Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014 … Our God of Comebacks

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 181

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go this video link to hear the group Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, reminding Christians that we serve a God of 2nd chances, or 3rd, or 4th … or as many as it takes to fulfill His promise to reform us into the image of our Savior.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 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.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: 1st John, Chapter 1 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 Romans 8: 1 [NKJV] …  
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

 Reference Passages #2 Philippians 1: 6 …  
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: If you know you are a Christian, reading here with me, today’s Our Daily Bread [ODB] devotional entry challenges our faith in God’s forgiveness. The ODB for today tells of an American pro-football player who had career-threatening injuries twice; and both time Chad Pennington came back to win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award because of his courage to do what it takes to be rehabbed back to play NFL football again.

However, do you realize that any Christian can be God’s comeback player of life by simply coming to Him and humbly confessing of our sins. and genuinely repenting, to receive that saving grace that our Lord has waiting for anyone who comes to Him seeking His forgiveness? My friend, that’s the promise of today’s highlight passage - 1st John 1: 9. But the ODB question today is … Do we really believe that our Lord was the comeback player of all time, dying on that cross and being raised again, defeating death, and showing us all that ANYONE can come to Him in faith and repentance and be cleansed and remade and to live with Him forever in Heaven?

Do we get it? … Do we believe it? … Do we live it?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I’m forever remade in Your image. … Amen

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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29, 2014 … Checking the Basics of Christlikeness

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 180

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this You Tube video link to hear the group 4Him singing their call to righteousness Back To The Basics, where Christians are called to return to basics of Christlikeness in the process of sanctification.
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Click on photo to read more clearly

Highlight Passage – NKJV: 2nd Peter 1: 8 [lKJV] …  
8 If these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: 2nd Peter 1: 2-11 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 Matthew 6: 33 [NKJV] …
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 

Reference Passages #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 Passages #3 Galatians 5: 22-23 … 
 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. 

 Reference Passages #4 Philippians 1: 6 …  
6 … being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; …

Reference Passages #5 2nd Peter 1: 5-7 [NKJV] … From today’s ODB: “ Christlike living and effective service result from a process [of growth] in eight areas of spiritual development: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

 My Journal for Today: “Sanctification” is one of those theological terms which often misdirects us as Christians. It is THE BASICS of Christian living as the group 4Him sings in the linked song above. However, living in this complicated and demanding world can often cause us to focus more on the problems of living rather than the process of living. That’s what my Our Daily Bread devotional centered on today – helping us to do what 4Him sang about … to get “Back to the Basics” of the Christian’s life.

Actually both of the Apostles Peter and Paul were trying to get Christians of their day to do exactly that when they wrote to the churches in Asia Minor, exhorting them to understand what the basics of the Christian life were all about. Each of them posed a list of the fruit of God’s Spirit upon which Christians should do all they (we) could (can) to develop in Christlikeness. Paul’s check list for sanctification is found in Galatians 5: 22-23 and Peter’s in 2nd Peter 1: 5-7; and it would be a powerful exercise in Christian discipleship to set these lists before us and see where we stand in the process of doing what God promised for all Christians in Philippians 1: 6 - to complete us, by our surrender as Jesus commanded in both Matthew 6: 33 and Luke 9: 23.

 If I asked any who read here, “Do you really desire to live and become as much like Christ as possible in this life,” I assume 100% of us would respond affirmatively. Well, if that’s the case, perhaps we all need to use Peter’s and Paul’s lists to help us see how we’re doing in our pursuit of Christlikeness.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to be more fruitful in my desire to become more like 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, June 28, 2014

June 28, 2014 … My Story Has Power

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 179

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this You Tube video link to hear a group leading in worship and singing Fanny Crosby’s 19th Century hymn Blessed Assurance, where Christians are encouraged to share the story of their salvation and a changed life with others. … And then GO TO THIS LINK  to hear the group, Avalon, singing Testify To Love, the rousing charge for all Christians to go out and testify of God’s love to others.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Colossians 4:5 [lKJV] …  
5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Colossians 4: 2-6[NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 Matthew 5: 16 [NKJV] …
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Reference Passages #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 Passages #3 John 3: 16 [NKJV] … You know it! So now go live it and share it with others telling them how God’s love changed you.

Reference Passages #4 Ephesians 5: 15-16 …  
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread [ODB] devotional reminded me of the Apostle Paul’s timeless exhortation to Christians of our responsibility as transformed believers to share our story with others, making God’s redeeming love so appealing that they can’t help but desire to respond to God’s powerful and life-changing love in these testing times. [See also the link to the meditation songs above!]

And to share this truth, the ODB devotional used a telling story of how an apple salesman can only sell his apples if those who are potential customers recognize their need to consume an apple. That’s why the advertising industry uses alluring images to make the target product so appealing that the public will FEEL that they desperately have NEED of that product or service for their own consumption.

And when it comes to sharing the love of God [i.e., the Gospel] with others in these times, when others need to see God’s light shining in the darkness of the world, there’s nothing more powerful to make Jesus’ love more appealing for others then for them to hear how God’s love changed you (or me). That’s why Jesus admonished His disciples to go out and shine His light in the world (see Matt. 5: 16) by His commission when He was taken back into Heaven after His resurrection (see Acts 1: 8 and Matt. 28: 19-20).

So, the question and challenge from today’s devotional is … Are we redeeming our time well by sharing our story of transformation with others, making God’s love so appealing that the lost, who live in darkness, will be drawn to the light of the Gospel as moths are drawn to a light in the night?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray for opportunities to share my story with others who need 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.

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27, 2014 … Love Sweet Love

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 178

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this You Tube video link to hear Jackie DeShannon singing Burt Bacharach’s 60’s hit What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love, a so-called secular song which expressed God’s desire for His world at any time in history.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Romans 13: 10 [NKJV] …  
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Romans 13: 8-10 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 Luke 10: 25-37 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passages #2 John 3: 16 [NKJV] … You know it! So now go live it!!

Reference Passages #3 John 13: 34-35 …  
34 … “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Reference Passages #4 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13 … Go to this link

Reference Passages #5 Philippians 2: 3-4 …  
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

My Journal for Today: I was a young man growing up in the 60’s, which were turbulent times of war and the cultural reaction to war; and in those times many protest songs were written calling for more love in the world. And one of those song, which was written by Burt Bacharach and popularized by Jackie DeShannon, was the song linked above … What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love. And that message is one which any age could claim as a desperate need for humanity.

And, in fact, the need for love is at the heart of the word picture painted by today’s Our Daily Bread which made reference to the Oath penned by Hippocrates, the so-called “Father of Medicine,” who wrote that physicians should “Do No Harm!” But that oath, or ethic, applies to all of us in all situations of life, doesn’t it?

And that sentiment was at the heart of God’s plan for sinful humanity. Knowing that sinful man could not save himself, God sent His Son to do it for us – the ultimate act of love of all time … His death on the cross to same me (and you) from our my (our) sins. As Jesus, Himself, spoke about in several of the passages above; and then the Apostle Paul wrote about it in Romans, Chapter 13, … WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE SWEET LOVE !!

My Prayer for Today … Help me, Lord, to be Your love to someone today. … Amen

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

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26, 2014 … Roadside Assistance

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 177

Devotional Song: Go to this link …  Please go to this God Tube video link to hear the Maranatha Singers singing Martin Luther’s magnanimous hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, sung at the 1997 Promise Keepers Epic event when close to 3 million men filled the mall in Washington, DC (yours truly among them) to proclaim that God was/is our mighty fortress … then, now, and forevermore.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 46: 1 [NKJV] …  
6 God is our refuge and strength, … a very present help in trouble.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalm 46 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #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 Passages #2 ... Isaiah 41: 10 [NKJV] …  
10 “ … Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, … yes, I will help you, … I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Reference Passages #3 ... Romans 8: 31 …  
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Reference Passages #4 ... 2 Corinthians 12: 9 …  
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 Passages #5 Philippians 4: 13 …  
13 I can do all things through Christ, Who gives me the strength.

My Journal for Today: Fellow Christian, … if you’re here reading along with me today, perhaps you’d be willing to take the time to use the link below in the Blogger Note to go online and read this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional where the author, Joe Stowell, tells a delightful true story about an injured hunter in England, who waited along the road for his hunting friends to come back and get him for physical assistance. However, as he waited there on the road, a woman drove by and offered to help to take him to his hotel; and when he got in her vehicle, he realized that it was the Queen of England.

As Stowell points out, … "As shocking as receiving help from the queen of England may be, we have an offer of help that is even more astounding. The Creator-God of the universe descends into our world, sees our trouble, and offers to marshal His resources to help us." And that is the subject matter of the highlight passage today, taken from Psalm 46, which is the Scripture which inspired Martin Luther to pen the poem which became the famous hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, which is linked by song and scripture above for you to take in and meditate upon today.

And as I read the ODB for today, several other words of encouragement and strength from God’s word bubbled up in my consciousness, all of which I typed out above for your meditation. These are all passages from God’s word that I had memorized years ago; and they have been used by God’s Spirit many times over the years in my life when I felt down or discouraged. I would heartily exhort you to memorize and internalize these passages; and when you are in one of those shadow-of-death valleys in life, you can meditate on these Scriptures; and I guarantee they will do what the Prophet Isaiah wrote about in Isaiah 26: 3 and 41: 10, i.e., to lift you up with God’s righteous right hand and give you peace.

God is our mighty fortress; and He truly is our help in times of trouble. Perhaps you need Him to lift you up today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, thank You for always being there to pick me up when I need roadside assistance. … 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, June 25, 2014

June 25, 2014 … Wisdom! … God’s or the World’s??

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 176

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this You Tube video link to hear Kathy Trocolli singing I Will Choose Christ, reminding all Christians that in the face of all the world’s pressures, we must choose to serve our Lord.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st Samuel 24: 6 [NKJV] …
6 And he said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.”
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: 1st Samuel 24: 1-10 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passages #1 Proverbs 1: 7 [NKJV] …  
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

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

Reference Passages #3 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 …  
6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, …

 Reference Passages #4 James 3: 17 …  
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

My Journal for Today: Ever been in a place where your friends or worldly logic was pushing you one way but you just knew – down deep in your heart – their advice was just not THE way you should go? >>> Of course, we all have been there; and some of us caved to the pressures of the world and others stood their ground and went the way of our conscience or where we thought God was leading us.

That was David’s dilemma as he was trying to escape the wrath of King Saul, described in today’s highlight passage as he confronted the King in a cave (see the passage in 1st Samuel 24). And in this scenario, all human logic – reinforced by David’s followers – would have been to kill the king and get him off David’s back. But as we read from the passage, David didn’t relent to the world’s ways; because he knew to do so would be an affront to God’s anointed King. David follow God’s wisdom rather than the world’s.

It’s tough to do business God’s way in today’s world, isn’t it? So many ways of the world seem logical or we get pressure from our peers, friends, and even loved ones to go a certain way; but then there’s always God’s way to consider, isn’t there? And so many times, going down the roads of life God’s way takes us away from the paths of the world.

But we must choose the way we’re going; and as Kathy Trocolli sings in the song I’ve linked any reader here today, I pray that we all choose Christ’s way.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, lead me Your way 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.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24, 2014 … Repaired By Veins of Blood

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 175

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this You Tube video link to hear Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, reminding all Christians just how far God will go farther than we can imagine or rationalize to repair us into the image of our Lord … and then ON TO THIS LINK  to hear the same group singing the song, Your Grace Still Amazes Me, powerfully proclaiming the amazing grace offered freely by our Savior to repair, renew, and restore us from our brokenness into His image.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Romans 6: 5 [NKJV] …  
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, …
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Romans 6: 1-18 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passages #1 John 3: 16 [NKJV] … Certainly I don’t need to insult you by copying this verse here …

Reference Passages #2 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 …  
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Reference Passages #3 Philippians 1: 6 … 
 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: If you were here with me yesterday, reading my journal entry [see this link], you read of the remarkable repair job God works in the lives of believers who receive God’s saving grace and become new creatures in Christ. Well, today, my Our Daily Bread [ODB] devotional used a clever word picture to reinforce that truth.

The ODB for today taught me about the Japanese art form, KINTSUGI, pictured in the attached photo, which takes a broken piece of pottery and uses pure gold to repair the plate into a very practical work of art. And if you were served a meal on a “kintsugi repaired” plate, it would be a considered an honor because the Kintsugi plate would be seen as more beautiful, and certainly more valuable, than the originally fashioned piece of pottery.

As a Christian I would expect that you’re way ahead of me here, … seeing immediately the parallel picture of what the blood of Christ does, like the gold in “Kintsugi,” to repair, renew, and restore our hearts from the brokenness of our sinful selves. We’re all broken at birth, aren’t we (see Romans 3: 23)? And it takes the AMAZING, SAVING GRACE of Christ’s blood, spilled on the cross, to take our brokenness and reshape us into the resurrected life of our Savior. Again, as I posited yesterday, it is this process of salvation and sanctification [see2nd Cor. 5: 17 or Phil. 1: 6] which makes us over again into a new and way more valuable me. And anyone who is willing to repent – in brokenness and humility – believing in the power of Christ’s atoning blood, he/she will be repaired, somewhat like a “Kintsugi plate,” into a wholeness which is far more beautiful and way more valuable than the original version fashioned by our sin-born lives.

Please take the time to use the links above to hear two of my favorite worship songs; and revel and meditate in the reality of the repair-job which Christ has done with His blood – and your faith – to renew and restore you into His image forever. Can I sense you joining me in my prayer of HALLELUJAH below?

My Prayer for Today … Oh, Lord, I most certainly share a loud HALLELUJAH here this 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.

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014 … Redeemed and Restored

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 174

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this God Tube video link to hear Big Daddy Weave singing Redeemed, proclaiming the reality that becoming a new person in Christ is a process of complete restoration.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Colossians 3: 8-10 [NKJV] …  
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, …
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Colossians 3: 8-17 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 Psalm 107: 1-2 [NKJV] … Let the redeemed of the Lord say so Go to this link 

Reference Passages #3 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 …   
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

My Journal for Today: Yesterday from my Our Daily Bread [ODB] devotional (see this link ), I wrote of how my dad was changed so radically when he finally accepted Christ as his Lord at age 72. The Apostle Paul experienced that kind of restoration process when he was redeemed by Christ on that road to Damascus, being transformed from a radical persecutor of Christians into one who changed the world with his Christian teachings and evangelism.

You can certainly read of this radical transformation when he wrote of the change which comes when someone is redeemed by Christ in the highlight passages from Colossians 3 and 2nd Corinthians 5 quoted/linked above. In fact, I can testify personally of this process of redemptive restoration in the change which took place in my life as I became a “poster-boy” for that 2nd Cor. 5: 17 passage, becoming a new creature when I was saved in 1983. I was transformed from one who doggedly and compulsively pursued pornography to one now who is here everyday [and has been for many years] doggedly and compulsively pursuing to know God through His word. Yes, I was transformed from an avowed atheist to one who is now Ordained as a Minister of the Gospel. Only the blood of Jesus can do something like that with the Apostle Paul or the one who writes these words today.

My guess is that no matter how or when you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have a story of the effect this redemption has had on your life. Some of you may have stories of the slow process of sanctification which took place over the years, you having been saved at a very young age, perhaps even in childhood. Others, like the Apostle Paul (and yours truly) may have a story of radical transformation which took place when, in faith, you (we) surrendered your (our) life – in faith – believing in and declaring of the saving and transforming grace of Jesus’ blood-bought sacrifice [see Romans 10: 9-13].

But a transformation or metamorphosis will always take place when someone is, as Big Daddy Weave sings in today’s linked song, REDEEMED. And if it took place as it did for me or my earthly father (or the Apostle Paul), others will see the change; and it will be like Paul wrote about to the Colossians or to the Corinthians (see passages above). And if you’re one of those, as am I, we need to go out and share our story of redemption and restoration with all who’ll listen.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, let me tell of Your redemption of 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, June 22, 2014

June 22, 2014 … My Dad Meets Jesus

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 173

Devotional Song: Go to this link …   Please go to this God Tube video link to hear Cliff Barrows leading a Gaither tent revival concert singing Blessed Assurance, proclaiming our story of salvation, which can only come through Christ.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st Timothy 1: 15-16 [NKJV] …  
15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: 1st Timothy 1: 15-17 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 John 3: 16 [NKJV] … … You know it!!

Reference Passages #2 Romans 7: 13-25 … Go to this link … Paul recognizes who he is with and without Christ …

Reference Passages #3 Romans 10: 9-13 … Go to this link … Paul recognizes who he is with and without Christ …

My Journal for Today: This morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry [see the link below] reminded me of one of the most joyous days in my life. I hope you don’t mind me retelling and reliving that day in my journal entry today.

Some years after I came to know Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1983 I discovered that my dad, who was an Elder in my hometown Presbyterian Church, was – as they would say down here in the American south – as lost as a ball in high weeds. He and my mother both had that common algebraic view of salvation. You know, if you do more good things than bad, God would take you to heaven. So, recognizing their mistaken theological views, I began to witness my faith and my story with them. And my story was one like that sung in today’s linked song (use the link above to hear Blessed Assurance).

Subsequently, I became somewhat depressed as my folks just didn’t seem to get it; but I kept writing letters, mostly to my dad, trying to get him to see what the Apostle Paul finally came to grasp [see the linked Romans passages above] … that He needed to surrender to the saving Grace of His Lord and Savior, Jesus. Well, I couldn’t knock my dad (or mom) off or their high horses of pride like God did for Paul; but I knew that God desired them to be saved; and so I just kept witnessing to them – and above all, praying for them.

Well, in 1988 when my Dad was about my age right now (70+), I got a letter from him, proclaiming that on the previous Sunday, having gone to church, my dad pulled out one of my letters in which I had written out a simple sinner’s prayer. And my father declared that he read that prayer aloud that Sunday morning at home; and he said, in the letter to me, that he knew “something” had changed in him.

Well, over the subsequent weeks and months I saw the change. There was no more fowl language, especially taking God’s Name in vain, which had been so prevalent in my Dad’s vocabulary. There were no more racial jokes. And the anger that my dad had displayed in having to take care of my mom, who was debilitated with heart disease, had disappeared. Now, my dad expressed that he saw that God had given him more time with my mother to minister to her needs. Subsequent to that, literally on her death bed, God also was gracious enough to show me that my mother was saved as well; but that’s too long of a story for here.

I just want anyone who has a lost loved one to realize what the Apostle Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy in the highlight passages above. It is God who saves; and we can only witness His saving love and grace to the ones in our lives who need to see Jesus in our lives and to hear how He has transformed us. So, if you have a lost loved one, you keep witnessing to, and above all praying for, their salvation.

My Prayer for Today … God I know You love my sister; but again I beg You break through in her heart and save her. … 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, June 21, 2014

June 21, 2014 … Life at a Savior pace

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 172 Devotional Song: Go to this link …  … Please go to this You Tube video link to hear the group Hillsong leading in worship, singing Here I Am To Worship, proclaiming the heart of all those who have given their lives in worship of our Lord.
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 Highlight Passage – NKJV: Luke 10: 41-42 [NKJV] …  
41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Luke 10: 38-42 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 Psalms 27: 4 [NKJV] …   
4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek; … that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, … to behold the beauty of the LORD, … and to inquire in His temple.

Reference Passages #2 John 12: 1-8 … Go to this link … Mary again worships at the feet of Jesus …

Reference Passages #3 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 Passages #4 John 14: 21 [NKJV] …   
21 “ … He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry reminded me that I too often get sucked into the world’s con-job … the “Tyranny of the Urgent.” And the ODB for today reported that social scientists have shown that people in the last decade or so have been measured walking faster and faster, measuring our tendency to march to the pace of the world rather than to the pace of our Lord.

And a couple of stories in the New Testament, both involving one person, Mary, the daughter of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, illustrate how we should walk and live our lives. The two stories are found in Luke 10 and John 12 respectively; and they are linked above for the reader to study. Both stories found Jesus visiting the home of His friend, Lazarus in Bethany; and they highlight Lazarus’ daughter, Mary, showing Jesus the priority worship He deserved. In the former story in Luke 10, Mary’s sister Martha wanted Mary to come and help her with the dinner preparation work as they entertained Jesus; but Mary wanted to spend quality time at Jesus’ feet; and Jesus told Lazarus’ family that Mary was doing the right thing.

In the John 12 incident, after Lazarus had been raised from the dead, Jesus was once again visiting their home; and Mary poured a very expensive bottle of fragrance over Jesus’ feet, anointing Him in worship just days before Jesus would be nailed to the cross during Passover. Jesus’ disciples, who were present for this latter incident, especially Judas of Iscariot, were taken back by Mary’s extravagant display of worship; but Jesus, once again, told them Mary had it right, sacrificing much to worship Him as her Lord.

Both stories illustrate what the Apostle Paul would later teach and exhort Christians on how to live (see Romans 12: 1-2 copied above). And the pace and priority Jesus asks of us (for example in Luke 9: 23, which I hope you know by heart by now), is quite different than what the “tyranny of the urgent” and the world would demand. God wants us to slow down, as did Lazarus’ daughter, Mary, and sacrifice quality time worshipping our Lord. Yes, Jesus desires our close fellowship more than we apparently desire the same of Him [see John 14: 21 above]; but our worship of and fellowship with our Lord requires our decision to give of our selves to be with Him and to follow His leadership.

That was what Mary, the daughter of Lazarus, did; and that’s what we should be doing – EVERY DAY!! And that’s why I’m here this morning, trying to slow down and be with my Lord. How about you, have you spent your priority time with Jesus today?

My Prayer for Today … Thank You, Lord, for being here with me again this 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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20, 2014 … Forgotten Memories

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 171

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go to this You Tube video link to hear Barbara Streisand singing the beautiful and pertinent song from the musical, Cats … Memory, reminding us that though the night falls with our memories … so dawns a new morning with God richly reminding us of His promises. … And THEN TO THIS LINK … to hear Chris Rice singing the classic hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, reminding us of God’s promise in Lamentations 3: 22-23 [see below], something we should never forget.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 103: 2 [NKJV] …  
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.
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Highlight Passage #2 – NKJV: Psalms 103: 8 [NKJV] …
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, … slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 103: 1-8 [NKJV] … Go to this link  
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Reference Passages #1 Psalms 105 … Go to this link …  … God wants His people to remember Whom they serve …

Reference Passages #2 Exodus 34: 6-7 … … And the Lord reminds Moses Who He is  
6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

Reference Passages #3 Lamentations 3: 22-23 … And the weeping Prophet reminds us all of God’s faithfulness …  
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.

My Journal for Today: Traveling down the road of life (see attached photo), we do need to keep our eyes vigilantly fixed on the road ahead, knowing from our plans where we’re going. However, at the same time, we need to use our rear-view mirrors to know what is behind us. And often, is it not the truth, that knowing our past can help us travel forward?

And God wants us to remember Him, and what He has done for us, as we travel the road of life; and that is the subject matter of my Our Daily Bread devotional for today. And when I read it, I was taken – by my memories (as it were) – to go back and listen to one of my favorite songs from the musical, Cats, in this case with the lovely and lilting voice of Barbara Streisand (use the link above) singing “Memory.” And then – also from memory – I went back to hear Chris Rice sing the classic old hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, another song which is pertinent to the ODB message today. I hope any reader here has taken the time to use the links I’ve provided to hear these songs.

And all of this reminds us that as we travel the road of life, God wants us to remember Who He is and Whom we serve. He wanted that of His children in the Old Testament (see the passages above); and it’s especially true of those of us who have the account, in the New Testament, of Him sending His Son to save us. And it’s when we remember all of this that we can move forward in life, knowing that our God is ALWAYS faithful and He will guide us down the road of life.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I remember what You have done for me and I see You to lead me even today. … Amen

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

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014 … Our Shepherd

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 170

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go to this vimeo video link to hear Marty Goetz singing a modern day version of Psalm 23, where God, through David, wrote of the Good Shepherd, … Our Good Shepherd.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Ezekiel 34: 11 [NKJV] …  
I, Myself, will search for My sheep and seek them out.

Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Ezekiel 34: 11-16 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Highlight Passage [Context] #2 – NKJV: Ezekiel, Chapter 34[NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passages #1 Psalm 23 … Go to this link …   Our Lord is our Good Shepherd !!

Reference Passages #2 Isaiah 53: 6 … 
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 Passages #3 John 10: 7-21 ... Go to this link
Jesus is our Good Shepherd; … He called us and we come!

Reference Passages #2 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17 …   
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

My Journal for Today: When I was under the mentoring of a Godly leader in our church years ago, He one day asked me, “Bill, do you believe in what it says in 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17?” Well, not knowing that scripture said, I responded by saying, “Sorry, I don’t know what it says; … let me look it up?” And he immediately pointed out that he didn’t ask me to tell him what it said; … he had only asked me if I believed in what it said. And in that little interlude, my mentor also taught me that I also needed to know what it said as well; because that one verse says volumes about why we can say – without doubt – that ALL of what God says in His word is truth and we can believe in ALL of it for our good.

So, by now, I hope we all know what that passages says; but even if we don’t was can say that what it says is truth!

And in that regard, today’s Our Daly Bread devotional has a marvelous lesson we all need to hold onto for living our lives with Jesus as our “Good Shepherd.” Long ago, from the same mentor, I also learned that when God uses a word picture over and over again, especially when the picture can be found in both the Old and New Testaments, we need to pay attention to it, because in such repetitive imagery God is trying to paint a picture to which we need to model and follow in our lives.

And as you can see in all of the imagery of my journal entry today, God showed us over and over again, from His Old Testaments Prophets (see the writings of Ezekiel and Isaiah and David above) and from the words of Jesus, Himself (see the John 10 passage above), that God was going to send a Good Shepherd to lead his people from the valley of the shadow of death into His good pastures (hear the song linked with Marty Goetz singing Psalm 23, also linked for meditation above).

But this begs the question … Is Jesus my Good Shepherd? … Because if He is, I will follow Him today; and allow Him to lead me, quite possibly from a shadowy place, into His good place. How about it, fellow Christian; … are we going to follow our Good Shepherd today?

My Prayer for Today … Lord, lead me; … You are my Shepherd; and I will 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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014 … Smile !! … It’s our choice!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 169

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go the first video link to hear Kirk Franklin singing a song many of us may need right now, I Smile!, proclaiming something we all can do to honor our God – and that is to SMILE, especially when we remember His loving smile on mankind in bringing Christ to us. … And so, GO TO THIS LINK and hear baby Micah laugh and get a good smile going for today …
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Numbers 6: 25 [NKJV] …  
25 The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; …
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Highlight Passage – NLT: Numbers 6: 25 [NLT] … 25 May the LORD smile on you, and be gracious to you; …
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Numbers 6: 22-27 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passages #1 Lamentations 3: 22-23 … Go to this link   … If you’ve got this one memorized and internalized, we should be smiling right now because our God’s mercies are new every morning!!

Reference Passages #1 John 3: 16 … … You know it, don’t you? … Does it make you smile? … It should!! …

Reference Passages #2 Romans 8: 28 … I hope you know this one – if not, go look it up and believe it; because it’s true!! And if we do really believe it, it should make us all smile!

My Journal for Today: I challenge you to use the links above for the song and the little You Tube piece of a baby laughing; and if you do it, I’d bet you’ll come out smiling – if not laughing. There’s just something about seeing someone else smile or a baby laugh which cause us to have a reaction of joy.

Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional was one of those “Thanks, I needed that!” messages from God. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by some negative circumstances in my life of late. Perhaps you’re in one of those funky times right now, too. And if we look at the status of the world around us, it’s pretty easy to get in a downer mood, isn’t it? … Well, I hope you can realize that a smile is a choice. We can – RIGHT NOW – choose to frown or to smile. Try the latter. SMILE for me … Common, do it! Smile.

It makes you feel better, doesn’t it?

 Medical research has shown that choosing to voluntarily smile lowers the blood pressure and releases endorphins and serotonin which are natural pain relieving brain chemicals. Go to this link  and read a short article arguing 10 benefits of choosing to smile. And I’m just sitting here right now, choosing to smile; … and I feel better.

Try it.

And I hope you know John 3: 16 by heart … If not, … go find it in your Bible and read it out loud three times while you’re choosing to smile. You feel better now, don’t you? So, what’s all this say to us – as Christians? Well duh!!! If we can’t figure out the message, I’m afraid there’s little hope for our attitude today. As for me, I’m starting out this day with a smile, remembering how much God loves me; and I’m going to do all I can – all day - to smile.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, You give me a smile today. Thanks!!! … 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, June 17, 2014

June 17, 2014 … The Lamb Is The Light

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 168

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go the first video link to hear a group a group of children, worshipping God and singing the poignant and pertinent song You Are the Light, proclaiming Christ is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD!!
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Revelation 21: 23 [NKJV] …  
23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Revelation 21: 14-27 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 John 8: 12-36 … Go to this link … He told them WHO He was; but they wouldn’t believe Him …

Reference Passages #2 Matthew 5: 14-16 …  
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’s Our Daily Bread [ODB] reminded me, with conviction I might add, that the Jesus I follow is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD; and He has commanded me (see Matthew 5: 14-16 above) to go out and shine His light into an ever darkening world. And IF the kids in my video song link for today can get that, certainly I ought to be able to get it.

The ODB today took me to the promise and prophesy of Revelation 21 (see above copy and link), with the reality that one day in glory, Jesus will be the Light He promised when he was confronted by the religious leaders (see John 8 linked above); and He told them clearly that He was the Lamb of God as well as being ”light of the world.” But like so many today, living in darkness, the people of Jesus’ day couldn’t see His light shining … even right in front of them.

I was that way a few decades ago, refusing to even try to see that Jesus was, is, and always will be, the light of the world. But PTL, He cast the blindness from my eyes and allowed me to see THE TRUTH, and as He promised in John 8: 32, the light of THE TRUTH (Who is Jesus) set me free. And today – every day here in this quiet place - I seek more of His light, His truth, and His way; and He shines His light for me to see and follow Him. And one day, in Heaven, He will shine that light so brightly that He will light my way into forever.

But, now, … today, … I pray that we do all we can see as much of His light as we can seek and to follow it forward, shining His light for others to see Him, seek Him, and to follow Him into eternity.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, as I pray almost daily, shine Your light so brightly that I can’t help but see it and follow Your path into eternity. … 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, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014 … Just Do it !!

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 167

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go the first video link to hear Kathy Trocolli singing the poignant and pertinent song I Will Choose Christ, reminding all Christians that our life is our worship and workmanship, reflecting the sacrifice which our Lord gave to us that we might be His forever.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: James 1: 22, … 25 [NKJV] …  
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. … 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: James 1:22 – 2:26 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 John 14: 21 …  
21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Reference Passages #2 Romans 12: 1-2 …  
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 Passages #3 Ephesians 2: 10 …  
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional focuses on the practical brother of Jesus and his logo-like phrase “… be doers of the word,” which, from James 1: 22, exhorted Christians to take their faith into the arena of life and to make it a “walk-the-walk” faith, rather than just a “talk-the-talk” type of faith.

In 1988 the sports equipment company Nike came up with their now famous “shoosh” logo along with the motto, “Just DO it!!” And the marketing campaign which followed took them from an also-ran in sports marketing to the top of the field. The Nike marketing emphasis was to call the sports enthusiast to come out from just being a fan to being a participant; and of course, to participate the newly activated couch-potato fan would have to purchase shoes, tennis rackets, golf-clubs, and all kinds of equipment to get involved; … and they did, … buying Nike equipment, and taking them from sales of less than a billion per year to over 9 billion in one year. And the Nike market-share has grown to one of the top sports companies in the world.

Today, my devotional photo is of that famous trademark Nike logo and motto; and the song, linked above, is Kathy Trocolli, singing I Will Choose Christ, which points the believer to choose to become a servant … to get out of the easy-chair of life and to get out their and become a “DOER” of the faith. It’s what Jesus commanded in Luke 9: 23 and (above) John 14: 21. It’s what the Apostle Paul exhorted believers in Romans 12: 1-2 and Ephesians 2: 10. And … it’s what Nike proclaimed in their famous motto. “JUST DO IT!” 

And the “IT,” in this case, is to live out our faith in the arena of everyday life. Now, the question which comes from my dip into the letter from James, … Jesus’ brother, … is … am I a couch-potato Christian; or am I out there – in the game – living out my faith in the worship and the witness of everyday life? Am I witnessing to my Lord’s sacrifice for me with my sacrifice of good works in His Name?

Yes, my fellow Christian, today let’s be in the game, wearing Christ’s uniform; and let’s “JUST DO IT” for our Lord!!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I’m in the game, for You everyday! … 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, June 15, 2014

June 15, 2014 … Dads Being Godly Dads

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 166

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go the first video link to hear Phillips, Craig, and Dean singing the poignant and pertinent song I Want To Be Just Like You, reminding dads – on this Father’s Day – that we need to become the fathers our kids for us to be … and then to this link to hear the same group singing the song, How Deep The Father’s Love reminding all Christians just how deep was our Heavenly Father’s love to give His only Son for His love for His children.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Ephesians 6: 4 [NKJV] …  
4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Ephesians 6: 1-11 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 …  
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Reference Passages #2 Proverbs 22: 6 …
 6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Reference Passages #1 1st Timothy 3: 2-4 …  
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence. 

My Journal for Today: I know that this journal is read by some overseas; so if you’re reading this in Europe or another continent, please know that it is “Father’s Day” here in the USA; and this day is set aside to honor Dads in our families. And given the state of this world, especially here in America, the question comes up on this Dad’s Day, … ”What would this world be like if fathers were the fathers which are called upon by God’s word to be?” … And I dare say that our world would be a far different world – a far better world – if Dad’s were Dads as God leads them to be.

The images I’ve called up in this blog [see the photo and the songs] are those which follow God’s commands for fathers from His word. And right from Moses in Deuteronomy, … onward by Solomon in Proverbs; … and then in the New Testament from the Apostle Paul, all from scriptural admonitions, we fathers (and yes, I am one) are called upon to raise up our children “… in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

In fact, if you read Paul’s words, later in his ministry, where he was trying to help a younger Timothy to lead a church, Paul taught him that no man should be an Elder (or leader) in Christ’s Church unless he had a track record of being a good and Godly father in his own home (see 1st Timothy 3: 4).

Here in the USA we have a crisis of absentee fatherhood; and the social consequences have been painfully apparent – gangs, violence, and growing child endangerment. Kids are growing up without dads and the society is falling apart at the seams. So, I ask again .. “What would the world be like if dads were the Godly dads as they are called – by God - to be?”

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to be the dad you’ve called me to be. … 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, June 14, 2014

June 14, 2014 … Rock Solid

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 165

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go the first video link to hear a description of The Old Man of the Mountains, the solid rock image cut in the mountains of New Hampshire, which became the image of the State but fell to a rock slide in 2003 … and then to this link  to hear a choir singing the old hymn, Rock of Ages reminding all believers that we can always rely on Jesus as THE ROCK upon Whom we can build our lives.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 34: 15 [NKJV] …  
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 34: 15-22 [NKJV] … Go to this link
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Reference Passages #1 1st Samuel, Chapter 21 [NKJV] … Go to this link … The story of David falling to deception to cover his human failure …

Reference Passages #2 1st Peter 2: 4-6 …  
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” [Isaiah 28: 16]

My Journal for Today: In today’s edition of Our Daily Bread the author tells the quaint story of the natural stone monument which became the emblem of the State of New Hampshire, the so-called "Man of the Mountains,” which fell to nature and the weather in 2003.  You can read the devotional account below: but the story is also recounted in the You Tube story, linked above.

ODB: ”It was a sad day in May 2003 when ‘The Old Man of the Mountain’ broke apart and slid down the mountainside. This 40-foot profile of an old man’s face, carved by nature in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, had long been an attraction to tourists, a solid presence for residents, and the official state emblem. … Some nearby residents were devastated when The Old Man fell. One woman said, “I grew up thinking that someone was watching over me. I feel a little less watched-over now.” 

That feeling of being watched over by something permanent and strong is the message of the old hymn, Rock of Ages, which is often played at funerals, because our Lord is THE ROCK of ages; and the One upon Whom we can build our lives as the “cornerstone” described in both the Old and New Testaments (see scripture above).

It’s hard for us when someone we rely upon – a steadying influence in our lives – fails and falls to weakness. The true story of the anointed King David, when, running from the then King, Saul, had to rely on deception and guile (see the 1st Samuel, Chapter 21 story) is an example of the weakness of all humanity. But, when we build our lives on “The Rock of Ages,” we can rely on the truth that we’ve built on the CORNERSTONE; and our lives can stand no matter what storms come against us.

Oh, how I pray that your life, as has mine, is built upon our Rock of Ages.

My Prayer for Today … Oh, my Lord, on You I build 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.

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014 … Totally Safe

BLOGGER NOTE! ... BIG DAY ... 49 years ago TODAY Elly I and were married.  ...  PTL!!!

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 Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 164

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go the first video link to hear Fernando Ortega singing, Beyond the Sky, reminding us that one day our hope will be realized in heaven.
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: 1st Peter 1: 3-4 [NKJV] …  
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, … 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: 1st Peter 1: 3-5 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 John 3: 16 …[You know it, don’t you? But focus in on the concept of “EVERLASTING life,” which would have no meaning if we could lose our salvation. Our salvation is safe – forever – because of God’s saving grace and our faith in His finished work.] …  
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 

Reference Passages #2 John 10: 27-29 [NKJV] …   
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

Reference Passages #3 1st John 5: 13 [NKJV] …  
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Reference Passages #4 1st John [NKJV] … Go to this link

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread addressed the deep-heart question which many Christians may have had at some time as to the assurance of our salvation. Have you ever wondered if you can lose your salvation? Well, to address this, ODB uses the word picture of Fort Knox, by this description of the country’s fortress of wealth [see the attached photo].

"The United States Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, Kentucky, is a fortified building that stores 5,000 tons of gold bullion and other precious items entrusted to the federal government. Fort Knox is protected by a 22-ton door and layers of physical security: alarms, video cameras, minefields, barbed razor wire, electric fences, armed guards, and unmarked Apache helicopters. Based on the level of security, Fort Knox is considered one of the safest places on earth.” 

Fort Knox is one of the safest places on earth, for sure; but it’s safety fades with the infinite safety of any born-again Christian’s wealth and safety in heaven when that believer surrenders – in hear-felt faith – to the finished work of Christ on the cross and receives The Savior as his/her Lord. So, if you’ve given your heart and life over to Jesus as your Lord, in His own words above (see Romans 10: 29), … no one can snatch you out of the Savior’s hand.

And if you have any doubts as to the safety of your salvation, I suggest you go back and read the entire first epistle written by the Apostle John, linked above, because as he writes, the epistle was written to Christians to help them (us) KNOW that we are truly saved (see 1st John 5: 13). And when you do, you’ll come away with the assurance that nothing, no nothing, … NOTHING!!! … can take away your salvation; and you’ll know, that you know, that you KNOW that heaven is yours FOREVER!!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I do KNOW that I will be with you FOREVER. … 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, June 12, 2014

June 12, 2014 … He is our blessed assurance

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 163

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go the first video link to hear a worship group singingBlessed Assurance, reminding us to praise our Savior all the day long for the assurance we have in Him as our Rock of salvation …
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Highlight Passage – NKJV: Ezra 5: 11 [NKJV] …
  11 And thus they returned us an answer, saying: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed.
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Ezra 5: 7-17 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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 Reference Passages #1 Matthew 16: 18 [NKJV] …   
18 “…on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 

Reference Passages #2 Hebrews 6: 19-20 [NKJV] … 
  19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread helped me to realize, recognize, and remember that Jesus is the Rock of my salvation; and no matter what happens in my life I can know that He will prevail … just as our Lord promised His chosen ones in the Old Testament (see the Highlight passages) and as Jesus promised His disciples (see Reference passages).

Our Lord is our blessed - and only - assurance. And I don’t have to write a long journal entry here to claim, hold on to, and share this truth with others here.

Our (my) only question for reflection and meditation today is … “DO WE BELIEVE THESE TRUTHS?!!”

My Prayer for Today … Lord, You are my blessed assurance … FOREVER!! … 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, June 11, 2014

June 11, 2014 … When INTEGRITY Reigns

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 162

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please go the first video link to hear the group 4 Him singingThe Basics of Life, reminding Christians that we need to return to the Truth of God’s Basics as the right way – THE ONLY WAY – in life.
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 Highlight Passage – NKJV: Psalms 15: 1-2 [NKJV] …  
1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? … 2 He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart;... 
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Highlight Passage [Context] – NKJV: Psalms 15 [NKJV] … Go to this link 
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Reference Passages #1 ... Psalms 1 [NKJV] … Go to this link

Reference Passages #2 ... 1st Chronicles 29: 17 [NKJV] …   
17 I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You.

Reference Passages #2 ... 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.

Reference Passages #3 John 8: 31-32 [NKJV] …   
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

My Journal for Today: Would you agree with the premise of the song, ”Back To The Basics,” presented by the group 4HIM and linked above, … that we need to get back to God’s basics as our only hope for revival in this world? Do I sense a consensus of “AMEN!” to my exhortation? Because I certainly believe in the truth espoused by the reality that only when INTEGRITY reigns in our world will we find God being able to heal our world (see 2nd Chronicles 7: 14 quoted above).

As my Our Daily Bread devotional for today declares, in no uncertainly terms, that we have broken from God’s “basics” in our world today; and as Jesus Himself declared, … only when we “… know the truth,” will The Truth (which, of course, is Jesus Himself) “… set us free.”


So, today’s exhortations from God’s word (i.e., “His truth”) challenge each of us to ask ourselves if we are living with INTEGRITY. Many of us know the definition of “integrity” (see photo #1). However, when we realize that the concept is the intersection of what we believe, what we say, and how we act (see photo #2), we are backed up to the wall of truth, aren’t we?

Well, at least I am. I’ll leave you and your conscience to deal with these challenging truths today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, pour Your grace into my life to help me live with integrity every moment of every 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.