Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30, 2014 … Sorry, … Too Late?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 120

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go this video link to hear the group, Third Day, singing the old hymn Blessed Assurance, which reminds all believers that we can have assurance of spending eternity with Christ, lost in His love, … IF … and only if … we have received His saving grace by faith in His shed blood on Calvary.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Hebrews 4: 1 and 11 [NKJV] …  
1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. … 
11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] #1 – NKJV: Hebrews 4: 1-11 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passages #1: Matthew 7: 21-23 [NKJV] … Go to this link … Jesus warned His followers that there will be some – actually many – who even called Him “Lord” who will not be recognized at the final judgment because they had not completely surrendered their will to His …

Reference Passages #2: Romans 10: 9-13 [NKJV] … Go to this link … God through the Apostle Paul gives the final formula for salvation and the opportunity to receive God’s saving grace and spend eternity with Him …

My Journal for Today: Today, from my Our Daily Bread devotional entry, I was reminded of a dream I used to have while in school, both college and grad school. I dreamed that I was just about to receive my diploma and graduate; but I got a notice from the school officials that I had missed one class, and it was always a French class for some reason; and because I missed out on that registered class, I would not graduate. And many times I would awake in a sweat imagining that I had not gotten my degree because of my oversight.

You know, ... that dream is much like the proclamation of the author of Hebrews [see Hebrews, Chapter 4 linked above]; because this writer was trying to get his fellow Jews to realize that they would miss out on Heaven if they had not chosen, by their obedient submission in faith to Christ, to believe and be obedient to Christ’s finished work on the cross. And we know that Christ proclaimed that message to His followers as well with his strong pronouncement in Matthew 7: 21-23 … that in the final day of judgment, many would come before Him and be rejected – even some who called Him “LORD” – because they had truly surrendered and received His saving grace in faith.

That’s why I love the old hymn, Blessed Assurance, linked for you to hear above, with those strong lyrics of promise for all who have truly received God’s saving grace by surrendering fully – in faith - to His Lordship and finished work on the cross. My dear fellow reader, God gave the absolute formula for salvation and eternal life in Heaven when the Apostle instructed potential Christians what it takes to be saved [see Romans 10: 9-13]. So, not wanting to assume that any who read here might miss out on glory by not conforming to that formula for the assurance of salvation, I plea that any who read here with me have believed in your heart that Jesus’ finished work on Calvary was your ticket into heaven and knowing of your sin and surrendering to Christ’s will, you have received Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior and you have declared that openly to others.

Because if you have done that, and you live in obedience to Christ as your Lord, you – as do I – have the blessed assurance of eternity with Christ. … Glory, GLORY, GLORY!!! 

My Prayer for Today … Thank You, Lord, for the blessed assurance that I am saved and will spend eternity 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.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014 … The Anchor Holds

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 119

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go this video link to hear Lawrence Chewning giving the story behind the song he wrote The Anchor Holds, also singing the song which declares that our faith in Christ is the anchor which holds our boat of life afloat in the midst of any of the storms of life.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Mark 4: 40 [NKJV] …  
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
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Highlight Passage [Context] #1 – NKJV: Mark 4: 33-41 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passages #1: Psalms, Chapter 23 [NKJV] … Go to this link … Jesus is always there to bring us through the valley of the shadow of death – yes, even when we don’t feel His presence …

Reference Passages #2: 2nd Corinthians 12: 7-10 [NKJV] … Go to this link … Paul discovered that Christ’s strength is available to any believer who remains faithful and humbles himself to receive God’s grace.

My Journal for Today: I really needed the message in today’s Our Daily Bread [ODB], which reminded me that even when one is going through the storms of life, God is there; and He is the rock to which our anchor of faith will hold … IF … we but attach that anchor and let Him hold on to us through the storm.

I needed to hear Rev. Lawrence Chewning’s story behind writing the song, The Anchor Holds; so, if you’re reading along with me here, I hope you take the 12+ minutes and use the link above to hear the song writer’s story and then to his touching song. Prayerfully it will bolster your faith anchor as it has mine this morning.

The highlight Scripture passage in this morning’s ODB devotional was from Mark, Chapter 4 … that story of Jesus in the storm with His disciples, with the lives of all in that boat in jeopardy; and Jesus sleeps in the back of the boat. Then, when it seems that the boat is about to be lost on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus is awakened and calms the storm by simply waving His hand to rebuke the storm; and the Disciples are dumbfounded, realizing that this man, Jesus, had authority even over nature. And yet, as we see after subsequent miracles, these men still have trouble grasping the divinity in their presence. And take note of this scene depicted by the Dutch Master, Rembrandt, who painted the scene and even painted a likeness of himself in that boat.

We all have trouble believing in Christ’s presence and His power, don’t we, … especially when we’re facing the storms of life?! … We have trouble believing that the anchor, which is the faith about which Lawrence Chewning writes in song, is truly affixed to THE ROCK, our Lord, which will always hold us in those storms of life. And right now I’m going through one of those storms. Perhaps you are too; or maybe you can remember such a storm of life where your faith in God brought your through that storm to a more peaceful place, as is written about in Psalm 23 or 2nd Corinthians 12

But today I needed to be reminded that as long as my anchor of belief is affixed to Christ, … my ROCK, it will hold; and I will come through this storm.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, my anchor is my faith; and it is strongly affixed to You, my Rock. Hold on to me, dear 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.

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014 … A Question of Faith

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 118

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go this video link to hear Steve Green singing the Find Us Faithful, reminding Christians that we have a faith worth contending for and remaining faithful in spite of the challenges we might incur as believers.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st Peter 3: 15-16 [NKJV] …  
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
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Highlight Passage [Context] #1 – NKJV: 1st Peter 3: 8-17 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1: Matthew 5: 14-16 [NKJV] … Go to this link … Jesus challenges His disciples to shine He light in the world …

Reference Passages #2: Acts 17: 10-15 [NKJV] … Go to this link … The Bereans challenged the Apostle Paul’s claims by going to the Scripture …

My Journal for Today: In today’s Our Daily Bread the author relates the story of General Lew Wallace, the famous civil war general who was encountered on a train by Colonel Robert Ingersol, who was an agnostic and challenged Lew Wallace’s faith in Christ. Embarrassed by his inability to defend his faith, Gen. Wallace, went back to the Scriptures and other sources to bolster his witness of Christianity; and the result was the book, Ben Hur - A Tale of the Christ, which was made into an Academy Award winning movie.

The story illustrates an important point to which the Apostle Peter addressed in his letter to the early church and more specifically in the highlight passages copied/linked above where Peter exhorts believers to be able to contend for the faith when we are challenged by those who have questions.

And my journal entry today challenges any reader to BE PREPARED, as the old Boy Scout motto declares, to give an answer when we of faith are challenged. Very early in my new walk with Christ, I was led to a mentor; and the first question he asked me was, “Bill, are you saved?” And when I fumbled to answer but answered somewhat positively, my new mentor challenged me to prove that I was saved to him. I learned that day that any Christian should KNOW they we are saved; and we should be able to defend the reality of our salvation … with evidence.

It has been asked, “If someone indicted you as a Christian, … would there be enough evidence from your life or testimony to convict you?” And I’ve learned that the way we live as Christians and our life story (i.e., testimony) of how believing in Christ changed the way we live is the strongest way to witness to the reality of our faith.

But if you’re challenged by someone claiming to be an atheist or agnostic, and even after hearing your testimony of transformation in Christ, they want to challenge you further, it might be best to refer them to books written by former atheists who were challenged to examine the evidence for Christ and Christianity and became believers because of their examination of the facts. Books like Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell; … or Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis: … or the best one in my estimation, The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel; … all were solid defenses of Christianity from men who were staunch unbelievers but all who, after researching and delving deeply into Christ’s claims and His life, as reported in the Bible and by extra-biblical sources, wrote about their surrender in faith to Christianity.

But no matter what others have written, all of us, who call ourselves “Christians” need to be ready to defend our faith in Christ by at least being willing to give a strong testimony about how our faith in Christ guides us on this path we call life. So, fellow Christian, are you ready today to defend your faith?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I will defend You and testify to anyone how my faith in Your has changed 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.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27, 2014 … Love Remains

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 117

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go this video link to hear Collin Raye singing the Love Remains, reminding us that throughout all of life, when we have love – especially the love of God – we have all that we need
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st Corinthians 13: 4-8 [NKJV] …
  4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. … 8 Love never fails.
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Highlight Passage [Context] #1 – NKJV: 2nd Chronicles 12: 1-8 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passages #1: Matthew 22: 36-40 [NKJV] … Go to this link … Jesus, when asked about the law, responded …

Reference Passages #2: John 3: 16 [NKJV] …  I won’t insult you by copying this very familiar text, since I’m sure you know it.

Reference Passages #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.”

My Journal for Today: For the Christian, one of the most challenging lessons to live out in our lives is the truth of one of the most quoted and memorize passages in all of the Bible; … and that is the lesson of John 3: 16. Learning and living that God’s love remains when all else fails is not an easy task for fallen mankind. But when we have the Spirit of God deeply embedded in our hearts as born-again believers, we can not only rely on God’s love being with us; but we can share it, through God’s grace, with others.

By nature, we humans are not loving creatures, even though we were originally created in the image of God. No, … as fallen humans, all you have to do is observe a child and see that, by nature, we are sin-bearing heathens. But when we surrender our selves to the Savior and He becomes the Lord of our lives, we can – AND DO – choose to show love to others.

So, as I’m one the road and pressed a bit for time as I journal this, I exhort you to take in the attached photo, the song link, and the referenced scriptures above, and see that when all else seems to fail in our life God’s love prevails and never fails. And I pray that we’ll share His love with someone today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I so rely on Your love. … 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, April 26, 2014

April 26, 2014 … Humility Is The Key

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 116

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go this video link to hear Daniel O’Donnell singing the Here I Am Lord, declaring the humble desire to be available to serve God faithfully.
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 Highlight Passage – NKJV: 2nd Chronicles 7: 14 [NKJV] …  
14 If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] #1 – NKJV: 2nd Chronicles 12: 1-8 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1: Proverbs 3: 34 [NKJV] …  
God resists the proud; but gives grace to the humble.

Reference Passages #2: Philippians 2: 5-11 [NKJV] … Please seek, read, and meditate on this passage about the humility of Christ.

My Journal for Today: Today my Our Daily Bread reminded me that God’s key to His enriching, enlightening, enabling, and empowering grace is Christ’s character trait of humility. And every one of the Scripture passages to which you are either linked or can read above attests to that truth.

Here’s what it all boils down to. If we, as the people called by God’s Name (i.e., “Christians”), as 2nd Chronicles 7: 14 proclaims, desire to seek out and receive God’s grace for our lives, especially in dealing with the rough times we will undoubtedly encounter, we must be willing to humble ourselves before His throne of grace, coming to our Lord and praying for Him to pour that grace out to save us from ourselves.

As I am time pressed today at the time of this posting (shame on me!!) … I pray we, as Christians, can personalize and internalize this truth.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I come humbly to You … BEGGING for Your grace 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.

Friday, April 25, 2014

April 25, 2014 … The Word Became Flesh

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 115

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear the Maranatha Celtic singers singing the classic hymn Fairest Lord Jesus, reminding us that God needed to become flesh, even in the lowest form, a babe in a manger, so that man could see and identify with the Messiah; and then GO TO THIS LINK to hear Brian Doerksen sing Creation Calls with much the same message – that the creator of all we see in nature had to become flesh so that mankind could behold their Creator.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: John 5: 14 [NKJV] …  
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] #1 – NKJV: John 1: 5-14 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passage #1: Malachi 3: 1 [NKJV] …
1 “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts.

Reference Passage #2: Romans 1: 20-21 [NKJV] …  
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 

Reference Passage #3: Philippians 2: 5-8 [NKJV] … 
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

My Journal for Today: As a reader in meditation with me here I hope you take in the breadth of what I’ve posted above in photo, songs, and narrative; because the message is enormous!! It tells the story that mankind was a part of God’s creation; but man couldn’t see God in and through His creation, … which He brought into being through His Word.

No, … because mankind couldn’t behold THE TRUTH in the form of creation, The Lord had to prophesy and then send THE WORD in the flesh, first in the form of a babe, setting aside His, the Lord’s, glory so that mankind could see and identify with Him in the flesh. God became flesh; and as it declares in the first chapter of John and Philippians 2, He dwelt among us, even humbling Himself to die on a cross so that we, through our faith in His finished work, could dwell with Him forever.

Do you get the message, fellow human?!! Do you believe the messenger, who was John, the Baptist, a message which was foretold seven centuries before he, John, came (see Malachi 3 above)? Do you believe in the One whom the messenger declared was THE ONE, … the Messiah, … the Lamb of God? Do you believe that this God Man came and died on a cross and was raised again defeating death forever? Do you believe that this same One, Who died on a cross, is the One Who created the universe and everything in it?

Do you believe?!!

Because if we do so believe, we will be with Him forever! ... And that, my friend, is the GOSPEL truth!!

My Prayer for Today … I do believe, 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.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014 … Mercies New Every Morning

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 114

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Cece Winans singing of Great Is Thy Faithfulness, reminding us that God’s mercies never end … no matter what we might encounter in life. … And GO TO THIS LINK  for a very special acapella version of this old hymn.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 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.
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Highlight Passage [Context] #1 – NKJV: Lamentations 3: 13-26 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passages #1: Deuteronomy 31: 8 [NKJV] …   
8 “… And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

Reference Passages #2: Proverbs 3: 5-6 [NKJV] …   
5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him; and He will direct your paths.

Reference Passages #3: Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] …
28 All things work together for those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purposes.

Reference Passages #4: Hebrews 13: 8 [NKJV] …
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

My Journal for Today: Sometimes, when things are not going our way, and life takes a bad turn in the road, we can tend to get the feeling that God has abandoned us. But if we’ve taken in the highlight and reference scriptures above – and we really BELIEVE them – we have faith and know that God will never abandon us. And not only is this God’s unfailing truth, His mercies are new EVERY MORNING and His faithfulness, as Cece Winans sings in the You Tube piece linked above, is FOREVER.

I don’t think I need to say anymore here, do I? We either believe and live in these truths, or we don’t.

I pray we do!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, in the past couple of weeks I’ve needed to be reminded of Your faithfulness … that Your mercies are new every morning; and You’ve been there to lift me up, time and time again. Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!! … 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, April 23, 2014

April 23, 2014 … Death? … Not a problem!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 113

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear the group Hillsong leading in the singing of Jesus, You’re All I Need, reminding us that Jesus’ resurrection and His sacrifice are all we need to know that death has no sting in our life.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st Corinthians 15: 54-55a [NKJV] …  
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” [Isaiah 25: 8] … 55 “O Death, where is your sting? [Hosea 13: 14] 
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Highlight Passage [Context] #1 – NKJV: 1st Corinthians 15: 50-58 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1: John 14: 1-3 [NKJV] …  
1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Reference Passages #2: 2nd Corinthians 5: 8 [NKJV] …   
8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

My Journal for Today: In today’s Our Daily Bread devotional issue, I was reminded by the highlight Bible passage from the Apostle Paul’s teaching in 1st Corinthians, Chapter 15 that any Christian should have no fear of death. Because even as the Old Testament prophets taught and foreshadowed, “death has no sting” over one who puts his faith in The Messiah (see Paul’s quote of the Prophets Isaiah and Hosea in 1st Cor. 15: 54-55).

Fellow Christian, have you ever gone to a funeral or memorial service for a non-believer and then compared the atmosphere to such a service for a born-again Christian? Totally different, isn’t it? In the funeral for the non-believer there is a pall of doom and gloom; but in the service for the Christian, there is a celebration of life and the reality of how Christians totally believe in the truths of God’s word where Jesus told His disciples that He would prepare a place in Heaven for them; and what Paul wrote about to the church in 2nd Cor. 5: 8 … that to be absent from the body (in death) is to be present with the Lord (in Heaven).

 Do I sense a “Hallelujah!” from any reading with me here?! … Well, if you haven’t said it, say it now with me … HALLEUJAH!!!  ...

Really, there is nothing more that needs to be said; and I would just charge you to go back and listen to the song to which I’ve linked you above, where Hillsong leads us in singing that Jesus is all we need. He did it all on the cross; and our belief in His finished work has taken all the sting out of death and points us toward His glory.

My Prayer for Today … Yes, Lord …in You death has no sting. … HALLELUJAH!!! … 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, April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014 … Try a Little Kindness

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 112

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear Glen Campbell singing back in the 60s, Try A Little Kindness, reminding us that one act of kindness is many times the only light of God others will see shining in this dark world. … And then to this link  to hear another social anthem from the 60s, Dionne Warwick singing Burt Bacharach’s song, What The World Needs Now … yes, it’s LOVE, SWEET, LOVE and an act of kindness is certainly a good way to start.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Acts 4: 8-10 [NKJV] …  
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] #1 – NKJV: Acts 3: 1-10 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Highlight Passage [Context] #2 – NKJV: Acts 4: 1-10 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passages #1: John 13: 1-17 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passages #2: 1st Corinthians 13: 4-8 [NKJV] …   
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. … 8 Love never fails.

Reference Passages #3: Galatians 5: 22-23 [NKJV] …  
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

My Journal for Today: In today’s Our Daily Bread, I was reminded – and convicted – by the reality that one act of kindness on my part, offered spontaneously from my heart may be the only glimpse of Jesus someone who doesn’t know the Savior will see today.

In the coloring book photo attached, we’re reminded of Jesus illustrating love and kindness, which He used in the upper room to illustrate to His Disciples that they were going to have to reach out, with the power of God’s Spirit, which they would have after His resurrection, to show the world that service in love, i.e., KINDNESS, would be the way most would come to see Jesus shining His light of love through them.

And we see in the story of Peter and John (see the Acts 3-4), by their showing this love through God’s healing power to a man crippled from birth. In this witness they were able, through this act of kindness, to shine the light of God’s love to others as they witnessed their faith in Christ.

Today we just might encounter, through some divine appointment, someone in need; and I for one am under conviction, realizing that as a Christian I have been given the ability, through the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5: 22-23) to reach out with the love of God to be kind and help those in need.

The question is - WILL I DO IT?!!

We’ll see!? … Prayerfully though, … I’ll be able to overcome my selfish nature with His fruit of kindness and shine the light of Christ so others can see Him in me and not me in me.

My Prayer for Today … That’s my prayer, Lord; … give me an opportunity to be kind to someone today in Your Name and for the Father’s glory. … Amen

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

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 … Death Has No Sting!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 111

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to hear a contemporary group singing the old Easter hymn Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, declaring the reality and hope that our Lord will return to take us to Glory.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: John 5: 28-29 [NKJV] …  
28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: John 5: 24-30 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passages #1: 1st Corinthians 15: 42-44 [NKJV] …   
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

Reference Passages #2: 1st Corinthians 15: 54-58 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passages #2: 1st Thessalonians 4: 13-18 [NKJV] … Go to this link

My Journal for Today: Okay, it’s the day after Easter as I come to my Monday morning quiet time and write this journal entry. And yesterday morning, many folks were in church, who normally are not regular weekly attendees. I guess some feel like going to church at Easter and/or Christmas fulfills their “christian” duty for church involvement. But, my cynical jibe aside, our worship service yesterday was a wonderful celebration of the reality we have in Christ, Who defeated death, coming out of the grave, and the hope we have that He will come again one day as the Bridegroom to take His Bride, the Church, to our promised home in Heaven.

I hope any who read here revel in the joy of that promise as much as I do.

But in my Our Daily Bread this morning, I was reminded by it’s author, Dennis Fisher, of this glorious hope by referring to a wonderful fresco painting, the Anastasis, which can be found on the ceiling of a former 14th century funeral chapel in Constantinople (i.e., now Istanbul). You can see a photo of this painting attached which depicts Christ taking Adam and Eve, the original sinners, from their graves to be with our Lord in Heaven. And what could be a more fitting and glorious painting to be on the ceiling of a funeral chapel than a painting of Jesus’ victory over the grave.

Several years ago, before my dad died, he was in a nursing care facility with many painful maladies; and when I went to visit him, he always wanted me to read that passage in the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, where Paul wrote – at God’s inspiration – about the Christian receiving a new, incorruptible, pain-free, body in Heaven (see 1st Cor. 15: 42-44 above). My dad needed to revel in the hope of Christ’s victory over the sting of our mortality and His defeat of death … which is inevitable. He needed the hope of Christ in glory [see link to 1st Cor. 15: 54-58 above] to overcome the pain he was experiencing in this life.

And I don’t know about you; but I’m getting old enough, with ever increasing bodily pain and emotional concerns, that the thought and hope of Christ coming again to take His Bride to glory is becoming more and more and more appealing. Oh, there is much to look forward to and to do in this life; but to remember that our Lord is coming again to take us to our real home in glory is a wondrous promise for sure!

My Prayer for Today … Come soon, 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.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20, 2014 … Easter Every Day

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 110

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to see/hear Dolly Parton singing the song she wrote He’s Alive, with a dramatic depiction in song/film of the scene Jesus’ followers faced on the day the women discovered the empty tomb and Jesus came into their midst to prove that HE’S ALIVE!!!
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Matthew 28: 5-6 [NKJV] …  
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Hebrews 10: 11-18 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1: 1st Corinthians 15: 3-4 [NKJV] …  
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, …

 Reference Passages #2: Psalms 34: 1-3 [NKJV] …  
1 I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.

My Journal for Today: What if you were Peter, who burst into the empty tomb to find the linens folded neatly which had covered Jesus’ body; but He was gone! What would you think, having denied him thrice just a few days earlier? What would the disciples think after they heard the reports of the women who had gone to the tomb, encountered an angel, and found the stone rolled away and Jesus’ body gone? What would you think if you were in that room with the disciples and Jesus appeared from seemingly no where after seeing the empty tomb? What would you think if you were Thomas who was able to see and touch the scars in Jesus’ hands and to hear his voice declaring His love for those disciples? … Well, … very likely … you’d think … and probably declare loudly (as Dolly Parton sings in the song linked today) …

HE’S ALIVE!!! … He’s alive and I’m forgiven; … yes, HE’S ALIVE!!!

And after He charged those disciples to go and be His witnesses to all the world (see Acts 1: 8) and “to go and make disciples” (in Matthew 28: 19-20), what would you do?

Well, you’d very likely do what those disciples did. You’d go! And you’d give witness to the reality that HE’S ALIVE … and that you’re life has been changed because of Him. You’d go … and do all you could, even to die if necessary, to share Jesus’ message of life with everyone who’d listen.

But the question is for me today, on this Easter day, is … “Am I making Easter an everyday message from what I think, say, and do?”

My Prayer for Today … You’re alive, Lord!!! And Your death on the cross and resurrection has changed me forever; and every day is Easter day because of my faith. HALLELUJAH!!! … 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, April 19, 2014

April 19, 2014 … Spotlight on Jesus

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 109

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to see/hear the group Avalon singing He’s Everything To Me, putting the spotlight of life exactly where it should be … on Jesus, Who gave His all so that we could have His everything.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Romans 5: 1 [NKJV] …  
1 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. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Romans 5: 1-11 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1: Romans 15: 17 [NKJV] …  
17 Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God.

 Reference Passages #2: Galatians 6: 14 [NKJV] …  
14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

My Journal for Today: It’s 2014 and tomorrow is Easter. Today in my Our Daily Bread devotional, the author, Joe Stowell, relates an incident which I witnessed on TV because I’m a big pro golf fan. Here’s the story Stowell related …  

”I’ll never forget the Easter Sunday in 1993 when Bernhard Langer won the Masters golf tournament. As he stepped off the 18th green to receive the green jacket—one of golf’s most coveted prizes—a reporter said, ‘This must be the greatest day of your life!’ Without missing a beat, Langer replied: ‘It’s wonderful to win the greatest tournament in the world, but it means more to win on Easter Sunday—to celebrate the resurrection of my Lord and Savior.’ "

Watching the Masters golf tournament on TV after coming home from Easter service in church that day, I remember seeing that interview and reveling in the German golfer’s rapid-fire response, taking the spotlight off of himself and putting it on the One to Whom Langer owed his everything, especially on that Easter Sunday as chance would have it, when the Christian world was celebrating the reality that Jesus came out of the tomb to show that He had defeated death for all mankind.

For Bernard Langer, as the song linked above, proclaims, Jesus was EVERYTHING TO HIM. The question I’m dealing with today as we look forward to celebrating Easter tomorrow, … ”Is my Jesus everything to me?” If I, like Bernard Langer, had the opportunity to take the spotlight off of my self and put it where it should be, on the Savior, would I do so?

 Really, I would hope so; but I don’t know. One of my primary sin strongholds has always been the desire for others to admire me … to want to like me. And so, right now my hope would be that God’s enabling grace would allow me to be humble and put the world’s spotlight on the One Who died on that cross so that I can have eternal life. And I pray that for all of us as well.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, You ARE everything to me! Help me to remember that when the world might put a spotlight on me. And help all of us – in YOU – to put the spotlight of Your grace squarely where it belongs … ON YOU!!! … Amen

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 18, 2014 … He’s Alive & I Am Too

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 108

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to see/hear Nichole Nordeman singing I’m Finally Free, reminding all true Christians that we walk in freedom from our prison of sin because Jesus died on that Cross, for which we celebrate this week.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Ephesians 2: 1-2; … 4-5 [NKJV] …  
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, … 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), … 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Ephesians 2: 1-10 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passages #1: Ephesians 2: 10 [NKJV] …  
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Reference Passages #2: Titus 2: 11-14 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passages #3: Colossians 1: 9-14 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passages #4: 2nd Corinthians 9: 8 [NKJV] … 
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

My Journal for Today: If you’re reading this in 2014, this is Holy Week; and we’re at that point in the week where we’re remembering and prayerfully meditating on that horrible, yet wonderful, sacrifice that Jesus made by His ignominious death on the cross. And as He bled profusely on that tree, when He died after saying, “It is finished!” … I was set free from my sins.

Now that happened for me at age 39 on April 13, 1983, when, in total brokenness I yielded my former selfishness and sin habits and received Jesus as my LORD and Savior. I don’t know when that freedom was proclaimed in your life; but if it has happened for you, as Nichole Nordeman sings in the song linked above and which the attached photo represents, we, who’ve come in faith to receive God’s free gift of saving grace, now walk in the freedom of Christ’s resurrection power; and we can live in freedom from our sin nature by using God’s sanctifying grace to be God’s worksmanship in this world.

Please take the time to meditate on the Apostle Paul’s writings, linked or copied above, all of which declare that we have been freed BY God’s grace, THROUGH our faith, UNTO good works [primarily stated in Ephesians 2: 8-10. Because when we truly realize and respond to these truths, we can go – even today – to freely exercise the resurrection power that is ours in Christ to live, move, and work in freedom from the binding temptations of Satan, this world, and our own flesh.

So, let’s go and live in Christ’s freedom today!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, in You I am free !!! … 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, April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014 … Hurting Yields To Helping

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 107

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to see/hear the group, Point of Grace, singing Heal the Wound, proclaiming the truth that our scars become evidence of God’s healing grace so that we can help others who are wounded in the same way.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Genesis 41: 39 [NKJV] …  
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Genesis 41: 14-41 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passages #1: 2nd Corinthians 1: 3-5 [NKJV] …  
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.

My Journal for Today: Do you know the difference between “sympathy” and “empathy?” You probably do; but here is the comparison, taken from the Diffen website (Go to this link ) …

Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. It goes beyond sympathy, which is a feeling of care and understanding for the suffering of others. Both words have similar usage but differ in their emotional meaning.”

I might have sympathy for the pain that my wife endured during the birth of our first child, as kidney stone pain sent her into premature labor; but there is NO WAY I can EMPATHIZE with that kind of pain, never having experienced it. There are many times when we can have sympathy with what others are going through; but when we’ve “been there, done that, and have the t-shirt,” our empathy – and maybe even the scars from the wounds past – gives us a special feeling to be able to reach out and help the one where we know – from experience - their pain.

In today’s highlight passage, from Genesis, Chapter 41, Joseph was given a gift from God to be able to prophetically interpret dreams; and that special empathetic gift allowed him to help his king (i.e., Pharaoh), which ultimately led to his reconnection and ability to help his own family. And all the pain and agony which Joseph had been put through allowed him to empathize with his family and give them the compassion to help them, reaching out with healing and helping rather than revenge. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul (read 2nd Cor. 1: 3-5 above) writes of the suffering we endure giving us a special degree of empathy to be able to use those scars to reach out and to help others. And that is what the song, linked above and being performed by the group, Point of Grace, brings to us as we meditate on the truth from today’s Our Daily Bread devotional.

A number of years ago I was led by God out of the valley of the shadow of death into the arms of a loving Savior, Who then delivered me from a life of habitual and compulsive sexual sin. Subsequently, He has given me the healing grace to allow the scars from my past to heal and become empathetic evidence for others to see that we worship a God who can restore us and heal us. And so now with this empathy, I’m able to minister to the pain and agony of others who desire to experience the same healing grace I have encountered in my life.

I pray that we all allow others to see the scars which have been healed by God so that they can see that we can help them to have the same healing grace we have experienced from our past wounds.

My Prayer for Today … Lord use my scars to show others Your healing 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.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014 … Joint Heirs With Jesus

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 106

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to see/hear the group, Avalon, singing Orphans of God, proclaiming the truth that in the adopted family of God, all are chosen, and there are no orphans, no rejects, and all are loved! … And then to this link to hear a chorus singing the refrain of the old hymn The Family of God, proclaiming the reality that all who are covered by their faith in the blood of Jesus should revel in joy for being part of the family of God.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Galatians 3: 26-27 … 4: 6-7 [NKJV] …  
3: 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. … 
4: 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Galatians 3:26 – 4:7 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passages #1: Colossians 1: 9, …12 [NKJV] …   
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it [i.e., the Gospel], do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; … 
12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 

Reference Passages #2: 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; …

My Journal for Today: This is Holy Week as I write this blog, being led by my Our Daily Bread devotional; and it’s an appropriate reality to remember and celebrate that we, who’ve come in faith to receive the saving grace completed and offered by the blood of Jesus on the cross, are now adopted and are part of the family of God; and that not only that, but we are joint heirs with Jesus of His throne.

HOW COOL IS THAT, my dear fellow Christians??!!!

And so, … as we are going through this week of remembrance, closing out on the 40 days of Lent, let us rejoice in the reality that one day, in Glory, all who have received God’s saving grace are now fully part of His family; and He is bringing us to glory, being completed in Him (see Philippians 1: 6 above) to share His throne as an adopted son (or daughter) of THE KING.

My friend, as the two songs to which I’ve linked you above proclaim, there are no orphans in the family of God; and anyone who has received the saving grace from the covering blood of Jesus from His sacrifice on the cross will inherit all that His glory will bring in heaven.

Do I sense a resounding “HALLELUJAH!!!”

My Prayer for Today … Yes, LORD, for sure, hear my … HALLELUJAH!! that I am part of Your family and an heir to Your throne. Again, I say, HALLELUJAH!! … 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, April 15, 2014

April 15, 2014 … A Spoonful of Sugar

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 105

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to see/hear Julie Andrews singing A Spoonful of Sugar, proclaiming from the Disney Movie that we find some positive in life from our gratefulness of the Lord’s provision to help take the bad stuff from the world … And then to this link  to hear the Issacs, a Gospel singing family, singing Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, proclaiming the wondrous power of the Jesus’ Name to be able to handle the tough stuff of life.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 19: 8, …10 [NKJV] …
  8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandments of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; … 
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 19: 7-14 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passages #1: Psalms 100 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passages #2: Psalms 117 [The Message] …  
1-2 Praise GOD [HEBREW = HALLELUJAH!!], everybody! Applaud GOD, all people! His love has taken over our lives; GOD’s faithful ways are eternal. … Hallelujah! 

Reference Passages #3: Romans 15: 7-13 [Note Paul’s quote of Psalm 117: 1 in verse 11] [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passages #4: Romans 8: 28 [NKJV] …  
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

My Journal for Today: Fellow Christian; … I don’t know about you; but this morning I needed a spoonful of sugar to help me take some castor-oil type medicine from my life circumstances; and I was duly encouraged today by my Our Daily Bread devotional, where today’s author, Julie Link, wrote …

“Where is Mary Poppins when you need her? I know this sounds as if I’m longing for the good old days when cheerfully unrealistic movies featured characters like this fictional nanny, but what I’m really longing for are people with a vision for the future that is realistically optimistic. I yearn for joyful, creative people who can show us the positive side of what we consider negative, … those who can remind us that ‘… just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.’ " 

I really loved the Disney classic movie, Mary Poppins, where this magical nanny was able to inject an uplifting and encouraging outlook on life into a family who were on the down and outs, especially the dad in the family who had become cynical and downcast from the circumstances of his life. Can I sense anyone saying “AMEN!” out there?

Well, if you believe in the same God I serve, our Lord and Savior, Who went to the cross as our Messiah, then meditating on the Scriptures above should be an ample “spoonful of sugar” to help you take in the sour medicine which life often doles out – even as we proclaim to believe in Romans 8: 28, which I’m sure most reading here know by heart.

In those Bible passages, linked and quoted above, we read of David and other psalmists writing songs to Praise the Lord” (the Hebrew word for that is “Hallelujah!”); and to give God’s people a spoonful of the sweetness of God’s truth to help deal with the sourness of life. But I know (especially right now in my life) that what we have to take in is often more like castor-oil than a spoonful of sugar.

And it’s in these times and circumstances that our faith in the reality of our Savior and sovereign God is tested; and it’s in these times that we must realize that we have One Who is the sweetest all, … One to provide us with His spoonful of sugar to help the medicine of life go down; and that One is Jesus. Hence in the devotional songs to which I’ve linked you today, I go from the Mary Poppins movie classic to that wonderful and uplifting Bill/Gloria Gaither classic, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus … There’s Just Something About That Name. [see link above].

Prayerfully we can all realize that we have the sweetest “spoonful of sugar” to take in anytime and anyplace where we need Him to give us God’s love … the sweetest taste of all.

My Prayer for Today … O Lord, Jesus; Your Name is the sweetest of all !! … Amen

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014 … Who is HE?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 104

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to see/hear the group, Hillsong, singing - with lyrics, He Is Lord, proclaiming the truth that Jesus is our Lord … AND HE LIVES … And then to this link  to hear the same group, Hillsoung, singingFor Who You Are, which proclaims that our worship of Jesus is properly for the worthy One for HE IS LORD!!!
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Matthew 16: 15-16 [NKJV] …  
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” … 
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Matthew 16: 13-20 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1and 2: Matthew 22: 41-46 [NKJV] … Go to this link

My Journal for Today: This is the week that we Christians call HOLY WEEK, culminating on Easter Sunday where we joyfully – from hearts of faith – declare, “JESUS IS ALIVE!!!” And we will come together in swelled numbers Sunday to worship this Jesus, the One Who came our of the grave (see attached photo), declaring that HE IS LORD!!!

However, … there will be many people on Sunday who will not be worshipping this very same Jesus as their Lord. And why is this? Well, it’s because they don’t recognize Jesus for Whom He was – and IS? If you were to ask these non-believers this week, “Who was the Jesus whom the Bible describes?” You might get some clueless souls who would deny even Jesus’ existence. For some Jesus was merely a good man or a moral teacher; or maybe they’d say that He was a rebellious character in the first century.

But as many writers have pointed out, as did Josh McDowell in his book, More Than A Carpenter, there are only three possible answers to the question, “Who was this Jesus of Nazareth Whom the Bible describes?” He is ether a liar, a lunatic, or the LORD! … And those were the choices which were even presented to Jesus’ inner twelve disciples on a hill overlooking Caesarea Philippi in the book written by the Disciple, Matthew (see the Matt. 16 link above), where Jesus asked His twelve followers, “Whom do the people say I am?” And Peter, the impulsive one, got it right in the moment; but later we know that Peter’s faith in his own recognition failed when it was tested by Jesus’ arrest as Peter saw His Lord being arrested and led to the cross.

Jesus even asked the religious leaders of that day whom they thought was “the Christ” and who was the Messiah’s father. Knowing the Psalms, especially Psalm 110, these leaders said that David would be the ancestor of their Messiah; to which Jesus asked why then would David call the Messiah his LORD [see Psalm 110: 1]. And to this these challengers of Jesus’ identity were silenced.

So, as we move into this HOLY WEEK, where many of us (I for one) will declare that JESUS is the Christ; and HE LIVES in the hearts of those of us who declare Him LORD. Who do you say He is? Is HE really our LORD?! Does He rule in our hearts? Will we celebrate Sunday in worship of the One Who came out of the grave, having been crucified to save us from our sins? Or will we merely say that this Jesus, whom the Bible describes, was merely a good man, whom many of us have falsely claimed to be The Messiah, … The Christ, … or … our LORD?!!

My Prayer for Today … Oh, dear Lord, You are THE MESSIAH, … the Lamb of God, … the Christ; and You live in my heart forever. HALLELUJAH …HALLELUJAH!!! And I pray that any who read here will proclaim that truth this week to any who will listen. … 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, April 13, 2014

April 13, 2014 … I Am Determined …

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 103

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to see/hear an anonymous worship service singing the poignant and classic hymn, with lyrics, I Surrender All, which reminds all Christians what it takes – in determination of spirit – to be a disciple of Christ. … And then to this link to hear my friend, and brother, Clay Crosse and his two friends, Bob Carlisle and Bebe Wynans singing I Will Follow Christ, which takes the concept of “determination” to the nth and heavenly degree of commitment.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Ruth 1: 16 [NKJV] …  
16 But [in response to her mother-in-law, Naomi] Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Ruth 1: 6, 11-18 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passages #1and 2: Luke 9: 23 and 52 [NKJV] … Go to this link

My Journal for Today: Thirty-one years ago today, in brokenness, I surrendered my life to Christ. So, I guess you could call this my “re-birthday.” And thanks to my devotional time with God’s Spirit here this morning in my quiet place, I needed a reminder of what it takes, in determination of spirit, to follow Christ.

Yesterday, I was almost overwhelmed by a series of events which had me very discouraged…enough that I wanted to resign from my commitments and callings in Christ.  But then I came here to my morning time with my God in the Our Daily Bread devotional series; and in God’s perfect timing, I was reminded what “DETERMINATION” was all about.

And the pre-published devotional from RBC Ministries today was entitled exactly that - ”Determination”; and it used the story of Ruth’s response to her mother-in-law, Naomi, from the first chapter of the book of Ruth to illustrate what I found on the back of a T-shirt, defining and depicting the character trait of “determination.”

You’ve probably heard the younger generation saying, “Been there, done that, and got that t-shirt,” which is exactly what I needed in the picture I’ve attached to shake me back into the realization of what my Lord was teaching His disciples in Chapter 9 of Luke’s gospel account, where Jesus (see the link for Luke 9: 23 above) related to His followers what it takes to be His disciple; and then He showed His commitment – and DETERMINATION – to follow the will of His Father as He turned His course toward the cross [see Luke 9: 51].

To any reader here with me, … we, as Christians, are going to face disappointments and discouragement, as I did yesterday; and Satan will want to pour gas on the flames of our fears and despondency in moments like these. But it is then that we must put on our “determination” t-shirt and to remember what is sung above in the two songs to which I’ve linked any readers here, … songs which reminded me of the commitment I made to Christ 31 years ago on this date; … to deny my selfishness, … to take up my crosses daily, and … to stay on course and follow Him.

So, I’m back on track this morning, … realizing that, as Ruth followed Naomi, and Jesus followed His heavenly Father, … I must keep-on-keeping on and follow my Lord’s leading … to surrender my all to His purpose and to follow Him, no matter where He leads.

My Prayer for Today … My Lord, Jesus, I follow 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, April 12, 2014

April 12, 2014 … Hope for Tomorrow

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 102

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this video link to see/hear a video of Cathy Trocolli singing her poignant song with lyrics, He Will Make A Way, which proclaims the truth that nothing in our lives is beyond God’s way and power to retrieve and redeem us when things seem impossible. … And then go to this link to another video of the movie character, ANNIE, singing the classic song of hopeTomorrow, which gives all who believe hope in the face of the trials of today.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Isaiah 42: 18-19 [NKJV] …   
18 “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.?
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Isaiah 42: 14-21 [NKJV] … Go to this link  =============

Reference Passage #1: 1st Corinthians 10: 13 [NKJV] …  
13 No temptation [also translated “test, trial, or tribulation”] has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Reference Passage #2: 2nd Corinthians 12: 9 [NKJV] …  
9 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.

Reference Passage #3: Matthew 19: 25 [NKJV] …  
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” … 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

My Journal for Today: This very morning, on the day before I celebrate the brightest, most hopeful, day of my life, the day I became a Christian 31 years ago, I’m headed to a retreat meeting of the Elders of our church; and the meeting has a foreboding cloud over it. At the present time there is a growing feelings of pessimism which are spreading among our flock; and there is some degree of turmoil which lies ahead. I hate confrontation, even when I know it must be encountered, to deal with the trials of life.

And in the midst of all of this, I woke up this morning with these foreboding feelings and the realization, being called by God to be an Elder in our church, I was going to have to go “face the music” and head out to this retreat today where my brother Elders and I will be facing these storm clouds.

And then … and then … I went, as do everyday, to get with God, in the solitude of my quiet place, to pray and delve into God’s word; and low and behold, God’s perfect timing brought me to my Our Daily Bread devotional, which led me to read a highlight passage from Isaiah 43: 14-21 where the Prophet was speaking for God to a remnant of believers among the Israelites; and God’s people back then were in a lot more turmoil than we – NOW - in our church could ever imagine.

And I was lifted up to search for songs, as I do everyday, which would reflect the subject matter of my quiet-time journaling; and God’s Spirit – I believe – led me to two songs, one by Kathy Trocolli, where she proclaims that “God Will Make A Way” no matter how bad things get; and then to the classic Broadway song, from the musical Annie, …the song ”Tomorrow,” which also tells the story of hope in the midst of trial.

Then God’s Spirit bubbled up from my memory three reference Scriptures to my mind/heart, the first two where the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth (and to all Christians alike) about two truths which help any believer to know that God will never allow His faithful remnant, just like those to whom He was addressing through the Prophet Isaiah, to face any set of trials where, with a heart of thanksgiving and humility, we cannot confront and where our Lord won’t give us the enabling and empowering grace to prevail.

So, though I’m still headed toward a meeting where the storm clouds hang heavy, I do so – in faith – with an attitude of hope because as my final reference verse above where Jesus proclaims, ” nothing is impossible” when we rely on our God.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray that your servants this morning will find the humility to surrender to Your amazing grace so that Your church can come through these storm clouds with a testimony of victory for 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.

Friday, April 11, 2014

April 11, 2014 … How Great Thou Art !!!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 101

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  – Please go to this video link to see/hear a video of Chris Tomlin singing his classic song, How Great Is Our God, which proclaims nothing less than the greatness of our God. … And then to this link  to another video of contemporary singers Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill singing the old, classic hymn How Great Thou Art which needs no explanation beyond the greatness of the lyrics to declare the greatness of our God.
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See photo of “God’s Greatness” below Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 29: 2 [NKJV] …   
2 Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 29 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passage #1: Job, Chapters 38-39 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passage #2: Psalms, Chapter 33 [NKJV] …Go to this link ... 

Reference Passage #3: Isaiah 55: 8-9 [NKJV] …  
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Reference Passage #4: Hebrews 11: 3 [NKJV] …  
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

My Journal for Today: I don’t need to write anything here today. If you’ve taken the time to take in all that I’ve posted here, the picture, the songs, and the Scriptures, you know that my devotional today from Our Daily Bread and God’s word has declared, and is proclaiming, the greatness of Our God and the majesty of the works of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, … Who with a word created all that we see and has redeemed all that we know from His creation by His life, death, and resurrection.

I need say no more because any words from my finite mind would take away from my Lord’s glory at this point. So, let me go immediately to prayer …

My Prayer for Today … Lord, in You I live, move, and have all my being. Praise Your Holy Name. … How great Thou art !!! … 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.