Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014 … The Cost of the Water

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 90

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Joseph Cheetham-Wilkinson, with a musical devotional on Fountains of Living Waters, … reminding us that Christ is the only One Who can provide the priceless gift of His living waters.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Romans 5: 18 [NKJV] …  
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.   
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Romans 5: 12-21 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 19: 21 [NKJV] …  
21 Jesus said to him [the rich, young ruler], “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Reference Passage #2: Revelation 5: 5-6 [NKJV] …  
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts….” 

My Journal for Today: Fifty years ago, when I was a young man, who would’ve thought that the Coca-Cola corporation would be making more money off of bottled water than they do off of Coke? But here we are with people willing to pay good money for water in bottles when perfectly good, clean water can be consumed by twisting the handle of a faucet; and there are more regulations on the cleanliness of tap water than there are on water consumed in bottles. …

GO FIGURE!!! 

It’s an interesting illustration of the fountains of living waters which can be freely consumed by anyone who is spiritually thirsty; and the price of those waters has been completely paid for by the infinitely expensive sacrifice of the Lamb of God. And Jesus, as that One Who explained to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19: 21 [above], … any of us who desire to consume God’s living waters have to be willing to give our all to receive those pre-paid, costliest of all, living waters. The question is, “Are we willing to sacrifice, in surrendered faith, our belief in Christ’s grace to partake of those waters which give eternal life, … those waters which were purified and paid for by Christ’s blood sacrifice on the cross?”

He is saying to anyone, “Come, … drink, … and live!!”   But can we partake of His free gift of the living waters with the cost of our faith? … It’s His gift, … and our choice to drink or not!

My Prayer for Today … I choose to drink from Your fountain, Lord! … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread [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, March 30, 2014

March 30, 2014 … Blessed Are The Meek

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 89

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear the group, London Fox Singers, singing the old hymn Meekness and Majesty, … reminding us that we must serve our Lord in Christlike meekness.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Matthew 5: 5 [NKJV] …  
5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Matthew 5: 1-10 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 11: 29 [NKJV] …  
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.

Reference Passage #2: Galatians 5: 22-23 [NKJV] …  
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.

Reference Passage #3: Ephesians 4: 1- 2a [NKJV] …  
22 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness,

Reference Passage #4: Colossians 3: 12-13 [NKJV] …  
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

My Journal for Today: Could I get a strong “Amen!” to the assertion that all real Christians desire to be reshaped and reformed into Christlikenss. Don’t you want to be more like Jesus today than you were yesterday; or even more tomorrow than you are today? Of course, you do!

Well, if you were going to start today to SERIOUSLY pursue CHRISTLIKENESS, where would a good place be to launch this reshaping process? Wouldn’t it be trying to see how Christ described Himself? Of course it would be.

Just look no further than in Matthew 11: 29, which is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus uses adjectives to describe Himself; and He says that His heart is MEEK (sometimes translated “gentle”) and HUMBLE (sometimes called “lowly”). And these two qualities go together like fraternal twins. But let’s just focus on the one quality of “meekness” or “gentleness” from today’s Our Daily Bread discussion.

“Meekness” is not exactly a personal characteristic which our western culture embraces very strongly. All too often it is equated with “weakness;” and we, especially us males, more often desire to become strongly independent or controlling leaders, rather than to shrink into the Western-world concept of being “MEEK.” But that’s a mischaracterization of what the Greeks meant with their concept of “praos” (i.e., meek) or “praotes” (i.e. meekness), which is how Jesus, Himself, or later, the Apostle Paul, used these descriptive terms in the passages quoted above.

Actually, in the English language, “meekness” had an older connotation of “power brought into control,” much as the old English phrase “meeking a wild beast,” which meant, as in the attached photo, bringing a strong animal, like a horse, under control. When we think of Jesus being meek, it’s not hard to see that His self description of “meekness” was totally appropriate from the Greek; because here was GOD in the flesh, able to call down legions of Angels at any time; He was being marched unjustly to the cross; but He “meekly” and “humbly” went to His death so that we all could have eternal life.

And when we’re willing to control our human desire for independence and control, and submit our will to God’s will, we are letting that fruit of the Spirit, “meekness” (see Gal. 5: 23) predominate over our human default of strongly trying to control a situation. And that is the pursuit of CHRISTLIKENESS.

So, today, let’s do all we can to be more like Jesus; and … let’s shine his light of MEEKNESS as we move through our day today, yielding our will to His.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, give me more of Your meekness as I encounter life 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, March 29, 2014

March 29, 2014 … Shining Our Light - Every Day

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 88

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear the group, Katrina and the Wave, singing the encouraging song, Let Your Love Shine A Light, … reminding us that we, as Christians, are to shine the light of Christ into a darkened world so that others can see that light and flock to it as do moths to a night light.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st Peter 2: 11-12 [NKJV] …  
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: 1st Peter 2: 4-12 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 5: 14-16 [NKJV] …  
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. …” 

Reference Passage #2: Philippians 2: 14-16 [NKJV] …  
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

My Journal for Today: Today my Our Daily Bread devotional reminded me of a bright light which used to shine in my life every morning as a young boy; and today’s attached photo was one segment of that light.

For many years in my youth I was a paperboy, delivering the morning paper to about a hundred customers in my Indiana home town. And EVERY MORNING, very early, when we gathered at the place to get our papers, I would open the “funnies” (i.e., the cartoon section) to read through several of the comic strips; and my favorite was always “Charlie Brown,” which, of course, was penned by Charles Schultz. And each year just before the American football season, he would have a cartoon involving Charlie Brown and little Lucy, where Lucy would hold out a football and con Charlie into running up to kick the ball; but Lucy would ALWAYS take the ball away, leaving poor, gullible, Charlie sprawled on the ground having missed the ball. And each year I would wonder why would Charlie always fall for Lucy’s sweet talk? But Charlie Brown’s innocent forgiveness and desire to see the best in Lucy really was a light shining in the darkness of my human cynicism.

I really think Charles Schultz had an impact on my character with that little light of a cartoon strip; because I became a Charlie Brown, … gullible to a fault, … willing to try to find the best in people, … and always willing to forgive the faults in others, … maybe even going overboard in the latter. And that’s why you find me here EVERY MORNING now, digging in to God’s word and believing it with the naïveté of a Charlie Brown, searching for ways to become more like Christ and to follow His commands to shine His light into an every darkening world (see the Scriptural citations above and the linked song).

I’m sure others would see me as very naïve in my willingness to forgive people who’ve done me wrong over and over and over again. But since my Savior once told Peter he must be willing to forgive others “seventy-times-seven” (which meant “forever” in the colloquial Greek); and since my Savior told His disciples to shine their light of Christlikeness brightly into this world, I figure I should do all I can by blogging here every morning to do just that.

And like Lucy, you may pull the ball away from me and even disappoint me terribly again and again; but I pray that I’ll be there next fall if you want me to try to kick that ball again.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, give me the courage to forgive those who’ve wronged me and the meekness to ALWAYS try to see the best in others, shining Your light of love for all to see You in me and not me 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.

Friday, March 28, 2014

March 28, 2014 … Waiting Patiently

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 87

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear John Waller singing the poignant and powerful song, While I’m Waiting, … reminding us to patiently wait on God and to serve Him obediently while we’re waiting.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 130: 5-6 [NKJV] …  
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning — yes, more than those who watch for the morning.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 130 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passage #1: Isaiah 8: 17 [NKJV] …  
17 And I will wait on the LORD, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him.

Reference Passage #2: Isaiah 40: 31 [NKJV] …  
31 But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Reference Passage #3: 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 #3: Romans 12: 12 [NKJV] … [Paul exhorted Christians to be … ]  
12 .... rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

My Journal for Today: Fellow Christian … have you even been in a place in your life where you were praying and praying for some help from God; but your patience just didn’t seem to be rewarded with a clear, positive “YES” from God? I’d almost bet that you’ve been there, done that, and have the t-shirt on that one. I certainly have.

But as the attached photo, the linked song, and all of today’s passages from God’s word exhort, … we, who rest our hope – really our only hope – in Christ, must wait … and then wait some more.

That’s what the Psalmist did in today’s highlight passage. It’s what Isaiah did as God’s people were continually failing to wait in obedience to God. It’s what Paul exhorted the church in Rome to do in spite of all the persecution they were experiencing. And it’s what God says – rather loudly I might add – to me today as I pray once more, as I have for years, for my sister to be saved, for God to heal a friend to be delivered from his addiction to p0rn, and for … well, you fill in the blank with your long-term prayer need.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, we wait patiently on Your mercy, knowing that it’s new every morning. … 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, March 27, 2014

March 27, 2014 … Holy Spirit, Rain Down

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 86

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  If you’re reading here, I BEG YOU to go to this video link to hear Hillsong, leading in worship, and singing the poignant and powerful song, Holy Spirit, Rain Down, … pleading for God’s Spirit to pour over His worshippers with God’s love, mercy, and grace. Let this beautiful song cleanse and give you God’s love through His Spirit.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Titus 3: 5 [NKJV] …  
According to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Titus 3: 1-11 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passage #1: John 14: 15-17 [NKJV] …  
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Reference Passage #2: Ephesians 2: 8-10 [NKJV] …  
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

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.

My Journal for Today: I hope you’ve taken the time to use the song link above and hear the group Hillsong leading in worship as they sing the song Holy Spirit, Rain Down, especially as you take in the attached photo and meditate on the highlight and reference Scriptures which were brought to my consciousness this morning in my quiet time with God.

Oh how we, who are born-again in Christ, need to realize that we’ve been sealed by God’s Spirit and that He dwells in the hearts of all true believers, pouring out His cleansing grace to provide us with His enrichment, encouragement, enlightenment, enablement, and empowerment.  

Do you get all of that?

God’s Spirit is pouring out in the hearts of Christians to do all of the following reminded by Our Daily Bread today … "God’s Holy Spirit gives us access to abundant spiritual life in Christ. When we accept Christ as Lord, God washes our sins away (1st John 1:9) and renews us “by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). And once we know Christ, the Holy Spirit helps us experience God’s love (Rom. 5:5), understand God’s Word (John 14:26), pray (Rom. 8:26), and abound in hope (Rom. 15:13).” 

So, be cleansed and renewed today by God’s Holy Spirit, Who has sealed and sanctified us for what we’ll face today.

My Prayer for Today …Holy Spirit, rain down!!! … 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, March 26, 2014

March 26, 2014 … Out of Chaos

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 85

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear an anonymous praise chorus singing the traditional hymn Peace, Peace …. Wonderful Peace, … reminding us that peace in our lives can only come if granted and brought into our lives from God.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Titus 3: 1, 2 [NKJV] …  
1 Remind them … 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Exodus 8: 1-19 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passage #1: 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 #2: 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.

Reference Passage #2: Revelation 3: 20 [NKJV] …  
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: The refrain of today’s song link is from the old, traditional hymn, Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace; and the refrain goes as follows …  

Peace, peace, wonderful peace, 
Coming down from the Father above! 
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray 
In fathomless billows of love! 

The hymn reminded me that real peace in our lives can only really come from God. Oh, we may try to create peace out of the chaos and often confusion of life with analgesics, other, more potent drugs, and pleasure seeking, such as p0rnography. However, all attempts by mankind to erase or medicate the anxieties or chaos of life will come to naught without a deep and abiding relationship with Christ.

I can recall some years earlier when I was sitting on a bench on a point near Kentucky Lake watching the sun come up on a chilly November morning (see the attached photo which I took and now share from that morning); and I realized that the peacefulness of that scene could never be duplicated by any man-made substance or experience. No, … only God could produce that kind of peace; and I was able to experience it because I was responding to the truth of Isaiah 26: 3 or Philippians 4: 6-7, as well as Revelation 3: 20 [see above]. I was allowing myself to surrender all my cares to God and to let Him guard my heart/mind with His inexplicable peace.

If you’re reading along with me today, you, like me, probably are being engulfed by the tyranny of the urgent, the demands of this world, or the ploys of Satan to divert our attention away from our relationship with Christ or the disciplines of the faith. Your mind may be saying to you, “It’s okay to skip being with God in prayer or in His word today!” … But, my friend, we must know that the only way we can have a credible claim on peace in our lives is to respond to Jesus’ invitation [see Rev. 3: 20] as He knocks on the door of our consciousness, desiring to come in and fellowship with us, … giving us the only peace we’ll ever find, wrapped up in that closeness of His presence.

So, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to open the door and let Him in today. … How about you?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I hear You, knocking on the door of my heart. Come on in; and let’s dine together today. I desire a big share of the peace that only You can provide. … 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, March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014 … Christ, …The Center

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 84

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Israel Houghton and the group New Breed singing Jesus At The Center, … reminding us that we’re not the center of our personal universe … that He, Jesus, must be our center … our life’s focus.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 33: 11  [NKJV] …  
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 33: 6-19 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 6: 33 [NKJV] …  
33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness …

Reference Passage #2: Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] …  
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: 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. …

My Journal for Today: In Rev. Rick Warren’s immensely popular book, The Purpose Driven Life the first sentence reads, ”It’s not about you,” referring to the reality that life is all about Christ and following Him (see Matt. 6: 33 and Luke 9: 23) should be the focus of our life.

And in today’s highlight passage (from Psalm 33) a psalmist expresses a truth which allows us to cast our anchor of faith into the Rock, Who is our Lord. When all is confusing and falling and swirling about in our life, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And in Him our flesh can be crucified, hence the attached photo depicting Christ at the cross being the center of our being (see Galatians 2: 20); and He calls us to deny our very human selves to follow Him (again see Matt. 6: 33 and Luke 9: 23).

So, who will be the center of our personal universe today? Will it be our self or the Savior?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, be my Center! … 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, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014 … Telling Our Story

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 83

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear an anonymous gospel quartet singing the old hymn I Love To Tell The Story, … encouraging us to share our story of God’s life-changing gospel transformation.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Acts 1: 8 … 19b [NKJV] …  
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.”
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Acts 1: 1-11 [NKJV] Go to this link  
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Reference Passage #1: Matthew 28: 19-20 [NKJV] …  
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.”

My Journal for Today: A little over 30 years ago I was a self-declared “agnostic,” who was searching for spiritual strength; and a friend loaned me a cassette tape to hear a story about a young man who became paralyzed in a football accident; and in this story his football coach told of the young man finding his strength in his relationship with Christ.

Well, hearing that story of a young quadriplegic witnessing to strength in the midst of his weakness changed my life forever; because here I am writing a bit of my story and how I found the strength I was looking for by hearing a story and surrendering my life to Christ on April 13, 1983.

I love to relate that story, with more detail, of course, because when I do, I can relive how Jesus, through His Spirit, transformed my life. And I have told the story many, many, many times since then; and in doing so, I’ve seen the lives of many others change by using my witness, empowered by His Spirit, to transform the lives of others.

But what if, like in the photo attached, I was unwilling to witness for Christ as our Lord Himself commanded us to do in the highlight verse for today, Acts 1: 8, … the words of Jesus to His disciples just before He ascended into heaven after the resurrection.

Yes, my friend, along with the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28, copied above, we have our marching orders as Christians, don’t we? We’re to be witnesses for Christ, telling our story to others so that God carry out His disciple-making mission in the world. And it’s God’s promise that, when we do tell the old-old story (hear today’s song), He will use HIS power to change the lives of others who hear it.

So, if you knew that a life could be changed for eternity even today by simply sharing your story about how Jesus has changed your life, why then don’t we go and share our witness with others?

I’ll leave you to deal with that one as I am dealing with the challenge today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, give me the opportunity to share my story – no, I mean 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.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 23, 2014 … Troublemaker

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 82

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Wayne Watson singing Friend of a Wounded Heart, … reminding us Jesus always meets us where we are, no matter how wounded may be our hearts from those who’ve hurt us.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Proverbs 6: 16 … 19b [NKJV] …  
16 These six things the LORD hates, …Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: … 19 A false witness who speaks lies, … and one who sows discord among brethren.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Proverbs 6: 16-19: [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: John 17: 20-21 [NKJV] …  
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. …”

Reference Passage #2: Philippians 2: 3-11 [NKJV] … Go to this link -

Reference Passage #3: Ephesians 4: 29 [NKJV] …  
29 Let no corrupt words proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

My Journal for Today: In today’s world of social media, it’s so easy to become a provoker of evil … or at least to become a trouble maker by what we communicate to others. And my Our Daily Bread reminded me, from Proverbs 6, 19b that God hates trouble making. Sure, we might cause trouble in our interactions with others by an oversight or mistake; but as the attached photo implies, I’m talking about willful, even pre-planned, trouble-making, which can cause all kinds of interpersonal evil to be spread.

And it’s so easy to become a trouble-maker these days; and it’s most certainly spreading like wildfire among our youth with cyber-bullying, “sexting,” and the use of websites like Facebook and Twitter to strike out at others and causing havoc in our world. And this kind of interactive evil strikes directly at the heart of Jesus, Who so desires – and prays – for His followers to have unity and closeness (see part of His Priestly prayer from John 17 quoted above).

No, … God desires that we pursue and hold on to an attitude of Christlikeness in our communications [see Phil. 2: 3-11, linked above], doing all we can to humbly die to self and live for others just as our Savior set aside His glory and died on the cross for us.

 No, … we, who are in Christ, are to do all we can to avoid evil communication, and doing all we can to make sure that any words from our mouths or keyboards either edify or give grace to others. [see Ephesians 4: 29]

So, … let’s move forth today and do all we can to lift up others with our words, encouraging them with all our say or write, and shining forth the love of God.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, as the Psalmist prayed, … may the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight. … You are my strength and my Redeemer. … 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, March 22, 2014

March 22, 2014 … Coming Soon!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 81

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Fernando Ortega singing his song Beyond the Sky, … reminding us of the glorious “coming attraction” … the Day of the Lord which will bring on all glory to those who have rested there hope and belief in Jesus.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Revelation 22: 7 [NKJV] …  
7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Revelation 22: 7-21: [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Revelation 1: 1-3 [NKJV] …  
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Reference Passage #2: Revelation 19: 8-9 [NKJV] … Go to this link -

Reference Passage #3: Titus 2: 11-13 [NKJV] …  
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, …

Reference Passage #4: 2nd Peter 3 [NKJV] … Go to this link -

My Journal for Today: Years ago, when I was a kid, movie marquees and promotional posters used to tout the phrase “COMING SOON!!,” which was used to announce movies coming our little hometown theater in the very near future. The promos of coming attractions were drumming up anticipation, of course, … to sell tickets. Well, Jesus did much the same thing in the last chapter of His book, (see Revelation, Chapter 22) announcing that He would be “Coming Quickly!!” (see Rev. 22: verses 1 and 20)

Well, then, … what’s the deal? ...  It’s been over 2000 years since His resurrection; and He still hasn’t come for His faithful.

Yeah, that’s true; but Peter gave the answer to all of that in his last will and testament. So, if you’re reading here with me, please go back and read/study 2nd Peter, Chapter 3, linked above. Peter tells that Jesus tarries so that as many as He has called will come to saving faith and an eternal relationship with the Savior. The reality of the Book of the Revelation was to create a sense of continual urgency in believers so that we’d be in anticipation of the greatest coming attraction this earth could ever anticipate … or even imagine.

Yes, my friend, our Lord is “COMING SOON!!” But are we ready for Bridegroom to come for His Bride? The entire Bible is a grand marquee, a glorious trailer for the greatest coming attraction of all; and as it says in Rev. 19: 6-8 (linked above) we, Christ’s Bride (the church), should be preparing our linens of purity in anticipation of the glorious return of our Messiah Bridegroom to bring us to the wedding feast of the Lamb of God.

Are you ready?!! When He comes, … which could be today, … will you have your life all in order, as Peter wrote about in the last chapter of His final letter (see link above)? We need to be ready … TODAY ...  because our Lord is definitely “COMING SOON!!”

My Prayer for Today … Come quickly, Lord Jesus!!! … 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, March 21, 2014

March 21, 2014 … Faithful Service

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 80

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Steve Green singing his song Find Us Faithful, … reminding us that it’s not necessarily the glitzy and powerful who can serve God most faithfully.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Matthew 24: 21 [NKJV] …  
21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ . 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Matthew 24: 14-21 [NKJV] Go to this link  
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Reference Passage #1: Lamentations 3: 22-23[NKJV] … Go to this link -

Reference Passage #2: 2nd Corinthians 5: 10 [NKJV] …  
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Reference Passage #3: Hebrews 11: 6 [NKJV] … 
 6 But without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 

My Journal for Today: Today my Our Daily Bread devotional took me to one of my favorites of the Jesus parables, … “the Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25: 14-30, with a primary focus on the passages where Jesus declares to the faithful of The Lord’s servants that He welcomes him into His heavenly service because of that one’s faithful service. And that’s what is depicted in the attached photo of Jesus welcoming His faithful servant into Heaven after a time of faithful service to God during His life.

I don’t know about you; but the Parable of the Talents speaks to my heart because I believe in the truth of the reference passages above (please take the time to meditate on them). I believe that my Lord Jesus is faithful and one day in heaven His faithful servants will be welcomed, as in the attached photo, with words like you read above in Matthew 25: 21, … “Well, done, My good and faithful servant.”

And again, I don’t know about you, but I want to be one of those. And for sure there will be those there in heaven, like the Billy Grahams of the world who have been faithful in the forefront of life. But I believe the ones whom Jesus will welcome with the biggest hugs of gratefulness will be the no-name servants who served behind the scenes of life, serving God diligently, using whatever gifts God has given them, … quietly, … to glorify their Lord with their service.

Will you join me? ... Let's want to be one of those!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, all I want to do today is serve 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.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014 … Love What?!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 79

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear 4Him singing their song Back To The Basics, … reminding us that it’s so easy for mankind to drift from our worship of God and fall into the captivity of the world … i.e., … to get us to worship the idols of today, taking our faith and focus off of the true basics, … our worship of God.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 115: 4 [NKJV] …  
4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms, Chapter 115 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Joshua 24: 14-15 [NKJV] …  
14 “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Reference Passage #2: Judges 10: 13-16 [NKJV] … Go to this link -

Reference Passage #3: Matthew 6: 24 [NKJV] …  
4 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. …”

Reference Passage #4: Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 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.

Reference Passage #5: 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: You may wonder what the attached photo of a cell phone has to do with today’s Our Daily Bread devotional; but it is pertinent in the story which the RBC Ministries editor relates, … which I will copy here …

Martin Lindstrom, an author and speaker, thinks that cell phones have become akin to a best friend for many owners. Lindstrom’s experiment using an MRI helped him discover why. When the subjects saw or heard their phone ringing, their brains fired off neurons in the area associated with feelings of love and compassion. Lindstrom said, “It was as if they were in the presence of a girlfriend, boyfriend, or family member.” 

Hence my journal title for today, which asks what do we truly love in our lives? Do we, like Jesus commanded [in Matthew 22: 37] … “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Or do we fall prey to Satan’s ploy to get us to love the things of this world, making those things or ideas more important than our love and worship of our Lord?

Again, Jesus told His followers, in His sermon on the mount (see Matthew 6: 24 above), that they simply could not love and serve God and mammon (i.e., worldly idols) at the same time. But unfortunately our focus, and even our worship, countermands the exhortation of both John (in 1st John 2: 15-16) and Paul (in Romans 12: 1-2) to beware of becoming entranced by worldly idols and letting them take our focus of worship and love off of Jesus.

So, today … we ALL need to take stock of where our loves lie; and as 4Him sings (linked above), … we need to get back to the basics of life, which is our dedication and worship of Jesus, The Christ.

My Prayer for Today … I love YOU, Lord !!! … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread [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, March 19, 2014

March 19, 2014 … Lost/Found … Joy, joy, joy!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 78

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear a flash mob performance of Beethoven and Schiller’s classic song Ode To Joy, … which was written to express the joy in heaven when one lost soul is embraced as found by Christ; and when one sees the joy on the faces of those who observed the flash mob performance of this song, published in 1803, the reality of that joy can be seen in those hearing the music..
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Luke 15: 10 [NKJV] …  
10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Luke, Chapter 15 [NKJV] Go to this link
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Reference Passage #1: Psalms 32: 10-11 [NKJV] …  
10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him. 11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! 

Reference Passage #2: Isaiah 12: 3 [NKJV] …  
3 Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Reference Passage #3: Habakkuk 3: 17-18 [NKJV] …  
17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls — 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Reference Passage #4: Jude 1: 24-25 [NKJV] … 
  24 Now to Him who is able to keep you[b] from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

My Journal for Today: Have you ever lost something very dear to you; and then FINALLY, after an exhaustive search, you found that lost entity – whatever it was? … How did you feel? … Joy, JOY, JOY!!, … right?

Well, that’s what Jesus was trying to convey to His disciples by telling three parables to illustrate the joy in heaven which is celebrated when just one soul, who has been lost comes to a saving relationship with the Lord; and Jesus needed three stories, not just one (recorded in Luke, Chapter 15), to emphasize the point of Luke 15: 10 … that a host of angels celebrate in heaven, the joy of any one who comes by faith to a saving relationship with Christ … one who has been lost is found.

 I can remember in 1988 the joy I felt when I received a letter from my earthly farther, who, at 72 years of age, had prayed to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior; and that happened after five years of my witnessing to my dad, mostly by letter, that his idea of salvation was false. Because shortly after I came to Christ in 1983 I discovered that my parents, who were church goers (and my dad was an Elder in his church), had a false idea of salvation, thinking that it was the accumulation of good works which would save them. Well, FINALLY, my dad came to the realization that he needed to surrender, IN FATH, to his Lord and savior; and he wrote to me about that moment of surrender in a letter. When I opened the letter and read it, it was one of the most joyous realizations in my life; so, I can just imagine the joy the angels must express in heaven when any who have been lost come in faith to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior (see the attached photo).

If you’re reading this and you’ve been like that lost coin, the wayward lamb, or the prodigal son in Luke 15, give it up and surrender in faith to the One, … the ONLY ONE, … who can find you and save you; and when/if you do, the angels will have a joy-filled party in heaven. And if you have a lost loved one, keep praying that one day he or she will be the subject of one of those joy-filled heavenly celebrations.

My Prayer for Today … Thank you, Lord, for the joy of my salvation. … Joy, JOY, JOY!!! … 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, March 18, 2014

March 18, 2014 … The Sweet Smell of Sacrifice

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 77

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Michael W Smith leading in the worshipful singing of a song of surrender in praise This Is My Desire, … reminding us that God desires our worship to be a sweet fragrance of love back to Him.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 2nd Cor. 2: 14-15 [NKJV] …  
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: 2nd Corinthians 2: 14-17 [NKJV] Go to this link
 
Highlight Passage [Context #2] – AMP: 2nd Corinthians 2: 14-17 [Amplified Bible] ... Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Genesis 8: 20-21 [NKJV] …  
20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. …” 

Reference Passage #2: Exodus 29: 25 [NKJV] …  
You shall receive them back from their hands and burn them on the altar as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma before the Lord. It is an offering made by fire to the Lord. 

Reference Passage #3: Leviticus 26: 31 [NKJV] …  
31 I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas.

Reference Passage #4: Ephesians 5: 1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

  Reference Passage #5: Romans 12:: 1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 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: As the attached photo obliquely refers, my focus today from my Our Daily Bread devotional was on the aroma of our worship to the senses of God. And having studied a lot of anatomy and neurology in my former healthcare career, I’ve learned that the olfactory senses (i.e., the sense of smell) is the one of the five senses that is most acutely connected to our long term memory system in the brain.

Have you ever walked into a space where there was a distinct odor and the smell immediately – and I might say, vividly – reminded you of some past event or maybe even a person in your life? Certain odors or aromas can trigger incredibly vivid memories of people or events, some producing strong emotions – either positively or negatively. A smell of a shaving cream can produce, for some men, a latent memory of their father who used to use a certain shaving cream; and the emotion produced could be a vividly positive one or maybe a fearful one if the father had been abusive. Walking in to a certain restaurant and smelling the food being prepared can bring vividly warm memories of a loving grandmother who used to cook certain favorite dishes, showing her love to the family.

And if you read/study the Bible, God’s truth is loaded with references about the aroma produced for God by praise and worship from mankind, which, for God, produces pleasure or joy when those sacrifices are from humble and obedient hearts. This is opposed to the pain and anguish which is produced for God by the stink of disobedience and rejection. If you’ve read the Old Testament passages above, you know that God created a whole system of sacrifices which He declared was a sweet aroma to Him when they were carried out with a humble and contrite heart by His beloved worshippers. And in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote about the way New Covenant “living sacrifice” in worship produced an even sweeter aroma, blessing God, for the ultimate sacrifice of giving His Son as the sweetest smelling love offering of all. But I just know God is pleased when we, as His disciples, send Him the sweet aroma which comes from our being the “living sacrifices” offered in the reality of Romans 12: 1-2 (see above).

So, my quiet time today poses the question to this humbled disciple, “Will I be a sweet-smelling sacrifice of praise to my Lord in all I think, say, and do today?” And the answer to that will come in how I live to worship Him.

 My Prayer for Today … Lord, may I be a sweet aroma to you today by the way I live. … 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, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014 … Perspective

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 76

  Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Laura Story singing her very personal and powerful song Blessings, … reminding us that God often reveals Himself most clearly and powerfully in the trials of life.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Job 42: 5 [NKJV] …  
5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Job 3: 3-5; .41: 5-6 [NKJV] Go to this link  
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Reference Passage: 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..

My Journal for Today: Take a good look at the attached photo. What does this image say to you? To me it says that often we can see the light best when it’s seen in the perspective of surrounding darkness. In other words, we’re often given the best perspective on life when we come through the darkness and see the light.

Today the two highlight passages from the Our Daily Bread devotional come from the beginning and the end of the biblical journal we read as the book of Job in the Bible. Job, as we know, is one of the Bible’s greatest stories of ultimate perspective, Job having seen and lived out what Laura Story sings about in her very poignant and personal song entitled, Blessings, to which you are linked for meditation above.

So often, as with Job, we lose a Godly perspective on life because of the trials and tribulations presented by the circumstances life presents; and we have trouble seeing the truth of what Paul wrote in Romans 8: 28. In the midst of the dark trials of life it’s often very hard to see the light, isn’t it? But as with Job, when we come through the trials and get on the other side of those life challenges, we can see that God intended us to go through the darkness so that we could have a better perspective – HIS perspective – of His light shining through the darkness. As Laura Story sings, ”What if trials of this life are [God’s] mercies in disguise?”

I don’t know where you are today; but today’s Our Daily Bread could not have come at a better time for me, going though a very dark trial right now. And all of the truth put before me today has helped me to see God’s light shining in the midst of the darkness.

My Prayer for Today … Thank you, Lord, for YOUR perspective. Help me to ake it mine!! … 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, March 16, 2014

March 16, 2014 … Food for the Heart

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 75

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear the group 4Him singing his pertinent song The Message, … reminding us that God desires that we consume His word – His Message – so that we can go forth and spread His message and truth to others.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Jeremiah 15: 16a [NKJV] …
16a  Your words were found, and I ate them. …  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Jeremiah 15: 15-21 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Joshua 1: 8 [NKJV] …  
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Reference Passage #2: Psalms 1: 1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. 

Reference Passage #3: Psalms 119: 57-58 [NKJV] …  
57 You are my portion, O LORD; I have said that I would keep Your words. 58 I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your word.

Reference Passage #4: Hebrews 5: 12-14 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK

 Reference Passage #5: 1st Corinthians 3: 1-3 [NKJV] …  
14 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

My Journal for Today: God’s word for the Christian is sometimes referred to as “food for the heart,” because, as God’s word itself teaches (see Joshua 1: 8 and Psalm 1) meditating on Scripture can feed us deeply and provide us with deeply needed spiritual sustenance for the heart (i.e., our very being). And that concept of “MEDITATING” on God’s word is an interesting concept in the Hebrew. In both of those two reference passage above, the Hebrew concept “hagah,” which we translate “meditate,” refers to muttering something over and over again or it could refer to something like a cow chewing on its food over and over until it can be digested.

In other words, as both passages in the Old Testament refer, believers are to consume and digest God’s word so that it becomes what Jeremiah discovered (see the Jeremiah 15 passage above) that God’s word was the source of his spiritual sustenance. Now, … I know that the photo attached is a bit ludicrous to get this idea across; but perhaps it does convey a lot of truth.

The Apostle Paul (1st Cor. 3) as well as the author of Hebrews, Chapter 5, taught that babies should feed on the milk of the word but more mature Christians should feed on its solid food to be able to grow and thrive in their relationship with Christ. So, if you’re a lesser mature Christian or a much more mature believer, are you regularly feeding (i.e., meditating) on the source of all Spiritual sustenance, i.e., God’s truth from His word? Because, if you are NOT feeding on God’s word regularly, if not daily, you could easily become spiritually malnourished and unable to be able to cope with the spiritual battles of life.

But as those scriptures above from the Old Testament, linked above, teach, when we do feed and meditate on God’s word daily, we can nourish our hearts to be able to grow and thrive in our relationship with Christ, becoming stronger and much more effective as Christians day-by-day. … I pray that for all of us.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray that, as I am this day, I will feed on Your word every day so that I can grow and thrive in my 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, March 15, 2014

March 15, 2014 … Gifted and Shining !!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 74

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Chris Rice singing his classic song Go Light Your World, … reminding us that God desires that we go, carrying our candle, which is our Sprit-imparted gifts, to shine our light into this darkened world.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Ephesians 4: 11-12 [NKJV] …  
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, …. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Ephesians 4: 11-16 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Romans 12: 1-8 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK

Reference Passage #2: 1st Corinthians, Chapter 12 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK … 

Reference Passage #3: Matthew 5: 14-16 [NKJV] …  
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 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: Today in meditating on the Our Daily Bread devotional entry from RBC Ministries, the question or challenge it posed to its readers was obvious. The devotional took me to the Pauline passages in Ephesians 4 and Romans 12 and 1st Corinthians 12 which give us insight as Christians into the reality of our Spirit-given giftedness. Then God’s Spirit, as I dwelt on these passages raised in my consciousness the words of Jesus from Matthew 5: 14-16 as He preached on that mountainside in what we call His “Sermon on the Mount,” where He challenged those of us who believe that He is the Messiah to go out into this dark world and shine our light for all to see the Glory of God in what we say and do.

Yes, fellow Christian reading here, when we were born-again as Christians, God’s Spirit was sealed into our hearts (i.e., our character), imparting special gifting for us to use in surrender to the Spirit for the Body of Christ (i.e., His church) to shine God’s light into the world. That’s what’s represented by the photo imaged which I’m using today to illustrate my journal entry. Our gifts when used in the unity of the Church becomes the flame of God’s candlelight shining in our darken – and every darkening – world.

So, the challenge question becomes, are we using the gift or gifts which God has given us to go out and shine His light for all to see our Father’s glory? I’ll leave that one for you to wrestle with today; but I pray that God is using my gifts of teaching and exhortation even right here in this blog to shine His light in at least this little portion of the world.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray that you use what You’ve given me to instruct and encourage others … 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, March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014 … Prone To Wander

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 73

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Chris Rice singing a classic hymn Come Thy Fount Of Every Blessing, … reminding us that God’s power is always there for those who are powerless. The challenge is accessing it when we need it.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalm 119: 9-11 – Emphasis on vs 10. [NKJV] …  
9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You. Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
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 Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 119: 9-16 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Isaiah 53: 6 [NKJV] …  
6 All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Reference Passage #2: Joshua 1: 8 [NKJV] …  
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Reference Passage #3: 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 [NKJV] …  
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come. 

My Journal for Today: I don’t know about you, fellow Christian (I pray so!); but the attached photo today is me. I’m one of those very grateful Isaiah 53: 6 Christians with a human default mechanism that draws me toward laziness, procrastination, selfishness, and a wandering eye (or spirit). Yes, … I’m one who’d be very happy sitting in my lounge chair and watching sports on TV all day long. That’s the “natural” me.

But, “PTL!” … that’s not “the me” I’m becoming !!! No, on April 13th, 1983, I began becoming a new me, being saved on that day and now slowly being transformed into a poster boy for 2nd Cor. 5: 17 [see above]. Yes, my human default is as I indicated above; but I think others, who know me well, would tell you that now I choose to be something – or someone – different than my natural proclivities would dictate in my life. For example, each and every morning I get up and I choose to spend time, the first part of EVERY day, in God’s word; and I’m moving now habitually to this discipline for the same reason the author of Psalm 119 (some say it was King David in Psalms 119: 10) wrote about his love affair with Scripture. I desire the promises given by God to the author of Psalm 119 and also to Joshua in the first chapter of that warrior’s Scriptural account (see Joshua 1: 8 above). And I know that the only way I’ll be spiritually led to God’s success in my Christian life is to be in God’s word and allow God’s word to saturate my mind and heart.

By nature I’m one of those wandering sheep in Isaiah 53: 6 and praise God that God laid upon Jesus, as our Messiah, the ability to reshape the natural iniquity from all who believe in Christ and yield to Him as the Lord of our lives. Yes, as the old hymn linked above sings, I am “prone to wander” from the Lord I love; but praise God He gives me the sanctifying grace to use His resurrection power to overcome my natural weaknesses. And I can choose to stay on the path my Lord so graciously lights for me from His word (see Psalms 119: 105).

My Prayer for Today … Lord, as I pray almost every day, “Shine Your light so brightly on my path from Your word that I can easily see Your way and Your will for 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.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014 … Powerless

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 72

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear a chorus singing a classic hymn O God Our Help In Ages Past, … reminding us that God’s power is always there for those who are powerless. The challenge is accessing it when we need it. … And ON TO THIS LINK  to hear Steven Curtis Chapman singing, His Strength Is Perfect, reinforcing the message of God’s strength being ours when we need it.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Isaiah 40: 29 [NKJV] …  
29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
Highlight Passage #2 – NKJV: 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.’
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Isaiah 40: 27-31 [NKJV] Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] … [I hope you have this one memorized, contextualized, and internalized. If not, please do!]

Reference Passage #2: Philippians 4: 13 [NKJV] … 
 13 I can do all things through Christ Who gives me the strength.

My Journal for Today: If you’re reading along with me as I delve into my Our Daily Bread devotional for this date, I have a study challenge for you, GO TO THIS LINK - http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/ - which is the Bible Gateway keyword search site; and when you get there, put the words “God” and “strength” in the search box. Finally, have the software search the entire Bible for those two words occurring together in the same passage. You’ll find no less than 63 passages; and reading through them – believing in the truth of Scripture – is a mind building exercise. TRY IT as I did this morning. You’ll be encouraged.

God’s word is clear, my friend. As Isaac Watts wrote in his classic, old hymn [see song links above], God is our help when we need help; and as Steven Curtis Chapman sings, God’s strength is ours when our strength is gone. David declared it in so many of His psalms. God declared it through Isaiah; and the Apostle Paul wrote it many times in his letters to the church (and to you and me). Over and over and over God declares the truth that His power – through enabling His grace – is ours when we feel powerless.

But how often, when we do feel powerless, do we really believe what God’s word says? Have you ever endured a devastating storm when you lost power in your home; or maybe you went out to drive somewhere and the battery was dead in your car? How do you feel in moments like this? But so often, in situations like these, we pick our selves up and use our own strength to get ourselves through a time of powerlessness.

But what about when we can’t?!!

I think of a prisoner of war who is captured by the enemy. Or maybe a teenager who’s being trafficked into prostitution. Or what about a rape victim or a young child who’s being repeatedly abused by a cruel parent.  

POWERLESS!!!

It’s in all of these instances and illustrations that we need to be able to call upon the strength of God to cover us in our weakness, believing and knowing that He will do as He has promised over and over again in His word. I pray below that I do believe and know, as Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 41: 10 that our God is there to lift us up with His righteous right hand.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I’m really always powerless without You! But I know – at least right now – that You’re always going to be there with Your strength to cover my weakness. And I pray that all reading here believe that. … 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, March 12, 2014

March 12, 2014 … Living Golden

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 71

Devotional Song:   Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Steve Green singing one of my favorites Find Us Faithful, … reminding us just how difficult, as sinners who’ve become Saints, to live out the golden rule and God’s commands in our life. But with God’s grace and power, we can!!
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Matthew 7: 11-12 [NKJV] …  
11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Matthew 7: 7-12 [NKJV] Go to this link  
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Reference Passage #1: John 3: 16 [NKJV] … [Since you likely know this verse by heart, I’ll not insult your intelligence by copying it here.]

Reference Passage #2: 1st John 4: 16, … 19 [NKJV] …  
16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. … 19 We love Him because He first loved us. 

Reference Passage #2: Romans 12: 1-2 [NKJV] … Go to this link

My Journal for Today: The so-called “Golden Rule” is said to be found in almost all major religions; and Jesus certainly highlighted it’s kingdom influence in His Sermon on the Mount (in today’s highlighted passage above). So, why is Jesus’ proclamation of this truth different than in other religions?

And the answer to that question lies in what our God was/is willing to do first which allows Christians to be able to use HIS POWER to fulfill the Golden Rule. In Christianity, there is the recognition that we, as broken/fallen sinners (see Romans 3: 23), simply cannot live up to the Golden Rule in our own power. However, in Christ, He having loved us first enough to die for our sins, we, who’ve been infused with Christ’s Spirit, do have the power – HIS power – to be able to live out the Golden Rule in our lives.

So, as Steve Green sings in the above linked song, may we, who live under the umbrella of Christ’s love and power, live out the Golden Rule faithfully by the choices we make and the light we shine into this very dark world.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to live Your “golden rule” in my life 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.