Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014 … Buyer’s Remorse

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 31

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take a few minutes to see a video of the group, Phillips, Craig, and Dean, singing the song wrote … He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, which promises that God will do whatever it takes to give us His robes of righteousness to cover our rages of sin.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Isaiah 61: 10 [NKJV] … [His robes for my rags!] …  
10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
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Context for Highlight Passage: Isaiah, Chapter 61 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK ... 
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Reference Passage #1 - NKJV: Genesis, Chapter 3 ... GO TO THIS LINK … 

Reference Passage #2: Colossians 3: 1-17 … [NKJV] … [Putting off the old rags of sin and putting on God’s robes of righteousness ] … GO TO THIS LINK ...

 Reference Passage #2: 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 5, Verses 16-21 … [NKJV] … [Letting God reconcile and robe us in His robes to become the new Christlike version of me He died for me to become.] … GO TO THIS LINK ...

My Journal for Today: Every had buyer’s remorse? I have. Not too long ago I went online and purchased a casual business-wear jacket. It looked so cool, with elbow patches and some really neat pockets; but when it was delivered, it just didn’t wear right. I tried to wear it several times, trying to convince myself that it was “cool” and a good buy; and I even wore it too many times to rightfully return it. It was my ego which bought the jacket; but it was my sense of rightness which gave me buyer’s remorse.

Well, the worse case of “buyer’s remorse” in the history of mankind took place in Genesis, Chapter 3 where Satan, the slickest salesman of all time, sold Eve first, and then Adam, on taking a taste of the forbidden fruit in the garden. And as soon as Adam and Eve had bought into this con-job, they had to have had the ultimate case of buyer’s remorse; and we know that they even tried to hide in the garden from a all-knowing and all-seeing God (see the photo attached). And here they were, naked in their remorse; and we know what that case of buyer’s remorse did for them and the rest of mankind.

My friend, when we come into this world, it’s so easy for us to buy into the ways of Satan and the world, ... isn’t it? I did for many years of my early life into adulthood, buying into on many versions of my self, trying to fit into the world’s ways. However, over and over again, I had buyer’s remorse until finally, in brokenness, I sought to receive the robes of righteousness which were offered to me by The Messiah, … the Lamb of God, … my Lord and Savior, Who died on the cross and was raised again so that He could offer me His robes to cover my rags of sin.

And I’ll tell you, from my witness and testimony, accepting that free gift of God’s grace and His robes was the best “buy” I ever made; and if you read the passages of Colossians 3 and 2nd Corinthians 5 above, you’ll see that if we do take off our rags of sin and put on Christ’s robe of righteousness, the world will see the newness that Christ died on the cross to give you and me, … the ultimate make-over, … the newness of Christlikeness.

My friend, it’s the greatest bargain ever offered; and receiving this free gift, you’ll never have buyer’s remorse.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, again today, I’m putting on Your robes so that others will see You in 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30, 2014 … Life Is Precious in God’s Eyes

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 30

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take a few minutes to see a video of Fernando Ortega singing … Beyond the Sky, reminding all believers that death will never hold us in its grips; … no, only God’s love will take us to be with Him in eternity.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 116: 15 [NKJV] … [How precious to God is the life of a believer!] …  
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. 
Highlight Passage – AMP: Psalms 116: 15 [AMP] …  
15 Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones). 
Highlight Passage – NLT: Psalms 116: 15 [NLT] …  
15 The LORD cares deeply when His loved ones die.
Highlight Passage – MSG: Psalms 116: 15 [The Message] …  
15 When they arrive at the gates of death, GOD welcomes those who love Him. 
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Highlight Passage in Context - Psalms 116  [NKJV] ... GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: Deuteronomy 30: 19 … [NKJV] … [God’s admonition is for His precious ones to “choose life!” ] …  
19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; …

Reference Passage #1: John 3: 16 … [NKJV] … [How precious is our life to God? He so loved His precious ones that He gave His son to die for them. ] …  
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

My Journal for Today: It’s likely that any who might read what I write here have been to a funeral or a memorial service for a loved one or maybe a friend who has passed from this life. And looking at the body, if viewable, always seems so final, doesn’t it? But for those of us who believe in the truth, … yes, the reality, … of the highlight passage today, translated above from several Bible versions, we who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior need not fear the seeming finality of death.

No, any memorial service for one who was a believer in Christ is more of a commencement from one life into the life eternal, isn’t it? That’s why Christian funerals are often celebrations of a life lived and an eternal life to come, rather than a dwelling place of sadness and overbearing grief. Oh, it’s always sad to come together to bear the loss of a loved one, especially if that one was young or snatched from this life in a seemingly senseless tragedy. But we, who hold our hope in Christ, need not dwell on the death; because we know that Jesus did His dying that we might live … and live for Him in this life and with Him in the next life, which is eternal.

I really don’t need to say much more here, do I? No, because Deuteronomy 30: 19 [copied above] says what we, the living need to hold to. We have a choice – life or death – and living the life God has given us, we are ALWAYS to choose life. However, when, in our mortality, our time on this earth comes to a close; and we are chosen to go home to be with the Lord, as our highlight passage today proclaims, we can know just how precious our life is that God was willing to give up His Son [see John 3: 16] so that we could choose to live with Him forever.

Do I sense a “Hallelujah” from any reading here?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I choose life; and I declare from Your love of my life, … HALLELUJAH!!! … and ... 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014 … Expectations – Mine or God’s?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 29

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take a few minutes to see a video of Sara Groves singing the song she wrote … It’s Going To Be Alright, which proclaims the reality that only in following God’s will can we realize that all will be well in Christ.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Philippians 1: 18, 20 [NKJV] … [When our expectations come from God, they will always be met and we can rejoice.] …  
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. … 
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Philippians, Chapter 1, Verses 12-21 … GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23 … [NKJV] … [Expectations will be met when we deny self and follow the Savior.] …  
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. …”

Reference Passage #2: Philippians 4: 6-7 … [NKJV] … [Expectations from self will likely always produce anxiety.] …
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

My Journal for Today: Get the picture from today’s highlight devotional passage [i.e., Philippians, Chapter 1above]. The Apostle Paul is in prison, writing a letter of encouragement and love to a group of Christians [i.e., in Philippi], … dear friends who loved Paul and had seen him in prison where they lived when Paul was used to establish their church. And here is the Apostle, from prison again, telling them that no matter where he is and what is happening, it’s all okay.

But how can he be so cavalier and encouraging in the face of being imprisoned? Well, it’s because Paul really believed what he had written earlier to other Christians [see Romans 8: 28], when he said, All things work together for God for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. As long as Paul was seeking and following God’s will, he knew that life was going to be okay, … as Sara Groves sings in the linked song for today.

You know, quite often we get frustrated or discouraged when the outcomes of our life don’t match up to the expectations we set for ourselves [see the attached photo]. And that’s where the problem lies and why we can’t seem to find the peace and power in life exhibited by Paul in his writing to the Philippians. We – all too often – are the ones trying to set our priorities based upon our own, selfish, expectations in life. In other words, we set our path (our goals) based upon our WANTS rather than upon seeking/finding God’s will, which would reflect our NEEDS.

Therefore, when the circumstances of life (i.e., OUR outcomes) don’t meet OUR OWN expectations, frustrations and disappointment are likely the result. But for Paul His expectations were filled with His calling to be a witness for Christ in the world and to follow the calling and will of God’s Spirit. And so, for Paul, [see Phil. 1: 21] to live is Christ; and to die is gain!” 

 What about it, fellow Christian? What are our expectations for today? Do they align with God’s will? And will the outcomes of our day result because we’re following Christ? Good questions to resolve, don’tcha think?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I know that when I follow You, my expectations, being Yours, will always be okay. … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014 … The Other Side of Inconvenience

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 28

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take a few minutes to see a video of Laura Story singing the powerful song she wrote … Blessings, which proclaims the truth that blessings often come hidden in the frustrations and inconveniences of life.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Ephesians 5: 20 [NKJV] … [Really? Thanks! Always!!] …  
20 … giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Ephesians, Chapter 5, Verses 15-21 … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: John 16: 33 … [NKJV] … [We’re not promised an end to life’s frustrations in Christ.] …  
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.”

Reference Passage #2: Romans 8: 28 … [NKJV] … [Really? ALL things!!] …  
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.

Reference Passage #3: James 1: 2-4 … [NKJV] … [Staying the course will reshape us in Christ’s image.] …  
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Reference Passage #4: 1st Thessalonians: 5: 16-18 … [NKJV] … [Staying the course will reshape us in Christ’s image.] …  
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

My Journal for Today: My Our Daily Bread opened with these words this morning:  "Interruptions are nothing new. Rarely does a day go by as planned. Life is filled with inconveniences. Our plans are constantly thwarted by forces beyond our control. The list is long and ever-changing: Sickness. Conflict. Traffic jams. Detours. Forgetfulness. Appliance malfunctions. Rudeness. Laziness. Impatience. Incompetence.”

 Can you identify? … I sure can.

But all too often because of our very human reaction to inconvenience, we have trouble seeing the other side of the frustrations, the trials, and the inconveniences of life. We hit a detour; and many may react with some very colorful frustration language, … rather than stopping to thank God, without knowing where the detour might lead, knowing and believing the truth of the passages I’ve dredged up from my memory verses and quoted above.

But oh how challenging it is to realize and live the truth of these passages when life (Satan and the world) throw so many detours which produce delays, interruptions, and plan-thwarting frustrations. Yes, it would be a lot easier on us if God’s plans and processes of making us over into His image were not so filled with the inconveniences of life. … But they are; and it is these detours and frustrations which we find it so difficult to see what Laura Story sings about in her song, Blessings [linked above].

So, please take in her song with; and pray today to have God give you the strength to say THANKS when we run into a detour or inconvenience. Most certainly He’s on the other side of the inconvenience.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to see any inconveniences today as Your mercy to remake me in Your image; and thank You ahead of time for any detour You lead me through, knowing that they are for my good and 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014 … The Wondrous Cross

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 27

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take a few minutes to see a video of Fernando Ortega singing the old hymn … When I Survey The Wondrous Cross, reminding us of the glorious bridge which Jesus formed to take us from death unto life.
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 Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Hebrews 12: 2 [NKJV] … [Do we really realize what Christ did to save us?] …  
2 … looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Hebrews, Chapter 12, Verses 1-4 … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Romans 5: 8 … [NKJV] … [The wondrous cross!! ... For me!!!] …  
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Reference Passage #2: 2nd Corinthians 1: 9-10 … [NKJV] … [Do we get it! We trust in Christ; and He did the rest on the cross.] …  
9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, …

Reference Passage #3: Galatians 6: 14 … [NKJV] … [And the cross is the only thing to which we must boast.] …  
14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread reminded me of a reality that I’m afraid I all too often minimize in dealing with the trivial urgencies of life. And the guilt of my callousness is captured in the first verse of the old 18th century hymn to which I link anyone willing to take the time to view the video of Fernando Ortega singing, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Here’re the lyrics to that first verse …  

When I survey the wondrous cross 
On which the Prince of glory died, 
My richest gain I count but loss, 
And pour contempt on all my pride. [Isaac Watts – 1707]

And my devotional also reminded me of that tried-n-true illustration of the cross being a bridge from death unto life when anyone is willing to repent of their sins and walk, IN FAITH, across the chasm of death which only can be bridged to life when we accept the wondrous work that Christ completed on the cross.

So, join me in taking in the reality of that wondrous cross today and pray with me a prayer of thanks for Christ providing our bridge from death unto life through faith in His wondrous work of grace on the cross.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I sing that great Isaac Watts hymn with a heart of thankfulness for what You, dear Jesus, did for me and anyone who comes to the cross for Your saving grace. O, the wondrous cross!! … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014 … Wait!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 26

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take a few minutes to see a video of an anonymous praise chorus singing … Have Thine Own Way, Lord, praying that we’ll wait on God as the Potter as we are the clay.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Psalms 40: 1-3 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Can we have such faith when things are going bad? ] …  
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. 2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. 3 He has put a new song in my mouth — praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Psalms, Chapter 40… GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Isaiah 64: 8 … [NKJV] … [All Christians have ALL of these fruit … but maybe not as mature as should be the case.] …  
8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. 

Reference Passage #2: Proverbs 3: 5-6 … [NKJV] … [Trusting and patience go hand-n-glove!] …  
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Reference Passage #3: Galatians 5: 22-23 … Go to this link [NLT] … [All Christians have ALL of these fruit … but maybe not as mature as should be the case.] …  
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against these things!

My Journal for Today: When David wrote Psalm 40, from which the Editors of Our Daily Bread today took the highlight passage, the young King-to-be was putting to song what he had learned while in the dessert, running for His life from Saul, who was trying to kill him. David had to learn to wait on His God for protection and guidance in the face of life’s dire circumstances.

Waiting; … I don’t do waiting very well. How about you? When it comes to pressure or stressful circumstances, I’m afraid the fruit of the Spirit, PATIENCE, is not a mature in this humble vessel as it could be … or should be. I know, as a Christian, I have the fruit of patience (or “longsuffering” – see Gal. 5: 22, 23); however, if I am the clay unto the Potter’s hands, I’m afraid He has some shaping to do to reshape me into the image of my Savior, Who was “patience” personified.

So, this morning, as I think about God’s desire that I yield to the Potter’s hands in my reshaping, I will choose to wait on Him to do as He wills to reform this vessel into whatever shape He desires for me to be like My Lord.

My Prayer for Today … Mold me, Lord … in Your way … and in Your time. I wait on 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

January 25, 2014 … Maybe today!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 25

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take a few minutes to see a video of an anonymous praise chorus singing … Find Us Faithful, proclaiming the hope that if Jesus came back today that we, His Bride, would be ready for His arrival
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Matthew 24: 42 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Can we have such faith when things are going bad? ] …
42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.  
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Matthew, Chapter 24, Verses 36-44… GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: 1st Thessalonians 5: 1-21 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Who knows? … Maybe today!!] …

 Reference Passage #2: Revelation 19: 8-9 … [NKJV] … [Jesus will come back for His Bride – maybe today. Is she prepared?] …  
7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. … 9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 

My Journal for Today: What do you think? Maybe it will happen today. And if you’ve taken in the photo, the song, and the Bible passages I’ve rendered above, you know to what I’m referring. … Yes, it’s the coming of Jesus, the Bridegroom, to take His Bride, the church, to be with Him at the wedding feast of the Lamb of God.

The questions for us all hang with reality over our heads: … #1. Are we His Bride? And #2. Are we ready for His coming … TODAY?!

I know it seems like I’m going to be lazy here; but I’ll quit drubbing you all with more exhortation and just charging any who’re reading with me here to take in my study references above (photo, song, and text); and then ask yourself, ”Am I ready for my Groom to come and take me home today?”

 I’ll answer it for me … you for you!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, Lord, … please give me the time to prepare my linens, as I should, for Your coming. … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Friday, January 24, 2014

January 24, 2014 … Telling Our Story

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 24

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take a few minutes to see a video of Alan Jackson singing … I Love To Tell The Story, proclaiming the joy which comes from sharing our own story of Jesus and His love. … And then to this link,  for the song reminding us why it’s so important for us to share our own story of redemption and restoration in Christ, … because as Steve Green sings, People Need the Lord
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Romans 10: 14 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Can we have such faith when things are going bad? ] …  
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Romans, Chapter 10… GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 28: 19-20 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Our great commission!] …  19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Reference Passage #2: Acts 1: 8 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Are we willing to witness and share our story with others who desperately need Jesus.] …
8 “ … But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

My Journal for Today: Today in my Our Daily Bread devotional, the author tells the story of an evangelist who lived with a tribe of Eskimos for some time in the 18th century and carried the message of the Gospel to them, many in the tribe being saved. And, as the story goes the very grateful Elder Chief of the tribe soon after the missionary came to them said, ” … it does seem to me . . . that it took a long time for you to . . . tell it [i.e., the Gospel] to your brother in the woods.”

When I was searching for a photo to illustrate the essence of what God laid before me today, I was stricken by the image in the attached photo, because I’ve been where that grandma was in sharing the stories of Jesus to her grandchild. I’ve also had the blessing of sharing my personal testimony with someone who desperately needed to hear the Gospel message of salvation. It is such a rush to do so, especially if we are blessed to see someone, perhaps a loved-one, with whom we’ve shared the good news come to a saving relationship with Christ. I witnessed to my father for several years, whom I had realized was lost, and had the privilege of seeing he and my mother come to know Christ as Lord and Savior in their seventies.

Today, we’re likely going to encounter people who will pass us by and would likely be relegated to hell if they died that very moment. Listen to the songs which I’ve linked any readers to today; and then take the reality of those songs, which certainly convict me, that I need to be praying for opportunities to share my story of redemption with every one and anyone who will listen.

Perhaps today will be one of those opportunities.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, give me the chance to share your story with someone 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 23, 2014 … Our Load-Line

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 23

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Once again today I lead you to the same song from yesterday’s devotional, a video of Sara Groves singing … It’s Going To Be Alright, reminding us that even when we take on too much in life, usually from pride, God’s promise is that He will be with us, and we can bring our load to Him for His strength.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: 1st Peter 5: 6-7 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Can we have such faith when things are going bad? ] …
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.
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 1st Peter 5: 5-11… GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: Deuteronomy 31: 7-8 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Handling too much can get us off track at times!] …  
7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

Reference Passage #2: Luke 9: 23 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [How often do I need to read this to let it guide my life? ] …  
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me ….”

  Reference Passage #3: Matthew 11: 28-30 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [He’ll keep us on keel … IF … we let Him help us carry the load.] …  
28 “… Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Reference Passage #1: 1st Corinthians 10: 13 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [God’s not going to allow the sea-going Christian to enter the rough waters of life without a “load-line” of conviction to help the believer to handle the seas of temptation or troubles.] …  
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

My Journal for Today: From my Our Daily Bread devotional today, I was reminded of a helpful word picture for us to apply in our lives. The picture, which the attached photo captures, is of the “load-line” on cargo ships, which is put on the hulls of large cargo vessels to show when the ship is overloaded, i.e., drafting too much cargo, making it unsafe for rough seas. That practice began in 1875 when Britain passed a law that all large vessels had to have “load-lines” to help protect the ship from overloading and therefore becoming unsafe on the open seas in violent storms.

And it doesn’t take an experienced ship captain or a biblical scholar to see the application of this word picture in the lives of Christians, especially when one takes in all of the passages above which I’ve referenced for my fellow readers. So, I’ll not burden any co-seeker here with my wordy interpretations or application helpers. I’m sure it’s obvious to you that the publishers of Our Daily Bread desire that we know that we have a “load-line” on us, as vessels of God’s purpose in life; and we mustn’t take on too much of a load of “to-dos” without becoming unsafe when we hit the rough waters and storms of life.

So, let’s all take note of the “load-line” which the Holy Spirit puts on us, letting us know by conviction when we become overloaded; and when we see that overload, we must do what Jesus commanded and bring the load to Him so that He can help us carry the load in life, especially through the storms (see especially Matt. 11: 28-30 above).

My Prayer for Today … Lord, show me when I let pride get me overloaded; and help me carry the load through the rough seas of life. … Amen

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014 … Bricks Without Straw?!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 22

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take your time to see a video of Sara Groves singing … It’s Going To Be Alright, reminding us that even when things look bleak, God’s promise is that He will be with us, going ahead of us to pave the way to Him.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Exodus 6: 6-7 … [God through Moses.] …
6 Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 
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 Highlight Context - NKJV: Exodus, Chapters 5-6… GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: Deuteronomy 31: 7-8 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Really?!! … Easy for you to say!] …  
7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”                                                                                                                                                                                                         Reference Passage #2: Romans 8: 28 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [We read it; but do we believe it?] …  
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.

Reference Passage #3: 1st Peter 5: 6-7 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Can we have such faith when things are going bad? ] …
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. 

My Journal for Today: Do you remember in the epic 1956 movie, The Ten Commandments, when Yul Brynner, as Pharaoh, came down hard on Charlton Heston, as Moses, by commanding that the Hebrew slaves would have the same quota of bricks, but no straw to make their quota? I was 13 when that block buster movie came out; but I remember vividly how impressive it was that Moses would stand up – in faith – to Pharaoh in the face of the power of Egypt against Israel.

And now, we Christians, are faced with much the same dilemma in our world today as there are forces who would try to shape the way we think and extract God from the picture of life today. And so we are faced with much the same faith challenges which the Israelite slaves faced when Moses was trying to free God’s people from Egypt or when Joshua had to lead the people into God’s promised land later in the Old Covenant times; … or even later after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, when God’s people were challenged to see and receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.

It’s always a faith question, isn’t it? And even today, whatever the circumstances of our lives present, it’s our faith that becomes the heart issue when things get tough and we’re challenged to believe that God truly is our deliverer or our redeemer. Do we believe what God prophesied to Israel in Deuteronomy 31 (see above)? … Or fast forward to the NT, … do we believe the truths espoused in Romans 8: 28 or 1st Peter 5: 6-7? … Really; …do we??!!

Because if we do, then we will be asking fewer “WHY” questions of God as we move into 2014 but more “WHAT” questions? We won’t be focusing on the pain from the circumstances. No, rather; we’ll be seeking what we can learn or glean from what the circumstances are teaching us. We’ll be freed from the slavery of our selves and determined to know that God is leading us in His direction for His glory.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, show us the way to make more bricks even with less straw. … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014 … The Harmony of Giftedness

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 21

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take your time to see a video of an incredible acapella arrangement of the old hymn … It Is Well With My Soul, showing us that when God’s Church comes together in harmony and unity, using all the individual giftedness imparted by the Spirit, all is well with God’s Bride.
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 Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: 1st Peter 4: 10 …  
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 1st Peter, Chapter 4, Verses 1-11 … GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: Romans 12, Chapter 12 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Living as the Body of Christ, using His Spirit-imparted gifts harmoniously as God desired they be used for His glory.]

Reference Passage #2: 1st Corinthians, Chapter 12 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [When we come together in our giftedness and use those gifts as one body, Christ is exhibited and God is glorified.]

Reference Passage #3: Ephesians, Chapter 4, Verses 1-16 … Go to this link [NKJV] … [Our power as Christians is expressed when we’re fully and effectively using our Spirit tagged gifts for God’s glory. ]

Reference Passage #4: Acts 1: 8… [NKJV] … [And that power is seen in our witness and use of His giftedness.] …  
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Reference Passage #5: Matthew 5: 16… [NKJV] … [When our gifts are used and expressed for God’s glory, His light shines brightly in a dark world.]
"16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. “ 

My Journal for Today: Okay, have you taken in the attached photo, the lilting song linked for your mediation, and all [and I mean ALL!!] of the copied/linked Scripture passages to which I’ve referred you above. And I sure hope and pray that you’ve come here today to let God’s Spirit give you a big hug in this quiet place as we worship our Lord… TOGETHER.

And “together” is the operant word here today; because as illustrated by the hauntingly powerful song to which I’ve linked you, it is the HARMONY of members of Christ’s Body, coming together and using their Holy Spirit imparted gifts, which produces the power of God’s witness of love to the world, shining His light for all to see and follow.

So, … without having to write a lot more here, the attached photo really asks the question exhorted by my Our Daily Bread devotional this morning. Read the question aloud with me here, … “Your YOUnique gifts and talents – Do you know them? Are you using them?”  

I don’t know about you as I sit here and write this, knowing that my Spiritual Gifts are teaching and encouragement, imagining that some (maybe you) are reading this, I know that my gifts are being used as Christ Himself directed in Acts 1: 8 and Matthew 5: 16; and I feel at harmony with God here today. How about you? Will you be using your gifts for God’s glory as you walk out to encounter the world today?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray that any/all who read here today will move out to be Your light in a very dark world 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014 … Followership in Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 20

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take your time to see a video of a powerful song, performed by Clay Crosse, Bebe Winans, and Bob Carlisle … I Will Follow Christ, reminding us that our place in heaven will be determined by our discipleship in following Christ in this life.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Mark 10: 42 …  
43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Mark, Chapter 10, Verses 35-45 … GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23 … [NKJV] … [Jesus commands His disciples to first be His follower.] …  
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. …”

Reference Passage #2: Philippians 2: 5-7… [NKJV] … [If we’re to be like Jesus, we need to let His Spirit rule in our hearts, choosing to humble ourselves to His be His slaves, just as He was slave to His Father’s will.] …  
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

Reference Passage #3: Romans 12: 1-2… [NKJV] … [To be in service to/for Christ is to be living our lives in living sacrifice in His Name.] …  
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

My Journal for Today: Today, on this day here in the USA, it is Martin Luther King day, honoring the life of the man who served His Lord by leading America out of the doldrums of racial discrimination toward the light of freedom in Christ; and in doing so, in the late 1960s, this great social leader spoke to American from today’s highlight passage, Mark 10: 35-45, linked above.

Dr. King said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. . . . You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” 

And the context of the Mark 10 passage was taken from an interaction involving Jesus and His inner 12 Disciples, who were quibbling over whom among the twelve should have a lead place in heaven as the Man, Whom they believed to be their Messiah, would lead them there forever. And Jesus His Disciples in their place, as He had to do often in His earthly ministry, by showing them that the only way they could be leaders – in this world or the next – would be for them to learn first to serve others.

And if you’ve taken in the attached photo as well as the song I’ve linked my readers to today, as well as the Scriptural references, you’ll see that God slammed me again in conviction today with His truth that I must follow Him, 24/7, in the living sacrifice of service to others, especially in lieu of trying to impress others in this life with what service I do in His Name and for the Father’s glory.

 I’ll leave it to you to decide, as I’m led to do this day, whether the service we render in this life is for God’s glory or to have ourselves seen as “good Christians” in the sight of others.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to learn and live the humility You lived in Your life, death, and resurrection for us all. … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 19, 2014 … From Death Unto Life

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 19

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take your time to see a video of a poignant song, performed by Phillips, Craig, and Dean … He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, reminding us that our God will do whatever it takes to save those who believe in His atoning grace and are willing to receive that grace when He calls for us to walk out of our tomb of sin and be alive in Him.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: John 11: 33 - 35 …  
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” … They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” … 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”  
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Highlight Context - NKJV: John, Chapter 11, Verses 28-44 … GO TO THIS LINK
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Reference Passage #1: Psalms 145: 14 … [NKJV] … [All who come to Him will be lifted from death into life.] …  
14 The LORD upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.

Reference Passage #2: Romans 12: 15 … [NKJV] … [Being like Jesus; … living like Jesus.] …  
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Reference Passage #3: Philippians 2: 5-7… [NKJV] … [If we’re to be like Jesus, we need to let His Spirit rule in our hears.] …  
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

My Journal for Today: The story of Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead in John, Chapter 11 (see link above) is a compelling truth story which captures so much of Jesus’ hatred of and His victory over the power of death.  There’s so much to see of Jesus’ character, both human and divine, in that story; and in the reality of what happened that day He raised Lazarus speaks to just how far our Lord is willing to go to raise us from the death of our own sinfulness into the life He has for anyone – ANYONE – who’s willing to humble themselves and believe in Him.

So, just as Jesus wept over Lazarus and those who loved Him (see that very short, but poignant passage in John 11: 35), He grieves over the sin of mankind today; and He’s willing (and able) to call forth any, who will respond to His call, to “come forth” and be saved … from death unto life!!

So, please just take in all that God brought me meditate upon this morning (see attached photo, the song, and the passages from God’s word); and know that if you’ve received His saving grace, He has called you out of your burial place in sin into a life you will live with Him forever. And just like Lazarus, death will be defeated in your living for Jesus this moment forward.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, thank You for calling me out of my grave unto a life where I can be with You and live for You … now and forever more. … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 18, 2014 … Dressed for Success

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 18

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take your time to see a video of a poignant song, performed by Steve Green … Find Us Faithful, calling all Christians to faithfully wear the Robes of Righteousness which Christ gave us to wear, covering our rags of sin.
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 Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: Jude 1: 24 …  
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, …
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Jude, Chapter 1 … GO TO THIS LINK for the entire text of Jude … 
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 Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23 … [NKJV] … [Receiving His robes; and then wearing them for all to see.] …  
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. … "

Reference Passage #2: Philippians 1: 6 … [NKJV] … [Letting the Lord dress us for success.] …  
6 … being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;. …

Reference Passage #3: Ephesians 5: 26-27 … [NKJV] … [Jesus will come for His bride, to be dressed in the fine linens of His righteousness] …  
26 … that He might sanctify and cleanse her [i.e., His Bride, the Church] with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

Reference Passage #4: Revelation 9: 7-8 … [NKJV] … [At the wedding feast of the Lamb, Jesus will come for His bride; and she must be prepared and ready, wearing the fine linens in which she has dressed herself for Him in glory.] …
  7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

My Journal for Today: Today in the Our Daily Bread devotional segment, I really identify with the word picture presented by the author, where he described getting his kids all spruced up for church on Sunday morning; and then just a few minutes after dropping them off for child-care, they looked like little rag-a-muffins, no where near the gorgeous little angels who had been dressed by their parents for their “Sunday-go-to-meetin” experience. And isn’t that the picture of how we, as Christians, often look after Jesus, freely offering us His robes of righteousness to wear, will find us casting His garments aside and displaying the rags of sin which are the undergarments of our sin nature?

And that really was the theme behind the letter written by Jesus’ other half-brother [i.e., besides James], Jude, who observed the church’s sins of apostasy in first century. Oh how he, and other faithful Christians, grieved to see those who had professed early faith in Christ, i.e., those who had the opportunity of putting on and wearing the Robes of Christ and displaying His glory, but they (as we often do today) chose to set Jesus’ Robes aside and to display the rags of sin which are so apparent when we don’t choose to wear Christ’s Robes.

Please take the time to mediate on all that I’ve studied this morning, especially the attached photo, the song by Steve Green, and the scriptures which bubbled up from my memory banks today, reminding me that everyday I can choose to wear Christ’s best, i.e., the linens of purity which I should be preparing to wear at the wedding feast of the Lamb (described in Rev 19: 7-8). Everyday, Jesus is prepared to dress me (or us) for “success,” and that is a life where we can display our Sunday best for all to see the glory of Christ rather than to see our natural rags of sin.

So, … which will it be today, … our rags or His robes?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I choose to put on Your robes of righteousness so that others will see Your glory rather than my gory. … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17, 2014 … Heaven’s Perspective

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 17

  Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take your time to see a video of a poignant song, written in 1873 by a blind woman, Fanny Crosby, which has become classic hymn of the faith and sung by the contemporary group, 3rd Day … Blessed Assurance, showing us that even this sightless can see things from heaven’s perspective, reminding believers that when we see life from Heaven’s perspective we have all the vision we need to live in this life and for eternity.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: 2nd Corinthians 4: 16-18 …  
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 4 … GO TO THIS LINK for Chapter 4 … 
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Reference Passage #1: Proverbs 3: 5-6 … [NKJV] … [See it His way and then do it His way.] …
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Reference Passage #2: Luke 9: 23 … [NKJV] … [Seeing the path from Jesus’ perspective; and then following His path. ] …  
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. … " 

Reference Passage #3: 2nd Peter 1: 3-4 … [NKJV] … [God has given us His way of seeing life – His heavenly perspective. ] …  
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Reference Passage #4: Psalm 119: 105 … [NKJV] … [Finding His will and His way from His word. ] …  
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

My Journal for Today: Today from Our Daily Bread, I was led to the wonderful 19th Century Hymn, Blessed Assurance, written by Fanny Crosby and linked for your hearing above. And Fanny Crosby is a devotional character study from whom we can all glean a heavenly perspective on life from a woman who was born blind.

In her life time, Fanny Crosby, wrote over 9000 hymns. And once asked if she could have been more productive as a song-writer for God if she had been given the gift of sight, Crosby was reported to have answered, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind? . . . Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.” 

And that, my fellow Christian, is a heavenly perspective! BUT, how do we, who’re “handicapped” by normal vision, get that perspective on living? Do we have to give up our normal human vision to be able to see life from God’s perspective? No, … according to the transformed Apostle, Peter, [see the 2nd Peter 1 passage copied above] God has given us all we’ll need to see and do life from His heavenly perspective. And the key to seeing things His way and following it, as Jesus commanded in Luke 9: 23, is to get our way out of the way of His way.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 also states it clearly, … i.e., when we can seek and find God’s wisdom, not leaning on doing life from our own selfish understanding, God will show is the way – HIS WAY. And the great Psalmist who wrote Psalm 119, give us God’s way of finding His Heavenly perspective; and that is to open our way to His by finding His will and His way through His word.

So, here I am again today, putting on His sight-giving aid, God’s word, and seeking to find my way – yes, even today – by viewing my life through the perspective of His word. And I’ll pray again that we all see life with the clear aid of the bright light He shines on our path from His word.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, again I pray that You show us clearly Your will and Your way from Your word, giving us Your Heavenly perspective on this life ahead. … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 16, 2014 … Prayer Warrior

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 16

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take your time to see a video of a poignant song, sung by Michael W Smith,  Breathe, reminding believers that prayer is like the oxygen we breath to live in Christ.
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 Highlight Passage #1 – NLT: Colossians 4: 12 …  
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Colossians, Chapters 1 & 4 …  
GO TO THIS LINK for Chapter 1 … 
GO TO THIS LINK for Chapter 4 … 
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 6: 5-7 … GO TO THIS LINK [NKJV] … [Jesus on effective prayer.] …

Reference Passage #2: Philippians 4: 6-7 … [NKJV] … [God gives His prescription for powerful prayer. ] …  
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Reference Passage #3: James 5: 16b … [NKJV] … [I may be the prayer warrior God needs today. ] …  
16b … The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Reference Passage #4: Ephesians 6: 18b … [NKJV] … [I may be the prayer warrior God needs today.]  …  
18 … praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

My Journal for Today: From my Our Daily Bread devotional this AM, I’ve learned that the powerful Christian apologist Oswald Chambers was quoted to have said, … “ Prayer is not preparation for the work, … it is the work. “ And in their devotional the RBC authors tell the story of Billy Graham’s famous 1949 tent revival in Los Angeles where 6000 people gathered nightly under a big tent in LA for eight [8] straight weeks. Thousands made commitments for Christ and the news media flocked to cover the event. But as Cliff Barrows tells the story, there was also a “little tent” there, right next to the big revival tent, where a demure little lady, Pearl Goode, led several diligent prayer warriors EVERY NIGHT to pray for the event. According to Barrows, it was the warfare which transpired under the “little tent” which had everything to do with the success which occurred under the “big tent” there in LA during Graham’s revival.

And in the primary text for today’s blog, in the letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Colosse (mostly to Gentile Greek converts), Paul documents another Prayer Warrior for Christ, … the Colossian preacher, Epaphras, whose diligent prayer and evangelism had everything to do with those Greek Gentiles in that region of Asia-Minor coming to Christ in such robust numbers.

And taking all of this into account, I hope we can see, from the photo attached, Michael W Smith’s song, and the scriptures I’ve quoted above, that Oswald Chambers and Jesus’ brother, James, are absolutely right on … that … ”the effective, fervent, prayer of a righteous man (or woman) avails much” especially when it comes to doing battle for God’s kingdom (see also Ephesians 6: 18b).

So, if you’re reading here with me right now, let’s go find our quiet prayer closet and do business on our knees for God’s kingdom today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I’m here, seeking You, Holy Spirit, to guide me onto my knees and to breathe in Your essence as I pray, with a thankful heart, for many to come to know Your saving grace 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 15, 2014 … Don’t sweat the small stuff !!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 15

Devotional Song: Go to this link – again today to hear Michael W Smith singing the old, old hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, … reminding Christians where our focus should be … not worrying about self but seeking and seeing the will and ways of the Savior.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NLT: Matthew 6: 25, … 31-34 …  
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? … 
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
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 Highlight Context - NKJV: Matthew, Chapter 6… GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: Isaiah 26: 3 … [NKJV] … [Worry produces almost nothing but more worry.] …  
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 

Reference Passage #2: 1st Peter 5: 7 … [NKJV] … [Our cares – His caring. ] …  
7 … casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you..

Reference Passage #3: Philippians 4: 6-7 … [NKJV] … [Focus from self to the Savior. ] …  
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Reference Passage #4: Matthew 11: 28-30 … [NKJV] … [Jesus’ “don’t sweat the small stuff” sermon. ] …  
28 “… Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

 Reference Passage #5: Revelation 3: 20 … [NKJV] … [The Lord’s invitation to dine with Him every day. ] …  
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

My Journal for Today: Back in the 60s, when we were programming computers with “MS-Dos” language, computer output would occasionally get in a repetitive loop – we called it a “GO-loop” - much like an old vinyl record would when the needle kept skipping back and playing one phrase over and over again. Well, if you’ve followed along with my journaling the past few days, you might swear that my devotional blogging from Our Daily Bread had gotten me locked into one of those “Go-Loops.” And today I repeat many of the same scriptural truths which I used even yesterday as I discussed finding God’s peace and clarity in the midst of our very murky world.

Today the focus is on focus; and I write about how our human focus can often get turned inward, driving us to focus on the many, unimportant selfish elements of life, leading to my blog title for today – “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” And some may recognize that phrase taken from a self-help book written by a pop-culture psychiatrist and motivational speaker, Richard Carlson, who, in 1997, published his hit pop-psych book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – It’s All Small Stuff! From that book we got the famous two rules we supposedly need to live our lives by: …  

Rule #1 – Don’t sweat the small stuff! … 
Rule #2 – It’s all small stuff!!

The thing that the millions who bought into Carlson’s pop-psychology in those days didn’t realize was that Dr. Carlson ripped his rules for life from Jesus, who had delivered Carlson’s premise for sound living on a hillside near Capernaum a little over 2000 years ago. And you can read Jesus’ original version from his rather famous “Sermon on the Mount” in the highlight passages which are sited and linked above.

And when it comes right down to it, first Jesus, in his sermon, and then Carlson in his book, nailed some advice, which, if followed, would save us a ton of worry in life and lead us to a much more productive and fruitful life … IF … we were to but follow these biblically-based truths. So, perhaps you might want to go back at least one day and read my blog from 1/14/14; and then take in the truths above for this date; and follow me today by praying that we don’t sweat the small stuff and we focus on the “big stuff,” … which is always focusing on Jesus.

And if we do, we’ll find what Michael W Smith sung in the song to which I’ve linked any reading here today … "Turn your eyes upon Jesus; … look full in His wonderful face; … and the things of this world will grow strangely dim … in the light of His glory and grace.”

My Prayer for Today … Yes, Lord, … I get it. Just focus on You; and all will be well. … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14, 2014 … “Rest In Peace”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 14

  Devotional Song: Go to this link  – again today to hear an anonymous Southern Gospel quartet singing the famous 19th century Fannie Crosby hymn, Blessed Assurance, … reminding Christians where we find our peace in this life.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NLT: Psalms 4: 8…  
8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; … for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
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Highlight Context - NKJV: Psalms, Chapter 4… GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: Isaiah 26: 3 … [NKJV] … [One doesn’t have to die to find rest or peace.] …  
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 

Reference Passage #2: Hebrews 11: 6 … [NKJV] … [Faith is the key which unlocks God’s treasure chest of peace. ] …  
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 

Reference Passage #3: 1st Peter 5: 7 … [NKJV] … [Peter’s formula for finding peace in Christ. ] …  
7 … casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.

Reference Passage #4: Philippians 4: 6-7 … [NKJV] … [Paul’s formula for God’s peace. ] …  
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

  Reference Passage #5: Matthew 11: 28-30 … [NKJV] … [Jesus’ way of finding peace this side of heaven. ] …  
28 “… Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

My Journal for Today: When I use the phrase “REST IN PEACE,” doesn’t the first image it conjures in our mind somewhat like that pictured in the attached photo depiction? I believe that would be the case in the minds of most who hear or see the phrase, “rest in peace,” being used. And why is it that we so often correlate finding rest and peace with death? Is it because we think that the ultimate in rest and peace is only found in the after-life? What was it that the Apostle Paul wrote for Christians, … “ to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord;” … [see 2nd Cor. 5: 8] which certainly conjures accurate images of born-again Christians finding our ultimate peace by joining Jesus in the next life.

However, God doesn’t intend for us to ONLY be able to find His rest or His peace by dying. Because if that were the case, why not just cop out to the next life and forget Paul’s Romans 12: 1-2 exhortation to be “living sacrifices” as our worship of Christ. And from today’s devotional from Our Daily Bread, I’m reminded that King David, when he was feeling somewhat down-and-out, wrote a song [see the link to Psalms, Chapter 4] about seeking God’s rest and peace IN THIS LIFE, which is something God most certainly desires for all who believe in Him and seek after His peace in the here-and-now rather than to ONLY seek trying to find it – which we will – in the next.

And as I meditated on the matter, being drawn to the old, old hymn which Fannie Crosby wrote in 1873, Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine, a number of Scriptures, which I’ve memorized over the years, bubbled up out of my consciousness, reminding me that God wants me (and you) to find His peace in the here-and-now so that we can find His peace even when we’re under a lot of stress or pain because of the circumstances of life. I challenge you to read, study, and meditate upon the Bible passages above and to let God’s desire for us in this life to over-take us as He did for the prodigal child who came back to the Father from the pits of degradation and received His Father’s mantle of love and assurance [see Luke, Chapter 15].

And when you do, I’m sure you’ll feel the love which God has for all His living Saints when we choose to humbly carry our burdens to Him allowing the Father to give us His enabling and empowering grace so that we can find His rest and peace in the midst of our trials. Besides, God conveys His truth so much more clearly and powerfully than do I anytime.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I come to this place so often to find Your peace so that I can deal with my turmoil. And right now as I’m incurring a lot of physical pain after surgery, I’m so grateful to find Your rest when I so need 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014 … Beyond Concern - Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 13

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – again today to hear Steve Green singing People Need the Lord, … which laments that we see so many in our lives who need the Lord everyday but we are unable or unwilling to share our testimony of redemption and salvation with them.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NLT: 1st Thessalonians 3: 6-8 … 
6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you — 7 therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. 
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Highlight Context - NKJV: 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 3… GO TO THIS LINK … 
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Reference Passage #1: 1st Thessalonians 2: 17-20 … [NKJV] … Go to this link … [Concern for well-being of the church.] …

Reference Passage #2: Acts 17: 1-10 … [NKJV] … Go to this link … [Paul’s love for those in Thessalonica was real and deep even after he was forced to leave them. ] …

Reference Passage #3: 1st Corinthians : 3: 6 … [NKJV] … [Paul’s love and concern was also in the context of how others had come to know Christ as Savior and Lord. ] …  
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

  Reference Passage #3: Matthew 16: 18 … [NKJV] … [Jesus teaching on His will for the church to reach out to/for the lost. ] …  
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

My Journal for Today: Have you ever created something significant, perhaps a work of art, the building of a home, or maybe the shaping of a business which you had to leave behind in your life because you were called or led to move on to a newer territory of living? This had to have been the feelings of the Apostle Paul who had traveled through much of the known world in his day sharing the Gospel message and leaving behind converts as well as churches like those in Thessalonica, Philippi, or Colosse, which he had had a hand in building. Moving on to other areas, Paul, as documented in several of the passages above, showed concern, yes, even love, for many of those churches he had helped establish. And it had to be uplifting and heartening to learn, as Paul did about the church in Thessalonica, that many of those who were saved under his evangelical outreach were living strongly in their faith some years after their conversion.

At one in point Jesus’ ministry travels, when He came to an area of Caesarea Philippi, he engaged His disciples about who others thought He was (see the passage linked above in Matthew 16). And I’ve been to that area; and I took the attached photo of a cave mouth there where Jesus likely pointed toward referencing the Satanic cultists who were meeting there at the time; and Jesus gave His strong rebuke of those who were lured by false-teaching, telling His disciples that His church, once established on earth, would never be consumed by cultists (see Matthew 16: 18).

And yes, that truth, is encouraging in light of all those we encounter on a daily basis who are lost and will one day be in hell if God – through His church – cannot open their eyes to the truth of His gospel and the eternal reality of a faith-based relationship with Him in this life.

So, how many people will we encounter today who will one day be in Hell because we are unwilling to share our story of redemption and regeneration with them? My friend, as Steve Green sings in the powerful song linked above, People Need the Lord.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, give me Your divine appointment today as an opportunity to share what You have done in my life with others who need You saving grace as well. … 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 [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.