Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014 … Living Waters

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 59

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Michael Mertens and Pam McHenry, singing the poignant song, Living Waters, … which is a prayer that we will pursue the living waters from God rather than the polluted waters of this world.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: John 4: 13-14 [NKJV] …  
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: John, Chapter 4, Verses 7-14 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Jeremiah 2: 13 [NKJV] …  
13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. … “

Reference Passage #2: John 7: 37-39 [NKJV] … 
 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Reference Passage #3: Revelation 22: 1 [NKJV] …  
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

My Journal for Today: This morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional presents a true-live picture in our country of the concept of living waters. Here is the story …

“In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a remarkable natural wonder—a pool about 40 feet deep and 300 feet across that Native Americans called ‘Kitch-iti-kipi,’ or ‘the big cold water.’ Today it is known as The Big Spring. It is fed by underground springs that push more than 10,000 gallons of water a minute through the rocks below and up to the surface. Additionally, the water keeps a constant temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that even in the brutally cold winters of the Upper Peninsula the pool never freezes. Tourists can enjoy viewing the waters of Big Spring during any season of the year.” 

The devotional went on to cite the story of Jesus going out of His way traveling through Samaria and making connection with the woman at the well. Jesus going through Samaria and stopping to encounter a Samaritan woman was a big cultural/religious NO-NO in those days; and besides breaking major-league conventions in doing this, we know, from the story, that Jesus offered here His living waters, which He said would never end. And the woman believed Jesus and partook of these living waters and was saved.

There are times in our lives when we’re parched spiritually, if not physically or emotionally, needing refreshment of the soul. I’d bet that you can think of such of a time in your life, … maybe even now. Please take the time to note the attached photo and hear the poignant song to which I link any reader above. Then ponder and meditate on God’s word from the John 4, woman-at-the-well, story, as well as words from the Old Testament in Jeremiah 2, which promise God’s living waters when we avoid creating our own spoiled cisterns when we try to drink of the waters of the world.

Only Jesus can offer His living waters to one like the Samaritan woman. Only Jesus’ waters satisfy our eternal thirst (as referenced in Rev. 22 above). So, let’s all avoid trying to drink from the wells of this world; and seek out and drink from Christ’s living waters.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, lead me to drink from Your waters. … 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, February 27, 2014

February 27, 2014 … Creation Calls

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 58

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Brian Doerksen, singing the poignant song, Creation Calls, … proclaiming the truth and reality of how much God loved us in and through His creation which declares His glory in all see all around us.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalm 19: 1 [NKJV] …  
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms, Chapter 19, Verses 1-6 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 6: 28-34 [NKJV] … … [Jesus uses His own creation to declare His glory] … Go to this link

Reference Passage #2: Psalms 50: 6 [NKJV] …  
6 Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge.

Reference Passage #3: Romans 1: 18-23 [NKJV] … [All creation speaks to the reality of God – especially not verse 20] … GO TO THIS LINK

My Journal for Today: When you look into the vast expanse of the heavens on a clear night, what does that visage say to you? … Do you see the face of God on display? … Are you occasionally overwhelmed, as I am, by what God has created out there … and then here all around us? Because I was just as overwhelmed when I observed the birth of our first child, … also His creation. And when, on a warm spring morning – at sunrise – I’ve almost been brought to tears by a glorious sunrise or the birds singing, almost as if they’re praising the God Who gave them their being.

And when Jesus was trying to tell of our dependence on God in His wondrous Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 6, linked above), He used the word picture of His creation to make His point. And Paul declared that we have no excuse or reason to doubt the existence of God when we but look around us and take in the wonders of Creation [see Romans, Chapter 1 linked above].

And I REALLY BEG YOU to use the link above to see the glorious video of Brian Doerksen’s wonderful song, Creation Calls, which lifts me up every time I hear it in the context of the wonderful images in the video. As the Psalmists declared in Psalms 19 and 50 [see links above], God almost screams His existence, and certainly declares His glory, all around us through His creation. And so, the next time you look up into the heavens or take in a beautiful sunrise or sunset or feel the summer breezes brushing your face, … realize that God Himself is speaking to you of His glory.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, even as the sun rises this morning, I know You are hugging me from the promises of Your creation. … 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, February 26, 2014

February 26, 2014 … Testify to Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 57

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear the group, Avalon, singing their poignant song, Testify To Love, … proclaiming the truth and reality of how much God loved us and that our lives are witness and testimony to that love (or not!).
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st John 4: 9-11 [NKJV] …  
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: 1st John, Chapter 4, Verses 7-10 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: John 3: 16 [NKJV] … … Once again I’ll not insult any Christian reading here by copying the text here; because I assume you know it.

Reference Passage #2: John 13: 34-35 [NKJV] …  
34 “ … A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Reference Passage #3: 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13 [NKJV] … It’s the “love chapter” … GO TO THIS LINK …

My Journal for Today: All too often I must admit that I need a mind-jog, like the blog from my Our Daily Bread today, reminding me of just how much God loved us first so that we can be a testimony to that love by loving others. I admit that my life gets engulfed in the “tyranny of the urgent” and influenced by all the unloving things that go on in our world; and I tend to forget that I’m out here in the world, with the love of God in my heart, so that, as the group Avalon sings in the song to which I link you above, I will “testify to love.”

So, I ask myself here, and perhaps you are too, “Is my life a testimony to God’s love for me?” Am I a witness to the truth of John 3: 16 and all of 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13 in the way I reach out to others? All too often, I think not. So, I’ll not dwell in the obvious here.

A pop-quiz on life is good for me – and perhaps you – to stop and take inventory of our how our lives shine the light and love of God. I’m going to pray that - today - I’ll do something which will show or perhaps even shout out God’s love to at least one other today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, give me a chance TODAY to show someone just how much you love that person … through 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.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25, 2014 … Resting in His arms !!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 56

 Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Sara Groves singing her poignant song, It’s Going To Be Alright, … reminding us, as Christians, that we need rest and meditate on the truth of God’s love – always there for those who believe in Christ as Lord - that He will always be there for us when we are in pain or in need of His rest and care.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 23: 1-3 [NKJV] …  
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Exodus, Chpt 20, Vrs 8-11 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Mark 6: 30-31 [NKJV] …  
30 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done [in going out to do Jesus’ charged work] and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

Reference Passage #2: Matthew 11: 28-30 [NKJV] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #3: 1st Peter 5: 7 [NKJV] …  
7 … casting all your care on Him for He cares for you.

Reference Passage #4: Romans, Chapters 7&8 [NKJV] … Go to this link … 

My Journal for Today: What generally happens to our attitude when things go wrong or when we get blind-sided by overwhelming circumstances? We get frustrated and began to wallow in self pity, don’t we? And often we even get mad at God, too, … maybe thinking, “Why would You allow all this to happen to me, God?!!”

Been there? … Well, I certainly have?

And it’s like looking at the Paul’s attitude in Romans 7 as opposed to His attitude in Romans 8 (check it out by using the link above). In Romans 7, especially verses 14-24, Paul was identifying with those who have a “Woe is me!” attitude; but in Romans 8, we see him reveling in and reporting the truth of the victory that we have when we rest our lives in the One Who saved us (see the photo attached).

 It’s the attitude of those who, like Peter learned, … to cast all our cares on the One Who cares for us (see 1st Peter 5: 7). Or it’s like taking Jesus up on His promise to take our cares on His yoke, and give us the strength we need to handle the rough times in life (see Matthew 11: 28-30 above or go to 1st Cor. 10: 13). But oh how difficult it can be to REST in God’s arms of care at times when we’re anguished over the challenges of life.

But hopefully, dear ones, we can all approach the day - today - resting in His loving care rather than fretting or worrying needlessly about life’s circumstances. I know … easier said than done, isn’t it? But truth is truth; and we need to let the Truth (Who is Jesus) set us free from our own fears and anguish. And so, please – PLEASE - meditate on today’s photo and song, taking in His word; and rest in the Lord’s watch care.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, today – this moment – I rest in Your loving arms and it’s ALL going to be alright! … 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, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014 … Way Too Big For Me!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 55

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to Steven Curtis Chapman singing, His Strength Is Perfect, … reminding Christians just how limitless and extensive is God’s power and strength when things are just too big for us and our strength is gone.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Jeremiah 32: 27 [NKJV] …  
27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Judges, Chapter 6 [NKJV] ... Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Isaiah 41: 10 [NKJV] … See attached photo …

Reference Passage #2: Matthew 19: 26 [NKJV] …  
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 

Reference Passage #3: Mark 14: 36 [NKJV] … And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” 

Reference Passage #4: Romans 8: 31 [NKJV] …  
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Reference Passage #5: 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] …  
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.?

My Journal for Today: Have you ever been up against it; and in the moment where you realize that the task at hand or the circumstances are WAY BIGGER than you can handle, you are wanting to cry out, Help me, Lord!!! … We’ve all been there haven’t we; and today’s Our Daily Bread took me back to the story of the frightened Gideon when God gave him the strength of a warrior and delivered the Israelites from the hands of much stronger Midianites.

And when I was reminded of that true story, a flood of the scriptures which a mentor years ago had me memorize and internalize because he told me (and it was true!) that one day I would face situations or circumstances WAY TOO BIG for me; and I would need the strength of God’s promises and truth to lift me up (see the attached photo for one of these passages).

The “Battle Plan” which my mentor taught me was to stop and meditate when I felt overwhelmed by life, having 2-3 strength scriptures memorized. And the plan, which I’ve now been using for years, went like this. First recite the scriptures aloud (for me usually Isaiah 41: 10, Romans 8: 31, and 2nd Cor. 12: 9 – you pick your own verses) and pray to God, The Father, thanking Him for sending His Son to save me. … Secondly, I recite the scriptures again and then pray to God, The Son, thanking Him for being there for me ALWAYS. And finally I recite the verses one last time, finally praying to God, The Holy Spirit, thanking Him for the providing the grace to handle the situation.

And you may say, “That takes a lot of work and time to do all of that!” And you’re right; but the question is, just much do you desire to have God’s power when you feel powerless? My friend, use the link above and go back and hear Steven Curtis Chapman singing the powerful song, His Strength Is Perfect; and then maybe you’ll be motivated enough to try my strength building battle plan.

My friend, I’ve been using that plan for years when I felt inadequate; and it’s never failed to lift me up when I felt down. Perhaps it might work for you too. If you do it and use it, write me and let me know about it. I’d be encouraged by your story (my email address is billb13@bellsouth.net ).

My Prayer for Today … Lord, Your strength is perfect when my strength is gone. … 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, February 23, 2014

February 23, 2014 … God’s Endless Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 54

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to an anonymous tenor singing the 1st and 3rd verses and the chorus of the uplifting old hymn, The Love of God, … reminding Christians just how limitless and extensive is the love of our Savior.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 36: 5, … 10 [NKJV] …  
5 Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; … Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. … 
10 Oh, continue Your loving kindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms, Chapter 36 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Lamentations 3: 22-23 [NKJV] …   
22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Reference Passage #2: John 3: 16 [NKJV] … Go to this link … I’ll not insult you by copying the verse here because I’m sure you know what Jesus said.

Reference Passage #3: Romans 8: 37-39 [NKJV] … Go to this link …  
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My Journal for Today: I hope you’ll pause to take in and meditate on the link to Frederick Lehman’s hymn, written in the early 20th century, deeply proclaiming the extent of God’s love. Because, this morning in studying and pausing to take in the Our Daily Bread devotional for today, I was stricken by just how much I take the extent of God’s love for granted.  

OH, … HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE OF GOD !!!

And all I have to do to more appreciate God’s love is to dwell on is the reality that He died for a wretch like me; and maybe you can, or will, think the same thing when you take in David’s psalm (see Ps. 36, linked above) as well as the other passages from Scripture which came to my consciousness today.

And then, just maybe, taking in the attached graphic, we all might just go out today to share a small bit of God’s love with someone else. Because just a tiny bit of God’s love is WAY MORE love than we could ever share from our own hearts.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to pour out a bit of Your loving grace to someone else 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.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 22, 2014 … No Lone Rangers

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 53

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to the group 4Him singing the convicting song, Back To The Basics, … reminding Christians to unify and stand for the basic values of Christian living, the values taught and espoused in the Bible
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Hebrews 10: 24 [NKJV] …  
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Hebrews 10: 19-25 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Ecclesiastes 4: 12 [NKJV] … Go to this link …   
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Reference Passage #1: Proverbs 27: 17 [NKJV] … Go to this link …  
17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Reference Passage #3: Philippians 2: 3-4 [NKJV] … Go to this link …  
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Reference Passage #4: Galatians 6: 2 [NKJV] … Go to this link …  
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

My Journal for Today: The author of today’s Our Daily Bread uses a story of two prominent track & field stars to illustrate the point of today’s highlight passage from Hebrews, Chapter 10. Here is the story …  

"Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake of Jamaica made history when they finished first and second respectively in both the men’s 100-meter and 200-meter race in the 2012 London Olympics. Despite their rivalry on the track, Bolt paid tribute to Blake as a training partner: “Over the years, Yohan has made me a better athlete. He really pushed me and kept me on my toes.” It’s clear that the two spurred each other on to greatness on the track."

The Point – It takes the unity of at least two in this life to exhort one another onward to do what the group 4Him sings about in the song to which I link any readers above. Because we do need to Get Back to the Basics of the Christian life; as the attached photo declares, Lone Ranger Christianity is just not going to cut it.

That’s what the Author of Hebrews was trying to get across to a group of Jewish Christians, likely in Rome, who were being pressured to set aside their newly acquired Christian beliefs and adopt the old Jewish patterns of worship. But the author of Hebrews encouraged them to stay together and work TOGETHER to hold on to their faith, exhorting one another toward love and good works … TOGETHER.

That’s why leaving the Body of Christ with a claim that one doesn’t need “The Church” anymore is a dangerous strategy, which Satan loves to use to separate Christians and make them more vulnerable to his ploys out on the world, … the world which he leads.

Alone, my fellow Christian, as Lone Ranger believers, we’re “easy-pickins” for our spiritual enemies, none the least of whom is our own (Jer. 17: 9) hearts – so easily deceived. But when we stick TOGETHER in the Body of Christ, as the passages above exhort from the Old and New Testaments, we can do battle TOGETHER, encouraging one another, and standing for the basics of the faith … TOGETHER.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I stand with my fellow church men and women, TOGETHER getting back to Your will by exhorting one another to abide in Your word. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread [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, February 21, 2014

February 21, 2014 … Go Tell It On the Mountain

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 52

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this video link to hear Steve Green singing the song, Find Us Faithful, … reminding us how we must faithfully be witnesses for Christ in our calling as His disciples … And then to this link to hear a group of children singing the old Negro Spiritual, Go Tell It On the Mountain,  the wonderful charge of shouting God’s gospel truth from the highest peak we can find in this life.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Mark 3: 13 [NKJV] …  

13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. 

Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Mark 3: 7-19 [NKJV] Go to this link
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Luke 6: 12-16 [NKJV] Go to this link
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Matthew, Chapter 10 [NKJV] Go to this link  ============

Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] … Go to this link …  
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,[a] and follow Me. …”

Reference Passage #1: Acts 1: 8 [NKJV] … Go to this link …  
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 #3: Matthew 28: 18-20 [NKJV] … Go to this link …  
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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

My Journal for Today: It seems that so many of my devotionals – or my quiet times with God – end up ringing the bell of faithfulness in discipleship. Perhaps God is trying to tell me something about my own followership with my Savior. How many times do I gravitate back to Jesus telling His followers what He preached in Luke 9: 23; or how often do I find my self being sent back to hear that wonderful – CONVICTING – song, sung by Steve Green … Find Us Faithful.

OFTEN – perhaps too often!! … And here again today, I’m reminded, rather forcefully, by my Our Daily Bread devotional guide, that I’m one of those disciples who’s been called out by my faith in Christ to be His witness in the world [see Acts 1: 8 and Matthew 28: 19-20 above], … just like He called the original 12 to be in Jesus’ time on earth [in the highlight passages]. Yes, it’s 2000+ years later; but Jesus still calls out His disciples, charging us to follow Him, and to be His witnesses and ambassadors in this world and this life we’ve been given on this earth.

So, perhaps when you take in all that I’ve posted today, you will join me, in conviction and direction, to do as the old spiritual sings, i.e., … to … Go Tell It On the Mountain. And so, today I’ll pray for all of us that we go out and look for ways to witness to His glory in our lives.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to go tell others about you today or to shine Your light through my 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. ind a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 20, 2014 … Covering the Sinkholes

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 51

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this video link to the group Third Day singing the old hymn, Blessed Assurance, … reminding us confidently that our submission to Christ will cover all of the potholes of life.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 32: 1 [NKJV] …  
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 32: 1-5 [NKJV] Go to this link 

Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 51: 1-4 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: 2nd Samuel, Chapters 11-12 … [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passage #2: Jeremiah 17: 9 [NKJV] …  
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; … Who can know it? ..."

Reference Passage #3: 1st John 1: 9 [NKJV] …  
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Reference Passage #4: Romans 4: 6-8 … [NKJV] … Go to this link

My Journal for Today: An enormous sinkhole, as depicted in the attached photo, is an apt word picture to describe the human heart (or our fleshly nature – see also Jer. 17: 9 above). And King David’s scenario, involving his affair with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah [see 2nd Samuel, Chapters 11-12 linked above], is a very clear example of the sinkhole which is our vulnerable human nature.

David seemed to be a pretty good place in life, the King in his palace, home from the wars, taking some retirement time at home when he walked to edge of his balcony one night and the sinkhole, which was David’s base nature, fell inward into his soul; and as we’d say, “all hell broke loose” in his life.  But then, when David, thought he had his sinkhole covered up, about a year after the incident, the Prophet Nathan came into David’s life and uncovered the sinkhole of sin in David’s life all over again.

And finally this time, David took the steps necessary – confessing before God and His people the sinkhole which was his sin (see passages from Psalms 51 and 32 linked above) – to have this sinkhole of sinfulness properly cleansed (see 1st John 1: 9) and repaired, thereby experiencing God’s loving forgiveness and restoration. The Apostle Paul even uses David’s sinkhole repair as an example of God’s restoration when Paul wrote to the Romans (see Rom. 4: 6-8 - linked above) about God’s loving grace and justification when any sinner is willing to confess, repent, and come to a saving relationship with God, through belief in Christ’s atoning blood on the cross.

So, today’s meditation on the Our Daily Bread has brought me to ask myself (and any reading here), if I (we) have any sinkholes of sinfulness which need repair work today. If so, … we need to uncover them, as David did, and have them repaired by the loving mercy and grace of God’s power to repair any sinkhole in our lives.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, if there be any potential sinkholes of sinfulness in my life, uncover them in my consciousness, so that I can confess, repent, and allow Your mercy and grace to completely repair any sinkhole in my soul. … 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, February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014 … Peace – Really!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 50

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this video link to an unknown praise chorus singing the poignant and powerful traditional old hymn, Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace, … reminding us that we stay in the surrender and faith to the grace of God, He can – and will – cover us with His peace
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 Highlight Passage – NKJV: Isaiah 2: 4 [NKJV] …  
4 Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Matthew 24: 3-14, Chapter 5, Verses 1-7 [NKJV] Go to this link  Note Verse … 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
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Reference Passage #1: Psalms 23: 1-4 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passage #2: Isaiah 26: 3 … [NKJV] …  
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 

Reference Passage #3: Romans 5: 1-2 … [NKJV] …  
1 You Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

Reference Passage #3: Philippians 4: 6-7 … [NKJV] …  
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: In today’s Our Daily Bread devotional, the historical facts of the end of the first World War were related: … that on 11/11 in 1918, @ 11:00am, the treaty of peace was signed by all warring nations, ending that world conflict; and it was supposed to the be “war that ended all wars.” Well, we know, from subsequent history, how much of a pipe dream that was; … because we still have wars and unrest going on all over the world. including the other world war in the 20th century.

But a time has been prophesied [see today’s highlight verse] when nations rising against other nations will end, … when the lion will lay down with the lamb, … when there will be peace … when REAL PEACE will be realized forever. But that will only come when Jesus comes back for His Bride, as he predicted in the Matthew, Chapter 24 passage, linked above.

So, until then how do we find “PEACE” in our lives? Well, the first type of peace can only come from a faith relationship with Christ, which is peace WITH God. That’s the peace of God’s salvation (see Romans 5: 1-2 above), which is imparted when one – anyone – comes in repentance for their sin and receives God’s free-gift of saving grace, mparted for eternity by Christ’s atoning blood on the cross. Then, once a Christian has their peace WITH God, he/she is entitled to claim and receive the peace OF God, when one humbly surrenders everyday in faith to receive that enabling/empowering grace [see Philippians 4: 6-7].

Do we have God’s peace – the real deal peace – sung about in the beautiful old hymn (see link above), Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace? I pray we do as we begin this day.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I humbly come in faith, with a thankful heart, to receive your peace today. If there be anything in me which I need to receive that grace, show it to me so that I can have Your peace which cannot be understood by man, this day. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread [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, February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014 - Our Helper

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 49

Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take a few minutes to see a video of the group, 4Him, singing the song … Be Thou My Vision, which reminds us that we always have a "Helper" to guide our vision in all things.
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Highlight Passage #1 – NKJV: John 14:26 [NKJV] …
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 
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Contextual Passage: Romans 16: 1-16 [NKJV] … Go to this link ...
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Reference Passage #1: 1st Corinthians: 12: 28 ... [NKJV] …
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, HELPS, administrations, varieties of tongues.

My Journal for Today: The concept of "helping" has unfortunately been minimized in our culture, which is unfortunate, because the Bible certainly doesn't do that. We've become a culture where "helpers" take a back seat to "leaders."  And we desire to be in control rather than submitting to help others.

However, as today's Our Daily Bread highlights, Jesus sent His "Helper," The Holy Spirit, to reside in the hearts of Christians, and in Romans, Chapter 12, linked above, God shows that there are those with a special gift of "helps" (or service), ... those who are specially gifted and empowered to be able to reach out and help others when they need help.

Perhaps you're one with that gift and you really are juiced when you have the opportunity to help someone; and when you do, at night, you sleep with great peace because you know God has used your gift of "helps;" and you used it for God's glory.

Actually, any time we use our Spirit imparted gift(s), as God's Spirit leads us by opportunity, we are being God's "helper;" and I don't know about you, but I certainly think it's a big PLUS anytime I can be a helper for my Lord. In fact, that's' exactly what I'm going to pray I can be today as I try to be a "helper" in God's kingdom.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, give me an opportunity to use the gifts You've given me to serve You  today.

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, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014 … What am I saying?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 48

  Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing the poignant and powerful song, Let My Words Be Few, … reminding us that what we say in our witness to God should be pertinent and reflect Godly intent.
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 Highlight Passage – NKJV: Ecclesiastes 5: 2 [NKJV] …  
2 Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Ecclesiastes, Chapter 5, Verses 1-7 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: James 3: 1-12 [NKJV] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #2: Psalms 116: 1-2 … [NKJV] …  
1 I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

Reference Passage #2: Ephesians 4: 29 … [NKJV] …  
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 

My Journal for Today: This morning my Our Daily Bread reminded me of the old adage, which I’m sure you’ve heard, … “We have two ears and one mouth for a very good reason.” So often we can so easily let our emotions get ahead of our reason; and we let our tongue get the best of us … as Jesus’ brother, James, wrote about in James, Chapter 3, linked above.

Today I was drawn to the quote by the famous 20th Century German theologian, Paul Tillich, which I’ve depicted in the attached photo: “The first duty of love is to listen.” … OUCH! … Conviction hurts; doesn’t it?!

How many times have I gotten myself into trouble in my marriage or in life by opening my mouth and inserting my foot when emotions got the better of me? Why is it so difficult to listen first and then speak – if and when it’s necessary? And I love the imagery of Psalm 116 [copied above] where God is always willing to bend His ear down to hear what we have to say; but how willing are we to hear what other have to say before we spout out our two-cents worth (and many times that’s about how much what we have to say is worth!).

Today’s song link says a lot, with my favorite Christian groups singing, Let My Words Be Few, which is great advice unless those words are going to express selfishness or unGodly desires. So, the best advice I’ve remembered here in today’s time with God is to listen to my heart first before I say anything; and then let the Apostle Paul’s advice in Ephesians 4: 29 guide my tongue, where he said to fellow Christian … [paraphrased] … “If our words don’t either edify or give grace to the hearer, … DON”T SAY THEM!!!"

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to temper my terrible tongue to express what You desire I say to others.… 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, February 16, 2014

February 16, 2014 … No grief, please!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 47

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to Steve Green singing the poignant and powerful song, Find Us Faithful, … reminding us that we are to be faithful in following Christ first, but also submitting our lives, faithfully, to those whom God has led to shepherd our way.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Hebrews 13: 17 [NKJV] …  
17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Hebrews, Chapter 13, Verses 7-17 [NKJV]  - Go to this link
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Reference Passage #1: 1st Peter 5: 1-7 [NKJV] … Go to this link  

Reference Passage #2: Philippians 2: 3-4 … [NKJV] …  
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Reference Passage #3: John 13: 15-17 … [NKJV] …  
15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

My Journal for Today: In today’s Church, I’m afraid the attached photo displays an all too prevalent attitude in this age of ENTITLEMENT. We sit on Sunday mornings in the pews of our churches; and I’m afraid all too many of us, who call ourselves “Christian” merely feel entitled to be entertained or tickled or comforted in some way. And all too few of us are willing to surrender ourselves to the leadership of our Pastors, Elders, or Church leaders the way many authors in the New Testament challenged the early church.

If we are truly big-C “Christians,” dedicated to the big-C “Church,” where we hopefully committed ourselves, we should adhere to the directions of the Author of Hebrews, the Apostles Peter and Paul, and to Jesus, Himself, all of whom charged the faithful followers of Christ, i.e., His disciples, to surrender and submit to the Priests, Pastors, and Church leaders who have been called or lto shepherd the congregations of today’s world.

But I’m afraid all too many in those congregations feel a sense of entitlement and would rather try to control their own “church,” rather than to submit gratefully and faithfully to their church leaders. So, my dwelling in today’s Our Daily Bread has me asking myself, as I would hope you would ask yourself, … “Am I doing enough to follow my Pastor?” … And have I expressed my encouragement to my Church leaders rather than expecting them to serve my desires? I’ll leave it to you to ask those same questions; and then do something to thank your Pastor today – especially since it’s Sunday.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I thank you for my Pastor, who so desires to follow You and to shepherd his flock into a closer relationship with 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, February 15, 2014

February 15, 2014 … God – Our Creator … Healer

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 46 

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this video link to hear Brian Doerksen singing the poignant song, Creation Calls, … reminding us that Christ spoke the entire creation into existence with a word; and all things were and are created in, by, and for Him.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 139: 13-14 [NKJV] …  
13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
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 Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms, Chapter 139 [NKJV] Go to this link  
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Reference Passage #1: Genesis 1: 1-5 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passage #2: Psalms 19: 1… [NKJV] …  
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Reference Passage #3: Colossians 1: 16… [NKJV] …  
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

My Journal for Today: Today the Our Daily Bread devotional and some recent life circumstances reminded me of the reality that everything in my life is NOT about ME.

 It’s all about God.

He created me; and I’m held together and in the process of completion FOR HIM. My God is my Creator. He’s my Sustainer, my Provider, and my Redeemer; and He has done all that for HIS GLORY. And you may be asking, what does a picture of a surgically replaced hip have to do with all of that? Well, a few months ago acute hip pain fell upon me, causing me to lose sleep and forcing me to make decisions based on my pain. Well, I recognized this scenario; because almost 3 years ago I went through this with my other hip; and I was led to have a surgical replacement of that hip, which looks – on Xray – like the photo you see attached. And here I was again, going through the same deal with my other hip. Well, I had the hip replace by the same surgeon a couple of months ago; and when it was done, I was walking on a cane and in a lot of pain; but I knew that the pain then was for the purpose of recovery. Most certainly, … right after the surgery there was a lot of pain; but I knew things would get better; and they did. Two weeks after the surgery, I was walking without a cane and only with marginal, tolerated pain. And here I am, a month after the surgery, walking with minimal pain and even driving again.

Now, again you may ask what does that testimony have to do with a song like Creation Calls, linked above and sung beautifully by Brian Doerksen? What does my hip replacement have to do with the highlight verse, penned by a Psalmist in Psalms 139: 13-14? On the other hand, maybe you’re beginning to identify with the fact that God allows many things, including the painful ones, into our lives; but they’re all for His glory … not for our pain.

Isn’t it wonderful that FOR HIM I was created; … FOR HIM I’ve gone through 70 years of refinement; … and for HIM a skilled surgeon was able to replace both of my hips so that I could continue to serve HIM for HIS glory? Truly I stand in awe and in gratitude today for those hip replacements, … for my life, … for all of His creation; … and that I can serve with all of that FOR HIM. He is my God, … my Creator, … my Sustainer, … my Provider, … my Redeemer! He is everything to me.

And do I sense anyone out there, joining me here, proclaiming a loud … HALLELUJAH!!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, Creator, I praise Your Holy Name for creating me and sustaining me 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 [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, February 14, 2014

February 14, 2014 … Love – The Read Deal!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 45

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this video link to hear an anonymous praise group singing the poignant and powerful song, No Greater Love, … reminding us that Christ showed the ultimate in sacrificial love when he shed His blood on the cross for the remission of my [your] sins.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: John 15: 13 [NKJV] …  
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: John 15: 9-17 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passage #1: John 3: 16 [NKJV] … I’d likely insult you to copy the verse here; because I’m sure you already know it.

Reference Passage #2: Philippians 2: 5-11 [NKJV] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #3: 1st John 4: 10-11… [NKJV] …  
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

My Journal for Today: Today is VALENTINE’S DAY; so it’s not surprising that the subject matter in today’s Our Daily Bread devotional segment is love, sweet love. … And being a child of the 60s, I remember that great song (which you can hear by using this link) with Dionne Warwick singing the Burt Bacharach classic, Love Sweet Love; and the message of that song – “What the world needs now is love sweet love” – is always all too true, isn’t it?

And as we contemplate the kind of love the world ALWAYS needs, we recognize that it’s found modeled in the sacrificial love our Lord exemplified on the cross [see the attached photo]; and if one reads and mediates on all of the Scriptural passages above, we hopefully will stop for a moment on this “Hallmark Card” created holiday and reflect – with sincere gratitude – the ultimate in “love sweet love,” … stopping to pray our thanks to our Lord for loving us from the cross. And then I pray that we’ll all commit ourselves to loving others the way Christ loved us (see especially 1st John 4: 11).

My Prayer for Today … Lord, O dear Lord, I’m broken with gratitude this morning that You would be willing to take my sins to the cross and shed Your blood in love for me. Help me, Lord, to love others the way You love 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, February 13, 2014

February 13, 2014 … Our “Rep” in Christ

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 44

Devotional SongGo to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear the group 4Him singing the poignant, pertinent, and powerful song, The Basics of Life, … reminding us that our life IS Christ, … nothing more, nothing less, ,,, and living in and for Him are the basics of life.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Revelation 3: 3 [NKJV] …  
Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Revelation 3: 1-6 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 12: 33 … [NKJV] …
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

 Reference Passage #2: Galatians 2: 20 … [NKJV] …  
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Reference Passage #3: Colossians 3: 1-2,…16-17… [NKJV] …  
3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. … 
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.’ 

Reference Passage #4: 1st John 2: 15-16 … [NKJV] …  
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

My Journal for Today: Jesus said it, didn’t He [?]; … “a tree is known by its fruit.” In other words, our reputation, … or our “REP,” as its called on the streets, … is built on whom we are perceived to be by others who’ve known us or observed us in life. And sometimes when we meet someone for the first time, our reputation might simply be a first impression. So, it’s important for our “REP” as Christians to be based on others seeing or perceiving Christ living or rather, being, in us.

And how does that happen? Well, if we, as Christians, are to live up to the reputation and the reality of Christ’s Spirit living in us, we must die to our self and live in Christlikeness. How will one see Christ in us if we choose to live as the world lives? If the world doesn’t see us as being different than the ways the world, we’re not building a reputation as child of God or a witness for Christ.

That’s what Jesus was addressing when He wrote His words to the Church in Sardis [see Rev. 3: 1-6 linked above]. Jesus, through the revelation to John and His letter to that Sardinian church, flatly called these so-called “Christians” out on their “REP.” They were know as being “alive;” but Christ said they were dead in their sinfulness; and He so wanted them to live in and with Him. And that’s what our Lord wants for every one of His children, … to die to self and live in Christ. And if someone perceives us to be like the world, we may seem to be alive to them, but we know, in truth, that we are not doing what Paul wrote about to the church in the Pauline scriptures which bubbled to my consciousness and are quoted above.

Read and meditate on Galatians 2: 20 above; and ask yourself, … “Has my character really been crucified in Christ; and do I live in/for Him rather than for myself or the world?”

Ouch! … Reciting and meditating on that one from memory stings a little bit with conviction; and I know that my character, if not my “REP,” can still use some recalibrating unto Christlikeness.

So, it behooves us all, knowing the reality of who we REALLY are, to ask ourselves if our “REP” in the world is that which aligns itself with God’s word and His truth. Are we living so that others can see “the fruit on the tree,” being the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5: 22, 23 - linked), rather than the fruit of the flesh (see Galatians 5: 19-21 - linked)? And I, for my Lord, so desire that my “REP” shines the light of Christ into an ever darkening world (see Matt. 5: 16 - linked). 

My Prayer for Today … Lord,  may my character in You be my reputation in the world. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread [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, February 12, 2014

February 12, 2014 … Our Hyperseeing God

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 43

Devotional Song: Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear my favorite Christians group, Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing the poignant song, He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, … reminding us that our God is a “hyperseeing God,” and He sees us in the image we will become when His Spirit has does His work in transforming us into the image of our Lord.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st John 3: 3 [NKJV] …
When He is revealed, we shall be like Him
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Romans 8: 28-30 [NKJV] … Go to this link  ============

Reference Passage #1: Philippians 1: 6 … [NKJV] …  
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 #2: Romans 8: 28… [NKJV] …  
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, … to those who are the called according to His purpose.’

Reference Passage #3: Romans 9: 21… [NKJV] …  
21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? ’

My Journal for Today: I thought I had a pretty good vocabulary; but my Our Daily Bread devotional today helped me to learn a new word; and it is “hyperseeing,” which apparently is defined as the ability of someone to see beyond what others without this talent can see. And probably the best human illustration is that quality of a sculpture to look a block of stone and see, as Michelangelo did in createing a Pieta out of a hunk of marble; or when the mega-sculpture, Gutzon Borglum, looked up at the side of a mountain at Mount Rushmore and saw the faces of four presidents. And when they were done with their work we were able to see the beauty they envisioned in those massive pieces of stone. [See the attached photos of these great works]

And our God is the ultimate in “hyperseeing,” because with His all knowing, all seeing character He can look into someone like yours truly; and a little over 30 years ago recast that block of stone, who was a hardened, angry atheist and reform me into the man I am today, … a man who is obsessed with God’s word and has been called and reformed into an Elder in my church and an ordained minister of the Gospel. Sometimes I look back and marvel at how God was able to see in me what I’ve become. And to think He’s not done! All I can say in this moment for my Lord’s hyperseeing exercise of grace is ”HALLELUJAH” and ”PRAISE THE LORD!!!”

Today, if you’ve used the link to the song which I went back to hear this morning, it will remind you , as it did me, to see this quality of “hyperseeing” which our Lord has used and will use to remake us into His image. That’s to what the Apostle Paul was referring when he wrote to the Church at Philippi about how God will “do what it takes,” as the song sings, to complete a born-again believer into the image of Christlikeness of our Savior. [Also see Philippians 1: 6]

I’m not bragging (except on God’s Spirit) when I say that God saw so much more in me 30+ years ago; and he went to work to recast me, like a potter does with His clay, [see Romans 9: 21 into the man I’ve become. But as I said earlier, PTL He’s not done; and the man I’ll be in glory will be much like one sees in the two images I’ve attached to this devotional. In a fallible, sometimes failing, hunk of stone, like me, my God sees a thing of beauty; and He’s reshaping me into that image.

And He will do that for you, as well, if you just be the rock submitting yourself to His hyperseeing ability to recast you into His own image. And all we have to do is surrender to the Master sculpture or the Master potter; and let Him do His work in us.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, You are the potter; and I am Your clay. Oh, please remake me into Your image. … 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, February 11, 2014

February 11, 2014 … Fear not! He’s the friend of a wounded heart.

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 42

  Devotional Song: Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please go to this video link to hear The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing the poignant song, Friend of a Wounded Heart, … reminding us that when we’re fearful or heart-broken, we have the Friend of friends in our relationship with Jesus.
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 Highlight Verse – NKJV: Psalms 56: 3-4 [NKJV] …  
3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what can flesh do to me?
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st Kings 17: 17-24 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Isaiah 26: 3-4 … [NKJV] …  
3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. 4 Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAHWEH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.

Reference Passage #2: Isaiah 41: 10… [NKJV] …  
10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. 

Reference Passage #2: James 5: 13-16 [NKJV] … Go to this link

My Journal for Today: Ever been way down, … with a wounded heart, … fearful and having trouble trusting others, let alone God? We all probably have one of those T-shirts, having been there. So, in moments like that where can we, … where do we, … turn? Well, that’s what today’s Our Daily Bread was being addressed.

 Please take the time to use my song link today to hear the powerful rendition of Wayne Watson’s great contemporary song, Friend of a Wounded Heart. It should help all of us realize that in moments of despair or fear, we, who are truly born-again in Christ, most certainly have a friend to lift us up as Isaiah wrote about in the two passages I’ve quoted above from the Prophet.

 And in today’s highlight passage of 1st Kings 17, linked above, Elijah, the action Prophet, showed his faith in God in one of life’s lowest moments, … the death of a child; and with him praying diligently, God showed His power over death, as He would later do with His Son, by saving the widow’s son.

Quite often, being an Elder in my local church body, congregants come forth, believing in the truth of James 5: 13-16; and they come to their Elders; and we have the privilege of praying for them, possibly for healing of some declared “terminal” malady. And can we assure these with broken hearts that they will experience complete healing in this life from whatever disease or brokenness they’re experience. No, … but we can pray, with absolute assurance and confidence, that they have a Friend in Jesus, Who does heal and tend to broken hearts, just as the Brooklyn Tab sings in today’s song. And when I pray for healing, let’s say for someone with cancer whose body is failing, I KNOW and can pray with confidence, that God WILL HEAL that one, in this life or the next. But there will be healing for the one who’s come forth in faith to have their Elders pray for them. It was a done deal, sealed on the cross for all who will come – in faith – to pray to the Friend of a wounded heart.

I will pray below that we all have the peace of knowing, as Isaiah wrote in Is. 26: 3, that we have a Savior, who is our Friend of a Wounded Heart.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I do so pray that all of us, keeping our minds, in faith, on Your wondrous grace, recognize You as our Friend, our Healer, and our Redeemer when we have wounded hearts. … 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, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014 … Music’s Power

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 41

Devotional Song:   Go to this link  – Please go to this video link to hear an anonymous praise chorus singing Fanny Crosby’s old praise hymn, Blessed Assurance, … reminding us how we can lift God up with our story in song.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 59: 16-17 [NKJV] …  
16 But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble. 17 To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 59: 6-17 [NKJV] … Go to this link  ============

Reference Passage #1: Judges 5: 3 … [NKJV] …
3 “Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.

Reference Passage #2: Luke 15: 25 … [NKJV] …  
25 “Now his [the Prodigal Father’s] older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. … “ 

My Journal for Today: If you’ve followed any of my devotional journal entries over the years, in the last year or so, I began linking any who might be reading my blogs to a song or two on You Tube, usually with lyrics included so that one can experience the power of Godly music with God-honoring lyrics to illustrate the basic points of the devotional I was journaling.

Music has great power to touch our emotions, … positively or negatively. That’s why vigilant parents need to monitor and sanction the music to which their kids listen. Music can excite the brain to action or soothe the mind in times of turmoil. That’s why you see music being included in church worship. It’s why you always find music being chosen to celebrate a loved one who’s died at a funeral or memorial service. It’s why you see music being a big part of the lives of almost all of us; and it’s why mega-billions are annually invested in the music industry.

And the power of music goes all the way back to biblical times; doesn’t it? In today’s Our Daily Bread devotional, the highlight passage is from the lyrics to a song [Psalm 59], written and sung – to music – by David as he was being pursued by King Saul. In the turmoil of his life at the time, David, … to praise His deliverance by God, wrote and sang music to soothe his emotions and to express praises to His God. And I would expect, as I do, many of you, reading here with me, use the Book of Psalms or deeply moving Christian music to bring you into a state of worship and out of some emotional state of turmoil or anguish you may be experiencing in a tough time in your life..

You may already know this, but music is so powerful, because, when a deeply powerful lyric is mixed with emotionally moving music, it activates a great deal of BOTH sides of the cortex (i.e., the brain). Lyrics only activate the left side of the brain; and melody (i.e., music) activates only the right side of the brain. But if you went to the video linked above of Fanny Crosby’s old hymn, Blessed Assurance, being sung by a praise chorus with solos, your entire brain was activated to hear the music and read the lyrics, which, of course, tell a story honoring and praising God. Weren’t you uplifted of spirit by taking in that music video?

The other Scripture references above also speak to the power of music being used in biblical times to praise God [see Judges 5: 3]; or we read of Jesus telling the story of a Prodigal Father’s celebration of the homecoming of his wayward son [see Luke 15: 25]. In both of these references, we see the power of music being used to lift up to the Lord the praises which are due Him. So, I hope that music will be a part of your day – even today - to praise our God and to let the power of great and Godly music take you to a place of healing, joy, or renewal.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, my heart sings praises as I hear the music which lakes me to Your throne of grace. … 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, February 09, 2014

February 9, 2014 … Our Eyes on the Prize

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 40

 Devotional Song: Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please go to this video link to hear Sara Groves singing her song, Eyes On The Prize, … reminding us how we Christians must keep our eyes on our unified relationship with Christ … ONE Lord leading us to ONE prize … our eternal relationship with Him.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Ephesians 4: 3 [NKJV] …  
3 … endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Ephesians 4: 1-6 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passage #1: Philippians 3: 13-14 … [NKJV] …  
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Reference Passage #2: Jeremiah 17: 9 … [NKJV] …  
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Reference Passage #3: 2nd Peter 1: 2-4 … [NKJV] …  
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.

My Journal for Today: In my Our Daily Bread devotional for today the author relates a rather quaint, but meaningful parable, to illustrate the need for God’s Church to remain unified. Here is the story –

"A man stranded by himself on an island was finally discovered. His rescuers asked him about the three huts they saw there. He pointed and said, ‘This one is my home and that one is my church.’ He then pointed to the third hut: ‘That was my former church.’ "

 Yes, it’s a silly little story; but it illustrates a profound truth. As humans we’re always vulnerable to selfish desires and our own deceitful hearts (see Jeremiah 17: 9). That’s why – all too often – we see local churches splitting and getting involved in petty squabbles, … i.e., arguments over the small stuff. Rather than, as Paul was writing about to Ephesus, a church in disarray, to keep our eyes – IN UNITY – on the prize our Lord has set before us.

And what it that prize? It is the forward calling of the LORD, the One Who has given us all we need to fulfill His Great Commission, (see Matt. 28: 19-20 and 2nd Peter 1: 2-4). But all too often we get wrapped up in petty squabbles which produce disunity, dysfunction in leadership, and even disarry in the brotherhood of believers. And it’s only through UNITY of purpose and holding to our common faith and humble drive – TOGETHER – to reach for the prize set before God’s Church that we can do what Paul called for in Ephesians 1 and Philippians 3, copied above.

Today happens to be Sunday here. So, I’m going to go off to my church, seeking after an attitude of humility and unity in every conversation I have. … What about you?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to keep my eyes continually on Your prize and to work together with my brothers/sisters in Christ toward that prize. … 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.