was 4:13 and the Bible verse was 4:13, I broke down and received Christ as my Savior, and shortly thereafter surrendering all to Him as Lord. God had used one verse from His Holy Word to bring me to Himself. Therefore, … I fully recognize the power of God’s word to do what it says (see Is. 55:11 and 2Tim. 3:16-17).

That’s why you find me here in a place much like that one depicted in the attached photo, going daily and deeply into God’s word (as in the linked song for today) … to be reshaped into the image of my Lord/Savior. I pray that all who are reading with me today are into the same discipline of daily discipleship through God’s word.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, reshape us into Your image through Your living word. 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, September 24, 2016

September 24, 2016: Passing The Baton

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 268  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Alan Jackson singing … I Love to Tell The Story, poignantly singing of God’s people telling … “the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”


Highlight Passage: Psalm 78:4 [NKJV] …  
4 We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, … about His power and His mighty wonders. 
… We come thru the gates to His eternal city with hearts of praise …
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Highlight Context … Psalm 78:1-8 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Asaph, the Psalmist, sings of passing along the story of deliverance through the generations to God’s people, which should be our goal as well.
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Reference Passage #1 … Deuteronomy 4:9 [NKJV] …  
9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, … 
… Moses charging God’s people to pass on the truth of God’s deliverance to future generations.

Reference Passage #2 … 1st Peter 2:9, 3:15 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Peter, from God’s Spirit, exhorting God’s people (that’s us!) to be God’s chosen generation and be ready - ALWAYS - to share His truth with those in our sphere of influence.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Lawrence Darmani, uses a sports analogy to charge Christians to be apologists for God’s truth. He wrote: I enjoy watching relay races. The physical strength, speed, skill, and endurance required of the athletes amaze me. But one crucial point of the race always gets my special attention and makes me anxious. It is the moment the baton is passed to the next athlete. [See attached photo] One moment of delay, one slip, and the race could be lost. 
In a sense, Christians are in a relay race, carrying the baton of faith and the knowledge of the Lord and of His Word. And the Bible tells us about our need to pass this baton from one generation to another. 

Today’s ODB highlight passage (from Psalm 78) has the Psalmist Asaph charging God’s people in song to pass the truth of God’s wondrous deliverance on to future generations. And in Deuteronomy 4:9 we read of Moses exhorting believers to pass God’s story on our children and grandchildren … and anyone else who will hear of God’s greatness … much as Alan Jackson sings in the linked song above.

Oh how I love to tell my story of how God delivered me from my evil past; and how He is reforming me into His image. And if you’re saved, … in Christ, … you probably have a story that others, especially the lost, need to hear.

So, as the Apostle Peter exhorted Christians (see 1st Peter 2:9 and 3:15), if/when God gives us the opportunity to share our story, let’s pass along the baton of victory to someone … maybe even today.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, open a window of opportunity for me to tell the old, old story to someone who needs to hear it. 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, September 23, 2016

September 23, 2016: Words of Comfort

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 267  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Carrie Underwood and Michael W Smith singing … All Is Well, poignantly singing words of comfort that we all need at times in times of testing trial, trouble, or temptation.

 
Highlight Passage: Isaiah 50:4 [NKJV] …  
4 The Sovereign Lord has given me His words of wisdom so that I know how to comfort the weary. 
… We come thru the gates to His eternal city with hearts of praise …
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Highlight Context … Isaiah 50:4-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… The Prophet speaks for God His words of comfort for any/all who need Him.
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Reference Passage #1 … 2nd Corinthians 1:3-7 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Paul, exhorting fellow Christians (yes, you and me!) to help comfort others as God has comforted us.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, David McCasland, put forth a pertinent and poignant life lesson learned by a famous Christian writer. He wrote: A few days after his father died, 30-year-old C. S. Lewis received a letter from a woman who had cared for his mother during her illness and death more than two decades earlier. The woman offered her sympathy for his loss and wondered if he remembered her. “My dear Nurse Davison,” Lewis replied. “Remember you? I should think I do.” 
Lewis recalled how much her presence in their home had meant to him as well as to his brother and father during a difficult time. He thanked her for her words of sympathy and said, “It is really comforting to be taken back to those old days. The time during which you were with my mother seemed very long to a child and you became part of home.” 

I think we’ve all been in a place where we needed - or could provide - a few kind, empathetic, words of comfort. And when someone was there, as the nurse was for C.S. Lewis, it’s like our Lord being there with us to say, as the linked song today shares, ”All is well.”

Maybe today, as the Apostle Paul taught fellow Christians in 2nd Cor. 1 [linked above], one of us will be given a divine appointment to share God’s comfort with someone who needs it. If so, let’s be there for the one who needs God’s love.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, let me be Your conduit of comfort for someone who needs Your love 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.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016: Enter the Gate of Faith

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 266  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Brian Derksen singing … Just As I Am , poignantly declaring the truth of coming to God just as we are … in faith … to receive God’s gift of saving grace.


Highlight Passage: Psalm 100:4 [NKJV] …  
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise … 
… We come thru the gates to His eternal city with hearts of praise …
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Highlight Context … Psalm 100 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK   … The Psalmist expresses God’s invitation for any/all to enter the gates of faith to His eternal city.
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Reference Passage #1 … John 10:9 [NKJV] …  
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 
 … Jesus declares that He is the door (i.e., gate) to God’s Holy Kingdom.

Reference Passage #2 … John 14:6 [NKJV] …  
6 Jesus said to him [a disciple], “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 
 … No other gate to heaven buy through Jesus’ gates of faith.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Marin Williams, taught today on one of God’s most wondrous gifts … to come to Him with a heart of worship/faith to receive His eternal gift of salvation. He wrote: When you enter some of the greatest cities in the world, you can encounter famous gates such as the Brandenburg Gate (Berlin), the Jaffa Gate (Jerusalem), and the gates at Downing Street (London). Whether the gates were built for defensive or ceremonial purposes, they all represent the difference between being outside or inside certain areas of the city. Some are open; some are closed to all but a few. … The gates into the presence of God are always open. 

And aren’t we glad (you and me, fellow Christian) that God’s gate to eternal life is open to anyone, anytime that we ascend the staircase of repentance and enter through the gates Christ opened for us with His shed blood on the cross and His resurrection to open the doors to His eternal city (see attached photo).

Brian Doerksen, in the song linked above, sings the classic invitational hymn, Just As I Am; but Psalm 100, also linked, was an even more classic invitational hymn, wasn’t it? And I pray that any who read here, have taken our Lord up on His invitation to enter His eternal kingdom, with hearts of praise, worshipping the One Who has opened the only door to heaven (see passages in John 10 & 14).

Today’s Prayer: Lord, we who worship You, come through Your gates with praise to be with You forever. 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, September 21, 2016

September 21, 2016: Out From the Fire

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 265  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Chris McClarney singing … Beauty for Ashes, poignantly declaring witness to God’s deliverance from the fiery trials of life.

 
Highlight Passage: James 1:2 [NKJV] …  
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, … 
… James knew that God uses the trials of life to produce Christlikeness in His Brother’s disciples. 
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Highlight Context … James 1:2-12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus’ brother writing to Christians (you and me, too) who were facing great stresses. 
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Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Solomon knew that believers must learn to trust God no matter how hot the trials of life would get.

Reference Passage #2 … Daniel, Chapter 3 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Jesus comes into the fiery furnace to save three who trusted in Him.

Reference Passage #3 … John 16:33 [NKJV] …  
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
… We are not promised deliverance from trial … only to follow the One Who has overcome those tribulations.

Reference Passage #4 … Romans 8:28 [NKJV] …  
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 
… Yes, even the hottest of circumstances or trials … they are ALL for our good.

Reference Passage #5 … 1st Corinthians 10:13 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  
… Remember the word “temptation” in this passage can also be translated “test, trial, tribulation, or trouble” … which means God promises to help us thru any/all fiery trials.

Reference Passage #6 … 1st Peter 1:7, 4:12 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… Peter also taught about facing the fiery trials of life, knowing that Christians were going to have to face them to be reshaped into the image of our Savior.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Bill Crowder, used a rather common biblical word picture to teach about facing the trials/challenges of life. He wrote: Fire can be one of the worst enemies of trees. But it can also be helpful. Experts say that small, frequent fires called “cool” fires clean the forest floor of dead leaves and branches but don’t destroy the trees. They leave behind ashes, which are perfect for seeds to grow in. Surprisingly, low-intensity fires are necessary for healthy growth of trees. 
Similarly, trials—pictured as fire in the Bible—are necessary for our spiritual health and growth. 

In today’s highlight Scripture, ODB author, Crowder, uses a very common teaching tool used in the Bible to depict what believers, more specifically we Christians, must face in order to allow God to refine, reform, and remake us into His image. And I have recopied or linked many of those biblical teachings or exhortations about facing the fiery trials of life above.

So, if any reader with me today has taken in the attached photo, the You Tube song by Chris McClarney, and all the Scriptures I’ve provided above, I could not add one ounce of word power to those expressions of God’s truth. … So, I won’t!

Today’s Prayer: Lord, THANKS YOU for even the fiery trials I go through to become more like 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.