Friday, March 24, 2017

March 24, 2017 ... Seeking His Face

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 83 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Alan Jackson singing the old hymn … Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus … poignantly singing of our need to continually see the face of our Lord, Jesus.


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Highlight Verse[s]: 1st Chronicles 16:11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
13 Search for the Lord and His strength; … continually seek Him
… David’s song honors God’s Name by calling on His people to seek His face ALWAYS! This exhortation is also sung in Psalm 105:4.
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Highlight Passage [context]: 1 Chronicles 16:8-27 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... Upon the return of the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple in Jerusalem, King David writes a song to honor the Name of God.
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Reference Passage #1 : … John 14:8-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Jesus made it clear (to Philip and to us) that to see His face, i.e., the face of God’s Son, was to see the face of God, the Father.

Reference Passage #2 : … Philippians 2:5-11 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… God, thru Paul, strongly exhorted Christians to seek God’s face by taking on the attitude and character of Jesus.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Peterson, used a personal story to illustrate our need to focus on seeking the face of God. The ODB author wrote: My four-year-old son is full of questions, and chatters constantly. I love talking with him, but he’s developed an unfortunate habit of talking to me even when his back is turned. I often find myself saying, “I can’t hear you—please look at me when you’re talking.” 
Sometimes I think God wants to say the same thing to us—not because He can’t hear us, but because we can tend to talk to Him without really “looking” at Him. We pray, but we remain caught up in our own questions and focused on ourselves, forgetting the character of the One we’re praying to. Like my son, we ask questions without paying attention to the person we’re talking to. 

My fellow Christians, … if you read with me here EVERY DAY, I hope you know that I’m here in this quiet place each morning, seeking the “FACE” of my Lord. As the attached photo depicts, I come here and delve into God’s word, with the help of the ODB devotionals, seeking to know my God’s character and to become more like Him. And that, my friends, is what “seeking God’s face” is all about.

The “face of God” in Scripture refers to God’s character; and Jesus was very clear to His disciples (tho they didn’t quite get it!) that, as He said to Philip in the upper room, … to see His face (i.e., His character) was to see the face of His Father (see John 14:8-11). And Paul exhorted his fellow Christians (i.e., you and me) to seek to become just like the character of The Christ (see Phil. 2:5-11), Who was willing to set aside His glory/majesty, humbling Himself to become a man and to die on a cross that we might live with Him in eternity.

So, is it too much to ask, as King David did in His song (see highlight passage), to continually seek God’s face? … I think not!! … Personally, I’m touched to the core of conviction with Alan Jackson’s version of the old hymn [linked above]; … and so driven to come here, as I am today, deeply delving into God’s word to seek His face and become more like my Savior … day-by-day-by day.

What could each/all of us do today to seek His face?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, … King Jesus, help me to seek Your face and become more like You today than yesterday; … and even more tomorrow than 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, March 23, 2017

March 23, 2017 ... In His Arms

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 82 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Fernando Ortega singing the old hymn … I Need They Every Hour … poignantly singing of the reality of our need to come to the Lord in our need of comfort or His grace.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Isaiah 66:13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
13 I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child. 
… Yes, … even Moses in the OT was following Jesus.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Isaiah 66:12-16 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...
… God’s word, thru Isaiah, to His people warning of the coming judgment … but His comfort to the remnant obedient believers.
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Reference Passage #1 : … Isaiah 23:6 [NLT] … 
6 You (Lord) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, … all whose thoughts are fixed on You.
… God’s promise of peace to those who focus on His love/mercy/grace.

Reference Passage #2 : … Philippians 4:11-13 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ... 
… Paul learned that, no matter the circumstances, he found his strength from Christ.

Reference Passage #3 : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NLT] … 
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 
… Peter had learned to find his comfort in Christ.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Kirsten Holmberg, used a personal story to illustrate our need to run into the arms of our Lord when we’re in need of His comfort/grace. The ODB author wrote: My friend entrusted me with the privilege of holding her precious, four-day-old daughter. Not long after I took the baby into my arms, she started to fuss. I hugged her closer, my cheek pressed against her head, and began to sway and hum in a gentle rhythm to soothe her. Despite these earnest attempts, and my decade and a half of parenting experience, I couldn’t pacify her. She became increasingly upset until I placed her back into the crook of her mother’s eager arm. Peace washed over her almost instantaneously; her cries subsided and her newborn frame relaxed into the safety she already trusted. My friend knew precisely how to hold and pat her daughter to alleviate her distress. 

Ever felt like you needed what God promised to His people, thru Isaiah [see highlight passages], in their time of trial? I sure have recently. Diagnosed with clinical depression, I have found myself coming here - to my quiet place - each morning and essentially cuddling my heart in the spiritual arms of my Lord, and receiving His closeness, His love, and His grace. And like the closeness of a mother to her child (see photo), I’ve felt all the protective love which God promised to His children, thru Isaiah in the time of their captivity [see highlight verse], as well as the strength God promised to us, thru Paul in Phil. 4:11-13.

Do you need that kind of comfort or strength today? If so, follow Peter’s lead and bring your cares to our God, … for He truly cares for us (see 1st Peter 5:7).

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … As Fernando Ortega sings today, “I need thee every hour, most gracious 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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 22, 2017 ... Following In Faith

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 81 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …   Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Jeremy Camp singing his song … Walk By Faith … poignantly singing of how we Christians must walk by faith, following only those who follow Christ. … AND THEN ON TO THIS LINK  for Steve Green singing People Need The Lord


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Highlight Verse[s]: Hebrews 11:26 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
26 He [Moses] thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. 
… Yes, … even Moses in the OT was following Jesus.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Hebrews 11:23-28 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... God reminds us, thru the author of Hebrews, of Moses leading the faithful out of Egypt, thru the wilderness, and giving them the Law to follow.
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Reference Passage #1 : … Luke 9: 23 [NLT] … 
23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. 
… Jesus made it clear to deny self and follow Him.

Reference Passage #2 : … John 14:6 [NLT] … 
6 Jesus told him [Thomas], “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 
… So, it’s clear Whom we must follow.

Reference Passage #3 : … 1st Corinthians 11:1 [NLT] … 
1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 
… Paul confidently told his followers to follow him because he knew Whom he was following.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, C.P. Hia, used an historical illustration to show how we must follow Christ and help others to follow us to Him. The ODB author wrote: A memorial stone stands in the grounds of a former Japanese prison camp in China where a man died in 1945. It reads, “Eric Liddell was born in Tianjin of Scottish parents in 1902. His career reached its peak with his gold medal victory in the 400 metres event at the 1924 Olympic Games. He returned to China to work in Tianjin as a teacher. . . . His whole life was spent encouraging young people to make their best contributions to the betterment of mankind.” 
In the eyes of many, Eric’s greatest achievement was on the sports field. But he is also remembered for his contribution to the youth of Tianjin in China, the country where he was born and that he loved. He lived and served by faith. 
What will we be remembered for? Our academic achievements, job position, or financial success may get us recognized by others. But it is the quiet work we do in the lives of people that will live long after we are gone. 

Yes, our legacy should be to follow Jesus and then do all we can to lead others to Him. As from the highlight passage above, Moses, first hesitantly and then later confidently, led God’s people to follow The Lord; and those who followed Moses were blessed. Then came Jesus, Himself, commanding His followers to deny themselves and follow Him as “the way, the truth, the life;” (see Luke 9:23 and John 14:6); and some did and others didn’t. And then the Apostles were charged to lead others to our Lord (see the Great Commission); … and they did, … as did Paul, confidently telling others to follow him because he was following Christ (see 1 Cor. 11:1).

Today there are many social gurus in our culture who, like the Osteens and Oprahs, are like Genies, promising much but leading untold thousands to disaster. But we, who have truly claimed Christ as Lord, must do all we can to, as Jeremy Camp sings, to “Walk By Faith,” and do all we can to lead others to or toward our Savior.

So, my friends, be wary of whom you follow out there; and let’s do all we can today to walk by faith and follow our Lord, leading others to Him; … because … as Steve Green sings in the 2nd linked song, … “People Need the Lord!” 

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … As Steve Green sings, I so desire to follow You in faith and to lead others to You … even today if it be Your will. … 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, March 21, 2017

March 21, 2017 ... The Blooming of His Grace

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 80 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing … Find Us Faithful … poignantly singing of lives in faithfulness to an ever faithful God, who love sustains us day-by-day, … FOREVER!


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Highlight Verse[s]: Hosea 6:3 [NLT] … 
3  Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know Him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of the dawn or the coming of rains in early spring. 
… To know God is to love Him for His always faithful grace.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Hosea 6:1-6 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK ...
… Hosea’s love for his unfaithful wife, Gomer, is a picture of God’s love for His unfaithful people. 
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Reference Passage #1: … Lamentations 3:22-23 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… His faithfulness and love are seen - always for His faithful ones - being new every morning.

Reference Passage #2 : … John 3:16 [NLT] … 
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. …” 
… God’s love is eternal … once given, it never dies.

Reference Passage #2 : … John 3:16 [NLT] … 
9 But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 
… God’s faithfulness will ALWAYS cleanse the hearts of the repentant faithful.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Amy Boucher Pye, used a personal reference to teach on our faithfulness to God’s unrelenting love. The ODB author wrote: Needing a break, I went for a walk in the nearby park. As I headed down the path, a burst of green caught my attention. Out of the mud appeared shoots of life that in a few weeks would be cheerful daffodils, heralding spring and the warmth to come. We had made it through another winter! 
As we read through the book of Hosea, it can feel, in parts, like an unrelenting winter. For the Lord gave this prophet the unenviable task of marrying an unfaithful woman as a picture of the Creator’s love for His people, Israel (1:2–3). Hosea’s wife, Gomer, broke their wedding vows, but Hosea welcomed her back, yearning that she would love him devotedly (3:1–3). So too the Lord desires that we love Him with a strength and commitment that won’t evaporate like the morning mist. 

The OT book of Hosea is a poignant and powerful testament and picture of God’s faithfulness and His love for a people, who, throughout history, have been unfaithful in our love and devotion to Him. Do any of you, who read here with me, find yourself to be more like Gomer than Hosea? But our God is forever the Hosea in our lives, isn’t He?

As Jeremiah testified (in Lam. 3:22-23), His mercies of forgiveness are new every morning; and His love (as Jesus testified in John 3:16) is eternal. …

And like the daffodils bloom each spring after the winter [see photo], God’s love blooms in the hearts of any/all who come to Him, repenting of our sin, to be cleansed by His blood (see 1st John 1:9). May His grace bloom in our hearts today!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … As Steve Green sings, let my love be ever faithful to Your grace, … which blooms in our hearts as does the beauty of the daffodils. … 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, March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017 ... My Resting Place

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 79 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the Vineyard group leading gin worship and singing … Resting Place … poignantly singing of resting in our Lord to gain His strength to cover our weakness.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Mark 6:31, 46 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
 … Jesus took His time to rest as well as exhorting His followers to do the same.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Mark 6:30-46 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... Jesus exhorted His disciples to take time to rest; and even the God-Man took His time away from the crowds to be alone and rest with His Father in prayer.
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Reference Passage #1: … Isaiah 40:29-31 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Our refuge and strength is in The LORD.

Reference Passage #2 : … Matthew 11:28 [NLT] … 
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. …” 
… Our rest is in the One Who gives us His strength.

  Reference Passage #3: … 2nd Corinthians 12:9 [NLT] … 
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
… Resting and trusting in the Lord brings us His empowering grace.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, David McCasland, used a sports reference to teach on our need to take our rest in The Lord. The ODB author wrote: The headline caught my eye: “Rest Days Important for Runners.” In Tommy Manning’s article, the former member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team emphasized a principle that dedicated athletes sometimes ignore—the body needs time to rest and rebuild after exercise. “Physiologically, the adaptations that occur as a result of training only happen during rest,” Manning wrote. “This means rest is as important as workouts.” 

Ever been in a place where you felt you had almost no strength to go on? When a marathon runner gets toward the end of his/her 26+ mile trek, it is said the runner will “hit the wall,” with the body rebelling against the will to finish the race. Well, … recently I was experiencing severe hyper-fatigue symptoms; and I had multiple MDs diagnose that I was in the throws of a type of clinical depression. I was prescribed a medication, which helped; but I was also advised to begin shedding some of the most stress-producing elements in my life. So, I began saying “NO” to a number of the good things I was doing, … the biggest stressors in my life.

I also was led to add some rigor and discipline to my devotional life at the same time, praying more in the mornings and seeking to go deeper into God’s word than ever before. And the results have been significant, … even measurable. My blood sugars have come down (I’m diabetic). The bouts of hyper-fatigue have disappeared. And I’ve had some of the “sweetest” times with my Lord than ever before. As you may know, I have been coming here for years to be alone, resting in my Lord. And quite recently I’ve found more of His grace to give me strength than ever before.

I hope that any readers here with me today, especially those who’re dealing with depression or stress-related fatigue, can take in today’s linked song; and find the truth from the Scriptures above … that God can - and will - be your resting place. And He’s always there to provide us with His enabling/empowering grace to give us strength to cover our weakness.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … I come here today, Lord, … to rest in You and receive as much of Your grace as You can pour into my heart. … 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, March 19, 2017

March 19, 2017 ... Words Like Wildfire

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 78 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from the BeeGees sining their hit song… Words … and you can imagine Jesus singing those lyrics to any/all who read or hear His words being spoken to them (us).


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Highlight Verse[s]: James 3:5 [NLT] … 
5 In the same way the tongue is a small thing which makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a forest on fire. 
… The tongue may be a small organ; but it can do great damage if not bridled.
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Highlight Passage [context]: James 3:1-12 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... Jesus’ brother, James, teaches on how powerful is the tongue to do damage in our lives. 
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Proverbs 16:24, 27 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Solomon tells how words can be sweet like honey or destructive like a fire. We choose which.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Ephesians 4:29 [NLT] …  
29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. 
… If one can’t say something which brings God’s grace and love to someone else, it’s best not said at all.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Bill Crowder, used an historical reference to illustrate the power of the tongue. The ODB author wrote: It was a Sunday night in September and most people were sleeping when a small fire broke out in Thomas Farriner’s bakery on Pudding Lane. Soon the flames spread from house to house and London was engulfed in the Great Fire of 1666. Over 70,000 people were left homeless by the blaze that leveled four-fifths of the city. So much destruction from such a small fire! 

Most biblically astute Christians are familiar with Jesus’ brother, James, preaching [in James 3] on the inordinate power of the very small organ - the tongue - when it is used either for good or for evil. And if used for the latter, it can create a wildfire out of a small spark which can burn down marriages, churches, or whole nations … just like that fire in London, which started from a small house fire, and almost burned down the entire city (see photo).

God, thru the Apostle Paul, taught us how to use our words, telling us (in Eph. 4:29 that we must avoid using emotionally inflammatory words, … using them only to build up others or give them God’s grace.

I pray today that we’ll only use our tongues for God’s glory and not to start a fire in someone else’s life.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, …Help me to use my words 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, March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 ... Words To Pray?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 77 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from Sara Groves singing her song … It’s Going To Be Alright … poignantly singing of the trust we have in a caring God to bring us thru times of desperation.


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Highlight Verse[s]: Psalm 34:18 [NLT] … 
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 
… David knew to Whom he must turn when he was brokenhearted.
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Highlight Passage [context]: Psalm 34 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… David, on the run from King Saul, writes of turning to God in a time of desperation [see also 1Sam. 21 below).
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Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … 1st Samuel 21:10-15 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… David, so desperate that he would feign lunacy to save his life. This was the scene he wrote about in Psalm 34.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … Romans 8:26-28 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK …
... There are times when we know not what to pray; but we can always know God’s Spirit will intervene for us.

Reference Passage #3 [NKJV] : … Philippians 4:6-7 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… No worries … just prayers!

Reference Passage #4 [NKJV] : … 1st Peter 5:7 [NLT] … 
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 
… Simple command; but do we follow it?

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Jolene Philo, told a personal story to illustrate praying in our times of brokenness and worry. The ODB author wrote: The morning after our son, Allen, was born, the doctor sat down in a chair near the foot of my bed and said, “Something’s wrong.” Our son, so perfect on the outside, had a life-threatening birth defect and needed to be flown to a hospital 700 miles away for immediate surgery. When the doctor tells you something is wrong with your child, your life changes. Fear of what lies ahead can crush your spirit and you stumble along, desperate for a God who will strengthen you so you can support your child. [see photo] … 
Then my husband, Hiram, arrived and heard the news. After the doctor left, Hiram said, “Jolene, let’s pray.” I nodded and he took my hand. “Thank You, Father, for giving Allen to us. He’s Yours, God, not ours. You loved him before we knew him, and he belongs to You. Be with him when we can’t.  Amen.” 

We all have times, when we feel pretty desperate, don’t we[?] … even tho we trust in a God Who cares for us (see 1st Peter 5:7). And in those times, all we can do is pray (see Phil. 4:6-7). But there are times, as in the scenario above, when it’s even difficult to do that, not finding the words to pray (see Romans 8:26-28).

Young David, desperate and on the run from King Saul, was in a place [see highlight passage] where he was compelled to even feign lunacy to save his life (see 1Samuel 21:10-15); but he knew that God watches over the lives/hearts of the brokenhearted (see Psalm 34:18); and so he ultimately took his anxieties to God in prayer/song.

And since we know and believe in reference passages 2-4 above (well , don’t we?!!), we know that God is always close and wouldn’t do, or allow, anything that was not for His glory and our good as Christians! So, why should we not take our desperation to Him? And even if we know not what to pray, we can rely on God’s Spirit to pray for us (see Rom. 8:26-28).

So, anybody feeling anxious or down today? … Listen to the song linked above; and let’s take it to God!!

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, …Pray for me, Lord! I need Your help 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.